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#oc: hanami hagane

n. a break, pause, or interruption.

the sequel to “the honor of” that absolutely nobody asked for, but you’re getting it anyway. or: hi, we are still in the era of Hanami’s Stormblood Depression DoT, and that means i can’t have nice things.

Hanami craned her neck, watching the flickering light from the oil lamps glint off the sheen left on her scales as she rubbed the last of her handful of lotion into the space below her horn. She didn’t usually use such things—they always made her hands feel slick and dirty, after, and smelled strongly medicinal to boot—but she’d learned the hard way that the salt air of the Lochs made the skin around her scales crack and peel like a nightmare. Bad enough on its own, but she’d started to feel the telltale itch of shedding scales just before Lyse’s summons to Ala Mhigo had arrived, and the kami knew if she didn’t do something to ease the dryness she’d probably rub herself raw.

She still itched, though. And the residue was disgusting. And the stink of eucalyptus was not helping her gods-damned headache.

The mirror trembled when she bent over to plant her elbows on the vanity, causing her reflection to wobble. She dipped her fingers back into the jar of salve and grunted at the pull of her neck muscles when she dipped her head forward to coat the scales that crept down her spine. The rough edges of her calluses caught on the ridges of keratin. Rasp-slide, and the creaking of muscles taut with discomfort, the insufferable itching pulling her body tight with strain. She bit down on another groan when the motion of reaching over her own shoulder caught a knot in her back.

From behind, the sound of rustling papers, nearly lost under the night-sounds of the Lochs trickling in through the window, and Aymeric murmured, “Would you prefer my assistance, love?”

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1. Is your muse a romantic? Do they dream of love and marriage?

generally, no. hanami is very much not inclined towards romance and doesn’t tend to catch romantic feelings for others–i’d probably say she’s demi-romantic, actually, even if it’s not a label she’d be familiar with or use for herself. gooey feelings might happen if she knows the other person well, likes them as a friend, and also finds them physically attractive. (that last one is not hard; the first two prerequisites are much more difficult, given Her Entire Personality.) she never worried much about romance (if it happened, it happened, but if it didn’t, no skin off her back), and marriage ranged from an irritating distant obligation (when she was younger and the heir to a noble house, so if she didn’t find someone to marry she probably would have wound up in an arranged marriage) to something not even on her radar (as she grew into adulthood, the empire cracked down, and any pipe dreams of restoring her family’s social status were discarded totally).

now of course she’s in a long-term romantic relationship and (mostly) happily engaged and trying to figure out what the fuck happened. if hanami from ten years ago could see her now she’d laugh herself silly.

9. Is your muse attracted to any features in particular?

eyes. she’s a sucker for a pretty pair of eyes. also: shoulders. muscles in general, actually, but shoulders take the cake. being taller than her is a nice bonus.

look, girl’s had two (or three, depending on the ‘verse) serious romantic relationships in her life: one was her first long-term (but kinda on-again-off-again) girlfriend, seika, who is a seven-foot-tall roegadyn falcon tamer who could deadlift hanami and her sword; a’vis, who is well over six feet tall not counting the rabbit ears and wrestles her own summoned egis for fun; and aymeric, who is. well. [gestures]

she has a type. she is not ashamed to admit it.

12. Is your muse easily flustered? Do they blush, swear, etc.?

shockingly, yes. she’s hard to fluster in private, but she’s allergic to public displays of affection and spontaneously combusts if you try to hold her hand in a public setting. she might blush, but it’s usually on her neck/behind her horns and hard to see; she actually doesn’t swear nearly as much when she’s embarrassed as when she’s teasing someone else, either. most of the time she just hunches her shoulders and sulks, but cutely, as opposed to grumpily.

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14. What is something that never fails to make them excited?

visiting her nephew! she may be a Bundle Of Complex Feelings about returning home to doma in general but mune is a little ray of sunshine and she loves him dearly. aside from that, any chance she can take to go out and explore that doesn’t involve her warrior-of-light duties is a good one. she especially likes visiting gardens and farms and all things growing.

21. Do they prefer giving or receiving gifts?

giving! she’s…uh…hard to shop for, so she definitely appreciates when someone manages to land on a gift that she actually likes, but she much prefers being able to find or make things and give them to other people. crafting gifts is especially fun for her, because it gives her something to keep herself busy with, and she likes the challenge of making something both useful and beautiful.

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tree house! hanami likes to feel tall. she used to sneak out and find a nice tree to scale to watch the sunrise when she was a teenager; she still likes to climb trees just for funsies when she’s out adventuring, and having a place to stretch out and relax in a tree without worrying about her balance would make her day.

haruki prefers blanket forts, and has been known to put his Ultimate Cool Dad powers to use to build blanket labyrinths that take up an entire living room, before immediately knocking over a wall with his horns.

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for hanami: being forced to raise a hand against a person she loves. again. she might make joking, increasingly elaborate threats when she’s embarrassed or annoyed, but that’s just for show. she’s well aware of what a fuzzy line she toes on the metaphorical moral alignment chart, what with all the extrajudicial “justice” she serves, and she certainly doesn’t give a shit about being a bastion of goodness or anything like that, but she has some very firm lines and that is one of them. as far as she’s concerned, the second she raises her sword with intent to harm her loved ones–even in self-defense, which is why the concept of tempering still terrifies her–she will have lost the right to love them. 

you can imagine what a fun time she had in a certain 5.3 duty.

for sjanna, it would be failing to protect someone she’s taken under her guardianship. not just losing them–she’s outlived many friends, and will outlive many more; it’s a curse of her longevity–but being responsible for their safety and not upholding that bargain. it’s part of the reason she took up healing arts. she literally got herself exiled from her homeland because she would rather save lives than protect institutions, which is why she’s recently taken up work with lente’s tears to help smuggle dalmascan spies through imperial territory. she hasn’t lost one yet–she dreads the day she will, because she’s lived long enough to know that if you roll the dice too many times, they will come up wrong.

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i brought this on myself

6. Would they trust anyone with their secret?

what secret? it’s not like she has that many to begin with. she might not be eager to talk about herself, even with prompting, but she’s willing to answer almost any question you ask of her honestly–sometimes uncomfortably honestly. she has no interest in beating around metaphorical bushes or saving emotional toes from being stepped on. what secrets she does keep are either to preserve the physical health and wellbeing of people she cares about, or are really more personal emotional revelations that she’s not willing to admit to herself yet. the first kind she’ll share with those she deems trustworthy–eventually–but the second kind are following her to her grave.

12. What is the fastest way to upset them?

what isn’t? 

18. Neck kisses or shoulder kisses?

i need that gif from the road to el dorado that’s like “both? both. both is good.” if she has to pick one: neck kisses. the skin along the edges of her scales is very sensitive, so she’s a big fan.

24. What do they think they’re good at, but aren’t?

self styling. between the pink pigtails and the fact that her current aesthetic is “dye it black,” she’s a mess. please wear a color, girl.

30. What is their ideal sleeping situation?

somewhere warm and quiet. she absolutely cannot stand waking up cold, and she’s a light sleeper, so hearing other people moving around or loud environmental noises keeps her up and leaves her cranky. er….crankier. the “warm” thing is negotiable if she has someone else there to warm her up, if you catch my drift, but the quiet thing really isn’t. it’s part of the reason she makes a habit of waking up early–she gets to be the only person up and moving and can control her environment while she’s still half-asleep.

36. Are there any holidays or celebrations they dislike?

much as she actually enjoys the season and the views, hanami tends to avoid hanami festivals for…probably obvious reasons. she also tries to stay out of gridania around valentione’s because people seem to think it’s a good time to ask weird, invasive questions about her relationship with aymeric, and she can punch people who get in her business but the wood wailers usually have to arrest her on principle, and then kan-e-senna gives her A Look and hanami’s not a coward so she gives her own Look right back, and they have a glaring contest, and of course no one’s going to actually throw the warrior of light in gaol for punching some nosy mook off the street so she doesn’t get any official punishment but the moogles do tend to stick weirdly close for the rest of her visit and hanami gets a headache.

but this is all a hypothetical because hanami doesn’t go to valentione’s festivals. obviously.

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23. What do they want most in life?

oh boy. ain’t that a question.

so the thing is, hanami left doma (years ago now, and it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long until it does) completely single-minded: she would free doma from garlean rule, or she would die in the attempt. she lived her life with every waking moment dedicated to her warpath. for a long time, she only wanted to view eorzea as a training ground, or a stepping stone. just a way to get back home. then she went and got attached–to the places, but mostly to the people–and they changed her, as attachments do, and by the time she went home she was a very different woman than the one who had left, and home had changed too. and she freed it.

she got what she wanted. now what?

…now she needs to figure out what home really means, these days, and whether it has to be a place or people, and how far she’s willing to go to be there. whether she can have more than one home. and she needs to figure out how thin she can spread her heart before it snaps. so right now, she’d kill for some answers.

25. What is something they think they’re bad at, but are actually pretty competent at?

if we’re talking mundane everyday skills: cooking. she’s not bad, she just doesn’t enjoy it. same thing for academic study–she likes to present herself as this uneducated farm kid-turned-merc who doesn’t have time for the more cerebral pursuits, but she’s very smart and very teachable; it just has to be something that interests her, which usually means it has to be something she can do with her hands. if you say the word “aetherology” she will not listen to whatever words come after, but she loves working with aetherytes and enchanted machinery and has a lot of experience working with both. she won’t learn in a library or a lecture hall: stick her in a workshop and she’ll shine.

for a more meta answer: making friends. “i hate people,” says local lizard, looking very aloof next to her small army of loved ones, with four adopted teenagers clinging to her ankles.

27. Do they have any cool scar stories?

hanami has three kinds of scars. she has:

Plot-Relevant Scars, which are things like her broken horn, or the gash across her stomach from rhalgr’s reach; those are not things she considers cool or fun, and she prefers not to talk about them at all;

Gnarly Scars With Stupid Stories, such as the one up the back of her right thigh, which looks like an incredible battle scar and is actually from the time she fell off her roof while drunk and cut herself on a loose nail;

and Boring Scars With Incredible Origins, like the little pockmark on the inside of her palm from a piece of glass, except the piece of glass came from an imperial gunship that she ripped the windshield off of with her bare hands so that she could kill the pilot inside.

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Prompt: Free day!

Word count: 1019

A sort of B-side to “Aubade.” A quiet return.

The bedroom door is already unlatched, cracked open in invitation—not for herself, Hanami knows, because she’s not meant to be back from Gyr Abania for another night. Probably meant for Mandragora’s nighttime wanderings, hunting for smoldering fires to sleep next to. Hanami steps in anyway, squeezing sideways to hold the ancient creaking hinges still. The wood floor still whispers under her weight, but in her sock feet it’s not half as loud as her boots would be.

There’s a faint silver light pouring through the windows, moonbeams bookending the last orange vestiges of flame in the hearth, a sort of liquid glow that gathers around the edges of the bedposts. The covers are rumpled and inviting, warm gray and crisp white forming hills and valleys to catch the light, pooled around Aymeric where he’s burrowed into his nest of fabric and down, buried but for the tip of one ear and a few inky curls spread across a pillow.

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Prompt: When pigs fly

Word count: 1631

Set mid-Stormblood, shortly before the assault on Doma Castle. Fair warning, if you really like Hien, this might not be the fic for you.

Hanami confronts an uncomfortable what-if.

Hanami kept her head down while she traced her path through Monzen’s burned-out shell to the glittering riverside. She almost hadn’t recognized it, when Gosetsu had first led her over the hillside to hunt for abandoned weapons and scrap metal—the elegant sprawl of rooftops and arched lines of fences that lived in the faded sections of her memory torn to pieces, replaced with hollow footprints where homes had once stood, torn down to foundations pockmarked by Garlean bullets.

She had confined her search to the ruins of the barracks, because it was large and a likely place for findings, and because if she wandered through the old residential neighborhoods and found whatever remained of the house that had been hers she thought she might vomit on its threshold.

The crumbled walls were easier to pass by when she thought of them only as hiding spots for lumbering, half-broken Kiyofusa, or for slithering Magatsu. The road under her boots was cracked and half-reclaimed by dirt and weeds, but it still led her straight and steady to the edge of the One River, where Hien stood waiting. He had his back to her, his hands on his hips as he watched the silhouette of the castle—marred as it was by the arches and spires of Imperial industry—but the broken road crunched under Hanami’s feet, and she made no effort to silence herself.

“Thank you for joining me, my friend,” he said, jovial even with the high set of his shoulders.

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Prompt: Shuffle

Word count: 993

Set in a goofy modern “main street” AU, which is just an excuse for Shenanigans and occasional pining. Featuring characters belonging to @winduphaurchefant @verbroil @windupnamazu @fistsoflightning and @windupcatgirl. Links are for flavor, not mandatory listening!

Control of the music is a point of contention among the squad.

Reese had become a master of tuning out background noise while she was working, so she didn’t bother to pay much attention to the rumbling of the road under the tires or the steady beat from the car’s speakers, occupied with her homework (spread across a hat box in her lap, lacking a desk as she was wedged in the backseat of Rjoli’s suburban). It was a little dark with the back windshield blocked by the hulking shape of the trailer hitched behind them, but with a flashlight wedged into the space between her seat and the headrest she had enough light to read by.

Unfortunately her ability to filter out noise didn’t help when the seat in front of her shook with impact, turning her note on Moenbryda’s essay into a sort of shaky loop.

She blinked herself back out of the haze that Moen’s aether transference lab reports always put her in just in time to hear Hanami snap, “Hands off, brat. I am driving. My music.”

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