Standard opening disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, places, settings, or so forth contained in this story. Attempting to sue me will result in, well, not much, so it wouldn't be worth it.
Author's Continuity-Type Note: this story takes place after the 13th episode of Onegai Teacher and somewhere around the volume "Hand In Hand" in the Oh! My Goddess manga. If you don't read the manga, assume it takes place after the movie. If you're not familiar with the characters of Peorth and Mara, there are many OMG sites that can fill you in. Also, while this story does draw on a few bits from Onegai Twins, it otherwise takes place completely outside of that series's continuity, mostly because I think it's a complete and total shame what they did to Matagu. :mutter: Now, enough blather, let's get started!
Part 1-1: Yet Another Wrong Number
Matagu Shido sighed and leaned back from his telescope, then stared up at the night sky. He'd finally figured out how to attach his camera to the scope, but there hadn't been anything worth taking a picture of tonight. He was starting to wonder if he'd ever actually find anything, or if he was just chasing a really bizarre dream, even if it was the only one he had.
Well, maybe not the only one, he admitted to himself. He thought back to the time he'd claimed that as his dream, with Kei and Hyosuke and the others, when they'd all gathered to watch Yamada's jinriki competition. He couldn't help smiling at the memory. He always had good times with his friends, that never changed, but it sometimes felt like nothing else in his life did either . . . he still felt lonely. Maybe that was why he kept looking up at the sky . . . maybe he was still looking for something he couldn't find anywhere else.
With a laugh, he stood and walked back into his house. If he was looking for someone, wasn't he looking in all the wrong directions? A girl wasn't going to come out of the sky for him, that was ridiculous. Things like that never happened in real life. He shook his head, and stretched.
"Better call Kei to see about tomorrow," he said to himself, reaching for the phone. He knew getting together with his friends would make him feel better, it always did. He picked up the phone and dialed the familiar number, then was greeted by a voice that really, really couldn't have been Kei.
"Yes, yes, yes, my dear! This is the Earth Assistance Hotline, and I have been waiting for your call!"
Matagu nearly dropped the phone, and fumbled it around for a bit before stammering, "What? I think I have the wrong--"
The voice on the other end had a hint of an accent he couldn't quite place, but whoever she was, she seemed insistent. "But no, you've dialed a very right number, the best! I'll be there in just a moment, and I'll take care of you!"
"But--" The line went dead, and Matagu blinked a few times as he tried to wrap his head around what he'd just heard. He was about to pass it off as some random weirdo when something strange happened.
His telescope, out on the back balcony, swivelled on its tripod and pointed into the room. For a moment, Matagu thought that he really should put it upright again, but then a blue glow burst to life around the lens of the camera attached to the back. Matagu's mouth fell open, and he just stood there, stunned.
A beam of blue light shined through the telescope, out of the lens, and onto the ceiling, where it cast a flickering circle. As Matagu watched, a pair of loose-topped boots descended out of the circle, followed by a pair of well-formed legs, followed still by the rest of one of the most beautiful women he'd ever seen.
She was nearly as tall as him, and had a figure he'd thought only existed in anime or pictures of idols and models. She was wearing something like a two-piece black swimsuit but with an odd cut to it, and she had some other kind of garment about herself, some kind of wide leather straps that went around her shoulders and waist. She also wore a thin metal collar that didn't seem to have any way to put it on or take it off, and long earrings with some kind of bead at the end. Soft brown gloves with strange buckles across the back completed her unusual ensemble. Her hair was dark red-brown, and most of it was about jaw-length, though it was longer at the front and she had a single very long ponytail at the back. She looked at him and smiled, and Matagu felt his knees go weak - she was utterly beautiful, in a way that seemed almost unearthly. He then noticed she had some odd facial markings, a diamond on her forehead and similar ones under her eyes.
The woman - or whatever she was, Matagu wasn't quite sure what to call someone who came out of a light from his telescope - swept her arms in his direction, and a cloud of rose petals flew about the room, despite there not being any wind. "Good evening!" she said, her voice somehow bright and dusky at the same time. "Thank you for calling the very best of the Earth Assistance Hotline. I am Goddess First Class, Type Two Unlimited . . . Peorth!"
In all the time he'd spent watching the sky, hoping to catch sight of an alien or some otherworldly being, Matagu had often wondered just how he'd react if he actually met one. Now that one was standing before him, his response was somewhat less than he'd hoped for.
Somewhere across Japan, a lone cloaked figure was sitting on the top of a telephone pole, holding a strange device with far too many antennas on its lap. The figure was cursing under its breath, and holding a single headphone to its ear.
"Can't get anything tonight," it muttered. "How am I supposed to hear someone's darkest desires with all this interference - wait." Leaning forward over the device, the figure adjusted a few dials. A moment later, its eyes opened wide at what it heard.
"Hmmph. That's not supposed to happen."
The figure grinned, then began laughing madly. "This ought to be fun," it cackled. "Whoever you are, little goddess, you're in for it now. . . ."
Matagu awoke to find his head pillowed on something soft. He mumbled, wondering what had happened and why he'd fallen asleep in the middle of the living room with the light on, and if that was why he'd had such a strange dream.
"Ah, good, cheri. I was wondering how much longer you'd be out, I was tempted to use a spell. It's not nice to keep one such as I waiting."
Matagu turned over just enough to realize that he hadn't been dreaming, there really was a beautiful woman here, and he'd been sleeping in her lap. This made it very easy to panic.
He rolled and leaped to his feet as quickly as he could, breathing very hard for reasons he couldn't quite place, and stared at the woman who was kneeling on his floor. He pointed at her, and started to say something, but nothing came out.
"Let me guess," she said softly. "You're staggered by my presence? In awe that you have been so blessed?" She slowly started to rise to her feet, and took a step toward him. Matagu took a step back. "Well, I can't say I blame you, but you do deserve it."
Somehow, thought found its way through Matagu's panic long enough for him to say "What?"
"Oh!" she said, putting a hand to her forehead and posing dramatically, throwing her other hand out in his direction. "You swooned so quickly, I hadn't the time to explain myself. So sorry." She continued walking toward him, and he kept stepping back, until he ran into the wall. She paused, and put a finger to her chin. "You know, dear boy, most of the mortals I've come to were considerably more grateful than you're being."
"I . . . gah. . . ." Matagu said.
Peorth sighed. "I see, you're going to be one of the difficult ones. Well, no sense in this taking any longer than it has to. Sit!" she ordered, waving her hand at him.
Matagu slid down the wall to the floor and sat, never taking his eyes off of Peorth. He'd never seen anyone who could compare to her - even Mizuho-sensei was nowhere near this beautiful. And unlike his teacher, whom he could actually talk to, this woman was making it difficult for him to even think.
Peorth sat down in front of him and folded her legs to one side, then leaned in close. Matagu couldn't help blushing, and she smiled at that, which only made it worse. "It's very simple, cheri. I am a goddess, no matter how hard you're finding that to believe. You've been deemed worthy by the Earth Assistance Hotline, and that's why I am here." She leaned closer, and Matagu could feel her breath on his face. "To grant you one wish," she whispered. "Anything you want."
Matagu swallowed hard, and tried three times to say something before he managed to get an entire sentence out. "A wish?" It wasn't much of a sentence, but it was all he could do. "I get a wish?"
"Oui," Peorth said. "Just one wish, but anything you want. And you will get what you want, of course. I'm known for only the very best of service." She smiled again, her eyes bright, and Matagu felt himself start to sweat.
"Okay," he said, "one wish. I get to think about it first, right?"
"Oh, of course!" Peorth leaned back, and posed with her hand on her forehead again. Despite his pounding heart, Matagu couldn't help chuckling. "I would never be so cruel as to demand you wish for the first thing to come to mind! It might not be worth it, and that's just not the kind of service I provide."
Matagu briefly wondered just what kind of service she did provide, then winced as she squinted at him.
"You're cute for a mortal," she said, sounding only a touch upset, "but don't push it."
Part of his mind reeled at what she'd just said. Most girls hardly ever looked at him, and here a goddess was saying calling him cute! He did his best to push that aside, and instead asked, "You can read my mind?" When she nodded, he asked, "So how come you don't already know what I'd wish for?"
"Ah." Peorth held up her hand, and a rose appeared in it. "Because your wish, cheri, must be your heart's true desire. Nothing less will do."
"R-right," Matagu stammered. He took a few deep breaths. His heart's desire . . . to meet an alien? No, no, that was just a silly dream, and besides, an alien could be anything. He wondered if he could put off his wish for a day or three so he could spend some more time with the goddess, but then realized he probably wouldn't be able to handle spending much more time with her. His heart would probably burst. So what was his desire?
Mizuho. To be able to confess his feelings for her, and to have her return them. . . . Okay, maybe that wasn't really the best thing. He didn't want to force feelings on her, that wouldn't be right. But maybe if they could just spend some real time together, outside of the classroom . . . perfect! He'd wish for a date, a real date, with Mizuho. That should be enough to get started.
"You've made a decision?" Peorth asked. Matagu looked at her and gulped. She'd rolled onto her stomach, and was laying with her chin resting on her hands, her legs stretched out behind her.
For an instant, he almost changed his wish.
Matagu took a deep breath and nodded, and Peorth stood, holding her head high. The diamond on her forehead started to glow bright blue. "Then name your heart's desire!" she shouted.
Matagu steeled himself, and said, "I wish--"
The cloaked figure twisted three dials at once on the box it held, and an arc of blue energy crackled from somewhere off in the distance toward the telephone pole, where the box absorbed it all. The figure cackled again, and rubbed its dark-skinned hands together. "Heh heh . . . I knew it'd be worth it to prepare that, just in case! And now. . . ."
Dark hands sped over the row of dials, twisting them all at once in the opposite direction, and finally flipping a lever from one side of the box to another.
". . . the switch!"
The box glowed blue and orange, then puffed out a cloud of bright purple and yellow smoke, and an instant later it started to glow blue. The figure grimaced, then whacked the box with its hand. The box let out a long beep, then went silent.
"Damn. That didn't work as planned."
The figure raised its hands high, tracing the paths of holy energy in the air, trying to see if its latest manipulation had succeeded before everything went bad. A moment later, it howled to the night sky, and thunder boomed on the horizon.
"Not quite what I expected, but it'll more than do. Hah!" The figure whipped its hood back, revealing a head of long, wavy white hair and a darkly sinister face complete with two long chevron-like marks on her forehead.
Mara, Demon First Class, was pleased.
"-for a date with--"
Peorth threw her head back and screamed. The holy light that had been building around her was gone, and her eyes were wide open, as though she'd been badly hurt. She quivered where she stood, then collapsed to the floor.
Somehow, Matagu knew this wasn't part of the standard process.
He knelt at her side and gingerly reached out to her, giving her shoulder a gentle shake. "Um . . . goddess? Peorth?" Despite the situation, he couldn't help noticing how warm and soft her skin was. He felt himself start to blush again.
"Oooooh. . . ." Peorth stirred, and blinked a few times as she looked up at him. "Matagu," she whispered. "What happened? I was . . . I can't--" She gasped and sat up all at once, clutching at his arm. He was too startled to even think about pulling away.
"You were giving me my wish, I think," he said. "You'd started to glow, and then you screamed." It wasn't much of an explanation, he knew, but it was hard to think with her holding onto him like that. He really couldn't say that he minded, though.
"The Almighty . . . I can't. . . ." Peorth leaped to her feet, and glared down at the stunned Matagu. "The phone! Where's the phone!"
Matagu blinked, and pointed to the phone, which was on the shelf right next to him.
Peorth leaned over him and grabbed the phone, and was about to dial when she paused. She hung up the receiver, then picked it up again, but didn't dial anything. After a third try, she let the receiver drop and fell to her knees. A moment later, Matagu thought he heard her starting to cry.
"Peorth?" He moved over to her side, unsure of what to do. "What's wrong?"
She turned to look at him, tears brimming in her eyes. Matagu felt his heart lurch.
"I can't remember the number," Peorth whispered. "I can't call the Almighty. I can't--" She held up her hand, but nothing happened. "My connection with Yggdrasil is gone."
"Yggdrasil?" Matagu asked, more out of sudden confusion than anything else.
"Heaven's computer, of course," she said, "it's how we exist. How something like this could have happened to me, I don't know." She sighed, then began to look determined. "Don't worry, dear boy. You'll still get your wish."
Matagu hadn't really been worried about that as much as he'd been worried about her, but he nodded anyway. "Are you going to be all right? Can I help you with anything?"
"So sweet of you to offer," Peorth said with another smile. "I know someone who might be able to help me, but even I can't get to her myself in this state. I can still sense where she is, though. Do you have a car?"
Matagu leaned back on his heels. "I don't, but I'm sure someone I know does. . . ." He thought for a moment, then remembered the break he and his friends had taken at the ocean, months ago. "Ah!"
"You have it?" Peorth asked, leaning forward eagerly and almost making Matagu stumble backwards.
"I think so," he managed after a second. "One of my teachers, Mizuho-sensei, she has a car. She's really nice, I'm sure she'd help us."
"Ah, of course," Peorth said, giving him a taunting smile. "The one you were going to wish to date."
Matagu gulped. "You - you knew?"
"Oui, of course, dear boy," she said. "I am a goddess, I knew your wish as soon as you did."
"O-of course," Matagu stammered. This was going to be awkward. He'd wanted to ask for a date with Mizuho, and now they were going to ask her for something very different. . . . He shrugged. At least he'd get to spend some time with her. And with Peorth. This was looking to be a pretty good night.
"So, we can leave right now, yes?" Peorth asked as she stood.
Matagu looked her over as he also stood. She didn't seem to mind, and of course neither did he, but he also realized something. "It's pretty late, so we should probably wait until morning. And if you're going out in public . . . I think we need to find you some other clothes." He paused, then gulped. "But you're too tall for anything of my mom's, and my dad's taller than me. . . ."
Peorth stepped up close to him, just short of touching her nose to his chin. "Then I'll have to borrow something of yours, oui?"
The next morning, in an apartment on the other side of town, Kei Kusanagi woke up alone, stretched, and yawned. Mizuho must already be awake, he thought, she usually was. He pulled on his clothes and stepped out into the hallway.
"Good morning, Kei-san!"
Kei paused. The voice was Mizuho's, he was almost sure of it, but she never called him 'Kei-san.' He continued toward the kitchen, then froze in shock when he saw who was standing there.
Whoever she was, she was beautiful, there was no doubt about that, but she definitely wasn't Mizuho. She was only his height, to start, and her hair was an interesting shade of brown-grey, and trailed down past her waist. When she turned to look at him, he saw that she had a strange pointed-oval mark on her forehead and triangle marks under her eyes, and that her bangs curled to the sides and above her face in ways that probably shouldn't be possible. She peered at him for a moment, then started to walk toward him, toweling off her hands.
"Is something wrong, Kei-san? Didn't you sleep well?"
Confronted with a situation that he had no idea how to address, Kei said the first thing that came to mind. "Umm . . . who are you?"
The morning sunlight filtered in through the temple windows, falling across Keiichi Morisato's face as it always did. He blinked blearily, wondering again why he never bothered to put a curtain over the window or move his futon, and slowly pulled himself out of bed. He scratched his head and chest as he slowly walked to his bedroom door, slid it open, and immediately found himself enveloped in an amazingly comfortable hug.
"Good morning, Keiichi-kun!"
Keiichi struggled against the loving suffocation only an instant after it started, as it hadn't taken him long to realize two things. First, no matter how alike the voice sounded, Belldandy had never called him Keiichi-kun, and she usually didn't greet him right outside his room in the mornings. Second, unless she'd somehow adopted Urd's body, Belldandy wasn't that well-endowed.
Keiichi pulled back and stared up into purple eyes. Yeah, he thought, definitely not Belldandy, no matter how pretty she was. She looked concerned, though, and her voice sounded almost exactly like the one that he'd grown to love hearing over the past few years.
"Keiichi-kun . . . what's wrong? Are you all right after last night?"
"Last . . . night?" Keiichi's mind, still not fully awake, struggled with what the strange woman was suggesting. Judging by the small smile on her face, and that her waist-length magenta hair seemed rather tousled, it was pretty obvious. Keiichi felt his mind freeze up, along with the rest of him.
The tall woman pulled back, and started to look very sad. "Are you upset with me? I thought that. . . ."
"No, no, it's not that," Keiichi said quickly. Whoever she was, he didn't want to upset her, and besides, he'd been through enough weirdness living with three goddesses. Things like this happening out of nowhere were almost normal. "It's just . . . I've never seen you before in my life."
Keiichi watched the woman collapse to the floor and start crying. So much for not upsetting her, he thought. Something very strange was going on, he thought, and he hoped Urd or Skuld woke up soon to help him figure it out, as this had all the signs of a big problem.