Chapter 2: Anger and Fear
A Tenchi Muyo Fanfic
Disclaimer: Tenchi Muyo!, its characters and settings, © Hitoshi Okuda, AIC / Pioneer LDC, and Viz Communications, Inc.
Introduction: This Fanfic is based upon the timeline set forth by the Tenchi OAV series, and takes place after the final episode thereof. Some minor things are borrowed from Magical Project S.
A long time ago, during my days at the old science academy, a philosophy teacher asked me a question I couldn't answer right away. The question simply was "What is religion?"
It was a question I pondered for some time. When I finally came to my conclusion and told him, he was intrigued by my answer. What I said to him was this: Imagine being inside a dark room, with only a single window with which to see the outside. Through that window you can see many things about the universe beyond. No matter what size, shape, or material the window is made of, the window you choose will distort your view of reality. Some windows allow for wider view. Some are prettier to look at. None are completely transparent.
Reality is the outside. This window is religion.
Religion, as I came to realize, is not necessarily a belief in a higher power or even a set of strict rules to follow. Rather, Religion is the window a person chooses though which reality is refracted. Unfortunately, some, when confronted with a harsh viewing spot prefer to close their blinds, preferring to peer out through a single slit they've created. Whether out of fear, or another emotion, the result is the same. To these people, their window remains forever closed, and what experience has taught them becomes the only thing reality can teach them.
- Hakubi Washuu (-chan). 'Memoirs of a Super-Genius'
After leaving the house in the morning, Tenchi caught the bus he normally did, Ryoko and Aeka in tow, discrete and silent. Knowing their presence angered him they sat in the back of the bus, having no choice but to get to school.
He tried ignoring their presence for a while, but doing so took effort; as soon as he let his guard down for a moment, they would return to his thoughts. The hour it took to reach school seemed like an eternity in his mind as he fought the perpetual battle to ignore them.
After he arrived at school, it got a bit easier. Neither Ryoko nor Aeka had been placed in his class, and as a result he was able to concentrate on other things. His school schedule today was fairly ordinary. Classes as usual, with a test immediately following lunch. He was not worried about it too much, having been prepared for it over the last few nights.
Despite this preparation, he knew he would have to study come lunchtime to refresh his mind in the subject. Last minute cramming was important for short-term memory after all. After only a few minutes in class, the teacher walked in, announcing the beginning of the school day.
When they had transferred in, Aeka and Ryoko had been placed in the same class. From that very day, their classmates learned one important thing: these two were rivals for Tenchi Masaki's attention.
Unfortunately, due to the seating plan, the two had been placed very near each other, with only an empty chair separating them. In addition, they were placed towards the back, where the teacher did not always have direct attention; allowing arguments to escalate past the critical level before they were squashed and forced to sit in the hall.
Of course, the teachers did not stand for this. After around the 4th outburst (morning of the second day), they were sent to the principal. The two did not return to class on that day. Afterwards, the outbursts were mostly restricted to before and after classes, and lunch.
Fights before class were by far the worst, however. One of these fights outwardly ceased when the teacher entered the classroom, but continued silently during class until a better arena was available.
The 'silent fighting' that went on was mostly little annoyances. Flinging paper and the like, but sometimes involved larger objects… such as desks. They were never caught though, and neither ever complained openly about the other's attacks. The teachers were none the wiser.
This taken into account, the class's collective goal had changed from passing all their classes to surviving the semester.
Today, Aeka had Ryoko arrived on time for class together. Not a word of anger or scornful remark passed either pair of lips as they walked in unison to their desks and sat down. This event, while simple enough an action almost caused more than a few students' eyes to bug out in exclamation. What they had just witnessed seemed less likely to many of them than Buddha himself walking through the door.
Upon further examination, though, they recognized other factors that helped ease the shock. The two were not only not arguing they were acting completely unaware of each other's presence. Upon reaching their desks Ryoko held her head in her arms, resting her elbows on the desk, and Aeka stared blankly at downward, her attention far distant. Class began without argument. All of their classmates had by now noticed the seeming impossible events and all watched carefully out of the corners of their eyes. Everyone expected something to happen, but knew not what it might be. They had never seen the girls act this way.
Much to their relief, this expectation never came to fruition. The two girls remained docile, in their desks and almost completely oblivious to everyone until lunch.
The Valentine's Day lunchtime happenings at the High School were very similar to those seen at Sasami's elementary school. The girls still rushed to and fro, dispensing their chocolates. The boys likewise waited anxiously. Also as before, there were notable exceptions to these two groups.
Tenchi sat under a cherry tree. He ignored the scene in favor of the textbooks he held on his lap, where he studied for his upcoming exam. He intently read the required material, determined not to let the commotion around him be a distraction.
Under another nearby cherry tree, Ryoko and Aeka were two other exceptions to the festivities, although not by choice. They too were steadfast in their commitment to their subject. However, their target was not a book, but the boy under the next tree. They stood, attempting to gain the courage to approach him; each holding small packages in their hands
Tenchi was aware of their presence. Initially, he tried to ignore them as he had earlier, using the book as a convenient excuse. Unfortunately, this worked for only a small time; the first time Tenchi read the kanji for 'onna' (woman), his mind again returned to the two looking at him. He tried once more, this time doubling his attempts to force them out of his mind. Again, this proved to be futile, the effort required to push the thought away was a powerful thought itself.
Aeka breathed deeply, knowing Tenchi was ignoring her on purpose.
'He hates me!' she thought, a ragged exhale following the thought. 'I've got to ask him to forgive me, but… what if he…'
She looked up at him again; he shifted his head slightly, back into the book. Yes, he knew she was there.
'If it wasn't for that stupid Monster Girl this whole thing wouldn't have happened.' she cursed in her mind. 'I've got to explain to him, or else…'
Taking a deep breath, Aeka took a step forward.
Standing there next to her, Ryoko's train of thought flowed very much the same as Aeka's. She blamed the princess for the whole fight and the fact that Tenchi was now angry with HER. At the same time that Aeka took her step forward, Ryoko had completed her train of thought and complimented the action.
Tenchi watched them approach, catching the motion over the top of his book while he pretended to continue reading. Both averted their gaze as they walked to him, Aeka looking at the ground, Ryoko looking at an angle upward and to the side. He waited as they finished their approach and stopped in front of him.
There was a long moment of silence between the three. Tenchi could hear squeals from other girls who delivered their packages, and groans from guys who were passed by the girl they hoped would deliver. Listening idly to the background noise, Tenchi waited for them to speak.
When they finally did, it was at once.
Both cut off in as much unison as they had begun the sentence.
Aeka, bewildered by the way her words came out looked to her left to see a confused visage etched on Ryoko's face. Ryoko stared back into Aeka's baffled stare. The two suddenly became aware of the other's presence.
Like Aeka, Ryoko had partially known that the princess was there all along, but had subconsciously ignored it; her own suffering was more important, after all. Upon conscious recognition, anger began to swell up within her.
"What the hell are you doing here?" she accused Aeka.
"What do you mean what am I doing here, monster woman?" Aeka replied in kind.
"Me! Who's fault do you think this anyway?" Ryoko returned fire.
Tenchi looked on the sudden outbursts in disgust. He exhaled his breath in a puff of anger, not believing the nerve these girls had. Then, not wanting to hear anymore, he reached over; threw his book into his satchel; stood up; and walked off, fuming.
Tenchi had walked almost 4 meters away before the girls realized his departure. They both stopped their feud immediately, becoming statues as they watched him across the courtyard and into the school. For the second time today, both girls felt their hearts fall to their stomachs. Once again in the unison of mutual unawareness, they dropped their small packages on the grass, slumped to their knees, and buried their faces in their hands.
Tenchi returned to his classroom, just wanting to get away from the incident outside. Because the weather was extremely warm for February, the room was empty. This suited him just fine.
Sitting down in his seat, he considered trying to study again, but chucked the idea, knowing that was impossible; he was still too angry.
"Damn it." he muttered out loud.
'How could they be so stupid?' he thought a moment later.
They had obviously come up to apologize to him. Tenchi had been ready to consider talking it out with them; the pressure of being angry was getting to him, and he wanted a clear head for his exam. But then the two had just thrown in his face a flashback of what had happened in the first place. Did they want to torture him? Did they secretly hate him?
He sighed, knowing it was not true. Both liked him a lot, and had shown that on many occasions. He just hated the fact that they fought so much, though. For god sakes, their carelessness this morning had almost killed him! If they liked him so much, they should think before they do things that could hurt him. The door had embedded itself in the exact spot where Tenchi's head would have been had he not had the good fortune to sit up. At that speed, that flying door would have killed, or at least severely injured him. More than that, though, it had scared him greatly.
Still fuming, Tenchi absent-mindedly grabbed his satchel and reached inside for his bento, subconsciously realizing he was hungry. Placing it on the desk, he opened it and reached for the chopsticks without looking. Tenchi didn't like being frightened like he did then. The emotion was not energizing like he had felt when fighting with Kagato or in Dr. Clay's ship. This was an ugly, gut-wrenching feeling that left him with its painful memory etched in his mind. He continued to pick at his food, not eating it; still not paying attention to it.
Finally, his anger took over again. He took his right hand, clenching the chopsticks, and jammed them down into the food. He felt the food give way as the sticks went through, and a somewhat satisfying tap of lacquer against plastic as they struck the bottom. He then let go of the chopsticks, allowing them stick vertically out of the bento case; his hand falling limply to the side. Closing his eyes, he took a big breath, then exhaled, his chin sinking to his chest as he did so. Then, opening them again, he stared down at the bento on the desk. What he saw almost made him choke.
The bento consisted of three rice balls. It was not an unusual lunch; Sasami made it frequently. Each ball had been seasoned on the outside with some light spices, and was very pretty to look at. What was different today was that she had written on them in sauce. The first ball had two Kanji: Ten, and Chi: his name. The second had two kanji and an additional character. The first was Dai, meaning 'big or large', the second was a combination kanji of woman and child together. Because of the affection between the two, this kanji meant 'liked', and along with the phonetic character after, pronounced Su-ki. Together, the rice balls formed 'Dai suki,' 'I like a lot.' The way it was phrased, it was a somewhat childish way of saying 'I love you'.
On the third rice ball Sasami had simply painted a heart. Tenchi's chopsticks stood vertically out of it, impaling the little girl's gesture of affection.
Sasami spent the rest of the day in class with Misao. Though they were not able to communicate vocally, they exchanged glances throughout the time. Each paid attention to the other, internally enjoying just being together with a new friend. Class ended before either expected. Amidst the other students exiting the classroom, they stood up, intending to leave together. A girl standing at the doorway stopped them.
"Stop right there, Jurai-san, Amano-san." she said, holding out her hand.
"What?" Sasami asked, looking at her.
The girl held a small black rulebook in her left hand, and pointed at Sasami with her right. It was the class representative.
"You two have to stay after to clean up." she commanded.
"What?" Sasami exclaimed, "But, it's not our turn!"
"I know." she nonchalantly responded.
"Because you two were seen littering. I have witnesses."
"What do you mean, littering?" Sasami asked, annoyed, "And who said we did?" curious as to who her accusers were.
"Those two," she motioned to the back of the room where two boys sat. Sasami looked back, Guy and Shohei waved at her, a wide smirk on each face. Sasami felt her stomach begin to tighten with a hint of anger, knowing the boys were lying to get them in trouble.
"And what did we litter?" she asked, keeping tight control of her tone, lest it become disrespectful.
"A box of heart candy." she replied.
"A box of… I…" Sasami said, caught off guard.
It was true, she thought back. They had forgotten the box, leaving it sit on the table bench. They had technically littered school property.
"Here you go, you can start on the floors." the class rep. said, directing Misao and Sasami with her right hand to the back of the room where the locker where the cleaning supplies were held. "Get to work."
And so, the two spent the next hour doing cleanup duty. It was as boring job as it always was. When they were finally done, both retrieved their book bags from the desks and walked out the door together, glad to be free.
By the time the bus opened its doors, Tenchi was already running. He didn't have much time; Sasami would be home soon. He knew that Sasami usually did the shopping after school, but that didn't give him much time… maybe half an hour. He knew it would take longer for what he had planned.
Making good time was difficult. Tenchi was attempting to run while holding a full bag of groceries and his satchel. To make matters worse, the bag given to him at the market was beginning to tear. Tenchi prayed as he went that it wouldn't progress any further. All the while his mind was working.
He would beat Sasami home, this much he knew. Now he had to make some time to finish what he was planning. He didn't want her walking in before he was done. He needed some way to delay her. His train of thought was interrupted by the sound of the bag tearing.
"Damn!" he swore as the bottom gave out, and the groceries splattered against the path.
He glanced very quickly at the items, immediately bending over to consolidate them into a pile. He looked at them each as he placed them with the others, noting their condition.
The vegetables were all right- they could be washed… had to be washed, anyway. One of the cans was dented, but only on one end- it could be easily opened from the other. All minor damage, he had been lucky. What Tenchi was actually worried about was a small package, wrapped in white paper. Unconsciously, he inhaled before he reached for it, examining it thoroughly. It was bruised on a corner, and there was a bit of red fluid building up behind the paper, almost through, but not quite. One side was dirty, but the package was intact, and hadn't opened. He consciously exhaled, relieved.
After the lucky feeling wore off, Tenchi realized he had a bigger problem than just collecting the groceries back into a pile. With the bag the way it was, he now really had no way of transporting them the next two kilometers home. Tenchi looked around, looking for something of a container, but found nothing. Thinking for a moment, he considered his satchel, but realized it was nowhere big enough, and was full with books already.
"Think of something genius." he mumbled in annoyance to himself.
Minutes ticked by as he looked and thought. All the while, Tenchi became more and more frustrated, finally taking off his school jacket due to his anxiety making him uncomfortably warm. He placed it to the side and checked his watch. Fifteen minutes had passed. Fifteen minutes!
"All right, Tenchi, improvise." he continued, mumbling.
He squatted, putting his elbows on his knees and his chin in his hands. Looking at the ground, he could see the pile of groceries in front of him. Still, he had no answer. Just then, something to the side caught his right eye. Glancing over, it was his jacket.
Tenchi arrived at the house ten minutes later in a white undershirt. In his arms, he cradled a dark blue bundle of groceries, holding on to his satchel in one hand. Without preamble, he entered the house and set the groceries down in the kitchen, catching the time from the wall clock as he did so. He had only about five minutes until she returned! He needed a distraction, someway to sidetrack Sasami until he could finish. It couldn't be him, though. He would be busy. Who, then? His father wasn't at home. Peeking out into the living room, he saw no one, so his grandfather probably wasn't at the house for any reason right now either. Who else?
Washuu studied the computer screen for a moment, her mouth almost dropping.
"Voiceprint, retinal scan, DNA, password and random background question all required for connection?" she said, hardly believing the kind of protection they were putting on this system. The Galactic Police protected their information well, but not this well. This kind of protection, placed on the information she wanted, only deepened her suspicion that what she was looking for was big. On top of that, the server she was on seemed to be isolated from the rest of the network, giving her only one route in: direct connection password cracking.
"Alright, then." she said, determined to get in.
She opened her list of her known voice patterns with the Galactic Police, indexed them by name, and ran a routine to extrapolate what their passwords possibly were. This was not difficult; people picked stupid passwords as a rule. Then, referencing them by a run through of the officer photo records, she got all the information she would need to know about except one.
"Hmm… DNA… DNA…" she mumbled out loud. "Ah, I got it."
She ran another routine to extrapolate possible gene patterns through the use of all the known physical traits in the record files. Hopefully, the system was lazy and only did a partial comparison of the string. Washuu was confident in this, because comparing a full DNA string was an arduous process, and would slow their systems down considerably if they did it for every login. On top of that, DNA was killer on the subspace bandwidth.
While she was waiting for her gene-sequencing machines to finish their task, she searched the list for who would be a good user to attempt entry with. After a short search, she came up with her target: an officer in headquarters who had been twice disciplined for security breaches in the past.
'This should teach him not to look at information he wasn't meant to see.' she thought to herself, noting the irony.
She punched in the relative information, initiated the login, and hoped. It came back a moment later with denial of entry. She wasn't surprised at this; her getting in on the first try was unlikely. What surprised her was the reason for the denial. She looked at the error carefully.
Access denied. Login attempt #4.2389eA5 Reason for denial: "SRP Address: 0.9238e10472, 2.348382e1983, 4.83682e1023; refname: 2o11p.juraisys.8e04 does not allow subspace relay connections on this port." Have a nice day.
No external accesses! That was her only way in! She pounded the keyboard in frustration, which of course had no effect since it was insubstantial. Instead her hands flew through, her right fist hitting just above her right knee on the fleshy part of the calf.
"Ow!" she squealed, grabbing her knee from the pain. She grabbed it under the thigh with both arms and held it to her chest, trying to keep herself from laughing or crying from the sensation. She screwed her eyes shut, and shifted her weight, causing the air cushion she sat on to spin in air.
Concentrating on the knee in her chest, Washuu didn't notice the sound of her crab door chimes as someone entered the room.
"Washuu-chan?" she heard a voice somewhere from behind her, if 'behind' was really a useful concept while spinning. "Ummm… What are you doing?"
She stopped her spinning, opened her eyes and then craned her head to search for the person speaking, her teeth showing in a wide, embarrassed smile. It was Tenchi. Attempting to regain some dignity, she returned her head to a front-facing position, dropped her knee (though it still hurt), and rotated the cushion to face him, her teeth still showing.
"Ah Tenchi-dono! When did you get here?" she said with the same embarrassment evident on her face.
Tenchi decided to ignore whatever it was that had just happened in favor of time, which he had precious little of.
"Just now. Anyway, Washuu-chan, I need a favor." he said, seriously.
"Favor? What exactly?" she asked.
"I need you to distract Sasami-chan for a little while when she gets home," he said. "Anything to keep her away from the kitchen."
"Oh, I see… hmm… I guess I can do that… but Tenchi-dono?"
"Is her cooking really that bad? I thought she was doing an excellent job, and-"
"No, that's not it. I have other reasons. Anyway, I need you to distract her before she gets to the house."
"Yes. That will be fine. How long should I distract her for?"
Tenchi glanced at his watch.
"About an hour."
"Fair enough." she said, thinking for a moment. "However, could you do something for me in exchange?"
"Just come to my lab tomorrow."
Tenchi was very efficient in food preparation, having on many occasions before Sasami arrived had to make dinner before his father got home. While Nobuyuki had always complimented his food, Tenchi didn't know how good it really was; Nobuyuki may have lied, knowing that it was the only way he could get food that was non-instant. Personally, he thought it was okay, but didn't strike him as special in any way. Right now, though, he hoped his father had been truthful.
Previously, with no women in the house, Tenchi had been appointed the one to cook once he became old enough. This was mostly due to the fact that Nobuyuki could not do so without setup and cleanup that resulted in sore joints and a stiff neck the next day. Tidiness had never been his forte.
When the girls had arrived, Sasami had taken over cooking almost immediately. She didn't ask if Tenchi could cook, and probably didn't know. He would have offered to make dinner if it weren't the fact that Sasami seemed to enjoy it so much. That and she was so good at it. Even though he was rushed, he took great care in all aspects of making the food. He wanted it to be perfect. After almost exactly an hour, he was finished. Preparation was complete. The table was set. He took off the apron and set it to the side, and sat down at the table. All the while thinking about how he was going to apologize.
After Tenchi left her lab, Washuu began plotting out how she would intercept Sasami. The first thing was to locate the girl. That way she knew how much time she had to distract her for. First she checked on the life form scanners surrounding the house to locate her if she was close. After a quick search, it came up negative.
Okay, so she wasn't near the house; that was good. Washuu had some time to prepare. It occurred to her as odd, though, as she knew, like Tenchi that Sasami was usually home about this time. Suddenly a panicked thought reached her mind, and she initiated another search quickly.
"Good. She's not in the house." she said, relieved, after the results came back.
Washuu then set an automatic search using a combination of visual and life form patterns, letting it scan in concentric circles from the home, intending for it to stop by hand after it found her. A moment later, a result came back. She looked at it, not bothering to terminate the search.
"Kegani, activate optical device 438 on coordinates in clipboard 42, format: polar." She said, intending to get a good viewing device to check the location.
"Hai, Washuu-chan!" a computer voice responded.
Another voice- Yadokari, Washuu recognized-began speaking barely a moment later.
"Adjusting device 438: huber; 15 seconds to alignment." Washuu rolled her eyes, tapping her fingers on the desk. The optical satellites on this world were still very primitive, and while they were all she had without launching her own (which she didn't, for various reasons), they were still (with minor adjustments) very useful.
"Device aligned, beginning focus… focused."
"On terminal screen, please."
Washuu looked into the screen in horror. Sasami lay face down in the grass, unmoving. The ground around was colored with dark liquid, covering most of what Washuu could see. From the focus, all Washuu could see was her head and back, two ponytails flowing down. She was about to run out to get Tenchi when something struck her as odd in the scene. Sasami's hair was much longer than she remembered, covering her entire back. In fact, the shade of her hair was off a bit also, and it was shaped in an odd way. Then she noticed the surroundings. Around her was what looked like grass, except that the individual blades towered over Sasami's figure by almost twice her height lying down.
"What the… Yadokari, zoom out, 5 meters."
Washuu watched as the instrument zoomed out and then refocused.
Suddenly, it all made sense. The scene was as follows: a small grassy section of ground, bordered on one side by a metallic can. On another side was a small section of fence, painted blue. What she had thought was Sasami lay next to the metallic can which turned out to be holding paint (blue, no doubt). These elements coming into perspective are what lead Washuu to her conclusion: She was looking at a cockroach, covered in blue paint. The realization made her throw her head back in laughter.
After looking back at the search results, she realized her mistake: there had been a 49% match: 38% visual, done by one of the quicker, lower image quality satellites she sometimes utilized; 10% life form match, which was about right for an insect and a human.
Washuu stopped her train of thought for a moment; Sasami was Juraian. A 10% likeness for creatures of two different planets and such varying types was a bit on the high side assuming they evolved separately. At least, for the type of test she was running. She'd have to check on that later. For now, she needed to find Sasami. Looking back on the search results, there was only one other match, this one almost 100%. Near the school. After once again adjusting the satellite, Washuu looked onto a completely different scene. This time, it was more to her expectations.
On the screen was a mostly overhead view of Sasami walking with another girl Washuu did not recognize. This was not surprising; Sasami had friends at school she spent time with. They were talking happily as they walked down a nondescript alleyway, the perfect image of happy schoolgirls.
'Ahh, so she's spending time with a friend.' Washuu thought. 'Looks like I don't have anything to worry about'
She continued to watch for a moment, not really expecting anything to happen, just trying to read what the two girl's plans were. With hardly a thought, she dispatched an audio probe to listen in, and possibly get an idea of when Sasami intended to leave for home, or if she was in fact going now.
The girls continued to chat idly to each other, unaware. They approached an intersection, and passing through it, it opened into a park on one side, bordered by a meter-and-a-half tall hedge made up of yet unblooming rose bushes.
Washuu saw it coming before the girls did, but was powerless to stop it. Three boys were hidden behind the bushes, one larger boy flanked by two smaller boys. The younger two appeared around Sasami's age, though the older boy was undoubtedly a year or two older. The two smaller ones held buckets, filled with some dark liquid.
As soon as the two girls approached a break in the hedge, the younger boys jumped out, throwing the contents of the buckets at them.
Misao didn't even see the liquid coming. Sasami caught it out of the corner of her eye. Even so, the small warning she had was not enough to prepare her for the shock of the water hitting her like a hard slap in the face.
Sasami was completely stunned for a moment. After wiping the liquid from her face on her sleeve, she looked down at her previously white blouse, now stained black and dripping with the liquid. Checking further, she saw that the white skirt she wore was similarly stained. The rest of the uniform was stained, but was blue and did not show as well. She could hear two boys laughing.
"You like it?" asked Guy, mockingly, "It's a mix of water, soy sauce, and ink."
Sasami ignored him and looked over at Misao. She was looking down at her uniform as Sasami had. It was similarly stained. After a moment, Misao looked up at her, her eyes meeting Sasami's own. A look of complete helplessness etched upon her features; the inky black drops of water falling down her face like tears.
Again, movement caught the corner of her eye. Reacting to it, she saw Daigo step out from behind the hedge where Guy and Shohei must have appeared. Without saying a word, he walked up behind Guy and Shohei who parted for him. Walking past them, he confronted Sasami head on.
"Why did you do that?" Sasami asked, barely keeping a grip on her anger.
"Because you two gave me trouble. I don't like people standing up to me. I lose face that way." he replied in an even tone.
"Who do you think you are? You always pick on the smaller students, just because you can push them around."
"You think you're any different?" he growled.
Reaching to the side, Daigo grasped Misao's uniform by the chest. Lifting up, he held the girl eye level with him, looking at her now petrified face.
"You see?" he said. "You can't even stop me from picking on your little girl friend here."
Sasami had not anticipated this, expecting anything he might do would be towards her. It had happened too fast. As it was, the situation was almost obscene. Daigo held the tiny girl in the air by the blue blouse she wore. His hold was tight, and a small bit of her breast tissue was pinched in his grip, hurting her a lot. In addition, Misao's own weight was untucking the blouse from her skirt. Misao knew that if that happened, she could lose her blouse. Even so, there was nothing she could do, she was too scared to fight back.
"Put her down!" Sasami screamed, "Now!"
He ignored her commands, hoping to incite her further by smiling at the helpless girl whimpering in his hands. It did the trick, Sasami charged at him almost immediately. Anticipating the move, Daigo turned and kicked her squarely in the stomach, forcing her to buckle over in pain. She collapsed to the ground, gripping her stomach, trying to regain the breath stolen from her lungs.
"You're still trying to stand up to me." he mocked amusedly, using a tone a father might use to a child.
Sasami listened to him, rage burning with the pain in her gut as her breath began to come back to her raggedly.
"Oh, well. I guess I'll have to discipline you both," he said.
Then, in a quick motion, he let Misao sink a bit, then jerked her body sharply up and at an angle towards the hedge. From the initial throw, Misao's uniform pulled free of her skirt, which bunched up over her face, blocking her vision as she flew. The girl panicked, not knowing what to do. By the time she was able to see again, her flight was over. She landed badly, her body forcing itself deeply into the thick bushes, sinking very quickly. Then she tumbled, her body falling through to the park side of the bushes and into the grass.
"Misao!" Sasami screamed, though her lack breath caused her voice to strain.
She jumped to her feet and bolted towards the opening in the hedge. Guy and Shohei made no move to stop her, smirking at her as she sped past. When she reached Misao, she was turned face down in the grass. Sasami could tell when she got there that she was crying. She looked over her body quickly to assess her condition. There were bloody scratches on her legs everywhere, and her skirt was torn to shreds. Her clothing was worse than her body, though; she seemed to not be hurt too badly.
"Misao…" she said gently, kneeling down next to her. "Are you alright?"
Misao bobbed her head in the dirt to indicate so. Not stopping her whimpering. At that moment on the other side of the hedge, Daigo felt really good. Contrary to the rumors, he did not usually pick on girls to the point of beating them. He wasn't stupid, a girl with obvious physical marks gave her too much attention, and he preferred to be discrete as far as the teachers went. The students could know. That was fine; they couldn't do anything anyway.
"That was cool Daigo-sama!" said Guy. Daigo smiled, feeling the perverse praise fill him.
"Should we continue?" Shohei asked him.
Yes. The thought of continuing the assault on these two, especially Sasami was something he definitely wanted to do. Sasami had given him a fight up to this point. She had spirit. There was nothing more he wanted than to rip that spirit from her, to make her submit to him. Right now, letting his anger and rage flow through him, taking out on these girls what the world took from him was all he could ask for.
Listening to the sobbing coming from the opposite side of the hedge knew he would. He then repeated a line who's like he had heard all too many times in his life. The phrase filled him with despair and triumph at the same time; he shivered with excitement.
"Let's give her something to cry about."
Sasami heard the words. Looking down at the helpless girl lying in the grass crying, she made a resolution to stand firm. No matter how much she was outmatched, no matter how much she would pay for it, she would defend her new friend. It was a battle she was willing to fight, knowing she could not win.
Her heart began pounding as she made it clear to herself that she would not run, she would not hide. Her body tingled, jittery with anxious anticipation. She went to stand up, ready for the flow of adrenaline. The rush felt nothing like she expected. While in the past when she played sports or had adventures with Tenchi, she had felt an increased awareness, heightened senses, touch-go reflexes one could only achieve during periods of anxiety and anticipation. This time, she felt more asleep than awake. Looking out, her vision blurred, her head spun, she felt as if she would faint.
A moment later, she did.
She had been shocked through the scene that had passed before her up to this point. She had no idea such bullies were tolerated on this planet. Adults could be cruel, but that did not mean that children were less so, she realized very soon after the audio mechanism had kicked in.
Washuu had been anxiously warming up the short range matter transporter she had been working on, waiting for it to complete it's bootstrap cycle. She hoped the device worked as well as it had during earlier trials, wanting very badly to send herself to the scene in order to help the girls. Before it finished, the events on the monitor stopped her cold.
"Tsunami." she uttered, her expression turning to astonishment.
The boys came around the rose hedge single file, talking all the while. They took their time. They all knew that Misao was going to be down, and that Sasami wouldn't leave her. Her defiance earlier had shown that. They also didn't worry too much about being seen. This park was fairly secluded. Few children came here, and mostly elderly people lived in the surrounding houses; people who minded their own business.
They were all the more surprised when they found not a pony-tailed girl guarding her crying friend, but a pony-tailed woman. On top of that, the girl on the ground who had been making noise a moment ago appeared to be passed out.
"Who the fuck are you?" Daigo said, angry his favored victim had disappeared.
She turned her head slightly to look at him.
"Tsunami." she replied simply. "I am Sasami's older sister."
"Shit. I could'a figured that out."
Indeed, Daigo had already guessed that. He had no idea who she was, or even heard her name before, but there was no mistaking the resemblance between the two. Same face, same eyes, same thin body; even the hairstyles were similar. She was tall for a woman, appearing to be somewhere in her late teens to early twenties. Most important, she was female, and while he didn't intend to attack the girl, he did not fear her.
"So when the hell did you get here?" he pressed.
"My sister was in trouble." she replied simply. "I will always come to her aid."
"Where's your sister now?" he asked.
"Safe." the woman replied.
"Daigo-sama asked you a question," came an angry voice from behind Daigo. Feeding off of Daigo's confidence in dealing with the older woman, Guy stepped forward threateningly, his fists balled, "Now give him the answer he wants. Where is she?"
In response, the woman raised a single hand towards the approaching youth. Instantly, there was a flash of light and before he knew it, Guy was on the ground. He lay there, looking up at the sky, stunned. The two other boys stood in shock for a moment, witnessing their comrade's fate.
Daigo had always had a bad temper. It was a flaw he had that sometimes manifested itself in his dealings with other students. This anger was the largest contributing factor to his reputation. Once, he had beaten a kid unconscious because he had refused to comply with his commands. Now the temper kicked in. His brain ignored the seeming supernatural nature of her attack, the fact that he was about to hit someone over twice his age. He simply charged at the object that refused to comply. If he couldn't squash the other girl's spirit, he would punish this one. Raising his fist, he put his rage into his punch, wanting more than anything to punish this woman that made him lose control of his life.
This time she used both hands.
Daigo flew he didn't know how far. All he knew was that he hit the wall hard, feeling a crumbling sensation as he did; Afterwards slumping to the ground in a sitting position, his breath knocked form his lungs. He looked at her, snarling.
"I will not allow you to hurt either of these children," the woman said.
Daigo locked eyes with her, ignoring Shohei who came to his side and took a defensive stance against her. Stone walls are known for their strength against impact. Unfortunately, this quality for which they are so prized is lost when they get old, are worn, or cracked. Under these conditions, the stone tends to crumble, falling to the ground in chunks. Such it was in this case. There was little warning save a brief sound a moment before it happened. A fair-sized chunk of the wall weighing several dozen kilograms fell from above Daigo's head. It landed squarely on his left leg, a crunching sound as they made contact.
Daigo bellowed in pain and tried franticly to remove the rock from his injured leg. Shohei assisted him immediately, scared to death of what he thought might have just happened. His fears were justified when he moved the stone fragment. Though he could not see the leg directly, the clothing over it was misshapen below the knee, forming a concave bowl.
"Daigo-sama, I, Wha… what do I do?" he asked, panicked.
"Go for help, you idiot!" Daigo screamed back, pain apparent in his voice.
Following the command, he got up immediately. He looked back to where Guy was weakly getting up. Kneeling down, he asked him if he was all right. Guy indicating he was, Shohei instructed him to assist Daigo until he returned. Then, frowning, he looked up to gaze upon the one who had caused his leader such pain. Only, gazing up upon the green grass of the park, there was nothing to see.
Tsunami and Misao were gone.
To be continued.
Author Notes: This *IS* the second chapter. I apologize for the misunderstanding Chapter 1, Part 1 caused. I originally thought I would write the chapters in equal lengths, but realized that was unrealistic for various reasons. The second chapter was much more difficult to write, and edit due to the fact that I was trying to combine many ideas in ways that didn't become overly wordy. I hope I succeeded for most of it. Once again, my pre-readers came through for me like the angels of mercy they are. Without their help, this fic would have been much harder on the brain. My proofreaders are (in no particular order):
- David Arjuna Stevens
Anyway, chapter 2 promises to show a hint more of what I am planning to do in this fic. The first chapter was primarily an intro. I hope to get onto the actual fic soon. Again, I have fears about my ability to finish what I have planned here. Today is June 16th. I may be leaving for Japan around august 24th. Also, I may be working as a mentor for some Japanese High School students while they take summer classes as early as July 18th and be doing so until I leave. So much happening in my life right now.
Well, I'll just have to do my best. I hope everybody here enjoys the first chapter. Also, remember: if I don't hear from you, I have no way of knowing if you like it. If I'm not pleasing people, I have less will to write more.
Nall-ohki, (Tyson Roberts)
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