"You know what they say, 'Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades'.
Gentaro Kisaragi, providing the story's Title Drop
"Horseshoes and Hand Grenades" is a Kamen Rider FourzeAlternate Universe Fic. Taking place near the climax of the Aries Zodiarts arc, it starts with one simple idea. What would've happened if Gentaro wasn't revived by the Cosmic Switch? What if something else revived him, and what if said something was evil? From this, the world of Fourze has gone downhill. With a being known as Ophiuchus involved in Gentaro's resurrection and Face-Heel Turn, all factions involved in the plot change, and some not for the better. The Kamen Rider Club have to live with the fact that they caused this whole mess to happen, the bad guys have to resort to a new plan now that Gentaro has derailed theirs, and Ryusei is going to have to go through hell thanks to his decision to kill Gentaro.In other words, if you thought the Cerebus Rollercoaster in Fourze was bad, this fic has taken one of the most optimistic Kamen Rider series and made it Darker and Edgier.The story is currently being written by Green Phantom Queen with 25 chapters (plus three intermissions) written so far. The story's biggest strengths with the story is focus and backstories on all the characters in the Kamen Rider Fourze mythos (big and small), the development of Gentaro becoming an evil, malicious character through the influence of Ophiuchus, and the consequences of one's actions. Moreover, the author has also added the combined strength of threedifferentKamen Riders to even the playing field and more are destined to come as the story unravels.The author is also working on many other works that are in the same universe, revolving around other characters in Kamen Rider Fourze—and charactersfromother shows—that get involved with this madness because of Gentaro's death, some of them happening around the same time as the main conflict. These are:
Wheel of Fortune is the sequel to Who Decides that follows up on Ryusei's friend, Mei Shirakawa and her struggles to understand why Ryusei did what he did. This also explores her backstory and her struggles to learn about Yamada Tatsumori's history that caused him to invoke Ryusei's Deal with the Devil in the first place.
SplitxEnd tells of Yayoi Tokuda investigating Gentaro's death after seeing him attend his own funeral. Along the way, she meets up with Haruto Souma and must balance her feelings for him and the danger that is looming as she delves deeper and deeper into Gentaro Kisaragi's past. Crosses over with Month of Sundays later on.
A Month of Sundays, during the second day of the Kyoto Arc in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, a group of Amanogawa High Students hurry to Futo to stop Foundation X from transforming former Switchers into Zodiarts. They also get involved with other Kamen Riders who accidentally got in the crossfire.
Tears to Shed is a Perspective Flip of the first 13 chapters of Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, detailing Gentaro's struggle to truly become the Serpent-bearer and showing what he was doing when the story wasn't focused on him.
Birthday Massacre is a collection of shorts that tell of Gentaro's struggle with himself as different parts of him try their hardest to turn away from Ophiuchus and go back into the light.
Due to the stories involved, it is vitally important that you read through one work until the end due to the stories being intertwined with one another. Also expect lots of spoilers.Oh, and it's also worth mentioning that the author is a fan of Masterdramon's My Dark King, which she notes was what inspired her writing style for the story.A character sheet is in the works. All tropes regarding characters will be moved there.
Horseshoes and Hand-grenades Provides Examples Of:
Amazon Brigade: Pun aside, this is the Kamen Rider Club Girls in a nutshell.
Animal Motif: Ophiuchus, and by extension Gentaro, is represented by snakes.
Arc Words: "Death shouldn't be the answer." or variations of it. "Who are you? No, what are you?" is also common place.
Ascended Extra: Many secondary characters in the Fourze universe are playing bigger parts whether they're in Horseshoes, or in any of the other stories.
As You Know: XV The Damned Don't Dance gives the audience the entire backstory of Fourze with OSTO and the Cosmic Energy involved.
Axe Crazy: Ryusei, Jiro, and Kengo as of the Kyoto Arc.
Aztec Mythology: Tomoko's group is doing a play between Quetzalcoatl and Mictlantecuhtli in the Kyoto Arc in an attempt to lure Ryusei out in the open. There's also the "Serpent of Obsidian Knives", a.k.a Jiro Inseki, which is a symbol of sacrifice.
Berserk Button: Several. Hayami hates it when one calls him weak, (or in the case of Ophiuchus, calling him a "Master of One".). Brainwashed!Kengo hates it when anyone mentions his father, the same with Emoto. Gentaro is angry when anyone reminds him of his friendship and his human life. Yukina gets pissed over any mention of a girl related to Gentaro.
In the twelfth chapter, JK is about to be killed by Ryusei. Cue Nadeshiko coming in out of nowhere with a kick to the stomach.
The next chapter, JK is once again going to be killed by the same person above. Cue Shun coming in to save his ass...as a Serpent-bearer.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Aside from Gentaro we also have: Ryusei, Kengo, Jiro along with the other Serpent Vessels
Bystander Syndrome: Deconstructed. The Kamen Rider Club blame themselves on having this when Gentaro died, stating that that they shouldn't have just stood there while Meteor killed Fourze and the repercussions it had. Yuki has it the most, as the antagonists will never let her live the fact that all she yelled was "STOP!" just as Meteor hesitated to kill Fourze because it was the last thing that was heard before the one-inch punch was afflicted.
Came Back Wrong: Gentaro, thanks to Ophiuchus. Ryusei, Shun, Shotaro and Haruto also count.
Central Theme: Victories and shortcomings: most battles between good and evil have one side unable to claim victory and the title reflects on the motion of "It's win or lose. That's all."
Deconstruction: Ryusei's I Did What I Had to Do mentality to kill Gentaro affects everyone and it's shown that it was stupid to begin with. Likewise Gentaro's sacrifice to Ryusei has become essentially useless because it now means that he could be used for something even worse.
Demonic Possession: The Imagins appear once more to help out with the plot and bond to different characters to access Den-O's different forms. They are:
Momotaros/Sword Form -> Soushi Motoyama
Urataros/Rod Form -> Shun Daimonji
Kintaros/Axe Form -> Ban Chosuke
Ryutaros/Gun Form -> JK
Sieg/Wing Form -> Norio Eguchi
All Together/Super Climax Form -> Haruka Utsugi
Dual Wielding: Gentaro gains two blades with the Circinus Spell. Shun gets two patas (a pair of gauntlet with sword blades) when he makes his contract with Vasuki.
Early-Bird Cameo: Yuta Suguira (Taurus Zodiarts) gets name-dropped during the first Intermission.
Epigraph: Every chapter has one with the first chapter explaining the significance of the title as a whole.
Evil Counterpart: The Meteor Impact Switch for Meteor Storm and Void States for Cosmic States.
Fighter, Mage, Thief: The Kamen Rider Club Girls has Yuki's Hayabusa plushie Power Fist and Miu in the Power Dizer (Fighter), Erin's ability as the Aquarius Zodiarts (Mage) and Tomoko's Whip It Good snake skin and barrier powers (Thief).
I Let Gwen Stacy Die/It's All My Fault: The Kamen Rider Club blame themselves for Gentaro's death since none of them realized that Ryusei was Kamen Rider Meteor and the fact that they stood there to let Gentaro die.
Karmic Death: Yukina dies by the very same man that she's been so obsessive over in XIII-2 "Of Sins and Shadows". Yamada is sent into a coma by the same man he told Ryusei to kill.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Fourze's boasted a huge amount of named characters in the Kamen Rider universe, so it's no exception that many of them will come up sooner or later. Plus we also have two Showa Riders, five Imagins and the DenLiner crew making appearances. There is already 50 characters as of the first Intermission.
And in the other fics below, more and more characters are named and introduced. We're gonna need a character sheet in the near future...
Love Makes You Stupid: Ohsugi has this epiphany about him falling in love with Sonada, realizing that he was an utter fool. Yukina realizes this too late and she dies at the end of XIII-2 "Of Sins and Shadows".
Stellar Name: Gentaro has access to abilities that are named after constellations. These include:
Serpens: Summons a snake that acts like a Mind-Control Device to whomever it decides to clamp around a person's neck.
Pictor: Lets him disguise his appearance. "Tears to Shed" reveals that with enough concentration, Gentaro can transform into a snake.
Serpens Caput/Cauda: Summons two halves of a snake used for resurrection. Caput summons that lower half that crawls into the deceased person's throat, and Cauda summons the head that resurrects the body after Gentaro says the magic words.
Horologium: Makes the sound of a pendulum clock ring in a person's head.
Pyxis: Similar to Pyxis Zodiarts' ability in the show.
Scutum: Creates a shield to protect him from attacks.
Theme Naming: Gentaro's worshipers are named after snake deities or related to them. We so far have Apep (Kengo),Serpent of the Obsidian Knives (Jiro Inseki), Neroda (Yuri Kuramochi), Kukulkan (Misa Torizaki), Ecydsis (Kouhei Hayami) and Leviathan (Philip) As of #13, we have another serpent based deity by the name of Vasuki, who is currently fused with an Urataros-possessed Shun. In the first intermission, we also have the Rainbow Serpent whose current avatar is Mari Yamamoto while the second has King Damballa possessing Shotaro.
A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Where it's headed. The story can basically be summed up to: "Thanks to Ryusei killing off The Hero, he gets resurrected and hell breaks loose."
Western Zodiac: Notable in that Gentaro's birthday falls on November 30th. This usually means he's a Scorpio, but he is considered an Ophiuchus in the story.
Wham Episode: III System Shock has this in twofold where the audience first sees how Gentaro became possessed by Ophiuchus, and then the audience learns that Ryusei is a Core Child.
VI Master Hand has Jiro Inseki resurrected and now serving Gentaro.
XI Team Spirit has Ryusei kill Shun and Misa Torizaki already dead to cement the Darker and Edgier atmosphere of the story.
XIII Web of Sin has Shun saving JK from being killed by Ryusei...except since Shun was killed two chapters earlier, he's back as a Serpent-bearer!
Foregone Conclusion: Ryusei is going to kill Gentaro to save Jiro and cause the events of the other stories to occur. The extra story, Why Decide? states that he could've chosen a different path to save Jiro, but doesn't state the after effects it would cause.
Foreshadowing: It's commonly noted that there are 13 Astronomical signs as opposed to twelve. Plus, Ryusei doesn't have recollection on a family or birthdays foreshadowing that he's not actually human.
Meaningful Name: Madame Pollux is named after Pollux from the myth of Castor and Pollux. Coincidentally, Pollux is also the brightest star in Gemini's constellation, relating to below.
Tarot Motifs: The cards drawn by Ryusei are all of the Minor Arcana. His first card is the Inverted Six of Cups, the second is the upright Four of Coins and the last is the upright Nine of Rods.
Western Zodiac: Ryusei is a Gemini in this story. He states that Mei is an Aquarius in Why Decide?
Wham Episode: When Ryusei leaves the tent, it's revealed that Madame Pollux is his best friend Mei Shirawkawa whose shift was supposed to end prior to his fortune reading. She was presumably possessed by a serpent.
Foreshadowing: In the second chapter, Mei states to Ros and Guil, "I don't even know why I'm friends with you." A few chapters later, it's revealed that they were hired by a rental company to be her friends, thus she doesn't know the true reason the three were 'friends' in the first place.
Tarot Motifs: Each chapter is named after a different tarot card along with their position, and Mei draws fortunes for different people involved. For example, Ryusei's future card was the upward Nine of Rods, while Gentaro had the inverted The Emperor. This represents Ryusei trying to defeat the obstacle in his way (Gentaro) and Gentaro following his heart to make Ryusei happy, rather than do something for his own benefit, causing everything that happens in the story.
Wham Episode: Chapter 12 reveals why Mei's parents were being such jerks—because apparently, Mei has some sort of psychokinesis which only works when she's under pressure and was needed for Mei's parents to inherit the family fortune. She asked Renenutet to erase herself from her grandfather's memory, no longer wanting to do anything with her family, and has decided to live alone. Oh, and she's also cousins to Yayoi Tokuda.
Wham Line: Chapter 10: in-universe for Mei, considering that she hasn't caught up to the events in Horseshoes.
Renenutet: That boy? I think you know his name, Serpent-bearer. The boy is simply known as Gentaro Kisaragi.
You Can't Fight Fate: Mei's biggest struggle is trying to follow through what her Tarot spreads are foreshadowing and whether she should alter it or such. She's later obtained the ability to manipulate the tarot spread to whatever she desires.
Split x End Provides Examples Of
A Day in the Limelight: Yayoi Tokuda stars in this one. She was in the original version of Horseshoes, but is now referenced by JK.
"For a moment, I thought I could see the look of terror in my eyes in one of the blades."
Call Forward: Yayoi's pal on the forums goes by the name of KRSwan. In the 2nd Intermission we meet up with Kit and Maya looking up a website regarding the War of the Stars.
Childhood Friends: Yayoi and JK. Their friendship is so close that Yayoi is bunking with him while her parents are off on important business.
Cry into Chest: Yayoi references that she did this once JK forgave her for her Coma Zodiarts business.
Early-Bird Cameo: Like Tears to Shed, Yayoi meets up with Haruto, but he's being accompanied by Koyomi this time.
Easily Forgiven: JK forgave Yayoi for her stint as Coma Zodiarts and had no hard feelings.
Exact Words: In the first episode of Fourze, Gentaro tells Yuki that he made a thousand friends in the span of ten years. As Yayoi finds out from reading his journal, he never stated if most of them were alive.
Foreshadowing: Koyomi's warnings for Yayoi were probably for the Foundation X members kidnapping former Switchers in "A Month of Sundays". In Split-6, she was about to be kidnapped by Foundation X scientists when Haruto saved her just in time.
Fortune Teller: Koyomi's outfit for Yayoi, although it resembles more of a gypsy than fortune teller.
Four Is Death: Yayoi states its significance when she fights against Mei.
Fun with Acronyms: Take the first letters of chapters in groups of four and they each spell words. So far, there are: "Stir"note if you read it from bottom to top, "Fame" and "Loss".
Hair Contrast Duo: Dark-haired Yayoi to both light brown Haruto and JK. Yayoi's the researcher who openly admits that she can't fight and be of any use to the Kamen Rider Club while both Haruto and JK are Kamen Riders (Wizard and Gun Den-O) but are also Stepford Smilers holding some very bad Survivor Guilt baggage behind their cheery facades.
Hero of Another Story: Yayoi's adventures revolve uncovering the truth behind Gentaro Kisaragi and her relationship with JK and Haruto.
Holding Hands: Haruto and Yayoi from time to time. Yayoi denies that this is a start of a relationship though.
Noodle Incident: "That incident" which is something that no one (Yayoi, JK and JK's father) talks about. It presumably relates to why JK's father ultimately gave up his rock-star career and as to why JK became such a Knowledge Broker in the first place. It's based on the death of JK's little sister and JK became a Knowledge Broker because his father didn't know of the caretaker's sanity issues so that a tragedy like that could never happen again.
Reality Ensues: Yayoi teleports herself to the Narumi Detective Agency to fight Damballa all with some new swords. Unfortunately, Damballa is a very old Serpent and she's a college student who just got the swords, thus Damballa drags her down to the ground with the Greensleeves spell and makes her attack useless.
Reflective Eyes: Commented by Yayoi when she's seeing eye to eye with Renenutet.
Rescue Romance: Haruto saving Yayoi in Split-6 seems to play off this. Yayoi notes that she shouldn't be mixing up Haruto saving her as an act of true love, though.
Ship Tease: Haruto and Yayoi, especially in the ninth chapter.
Theme Naming: Kisaragi means "February", and Yayoi means "March" representing how Yayoi is chasing after Gentaro's past.
Title Drop: The title comes from Yayoi's username on the forums.
Tears to Shed Provides Examples Of
Anachronic Order: The chapters jump back and forth a bit. If put in order, it would go like this.
Book Ends: Tears-1 has Gentaro leave his parents' grave after drying his tears. Tears-10 has him leaving his parents' spirits, but he no longer has any tears.
Early-Bird Cameo: Tears-8 has Gentaro pass by the Donut Shop Hungry food truck and accidentally mistaken for Haruto (due to him using the Pictor spell to hide his identity). Just after Gentaro leaves, Haruto himself appears.
Perspective Flip: Some of the chapters takes place in Gentaro's perspective of the story. Notably, Tears-5 reveals that he was the serpent that sent Kengo to the hospital way back in II Genesis of the original story.
Take That: When Gentaro meets up with the Donut Shop Hungry Manager, being mistaken for Haruto, the manager asks why 'Haruto' always gets the sugar donuts. Gentaro gives a snarky reply in his mind suggesting that Haruto doesn't really have that much character depth.
Fighter, Mage, Thief: The Glee Club of Abe being the sword wielder (Thief), Ibuki the Ninja with a large arsenal that fights at a distance (Wizard) and Taira with his axe that does the most damage to opponents (Fighter)
Hero of Another Story: Takes place during the second half of the Kyoto Arc in "Horseshoes and Hand-grenades" starting around its second Intermission.
Hope Springs Eternal: The name of the seventh and a half chapter. Fitting as the previous chapter showed Haruto, usually the one bringing hope to others, becoming a Creepy Doll due to Damballa resurrecting him.
Taira: A ninja helping a samurai. (Beat) Don't tell my parents about this.
Ryokan (inn): The group rests in one, courtesy of Satake-sensei's mother.
Tempting Fate: The Amanogawa Glee Club makes a comment that Shotaro doesn't look like he came from Village of the Damned as a way to cheer themselves up. Come next chapter and they're right—it's Damballa who has that appearance.
The Unreveal: Rumi and Ibuki are spying on Ophiuchus and Philip about the War of the Stars. Just as it reveals the enemy of the serpents, Philip shuts the book.
Split x End has the possibility that the war was based off of Ophiuchus's invitation to become the 13th Symbol and the other Horoscope constellations' hatred for him.
Waxing Lyrical: Yumeria starts singing the chorus of "Masquerade" when she starts packing up costumes in Sundays-12.5
Weapon of Choice: Abe's is a tanto blade, Ibuki has a kursarigama and Taira has an axe.
Wham Line: Dropped by the Rainbow Serpent in Sundays-6.
Rainbow Serpent:My healing spells don't work on Serpent-bearers. Your spell didn't free him (Shotaro) from Damballa's influence.
When Yayoi meets up with them in Sundays-8
Yayoi: "Gentaro Kisaragi is a descendant of Asclepius. No, he's more than that. To be accurate, Gentaro Kisaragi is a special descendant of Asclepius known as the White Crow of the Veil."
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The whole struggle in the Carnival of the Human Spirit revolves around this. Haruto, Eiji and Shotaro are transformed into dolls and killed off in pretty gruesome ways. Jun calls Akiko out of this after she places a cap on Shotaro stating that even though the three were transformed into dolls, they're still the same people they knew and love and asks how they're gonna react if they ever returned human.