Collateral Damage

Title: Collateral Damage
Author: Rhyssa Fireheart
Pairing: None at first (eventual Saito/OC)
Characters: Rob Lucci, Blueno, Jabra, Angelina (OC), Alura (OC)
Fandom: One Piece
Rating: T for language and situations
Prompts: Lighthouse, Bonfire, Summer Storm
Disclaimer: Don’t own it, never will. Just like to play around with it in my mind.


“Did you remember to bring the food?”

“Of course I did. Do you have any other stupid questions to ask?”

“It wasn’t a stupid question! I was just making sure we don’t have to sneak back into the compound to get anything we forgot.”

“Just go find wood for the bonfire. I’ll start the food…”

“I’ll start the food. There’s no way I’m letting either of you cook anything, especially not if I want to be able to eat it. You go help her find wood.”

“He’s right. You don’t have to be so catty about everything, you know.”

“Catty? Was that you trying to be funny?” Their voices faded away into familiar bickering as the man and woman walked off.

The summer sun beat down on the hidden cove like a hammer, pushing the five of them into the shade of the trees. A small pit was dug out and edged with rocks; the fire was started and allowed to die down into hot embers. The young man preparing the skewers of meat and vegetables was kept busy watching them roast over the flames. Another woman organized dishes and cutlery, getting things ready for lunch. She pulled a cooler of drinks between the stumps arranged in a circle around the bonfire pit before sitting down to watch their cook.

“I really wish those two didn’t have to argue all the time,” she said. “I mean, I know Rob doesn’t like me, but that’s no reason to take it out on Angel like he does.”

“You don’t think Angel doesn’t antagonize him in return? Alura, you’ve never been able to admit that your sister picks fights with Rob because she wants to. It’s not all his fault.” Blueno continued turning skewers in between assembling more food to be cooked. “She’s really the only one that dares to fight back with him like that.”

“That doesn’t mean he should just pick on her like he does.”

“Alura, give it up! Those two are going to fight no matter what you want,” Jabra yelled from the tree line. He stomped over carrying an armful of thick logs, dropping them beside the firepit with a crash. “I expect them to fight in bed, once they eventually make it there. Gyaaahahahahaha!”

“Jabra, that’s disgusting! I expect my sister to have better taste than that. And you should to!” Alura poked him in the shoulder with a stick. “Honestly, why would you want your foster sister to be involved with someone like Lucci?”

“I think you’re too late for that, Alura,” Blueno said calmly.

The returning sounds of bickering got louder as Angelina and Rob headed back towards the others. Snatches of their conversation floated through the air and brought a scowl to Jabra’s face.

“Dammit, not that again….” As the two stepped out from under the trees, he stepped forward to roughly grab the stack of wood from Angelina’s arms, saying “Stop it, you two. Do you honestly have to bring that topic up all the time just to argue about it? Just admit you have different views on justice and let it go!” He spun around to add the wood to his pile and then stomped back off into the trees.

“Great, now Jabra’s pissed off. Nice job, Rob,” Alura said accusingly. “Why can’t you just…”

“Oh, shut it, sis. I brought the topic up, so stop being pissy at Rob. I’ll go get him back.” Angelina glared at her sister before turning back around and following Jabra. Rob simply gave Alura a flat stare before moving to stack wood for the bonfire.

Eventually, the two returned, Angelina with kindling to start the bonfire with, and the five sat around the firepit eating and drinking. Jabra had managed to get ahold of a large quantity of alcohol, so as the sun started to sink into the ocean and the bonfire was finally lit, all of them were well on the way to being pleasantly drunk. They lounged around the bonfire, watching the sun go down over the waves and enjoying the breeze at their backs. All of which would explain why no one noticed the summer storm building at their backs.

The “sudden” downpour caught them all off guard and almost instantly doused the bonfire. They scrambled to grab their things and get under the trees for protection, but the rain was coming down so hard that it was useless.

“There’s a lighthouse nearby, let’s run there to get under cover!” With Blueno leading the way, the friends all dashed along the beach. The rocky point the lighthouse stood on wasn’t much higher than the surrounding land, but the short climb still left them all gasping once they got inside the attached building. Flipping the light switch revealed a large open room before a sharp *POP* plunged everything back into darkness.

“Great, the lights just blew out, now what?”

“There’s wood for the fireplace over here; I’ll get a fire started. There should be some dry towels in the bathroom,” Blueno said.

“It looks like someone is pouring buckets or water outside. Was it supposed to rain like this?” Alura asked.

“I didn’t check the weather before we left; I thought you were going to,” Angelina said as she walked out of the bath with a stack of towels and handed them out. “It can’t keep raining like this for long though, can it?”

Hours later, they were all dry and the rain was still coming down in torrents.

“I’m bored! Lucci, spar with me!”

“No. Why don’t you go take a nap like you usually do, Jabra?” Lucci leaned back on the couch and kept feeding seeds to Hattori.

“Nah, too much noise from the rain. Alura, spar with me!” At her nod, the two of them got up and moved away from the fire, further into the shadowy room. Blueno followed to act as a referee.

“Found some more seeds for Hattori in the kitchen,” Angelina said, sitting down on the couch next to Lucci and leaning against his shoulder. Hattori hopped down onto her knee and began picking seeds from her open palm. Rob shifted enough to put his arm around her shoulders while they both watched Hattori eat. “Have you heard any word from HQ on when we’ll be given our first official assignments?”

“Nothing yet, why?”

“Just wondering. I figure you’ll be getting something soon, especially since they went through the effort to get you and Blueno and Jabra devil fruits. That’s not the kind of thing you give to agents you plan to have stick around the compound.”

“Hmm. The Director will send us where needed, Lina. You worried about not getting an assignment?”

“No, it’s not that. It’s just… we’ve been training together here for over ten years now. Going to miss being part of the team if the higher-ups decide to split us up.” Lucci responded with a grunt of acknowledgement and they both fell into a companionable silence and listened to the other three throw faux taunts and insults while sparring, taking turns to pair off.

“Rob! Angel! Get over here and spar with us! I’m tired of beating Jabra up!”

“You aren’t winning! Stop saying that!”

“Come on, before they drag us over there. Besides, I’m starting to fall asleep like this.” Angelina squeezed Lucci’s knee gently as she stood up with a stretch. She smiled down at him, holding out her hand in invitation.

“Fine. The couch was getting too comfortable anyway.” He let her pull him up before they both walked over to where Alura and Blueno were practicing.

They took turns pairing off and practicing, but as the night wore on and the rain kept coming down, the oppressive humidity in the room started having an effect. Jabra had rescued the alcohol, so the drinking hadn’t stopped with the rain. The taunts and insults took on a sharper edge as their pleasant drunken buzz turned into something harder.

“Come on, Rob, are you getting lazy and slow now that you have devil fruit powers? You haven’t managed to hit me once,” Angelina taunted after landing yet another blow against his ribs.

“There’s nothing wrong with me,” he gritted out in return, throwing a quick punch at her head and when Angelina ducked, he caught her with his other fist, tossing her back against the wall.

“Rawr! Kitty’s finally getting his act together,” she said, wiping away blood from split lips. Her grin got sharper at seeing his scowl.

They continued on as their sparring started to turn into an actual fight. Blood flowed and deep bruises blossomed against exposed skin. The other three started to get worried and Blueno stepped in to try to stop the fight. Angelina skipped around him, sending a kick at Lucci that he blocked with his thigh.

“Angel! Stop it!” Jabra tried to grab her but she danced away from his grasp. Alura had better luck getting a hold of Lucci’s arm, but it wasn’t enough.

“Stop it, you idiot! No wonder the Director likes you! You’ll beat up your friends if you think it’s the right thing to do. Bastard!” Alura’s voice was almost lost in the sound of thunder rolling over the lighthouse.

“Oh, she’s right, isn’t she, Rob? That whole absolute justice, gotta follow the law no matter what. You’d do whatever you had to if it served what the admirals and the Director wanted, wouldn’t you?” Angelina’s taunts grew more and more pointed, bringing up things only friends who’d known each other for years could say.

Angelina jumped up and aimed a kick at Lucci’s head, letting her speed carry her towards him without worrying about being able to get away. She’d landed enough hits on him already that her confidence was high; she wouldn’t miss at this close range.

But when he shifted into his leopard form, her speed advantage was taken away. He grabbed her leg, stopping the blow coming towards his head, claws digging in deep around her knee. Blood flew as she used her right leg to push herself away, ripping long furrows into the skin as she fell to the floor. Lucci stood panting over her curled up form before Jabra crashed into him, taking them both down to the floor.

“ANGEL!” Alura ran to Angelina’s side, lifting her sister’s head onto her lap. Blueno grabbed several towels and pressed them to the bleeding wounds, trying to ignore Angelina’s cries of pain as he straightened her leg out.

Jabra hit Lucci in the jaw, making him pause and growl at the older man. “STOP IT, ROB! Angel’s hurt!” He continued to press his friend to the floor until he started to calm down and finally reverted to his human form. Once he saw that Lucci wasn’t fighting any longer, Jabra got up and went to help with Angelina’s injuries. Rob Lucci just lay on the floor taking deep breaths, not moving.

“Bueno, can you use your ability to get us back to the compound? I don’t think we can wait for the rain to stop and there’s no way we should take her out into this.” Alura asked urgently.

“I should be able to. Let’s grab what we need to and I’ll open a door. We should keep Angel as flat as possible. Let’s get a blanket underneath her first.” Once arranged on a blanket to support her leg as much as possible, Blueno created a door in the wall opening into the hallway outside the infirmary. Jabra picked up one end of the blanket but when Alura moved to grab the other end, she was shoved aside as Lucci picked it up instead. His glare silenced her and the two men stepped through Blueno’s door carefully carrying Angelina to the infirmary.

— Four weeks later –

Rob Lucci sat in his room staring out the window. Hattori fluttered in and out the open pane, occasionally helping himself to the birdseed scattered on the ledge. He’d been confined to quarters since the “incident” as the training coordinator called it, making it seem like what had happened wasn’t anything very important. He ignored the first soft knock at his door, finally turning his head and saying “Enter” when it came a second time.

A cane tapped against the floor as Angelina limped into his room. Her knee was still heavily bandaged but she was obviously being allowed to put weight on the joint. She looked gaunt and pallid from her stay in the hospital, but that wasn’t unexpected. After looking her over quickly, Lucci turned back towards the window, staring out it once more.

“I’m withdrawing from team nine. I’ve already informed the training coordinator and the Director of my decision. I felt I should tell you first before the rest of the team though.” Her voice was faint and sad sounding, weak.

“Because it was my fault, you mean?”

“No, I didn’t say that. I don’t even really think that. I was attacking you pretty hard as well, so it’s not like you just came at me out of nowhere.”

“So now what?”

“Well, I’m not sure what Alura’s going to do. I doubt she’ll stay. Even if I hadn’t been injured, I think she was going to leave. She really just doesn’t like your form of absolute justice and it’s obvious you’re the leader of the group. So that’s another person gone as well.”

“I’m sure the director will assign new members to the team, so that’s not a great loss if she goes.”

“Thank you, I think.”

“For what?”

“For implying that it might be a loss that I ‘m leaving. No,” she said as he started to speak again, “don’t try to explain. I knew what you meant; I usually do. The Director has offered me a position working with the propaganda division, as his assistant. He said that although I can’t be an assassin, my talents can’t be allowed to go to waste either.” Now she sounded bitter.

“So you’ll still be useful to Cipher Pol. That’s good for you.”

“Perhaps. I still have a lot of recovery to do though. I’m leaving for Marijois tomorrow, so the doctors gave me permission to get up so I could come see you. I mostly wanted you to know that I didn’t blame you and I was going to be fine.” Her weakness came through in her voice, she definitely sounded tired. “I’m going to go talk to Jabra and Blueno now, let them know what I’ve decided.” He heard the door open and her cane tap against the ground.

“Lina…”

“Yes?”

“I didn’t mean for that to happen, I’m…” Sorry. He couldn’t continue.

“I understand. Good-bye, Rob.”

He turned in time to see her face and realize that she’d been silently crying the whole time.

 

 

 

 

Day 7 – Another Untitled Piece

Nothing much to really say here.  I’ve yet again failed to come up with a title but that’s all right.  It will let the viewer decide what they like about this painting rather than be influenced by the words I assigned.

I’m really enjoying how the violet and turquoise blue look together.  Overall very pleased with how this turned out even though I was experimenting for part of it.  And I’m getting comfortable with the 5×7 size.  It gives a bit more room than 4×6 but doesn’t feel like I have so much space to fill if I were doing 8×10 or 9×12.

“Untitled Abstract” – Day 7
Watercolor on paper, 5″ x 7″

Untitled Abstract (Day 7)

Untitled Abstract | Watercolor on paper | 5″ x 7″ | 2016

 

Days 4, 5, and 6 – all together now!

So in my usual timely fashion, I’m behind on posting my daily paintings.  I have such good intentions, but then my book and comfy chair downstairs tempt me when I get home from work.  Tonight I was ambitious though!

Days 4 and 5 are sibling paintings, in that they started out life as one larger piece that simply was not working for me.  I’d worked at it and worked at it and the balance or je ne sais quoi just wasn’t there.  So I took a knife to it and ended up with these two pieces instead.  The smaller format gives a better flow and focus to each painting, IMO.  No names came to me though, so these are simply “Untitled Abstract 2016-04” and “Untitled Abstract 2016-05”

Day 4 “Untitled Abstract 2016-04″
Watercolor on paper, 5″ x 7”

Untitled Abstract 2016-04 (Day 4)

Untitled Abstract 2016-04 | Watercolor on paper | 5″ x 7″ | 2016

Day 5 “Untitled Abstract 2016-05″
Watercolor on paper, 4.5″ x 8”

Untitled Abstract 2016-05 (Day 5)

Untitled Abstract 2016-05 | Watercolor on paper | 4.5″ x 8″ | 2016

As this post title suggests, I also have day 6 to share.  I was in a purple mood so went with the lovely violet color, supplemented by scarlet and turquoise blue.  I started subtle and then worked in layers as usual, but adding the new twist of flowing lines along the edges.  The center line of scarlet just feels right, as does the title.

Day 6 “The Shores of Desire”
Watercolor on paper, 5″ x 7″

The Shores of Desire (Day 6)

The Shores of Desire | Watercolor on paper | 5″ x 7″ | 2016

Enjoy!  I’m waiting for day 7’s painting to finish drying before I decide whether it’s done or not.  I think it is, but still need it to dry completely before I can take it off the board.

Day 3 – Tidal

Unlike yesterday’s painting, the title for Day 3 came to when I was almost done.  I had been planning to do something for my Layers series in my usual greens and turquoise blue, but I ended up putting a bit of a twist in there.  As the green layers were drying, I had the impression of water against land.  When I added the two additional blue layers, the work “Tidal” just came to me and I thought it fit perfectly.  I hesitated before adding the brown layer, but felt the piece needed an accent of some sort and I think it works.

Day 3 “Tidal”
Watercolor on paper, 5″ x 7″

Tidal (Day 3)

Tidal | Watercolor on paper | 5″ x 7″ | 2016

Day 2 – Mist

When trying to think of names for my paintings, I usually come up blank (and I’ll probably name one of my pieces “Blank” one of these days).  Sometimes, nothing comes to me when looking at the piece.

Sometimes though, a name just pops into my head and in some cases, it sticks even if the final painting seems to have nothing to do with the title.  That’s still fine with me, because if I come up with a title first and then work, that title influenced what I painted and is still part of the piece, even if the two don’t seem to go together.

For Day 2, the title “Mist” came to me as I was about mid-way through.  I liked it enough to want to work with that in mind as I continued painting and while it might not be a perfect fit after all, I still like the title enough to keep it.

Day 2 “Mist”
Watercolor on paper, 5″ x 7″

Mist ( Day 2)

Mist | Watercolor on paper | 5″ x 7″ | 2016

 

Happy New Year!

Here’s to another great year of fun and creativity!  I’ve decided to start off 2016 with another 30-in-30 Painting Challenge, once again hosted by Leslie Saeta on her blog.  It’s exciting to be one of hundreds of artists taking part.  Here is my piece for Day 1.  It started out as a planned piece to go with the Retro-Circles series and ended up in the String Theory line because it wasn’t working at first, so I threw water and threads at it and got this as a result.  I like the limited colors (pumpkin orange, scarlet, saddle brown) but overall, this didn’t go as originally planned.

Day 1 “Confetti”
Watercolor on paper, 5″ x 7″

Confetti (Day 1)

Confetti | Watercolor on paper | 5″ x 7″ | 2016

 

Silence (Gintama Fanfiction)

Title: Silence
Author:
Rhyssa Fireheart
Pairings:
Implied Oboro/OC
Characters: Oboro, Utsuro (mentioned), Naraku, OC
Fandom:
Gintama
Rating: T
Disclaimer:
Don’t own it, never will. Just like to play around with it in my mind.

This story got into my head earlier this week and wouldn’t let go until I got it written down. My first Gintama fanfic and it’s about one of the antagonists for some reason. I knew I preferred to write about non-main characters but this did surprise me somewhat.


I.

One of his oldest memories (after being saved by Utsuro-sama) was of feather soft touches and barely there whispers. When he was first introduced to the other students of the Tenshouin Naruku school, he hadn’t noticed her at first. She stayed in the background and it was only when her name was said that he first felt a fleeting touch on his back and she appeared before him, bowing a greeting.

He was surprised to see a girl at the school; weren’t they going to be trained to be assassins? Why would a girl be there? Years later, if he bothered to think back, he would realize how naïve he’d been. Right then though, he did as his teacher told him and observed. She wasn’t exactly tiny, but then again, they were only kids. Her black hair was cut short and from what he could tell, she had dark eyes. Her skin was tanned, so probably taken from a rural village somewhere.

Even then, he noticed how quiet she was. Despite the seriousness of what they were to be trained for, the other students were noisy and acted like normal children should. She seemed wrapped in silence standing there, her voice low and barely heard over the other conversations.

He also noticed her studying him in return.

Continue reading

New Art? What’s that you say?

Yes, I come bearing new art.  Of course, it’s only new because I’ve taken so long to finally get it posted here, but let’s not quibble about minor details, all right?  And I’ve been trying to get back into doodling some more, to kickstart my brain somewhat but it’s sadly not working.  Everything I try to pick up I end up putting back down again.  I’ve had this happen before, which is why I’m at least doodling some things.

So, new art –

“Frost”
Watercolor on paper
5″ x 7″

Frost

Frost | Watercolor on paper | 5″ x 7″ | 2015

September 30-in-30 Challenge – Wrap-up and Summary

So the September 30-in-30 Painting Challenge hosted by Leslie Saeta has ended and I managed to do 25/30 paintings for the month.  That’s not too bad, actually, considering I had a mild art block in the middle of the month and then life happened for a bit there.  I really did want to do the full 30 paintings but I’m satisfied with the ones I did complete.  Right at the end of the month I tried a new technique that I really enjoyed (“Colorplay”) and I want to explore that further.  I also did something new with the “Flow” series and plan to play around with that some more, especially if it means I can pull out my metallic/iridescent watercolors again.  Those are fun to use.

I think overall, I was more focused this time around because I decided to work with a set painting size (4×6 and 5×7) and that let me not worry about the paper so much.  It may seem silly, but sometimes I look at a larger piece of watercolor paper and think “what am I going to do with all this space?”  Even with more purely abstract pieces like “flow” or the layered ‘scapes, it’s still hard to fill the space (and that includes negative space) without overwhelming the page or making it seem too busy.  It’s a tough balance and I find it easier on smaller canvases.  I want to go back to doing (slightly) larger pieces though, so I plan to keep working on that.

Here’s my collage of the 25 paintings I finished for this challenge.  You can also see them on the 30-in-30 Challenges gallery page.  I’m looking forward to trying again in January if Leslie hosts another one.  In the meantime, I’m debating if I want to jump into INKtober again this year or take a break from trying to do a daily piece of art.  I’m tempted because INKtober was what started me down the path of doing daily art and I had fun with it, but on the other hand, I just got off a challenge, so maybe a break?  Or I can just do one piece a week, that could work too.

September 30-in-30 Painting Challenge Collage

September 30-in-30 Painting Challenge Collage