Author's note:

thanks for the positive comments, I really appreciated them… it also seems most of you liked the battle between Suigintou and Souseiseki. Glad you liked how I portrayed the fight scenes. I hope on improving this part more as this really is the most complicated to portray. Anyways, again I do not own Rozen Maiden so please don't sue me.

PS

Also I tried posting the link to the image that inspired me to create Souseiseki's blade form but as it seems doesn't allow site linking. –sigh- anyways, I posted the link in the RM fanfic forums of animesuki.

O O O O O O O O O O

Rozen Maiden: Eternal Play

Act 10: Crossroads

Kirakishou gingerly cut the steak before her and placed it in her mouth.

"Hmm… Wonderful Laplace" as she let the food melt inside her mouth.

"Thank you mistress" said the rabbit man as he bowed before her.

"Don't you agree Onee-sama"

"Yes," Suigintou agreed, rather boringly, with her sister, as she sliced a piece and ate. She needs to play along with this spoiled brat's whims… for now.

Kirakishou held her wine and set it before her sister who rather looked at it stupidly. She smiled and cheered it against her and drank.

'Honestly, such a spoiled brat indeed' Suigintou sighed as she relinquished dinner.

"You're finished Onee-sama?" Kirakishou looked rather amazed at her. She barely touched her steak.

"Yes" Suigintou replied. "Now could you please tell me why am I here?"

"Yes, yes, after tea" Kirakishou suggested. Suigintou stood and banged the table. Lapalce and Barasuishou who stood by looked at her.

"I WANT ANSWERS DAMN IT!!" Suigintou roared.

Kirakishou smiled and leaned forward on her fingers.

"There, there Onee-sama. Calm down"

"Calm down? Don't play with me child" Suigintou warned. "You don't know who the hell you're messing with!!"

"Oh but I do Onee-sama" Kirakishou sneered as her eyes reflected her sister. "I have been… watching you for some time."

Suigintou raised a brow. "You're stalking after me then. Are you planning on stealing my Mystica"

Kirakishou laughed at her statement. "If I plan on doing so, I should have done it while you were asleep Onee-sama."

"Tch"

"However" Kirakishou became serious. "I do have… a proposal for you…"

"Proposal?" Suigintou studied her expression. Something was not right with this doll. A hint of malice seeped around her.

Kirakishou nodded. "A means of easily becoming Alice"

"Explain"

"I offer you my Rosa Mystica"

"In exchange for?"

"Nothing"

Now that seems too good to be true.

"Are you kidding me?" Suigintou frowned. "We are all created by Father to aspire to become Alice and you're telling me you want to relinquish such opportunity?" Kirakishou nodded.

"Why?"

"Like Shinku and the rest, I do not wish to become Alice"

"You do not wish to meet Father?" Suigintou gasped.

"Meeting you is enough Onee-sama" Kirakishou smiled.

"Liar!" Suigntou raged. "Why would you not want to meet Father?! You are also his child!!"

"To be honest, I don't' care much about" she smiled at her.

Suigintou's eyes blazed. Never had she seen such reaction from a Rozen Maiden, to insult Father in such a way, UNFORGIVEABLE!! However, Suigintou contained herself so as to learn more from the sister who they never met since the dawn of the Alice Game.

"Like you Onee-sama, I was also… Junk"

"What are you talking about?" Suigintou fumed. She doesn't want to admit it but even if Shinku promised to stop calling her junk, that word still held meaning for her. She carried it like a scar, a heavy cross that gave misery to her life.

"Unlike you, however, who Father created a body and gave a Rosa Mystica and recently, gave a torso. I am incomplete" Kirakishou began.

"Father created me as a Rosa Mystica. In this state, I am a Rosa Mystica…"

"I-Impossible!! But you have a form. How come you say you are a Rosa Mystica"

Kirakishou chuckled. "What I am saying is true. Father made me as a Rosa Mystica but left me in this world in this form"

"It's sad really" Kirakishou sulked, her eyes glimmered with sadness as she thought of her existence. "While all of you are able to meet and do your best to be Alice, I, on the other hand, am stuck in this world waiting for the arrival of the Sixth Illuminati to challenge me."

"Sixth Illuminati?"

Kirakishou nodded. "The Rozen Maiden who has acquired six Rosa Mysticas throughout the course of the Alice Game, a classification which Father revealed to me before he left me in this place"

Kirakishou sighed as she continued. "It's sad really, as it puts me at a disadvantage. I mean, I simply await here to face the strongest of all of us in odds of six to one. That's why I think Father created me to act somewhat as fertilizer… the final stepping stone so that Alice would be born"

"Stuck in this world for what seemed ages, boring myself to nothingness, I had instead become a silent observer of the events of your Alice Game" Kirakishou smiled. "For years I have watched all of you fight one another, giving your all so as to please Father. I have watched you for some time yet, as life continued, I grew bored of your feats."

"Bored?" Suigintou glanced quizzically.

"Neither one of you hasn't been defeated in the Alice Game no matter how many times or how long you fought. Your acts have become a routine for me. Like a television show that never ended, always replaying the same episode." Kirakishou leaned again as she crossed her fingers. "That's why, a thought occurred to me" she sneered at Suigintou.

"Thought?" Mercury Lampe asked, now paying close attention to what this youngest sister has been saying.

Kirakishou nodded. "What if… I raised the stakes a bit?"

"Raise the stakes?"

Kirakishou nodded again. "What if I give one of you an advantage in combat? Wouldn't it be nice to finally, after long years of struggle, end the Alice Game?"

"And thus you offer your Rosa Mystica?"

Kirakishou nodded.

"Without asking for anything in return?"

"Not even one request" Kirakishou smiled.

"But why me?"

"Why not?"

"Tell me, of all our sisters, why did you choose me?" Suigintou asked.

"Let's say, I idolize you Onee-sama"

"Huh?"

"Though it may look different, in truth, we are in many ways similar"

"What does that suppose to mean? Does that include being junk?!" Suigintou began to anger.

"Forgive me for offending you Onee-sama. Let me then restate my point" Kirakishou smiled calmly at her infuriated sister. "You and I… Both of us felt, at one point, unloved by Father. You were incomplete back then while I am left all alone in this place. Both of us have asked the same question once… have we not, Onee-sama?" Kirakishou sneered.

Suigintou staggered back, her eyes widened as she knew her sister spoke the truth.

'Why Father' Suigintou remembered.

"Why Father?" Kirakishou asked.

'Do you not love me?'

"Do you not love me?"

'Why was I incomplete?'

"Why was I incomplete?"

'Why am I alone, suffering in this world?'

"Why am I alone, suffering in this world?"

'Why won't you hold me? Kiss me? Love me?'

"Why won't you hold me? Kiss me? Love me?"

'Why have you abandoned me Father? Why?'

"Why have you abandoned me Father? Why?"

Suigintou fell down on her knees, beginning to cry as she remembered those lines, those exact lines that she would cry in her despair, in her anguish. A loss of hope, like a fragile rose engulfed in an eternity of pain and suffering, swallowed by eternal darkness.

"Y-you…" Suigintou trailed as her tears fell. She looked up at her sister and noticed too as tears poured down from her left eye all the way to her cheeks. An eye that reflected loneliness and hurt.

"That's why I chose you Onee-sama" Kirakishou looked at her sadly. "Our sisters do not need Father more than we do because we have questions. Questions regarding our existence, defining us, giving us meaning. We need to become Alice so that, when we meet Father, we can finally ask him all our whys"

Kirakishou knelt before her sister and held her hand. "Please Onee-sama, stand up. You are stronger than this. I have seen you strive hard and give your all in everything you do"

Suigintou looked sadly at her as Kirakishou replied with a smile.

"Think of my offer Onee-sama. Let us join forces. Let me give you my Rosa Mystica and together, let us meet Father and ask him why" Kirakishou gave her a comforting smile. Suigintou looked baffled as Laplace and Barasuishou looked at her patiently, eagerly waiting for her answer.

"I-I…" Suigintou hesitated. She doesn't know what to say. Kirakishou smiled again "Think about it Onee-sama" as she aided her on her feet. "When you know what to answer, just call me. As I will be watching you, always" Kirakishou nodded at Laplace who bowed and, taking his hat, he poured some dust on the ground which opened a portal.

"Go Onee-sama and think about it" Kirakishou said as she led her sister before the exit, still holding her hand.

Kirakishou turned to her and hugged and kissed her on the cheek, an act in which confused Suigintou even more. "It has been an honor to meet you Onee-sama" Kirakishou released her hand as Suigintou looked at her, confused and sad. "Go, you have a medium to return to… is it not?"

Suigintou nodded. She walked forward but took a glance on her once more before she left.

As the portal sealed itself, a hint of happiness and malice painted on Kirakishou's face.

"That was convincing… mistress" Laplace mused.

"I believe that won me an Oscar or something" Kirakishou sneered.

Barasuishou's eyes widened. 'Was she acting all along? But… everything seemed real…'

"Why the troubled look Barasuishou?" Kirakishou asked at the dreamy doll.

Barasuishou snapped out of her daydream "N-Nothing mistress"

Kirakishou chuckled. "Don't tell me you believed that act"

"Uhm…" Barasuishou hesitated. "To be honest mistress, I did"

Kirakishou began laughing hysterically "You idiot… to believe in that skit so easily…"

Barasuishou blushed (in anger) and looked at her shyly. "If I may ask mistress, was not all of it true?"

"Well most of what I said is true. Except maybe on the part where I wanted to meet father to ask him 'why'" Kirakishou laughed again, much harder this time.

"You.. do not wish to meet master Rozen?"

"To hell with Rozen" Kirakishou roared with a grin "When I do meet him, I will make him pay for banishing me in this hellish prison" Kirakishou continued her wild laughter as it echoed throughout the ivory walls of her castle.

O O O

Jun's eyes opened. He blinked a couple of times before setting himself straight in his bed. He searched for his glasses and felt it on top of a table. When he wore the glasses, he noticed something odd. Jun turned to his side as an open window greeted him. Outside, butterflies flew and nested on a rose. Birds chirped and the sun shone directly through the pane. Jun turned around and explored his room. It was different from his previous one as it was huge, spacious rather. Antique vases lay on a desk. On the side of his room was a mirror. Jun stood up and went to it to see if he was still himself.

He was Jun alright but his attire and hairstyle was not from the century he came from.

O O O

Oddly, his glasses were the same, his face more so, but his hair was trimmed neatly. He wore a sleek, black vest under a white, long-sleeved shirt and wore deep blue trousers. He turned around before the mirror and examined his getup. Not from his century indeed. His attire must've dated back from the 16th or 17th century, Jun guessed.

He explored his room once more before he decided to leave through the door.

He walked the bright hallways of the mansion. Paintings lie on the walls and vases filled with red roses stood on pedestals. Jun was filled with awe as he passed various artworks after another.

He came by an open door. Jun peeked inside but saw it empty. From the looks of the place, it seems like a practice hall of some sort. Probably a place to practice music, as he saw a violin and a piano settled on one side. Jun decided to leave the place and continue finding the way out.

He came before the main halls. Jun marveled at the place as he went down the stairs, as more paintings and statues were placed neatly.

Jun walked some more on the lower floor until he noticed a figure in one of the rooms. Jun leaned over to catch a better look. He moved forward the room and peeked inside. It was dim, as lesser light penetrated through the windows. Jun helped himself inside and navigated his way in the darkness. Jun tried to look around and, in one corner, has come face to face with a face!

"YAH!!" Jun yelped as she staggered back until he bumped on a desk and accidentally set his hand on it. Jun felt a hand and lifted it up. In doing so, he noticed that he was holding a hand… Just a hand.

"YEAAAEEAAAHHH!!" Jun cried as he accidentally flung the hand away.

Noticing something strange, Jun spun around and looked at the parts before him. He shivered but felt something odd about them. Gathering his courage, he took a gulp and leaned closer. The parts were… lifeless. Also, it has a strange scent. It smells like… vinyl… Jun held a piece and nudged his glasses as he inspected it closer. It was light and hollow like a piece of a traditional doll. Doll?

Jun returned the piece and continued. He found an entrance covered with curtains, shoving it aside, he entered the place and was greeted by a room with much more light than the previous ones.

He surveyed the area and noticed a man knelt before a chair, busying himself with something. Jun stepped forward and was about to say something when he felt something creepy beside him. When he turned to his side, he staggered back as he was greeted by four pairs of lifeless eyes. Fear should have crept to Jun but he found himself familiarity with these figures. As he went closer he finally found out who they were.

In a chair sat Suigintou which was beside Kanaria then Suiseiseki and finally Souseiseki.

"Then…" Jun's eyes widened as he realized who the man was and what he must've been doing in front of that chair. Jun went closer when Rozen stood up, carrying Shinku in one hand. He turned to him and smiled. Jun could barely see his face. Rozen went closer and handed him the lifeless Shinku. Jun looked at her then at Rozen who smiled and nodded. As Jun held his hand to receive her, he heard a familiar voice.

"Jun, wake up -nano"

"Jun…"

O O O

"You shouldn't disturb Jun-kun Hinaichigo" Tomoe chuckled.

"Unyu… but how long will he sleep –nano?" Kleine Beere pouted. "I miss Jun -nano"

"We all miss him –desu. But leave it as it is, we have nothing to do –desu. We cannot force chibi-ningen to wake up -desu"

"Yes. Suiseiseki is right Hinaichigo. All we can do for now is to wait for Jun to wake up" Shinku reprimanded the doll.

"But I miss Jun -nano" Hinaichigo pouted again.

"Ugh…"

All the dolls and Tomoe looked at him as he regained consciousness.

"Sakurada-kun…" Tomoe gasped.

"Amazing!! Jun's awake –nano!!" Hinaichigo cheered.

"As expected of the human –desu…" Suiseiseki added. "He's a tough nut to beat -desu"

"Jun" Shinku smiled.

Jun's vision was shaky; he could barely distinguish the figures standing above him. Jun sought for his glasses which Shinku handed. "Here"

"Thanks" Jun said as he put them his glasses on and looked at his surroundings.

From his side stood Shinku, Suiseiseki, Hinaichigo, Tomoe, and Souseiseki. He explored his environment which is certainly, not his room. From his left side was a huge pane that displayed a bright sky and turning back to the dolls, noticed a desk with a basket of fruits.

"Wh-where am I?" He finally asked after getting a good look.

"In a hospital -desu" Suiseiseki answered. "You passed out after we returned from the N-field factory last night -desu"

Jun remembered everything. The battle with Barasuishou, the explosion, falling with Tomoe, and their escape from the ruins.

"Is that so?" Jun asked wearily. Stress has kept up with him as he now found himself tired.

"Yes –desu. Nori immediately called an ambulance when she found you wounded"

"So… wait!" Jun snapped and turned at Tomoe who wore a bandage on her forehead. "Your head Kashiwaba-chan"

Tomoe looked at it and smiled "I'm fine Sakurada-kun. The doctor said it was just a scratch. Thank you Sakurada-kun for protecting me back there"

"Seriously, there is no need to panic -desu"

Jun felt relieved "By the way, where's Nori?"

"She's at the cashier" Shinku replied. "She said something about paying hospital charges"

"So…" Jun looked at them wearily and noticed how clear his vision is. Jun looked puzzled as he removed his glasses and looked at them.

"I thought these were broken"

"They were –desu only if Shinku hadn't repaired them. You should be grateful chibi-ningen" Suiseiseki teased. Shinku blushed and remanded the gardener. "Suiseiseki…"

Jun smiled as he put back his glasses "Well then, thank you, Shinku" he then remembered his dream as his smile went into a frown then turned into an unsure expression.

Shinku noticed this and looked at her medium concerned. "What is it, Jun?"

Jun's memory of his dream was shady. He wasn't sure if what he had was true. "I-it's nothing", Jun lied as he decided it best if he not concern the dolls anything related to Rozen.

The door swung open and in came Nori.

"I'm back everyone"

"Nori!!" Hinaichigo cheered and leapt on the human "Jun's awake –nano!"

Nori's eyes widened. "R-really?" as she looked at her brother amongst the people in the room. "Jun… kun…" Nori's tears began to fall. He let Hinaichigo go and ran for him as she hugged him tight, crying on his shoulders. Everybody smiled at the reunion of brother and sister. Jun was amazed yet smiled as he hugged her warmly.

"I thought I'm going to lose you…" Nori sobbed.

"Nah…" Jun said kindly.

Nori pulled away from him as she wiped a tear. "I need to tell mother and father of the good news" Nori smiled.

"You told them what happened?" Jun asked her worriedly. As much as possible, he doesn't want to trouble their parents.

Nori nodded.

"You shouldn't have…" Jun said sadly "I… don't want them to worry… I don't want to be a bother…"

Nori shook her head. "You're not a bother Jun-kun. You're family and is very important especially to mother and father" she said as she held his hands. Jun looked at her as Nori nodded and smiled back. She got over the phone and began dialing some numbers.

As Nori busied herself contacting their parents, Jun looked around once more at his visitors. He finally noticed Souseiseki who stood with an empty expression.

"Souseiseki" he mused. Jade Stern followed his look on her twin and frowned. Jun turned at the worried doll.

"Suiseiseki has Souseiseki…" the doll looked at him and shook her head. "Still no improvement –desu"

"Don't worry Suiseiseki, we'll do our best to bring her memories back" he then turned to the rest. "Right?" all of them nodded. He then turned back to the doll "I'm more concerned about you."

The gardener blushed. "Wha-What about me –desu?"

"You haven't slept have you?" Jun snickered at the doll. Suiseiseki staggered back. "H-how did you know -desu" she asked in a low tone.

"You barely have a good sleep when you're seriously upset Suiseiseki" Jun snickered.

The gardener staggered again. "How did you…"

"He's our servant after all" Shinku eyed the doll under her smile. "It is only natural for a servant to understand the needs of his mistresses"

Jun's brow twitched as he forced a frown. "Honestly, I didn't remember still accepting such terms"

Hinaichigo leapt and landed on Jun's cradle. "I miss Jun -nano" the doll said as she hugged him. Jun blushed and hugged the doll back. "Have you been a good girl Hinaichigo?" Jun smiled. "Unyuu!" The doll nodded.

"Jun" Nori interrupted as she handed him the phone.

Jun looked at it troubled then looked back at her. Nori nodded as Jun decided to finally talk to them, gently placing his ears on the receiver, Jun breathed heavily

"Hello" said a familiar voice.

"He-hello" Jun cleared his throat.

"Jun? Jun!! Dad it's Jun!"

A voice said from behind the line. "Our son's okay? I want to hear him"

"Hello? Jun"

"Mother" Jun began to cry. It has been long since he heard the voice of his mom. everyone witnessed as he cried, Jun noticing this blushed and looked at the pane, so as to hide his tears. He failed to hide it, however, from Hinaichigo who still sat on his lap.

"Mother. How has it been?" Jun smiled.

"H-How has it been? We should be the ones asking you that!" His mother scolded him.

Jun chuckled as his tears fell. "I'm fine. I seem to have recovered from the injury"

"I'm relieved to here that… wait…" His mother interrupted "What?"

"Jun, your father wants to talk to you" she chuckled. "He's been eager on talking with you again. Here"

"Jun?"

"Father?"

Shinku perceived everything in awe. Jun was a good boy who cared deeply for his family and, after long years of not talking with one another, Jun received them happily, rather, emotionally. Shinku wondered if she would be given a chance to meet Father, will she be this emotional with him?

Hinaichigo wiped a tear from Jun. The medium patted her head and smiled as he continued talking with his parents for what seemed like and eternity.

O O O

The sun shone brightly as Megu waited patiently, ever gazing at the window, for her Angel to come back.

'Suigintou…' Megu whispered.

Just then, black feathers fell from outside. Megu's eyes widened in expectation. "Suigintou?"

Mercury Lampe hovered from outside and perched on the window sill. Megu saw her doll that was know wearing a different dress from before.

"Suigintou, your dress…"

The doll looked at her attire and looked at her nonchalantly. "What about it?"

Megu's eyes shimmered with awe.

"Megu?"

"Suigintou, you truly look like an Angel" the medium smiled.

The doll blushed and cast her eyes away "Wh-what are you talking about?" as she sat on the window.

"You're beautiful Suigintou" Megu gasped. "You truly are and Angel"

"Haven't I told you to not call me that?" Suigintou interrupted, trying to divert the topic.

"But, Suigintou, what happened to your old dress?"

"They got torn when I fought one of my sisters"

"So… that's why…" Megu looked at the ring. Suigintou noticed this and remembered her fight with Souseiseki. She remembered using power from her medium. Suigintou grumbled as she regretted using such power.

Megu looked at her and smiled. "Thank you Angel-san"

"Huh?"

"For using my power. In that way, I was able to accompany you in battle."

"Hmph… What are you talking about? Even without your power I can defeat my sisters that easy." Suigintou turned and leaned on the frame as she raised her left leg and poised it on the window. She complacently placed her arm on her knee and cast her gaze outside, watching as the wind blew the leaves.

Flashback

"Join me Onee-sama" Kirakishou smiled at her.

Suigintou remembered seeing Kirakishou's sad eyes as her tears ran down her cheeks.

"Why Father"

End Flashback

"Angel-san?"

Suigintou snapped free of her daydream and looked at her medium wryly.

"Is something wrong?"

Suigintou turned away

"Nothing…"

As the wind blew gently the leaves of a forgotten past.

O O O

Kirakishou saw what Jun and the rest has been doing through the eyes of Souseiseki who stood amongst them mindlessly.

"So… the medium has survived after all…" Kirakishou jeered.

"No matter, once I have set everything in place, I can finally continue my plans"

"It seems his spark awoke, mistress" Laplace mused.

Kirakishou nodded. "So he is another one right?"

"Yes"

"But," Laplace added. "May I remind you mistress that, like a rose, you need to take it before it reaches maturity"

Kirakishou nodded. "I know. I must acquire his glow from within before he knows how to fully use it. It is rare now to find a novice like him however, I cannot take it now. It is still a seedling. We must first make it grow then grab it before it becomes mature"

"Yes mistress, to steal a rose…"

"…one has to wait…" as Kirakishou's golden eye glimmered and reflected the medium who was patting the head of Hinaichigo.

"Then we must make preparations" said a voice from the darkness.

"Enju" Kirakishou greeted.

The doll maker bowed before her. "How long do you plan for this game to continue?"

"As long as I wish"

"And what about my Barasuishou?"

"What about her"

"Have you forgotten that it was you who gave her her Rosa Mystica" Enju looked at her rather serious at the matter "And now that you also control Souseiseki, how has your power been keeping up?"

Kirakishou glowered at the doll maker. "Tell me straight to the point Enju"

"You have become weak Kirakishou" Enju spat

Kirakishou's eye blazed as she released rose vines from her sleeve aimed at Enju.

Before the vines would hit however, they were torn to pieces as Barasuishou protected her father.

"What is this?" Kirakishou angered.

"I serve you but…" Barasuishou said "If you lay your hand on Father, I will kill you…"

"Barasuishou…"

Kirakishou snickered as she stood from her throne and went down the steps "Ohoh… Very brave, such bold words Barasuishou…"

"The question is… Can you defeat me?"

Barasuishou narrowed her eyes. "Step back Father"

"Barasuishou…" Enju gasped in awe. For his child to defend his name…

Kirakishou sneered. "Time to learn your manners then, little one"

Barasuishou frowned and lunged at Snowdrop Kristall whose golden eye glimmered brightly.

O O O

End of Act 10

O O O O O O O O O O

Barasuishou vs. Kirakishou on the next chapter