Genre: gen, PG-13
Characters: Fujimiya Aya (Ran), Kudou Yoji, Tsukiyono Omi, Hidaka Ken
Summary: While Aya is in a coma, her brother takes over her responsibilities.
Comments: Written for weissvsaiyuki: Fantasy AU challenge. Small spoilers for “Mission 9: Schreient-- Hopes,” “Mission 12: Abschied-- Why,” and “Mission 16: Schatten-- Return to Battle.”
The two schoolgirls screamed as the demon towered over them, haloed in a creeping sensation of corruption, its claws and sharp teeth bared, drool dripping from its craggy jaw, its slit pupil eyes glowing with a malevolent black-purple radiance. Aya had faced and defeated this one before.
“You’re back again?” Aya said as he confronted his foe, distracting him from the girls he menaced. Fortunately, they took advantage of his appearance to flee. Some demon victims froze from terror.
Aya couldn’t help feeling happy that they hadn’t gotten a good look at him either, his guardian’s silver diadem, silver wand, and rather girly silvery sash, each studded with a single purple crystal. He wore as little of the official costume as he could get away with, preferring his far more practical--and masculine--assassination uniform.
“You’re disappointed? I usually face cute girl guardians in short skirts,” the demon said, leering. “This is who and what I am, guardian, and what I do. Of course I’m back.”
His sister used to face deviants like this alone in a short-skirted sailor uniform, and the thought nearly set Aya on fire with rage and horror.
::Ran, focus!:: his guide, Yuki, a white rabbit spirit with red eyes, said to him through their magic link. ::You know that rage makes it more difficult to use your power, and he knows it too.::
Too true. He felt the power in his body and his wand weakening. The demon took immediate advantage, sending black-purple tentacle-like bolts of power to tightly wrap around his body, pick him up and thrash him around, and drain him, weakening him. His mission uniform covered most of his body, far better than the usual guardian uniform would, but the tentacles could still touch his face, making him shudder from the stench of rotten garbage and slimy sensation of corruption sliding along his skin. They felt like they pulsed too, somehow increasing the sick, spinning sensation in his head. The tentacle wrapped around his right wrist tightened and tightened, drained and drained, until his wand disappeared from his hand. Shit, the tip of one tried to force its way into his mouth!
This thing made what Masafumi had done to him with his tentacles look cute and sweet by comparison. Aya would much rather have his face bashed against a piano then endure this.
It still killed him that his sister used to face this kind of thing. No wonder she never told him anything about her other life.
“At least your power is as tasty as a cute girl guardian’s,” the demon said once his tentacles had Aya floating right in front of him. “You’re kind of pretty too. Maybe I’ll make an exception for you.” Grinning, he ran the tip of his claw down the slope of Aya’s nose, lightly enough that he didn’t draw much blood. “C’mon, open your mouth, let me in!”
Although he knew guides couldn’t interfere, didn’t even have the ability to, a horrified Aya couldn’t help asking, ::Yuki! Do something!::
::I can’t! I wish I could!::
::Did my sister ever--::
::No! Not like this. Never like this. This demon has gotten stronger. And much darker!::
Using the guardian powers, Aya had drained and defeated this one twice before. Like many of the demons he faced, it seemed to get stronger and more twisted each time, leading to this. He sometimes worried that his own impurities and darkness increased theirs.
Aya’s struggles weakened as the strength drained out of his body. Once the demon felt that Aya had become helpless enough, he made the tentacles disappear, letting Aya drop to the sidewalk, and Aya didn’t even have the strength to push himself up. His foe grabbed the front of his coat and yanked him up by it, pulling him in close enough to let him smell the charnel house stench of the demon’s breath, which became much worse when the demon licked the blood off his nose. “Mmmm, tasty.”
Aya’s arm shook as he moved his hand to the hilt of his katana, though he didn’t know if he’d have the strength to draw and wield it. Only one way to find out though. Focusing and drawing on all his will and horror, he managed to draw out his katana and stab the demon in the gut with it. With his usual strength it would immediately go through, but this time he had to use two hands, some of his body weight, and momentum to hammer it through. Then he sliced all the way up. Stinking, sticky purple-black blood dripped down Aya’s gloves.
As blood streamed out of his mouth, the surprised demon choked out, “What happened to the power of love, power of friendship?”
“This is the power of love, the love of an older brother who doesn’t want anyone’s little sister to have to face a deviant like you.” Although he said it as a comeback, he realized that he really did fervently feel that way. To his gratification, his katana started to glow with guardian power, to the demon’s increased pain, and gave him enough strength to stand on his own as the demon let him go and... dissolved into a thick puddle of its blood, which had the consistency of molasses. He’d have to use a stronger version of the power to clean it off his katana, which he’d need time to regenerate, so he hoped the guck wasn’t corrosive.
“So you’re a florist/assassin/magical girl?” Yoji asked from behind him. “This is what you’re doing when you disappear?”
Aya turned to see Weiß standing a few meters away, every member wide-eyed. Yoji said, “Yeah, we were here long enough to see your princess crown, sash, and wand. The purple crystal on each is a nice touch. During your transformation, you should also get some cute dress or a girl’s sailor uniform.”
“No, I don’t get put in a girl’s costume.” Not since the first time. Thankfully, nobody but Yuki got to see that. Thankfully, regular people couldn’t see his rabbit spirit guide floating either, because Yoji would surely chortle over her having her own matching diadem and sash. “Why the hell would you want to see me in a girl’s sailor uniform? I’ve already killed one pervert tonight, but I’m willing to take out another.”
“Speaking of, I could’ve used some help. If you had to be here, you could’ve made yourselves useful.”
“Even with everything we’ve seen, we were too shocked to move,” Ken said. “It looked like something out of an anime and didn’t seem real.”
“I’m not sure exactly what he would’ve done to me, but it would’ve been terrible and it would’ve been real, believe me. This isn’t a spectator sport.”
“How did you get this, Aya?” Omi asked. “Is it because of your sister?”
“Yes, I’m doing it for my sister. She’ll wake up someday, and she might want to resume this.” They should be happy Aya gave them that much.
But Omi and Yoji didn’t take his warning tone as the obvious demand not to ask anything more the way they should have. “Was this her power?” Omi asked, while Yoji asked, “How did Takatori get the drop on her, then?”
He didn’t have to say anything more, but Yuki glared at him hard enough that he answered, “She saved us from the explosion of our family home but didn’t expect the speeding car that bastard Takatori aimed at her right after it. I think the power saved her life then too, but I haven’t found a way to use it to bring her out of her coma or find where her kidnappers have taken her.” That remained a very bitter pill for him. He’d tried so hard that his head had rung....
Amidst all the shocks of that horrible night, seeing her transform for the first time as she teleported them out of their home had barely registered. She’d flashed back to her own clothing as she’d reappeared in the street....
That reminded him of a worry he’d had since joining Kritiker. “Don’t tell Kritiker about this, Omi. If they knew, they’d demand I use these powers for them. Given the kind of jobs they have us do, I doubt the powers would work for it. Besides, although they often express themselves in what we view as cutesy ways, the beings who granted these powers shouldn’t be messed with. They already disapprove of Kritiker on principle; don’t force their hand into doing something about it.”
Omi looked cute, innocent, and disappointed in him that he would be so suspicious. “Aya--”
Aya didn’t fall for any of it. “No. I know you report to them, but this would blow up in all our faces. If Kritiker finds out, I’ll figure you did it.”
“That’s not fair.”
“Life’s not fair. We should all know that by now. I do.” Aya sighed. “I’m exhausted after what that demon did to me. Either leave and let me make my own way home or take me with you.”
“We’d have to lay plastic down on the seats because you have slime all over you,” Yoji said.
“Not necessary.” Aya could generate enough of a charge to burn the slime and gooey blood off him, his clothing, his katana, and the sidewalk. “Have I missed any?”
Yoji walked around him before saying, “You’re good. Let’s go. Hey, show us the crown, sash, and wand again.”
“Mean.” As the team walked to the car, Yoji said, “Omi, you’d make a great magical girl. Cute too.”
Aya sat on the backseat with Ken and felt relieved that he could finally rest a while. His body might as well be made of pudding at the moment. He also felt relieved that the rest of his team couldn’t see or hear Yuki perched on his shoulder or hear his answers back.
::I know that as a guide you couldn’t do anything to distract the team away from seeing my battle, but you should’ve at least warned me, Yuki,:: Aya said.
::I actually am sorry about that. I was nearly as engrossed in your struggle with the demon as you were, Ran,:: she answered.
::I’m glad the power accepted what I did with my katana. I didn’t know if it would.::
::That demon is worse, much worse, than the last time you fought him. At this point, they must have accepted that if you drained and let him go again he’d just increase his murder and corruption sprees. Besides, they understand self-defense. You couldn’t have summoned the wand back after he stole that much strength from you, and I don’t know what horrors he would’ve done to you if you hadn’t struck out with your katana.::
As much as he sometimes chafed under their restrictions, he couldn’t afford to alienate them so much that they took the guardianship away and gave it to some other girl. As a mere placeholder, a male, not the optimum choice, getting darker the longer he killed people for Kritiker, he could give it back to her when she awakened if she wished to be a guardian again. If they bestowed it upon a bright, pure, sweet, innocent young girl as they preferred, they would’ve permanently passed his sister over.
The guardians obviously did good things for the world and its people, protecting them, and his sister had felt very strongly about doing good and standing up for what was right. Although he didn’t approve of the dangers she’d apparently faced, he’d fight to the death for her right to continue to do it if she really wanted to, even if he prayed that she wouldn’t.
(If she returned to it, he might ask her to wear a more modest and protective costume though.)
Though in a few years they’d both age out of guardianship. He’d be running along the edge of it soon if Kritiker didn’t get him killed first. If he survived to get older, he’d do his best to convince the powers to let him hold onto it as long as she needed him to.
:: As a guide, I would’ve been forced to watch it all but unable to interfere. Thank you for sparing me that,:: Yuki said. ::Girls are still so much easier than and superior to boys, and you’re one of the neediest, angriest guardians with the most issues I’ve ever met... though you’re somewhat better now that you’re past your “Takatori, diiiiiiie!” stage... but I’ve become fond of you, and I respect the strength, depth, and ferocity of your love for your sister. If they’d had any problems with what you did, I would’ve supported you and testified on your behalf.::
He couldn’t help feeling touched by that. ::The power of love.::
She caressed the side of his face with her soft head. ::The power of love.::