That being said, I am also full of fail for taking so long with these prompts, but I am actually quite pleased with them (though less so with the Naruto one—sorry, know_your_story).
Characters: Orihime, Aizen
Prompt: insanity, compassion
Title: I’ll See You Again Tomorrow, Orihime-san
Word Count: 829
Every day for the past five days—that is, every day following the first one—Aizen had visited her for tea. Every day for an hour, Inoue waited for the mocking glint in his eye that she had come to think was an inherent part of the man, especially so under the circumstances. Who couldn’t see how funny it was for an aspiring warlord to sit down once a day with his prisoner and set out an English-style afternoon spread? (Though in truth Inoue wasn’t sure if it was afternoon or not; in Hueco Mundo, it was hard to tell.)
Well, Kurosaki-san, maybe, wouldn’t laugh. And Ishida-san. And… well, maybe most of her friends didn’t quite have her sense of humor, but she did like the crumpets. They were especially good with strawberries. And that yellow stuff, what was it called again?
Aizen’s eyebrow had quirked when he first saw Inoue spreading the yellow over her strawberries, but his voice was strangely gentle as he said, “Most people don’t mix fruit and mustard, Orihime-san.”
Inoue paused halfway through her first mouthful of strawberry. “Oh, is that what this is?” Only the strawberry garbled it, so she swallowed first and repeated herself, adding, “It’s really good. Vinegary. Good contrast.”
Then, because she was polite, she offered some to her host. Er, captor. He was feeding her, at least.
Aizen’s eyebrow raised even further, but to Inoue’s surprise (no one ever liked the flavor mixtures she did), he accept a mustard-dipped strawberry and took a bite. The face he made at the taste was ruthful, but the mocking element still wasn’t there. “It’s… interesting, Orihime-san, but I think I will stick with the tried-and-true combinations. I’m afraid to say I don’t quite have your adventurous streak.”
It was on the tip of Inoue’s tongue to say something like, “I don’t know, trying to become God sounds pretty adventurous to me,” but she knew that was Kurosaki-san’s influence on her, not something she actually wanted to say. So she didn’t, and passed Aizen the sugar when he asked.
She actually didn’t want to say much. There wasn’t really a lot that was safe to talk about. So she asked him about the food, and she occasionally made some comment about Soul Society before remembering herself, but Aizen never seemed to get angry regardless of what came out of her mouth.
It was because of this that when he rose to leave, on that sixth day during her captivity in Hueco Mundo, that Inoue finally got up the courage to ask, “Why do you come here so often, Aizen-san? You aren’t going to persuade me to join you like this,” even if you do have really good mustard, her mind supplied unhelpfully, though of course she didn’t say so out loud.
Aizen again smiled at her. Really smiled at her, no trace of amusement at all. It was then that the lack went past worrying Inoue. It was then that she began to feel fear. “I do not believe any of my current subordinates would enjoy sitting down with me for afternoon tea.” His expression turned distant. “I missed the custom, after leaving Soul Society. Hinamori-kun made the best-” It was then that he cut himself off, and his face smoothed itself into more polite, neutral lines. “But I have business to attend to, so I’m afraid I must excuse myself.”
At the door he paused, as he always did, and turned back to her. “I’ll see you again tomorrow, Orihime-san.”
She didn’t reply. She had enough trouble staying still as it was. It wasn’t until Aizen left that Inoue let herself press her hand to her mouth, trying to breathe. Trying to suppress the upsurge of disturbingly mixed feelings from overwhelming her.
She had not known Momo-san. But she had heard what Aizen had done to his lieutenant, and there had been no trace of grief, of regret, in his eyes as he spoke of her. One would never have known from looking at him that Aizen was anything more than a loving father figure to Momo-san who was beginning to miss her company, instead of her attempted killer.
There was only conclusion Inoue could draw in the end: There was something wrong with him. With Aizen. Something that went beyond the megalomania, the ambitions, the ruthlessness. Something was terribly, terribly off in the former Shinigami’s head, and for the first time in her life, Inoue wished her first instinct was to feel anger, instead of compassion.
There was horror, of course. She was human, how could there be otherwise? The man had tried to murder someone who loved him, and he obviously hadn’t thought twice about it since. But underneath all that, that proper feeling, was something else. Something Inoue knew she shouldn’t be feeling at all.
Inoue closed her eyes, and did her best to continue breathing. The last thing she had wanted was to come to pity her enemy.
Characters: Kisame, Itachi
Prompt: conversation, eclipse
Title: The Bleeding Time
Word Count: 203
Author’s Note: Based on recent Naruto weirdness, I actually had another idea for Kisame/Itachi that would reflect the new information we’ve learned about them, but I quickly realized that would be much longer than a drabble and wouldn’t be focused on that pairing anyway, so I dropped the idea.
One day, the sky went dark, and the only light illuminating Itachi’s face made it look like he’d washed that morning in a basin of blood. It resembled how Kisame imagined the end of the world would be.
If so, however, he had already experienced the apocalypse once in his lifetime. “I haven’t been through a solar eclipse since I left my home village.”
Itachi blinked at him, his pupils slightly larger than usual to compensate for the strange sort of darkness. “I never have.” Then he went back to his lunch, reading the newspaper he’d bought from a vendor earlier in the day with a nonchalance that should have been feigned.
Kisame glanced around. Pretty much everyone had dropped what they were doing to stare at the sky. Somewhere, a kid was sobbing, asking his mother why the sun had gone out.
“I’d thought you’d be more interested, Itachi-san.”
Itachi took a sip of his tea, his eyes never leaving the business section. If Kisame hadn’t been watching his partner so closely, he never would have noticed the way the Uchiha’s mouth pinched at the corners, or the pained crease between his eyes. “It isn’t anything I haven’t seen one-hundred times before.”
Fandom: Final Fantasy XII
Characters: Larsa, Gabranth
Prompt: birds, leaves
Title: Landis Had Been Beautiful In Autumn
Word Count: 381
“Look, Judge Gabranth! Look!”
It was somewhat dutifully that Noah did as the four-year-old prince asked, and looked. What he saw was enough to make his eyebrows shoot up. “A ruby-throated hummingbird this late in the season? Well spotted, Lord Larsa. Almost all of them have migrated south by now.”
Larsa blinked up at his bodyguard, his eyes wide and—Noah almost didn’t dare think it—slightly impressed. “I did not know you were knowledgeable of birds, Judge Gabranth.”
“I am not,” Noah demurred, though he was unable to stop himself from feeling slightly pleased that he had remembered that bit of trivia. “My father was an enthusiast, and I was unable to escape his musings at the dinner table as a youth. It was inevitable that I absorbed some of what he knew.”
Larsa nodded in understanding, though his gaze shifted back to the hummingbird flitting among the dying flowers of the fading red columbines, his still-chubby face (though Noah knew he would grow out of it, as all Solidors did) rather more enraptured than Noah had seen it when faced with his textbooks earlier that morning. “Was Landis much like Archades in autumn?”
The question made something within Noah pang, as reminiscing about his father had not. He took his time with answering, letting his gaze linger rather longer than needed on the hummingbird before saying, awkwardly, “Nay, very little like. I find it likely that Landis has already had its first snowfall, at least at the higher elevations.” He tried to smile. “I daresay that the hummingbirds there did not extend their stay as this fellow did. Too cold by half, and no flowers left in bloom.” Noah stretched his memory a little further, then elaborated, “Most Landis animals either flee to warmer climes or go into hibernation around now. It’s practically the only time of year you can hear the wind uninterrupted.”
Larsa frowned, his lips pursed. He looked unhappy, his strange Solidor empathy written clearly on his face. “It sounds very lonely.”
“It was quiet, yes,” Noah agreed. It was only then that he felt his expression, his smile, turn genuine, his eyes crinkling at the corners for what felt like the first time in months. “Quiet, but… I always thought Landis was beautiful in autumn.”