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Title: A Bishop of Ill-Begotten Faith
Rating: G
Prompt: "Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart." - Haruki Murakami
Fandom/Series: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
Word Count: 3,081
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: Vato Falman is a simple man.
As his fellow soldiers and friends are reassigned across the nation, Falman reflects on just how much they have sacrificed, and how much they all still risk to lose.Cast off and desperate for a friend, trapped in the cold and the quiet of Briggs, the Warrant Officer finds solace in his memories. And on the eve of war, he finally understands the sheer tragedy of following a man who loves far too much, and cares far too little.
 

A Bishop of Ill-Begotten Faith

            Vato Falman was a simple man.

            The people who were close to him soon learned that he didn't have much to say. Ashen-faced and rail-thin, his premature silver hair giving him the appearance of a much older man, he was a quiet, dignified person –– a presence more comfortable ghosting the peripheries of the room than taking an active participation in the center of it. A man consistently content with his place at the edge of conversation.

            He was an awkward presence in Amestrian blue. His uniform fit him poorly, both in body –– the cuffs of his sleeves barely reached his wrists –– and in spirit. Vato Falman was no fighter. He didn’t relish assignment that took him outside the archive room or, god forbid, out into the field. What he lacked in pleasure for combat, however, the solemn Warrant Officer made up for in sheer brainpower.

            Falman knew an eidetic memory was a good trait to have as an intelligence officer. Some of the men had taken to referring to him as a walking encyclopedia, and though the moniker felt acutely dehumanizing, Falman could not deny its truth. He had memorized hundreds of addresses and phone numbers and names during his stint in the military; he had cataloged every honorific and appellation and serial number he had ever filed, and was able to summon the information with the ease of perusing an index. He knew a bitter enemy from a forgotten ally long before an introduction hung unbroken in the air. 

            He knew he had little right to feel as lonely as he did, with the company of so many remembered faces. He knew he should feel beholden to the Amestrian military for giving him a livelihood, for taking a disorderly son of a bookkeeper and turning him into a soldier. Instead, he lay awake at night dreading the day circumstance would wrench him away from his reports and force him to shoot a gun. To take the life of another person.

            He knew that killing was not for him. He knew fate had consigned to deny him a choice in the matter.

            Falman knew a great many things. Not all of them, he realized, as useful, or as welcome, as a serial number. Sometimes the memories ran too deep. Sometimes he knew too much.

            Falman knew Kain Fuery was afraid of the dark. The Sergeant Major had made a name for himself fighting in the border skirmishes with Creta. According to the official report of an incident shortly after the young man’s induction, following a nighttime perimeter sweep, Fuery had lost his phosphor flares; his radio had gone quiet. He wandered for hours through the craters and calderas of a battlefield without a name. When he found his regiment, he begged them to hang a lantern from the lintel of the barracks, to chase away the shadows.

            Falman knew Heymans Breda was one of the most intelligent men in the military. He remembered Breda from the military academy, back when Falman was a sickly cadet already going gray at the temples. He remembered how Officer Cadet Breda said it wasn't due to stress, or a bad hand in the genetic crapshoot. 'You think too much,' Breda had affirmed in that blunt, brusque manner of his. Falman knew the Second Lieutenant had the mind of a philosopher and the wisdom of an academic. Instead, he had elected to become a soldier. Falman believed it said less about Breda's intelligence and far more about his heart.

            He knew Jean Havoc smoked cigarettes because he was a brave man. And the Warrant Officer knew bravery was being the only person to know how frightened one truly is. The acrid smoke, the miasma of nicotine and aftershave, hid far more than the blonde man's crooked grin. When Havoc lost his legs, some of the smoke blew thin on the wind. The veneer splintered, and Falman knew the Second Lieutenant had lost something he could never bargain or threaten or charm his way into getting back.

            Falman knew the Colonel was in love with his adjutant.

            If Vato were more like Major Armstrong, a man predisposed to sentiment, he would have bemoaned the tragedy of it. The fraternization policies were in place to avoid any adverse impact on discipline, authority, and morale, to ensure the ability of command to accomplish its mission. Falman respected the Colonel and the Lieutenant far too much to believe they would ever entertain toeing the line. They were officers before they were man and woman. Like Falman, they had sacrificed their humanity for the monikers of their duty. What was unsaid had to remain unsaid, diffusing between glances that somehow trapped a whole universe of meaning within the silence.

            Falman knew the Colonel and the Lieutenant shared a past; it had not been difficult for him to trace the tangled history of the Hero of Ishval and the progeny of a disgraced alchemist from the East. But the precise extent of their story remained stubbornly elusive, even to someone as intuitive as Falman. Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye never spoke of the time before Ishval, and their wonted, almost martial silence on the matter provoked defamatory tittle-tattle from Eastern Headquarters all the way to Central. There was plenty of rumor and hearsay, which Falman took pains to avoid, or outright slander, which Falman despised, even as some of the brass in the Amestrian military reveled in it, keen to knock the cocky, ambitious Colonel down a few pegs.

            Colonel Mustang, for all his heresies, never acknowledged the whispers. Neither did Hawkeye.

            And though he had unprecedented insight into the relationship between his superiors, Warrant Officer Falman was a simple man, and simple men do not meditate on the nature of tragedy.

            Because Vato Falman was in love with the Colonel's adjutant, too.

 

–––

 

            "Officer Cadet Falman!"

            Vato stepped forward. The rainwater had pooled in his boots. Mud crusted the hem of his trousers. The sleet was bitterly cold; he could barely move his fingers, and he had long ago lost feeling in his feet. When the Sergeant pressed a pistol into his hands, Vato nearly dropped it. The metal smarted on his palm, florets of ice crusted across the grip.

            "Torso, center target," the man barked, shouting to be heard over the deluge. "You're surrounded by Ishvalan hostiles and you're the only one with a full magazine."

            Vato tried to blow his hair out of his eyes, but the rain plastered it to his forehead. He held the pistol loosely in his hand, unable to curl his fingers around the grip. He extended his arms out in front of him and squinted at the target with his dominant eye... trying, in what he considered to be a truly herculean effort, to peer through the rain and sleet. He tried to blink the soft straw dummies into focus. Behind him, he heard Officer Cadet Havoc murmuring some words of half-crafted encouragement. Officer Cadet Breda just grunted. He doubted either one envied him.

            "Hurry it up, Cadet! It's raining like a pissing cow out here."

            Vato brought the pistol to bear. He swallowed. He fired a single shot, the recoil jarring his arm in its socket, sending a sharp of pain from his fingertips to his elbow. He heard wood splinter as the bullet buried in the fence behind the line of targets. Some of the recruits snickered. Breda grunted again.

            The Sergeant shook his head, throwing damp in all directions. The weather had turned him irritable, and Vato Falman was a far easier target than a cadre of straw dummies several hundred yards away, half-obscured by rain. "That was embarrassing, Cadet. You're a bloody disgrace; the impact was at least half a meter right and back of your target."

            "It's raining quite heavily, Sergeant," said Vato quietly. He fought the urge to look down at the mud. "There is a refraction index I failed to take into account when I took the shot, sir. The ratio of the velocity of light on a normal day to its velocity in a specified medium, particularly this rain––"

            "I didn't ask for an explanation, Cadet! Even with your squinty eyes you should be able to tell the difference between a bloody fence and a human-shaped dummy! You ought to know, Falman, you see one every time you look in the damn mirror! HAWKEYE."

            Vato inclined his head, the rain running like teardrops down his high cheekbones. He took an interest in his patched boots as a petite woman pushed through the crowd of assembled trainees. Vato looked up as she stood at his shoulder. He couldn't see her face beneath the hood of her cloak, but he knew that somewhere under there was a thin, joyless face and a pair of hard eyes.

            Her eyes had always reminded Vato of burnished glass, or butterscotch.

            "Hawkeye, show everyone how it's done. Take aim!"

            Instead, the woman turned to her peer. Vato squirmed, unused to and uncomfortable with being the sole focus of her bright amber eyes. She made him feel at once immeasurably important… and very, very small. Like a marble statue ready eroded to dust.

            "Cadet," she said, her voice low and soft, "assume a proper shooting position with your feet shoulder width apart and your knees slightly bent. Don't lock out your knees and don't flex your leg muscles. Establish a grounded base with the lower half of your body."

            The Sergeant crossed his arms. His mustache bristled. "I gave you an order, Hawkeye. We don't have time for this. If Cadet Falman knows what's good for him, he'll drag himself through this training and then go hide behind a desk in Central for the rest of his life."

            Hawkeye didn't seem to hear her commanding officer. Or, more likely, she elected to ignore him. She kept her attention on Vato: "You were blading your body sideways, Cadet. Square your shoulders towards the target. Your arms should be extended but not locked."

            "Hawkeye!" shouted the Sergeant. Vato knew it was only because of her exceptional reputation he didn't haul Hawkeye away by the scruff of the collar. "Shoot the damn gun or shut the hell up."

            She moved closer to him. Her words feathered across his cheek. She must have been pressed up on her toes… "Don't anticipate the shot. Instead, focus on your aim and technique. Press the trigger in a controlled manner and focus on your front sight."

            "Woman, I swear––"

            Vato Falman took another shot. The bullet didn't hit the center of the target.

            But it did hit the target.

            He could almost imagine Riza Hawkeye's smile.

            Later, as they filtered back inside to shelter from the rain, Vato found her in the mess hall.

            "May I sit with you?"

            A curt nod. "Of course."

            Vato took a seat, his back ramrod straight, easily one of the tallest recruits in the mess. The younger soldier sat hunched over her meal, her shoulders bunched. She looked, Vato decided, blatantly exhausted and thoroughly miserable. She seemed to radiate an aura that precluded anything but the utmost solemnity.

            "Why did you help me?" Vato asked after a moment of pregnant silence.

            Cadet Hawkeye stopped pushing her food around her plate and looked up at him through her winged bangs. She continued to stare, unblinking, and Vato cleared his throat.

            "In this sort of cutthroat environment, selflessness is a rare thing. I only regret that I have nothing with which to repay you for your kindness."

            Her words were cold and clipped when she said, "I taught you how to be a better killer; that is no kindness."

            Her answer surprised him. The reputation of the Hawk's Eye was well-established: a young sniper who had been propelled through the curriculum, her training regiment accelerated until she surpassed cadets much older than her, including Vato himself. But… a gunsmith and weapons expert, a tactical genius, who abhorred killing. Rather than baffling, Vato found the contradiction intriguing.

            Here was a person who found as little joy in combat as he did.

            "I have no desire to kill," he said gently.

            "Does anyone?"

            "Well, certainly, there are individuals who take pride in their skills and seek the glory of fighting in war… there's that Major Kimblee fellow, you know…"

            Vato didn't realize her question was rhetorical until she gave him a funny look, quirking her eyebrows and pursing her mouth into a thin line. He trailed off, throughly embarrassed.

            Still, her expression almost made it worth it. She seemed so much softer and kinder when she wasn't peering down a proverbial crosshair.

            "You're very… unembroidered, Cadet," she noted wryly.

            Vato felt the tips of his ears burning. He prayed to a god he didn't believe in that he wasn't blushing. "I suppose I just like to answer questions."

            "What is Major Kimblee's serial number?"

            "O-513190," intoned Vato without decoration.

            "Hmm." Cadet Hawkeye stabbed an amorphous pile of something akin to spinach, but she didn't eat it. "Do you have all our serial numbers memorized?"

            He shrugged. "Not by conscious effort, no. I just happened to see the Major's dossier in passing."

            "Do you know my serial number, Officer Cadet Falman?"

            "Ah," he shifted, "I do not. Information about you is not readily available. If you don't mind my saying so, Cadet, you're something of an enigma around here."

            "I am a soldier," she said quietly. The barriers went back up and she receded to a place Vato wasn't welcome, somewhere lead-lined and dark. "And soldiers are very simple people."

            But she was not a soldier, Vato realized, though he didn't say it aloud. She placed no stock in promotion and glory like some of the military brass. She took no pleasure in killing. She was not a simple person because she shirked the reputation that had bestowed upon her so much respect and renown.

            He wondered, then, what had brought her to the battlefield. It was not the Führer's empty propaganda; the man's words dripped with so much sticky rhetoric it was a small wonder his mouth didn't glue shut. It wasn't for King and country, like Havoc and Breda, or to dredge up an inkling of a purpose, like himself. No… Riza Hawkeye had found her calling a long time ago, and it, whatever it was, had lead her to the doorstep of war and bloodshed. The military was not the cause, merely a consequence.

            "They're sending to Ishval tomorrow. The Daliha District."

            Vato's blood ran like ice water. "I'm… I'm so sorry… forgive me, I didn't know…"

            He understood now why the Sergeant had neglected to punish Hawkeye for her insubordination. It would seem more than a little redundant to discipline a woman about to be shipped to the front lines of hell.

            She peered at him with her beautiful, terrifying amber eyes. "It is not you who should be begging my forgiveness, Vato. We simple people have forfeited the right to contrition."

            "But not regret," he countered. "There is nothing more human than ruminating on what could have been."

            "Speculating on the past does nothing to change the present," she said bitterly. "It only brings more pain."

            "Good," affirmed Vato, uncharacteristically unyielding. "Pain reminds us that there is a world beyond the battlefield. Pain means you still care."

            She flashed a small, sad smile that nearly broke his heart. "But I don't care, Vato. I don't care about Amestris, or the Führer, or the military. I care about one man, and if I see him on the battlefield, we will greet each other with the blindness of strangers.

            "Because the world has changed us. Because its destruction is our shared truth, and our collective shame."

 

–––

 

            When the Führer reassigned Falman to the North, the Warrant Officer accepted his new orders with grace.

            When Lieutenant-Colonel Hughes bled to death in a phone booth, when Lust shredded Lieutenant Havoc's spine, Falman swallowed his grief, crushed it into a singularity within his chest, and endured.

            When Roy Mustang chose a prodigious sniper as his adjutant, long ago, and when Bradley stripped her from the Colonel's side, Falman said nothing; a suspicion had crystallized into a certainty, and he merely accepted what he had always supposed to be true.

            He knew there was little room for kindness and mercy in the world. As soldiers, they could ill-afford the luxury of tenderness. A bleeding heart tended to summon the sharks. Falman's commanding officer had his ambitions, and Roy Mustang did not allow his pain to stand in his way. If the Colonel began to regret, even for an instant, the future would recede back into that infinite distance.

            But when Bradley took away the Flame Alchemist's shadow, Mustang had inadvertently revealed that he was a selfless man in a selfish world. That he loved far too much, and cared far too little. That in protecting his back, Riza Hawkeye had become his biggest blind spot.

            A tragedy indeed.

            Of course, Falman understood that every soldier is prepared to die from the moment they don the uniform. But Hawkeye had shown him that not every military officer was a cold, unfeeling fixture of the system. They had names and families. They lived and loved. The scarce fissures and cracks that existed were still plenty wide enough for something devestatingly tender to find its way out.

            They were human.

            And Hawkeye had shown Falman a human who had adopted two lonely, lost little boys from Resembool, who cried at funerals, who raged at the death of his beloved friend. Who buried his grief. Buried it, and salted the earth, because it hurt so much.

            And no matter what was to come, irregardless of her own well-being, Riza Hawkeye was ready to die to fulfill the duty of her superior, to stitch the Colonel's humanity back together when heartbreak threatened to tear it apart.

            And Falman loved her for it.

            But the words were not for him. Vato Falman knew his place. He would follow his orders. He would carry his commanding officer's paperwork to and from the archives. He would nod when he needed to nod. He would salute when he needed to salute. He would deliver the mail, sign on the dotted line, stay quiet, said his "Yes, sirs" and "No, sirs", make himself readily available while remaining entirely invisible.

            Because Vato Falman was a simple man. And simple men are not made for glory.


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Title: Terror on Ice
Rating: PG
Prompt: "Terror made me cruel" - Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
Fandom/Series: Yuri On Ice
Word Count: 1912
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: Terror was intrinsic to a skater; it was there from the first step onto the ice to the practice of a well known routine, the first competition to the last. “Yes, terror was intrinsic to a skater. But to Yuri Plisetsky more so than most.”

Note: This fic contains a few Russian words (mainly terms of endearment) for a translation see the end of the story.

. . . 

Terror. It was as intrinsic to a skater as pain to a ballerina, or water to a swimmer.

It was standing in front of the crowd, primped and primed as they eagerly waited to watch you fly… Watch you fall. 
It was the moment before the jump; that split second decision, ‘Can I really do this?’
It was the feeling of freedom, flying through the air. The knowledge that you’ve over rotated, under rotated, that your positioning was all wrong - and, that gravity is calling.

Terror was feeling the ice, solid and unforgiving under your skates, under the palms of your hands, under your prone body. It compounded every win, every loss. Every medal and every bruise.

Yes, terror was intrinsic to a skater. But to Yuri Plisetsky more so than most.

. . . 

“No more tears you stupid boy.”
“But otets…”
“Men don’t cry Yuri.”
. . . 

Yuri’s first real memory of terror was when he met his dedushka.

Nikolai Plisetsky was a broad man, tall when compared to any child and overwhelmingly strange. With his two-toned hair and blue-green eyes he looked nothing like Yuri’s mamochka or otets. Scruffy, unkempt clothes, reddened eyes and a semi-permanent scowl only augmented his differences.

“Yuri, this man is your grandfather. He will be looking after you from now on.”

The young boy shook, not with excitement, nor with fear but with something much deeper, something much stronger. He knew not to cry, not any more, not ever again. Not when his father’s last words became a reprimand. He knew not to run either, not when that would only get him in much more trouble. He knew all this.

So, little Yuri. Small, pale, shaking, little Yuri. He did the only other thing he knew how - he yelled. He screamed, he shouted, he raged. Anything and everything to hide the mounting terror.

He tore into his newly found grandfather, scorning those battered clothes, that tattered soul. Purposely seeking out every bruise, every weakness, locking on and attacking.

Terror makes everyone cruel. But the terror of a child, when children are already so cruel to begin with? Terror made him brutal.

. . . 

The first step onto the ice, out onto that vast sea of crystalline white with its unbroken purity. That first time puts different emotions into the hearts of many. Awe, wonder, shock, happiness… And perhaps a little bit of fear.

For Yuri, that little bit of fear was anything but small. It was a writhing ball of terror. No, Yuri was not afraid of falling, of floundering or even of failing. Yuri was not afraid of any of those little, inconsequential things that so many children feared.

At that point Yuri was afraid of only one thing. Of leaving his dedushka. Of his dedushka leaving him. Packing up and wiping his hands of Yuri, of that little boy who expressed far more in yells, sullen silences and little grins than in wide-eyed smiles.

“Go on Yurochka, I’m here.”

With that reassurance, keeping his gaze locked on his dedushka the whole time, Yuri took that first step. And it was wonderful. Even with the uncertainty, those little wobbles and slides, skating was amazing. It was freedom, it was mesmerizing. Little Yuri got lost in it.

He looked up, away from the charming patterns in the ice, to find his dedushka missing. Standing on a sea of white, surrounded by a crush of bodies he was lost, hopelessly, endlessly.

He spun around, pushing and shoving past shocked onlookers, seeking and searching. But still he found nothing. Then he fell. Disoriented and shaken he lay on the ice, cold seeping into him.

“Are you okay kotenok?”

Yuri looked up to find his vision encompassed by a worried face and spools of grey hair.

“Come on rebonok, let’s get you off this rink.”

A kind smile lit up the stranger's face as the ice cleared in front of them like the parting of the red sea.

“Well?”

Now Yuri could see it! That little gate leading to freedom, to his dedushka.

“Stay away from me! I don’t need your help!”

He pushed the stranger aside roughly, gliding quickly to the exit and running into dedushki waiting arms.

. . . 

Competitions always come with a hint of uncertainty, that worry that you may fall and lose your place. Fall and not be able to get back up. Yuri’s first competition was a little different than most.

The competition, if it could even be called that, was between him and an older girl called Mila. They were showing off childish routines to trener Yakov, something completely typical of the pair.

What was atypical, however, was the presence of Yuri’s dedushka. While he normally worked long hours to support the expensive profession, Nikolai had taken leave to spend some time with Yuri. This meant watching Yuri skate. Watching his pseudo competition.

While spectators would usually motivate Yuri to smash the competition, this one in particular held far more significance. With dedushka Yuri had far more to prove. He had to show Nikolai that all the money he had spent was worth it. That Yuri’s passion was worth it. He had to!

These ‘competitions’ with Mila were usually just short 30-second routines, made up that morning, practiced and refined for the next few hours then performed in front Yakov and the other skaters for critic.

At this point their win count was about even. As, while Mila was older, her experience lay in powerful jumps whereas Yuri focused on step-sequences and spins. 

Today, however, was different. Yakov decided to put both of them out of their comfort zones, giving them a week to learn the same one minute routine to actual music, with a combination of expert step sequences, spins and a spattering of jumps.

Mila’s showing had been lyrical. She had taken that extra week to work on the performance elements that normally eluded her, and with already practiced jumps she had the advantage.

Yuri would not let that defeat him. He embraced the fear, the worry, and the terror. He wanted to be unique, to make a mark. But in practice Yuri had gone in the opposite direction, taking that extra week to practise those perfect jumps made his performance cold and mechanical, lacking his normal emotive state. Yuri had lost. And he knew it.

He practically ran off the ice, foregoing skate guards to tear across the room. He ignored his dedushka. He had knownthis wouldn’t end well.

In the end it was Mila who found him, curled up in a tiny ball as if to minimise the target. He wasn’t crying, just sitting there, silent and cold.

“Come on Yura, it wasn’t that bad. Your ded loved seeing you jump like that!”

A fire bubbled in the young boy as terror became rage.

“Of course you would think my performance was good! It’s practically what you do week-after-week and look where that’s gotten you. You haven’t even reached the podium yet, doomed to be forever fourth-place. You should just give up already!”

Yuri did not apologise.
Mila did not speak to him for a month.

. . . 

When one attempted to fly, they always had to fall and in skating, the fall was everything. From the first attempted jump to the 50th perfect one, jumping always came with an innate terror.

Skaters would be judged on what position they jumped in, ‘Was that leg in the right angle? The arm?’ Skaters would be judged on what happened in the air, ‘How tight was that spin? What about the height?’ Skaters would be judged on their arrival back to the ground, ‘Did they stumble or fall? Did they get back up again?’

Yuri had been jumping, falling for years and was used to this judgment. But this jump, this one jump in particular had always eluded him in competition. It was the cause of great conflict between him and Yakov.

“Yuri! At your age you cannot be jumping like that! Your knees will be ruined before you’re out of your teens!”
“Che, Yakov. Those quads give me an advantage over the competition.”
“ Yuri! Don’t you dare!”

While he performed a great deal of triples, Yuri’s quads were his true pride. A pride that Yakov would not let him show! The quadruple salchow was ready, Yuri just knew it! So against his coach’s gentle advice, Yuri kept the quad.

He spun, paused and leaped. That split second weightless, when gravity lost its hold was what he lived for in these jumps. And then he fell, the terror consuming him. But what a fall. For the first time in competition he had landed a perfect salchow. Take that Yakov!

“You dumb brat!”
“It worked didn’t it, old geezer!”

. . . 

The transition from Junior to Senior division is always awkward, no matter the sport. But in skating especially, this transition means more rules, more ‘must includes’, more competition and more worry.

Skaters plan their transition into Seniors for years, many competing in a number of Senior competitions while they compete in the Junior Grand Prix as a back up until they make the final leap.

Yuri disregarded this. He ignored Yakov’s careful months of planning to bulldoze his was into the Senior circuit. He was bored of domination over the Junior Circuit and with his two-time consecutive wins over the Junior World’s and Grand Prix Final he felt he was readily qualified.

This lack of planning meant taking on all the stress of joining the Senior circuit all at once, his Senior debut and first Senior Grand Prix competition. All at once. It was terrifying.

. . . 

In the led up to the Grand Prix Final, Yuri was even more snappish than usual, lashing out to his rink mates, his coaches and on one memorable occasion, his dedushka.

“Yura, you need to take it easy, you’re still growing and need days to rest.”
“I’m fine dedushka. I need to practice my jumps.”

The stare was penetrating

“What would you know about hard work anyways?”
“Yurochka …”
“I’m sorry dedushka.”

. . . 

Yuri’s free skate was appallingly amazing. It grotesquely caught the gaze of everyone present and trapped them. It was horrifying. It was stunning.

Standing at the top of the podium Yuri knew it was worth it, all the pain, and all the terror. It was worth it to see that proud smile on his dedushki face.

For the first time in years, Yuri cried.

. . . 

Some call Yuri Plisetsky a ‘beautiful monster’, others a friend or rival. Yakov calls him a constant pain and Mila, a little brother. Nikolai Plisetsky calls him ‘son’. All of these people have one thing in common. They think him to be terrifying.

Yuri Plisetsky lived a life of terror. It shaped him and changed him. It made him cruel and callous and loud and rude. It made him forsake wide-eyed grins and laughter for smirks and cruel remarks. It made those little grins of him all the more wondrous.

Yes, Yuri Plisetsky lived a life of terror. And he loved every moment of it.

. . . 

Translations:
Ded - Grandfather
Dedushka – Grandpa
Dedushki – Grandpa’s
Mamochka – Mummy
Kotenok - Kitten
Otets – Father
Rebonok - Child
Trener – Trainer/coach


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Title: Fools on Ice
Rating: PG 
Prompt“A man learns to skate by staggering about and making a fool of himself. Indeed he progresses in all things by resolutely making a fool of himself.” – George Bernard Shaw, Advice to a Young Critic
Fandom/Series: Yuri On Ice
Word Count: 755
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: As a child Katsuki Yuuri was a fool, unashamedly, unabashedly, unrepentantly. When the stress of competitions becomes too much and he looses interest in both skating and ballet Yuuri must again realise that “being a fool was the best thing to ever happen to him!”

Fools On Ice

When it was discovered that Katsuki Yuuri partook in ballet, he was made a laughing stock at school. He was teased and bullied, no one understood. No one but Yuuko and Takeshi… Well Takeshi understood it to a degree. 

Yuuko was Yuri’s closest friend, and even though she was older they had been taking ballet lessons together for years. She always said ‘If I want to be a professional figure skater, I have to be flexible.’ 

Even at such a young age, Yuuri had his whole life planned out. Sort of… It included becoming an accomplished danseur and being friends with Yuuko forever, Takeshi too he guessed.

. . . 

And then it happened. One day, one single innocuous spring day Yuuri’s life changed forever. He let Yuuko, Takeshi and Minako-Sensi cajole him into a pair of skates. He let them talk him onto the rink and into take his first step. 

Oh it was wonderful, he felt like he was flying. It was better than even ballet! It was so peaceful! Or as least it was, until the fall. In those first few months, even with his ballet experience, Yuuri fell a lot; he made a complete and utter fool of himself, staggering around the rink with his hands outstretched, palms reaching like a beggar. But he got better. Much better.

. . . 

And when the kids at school found out this time, he was prepared. Yuuri had his idol to look up to, and his previous experience to guide him. He had his friends, family and Minako-Sensi. This time Yuuri was ready. 

As the years passed and Yuuri grew older this pattern didn’t really change. Yuuri would learn something new, and put all his effort into it. He often looked foolish but by that point he didn’t really care. For him foolishness was just another way of learning, just another way of life. His way of life to be precise.

There was only one area where he could not make a fool of himself; Ice-skating competitions. Whenever he looked as that foreign ice he just froze up. Ice-skating was all about poise and attitude, yes some of it was the skating but a lot of it was the sponsor, and sponsors wanted perfect. Yuuri was nowhere near their definitions of perfect.

Slowly Yuuri’s attitude towards skating began to change, it was no longer somewhere he could fool around, but a place to practice perfection. He should’ve known by then that perfection is impossible.

Ballet became his refuge, his place to hide and express himself. There were no expectations at Minako-Sensi’s studio, just him and the music. Sometimes Minako would even join in, and they would compose dances to childish Ghibli songs. It was wonderful.

Then skating began to overtake ballet too. It was all ‘practice this spin so your y-spiral is perfect,’ and ‘Jump higher Yuuri, you need to build up your leg strength.” Yuuri had no refuge anymore.

So it wasn’t a hard decision when he left for America. He needed a new pace, a new way of life. 

. . . 

America, especially Phichit helped him regain some of his old ‘foolishness’ as they played tag around the rink, and tried their hand at pair skating once or twice. His love for ballet was rekindled as they danced together to The King and The Skater, sheets draped around them like gowns.

And then the Grand Prix Final happened. And then Yuuri fell again. His fool’s nature abandoned him for what seemed like forever. Ballet and skating became a chore again, and America became a place of disappointment and lost dreams.

. . . 

Yuuri retreated back to Japan; tail between legs, ready to call it quits. Minako-Sensi cheered him up a bit, but he was in such a big slump that it was no use. His foolishness took over and he decided to have one last hurrah. To skate the Viktor Nikiforov’s Stay Close to Me

And so, on another innocuous spring day Yuuri’s life changed for the better. Viktor’s happy-go-lucky attitude brought the fun in Yuuri even more than Phichit’s carefree selfies did. 

While competitions still plagued him, the ice itself, and the Barre, welcomed Yuuri back as old friends did. He remembered how wonderful those first few steps were; he remembered the fall and what came after. Yuuri remembered that becoming a fool was the best thing that ever happened to him. 

After all, learning was much more enjoyable when you didn’t care about others opinions of you. 


Review

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[personal profile] smash_fic
 

2017 SMASH! FanFiction Competition

 

Great news for all writers of FanFiction: The 2017 SMASH! Fanfiction Competition is now open!

 

Come and join in the fun of SMASH! by participating in our FanFiction competition. Have fun twisting the canon or possibly disregarding it entirely. This competition is open to anyone of any age and any skill level - you don’t have to be a professional author to become a FanFiction writer!

 

All participants will receive detailed feedback for their entries from experienced writers!

 

To be in on the action write a ficlet (<1000 words) or a short story (1001-7500 words) inspired by one of the prompts below. A winner will be announced in both categories - Prizes are to be announced!

Never heard of FanFiction?

Are you someone who wonders “what if?” when you think about your favourite anime? Do you read manga and think “if only the creators had changed this…”?

 

Why not try writing your own version of your favourite story by rewriting the ending of an episode or forcing two manga characters into an unusual situation? The possibilities are endless in the world of FanFiction!

 

 

Prompts

Please use one of the following prompts:

  1. The future rewards those who press on. I don't have time to feel sorry for myself. I don't have time to complain. I'm going to press on.
    - Barack Obama

  2. “Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes. "A magic beyond all we do here!”
    - J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

  3. A man learns to skate by staggering about and making a fool of himself. Indeed he progresses in all things by resolutely making a fool of himself.
    - George Bernard Shaw, Advice to a Young Critic

  4. Terror made me cruel.
    - Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

  5. Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.
    - Haruki Murakami

 

FanFiction Competition Guidelines

 

  1. Who can enter?

    1. The competition is open to both Australian and International participants.

    2. SMASH! Staff and Volunteers can submit entries for judging. Unfortunately, these will not be eligible for prizes

  2. Entries must be submitted in English.

  3. Entries must be submitted to fanfic@smash.org.au by 11:59PM (AEST) on Friday the 18th of August 2017

  4. All entries must be entirely the author(s) own work.

  5. Fanfics must have a maximum rating of “PG”, as defined in the guidelines set by the Australian Classification Board. Entries that are considered to be rated above “PG” will not be eligible for judging.

  6. Entries must incorporate one or more anime, manga or Japanese game fandoms’ characters and/or story. Crossovers of Japanese fandoms with non-Japanese fandoms are permitted.

  7. Authors may submit a maximum of 3 entries.

    1. If an entry is a collaborative effort between two or more authors, it will be considered as one entry for each author.

    2. Authors must fill out a submission form for each entry entered in the competition.

  8. Categories for submission of entries are:

    1. Ficlet 500-1000 words

    2. Short Story 1001-7500 words

In the event that a category does not have enough submissions, that category will be removed.

  1. Stories that are less than the minimum ficlet word limit or more than the maximum short story word limit may be penalised by the judges if they are excessively outside the word limit.

  2. Prompts information:

    1. Author(s) must use one of the prompts supplied to inspire their story.

    2. Author(s) must only list one of the prompts on the submission form. The prompt listed by the author will be used for judging purposes. If the story was inspired by more than one prompt the author should list the prompt that is most relatable to their story.

  3. Authors will need to provide a short summary of their story for the general audience and for judging purposes. The fanfic summary should be no more than 50 words and is not included in the word count for the entry submitted.

  4. Entries will be anonymous for judging purposes, so stories submitted to the competition should not be put up on other websites before the competition results are announced.

  5. It is a condition of entry that all eligible entries will be displayed on the SMASH! Fanfic Competition Archive (smashcon.dreamwidth.org) for judging purposes.

  6. Entries can incorporate any pairing dynamics (gen, het, boys love and girls love) as long as the content of the fanfic remains PG.

  7. SMASH! reserves the right to disqualify entries that do not comply with these rules. SMASH! takes no responsibility for the entrant's use of copyrighted material.

 

Submission Guidelines

  1. Entries should be submitted by email to: fanfic@smash.org.au

  2. Formating:

    1. Entries should be submitted as .txt .doc or .docx

    2. A dreamwidth html formatted document is preferred, but we will accept non-html entries. See dreamwidth tags for a list of html tags that you can use. For example: <b>Example</b>  <u>Example </u>  <i>Example</i>

    3. Entries that are not html formatted documents should have simple formatting so that conversion to html by our coordinator is a quick and simple process.

  3. All entries will be made anonymous for judging purposes so elaborate formatting and references to the author will be removed.

  4. Authors must use the following submission form when submitting each entry to the competition:

 

Personal Details

  • Name:

  • Penname/Alias:

  • Email address:

  • Location: (Country)   

  • Phone no.:

  • Current fanfic archive: (please supply link, e.g. fanfc.net/rachellom)

  

Entry Details

  • Title:

  • Rating: i.e. G or PG

  • Prompt:

  • Fandom/Series:

  • Word Count:

  • Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).

  • Summary:

 

Judging

 

  1. Each entry will be displayed to the general public on smashcon.dreamwidth.org. Online voting forms will be available to the general public. Voting for entries will be based on the following criteria:

    1. Characterisation

    2. Creativity

    3. How well the prompt is used.

  2. Authors are encouraged to promote the competition and judging by the public audience on the provision that they do not reveal which entry or entries they submitted.

  3. Each entry will also be evaluated by the panel of judges on the following criteria:

    1. How well the prompt is used

    2. Quality of fanfic summary.

    3. Quality of writing

    4. Creativity

    5. Characterisation

    6. Overall Impression

  4. The Judging Panel will provide feedback for each entry.

  5. Winners will be determined by a combination of the results from the general public and the judges. The winners will be announced at the closing ceremony of SMASH! and entrants contacted shortly after the event.

 

Prizes

  1. A prize will be awarded to the author(s) of the winning entry of the ficlet category and the short story category.

  2. If winners have not replied within a month after the event their prize will be forfeit.

 

Note: The prizes for this competition are to be decided.

If you have any questions about the guidelines or anything about the competition in general, feel free to send us an email at fanfic@smash.org.au

 

smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Thank you to everyone who entered the 2016 SMASH! FanFiction Competition, and congratulations to the winners and runner-ups for this year! 

*Ficlet Entries*
Requiem (Your Lie in April/Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso) WINNER!! (91/105)
Scarlet Eyes (Hunter x Hunter) Judges' Choice 
(86/105)
Good For Nothing (Bungou Stray Dogs) (76/105)
A Warlock and his Witch (Code;Geass) (79/105)
Words Only I Could Hear (Koi No Katachi) (82/105)
Goodbye Cards Hello New Zealand (Yugioh) (59/105)
The Adventures of Pokemon and Flufferknuckle (Pokemon) (50/105)
Choose Me! (Hunter x Hunter) (70.5/105)
Of Island Winds (Danganronpa) (74/105)

*Short Story Entries*
and i will never want much more (NO.6) WINNER!! 
(102/105)
Never Accept Your Demons (Seraph of the End/Owari no Seraph) Runner-Up 
(99/105)
Dating (the hard way) (Kuroko no Basuke) Runner-Up 
(99/105)
Love Novels (Love Live!) (84/105)
Interview With A Human Sacrifice (Fullmetal Alchemist) (91/105)
Friend (Hunter x Hunter) (73.5/105)
Dead Speak (Death Note) (76/105)
I've Loved You For A Thousand Years (I'll Love You For A Thousand More) (Bungou Stray Dogs) (87.5/105)
Code Geass: Penultimate Contract (Code;Geass) (75/105)
Love Live! X Pokémon: Pokémon Trainer Project (Love Live!/Pokemon) (78.5/105)
Wings of Freedom (Shingeki no Kyojin) (76/105)
smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Title: Words Only I Could Hear
Rating: G
Prompt: I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou
Fandom/Series: Koi no Katachi
Word Count: 840
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: I am deaf. I cannot speak and I cannot hear. For a long time, I drowned in a sea of silence until someone heard my voice. And I heard theirs.
*~*~*~*

   
smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Title: Dead Speak
Rating: G
Prompt: "Inhale the future. Exhale the past." - Unknown
Fandom/Series: Death Note
Word count: 1801
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: Near visits an old friend and as he speaks, remembers events of the past and wonders, how could the future turn out and would it ever be the same without the one he holds dear? "I miss you."
*~*~*~*

   
smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Title: The Adventures of Pokemon and Flufferknuckle
Rating: PG
Prompt: I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou
Fandom/Series: Pokemon
Word Count: 231
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary:
Flufferknuckle and Pokemon meet Santa.
*~*~*~*
            Read more... )
smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Title: Goodbye Cards Hello New Zealand
Rating: G
Prompt: Inhale the future. Exhale the past. – Unknown
Fandom/Series: Yugioh
Word Count: 387
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: A person wakes up in New Zealand without their cards.
*~*~*~*

   
smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Title: Friend
Rating: PG
Prompt: You cannot change what you refuse to confront. – Unknown
Fandom/Series: Hunter x Hunter
Word Count: 5307
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: Mikan’s world is turned upside-down after it is discovered she possesses scarlet eyes. However after the tragedy she soon meets Kurapika who accepts her and who she is able to call a friend.
*~*~*~*

Read more... )
smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Title: Scarlet Eyes
Rating: PG
Prompt: Inhale the future. Exhale the past. – Unknown
Fandom/Series: Hunter x Hunter
Word Count: 540
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: The existence of scarlet eyes from Kurapika’s perspective.

*~*~*~*
Read more... )
smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Title: Choose Me!
Rating: G
Prompt: They did not know it was impossible, so they did it. – Mark Twain
Fandom/Series: Hunter x Hunter
Word Count: 682
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: Leorio and Kuroro are fighting over who would be a better date for Kurapika.

 
 
*~*~*~*
smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Title: I've Loved You For A Thousand Years (I'll Love You For A Thousand More)
Rating: PG
Prompt: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelou
Fandom: Bungou Stray Dogs
Word Count: 2668
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original author(s).
Summary: Three lifetimes ago, Dazai Osamu and Chuuya Nakahara met for the first time. Three lifetimes ago, they fell in love.
Now, Chuuya doesn't remember a thing.
(But that's alright, Dazai supposes. Because if he keeps loving Chuuya, someday Chuuya will remember.)

*~*~*~*

Read more... )
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[personal profile] smash_fic

Title: ‘Code Geass: Penultimate Contract’
Rating: PG
Prompt: ‘Inhale the future. Exhale the past.’ – Unknown
Fandom: Code;Geass
Word Count: 1349
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: Ai, an ‘Eleven’ in occupied Japan, struggles to please her ungrateful master. She reunites with Rolo and sparks something anew in him before his final contract with ‘big brother’ Lelouch…

*~*~*~*

 

Read more... )
smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Title: A Warlock and his Witch
Rating: G
Prompt: ‘Inhale the future, exhale the past.’- Unknown
Fandom/series: Code;Geass
Word Count: 993
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s)
Summary: September 2018. This is the year that Lelouch Vi Britannia, 99th emperor of Britannia was killed. But perhaps that is only by name. What if…he was alive?
*~*~*~*

smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Title: Requiem
Rating: G
Prompt:
 “You can not change what you refuse to confront.”
Fandom/Series:
 Your Lie in April/Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso
Word Count:
 774
Summary:
 If Arima Kousei refused to confront Miyazono Kaori’s death, he would never find the closure he needs. Perhaps, he can find his closure through one last performance, a requiem to spring.
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).


*~*~*~*

Read more... ) 
smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Title: Interview with a Human Sacrifice
Rating: PG
Prompt: 'They did not know it was impossible, so they did it.' -Mark Twain
Fandom/ Series: Fullmetal Alchemist
Word Count: 6386
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: The Elric brothers, legends now fathers and grandfathers are comfortably retired in their late fifties. Within their long legacy of alchemical triumphs, it was the rumours of a single, marring failure that piqued unwanted interest.

*~*~*~*
Read more... )
smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Title: Good For Nothing
Rating: PG
Prompt: They did not know it was impossible, so they did it. – Mark Twain
Fandom/Series: Bungou Stray Dogs
Word Count: 997
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: The escaping members of The Guild learn that Moby Dick is under attack and 'discuss' their views on the matter.

*~*~*~*

smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Title: Of Island Winds
Rating: PG
Prompt: The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. – William Arthur Ward
Fandom/Series: Danganronpa
Word Count: 996
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: They had no way of knowing that the Remnants of Despair had another trick up their sleeve.

*~*~*~*

Read more... ) 
smash_fic: smash logo 2016 (Default)
[personal profile] smash_fic
Title: Never Accept your Demons
Rating: PG
Prompt: You cannot change what you refuse to confront. – Unknown
Fandom/Series: Seraph of the End/Owari no Seraph
Word Count: 1273
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from the story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s).
Summary: No matter what anyone says, Krul will never accept her brother has become a demon.

*~*~*~*

Read more... )

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