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Five prompts - Dragaera, GetBackers
Some more prompts I got later on.



For niquaeli - Five people Sethra didn't kill, but Kiera did. No canonical basis whatsoever for any of these.

*

5.

Sethra the Younger really needed to lose that insufferable smirk. Even writing lines hadn't done much to remove it. Sethra Lavode wished for an excuse, but it would hardly be honorable to challenge her to a duel, and worse to fight without such formalities; she had already subjected the woman to such humiliation as should have left her cringing in terror.

So she presented the problem to Kiera, and Kiera pointed out that it wasn't all that terrible to be punished by your old teacher, who was demonstrably better than you at sorcery, in a way that would never become public knowledge; what was needed was for someone Sethra the Younger thought was lower than dirt to get the better of her.

Thankfully such a person was close at hand. She didn't even have to put out a contract.


4.

Kiera didn't even carry a weapon, so if she had to kill someone unexpectely, either she had to do it unrevivafiably (and make sure there were no witnesses) or she had to kill them with her bare hands. Oftentimes it was both; there are relatively few ways of killing someone, simply and easily, with bare hands alone, that do not result in damage to the spine or the brain. For the dramatic, there is the ripping out of a whole heart, but this involves breaking several ribs and is very difficult to arrange on a person who is fighting back. Really, it's best to break their neck and have done with it.

When she killed the Dzur known as Lamar, she snapped his neck, but he was too surprised to be fighting back; that or he was unwilling to fight against one female Jhereg, one who was smaller than him and carried no weapon.

It was nothing personal. He was a good man all told, even if he had made two attempts on Dzur Mountain (he had never made it above the cloudline; Sethra, in either a merciful or cruel mood depending on your perspective, had arranged via an enchantment for anyone who entered the Overcast that week to be turned around and emerge below it without getting near any of the doors). It was simply that he had been asked to guard several artifacts that a friend of Kiera's stood in urgent need of, and all her skill as a thief had found no way to retrive them while he was still living. So she took the straightforward route, and walked up to him when he wan't expecting it.


3.

It was good that most of Sethra's defenses relied upon Elder Sorcery, or else the Interrregnum would have left her helpless. As it was it was simply an inconvenience. However, the resulting mess meant that it was a long time before she got around to replacing those defenses that had relied upon simple sorcery. Indeed, before she did, three people had made their way to the mountain with revenge on their minds.

Two were Dragons; one was a Jhereg. She turned the Dragons back easily enough, once she noticed them; the Jhereg, a sorceress, she invited in for tea. Perhaps she felt that she should explain to someone what had happened, and it was just as well that it be someone who could be relied upon to keep their silence. They were friends after that, in a sense.

Kiera was very sorry to have to take a contract on the woman, but sometimes that was just the way things were.


2.

The Emperor Thyaliss II was very much a Vallista. At first, this seemed like a good thing. He institued order, restored roads throughout the Empire, and began an ambitous project of restoring the universites and contrsucting new ones in every major city that was lacking. Sethra Lavode was pleased to support his ambitions.

Seven hundred and five years later, he canceled the Lavodes' budget to pay for the achitectural studies of the proposed Northport University. Sethra walked out of the court. It got attention. Thyaliss's other policies began to be questioned. Sethra, meanwhile, battened the hatches for a long spell of solitude and Dzur-baiting.

Two years after that, Thyaliss was killed by a Jhereg assassin. He was walking down the Coridoor of the Seven Urns at the time, with the Captain of the Guard. As soon as the Captain heard an unusual noise she reached for her sword, but the sword was no longer there. Without it there was little chance agaisnt a skilled opponent moving swiftly.

A few minutes later, in a courtyard a quarter-mile away, Kiera chucked the captain's sword into an ornamental pond and watched it sink beneath the weeds. Sometimes the Cycle just needed a little push.


1.

Kiera was the name she gave to the guards at the perimeter of the Jhereg camp. It was easier than the truth. It was a subtle announcement, and besides, she had come in disguise. Dolivar knew what it meant, but he did not speak of it. He greeted her as a stranger and they talked of things other than what they truly wished to say.

After that she came alone, on no one's behalf, but still she gave her name as Kiera and still he pretended that Kiera had never been anyone else.

The last time they met he sent her back with a message. "This is riduclous," she said. "Why do you want to see him? You have your place in the Empire now. He has his spies. What else is there to talk about?"

Dolivar just smiled. "He's still my brother, whatever he thinks." She could have refused, and maybe things would have turned out differently. But she did not, and for years she held herself responsible.



For silverstrings, assorted GetBackers.

Five times Toshiki tried to be romantic

1. Will you stay with us? Kazuki asked him that night. Toshiki felt as though his heart might break, and he fell to his knees without thinking. I love you, he said, and it took him a moment to realize that he had not said it aloud. He managed to gather his thoughts, and say that of course he would stay. Kazuki smiled and tilted his head, and the bells in his hair jingled a little. Toshiki continued, in the most flowerly langauge he knew, and when he stopped Kazuki laid a hand on his shoulder and thanked him. He couldn't remember ever being happier.

2. Kazuki accepted the flower with a grateful smile and tucked it behind his ear, and there to Toshiki's amazement it remained for the better part of the afternoon, until it was knocked loose by a barely-dodged blow and fell to the street to be trampled, releasing its last sweet scent only in death.

3. He never got the nerve to actually write down any of the poetry.

4. Toshiki knew he should have been sleeping, but he couldn't bring himself too, not with the moonlight slanting in at just the right angle and scattering glints of beauty off Kazuki's hair. He ran his hand a few centimeters from its surface, for he knew better than the destroy the moment with a touch.

5. He gave the bag of candy to Kazuki hesitantly, and tried to pretend he wasn't upset at all when Kazuki ate three and then gave three more to Juubei, three to Sakura, three to Saizou, and the rest to a little girl who passed them by and stopped to stare in awe and murmur how strong they looked. She scampered off clutching it to her chest, giggling and promsiing to give some to her sisters. Toshiki thought about how easy affection slipped through Kazuki's fingers, and resolved that he would not be passed on so easily.


Five times Kazuki got mistaken for a woman.

1. When he first saw the leader of Fuuga, Raitei thought that this was the most powerful fighter he had seen in a while, and gloried in the thought of a new ally or a new enemy - either would do. Ginji, somewhere inside, blushed and giggled and thought this was the prettiest girl he'd ever seen, and it was just a pity she had such a jealous boyfriend. It wasn't for some time that the title 'Prince of Battle Terror' fully sunk through his head.

2. On the one hand, it was slightly humiliating to be given a break on the rent because he was 'a poor young girl all on her own in the world'. On the other hand, it wasn't as if he hadn't tried to correct the manager; she'd just kept talking over him. And it wasn't as if he had the money to spare.

3. "That time of the month?" I'm so sorry," the girl at the checkout counter said sympathetically. Kazuki looked down at the extra-large asprin bottle, three paperback novels, and small pile of choclate bars. Somehow he didn't have the heart to tell her he was in fact planning to spend the next two or three days in bed because he had sprained an ankle and wrenched his back jumping out a window to avoid a security guard with a tranquilzer gun. She looked like such a nice, normal girl. He took extra care not to limp as he walked out of the store.

4. It wasn't that it wasn't a perfectly nice dress. It was just that Kazuki didn't want to wear a dress to wander around Madoka's house while his clothes were being washed, and he didn't know whether to assume her maid had gotten confused, or whether he should find out the maid's e-mail and pass it on to Emishi.

5. As he let the wig drop to the floor, for a half-second the expression beneath the Cursed Embroidery was one of utter and complete shock. He allowed himself a full second to gloat before getting down to business.


Five things that make Juubei laugh.

1. There are three people who know that Juubei is terribly ticklish on the inside of his left elbow. Kazuki is the only one who takes advantage of it, and does so sparingly, only when they are alone.

2. Once, Emishi brought bottles of whisky to a council. He didn't say where he had gotten it; no-one asked. The Volts could generally get what they wanted. They did not abuse the privledge, so no one ever spoke against it. He passed them around and almost everyone took some, even Makubex, although he made a face at the first sip and passed it on with almost unseemly haste to Juubei. It burned his throat, but he found he liked the taste. Emishi meanwhile was merrily pouring it down his throat. He talked occasionally, though, and was still perfectly coherent.

When they finished and everyone got up to go their seperate ways, Emishi stood up, spun in place twice, swayed from side to side, then took three steps directly into a wall. Everyone looked shocked, although some of them covered their mouths and there was a suggestion of a giggle. Juubei went over to help him up. Emishi accepted the hand, then brushed him off and walked away, a little unsteadily but not, Juubei judged, in any further danger.

He went in the opposite direction and found a quiet, unihabited alley. Then he leaned against the wall and covered his mouth with his tunic, so no one could hear him laugh.

3. When it's all over they go home together. Together. He should be watching the way the sunset reflects a thousand colors off the clouds and the streets glisten, clean with rain; he does not. He watches Kazuki instead. It has not been nearly so long as it feels like. A few months. In that time they have recovered all that they had, and more, and this image was the only thing denied him. When the door of Kazuki's apartment closes behind them Kazuki turns to Juubei and kisses him. As they fall into each other Juubei cannot help laughing from simple joy.

4. Juubei had always had great respect for Shido, although they had never been close. He was pleased, if a little surprised, to be invited to his wedding. He and Kazuki showed up quite early; Kazuki promptly vanished with Madoka to commiserate over some mysterious aspect of the ceremony, and Juubei made his way to the backyard, most of which had been taken over by a ribbon-encrusted tent where a banquet was being busily constructed by a small army of caterers.

Eventually he slipped though the small gate into the rose-garden. Lying on the ground next to the fountian were Shido and the lion. It would have looked a lot less odd had Shido not been in his good suit, which by now had quite a lot of golden hair spread across it. Juubei stepped closer, but Shido didn't hear him. He continued scratching the lion behind the ears, and as Juubei approached he could hear the lion emitting a low, rumbling purr and Shido whispering: "Just the usual jitters. That's all. I'm not going to run away. Madoka would never forgive me."

The lion responded to this by extending its big, sandpaperly tounge and giving Shido a lick directly across his face. Shido gained an expression of faint dismay and ran a hand down his cravat to check for cat slobber, and that was when Juubei could help himself no longer and laughed aloud. Fortunately, Shido found it equally amusing once he'd taken a deep breath, and they did manage to get most of the lion hair off his suit.

5. Kazuki was a little distressed to find his hair was going grey. "I'm too young for this," he said when he found the first strands. "This is ridiculous. I'm only forty." Juubei assured him that plenty of people had gray hair at forty, and that it was nothing to be worried about.

Kazuki perked up a little. "True," he murmured. "Why, I've known people who had grey hair at ten." Juubei did not even attempt to keep his agreement solemn.

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