"Do what you want to, for God's sakes. You're thousands of
years old. Go have some fun for a change."

-Tim Hunter to Leah,
"The Books of Magic: Summonings"

~*~

Rod M. & David Tai
present

The finale of the
Oh My Goddess / Vertigo Trilogy

Meddling Fates

Epilogue

Ever After

~*~

~ Afternoon, London, England ~

Somewhere in the distance, Big Ben chimed the three o'clock
hour. Young Timothy Hunter watched the ancient tower from
the banks of the river Thames, with the goddess Belldandy by
his side.

Belldandy smiled, hearing the ring of the bells. "My, it's
been a long time since I visited London. I forgot what a
nice city this is."

"I suppose it is," said Tim. "Sort of.. It looks a lot
better after returning from faraway places."

"What will you do now?" asked Belldandy.

Tim took a long, deep breath of London air, stretched, then
shrugged. "Take my skateboard around for a spin a bit more,
I guess."

She tilted her head slightly and frowned, indicating that
she knew very well he was dodging the question that she
really meant to ask.

Tim smiled sheepishly and raised his hands in defeat.
"Okay, okay, honestly I'd like to go back and do what I was
doing BEFORE your sister ran into me."

"Which was?"

"Trying this normal life thing."

She shook her head sadly, but still smiled. "Do what you
feel you must, but you have such great potential in you.
It would be a shame to waste it."

Tim frowned. "Feels more like it's messing me up, really."

"Magic is what you make of it," said Belldandy. "Much like
life. In all that you do, be careful and be wise. The path
of magic is never easy, even for those who do not wish to
walk it. I wish you good luck, Tim Hunter. Perhaps we'll
meet again."

"Wouldn't mind if we did," said Tim. "That'd be nice.
See you later, Belldandy."

With a smile and a wave, Belldandy vanished into the
afternoon skies, leaving Tim roughly where he was when
this whole mess started.

"Well Tim? Where now?" He pondered his own question for a
moment, then began walking down the banks of the river
Thames, hands in his pocket, a tune whistled on his lips.

Hopefully, that would be the last of the madness in his
life.

The bitterly sarcastic side of him seriously doubted it.

~*~

~ Somewhere Out There ~

Cupid sat dejectedly on the couch, burying his face in his
hands.

Psyche kept her arms crossed, glaring down at him. She
hadn't said a word ever since they returned.

"Psyche, baby..."

"Don't 'Psyche baby' me, you two-timing slob," said Psyche
scornfully. "I just can't leave you alone, can I? Look
what you get yourself into!"

Looking considerably saddened, Cupid hung his head in
shame. Psyche, looking at the sad figure of a deity,
sighed. She sat down next to him and held his hand.

"One of these days, Cupid," she said gently. "One of these
days, they'll need us again. Until then, we're just going
to have to wait it out. You're really stupid, you know
that?"

"I know, I know."

"Just sit down and enjoy retirement. Our daughter's been
waiting for us for ages. In fact, she should be stopping by
for a visit soon."

Cupid perked up just a bit. "Really?"

"Yes. In fact---"

There was a knock at their door.

Psyche exclaimed, "That should be her now!" as she hurried
to open the door.

There stood a teenaged girl in grunge, her hair spiked,
wearing an all-too-short shirt that exposed a pierced
bellybutton.

"Yo Daddy-o, Mom, whassup?" she said, sauntering in.

Cupid clasped his face.

"Oh Pleasure, what've they done to you, baby...?"

Reconfiguration really sucked.

~*~

~ Evening, Morisato Household, Japan ~

Skuld was tinkering away in her room, adjusting Banpei.

Keiichi was fiddling away on his bike, in the temple
courtyard.

Megumi was at her own place.

It was a time of grand silence. And great embarrassment.

It didn't help any of them at all that they were subjected
to magic. Especially Megumi, who was unconvinced that there
was such a thing as magic, and hence, blamed Keiichi's
hormones for going wild.

There wasn't much Keiichi could do about it at the moment.
Hopefully Megumi would forgive him and forget about it the
same way she'd forgotten similar incidents. Still, it
bothered Keiichi greatly, and so he waited for Belldandy to
come home.

And when Belldandy arrived, he stood up, waited for Skuld to
stop blubbering to her oneesama, and then spoke to her
quietly for a few hours, apologizing and begging
forgiveness.

And then life went on. After all, magic was in their lives,
and so was love, and there was nothing that would ever
change that.

No matter what outside meddling parties did.

~*~

~ The Lord of the Dance's Bar, Somewhere Else Out There ~

Once again, the goddess and the demoness congregated in the
bar of the Lord of the Dance, one in a jovial mood and the
other horribly embarrassed.

Staring down at her giant mug of beer, Mara scowled. "We
shall never speak of this incident again. Okay?"

"Wahahahaha!"

"OKAY?"

"Heh... heheheh... BWAHAHHAAH!"

"HEY!"

Urd finally calmed down, still smiling, but waved a hand to
her companion to let Mara know she was heard. "Hey now, I
can't possibly let you off the hook that easy!" she teased.

"Aaargh!" Mara thumped her head on the bar, sighing. "I'm
not gonna live this one down, am I?"

"Nope!"

The demoness narrowed her eyes. "I really hate you."

Urd giggled. "Aw, you gotta admit, it -was- funny."

"Woulda been funnier if it wasn't me," grumbled Mara.

After Urd finished another bout of giggling and Mara guzzled
down another pint of beer, both took perfectly synchronized
deep breaths and sighs.

"Love's a funny thing, ain't it?" asked Mara.

Urd nodded. "Yeah, it is. Time was when there used to be
all sorts of love deities running around... Cupid, Aphrodite,
Ishtar... the mortals don't really look to us much anymore,
do they?"

"Nah," replied Mara. "But that love thing is still goin'
round anyway."

"Dunno if I should feel relieved or outdated," said Urd.

Mara shrugged. "Hey, less work for you, huh?"

"I guess." Urd giggled again, causing Mara to narrow her
eyes.

"Oh, _now_ what?" she asked.

Urd smirked, sloshing her beer mug around. "Y'know, before
all this, I've never seen you in love with anybody."

Mara scowled, then downed another mug of beer in a single
shot. "Ah, shaddup. So I'm not like you, Miss Man-Eater, big
deal."

"Hey, just an observation," replied Urd. "No need to get
touchy."

"Hmph." Mara grabbed a nearby bottle of wine and filled her
mug with it. After taking a long sip, she put it down and
turned to Urd, looking just a shade more towards being
drunk. "Y'know what the real pisser is, Urd?"

"Hm?"

"This is my vacation time!"

Urd snorted. "That's what you get for meddling in this."

"Ex-CUSE me? I wasn't the one to piss off Cupid! YOU were!"

Urd blinked. "I did?"

"YES YOU DID!"

The goddess smiled a crooked grin and pointed a finger at
Mara. "Hey, you helped me piss'em off."

Mara pouted. "You didn't stop me."

"Is THAT what I'm supposed to do?" asked Urd, in disbelief.

"YES! That's what you're supposed to do! You're the
goddess here! I'm the demoness! I'm the one that does the
harmful deeds, you're supposed to come after... me..."

Mara turned away, reaching for her beer mug one more time.
There was a slight blush on her cheeks.

Urd blinked, though a bit groggily since she'd nearly had
her fill of alcohol for the night.

"I... I'm outta here," said Mara.

Urd reached out, holding Mara's shoulder. "Mara,
waitasec..."

The demoness hesitated, only to give Urd a kiss on the
cheek.

"Seeya 'round, Urd."

"Wai-"

But Mara had already vanished, leaving Urd alone with an
unfinished beer and an unanswered question.

- end Meddling Fates -

------------------------------------------------------------

RECONCILIATION, n.

A suspension of hostilities. An armed truce for the purpose
of digging up the dead.

-The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

------------------------------------------------------------

SCENE
A little wooden stage inside a rustic looking tavern.
A little karaoke machine sits a bit left of the center,
and MARA sits on a stool behind a microphone at center
stage. Around the bar, miscellaneous devils, demons,
and spirits from many cultures and worlds, sit and watch
her. They all seem surprisingly sedate, or at least
drunk.

MARA

Things that've happened to me recently
have got me... I dunno... feeling nostalgic,
I guess. Old friends do that, I guess.
Anyway, looking at the select-o-matic
list here, this is the only song that
matches my mood at the moment.

(music starts)

o/~ Falling in love again o/~
o/~ Never wanted to o/~
o/~ What am I to do? o/~
o/~ I can't help it o/~

----------*----------
PLOTS
David Tai
Rod M.
----------*----------

MARA

o/~ Love's always been my game o/~
o/~ play it how I may o/~
o/~ I was made that way o/~
o/~ I can't help it o/~

(Audience begins swaying with the song. A few
hold up lighters, candles, or just set someone
else's finger on fire.)

----------*----------
EDITING STAFF
David Tai
Rod M.
Scott Schimmel
T.J. Griesenbrock
Christian Bremer
Travis Butler
Anand Rao
Foxtrot
The Keep Rats
(you know who you are)
The FFML Lads and Ladies
The OTL Ladies and Gentlemen
----------*----------

MARA

o/~ Men cluster to me o/~
o/~ like moths 'round a flame o/~
o/~ And if their wings burn o/~
o/~ I know I'm not to blame o/~

----------*----------
SPECIAL THANKS TO:
The Anime Web Turnpike: http://www.anipike.com
CFAN: The Comic Fan-Fiction Authors Network:
http://members.aol.com/kielle/cfan.htm
Friedrich Hollaender & Marlene Deitrich for
the song 'Falling in Love Again'
And of course:
To Neil Gaiman, Charles Vess, and assorted writers for
The Books of Magic and to Kosuke Fujishima for Ah My
Goddess!

----------*----------

MARA
(entire room sings along)

o/~ Falling in love again o/~
o/~ Never wanted to o/~
o/~ What am I to do? o/~
o/~ I can't help it o/~

- end -
------------------------------------------------------------

Outtakes.

Scenes that never was, scenes that could have been.

------------------------------------------------------------

This was the original story for Tim Hunter/Urd. It had
too many unknown variables (such as, what happened to Mister
E?), and was abandoned for the Cupid story. Still, these
scenes from the original story're worth a look.

-david

---

Untimely Fates

An

Oh My Goddess | Books of Magic

Tale

---

[A Future]

Alone in his citadel, Mr. Hunter looked out into the dark
skies of London. Many things were to be done now that His
empire had begun.

His alliance with the demon Etrigan needed to be sealed in a
blood sacrifice tomorrow. Too bad it had to be Constantine,
though. He really hoped John would see things his way, but
alas...

And then there was the matter of the Cold Flame... he'd need
_her_ help in dealing with that lot...

-tap-

Hm?

-tap-

What was...

-tap-

No. It couldn't be.

-tap-

It was a sound he hadn't heard in years, not since he was
a boy. It was the sound of a cane, a blind man's cane,
tapping the floor....

-TAP-

The only blind man he knew was the one that had come closest
to killing him.

Mister E. The blind mystic who could walk through time.

"No..." He looked around, looking for the source of the
sound. "It can't be..."

"Hello, Hunter." The voice was low and menacing, echoing
off the walls and into the dark. Hunter felt a slight rush
of air and stumbled away, just in time to dodge as a knife
flashed in the moonlight.

"You!"

A man dressed all in white, wearing dark red glasses,
walked slowly towards him.

"I always knew you'd turn for the worse," said the man.

"You've no place here, E. Leave now and I just might spare
your life."

The blind man shook his head solemnly. "It ends here."

Hunter hurled a ball of fire at him, striking him at the chest
and reducing him to ashes.

Anyone would think the battle was over. Hunter knew better.

The ashes slowly rose into the air and reformed, becoming
cloth and flesh once more. It was like watching a movie in
reverse, only a little more disturbing.

"You cannot defeat me. I am a _master_ of time. What you
do, I can undo."

Hunter looked at his watch nervously. Just a few minutes
more...

Mister E cocked his arm back, knife ready to strike. "Time
to take your medicine, boy."

He swung the knife forward...

... and found his arm to be held back by a hand.

A female hand.

"I think not," said a woman's voice.

"WHO DARES?!" Mister E whirled around angrily, only to face
a being of power beyond his.

Hunter grinned. "Well. It's about time."

- * -

[A Past]

Urd nearly spat out her sake. "You're adding HIM to the
invitation list?!"

"Why not?" said Skuld. She glared at her sister, the kind
of glare that essentially said that this was one thing she
wasn't backing down on.

"Fine, fine. But if John causes any trouble at the party,
I'm tossing his ass out PERSONALLY. You asked Bell,
already, right?"

"I'll go do that right now," replied Skuld, walking away.
"Unlike SOME people, I'm sure she'll be nice about it."

This, thought Urd, was a fine turn of events. John
Constantine at the party. Considering he had a tendancy
to be followed by bad luck, this was something Urd wasn't
looking forward to.

"Next thing you know we'll have the demon Etrigan gate-crash
the..."

There was something in the air.

"...the..."

Something falling...

"...the..."

It wasn't falling through the sky.

"... what the..."

It was falling through time.

"HhHhHeEeElllp mMmMeEeEeee...."

"Who's there?" Urd asked.

Before her, a blur of white slowly began to fade into
existance. The very air seemed to warp and bend, as if made
out of water, distorting the image of a man.

"TtTtThHheEeEeE BbBbBbOoOoOyYyY..."

"Ah... hello?"

"YyYyYyoOoOoOo MmMmMmUuUuSsStTt SsSsStTtToOoOpPpP TtThHhEeE
BbBbBoOoOoYyYy..."

"The boy? Who?"

"TtTtThHhHeEeEe BbBbBoOoOoYyYyYy TtTtTtIiIiIiMmMmM
HhHhUuUuNnNnTtTtEeEeRrRr AaAaNnNnDdDd HhHhIiIiSsSs
WwWwOoOoMmMmAaAaNnNn! TtTtHhHhEeEeYyYy WwWwIiIiLlLl
RrRuUuIiInNn AaAaLlLlLlLl..."

"Tim Hunter?"

Urd raised her arms and focused what little power a Second
Class rating allowed her, focusing on stabilizing the time
rift that seemed to be entrapping the entity.

The air seemed to stabilize slightly, allowing her to see
her mysterious visitor. The image was badly distorted, as
if she was viewing through stained and misshapen glass. She
could make out the details of a man dressed in a white suit.
It looked like he'd been savagely beaten, with streaks of
black and red staining the white, and the glasses on his
face shattered.

"Tim Hunter and his girl? What girl?"

The apparition began to fade, blurring and distorting,
fading.

"HhHhHeEeErRrRr FfFfAaAuUuLlLtTt, SsSsHhHeEe
SsShHhOoOwWweEeDd HhHiIiMmM TtThHhEeE
DdDaAaRrRkKkNnNeEeSsS..."

"Who? Who's the girl?"

"TtHhEe GgGoOoooooaaaahhhhh....."

And then it was gone.

Something rotten was afoot. A victim of some bizarre time
spell, savagely beaten. A warning of doom. A name.

Tim Hunter.

Urd frowned. She'd heard that name before...

- * -

[The here and now]

Tim Hunter just didn't have the time for this. A white-haired
goddess was draped all over him, and glaring at a Demoness.
He had no idea who the demoness would be, and he certainly
didn't want anything to do with this Urd who'd popped up
insisting that he was going to be turned to the darkness.

"And just who would you be?" Tim grumbled.

The demoness bowed gracefully, smiling a charming smile.

"You may call me Mara."

- * -

Tim Hunter fought off panic. He couldn't afford to panic,
not with Mister E at his throat trying to kill him with
a wooden stake and a mallet.

Dimly, his vision darkening, Tim spied Urd out of the corner
of his eyes. So Mister E had gotten to her first. But...
where was Mara? She had told him just how to use the
darkness, and... she wasn't there. Just like a typical
demon.

Tim's anger grew. His hands started to come up, tracing
arcane symbols in the air. The aura of the magic gathered
around him. There was none of the calm feeling of blueness
that he normally had when he did magic...

This time, the magic felt red spiked with black, jagged
and edgy...

And Tim Hunter gave in to the Magic.

- * -

Tim Hunter was gone, lost into the Magic.

Urd could do nothing. Mara had gotten to him, completely.
There was nothing left Urd had at her disposal. Some Goddess
she was. No wonder she was still stuck at Goddess Second
Class.

He had given in to the hate, the despair, the madness, and
there was nothing she could do. She was only the Goddess of...

Love.

And suddenly, Urd knew what she had to do.

- * -

[Urd's room]

Tim adjusted his glasses, rubbing his neck sheepishly.

"That was all?"

Urd grinned sheepishly. "Love is a powerful motivation,
Tim. It can be just as powerful as Hate."

There was a knock at the door.

"Hmmm? Come in?"

"Sis?" a cheerful voice said, as a young girl peered in.

Tim blinked.

The raven-haired girl blinked back, and then waved in an
enthusiastic fashion, beaming. "Hiiii!"

Tim stammered, managing to gather his wits enough to wave back.

Urd looked between Tim and Skuld, and grinned.

"Tim, this is my sister Skuld."

- * -

[A Future]

Mr. Hunter shook his head, as Mister E vanished into the
past. He looked over to the woman who shared his dream,
his lover, his partner, his goddess, and laughed.

And Skuld laughed back with him, bringing him to her in an
embrace and a kiss.

The Magus and his Dark Angel turned back to face the world
they had wrought, hand in hand.

And it was good.

------------------------------------------------------------

Authors' Notes:

------------------------------------------------------------

'And thaaaaaat's all folks!'

-djt

And that's the end of the Fates Trilogy.

Oh, sure, we'll take on more Vertigo stuff later on, with
perhaps more fortrays into the anime kingdom, and there's
one more Oh My Goddess crossover due on the list, once again
with Hellblazer. But the trilogy's pretty much done.

This might have been the most difficult of the Fates trilogy
to write, mostly due to us deciding we wanted to write a
story based on the John Ney Reiber Tim Hunter, rather than
the Peter Gross Tim Hunter.

What's the difference, you may ask?

Peter Gross writes a more proactive Tim Hunter. But he
writes his stories so tightly there seems to be little room
to do things with Tim.

John Ney Reiber wrote Tim as a ... well, person who
just got hauled into things. He was never very active,
which meant everyone else carried him along into the
story.

Which makes me utterly despise Reiber's Tim. Too many
story ideas got stomped flat because Tim was an utter wuss.

As you can see from the outtakes, there was a Mister E story
idea that had been around almost since Dire Fates started.

It got stomped. Rod got sick of saving the world, and it
was pretty hard to figure out Mister E.

Then Rod brings up Cupid.

There we go.

Lots of homage to John Woo here.

See you next time, next project likely is gonna be either
Junior Trenchcoat Brigade, Vampire Princess Miyu/Hellblazer,
or Faith Machine (the aforementioned OMG/Hellblazer final
chapter.)

We'll be baaaaaaaaaaack!

-david

----------*----------

Wrapping it up
-Rod M.

Ah, at last, the end of the Fates trilogy.

I know, I know, quite a few of you are going to be wondering
why its scope is so... limited. There's no grand
world-scale emergency here, no great risk of death and no
lives on the line here.

To tell you the truth, saving the world/nation/city/person,
in my opinion, would have been redundant. It's a bit
cliche to begin with, and we already did it in Dire Fates.

However, if you stop and think about how the Fates trilogy
has gone, what we did really makes sense. We're working on
a sort of upside-down pyramid scheme here. Dire Fates was
the big wide grand start. Mortal Fates narrowed the focus
down quite a bit, though the stakes were still quite grave.
And now we have Meddling Fates, which lowers the stakes
quite a bit.

If you want grand, epic world-saving or whatnot, just wait a
while. The Faith Machine (a sequel to the Hellblazer
storyline 'The Fear Machine') will be coming soon. Death,
a fall from grace, more death, destruction, chaos,
and John Constantine damning himself even more than he
currently is, all that stuff and more.

But for now, I'd like to think of this as the real closer to
the Fates series, and anything else as alternate reality
continuation.

Lemme tell you, folks, writing Tim is maddening. It's not
easy. Trying to find a spot in continuity that'll allow it
is maddening, and as David said, using his incarnation from
the first 50 issues is grating on the nerves as well since
he's so bloody passive.

If you wanna write a Books of Magic fanfic, good luck to
you.

-Rod M