Friday, February 15, 2013

Insert Emotionally Trading Religious Motifs Here

"You're not needed," said Aster.

She frowned at the person standing in front of her, whom she obviously was not taking a liking to. He'd only been in the Library full-time fora bit over four months, which had been a somewhat agonizing experience on his part because he'd received angry smacks on the head, random kicks, and a flood of scoldings from Aster.

"And what do you mean by that?" replied Aramayis.

"The Library's fine without you," said Aster. "Tash-san came back from her time away and we're fine."

"What if you get attacked – "

"Then we'll call you. Right now we don't need you."

"I see," said Aramayis.

"Right now you just cause problems. We don't need you around. So can you go now?"

"I don't see why I should," said Aramayis. "Okay, so you proved you don't need me around... I don't see any reason why I should still leave."

"You're annoying!" said Aster, and ran off, dissatisfied.


"Has she recovered yet?"

"Not to any point we can see."

Aster looked sadly at Chrys, who was sitting on the couch, reading a manga volume and doing nothing else. No "Squee!" or "oh no oh no oh no" or any of that.

Just… sitting… there… reading.

For the first week after Adrian's death, Chrys had broken into despair. Complete, unleashed, terrifying despair. It was like her last resolution had been snapped.

In an attempt to make her feel better, Tash had sent her on a mission to one of her favorite fandoms, Phoenix Wright. Somehow, Tato had gotten rid of her Prohibitor, and was wreaking havoc. Chrys had certainly experienced severe mood whiplash, and had gone from downright depressed to sparkly-cheerful in a matter of seconds…

…until after the mission, a failure, Chrys had gone into the Library and remembered what had happened. The desu-sparkles literally fell off her in a little pile waiting outside the plothole.

Eventually Mizuho had decided to put Chrys out of her misery – in a way. She suppressed the emotions inside Chrys and caused her to be unable to feel the extreme grief she was in. Chrys, however, was the kind of person to only feel one emotion at once.

Meaning she was now blank.

Mizuho still had her Peacekeeper duties, and since there weren't two to take care of the problems (Chrys was in no condition to do anything, really, at this point), and was absent more often, so blank-shell Chrys was left around all day.

"I have to get her back to somewhat normal," said Aster.

"It's rude to do that, and you'll probably make it worse," said Valerie. "Let her sit."

"I know Chrys-chan. She'll never get better by sitting."

"Well," said Valerie, "make sure you do it right. You'll break her spirit if you do it wrong, and you have to be very careful with someone like her."

"I'll try."


The next mission released was a fandom Aster knew.

Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne – a manga the two girls had both pored over for weeks. Most of the Society had never understood what the hype was over it.

For Aster, it was perfect.

Aster went up to Tash promptly and requested that she get the mission now, that she do it with Chrys, and that she get this mission before Mizuho got back. Tash was too flustered to deny the request.

She promptly ran over to Chrys.

"Mission," she said. She stared straight at Chrys. "Come on. Let's go."

Aster looked at what Chrys was reading. It was Ga-Rei. Aster suddenly got the feeling that Chrys wasn't actually reading it, but taking random manga volumes off the shelf. When Aster has suggested that Chrys read Ga-Rei, she'd recoiled and decided to go for it later (for Ga-Rei was quite known for its penchant for violence).

"Mm?" Chrys turned her head to face Aster. She blinked a few times. Aster wondered if Chrys was thinking anything emotional at all.

Then Chrys nodded.

Not a good idea, Aster, said the voice.

You, shut up. You don't need to talk to me.


Nagoya Toruta was the hero.

She was the second child of Nagoya Chiaki and Maron, three years younger than Nagoya Natsuki (or, as she was in her past life, Fin Fish).

When she turned thirteen, she learned she was a kaitou (demon-thief) and was destined to purge the world of evil from Maou, despite the fact that Maou had, you know, been properly destroyed by Kami. Yeah. Something like that.

Anyway, to become Kaitou Eugenia, which was her name, she now had a jun-tenshi (half-angel) familiar. Actually, not two jun-tenshi familiars, but two.

And those two were none other than Toki Haiyar and Celcia Form.

With rosary, pin, ribbon, and sword, she purged the demons from the works of art people found "beautiful". She began to purify the world of its evil, and collect the chess pieces that sealed the demons.

Eventually Toki and Celcia revealed the terrible secret to Natsuki (who was dating Minazuki Shinji). She was the reincarnation of Fin Fish, the jun-tenshi who had not only betrayed their mother, Kusakabe Maron (otherwise known as Kaitou Jeanne), but also eventually sacrificed herself to save Jeanne and thus, the world. And Shinji, was, of course, Access Time, her lover. When Natsuki asked Shinji if this was true, he confirmed it.

And her memories came back to her in a flash.

(Despite the fact that the mangaka had specifically stated Natsuki would never get her memories back, even if Shinji did.)

With the help of Eugenia, Natsuki gave up the precious power of reincarnation, the one Maron had given her, back to Kami, eventually giving Kami the power to defeat Maou (and the author had conveniently forgotten all of Fin's compassion for Maou). Toki and Celcia turned Natsuki and Shinji back into their "true forms", as angels. They became reunited together forever as sei-tenshi (pure angels).

And what about Noin? Noin had returned to rape the next reincarnation of Jeanne d'Arc, only to find that she didn't exist – Maron had given her power of reincarnation to Natsuki (which was now Kami's). Noin was angered, but then Toruta informed Noin of an important fact: it didn't pay to be bitter about Jeanne's death, and the power of reincarnation was now Kami's – and while the reincarnation of Eve/Jeanne d'Arc/Kusakabe Maron would never exist anymore, he could live in happiness.

The story moved Noin to tears, and later he took on a human identity and started dating Toruta.

"You're both evil, deceitful, and wicked. You two make a great pair."

Toruta turned around in shock from where she was kissing Noin and saw Chrys and Aster.

Tato (what, you couldn't have guessed it was her? Her giveaway name, the fact this is a Chrys-centric fic, and the reference to her above?) smirked and approached the two.

"I see we have – "

"I'm not letting you screw around," said Aster.

"Hehe," said Tato. She winked and walked towards Chrys. "And how's my little Chrysie?"

"Stop it," said Chrys, rather nonchalantly.

"Toruta?" said Noin suddenly. "What's going on?"

Tato smirked.

"They're possessed."

The battle began.

It seemed the fight was split – Tato, Fin, and Access against Chrys, and Noin, Toki, and Celcia against Aster. It was an extremely difficult fight – one person against three super-powered beings.

Chrys was nonchalantly fighting without putting any real emphasis into anything, but Aster was a vicious woman.

Still, Aster was having issues holding her own against the three and Chrys was fighting a kaitou, a powerful one at that...

Tato was wielding Plain Jane pins, the ones Alyana had used in the Uglies fandom, instead of Jeanne's exorcist pins. But it didn't matter. The effect was the same - it'd rob Chrys and Aster of their identities as characters, and Aster had a sneaking feeling it'd turn them into chess pieces if Tato used the word "checkmate" (which she was using every time she threw a pin at Chrys).

Tato, unsatisfied, pulled out the magical kaitou ribbon (it was probably a modified version of her whip). She jumped up into the air and tried to twirl it around Chrys's body. Chrys evaded.

It eventually became too much for Aster to handle and she grabbed Chrys's hand and ran out of the fandom. Tato pulled an akanbe at them as they ran through a plothole.


That wasn't a good idea, going to your world.

I know, but I can't lose my pride and retreat like this. This would be the first failure in the history of the Society. Tato still has the fandom. I need to regroup. And you're getting awfully talkative today...

I'm just trying to help.

Chrys was not much better. Aster was tracking her condition as slowly getting worse. Chrys was starting to become unresponsive or indifferent about anything Aster said.

Aster contacted Tash.

"Tash-san, I know this is running a risk, but I ran out of the fandom to regroup."

"I saw."

"I know, and... well, I need to ask you a favor. A really big one. I know it doesn't follow Society protocol, but I think it's the only thing that can help Chrys."

Aster rang the doorbell.

It took a long time, but eventually the door opened to reveal a very irritated girl rubbing her eyes.

"Aster," she said with every hint of possible restrained pissed-off anger in her voice, "exactly WHAT is so important that you have to wake me up at one in the morning?"

Aster handed the girl one of her Copyrights. She immediately understood.

"You're the Society version?"


"And this is Chrys?"


The girl sighed and rubbed her eyes again. "Man, why do things always happen at the most ungodly hours of the day?"


Aster had very good timing. Akai's parents had been off on their summer vacation (Aster would not have contacted her had it not been for this fact). They did seem to be absent very many times - and that, in fact, was Original!Aster's fault, for she'd used some of her memory-stuff to get them to do it more often. It was to prevent them from getting involved in the magical stuff the three girls were always doing.

Akai, being a friend of Aster and Chrys, was of course not normal. She constantly had a strange demon following her everywhere in the air, no more than three inches tall, and rather cute. Aster had christened it the "jun-akuma" (after the jun-tenshi of the very series she had just been in). The things of its kind were constantly known to feed off humans by turning them dark, warped, and evil in exchange for immortality and a few side-powers, and feeding off the resulting negative emotions.

But then there was Akai.

Akai's natural personality didn't seem to be tainted at all. She had no desire to rob banks, extort people, or take over the world. All in all, she did have a rather good morality alignment. There were several theories for this, but the jun-akuma couldn't confirm or deny any of them because it couldn't speak (although its random attempts at doing things gave a little bit of clue). Either the thing was just stupid, or it was waiting for the right moment, or it wasn't powerful enough. When Aster had asked her author, the reply had been, "It's a crack thing. Don't think on it too much."

It also helped that Akai was a bitingly sarcastic cynic with enough negativity in her personality to supply several demons. Aster even thought sometimes Akai was a bad influence on the demon, not vice versa. And so, Akai and the demon did nothing, although Akai occasionally told the jun-akuma to materialize a cup of water or a plate of cookies (which it duly did).

Akai also had the unique abilities forbidden to man: being able to yell at Aster and Chrys and get obedient responses from them, as well as (temporarily) fizzle out Chrys's desu.

"Well..." Akai listened to Aster's story. "I... I'm sorry. A friend of yours... died?"

"Chrys-chan hasn't been quite like herself lately," said Aster. "Look at her. It took her ten minutes to say hi to you..."

"Don't...don't say that," said Chrys, staring at Aster negatively.

"I see," said Akai. "I... I see."

There was a long silence.

Then Akai said, "I'm thinking of joining the Society."

Aster blinked. "You? But - Adrian- "

"I know he died. I know I'm putting myself at risk..."

"Please don't. It's dangerous."

"You said this thing," said Akai, pointing to the jun-akuma, "gives me immortality if I want it."

"If you take up the offer," said Chrys nonemotively, "you'll see your non-immortal friends die, and your parents..."

"Yeah," said Akai, "but you're the only close friends I have right now and you're immortal too; I've lost contact with pretty much all of my other friends. No need to worry about that. As for my parents and relatives, I'm younger than them. In my natural lifetime, won't I see them die anyway?"

Aster remembered that this was one of the most jarring things about Akai: she could say awkward, strange, or sometimes even horrible things with a straight face.

"I..." was all Aster could say.

"And I need something to do with my life... so dying while beating up a Sue sounds awesome."

Aster could only sit there and think...Akai was just... difficult to be around.

But Akai was her friend. And Chrys needed someone other than Aster for help at the moment...


"That," said Akai, "is a Sue if I ever saw one."

The three were in the KKJ fandom again, watching Tato from a distance away. Tato knew they were coming, but just stood there.

"That K girl has a damn lot of creativity to create a thing like her."

"Quiet. K is awesome. She just didn't think her Chrys parody would come to life."

Tato only smirked. She was obviously prepared. She had turned herself into Kaitou Eugenia in advance, with Toki and Celcia flying around her head. On the side were Noin, Fin, and Access.

Akai, who had suggested an absolutely brilliant plan beforehand, grabbed three Copyrights and leapt at the three on the side. She had the element of surprise - the three had not expeced such a small girl (she was quite a few inches shorter than Aster) to leap at them. She managed to nab the Copyright on Noin's face (talk about subtlety) and on the two jun-tenshi floating in the air (the sticker was bigger than each angel).

Noin collapsed (he'd probably been sleeping, which he did a lot nowadays, before Tato's arrival) and Fin and Access fell to the ground, turning back into Natsuki and Shinji. Shinji got up, opened his eyes, saw what was going on - and grabbed Natsuki's hand and ran. He was not about to lose her again to a fight about angels.

Tato did not seem fazed. She grinned and her ribbon snapped its way towards Chrys, but the hanyou merely side-stepped and it struck the cement, cracking it. "Poor little Chrysu, all broken inside... and no Librarian to save you or comfort you… what shall we do with you?"

She twirled and the ribbon followed motion twirling around the Sue before arcing at Chrys again, the hanyou leaping clear and landing a few feet away, darting towards the Sue.

"Aww, look at you, trying so hard to be strong!" Tato mocked and easily slid around Chrys's punch, flexing her wrist and the ribbon responded again, winding some of it's length around Chrys arm and Tato jerked it, yanking the hanyou off the ground like fish on a fishing pole. "Too bad, you aren't strong. You're nothing but a little doll now, not even ranking as a pet… and you know it!" With a twirl of her wrist, she sent Chrys hurtling away towards a building.

Then the Sue raised an eyebrow as Aster zipped down out of the sky and caught Chrys, Akai appearing alongside the pair. "Oh, and the other half of the Failure Duo shows itself and it seems you've brought a guest."

Akai raised an eyebrow at Tato's outfit, the Sue twirling her ribbon like a ribbon dancer and offered a snort of amusement. "This is the girl that's been who's been making Chrys miserable? I'll kick her ass…"

Aster deposited Chrys next to her and shot a dark look at Tato, staff appearing in her hand. "How dare you hurt Chrys! I'm gonna make you pay!"

The Sue just smiled sweetly at them. "Hurt her? This isn't even a fight, it's like a puppet show! And besides, I can't do anything more than what's she done to herself! She's weak and helpless, but she got into a situation far beyond her pathetic skill level and now she's nothing more than deadweight, a little, broken pet that no one can bear to put out of her misery because she look so pathetic! If it wasn't so depressing, it'd be funny…" She burst into mocking laughter. "Oh, wait, it is funny!"

" seem to have improved your insults," said Aster darkly. "Let's get her, Akai-chan."

The two lunged at her. Chrys walked forward but stopped and did nothing after two steps.

Tato laughed and held up her ribbon. Bringing it down, she tangled Chrys and Akai in it. The end was going to strike one of them... although the ribbon was absurdly long, it would take only one hit and a "Checkmate" to kill her.

Aster watched it approach...

Grab the ribbon at your waist and push yourself downward, said the voice in her head.


Just do it!

Aster did so and the ribbon gave way. After pulling it off -

Okay. Now keep the end away from you and hold a side of it, then pull it away from her. If you can't do that, at least use it to keep away her advantage.

Hey, you're kinda useful. Can you tell me what'll happen at the end of the next chapter of Hayate?

...I'm here to guide you! Not answer inane questions!

Shocked at Aster's sudden useful move, Tato was vulnerable to the move the voice had suggested. Aster managed to jerk the ribbon away from her.

"Smooth," said Akai.

...then Tato grabbed the ribbon's handle again in midair, and pulled it out of Aster's grasp.

"Speak of the she-demon kaitou cowgirl thingy."

"Shut up."

The voice however was still talking to Aster. Use your staff and fire ice shots and pin the ribbon to the wall. Make sure you fire several. You could miss.

You're awfully talkative today.

Just trying to help.

Aster swung the staff forward and fired a rain of ice against the ribbon, which tangled and got caught.

Angry, Tato sent a barrage of pins at the girls. Akai managed to push Chrys out of the way while Aster flew up and avoided them.

Tato growled.


She pulled out her trump card: the sword. Aster remembered seeing it the way Maron had produced it out of her rosary; the only thing Tato would have to do to checkmate Aster would be to touch the tip of it to Aster and say that magic word…

Sword-point against staff, Aster and Tato duked it out while Akai stood nearby trying to snap Chrys out of it.

"You don't know what Aster's doing for you?" yelled Akai. "Can't you get off your ass and do something? Don't you get it?"

"It's worthless!" yelled Tato while clashing her sword. "She's just being dumb! Can't accept that her dear Librarian is dead!"

Aster registered the words.

Adrian's dead.


He's not coming back.

He's really dead.


Aster threw all logic out the window and grabbed Tato's blade with her bare hands (Tato had not swung the sword yet; I'm aware MythBusters disproved catching a sword in a middle of a swing). She managed to pull the sword out of Tato's hands. Her own hands were bleeding.

"If you dare try to hurt Chrys-chan like this again," she said, "I'm going to murder you and burn your body down and scatter your ashes to the wind. Chrys-chan is my friend and I am going to do anything at this point for her."

Chrys's eyes got wider and she opened her mouth.

Akai came from behind and landed a kick on the back of Tato's head. The tie holding up her hair dislodged and fell out. The magical-girl Jeanne hairstyle was knocked off.

"Stop giving people the illusion you're magical. You're not."

And Aster, with the blood on her hands, punched Tato in the face… but Tato plowed Aster away. Aster fell to the ground, scratches on her face, blood on her hands.

And Chrys came and hit Tato in the face with the flat of her own sword.

Tato turned around with malice in her eyes.

"No matter what you do to me, you can't face the fact. The Librarian's dead. And, of course, the Mistress of All Sues will honor me when you're dead too."

She turned to Celcia. "Distract them."

Celcia gave a blast of light and when it faded, Tato was gone, and Celcia and Toki were confused as to what they were doing.

"I'm sorry," said Chrys. "I should have done something…but I can't kill her. But I'm sorry. And I'm glad you came, Akai…"

Aster was staring off into space.

"Aster?" said Akai. "Aster?"

"You're my best friend, Chrys-chan," said Aster, "and don't you dare forget that."

And Aster listlessly opened a portal and went in without saying anything else.

"…Aster?" said Akai.


Aster slumped on her bed.

Adrian was dead, that was a sure fact.

He was dead and he'd never be back, he'd never be the person he was, he'd never do his normal Librarian things and be his Librarian self and do what he did…

What did Adrian mean to Aster? No, not her close friend – he was above her, although she'd never have enough respect to change the honorific. Adrian was like her older brother who monitored everything she did. And he was dead. He was dead and she'd never apologized for all the things she did to him or gave a proper goodbye.

She hadn't accepted it until now.

Calm down. Don't stress too much about it, the only thing to do now is –

Shut up. I don't want to hear from you. I don't want to hear from you ever again. There's nobody who can help me now. Shut up and don't talk to me. I don't need to hear from you. Ever. So shut up. Forever.

She cried.

There's only one person who can help me now. And he's dead.

Of course, I, as the author, know she'd regret that choice, but I have to grant that request.

The voice never spoke to her again.

But Aster never quite forgave herself…

"You raped Tash-san?" Aster yelled at Adrian. "You raped her and tried to kill her?"

"You don't understand, Aster, it's not Tash, you don't know, that Tash is a fake, you have to – "

"Don't give me lies! I'm more genre savvy than you think! I trusted you!" And she lunged at him, holding her staff, ready to slice open his throat, wanting to kill him, murder him, rip him to pieces –

Aster wanted to die, she wanted to die and know what it felt like, but she couldn't kill herself, she'd never be able to.

She wanted to die.

But life wouldn't let her die.

"Life is stupid," she said to herself. "And isn't it just meaningless? What's the point of anything I do anymore?"

And she laughed.

Laughed through her tears.

And she laughed for several more hours until she became tired and went to bed.

She'd traded her happiness and well-being for Chrys's.

And now she couldn't think straight anymore.

One could say she'd lost it...

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