Saturday, April 16, 2011

Insert Randomly-Numbered Diclonius Here

Kate flicked between the screens on the monitor before her. Fandoms flashed by at a rapid speed, before settling on one that she liked. She sat back, with her mug of Yorkshire tea, and prepared for a show. She loved eavesdropping on her favourite characters. It made time go by far quicker when on the watch for Mary-Sues.

In the next room she could hear frantic footsteps and yells, suggesting that someone was currently being chased. There was a loud 'ooomph!' and the sounds of a struggle.


"Let me go!"

"That's my cupcake Hati!"

"Tash, do not poke my flab!"

"You don't have flab, now give me my cupcake!"

"Help! Assault!"

No one ever said that the two Anti-Cliche and Mary-Sue Elimination Society leaders were mature, nor (heaven forbid) that they should act their age. So with a shake of her head, and a chuckle, Kate ignored the commotion and focused in her fandom.

No sooner had she taken a sip of her drink, when the screen suddenly turned red, and an alert message flashed up, cutting off her entertainment. Grumbling under her breath in Welsh, she typed away at the keyboard, and as soon as she received the fandom name, she immediately gulped.

"Um Tash," she called into the next room. "You might wanna see this!"

At this point the name of the identified Sue popped up, and Kate's mug of tea went crashing to the floor.

"Yeah... you definitely want to see this."


Kohta looked up from the chiming clock, and turned his head towards the figure silhouetted in the gateway. It was definitely a woman, and the form was so familiar to him... it couldn't be... he was sure she had vanished for good...

The figure moved to open the gate, and Kohta realised he was wrong about one thing.

She wasn't alone.

"Kohta!" Nyu dashed across the courtyard, her childishness evident in the delighted tone of her voice. She buried her face into the stunned young man's shoulder, mumbling her happiness into his shirt.

"Nyu..." she crooned. Kohta's eyes went wide, as he focused on the top of her head. Where her horns had been, they were no longer there, both of them snapped right off close to her scalp, leaving only two jagged bumps where the protrusion had sprouted.

Kohta's mind struggled to process thought. She had lost both her horns? He had seen her on the steps overlooking the beach with only one horn, but he hadn't quite registered then. There had been far more important things on his mind...

And that hadn't been Nyu anyway, he reminded himself. That had been Lucy on the steps... telling him that her purpose was to kill humans... that he had been the only reason she had endured captivity for so long... for the chance to tell him she was sorry.

His instinctive reaction was to hug her – after all, she was Nyu – the strange horned girl who had wandered into his life, and whom he now felt an unhealthy attraction to. But then there was her other side...

Then there was Lucy.

He had told her that he couldn't forgive her. And even now, when he was so thrilled that she was alive, that she had come home, he still couldn't forgive her. She had hurt him too much. She had killed his father... ripped his head right off... she had killed Kanae... sweet little Kanae...

But this wasn't Lucy. Not right now. This was Nyu. Though they were the same, it wasn't right of him to blame Nyu for the death of his father and sister. He cared too much for Nyu... and yet he loved Lucy too... What could he do but love them both?

"Its alright," a beautiful voice seemed to soothe him from nowhere. "Its alright to love them both. Kanae would understand..."

Giving in to the beautiful voice that sounded so right, Kohta wrapped his arms around Nyu and hugged her tight.

"Kohta..." Yuka had come to investigate, and stopped just at the doorstep, her shoes already on. She froze, her face conflicted for just the briefest second... and then it passed as though someone had been by with a cloth and just wiped it off, replacing it with a gleaming smile.

"Nyu!" she cried. Nyu let go of Kohta, and with a chirrup of her namesake, she glomped Yuka, beaming widely.

Only then did Kohta turn his attention to the newcomer.

One thing was apparent immediately. She was a diclonius. Her horns stood proudly through a mass of silky auburn hair (which struck Kohta as odd, because all the diclonii he had seen had hair in varying shades of pink). Her eyes were red, and radiated sorrow and pain that had accumulated over a hard lifetime. She wore a pretty dark blue dress, which revealed a slight amount of cleavage, black leggings, which hugged slender legs, and black slip-on shoes around dainty looking feet. She was completely stunning.

"She's happier now," the young woman said, stepping forwards slowly, so as not to alarm anyone. "It's a good thing I arrived at the bridge in time to rescue her from the firing squad."

"Umm... are you one of Nyu's friends?" Kohta asked, curiously, blinking very slowly at the beautiful young woman. A small tinge of pink touched her high cheekbones.

"Yes. My name is..."


"Willowe Diamond Allisonette Ravenne Hyacinth Aurelia Sakurelle Dewdrop Arwennia Heliotrope Sandriline Delilah Aphrodite Bob Yuffiana Swainsona Vipertooth Foxblade the Third," Tash muttered in a dark voice.

"Is it me?" Hati asked, tipping her head to one side in a curious manner (she still had a smudge of butter icing on her cheek, but she was plus one cupcake so all was right with the world). "Or is her name getting progressively longer?"

"How a name get longer if she's the third of it?" someone asked.

"It's a running gag," Aster shrugged, "Blame the author writing this."

Immediately the Library was rocked by an earthquake so powerful that books slid off the shelves, and Kate's newly replaced mug of tea went crashing to the floor again, causing the Welsh girl to howl with misery (it was a waste of good tea!). The shockwaves subsided after about twenty seconds, by which time, piles of books littered the floor, and one of the smaller bookshelves had been upended, revealing one of Adrian's unplundered stashes of pocky.

"ASTER!" Hati roared, rounding on the usually hyper agent. "We've told you about this before! Breaking the fourth wall while inside the Library is DANGEROUS!"

"Kyaa~..." Aster pouted, but kept quiet from this point onwards, as Adrian's voice suddenly ripped through the library.

"WHO'S BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL AND MESSING UP MY LIBRARY?" he demanded. Sensibly, no one answered his question.

"I knew giving him a megaphone so he could call us from his bed was a bad idea..." Tash muttered, in between typing commands into the computer and munching on a stick of cream flavoured pocky. "So what info do we have on our little Mary-Sue this time?"

"She's a diclonius," Kate said in a dark voice, as a picture of Willowe flashed onto the screen. "I count a total of ten vectors, each with a range of... five metres."

Tash swore under her breath, while everyone else just sat there with this information going right over their heads.

"Ready to go?" Hati asked, causing everyone to start.

"Wait, WHAT?" Miriku demanded. "Are you insane? Elfen Lied is on the Black list!"

"Adrian will kill you!" Michael added.

"From a hospital bed?" Hati snickered. "I'd like to see him try!"

"People get their limbs ripped off in this fandom," Kate reminded her, her face paling dramatically at the thought. "And that's if you're lucky not to die or get infected!"

"People get their body parts pulled off in this world?" Michael demanded, looking ill.

"Why do you think it's on the Black list?" Kate asked. "It would be very easy to be brutally murdered! In the anime, about fifty people are dead within the first seven minutes!"

"We are taking Oneshots," Tash soothed. "We will be fine. We'll bring Willowe in, and get out of there before we get hurt."

And without another word, she hurried out of the room. Hati followed before anyone could stop her (the icing still present on her cheek).

"I hope they know what they're doing..." Miriku muttered. Kate meanwhile, had picked up the phone and was dialling a familiar number.

"Emma? It's Kate. Best standby, I don't think this mission will end happily..."


It was mid afternoon when Hati and Tash arrived on the beach of Kamakura, finding it completely deserted – luckily for them. As soon as the plot hole had closed up, both of them tipped their heads back and swallowed identical pills. A second later they both doubled over clutching the sides of their heads, as bone swelled and pushed outwards, leaving them with a pair of horns each, sticking out from beneath their hair.

"Ow..." Hati muttered. "Do they all hurt like that?"

"No," Tash shook her head, slowly. "Oneshots aren't painful. That was just a side effect of the horns..." Practising gently, she felt a strange sensation around her back, and grinned as she saw two transparent arms stretch out around her. Hati gave a yell and fell backwards into the sand.

"Excellent," Tash muttered. "We've both got vectors now..." She frowned slightly. "Though it seems we only have two, and our range isn't great..." Sure enough, the arms only reached two metres before they were unable to go any further. "Oh well. I suppose its some way of helping us against Willowe..."

"So that's what you were talking about earlier," Hati said, stretching her own extra hands experimentally. "Vectors are these... invisible arms?"

"Yup," Tash nodded. "They can cut through just about anything... even a human body."

It suddenly occurred to Tash that Hati was not familiar with this fandom and it might be a good idea to explain a few things.

"Three rules," she said briefly. "One, try and keep out of range of Willowe's vectors. Two, watch out for other Diclonii, particularly Lucy. And three, under no circumstances let anyone's vectors touch your head."

Hati frowned, as they started walking up the beach. "Any particular reason why?"

"The lobe of the brain that controls the vectors is located here," Tash touched her forehead. "If a vector comes into contact with it, it'll freeze your arms... and there's worse..."

"Worse?" Hati asked, looking anxious. Tash nodded.

"If a Queen diclonius, like Lucy, uses her vectors on us... we become carriers for the virus..."


"See... I know they're in a really dangerous fandom," Miriku said slowly, before her eyes went sparkly. "But they both look so adorable with horns!"

No one else commented. Their eyes were all fixed on the screen, where the two Society heads were displayed, alongside a list of their vital signs, and a full readout of Willowe's activities.

"Hey," Michael looked around suddenly. "Where did she go?"

"Where did who go?" Kate asked, at the same time Marcus stepped into the room, curious as to what had his friends gathered around the monitor looking as though they had come to a funeral.

"Marcus," Michael turned to the fellow agent. "Did you see Aster on your way here?"

Marcus nodded in recognition. "Yeah she was heading to ER."

"What?" Miriku, Michael and Kate demanded, sending Marcus leaping backwards in alarm and slamming his elbow into a bookshelf. At the same time, the magnified voice of an angered Librarian erupted throughout the Library.



It was all going perfectly, Willowe thought smugly.

She had finally found a fandom where she could lie low. A fandom where no one could harm her. A fandom where she could actually plan for her next move against the Society.

It had been so easy, convincing these fools that she was a diclonius that had been trapped in the same facility as Lucy and Nana. Saving Lucy from the bridge, had been a pinch, despite the firing squad that had been positioned at one end. Though admittedly the diclonius had lost her second horn in the process, at least she was still alive. And by the time Willowe had stopped to check on her, Lucy had regressed back into her mind, leaving only Nyu to hug her and look all worried and confused, like the scared young girl she was.

Convincing the household that she was an orphan, who had seen some unspeakable things in her life, and was currently living in fear of being caught and locked away (which was true to some degree) had been easy. They had eaten it right up. It helped that Kohta had a natural desire to help young girls in trouble. Yuka had agreed immediately too – with the jealousy she suffered sometimes, it was easy for Willowe's powers to win her over. Mayu was fairly simple too, warming to the beautiful stranger immediately because of her tragic past.

Only Nana looked slightly doubtful. Willowe had to admit, this was surprising, but she should have expected that it might happen. Nana was a diclonius after all, and though Willowe had gained the appearance of a diclonius, right down to the horns, her aura was slightly off...enough that Nana could sense it, the same as any diclonius, but not quite the same, which was raising some doubts in the young girl.

Willowe shook her long hair over her shoulders. Nothing to worry about. She would win over Nana eventually. And unlike previous fandoms, the Society would never come looking here...


Willowe's jaw dropped, revealing a perfect set of even white teeth. It couldn't be!

"A bit louder Tash, I don't think Antarctica heard you," Hati looked exasperated, before turning her green eyes on Willowe, who had got to her feet in alarm. Everyone around the table was also staring.

"Who are you two?" Kohta demanded. There were too many visitors today! First Nyu had come back, along with this incredibly beautiful and mysterious diclonius named Willowe, and now these two? They were not half as beautiful as the aforementioned young woman, and the expressions on their faces mirrored each other in dislike of the one they were seeking. Only the fact that they had clearly visible horns on the top of their heads warranted them a second glance.

"We are the Anti-Cliche and Mary-Sue Elimination Society," Tash proclaimed, striking a pose, and totally failing to look cool in any sense.

"And you're under arrest Willowe!" Hati finished, jabbing a finger at the Sue, whose face was hidden behind her long hair.

"I don't believe it..." she muttered, taking both Society agents by surprise. They had expected Willowe to make one of her usual speedy getaways. Instead she was just standing in the middle of the room, her head bowed and her voice incredibly calm and melodic.

"I don't believe you found me so quickly..." the Sue whispered, before raising her head. Her pupils had all but vanished, and her eyes now had a hooded look. "But I'm glad you did, for now I have the power to destroy you and make you pay for what you've done to me and my sisters!"

Hati and Tash took hasty steps backwards in alarm, as Willowe exploded out of the window towards them. She jerked to an abrupt halt though, as another set of vectors wrapped around her body and stopped her in mid air. "Wha..."

Nana was glaring fiercely, her vectors firmly in place at Willowe's slim waist. Beside her, Lucy had taken over from Nyu, but none of her vectors were visible.

"Of course!" Tash thought, her eyes snapping to Lucy's barely visible horn stumps. "Lucy doesn't have her horns at this point in this world! She can't use her vectors until they grow back!"

Hati however, had arrived at another conclusion, and seized her friend's wrist.

"Move!" she shouted, dragging her away, but Tash had other ideas, slamming her two vectors into the ground and pushing herself up over the hedge and far away. Hati blinked slowly, before catching on and following.

"Why are we running?" Tash demanded, as soon as her friend had caught up. They half ran, half jumped over buildings and low hedges.

"Willowe won't run away!" Hati warned.

"How do you know?" Tash asked. The brunette gave her a dread filled look.

"Because in this fandom she actually has the power to kill us, once and for all!"


Willowe smirked as the two Society agents ran like frightened children.

"So...Oneshot produced vectors. With a range of two metres each..." she muttered, her own vectors appearing. "This will be easy."

"Willowe, where are you going?" Nana demanded.

"What will you do to them?" Lucy asked urgently, her eyes narrowed at the Sue. She didn't like this girl. She hadn't done from the minute she had been ripped off the bridge away from the firing squad...mind you, Lucy didn't really like anyone that much...except Kohta.

Willowe just smiled sweetly.

"I'm going to avenge my sisters," she said simply, before pushing her vectors against the ground, and springing into a graceful jump. Too late, Nana's vector shot out, trying to reach her mind and disable the lethal telepathic arms, but she was too slow, and Willowe was quickly out of range, the beautiful smile being replaced by a far more deadly one.

"And its time I made Harriet pay..."


"WAAAA!" Tash screamed, her vector misjudging the ground, and sending her tumbling onto the stone, grazing her jaw badly, and sending her skirt flying over her head. Hati landed nearby and couldn't stop herself from giggling.

"I see London, I see France, I see Tashy's underpants!"

Tash rolled her eyes. "Wouldn't be the first time..." She was about to tell her friend to stop quoting parody, when she caught sight of the figure closing in fast behind her. "Heads up!"

Hati threw herself to the side just as Willowe came landing on top of one of the stone monuments that littered the park. Tash realised that they were in the very same place that Nana and Lucy had had their first fight. Indeed she was standing about the same place where Lucy had ripped off Nana's limbs, leaving the younger girl bleeding to death. Definitely not a good omen.

"I've waited a long time to have the power to kill you both," Willowe smiled at them. "And now that's exactly what I've got."

From her back sprouted ten vectors, each waving slightly in anticipation, itching to wrap themselves around a leg and pull, severing it from the rest of the body...or worse, squeezing a neck until the owner turned blue.

Tash flinched.

"Whatever we do," she thought. "We mustn't let those vectors touch us any longer than necessary...that virus won't just affect us, but any children we plan to have."

Willowe took a step forwards. Remembering the advice she had been given, Hati took a hasty step backwards, making sure to keep more than five metres away. Willowe giggled.

"Aww how sweet," she said. "You're trying to stay out of my range!" Abruptly her eyes narrowed and she hissed, "But it won't work!"

One of the stones behind Tash suddenly rose into the air, and slammed into her from behind, sending her sprawling onto the ground again. Hati gave a scream of rage, and charged, one of her vectors raising into a fist. Willowe just smiled, and calmly blocked it with two of her own, before sending a third to punch her attacker in the stomach. Hati doubled over coughing.

"Was that the best you can do?" Willowe taunted. One of Tash's vectors whipped around and knocked her feet out from underneath her, sending the Sue tumbling backwards. Much to Hati and Tash's annoyance, she still managed to look graceful even when falling.

"That hurt!" Willowe hissed, jumping back up and sending her vectors flying, four at Tash, four at Hati, and the other two protecting herself. Hati pushed herself high into the air with her own extra limbs, while Tash attempted to block with her own vectors. She stopped three of the arms, but the others slammed into her from all sides, battering her arms and head.

Willowe smirked, but she had completely taken her attention off Hati, who now hovered somewhere above her, balancing in mid-air on one of her vectors. The leader raised the other vector and sent it slicing towards Willowe's throat. The Sue turned into an elegant spin, the deadly limb leaving a shallow cut on the side of her neck.

"Aim for the forehead!" Tash shouted to her friend, as she got to her feet. Willowe just wiped the blood away, her eyes narrowing at Harriet, and her vectors exploding towards her. Hati's free vector rose to protect her face, while her other pushed off from the ground, propelling her towards the Sue. Tash's own vectors slammed into Willowe's, side on, and knocking them out of the way.

"We've got her," Hati thought, her left vector flying towards Willowe's forehead. The Sue was not out of tricks though, and performed a perfect spinning kick, catching Hati in the ribs and sending her skidding along the ground.

"She can kickbox?" Tash thought in alarm, before snorting at her own stupidity. "What am I talking about? She's a Sue. Of course she can kickbox!"

"Which limb first...?" Willowe mused aloud, pinning Hati down with four of her vectors, a fifth one looming over her, threatening to sever one of much needed limbs. Hati's ribs ached, and she was panicking inside, but strangely her body was not responding to the sudden adrenalin rush.

"Get up! Get up!" her mind screamed.

A rustle from the trees was all the warning Willowe got, before Tash's foot came out of nowhere and kicked her squarely in the back of the head. She had seized a nearby branch with one of her vectors and used it to pull herself into the air and launch an attack while the Sue's back was turned. She smirked as Willowe fell to her hands and knees.

"I'm no Adrian, but that was still a boot to the head!" she proclaimed proudly. "Or a shoe to the head I guess..."

"Enough!" Willowe screamed, her vectors pushing her into the air with astonishing speed and force. Tash barely had time to look alarmed before another two vectors flew at her, seized her around the throat and slammed her backwards into the tree trunk.

"Can't... breathe..." Tash's vision swam, blood roaring in her ears.

"That's the idea," Willowe hissed, squeezing harder. "Cry for me..." she whispered. "Scream..." She was trembling in anticipation. "I've waited so long for this..."


In any other situation, watching Adrian hobble around, using his staff as a crutch would have been amusing. But now was really not the time to be having a laugh at the Librarian's expense, particularly when he was so angry that the security he had placed around the Black listed fandoms had been broken – yet again. Truthfully he hadn't been this agitated since Tash had stolen a spell book and given him kitty ears for a day.

"I can't watch," Miriku said, burring her face into Michael's left shoulder (Claire had already claimed the
right). Kate had long since vanished from the computer, meeting with Emma and Beth to go pull Tash and Hati out at Adrian's insistence. Marcus and Valerie were now manning the computers, with mounting grave looks on their faces.

"Heart rate and blood pressure rising," Valerie warned, flicking through the vital signs of the two agents. "Tash can't keep this up much longer."

"I think Willowe's kick broke Hati's ribs," Marcus reported, before glaring at the screen. "Since when was she this powerful?"

"She always has been," Adrian said grimly. "She's just been waiting until she got to a fandom where she would have the right sort of power."

Claire got to her feet, determination radiating off her, despite how terrified they all were. "Come on Miri, let's go set up ER. We're really going to need it."


Hati knew that Tash shouldn't be alive. Those vectors were perfectly capable of slicing through her friend's neck, cutting her flesh and severing her spine neatly. The only reason that wasn't happening was because Willowe wanted to see them suffer first.

The Sue hovered before Tash, her vectors still firmly squeezing around her throat, turning her victim's lips blue. Tash's eyes were half closed, and every limb felt as though it had been filled with lead as it was cut off from much needed oxygen.

"I can't move..." she thought in weak despair. Even thinking was making her tired now.

Hati half crawled, half stumbled towards Willowe, feeling her ribs grind in a way that she was sure they weren't supposed to be doing. She was out of range of her vectors right now, but if she could just get close enough...

"No screaming?" Willowe asked, in disappointment. "What's the matter Tash? You're usually so vocal..."

Tash's arm slid slowly off where Willowe's vector was choking her, unable to support its weight any longer. Another vector quickly pinned it to the tree.

"You're no fun if you don't scream," Willowe shook her head. Her eyes had taken on a savage quality as they locked with Tash's glazed blue ones. "Did my sisters scream when you dragged them from their fandoms and locked them in your basement? Did they?"

She was breathing heavily now. "I could just stay here until you turn completely blue," she whispered enthusiastically. "Or I could rip your limbs off, one by one..." Her grin turned even more sadistic. "Or I could infect you right here and now...oh yes," she added, seeing what was left of coherency in Tash's mind, register just what had been said. "I'm a queen diclonius. Infecting you would be easy! In fact, why don't I show you?"

The deadly arm shot forwards, and Hati acted, her vector swooping up between Willowe's eyes and jamming itself neatly into her forehead. Willowe gave a gasp of surprise, as her vectors suddenly vanished, sending her and Tash plummeting to the ground. Willowe landed gracefully on both feet. Tash dropped like a stone, landing at the base of the tree, one of her leg bones cracking under the force of landing first. She lay in a dishevelled heap, unconscious and unresponsive.

"My vectors..." Willowe sounded panicked. "They won't come out!" She rounded on Hati, venom in every inch of her perfect face, and brought her hand down on the leader's cheek with a loud crack.

"I hate you!" the Sue screamed, tears filling her eyes and making them sparkle as she rained slap after slap down on Hati's face. "I hate you! Why? Why do make me so weak? Why can't you just leave me alone? WHY HARRIET?"

Hati's cheeks were glowing red, and her lip had split from where one of Willowe's rings had caught it. She seized the Sue by the shoulders with her vectors, to halt the assault. All of her limbs, excluding her vectors, ached like she had run a marathon and her ribs pained her worse than ever.

"You're my responsibility," she informed her in a low voice. Willowe's laughter was slightly hysterical by this point.

"That's not an excuse for all that you've done to me!" she shouted. "My whole life! And it's all your fault!"

She struggled against the vectors holding her back. Hati did not move. She had slumped against the ground, leaving her extra limbs to restrain the raging Sue from doing any more damage. She couldn't move without making her ribs worse. The Sue kicked and screamed, but it was no use. Without the use of her vectors, she was just a human with horns.

"She's right..." Hati thought. "It's all my fault..."

She thought she was hallucinating when gunshots went off over her head, and Willowe gave another scream, this time of pain, rather than anger. The bullets had grazed her shoulder and leg, ripping gashes in her flesh. Emma, Beth and Kate stood five metres away, holding guns that they had pinched from the Torchwood fandom.

"Say your prayers Sue!" Beth shouted, as they fired again. Willowe performed a ridiculously graceful half twirl, half gymnastics move that miraculously caused her to dodge all the bullets, and with a rip of the space/time continuum, she had vanished through a hastily summoned plot hole.

Hati didn't even notice that she was passing out. The commotion and voices faded into one mess of noise, until she finally gave into her body's urges and relaxed into unconsciousness.



"...on the bed..."


"...get that blood tested..."


"...ribs need setting..."


"...close really. Hati had her by the shoulders..."

"...really intense fight..."

"What do you think Willowe was screaming about at the end?"

"Who knows?"

Tash felt like her throat was full of candy floss. Her head was fuzzy and for some reason, looking at the ceiling tiles made her feel nauseas. She tried to speak, but nothing came out except a noise that sounded like a cross between a creaking gate, and a sheep bleating in distress.

"Hey! Sleeping Beauty is awake!"

That was Michael's voice. Vaguely, Tash could just make out Kate and Beth's frizzy hair hovering over her bed.

"Are you okay Tashy?"

That was Miriku.


"I'll take that as a no," Miriku sounded sad. "Poor Aneki..."

Tash weakly turned her head, to see about half of the Society surrounding her. She swallowed thickly (the candy floss in her throat had now thickened to the consistency of a sponge) and tried to speak again.

"...Ha – ti.."

"She's okay," Claire soothed, nodding at the bed next to them. Sure enough, Hati was sleeping peacefully, a bandage on her head and her cheeks bruised.

"Hey Tash," now it was Marcus hovering over the bed, an excited grin on his face. "Adrian says that when you're on these painkillers I can ask you whatever I want and you'll feel compelled to tell the truth!"

"...bollocks..." Tash muttered, causing several people to grin – if she could curse, she was fine.

"So do tell me," Marcus drawled. "Who do you really think is the hottest? Ryou or Bakura?"

Tash had answered before she could even roll her eyes. "Bakura."

Marcus deflated. "Weirdo..." he proclaimed flatly. Tash stuck her tongue out at him.

"Oooh Tashy! Where can the best Darkshipping fluff be found?" Miriku asked, an enthusiastic smile lighting up her face.

"I don't know," Tash said, her voice slowly returning to its normal pitch and tone. "I skip the fluff and go straight for the smexing."

Miriku's shoulders slumped. It was clear from the expression on Tash's face that the last two questions had sent her mind plummeting into the gutter, and so Michael, looking for a distraction, asked the first question that popped into his head.

"Who's the better duellist, me or Blake?"

"You," Tash answered immediately. Michael cheered, and Blake just scowled at the pair of them. Tash interrupted casually. "But Miri and I could kick both your asses without breaking a sweat."

Miriku blushed heavily, and tried to hide under the bed.

"We'll see about that later," Michael smirked.

"Who do you think the most attractive girl in the Society is?" Jess grinned impishly.

"Harriet." By now, it was Tash's cheeks that were flaming. "That woman has the breasts of a Greek goddess."

Everyone's heads turned to look at the other patient – and they all blushed when they realised that said patient was awake.

"Why are you all staring at my breasts?" Hati demanded, not sounding disturbed at all. Everyone turned their heads away, blushing. "Stare away," Hati invited. "It's quite flattering."

"Okay, you've all had some fun at my expense now," Tash sighed, sounding exactly like her normal self. "Would someone give us a damage report? I'm assuming Willowe got away, hence why we're so beat up?"

"Yeah, as soon as we arrived she opened a plot hole and vanished," Emma said sadly, taking a grape from the fruit bowl and spitting it out. "Adrian, these grapes are off."

"That's because they're plastic ones," the Librarian sighed. The group parted, allowing Hati and Tash to see Adrian in his own bed on their other side. Both girls cringed.

"Are we in trouble?" Tash asked, fearfully.

"For hacking my system, yes," Adrian assured them. "But I suppose I can't really yell at you for running into a dangerous fandom – that would make me a giant hypocrite. As for damage; bruises, busted lip, grazed jaw, broken ribs and a broken leg. Neither of you are moving from your beds."

Sure enough, Tash could see her left leg was in plaster, and Hati could feel bandages around her lower chest. The former looked alarmed suddenly.

"Did anyone check..."

"We did a full blood count," Emma soothed. "You're both clear of the diclonius virus."

"Thank the Gods," Tash muttered. Hati slumped back against the pillows, annoyance registering on her face.
"I suppose I'd better get started on the mission report..."

"No you don't," Miriku said firmly.

"Yeah, you're supposed to be resting!" Claire added.

"But it'll all reproduce if it's not done," Tash protested. "And you know it's the height of paperwork breeding season."

"Regardless," Marcus said. "I'm sure the Society, and the Library won't fall apart while all of you rest."

He spoke too soon. No sooner had this been said, when the Library began to shake again. People struggled to keep their feet, and the fruit bowl tumbled off the table with a crash. Pretty soon, the walls and floor stopped shaking, and everyone got slowly to their feet.

"ASTER!" Adrian bellowed through his megaphone (which he appeared to have produced out of thin air). "I know you're doing it on purpose now!"


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