Cynthia (csakuras) wrote,
Cynthia
csakuras

WIP meme

I know I said I won't do anything fandom-related until I finish this chapter of SoPHD, but inspiration isn't striking right now. X( And I just saw annwyd post this meme and I've been meaning to do a post like this for a long, long time so...

The Works In Progress Meme
Find any fanfiction in progress that you have lying around your computer. Post excerpts from all of it. Maybe inspiration will strike.

I'll be posting entirely Gurren Lagann fics. I'm sure I have a lot more half-finished fics for Fullmetal Alchemist, Princess Tutu, Kino no Tabi, Detective Conan, Pokemon, etc., but they're on the old computer. And I have enough stuff just for Gurren Lagann anyway. Half of these I got stuck on and probably won't finish, and half of them I'm still working on and do hope to finish eventually.


Remnants excerpt (aka zombie!Nia fic)


It was the day before the wedding. They woke up early together, and spent all morning preparing for it. The wedding would be hastily put together; Simon hadn't thought they would be getting married so soon when he'd proposed, but they didn't exactly have a choice.

There would be no reception. No cake. No throwing of the bouquet. But none of that really mattered. As long as they had the ceremony itself, they would be happy.

The world was still recovering from its wounds. So were they. Just yesterday, Nia had insisted on taking the bandages off her arms as she tried on her dress. The cuts still hadn't completely healed, leaving thin dark lines on her white skin, but that didn't matter either. She still looked breathtaking.

In the afternoon, Simon got an urgent call from Rossiu, and headed out, promising to return soon. Nia saw him out at her door.

Two hours later, he was hurrying back to her house again. He paused in the foyer to catch his breath. "Nia!" he called. "I'm back!"

His voice left a faint echo. The house was silent.

Wiping sweat from his brow, he followed his nose to the kitchen, where he could smell something cooking. "Nia?"

Only Old Coco was there, standing on a stool in front of the stove with a ladle in his fingers.

"Hey, have you seen Nia?"

The old beastman pointed upwards.

"Her room. Right."

Simon hurried upstairs, calling her name. Still no answer. The curtains were pulled back, filling her room with light. The bed was made. The sheets were still in disarray when he'd left, so she must have done some tidying up while he was gone. He checked the bathroom. The closet. The entire second floor, and then the first. She was still nowhere in sight.

He didn't find her in the yard either. He began calling people. No one had seen her yet that day.

He called a search party. Spent hours wandering the city with Rossiu and Yoko and his other friends. Constantly expecting to find her at some favorite spot, saying a final goodbye to the city she helped to build. And all the while being distinctly reminded of the night just a few weeks ago when he'd searched the city for her on his own. But no, the Anti-Spirals were gone now. Gone. And there wasn't much time left.

The day was approaching on evening when he returned to her house. She still hadn't returned according to Old Coco. But just in case, Simon checked all of the rooms again. Maybe he would find her in a corner somewhere fast asleep, completely unaware that she had caused him so much worry, in that innocently absent-minded way of hers that was both frustrating and infinitely precious to him.

No such luck.

Nia's room was now dyed in a burnt orange light from the windows. He sat on the bed, feeling the neatly tucked-in sheets beneath his hands. "Nia, where are you?"

After a while, he thought he heard Rossiu, so he went out to the landing. "Did someone find her?!"

"No, there's still nothing," Rossiu said regretfully, holding a phone to his ear.

"Oh..."

"Simon-san, it's getting late. I think we should..." Whatever he was about to say, with one look at Simon's face, he seemed to change his mind. Rossiu shook his head and didn't finish.

Simon turned to return to Nia's room, when a glimmer of green caught his eye. Blinking, he finally noticed a small object that was hidden in a shadowy corner of the stairwell. His breath caught in his throat.

He picked it up and held it to the light. It was as he'd feared. The ring.

And then he knew.

He sat down heavily on a stair, staring at the ring on his palm. He felt numb. The world seemed to come to a stop around him.

She had been gone for hours now. The thought choked him. He thought they had more time. He wasn't even here for her when it happened. She could have been doing something completely mundane, and then...

But maybe she would have liked that. The normalcy of it. After all, anyone could die from, say, a tumble down the stairs, just as suddenly.

He shook his head.

Of course, it shouldn't have surprised him. They both knew that this would happen. What difference did it make whether it happened a day or two earlier? It was a miracle that she even made it this far.

"Nia...you really did your best..."

The sound of footsteps snapped him back to reality. Rossiu stood in front of him on the stairs.

"Do you want to postpone the wedding?" Rossiu asked.

Simon did not answer right away, letting his eyes wander in a daze until they came to rest on the dress downstairs, still hung up waiting for its bride. She had looked so happy when she first showed it to him...

He returned his gaze to the ring. "No. It's cancelled."

Rossiu gasped. "But..."

He closed his hand over the ring, gripping it to his chest. "She's gone."


So that's the first scene. Believe it or not, the story actually does continue from there. Nia isn't going away completely until she gets her damn wedding, even if that messes with Simon's heart in the process. See why I'm so conflicted about writing this now? D:



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Genderswitch fic (Simon/Nia)


It was a week until Dayakka and Kiyoh's wedding. This wasn't at all a bad thing. However, it presented a dilemma that didn't immediately occur to Simon when she first received the invitation.

Simon had no formal clothing. She'd hardly thought about clothes at all in her life. In Jeeha Village, there wasn't much choice of clothing in the first place, all of it being made of pigmole fur and coming in shades of brown. Fighting on the surface, all she needed was her jacket and shorts. In Kamina City, she had her government uniform (over which she had hardly any say or opinion), and a modest selection of casual clothing that she wore on her days off. Generally, she was happy as long as she was comfortable.

But now, she was forced to realize that in the past few years, an entire fashion industry had sprung up, and she had no idea what she was supposed to wear to the wedding. According to Rossiu, casual wear would be considered improper, and going in her uniform would mean she was attending as an official rather than as a friend. Where did all these rules come from all of a sudden?

Kinon suggested a "nice dress." What the hell was a "nice dress"? And how was she supposed to find one?

When she asked Yoko about it, the girl just laughed. "You don't have to wear a dress."

"I don't?" Simon paused. "What are you going to wear?"

Yoko shrugged. "A suit. It's simple, it's easy, and it's still formal."

Some of the tension left Simon's body. Yes, that sounded reasonable enough.

But Yoko pursed her lips. "Then again, you have Nia..."

"I do? Uh, I mean, yeah...I do. So, what?" Come to think of it, what would Nia wear? A suit? Would it be weird if they both wore suits??

Yoko looked wistful, glancing away as she spoke. "I guess...if Kamina were still around..." Her voice became quiet. "...I would probably wear a dress instead."

Simon's mouth dropped open. Both in sympathy of their shared loss, and in growing panic at the realization of the additional purpose served by dressing up.

To impress guys.

Which brought her to this day, walking through the downtown shopping district with Nia on a pseudo date/shopping trip. This was the only free day she had left before the wedding, and she'd planned on spending it with Nia anyway. For his part, Nia said he would be happy to help her choose a dress.

It had seemed a good idea at the time, but now, Simon wasn't so sure.

Wandering through the crowds, she could feel everyone's stares, hear them whisper, "Isn't that Commander SImon and Prince Nia?" There were even some flashes from cameras. Though Simon didn't bother with the gossip magazines, she could already guess what was going to be on the front pages tomorrow.

As always, Nia seemed to soak in the attention naturally, smiling brilliantly and waving. A group of girls nearby swooned as they passed. Oh, the handsome prince smiled at them! Big deal, Nia smiled at everybody.

Though this happened often when they went out in public, somehow, today felt different. Suddenly, Simon became self-consciously aware that Nia was indeed a prince. And that despite his insistence that he wasn't a prince any longer, it didn't mean he'd stopped acting like one.

And that was fine. Nia was Nia. But Simon couldn't help but feel the extra pressure. After all, she'd never been considered particularly pretty. The other girls in her village used to tease her for being flat-chested, plain, and dirty. Her chest had filled out a little since then, but otherwise not much had changed.

Seeing those other girls with their eyes on Nia, all of them decked out in the latest trends, their hair long, faces beautiful... Surely no mere dress could help her reach that level.

"Shall we try that store?"

"Huh?" Shaken out of her thoughts, SImon looked where Nia was pointing. "Oh, sure."

They entered the store, and were met at once by a cat-eared clerk, whose ears twitched excitedly as she offered them her assistance.

Simon waved her hands. "I-I think we'll be fine."

They split up first, Nia heading to the men's section. Taking a deep breath, Simon steeled herself and surveyed the women's section. I can do this, she told herself. I've brought down Teppelin, defeated the Spiral King, founded a city. Finding a dress should be easy.

She began rifling through the racks of dresses, shying away from the stares of the other customers, still unsure what exactly she was looking for. She looked up at the robot-faced mannequins and sighed. She couldn't imagine herself wearing any of these.

"Bro, what would you do?" she asked under her breath, but even before she'd finished saying it, she knew that this was one area where Kamina's advice would prove less than helpful. He would probably end up choosing something too revealing, which was fine for his tastes, but this was for a wedding. Besides, Nia didn't go for that sort of thing...

...Or did he? Simon's gaze drifted over to the displays of lingerie a short distance away. Face growing hot, she quickly shook her head and turned her attention back to the dresses.

"Have you found anything?"

"WAH!" Simon jumped. Nia had come over from the men's side.

He blinked. "I'm sorry, did I surprise you?"

"N-no, it's fine." Silently willing her heart to slow down, she noticed that Nia was holding a bag. "...You're done already?"

Nia nodded. That was fast. But Nia did always have a more refined sense of style than other men she'd known...

"...Can I see?"

"Of course."

Simon peeked into the bag. It was a light blue suit, about the same shade as the highlights in Nia's hair, with a gold trim and buttons.

"Blue...blue..." Hurriedly, she grabbed the nearest blue dresses and said around an armful of clothing, "Um, I'll go try these on."

Nia followed her to the dressing room and stood waiting patiently outside.

In the stall, Simon quickly discovered that in her haste, she had forgotten to check for sizes. The only dress that seemed to fit her was a dark navy sleeveless one with a much lower neckline than she was normally used to. Well, it would have to do.

She peeked through the narrow gap in the door. Nia was chatting amicably with the clerk. She couldn't hear what they were saying, but the clerk had a slightly baffled expression on her face. People were often surprised to find just how weird he was beyond the pretty face.


And that's where I got stuck, because I wasn't sure where exactly I was taking the story anymore. Basically, I thought that if I'm going to switch a character's gender, I'd like to explore a facet of their personality that would stand out with that change in gender. Thus Simon's self-consciousness and clothes predicament, because I figure she'd be a tomboy. Also, it was kinda fun imagining what a clothes department in Kamina City would be like, with Beastmen and robot faces everywhere.



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Parallel Works 1.1 fic (Simon+Kamina & Simon/Nia)

So here's a story where I tried to imagine how Simon and Kamina would have first met in this AU. Kamina is 13 and Simon is 10. This is when I discovered that young!Kamina is pretty fun to write. And if Simon sounds a little full of himself (at least compared to canon), just remember that he's been pampered all his life by his parents and servants instead of being orphaned and living in a hole in the ground.


One sunny afternoon in the Kingdom of Jeeha, Prince Simon was playing listlessly in his royal sandbox when he heard a commotion. It was quite unusual for there to be a commotion at this time of day, the quiet hour right after breakfast, but he heard one.

There were shouts from farther down the castle. "Intruder!" "Catch him!"

Curious, Simon looked around-- just in time to notice that someone was running on the ramparts right above him. A flash of blue and green caught his eyes before that someone came plummeting down, landing right in his sandbox.

Reflexively, Simon covered his eyes from the sand that flew up from the impact. When he lowered his arms, he found a boy dressed in green lying on his backside in the sandbox, arms and legs sticking up in the air like a turtle turned on its back.

Simon ventured to ask if he was alright, when suddenly the boy scrambled back to his feet.

"Phew, missed a step! Thought I was a goner there!" The boy, appearing to be a few years older than him, began dusting himself off. "Lucky all this sand was here to..."

Then he finally seemed to notice that the sandbox had another occupant. Simon stared. The boy stared back. Simon opened his mouth to say something again, and hurriedly the boy dove toward him, gagging his mouth with his hand.

"Mmphhm?!" Simon exclaimed.

"Hey hey, don't be so hasty! I don't mean any harm, see?" the older boy said placatingly. "I was just taking a stroll down the ramparts there, nothing to sound the alarm about..."

He was cut off by the voices from before, this time sounding closer. "Don't let him get away!"

"Shit," the boy hissed from between his teeth. He grabbed Simon and dashed away, leaping out of the sandbox and toward the shadows of the castle.

With remarkable agility, the boy climbed up a large tree with one arm, dragging Simon along in his other arm. Within minutes they were safely hidden in the upper branches.

Simon clung to the trunk of the tree, scared stiff, as the boy in green peered through the leaves. The guards had stopped right below them.

"Where did he go?"

"I thought he went this way..."

"Don't let your guard down! That brat is sneaky!"

"...Hey, didn't the Prince just come out to the castle grounds an hour ago?"

"Idiots! Hasn't anyone been watching over him?!"

Simon gulped. He thought about raising his voice and shouting down to them, but the boy turned and put a finger to his lips. In the same movement, Simon caught a glimpse of the sheathed dagger the boy carried on his belt. He kept his mouth shut.

"You two, search for the Prince and assure his safety. The rest of you, follow me!"

The guards split into two groups and left.

The boy heaved a sigh of relief. "Finally got them off my back. Thanks for keeping quiet, kid."

Simon stuttered. "Wh-what do you want with me?"

"Nothing, nothing! Didn't need you making a big racket, that's all." The boy smiled amicably. He made no move to touch the dagger. Maybe he wasn't dangerous after all...

With the boy's help, Simon climbed back down the tree. Back on the ground, the boy scratched his head and looked around. "I should keep quiet for a while. Maybe find somewhere to hide..."

"Why are they after you?" Simon asked. "What did you do?"

"Nothing! It's all cool. Just stole some jewels from the Queen, no big deal--"

"You what?"

"They were in a box! She wasn't using them!" The boy waved his arms. "Don't tell me you wouldn't do it too if you had the chance!"

Simon sighed. "Do you have any idea who I am?"

"Nope! No clue." The boy grinned. "Hey, do you know somewhere I could hide?"

So he was a thief. A rather stupid thief, but a harmless one. At any rate, Simon thought, the sooner he got himself out of this situation, the better. He led the way.

---

"Not bad! Not bad at all," the boy nodded approvingly.

They had snuck into the hayloft at the stables. Luckily, no one was working there at the moment. As Simon watched, the boy in green made himself a bed out of the straw and lay back. "Couldn't have picked a better place myself."

"Okay, I'm going to go now..." Simon said, backing away.

"Not so fast!" The boy sat up. "We haven't introduced ourselves yet."

Simon froze. "I don't think that's necessary..."

"Don't be stupid! You really helped me out, man. Here, sit down and keep me company." He patted the straw next to him.

Reluctantly, Simon sat down.

The boy dug into the pocket of his cape and produced a small bag. He opened it and emptied the contents into his lap.

"Look at this! Could you believe they have this stuff just lying around?"

"Yeah...amazing...I guess."

The boy picked out a ring with a bright green stone. "Here, you can have this." He placed it in Simon's hand.

"Um...but..."

"Don't be shy! It's my show of gratitude. Besides, I bet you can never earn that much just working."

Simon looked at the ring in his hand, not sure how he should feel being gifted his own mother's jewelry. "...Thanks." He tucked it away in his pocket.

"So, what's your name?" The boy grinned.

"My name? Uh...S...Si...Simmy." He winced at his own lack of creativity.

"Nice to meet ya, Simmy! I'm Kamina! You've heard of me, right?"

"Uh...no?"

Kamina looked shocked. "You haven't?!"

"...Sorry?"

"Well then you better clean out those ears cause I'm gonna tell ya!" Kamina stood up and posed majestically. "People speak far and wide of a rogue so fearsome that he would scare a crying child into silence! They say he is a tall and noble figure, with quick fingers and an even quicker tongue! They say he has the strength of an ogre and the stench of an ox! But all these rumors don't hold a candle to the man himself, and that man is Kamina! Kamina the Great! Kamina the Rogue!"

"You're just a kid," Simon observed blankly.

Kamina did not falter. "I have the soul of a man!"

"But how does that make you strong as an ogre..."

"Hey, I'll grow into it, no worries!" Kamina slapped him hard on the back.

Simon was thrown face-first into the straw. He straightened up with a baffled expression. "Huh? But I'm not worried..."

"That's the spirit! I like ya, kid. We're on exactly the same page!"

For the life of him, Simon could not understand how he came to that conclusion. He didn't even know what page Kamina was on. "So what are you going to do now?" he asked.

"Wait until things calm down, I guess."

"You aren't going to run away?"

"Not yet." Kamina looked almost thoughtful for a second, then went on. "Want to know a secret?"

In the back of his mind, Simon still told himself that he should leave and alert the guards. But now curiosity was beginning to win out. "Um. Sure."

"I didn't really come here to steal jewels."

Simon raised an eyebrow. "You didn't?"

"Nope! I just grabbed them because they were there. The real reason I'm here is to scope the place out."

"For what?"

"For treasure," Kamina said gleefully, as if he were thrilled just to tell somebody about it.

Simon blinked and pointed at the jewels. "Like that?"

"No, not someone else's treasure! My treasure! My family's treasure! It's hiding somewhere in this castle, I know it!"

"I...don't understand."

Kamina dug in his pockets again and this time produced a scroll of very old paper. He spread it out. On the paper was a crude map of the castle. In a corner of the map was a spiral, with the words "Findeth the spyral and thou shall findeth thy tresure" scrawled beneath it. There was nothing else to indicate where said treasure might be.

"This map's been passed down from generation to generation in my family," Kamina said proudly. "My dad told me that it was drawn by one of our great ancestors who helped build this castle."

Simon looked over the map with a skeptical eye. "Why bother to draw a map of the castle if you're not going to show where the treasure is inside the castle?"

"Dumbass, that's not the point!" Kamina pointed at the map. "This drawing is supposed to show which castle the treasure is in. You have to travel all across the kingdom until you find the right one!"

"Oh." Examining it more closely, Simon indeed recognized the unique architecture as belonging to the castle that he lived in. "Then why didn't he just write the name of the castle?"

Kamina scoffed. "Names change all the time! Besides, this wasn't even supposed to be the King's castle back then!"

Come to think of it, Simon did recall learning in one of his history lessons that originally the King of Jeeha lived in another castle, until it was damaged in a fire.

"So...why did your ancestor hide his treasure inside a castle?"

Kamina cleared his throat and began telling the story.


And then I got stuck coming up with the crazy ancestor's crazy story and the crazy logic behind that map. But needless to say, Simon and Kamina end up becoming best friends through the mini-adventure that follows. Here's also a bit from a story that takes place a few years later, when Simon mentions Princess Nia and that he hardly gets to see her, and Kamina promptly drags him to her castle so he can meet her (by now they have both become quite accomplished at sneaking into castles):


"I don't know about this, Bro. Peeking into a girl's room? She doesn't even know we're here..."

Kamina grinned. "You sure didn't complain when we spied on those three girls bathing in the spring back in Bachika."

"This and that are different," Simon said, flustered.

"We came all this way already. What's wrong with one quick look?"

Kamina took out his scope and tossed it to him. Dubiously, Simon raised it to his eye.

He saw Nia sitting at a small table near the balcony, reading a book and enjoying the evening air.

Clearly she had grown in the past year he hadn't seen her. By now she had graduated from picture books to proper novels. A breeze toyed with a strand of her hair until she tucked it behind her ear, still not breaking her attention from the printed words. A small smile formed on her lips as if what she'd read delighted her.

Simon was captivated for a moment until he realized what he was doing, and then he immediately felt dirty. He quickly passed the scope back to Kamina and turned away, guilt settling in the pit of his stomach.

Taking his turn, Kamina looked through the scope. There was a pause.

"That's the princess?"

"Yeah."

"...Kinda young, isn't she?"

"Y-yeah, so?" Simon fidgeted.

"She doesn't even have boobs."

That irked him. "Well I'm sorry she doesn't meet your criteria for hot girls, Bro."

Kamina lowered the scope, a look of surprise on his face. "What are you getting defensive about?"

"I'm not getting defensive," Simon said.

Kamina did not look convinced.

Simon sighed. "I really don't want to do this."

"You don't want to see her?"

"I don't want to see her like this." If he had to draw the line somewhere, this was it.

"...Okay." Kamina shrugged, and tucked the scope away.

Relief immediately filled his body. "Sorry, Bro."

"Hey man, if that's how you feel, then it's no problem."


But of course, they still end up sneaking into the castle anyway, where they come across Viral, the most persistent guard ever. Hijinks ensue!



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Parallel Works 1.3 fic (Simon/Nia)


It was on a night of the full moon that he first chanced upon meeting her. Simon led his men, survivors of yet another day of bloodshed, through the dark woods back to their camp. The tired warriors raised a cry of relief when the trees opened up and their pitched tents came into view at last.

Simon set about to make sure the wounded were looked after. The few women remaining in their group had warm meals and sake ready, and around the fires, songs and stories started up of the victories they had won that day, and eulogies for the befallen. A few women, newly widowed, wept into the night.

But Simon did not join them. He went to retire to his tent for the night, rubbing his weary eyes, bloody scenes still playing behind his eyelids and screams still ringing in his ears.

By chance, he looked up at the moon before entering his tent, and that was when he saw her. If not for the moonlight shining on her silvery hair, he might not have seen her at all. There, standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking the campsite, was the figure of a woman.

He stood there and stared for a while, blinking slowly. There she remained, motionless. He glanced back at the campfires, making sure that all their women were accounted for. Of course, there would be no reason for any of them to go to that cliff, and he could not recall any of them having hair that reflected the moonlight in that way.

His feet moved almost on their own as he made his way up the mountain, not sure what he would find up there. Perhaps it was an illusion, a fox playing tricks. He breached the cover of the trees, and looked upon the woman again. Now much closer, the sight of her took his breath away.

She wore a regal pink kimono with a light green sash. Her hair fell about her in curls, and a pink chrysanthemum hair ornament adorned the side of her head. She was a woman of such ethereal beauty that for a moment, he was almost sure that she was a celestial maiden who had come to search for a lost feather-mantle.

And yet, the expression on her face did not reflect that of an angel. Her pink lips were pursed, and her eyes were blank as she gazed at the landscape. But then, he would not blame an angel for looking unfavorably on this war-torn land.

Simon stepped closer, trying to form a question in his mind. Was her appearance here a sign of foreboding? Was she having trouble returning to Heaven? What was her name?

But before he could open his mouth, his movement betrayed him. The woman turned, noticing his presence. He froze in his steps. Her eyes widened in a look of-- surprise? fear? recognition? --and her lips fell open.

He quickly raised his hands in a sign of non-aggression. "I didn't mean to startle you," he said. "I mean no harm."

Her expression relaxed. She made no move but to turn her gaze back toward the moon. Intrigued, he approached again, until he stood beside her on the edge of the cliff.

The old stories told that one should not ask too many questions in situations like these, but he couldn't help himself. Presently, he asked, "What are you doing here?"

She did not answer. She did not even turn her head. Was she ignoring him?

He tried again. "Do you know who I am?"

She glanced at him. "Yes," she said, speaking at last. She nodded her head down toward the camp below to signify that she knew he was their leader.

"Are you...human?" Simon had come across many strange spirits and monsters, but none resembling her as of yet. He wasn't sure whether this would offend her or not.

But the woman gave him another surprised look, tilting her head as if she thought he'd asked a very peculiar question.

He decided to take that as a yes. Surely a celestial maiden would at least know whether she was human. But if he was dealing with a mortal, that only raised a plethora of new questions.

"Do you live in one of the villages? This place is very dangerous; you shouldn'tbe out on your own so late at night. You could be captured by Lord Genome's forces, or attacked by a mountain dog..."

He paused, realizing that he was chiding her without even knowing the lady's name. And besides, no one in the villages would be able to afford clothes like hers...

She was looking at him now. "I am alright," she said.

"But..." Everything about her baffled him. But he felt entranced by her all the same. Maybe this was an illusion. Had he fallen into some kind of trap?

"Why do you worry?" she asked softly.

"Huh?"

"You don't know me. Why do you worry?" There was no hint of sarcasm or ill will behind her words. It was an honest question.

Why shouldn't he worry? After all, here was a lady on her own in the middle of the night just miles from a battlefield, in a land under the rule of a tyrant who regularly kidnapped women for his harem. But rather than saying any of that, he found himself blurting, "I would like to know you."


And I stopped there because I thought it was weird and I didn't like it. :/ Still, it's the most consciously Japanese thing I've ever written.



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SOW fic excerpt (Simon/Nia)

I'm still working on editing the parts I posted before, but here's a short excerpt from another of the short fic series:


Simon knew very well that Nia did not sing for him. It was her job, and he was only a small, insignificant part of a large audience. He accepted that. He was content just to be allowed to listen, even if it was merely because no one cared to notice his presence.

But sometimes, he liked to imagine so. After all, the rest of the audience was mostly inattentive; her singing was only background music that added to the ambiance of the room. At other times, she was just eye candy.

So what harm would it do to imagine that the room was empty but for them? That the sound of chatter could fade away, leaving her song, and only her song, to fill the dark space between them? That she was here for him as much as he was for her?

It was a foolish thought, he knew. Yet, though he wasn't usually prone to flights of fancy, for this, he would let himself indulge.



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SoPHD side story excerpt (Yoko/Simon)

I began writing this just to explain to myself how Simon & Yoko's screwed up relationship got started in the first place. It takes place three years before Simon & Nia meet, in the aftermath of the Earth's destruction, as they're roaming space in search of a new planet. Aside from a lighthearted cameo from Boota soon after he's transformed, the whole thing is quite depressing, so I'm not sure if I should finish and/or post it at all. But here's the scene where Yoko first kisses Simon:


He jolted back in surprise, looking as if he had just been sneak-attacked. He stared at her, wide-eyed and slack-jawed, and his expression was so uncharacteristically comical that she couldn't help but laugh.

"What's with that look? Don't tell me that was your first kiss?"

He turned red and glanced away. "O-of course not."

Yoko laughed again. Whether he was telling the truth or not, it was cute, reminding her a bit of the old days. He was always getting red-faced around her in the beginning, wasn't he?

"In that case, why don't you try taking the lead? I'm not exactly experienced either, you know."

Just as she began to fear she had spoiled the mood, he took the plunge. Their second kiss was much more bittersweet. And though she kicked herself for it inwardly, she found herself comparing it to her second kiss with Kamina.

It wasn't as good as she remembered. Had her memory embellished it? Were her expectations too high? Was that kiss just one-of-a-kind? Or was she just too busy thinking to really appreciate it this time?

When they parted, a pensive silence lingered between them. Simon looked like he wanted to say something. "Yoko, I..."

No. She didn't want any more unfulfilled promises. What they had now was enough.

So she put her finger to his lips, silencing him before he could have a chance. "Just...don't say anything. Please."



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Days of Thunder Chapter 1 excerpt (Viral angst)

As I've explained before, Days of Thunder is a rewrite of the Teppelin arc based on Yoshinari's illustration from the Nia artbook. The main differences from canon are that Nia now fights on the Beastmen side and Kamina is still alive, but most of the main characters will go down different paths of development, such as Viral here. I'm still working on the intro, but the chapter starts out with Viral in an elevator, going down the floors of Teppelin:


A group of younger, lower-ranking Beastmen filed in, and immediately cowered at the sight of him. Among the senior officers, Viral was usually one of the most approachable, but today, he was hardly in the mood. As the doors of the elevator closed, his reflection in the steel glowered back at him.

The back side of the elevator was made of glass. Occasionally, they would pass by a window, and a golden light would filter inside. Outside, warm sunlight reflected on the towers that formed the outer shell of Teppelin. They held all the beauty and majesty befitting His Majesty's kingdom, the one true civilization on Earth.

Viral's frown deepened.

All his life, Viral had been told that humans were fundamentally inferior to Beastmen. Humans were insects, dirtying the world with their mere presence, annoying pests who needed to be destroyed. This was the common belief among all Beastmen.

And yet one year had already passed since they suffered their most humiliating defeat at the hands of Kamina and his band of rebel humans. The Dai-Gunzan was captured and turned into the enemy stronghold, and now they were even advancing on Teppelin.

But they were at a stalemate. The Beastmen had an advantage in terms of numbers and resources, but each human seemed capable of taking down any number of enemy Gunmen, and they were only growing stronger.

Then one day, General Guame came to see him. He was told that the Spiral King was developing a secret weapon, a fighter fit to truly match Gurren-Lagann and defeat it at last.

And Viral, having been the one to witness Gurren-Lagann's birth, and being the one who'd fought against it the most and managed to survive, would be the one to teach this new champion.

Yes, he knew how they fought. But that knowledge alone was not enough to ensure victory; by far the most infuriating thing about these humans. It was someone else who would have to do the fighting.

And so, he was extracted from General Thymilph's army at once and given new orders. He was stripped of his rank, which he had worked so many years to acquire. He was stripped of his rivalry, no longer given a chance to fight Gurren-Lagann on his own. He was stripped of his pride, now only deemed fit to instruct others how not to fail.

It was not so surprising, after all those repeated failures. He should be glad that he was still alive and able to take at least some part in Gurren-Lagann's defeat. But instead, he felt it as the greatest of all humiliations.

All of this brought him to today, when he would come to meet the one whom their hopes lay upon, for whom he had lost everything in order to serve.

The Spiral King's daughter, First Princess Nia.

The plan was simple: Pit human against human.

But if humans were so inferior, he couldn't help but think, why send another human to do the job? Why not a Beastman? And how could they even pilot a Gunmen in the first place, let alone best a Beastman in one?

Each question led only to more questions. At times he feared they would burst out of him, and it was only in fear of the consequences that he kept his mouth shut. There was no one he could ask. He could be reported for treason by any Beastman he tried talking to.

The other Beastmen had gotten off at their respective floors now, and he was alone in the elevator as it brought him at last to the training room.

The first thing he noticed when the doors opened was that his Enkidu had already been brought down to the training room, as well as the princess's custom Gunmen, the Solvernia. They both stood near the back of the room.

Then, lowering his eyes, he was met with a most unusual sight.

The princess was sitting at a small table, calmly sipping tea. She was in her pink pilot suit, but otherwise there was no indication that she was ready to fight at all.

"Good day, sir," she smiled up at him, sweet as could be. "Are you my new instructor?"

Viral's mouth dropped open.

This had to be a joke. He couldn't imagine anything more non-threatening.

At once, questions filled his mind again. This was their secret weapon? Even if she did have the blood of the Spiral King within her, he had to strain to believe that she could stand a chance against those damn naked apes...

The princess took another sip of tea, then set down the dainty porcelain cup on the dainty porcelain saucer and finally stood up, offering him a short bow.

...She was expected to do what he could not?



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SoPHD Chapter 12 Part 2 excerpt

And, because I'm taking forever finishing this, here's a part of the first scene from the next SoPHD update. It's just a quick action sequence, not nearly the best part of the chapter, so I'm not worried about it being too spoilery:


As Gurren-Lagann and the three Gunmen exited the atmosphere, with the planet erupting in explosions behind them, they saw that Tetsukan had been right. The Hyper Galaxy Dai-Gurren had its shields up, trying to fend off an attack by two Anti-Spiral battleships, while a third ship sent volleys down to the planet.

At this rate, the Gunmen wouldn't even be able to get back inside the ship. Gurren-Lagann split off from them, flying toward the third Anti-Spiral ship. Almost immediately, the battleship's eyes found them, and refocused its attacks on Gurren-Lagann.

As Simon concentrated on dodging the beams, Boota sent the other Gunmen a message: "We'll hold them off. Meet us at these coordinates." The Gunmen flew off toward the Hyper Galaxy Dai-Gurren, as the other two Anti-Spiral ships began turning their attention to Gurren-Lagann as well.

It was fortunate that Gurren-Lagann's comparatively small size made them a smaller target. After all, they were just barely a speck against those massive battleships. But that also meant each beam was at least fifty times their size, requiring a lot of luck as well as quick flying to dodge them, and now they were surrounded by three ships. Already Simon was starting to sound out of breath.

Boota looked back, and saw the Hyper Galaxy Dai-Gurren blink into nothingness. "They're gone! Let's go!"

"Hold on, I want to take one of these out first," Simon said. At the moment, as they were being chased by a beam from one ship, Simon began flying toward the ship beside it. The beam tore through the ship as they flew alongside it. But then...

"Simon, wait--" Nia cried.

"Crap--"

The eyes of the ship they were flying alongside opened, and another barrage of beams was sent at them, hitting the other battleship as they dodged. But they could hardly turn back now with the other beam still gaining on them, so they continued flying forward, beams blasting at them from both sides. Soon, caught in a throng of explosions, they could hardly see anything at all, until finally both entire battleships exploded from the damage of their respective attacks, and the force of the double blasts flung Gurren-Lagann spinning far into space.

"Phew!" said Simon, sounding exhilarated. No doubt he was glad to be back in action.

As they slowed down, Boota quickly assessed the damage. "Looks like we lost a large chunk of the left leg, parts of the wing...actually, everything is a mess." Combined with bits of damage from past escapes, Gurren-Lagann was looking pretty ragged. If it were any normal Gunmen, it probably wouldn't be holding together at all. "Please tell me you only did that because we'll have a mechanic to fix things again."

Simon just laughed. Then, before the remaining battleship could attack them, they disappeared in a warp.

Tags: fanfiction, gurren lagann, meme
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