Author's note: Project defense isn't really nice… what a f . . . . . . g week it was… TT.TT

Ok usual routine, I don't own Rozen Maiden or any of the characters so don't sue me or something

O O O O O O O O O O

Rozen Maiden: Eternal Play

Act 7: Deception

Suigintou perched herself outside the window as her medium slept. The night breeze kissed her cheek and ruffled her hair. She glanced behind to see her medium struggling under the contraption that ought to extend her life. Megu clung tightly on the sheets as sweat trickled down her pretty face.

She was, as what Suigintou understood, having an attack. According to her medium, she occasionally would experience such troublesome routine even when she was a child.

She was experiencing a slow, agonizing death, as Megu would put it, and made Suigintou seem less caring of the medium's situation… or so it seemed.

The first doll found pity rumbling down her gut. This human who was assigned to her was in many ways similar with her personality. Their only difference was the strength of their will. While Suigintou fought despite all odds, Megu would simply wait for death.

But come to think of it, if Megu was tired of living, why not commit suicide herself? Maybe deep inside, there is a part of Megu that wants to live. There is a part of Megu that struggles, that hopes that one day, she will be cured, that one day, she will be free from this hellish boredom that restrained her. That maybe, one day, she can feel the soft earth down her feet and run freely on a bright tomorrow.

The medium and the doll may look different but, in many ways, are alike.

Suigintou turned back at the moonless sky and leaned her head on the window's frame.

O O O

Jun rubbed his brow as he read some more. Still more catching up to do, he thought, as he flicked over the pages of the bulky chemistry book he was reading. He checked his desk clock. 10 pm it read. Jun sighed as he rested on his chair and stretched his arms.

Hinaichigo and Suiseiseki already left to sleep in their cases leaving Shinku, reading a kun-kun novel she recently bought over the internet, to accompany Jun. Shinku glanced over the book towards her medium and sighed. She closed the novel and hopped down from the edge of the bed where she sat and headed for the door.

"Going to sleep?" Jun looked around.

"No, I forgot something at the living room."

"Ok"

O O O

Jun recently blew away the dust he made when he erased a portion of whatever he was jotting down. He cleaned off his page and began scribbling again. Jun did not notice it but he was returning back to who he was before the incident that turned him into a hikikomori. He was, as what Nori described, a very happy boy, diligent in his studies, a genius per se.

The door opened gently as Reiner Rubin entered the room, carrying a cup of freshly brewed tea. She neared her medium and set the tea beside him. Jun noticed the tea and instinctively picked it up for a sip. He then remembered that Nori was already asleep so he spun around to see Shinku heading to her case. Jun glanced back at the cup he held then back at Shinku.

"Shinku"

The doll stopped as she glanced behind her.

"Yes?"

Jun blushed and tried to look away.

"The tea…"

Shinku turned to him.

"What about it?"

"I…" Jun hesitated. "Thank you… Shinku…" As he turned around and busied himself back with the reading.

Shinku smiled and whispered to herself. "You're welcome… Jun…" and went to sleep.

O O O

Enju slouched on his chair cross armed and cross legged as he waited for orders from the seventh, true doll. Before him, sitting on his desk, was Barasuishou who guarded him on his sleep, though from time to time, she would glance over the mirror for their visitor.

Finally, their hour came. The mirror glimmered as Kirakishou's image appeared, Enju opened his eyes and glanced from behind.

"It's time" Barasuishou whispered coldly. As she hopped down from the table, Enju stood up from his chair and both headed to the N-field for the execution of Kirakishou's most ambitious scheme.

O O O

Mercury Lampe remained at the sill, standing guardian over her helpless medium until she sensed the mirror in Megu's bathroom open up an N-field. Suigintou spun around and, hopping from the sill, headed for the mirror in the bathroom. Indeed the mirror was glowing. Suigintou flew and tried to sense anything from the other side. Her effort was replied with a faint, distant cry across the N-field. Suigintou's eyes widened. The cry seemed… familiar. More of intimate with her, deep inside, she knew who it was.

"Father"

Without hesitation, she charged the unknown realm that lay before her. Suigintou emerged from a door and found herself in what it seemed as an abandoned town, somewhat, of German or French architecture.

She explored the town cautiously, searching for the familiar cry which seemed to have disappeared.

"Father! Where are you?!"

Suigintou opened her wings and searched from above. She flew over the whole town in desperate search for her beloved father. After for what seemed to be an hour or so, Suigintou raised her brow. What has just happened? She felt the cry was from father but where is he? From what it seemed to be a dead end, Suigintou finally decided to head back to her medium.

O O O

When Suigintou reappeared she immediately sensed something wrong outside Megu's bathroom. The faint of evil was familiar, menacingly cold death.

Megu's bathroom door swung open only for Suigintou to find herself in Megu's room decorated with indigo crystals. Suigintou desperately scanned the room for Megu to find the sleeping medium surrounded with monolith chunks of ice.

"Megu!!"

"shhh…"

Hiding from an indigo pillar, Barasuishou, sealing her lips with her index finger, requested silence from Mercury Lampe.

"You wouldn't want Megu-chan to know what kind of…" Barasuishou trailed as she glanced at Megu who soundly slept. "… Mess... She has gotten into…" She eyed Suigintou. "… Am I correct, Suigintou?"

"Barasuishou" Suigintou hissed.

The doll faced her and smiled as she curtsied.

"What do you want?" Suigintou's eyes narrowed.

"The life of this precious girl, in exchange for Souseiseki's Rosa Mystica"

"Such a bold gesture coming from the likes of you."

"Haven't you committed the same thing once? Plotting to eliminate Shinku's medium back then?"

Suigintou gritted her teeth.

"I plan on doing the same thing" Rozenkristall eyed her hostage.

"However, I am offering you a way, hand over Souseiseki's Rosa Mystica and I will spare you and your medium… for now…" her indigo eyes stared straight at Suigintou menacingly.

"And if I refuse?"

"Well…" she snapped her fingers and the monolithic spikes that hung from the ceiling above Megu vibrated. "Crimson and Indigo mix quite well in white clothing doesn't it?"

Suigintou clenched her fist and gritted her teeth.

"My, my, what such look. Is that your answer?"

Suigintou's grip loosened. She stood properly and held her hand over her chest and extracted a calm blue light.

"Here…"

Souseiseki's Mystica flew to barasuishou who absorbed it, emanating a purple glow.

"Now fulfill your end of the bargain!"

A rift opened beneath Barasuishou, as she smiled and curtsied, the crystals that decorated Megu's room vanished leaving Suigintou with her sound Megu.

O O O

Complacent footsteps echoed as Barasuishou walked the halls of Kirakishou's Palace. She bowed before Snowdrop Kristall who sat on her throne, with Laplace standing on her side while Enju on the other. Kirakishou extended her hand as Barasuishou extracted Souseiseki's Mystica and handed it over her.

"Wonderful" Kirakishou smiled sadistically at the Mystica on her hand. "Souseiseki... You're Wonderful."

"Kirakishou-sama" Barasuishou intruded. Kirakishou's smile faded and looked annoyingly at Barasuishou. Rozenkristall shuddered but remained obedient.

"Shall I retrieve the container, mistress?" Barasuishou asked humbly, still bowed down before her.

Kirakishou's frown turned back into a smile, a menacing one that is. "Go ahead my servant." She replied gleefully. "Bring our guest here so that I can set my plan in motion."

Barasuishou curtsied and caught a glimpse of her father who nodded his approval, as she turned back and headed out the halls, she clenched her fist.

"You'll have your moment… Kirakishou" she hissed under her gritted teeth. Trailing off as Kirakishou began to laugh manically.

O O O

Hurried footsteps rushed loudly on the Sakurada stairs. Jun, who was studying again that morning, was startled when his door suddenly burst open.

"What the"

Suiseiseki greeted his morning in tears. Shinku glanced at her beyond the book she was reading. Hinaichigo who busied herself in coloring was also startled to see her in such way.

"S-Suiseiseki…" Jun trailed.

"What's the matter Suiseiseki?" Shinku asked.

"Unyuu… Why are you crying –nano?"

"S-Souseiseki…"

Jun's eyes along with the other dolls widened.

"Souseiseki's missing -desu!!" she sobbed.

Jun stood from his chair in disbelief. "S-Souseiseki?"

Shinku, who still held her composure, gently laid down her book and hopped down from the bed and went and embraced Jade Stern.

"Shhh… calm down Suiseiseki"

Suiseiseki poured her emotions on Shinku's embrace. Jun neared the two and knelt before them as he placed a comforting hand on Jade Stern.

"Tell us then what happened."

"We… we must go to grandma and grandpa at once." Jade Stern insisted.

"Well then, we shall. Hinaichigo, we're going"

Kleine Beere nodded.

O O O

Grandma Shibasaki was crying in front of Souseiseki's empty case. All of them were gathered around Lapis Lazuli's case as Motoharu Shibasaki narrated the events from when he woke up.

"While I was sleeping, I heard I clunking sound. I thought it was only the neighbor's cat, Shiori, who came to visit us. But I remembered that he would only come by after his master left for work. I tried to get up and immediately noticed Souseiseki-chan's case open and the mirror's curtains waving while there was no wind."

Jun held his cheek and thought deeply of the information "Someone must have dragged her in the N-Field."

"Could it be Suigintou –nano?"

Suiseiseki clenched her fist upon hearing the name "Gin-baka… What does she want with Souseiseki? First she cut off her arm now this!!"

"Wait Suiseiseki. Let's not jump into conclusions. First we must search for Suigintou and demand from her Souseiseki's body if she really has it."

"Besides…" Jun interrupted. "Suigintou isn't a good burglar"

"What do you mean –desu?"

"Yes Jun, kindly explain yourself."

"There should have been trails of black feathers if it was Suigintou's work. Besides, judging from her actions, she isn't the type who would waste her time with a defeated sister."

"Kanaria perhaps?" Hinaichigo mused.

"I didn't do such thing -kashira"

Everybody spun at the mirror to see Kanaria emerging from the N-field.

"I received word from Nori of what has happened -kashira" she hopped down from the mirror and looked at the empty case. "Souseiseki treated me nicely even if I tried to steal all your Mysticas –kashira. I would never do such a thing."

"So you and Suigintou are definitely out of the picture which leaves…" Jun trailed.

"… Barasuishou…" Suiseiseki hissed. The thought of the menace made Suiseiseki clench her fist tighter.

"Shinku, we must first head to Suigintou." Jun concluded.

"Jun, Isn't it that Suigintou is out of the picture. Then why should we...?"

"I believe that she is well acquainted with this rabble-rouser that we're looking for."

Shinku understood and nodded her approval as Souseiseki headed immediately for the mirror.

"She better has not anything to do with Souseiseki's abduction or I swear…" Jade Stern trailed off as she entered the N-field.

"Suiseiseki wait!" Shinku cried. She started to go after her but remembered where they were and curtsied first before the Shibasakis before going after Jade Stern.

Kanaria followed pursuit but also paid her respects to the elderly.

Jun bowed before them and grabbed Hinaichigo.

"We're terribly sorry for Suiseiseki's outburst" he said as he was to enter the mirror.

Grandma Matsu wiped her tears. "It's alright Jun-kun."

"Please bring Souseiseki-chan back Jun-kun" Grandpa Motoharu requested.

"We'll do what we can."

O O O

All of them reappeared in Suigintou's N-field. The place was like before. Crumbled buildings lay everywhere possibly remnants of what seemed to be caused by a great war scattered all throughout or probably caused by the internal conflict that reflected Suigintou's soul. A broken soul that reflects itself in a broken world.

Suiseiseki stood boldly and cried for the doll's name.

"Suigintou!"

"Suigintou show yourself"

"Suiseiseki" Shinku awed. She has never seen the doll this desperate.

"Suigintou I demand that you show yourself!!" Jade Stern repeated.

Suiseiseki surveyed the area for any sign of Mercury Lampe. All the dolls suddenly felt danger as Shinku and Souseiseki leapt away to safety, so does Jun grabbing for Kanaria and Hinaichigo along the way, as a volley of black, sharp quills hit the ground.

"Honestly it is either your truly are foolish challenging me here or you wish to be reunited with your sister."

"Tch. Suigintou!!" Suiseiseki summoned Sui Dream and lunged for her.

"Suiseiseki!" Shinku tried to stop Jade Stern. As she advanced forward, she felt a hand stop her. She turned around and met Jun who watched the battle, shaking his head in Shinku's attempt.

Mercury Lampe shielded herself from the water's blast then retaliated by hailing Suiseiseki with her feathers which Jade Stern simply evaded by swerving her flight.

Suigintou summoned her blade and clashed with Suiseiseki's watering can. Their weapons went into a standstill as Jade Stern eyed Mercury Lampe hatefully which she replied by smiling back at her scornfully.

"You know Suiseiseki, I see that same fire burning your eyes. The same fire I saw when Souseiseki and I fought." She sneered.

"Suigintou!!" Jade Stern replied her insult with a kick on her torso.

"Yaaah!" Suigintou yelped as she flung backwards. When her sight cleared she managed to shield the splash that came from the gardener, diminishing the damage she received but still, hurtling her further down, crashing on the remains of a torn down building.

Suiseiseki landed on the site where Mercury Lampe fell and splashed water on it causing plants to grow, entangling the beaten up doll in the process. Mercury Lampe was held high and is beginning to feel the pressure of the vines that entangled her. She struggled free but found her attempts futile as the vines restrained her very well. Suiseiseki hovered before her and aimed her watering can.

"For taking away Souseiseki from me… Any last words Suigintou…"

"Hmph. You aren't that weak after all Gardener. However, do you really think you have won by caging me in this puny mess?"

Mercury Lampe emitted a magenta glow that burst her free, sending Suiseiseki down.

"That's…" Shinku gasped.

Suiseiseki shook her head from the impact and regained her senses only to find Suigintou floating before her, her sword drawn, their positions interchanged.

"I would like to comment you though for giving such a wonderful fight. Much better I would say than that offered by Souseiseki."

Suiseiseki clenched the dirt beneath her.

"Well then, let me send you to your twin in the afterlife." She raised her sword and struck down the doll only to find her blow blocked by the watering can. Suiseiseki then managed off her feet and slammed Suigintou to the ground, disarming the doll in the process. Suiseiseki noticed as the blade fell and decided to pick it up. Nearing Suiginou, she pointed the blade on her face.

"It seems that the wheel of fortune has turned again." Suiseiseki said gravely.

"For killing Souseiseki…" she trailed. "DIE!!" she swung her sword at the doll who tried to shield herself with her arms. The cold, silver steel met warm flesh. Flesh?

Suigintou felt a warm liquid drop on her cheek. She raised her hand and felt it and looked at the droplet. It was red, warm crimson. Only then did she notice the shadow over her, the shadow of a familiar figure.

Blood trickled down Jun's arm.

"Jun!" Shinku cried.

"Ch-chibi ningen…"

"Satisfied?" Jun managed under his deep breathing.

"N-ningen…"

"I'm asking you…" Jun glared at her "ARE YOU SATISFIED?!"

Suiseiseki shuddered back. Her lips quivered by the sin she had done. She tried to raise her hand to cower her trembling lips only to finally notice the weapon she used to hurt Jun. She looked at it disdainfully and let it fall on the ground, accompanying it as Suiseiseki trembled down on her knees.

Jun sat aback from the tension and sighed. Suigintou turned at him in disbelief. Jun took off his glasses and began wiping them, after which, noticed the doll looking at him.

"Are you alright, Suigintou?"

The doll nodded instinctively, still unable to comprehend what was happening. The medium neared her and took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped her blood stained face clean. Only then did Suigintou notice the blood on his arm did she return to her senses. Setting his handkerchief aside, Mercury Lampe held Jun's arm and inspected the wound.

"Jun, you're arm."

Jun looked stupidly at his bleeding arm.

"Does it hurt Jun?" she asked concernedly.

"Not much" the medium replied kindly as he pulled away from her hold.

Hinaichigo, along with Kanaria, came to Suiseiseki and comforted her. Shinku run past her and fell before Jun and Suigintou.

"Jun!" she cried at the wound. "Are you alright? Does it hurt?" for the first time, the ever composed Reiner Rubin panicked before her medium, her hands trembling as she held his. Jun raised his other hand and held Shinku's. Her trembling stopped as she met his comforting gaze. Jun smiled at her. "I'm fine Shinku." Suigintou witnessed all these events. Such relationship between the doll and the medium, Suigintou thought.

"I would like to apologize for what Suiseiseki did." Jun said at the staring Suigintou.

Suigintou seemed to have snapped out from her daydream and blushed instinctively.

"N-no, it is I who must apologize." She replied shyly, her eyes downcast.

Shinku looked at her dumbfounded. 'Suigintou, displaying humility before Jun?'

Jun smiled and shifted his gaze from Suigintou to Suiseiseki who was still trembling because of what she did. Jun tried to say something but hesitated and turned back at Suigintou.

"Sorry for intruding your world, we just came by to ask if you know where Souseiseki is?"

"Souseiseki?" Suigintou looked at him curiously.

"She, her body, has been missing since last night."

Suigintou's eyes widened then were downcast when she realized something. "You thought I stole her did you?"

"Honestly, we think you knew of someone who would try to kidnap her. You know whom I am talking about?"

"Barasuishou" Suigintou hissed. He magenta eyes glaring at the thought. Jun nodded and looked at Suiseiseki.

"Suigintou doesn't have Souseiseki" he said to her from his distance.

Suiseiseki looked back at him shakily. Shinku turned to him. "How can you tell?"

Jun nudged his glasses. "Shinku, have you seen Suigintou earlier? The way she fought? Have you noticed anything?"

Shinku turned back to Suigintou who was looking at Jun worriedly. It was a moment before Shinku noticed, her eyes widening with what she theorized, and turned back to Jun "She… she didn't use Renpika."

"Precisely"

"Suigintou" Jun looked back at the doll. "Did Barasuishou steal Renpika from you?" Mercury Lampe shook her head.

"She traded my medium's life for Souseiseki's Rosa Mystica"

All of them looked at her dubiously.

"That's why, back then, you emitted a purplish glow…" Shinku concluded.

"So you have a medium." Jun mused.

"I-it's unbelievable –kashira."

"Suigintou, do you know where Barasuishou stays?"

She shook her head. Jun sighed and decided to get up. As he did, droplets of blood stained the cemented road. He then neared Suiseiseki and knelt before her and wiped away a tear using his wounded arm.

"Don't worry, we'll find her."

Jade Stern noticed the bloody sleeve and whimpered before him. He then stood up and turned again to Suigintou.

"Again, sorry for disturbing you." He then turned to Shinku. "We'll continue tomorrow"

She nodded. Jun turned to the other three "Come, Nori might worry if we don't come back early.", as he began to walk away.

Kanaria and Hinaichigo nodded and got off their feet. Suiseiseki rose too, still sobbing behind her hands and followed them.

"Suigintou", Shinku looked at the doll.

"I'm sorry for what happened earlier." She apologized as she headed off for her group.

"Sh-Shinku, wait…"

She glanced back.

"T-tell Jun…" She hesitated a bit.

"Tell him that the next time we meet, I'll turn all of you into Junk!" she forced and evil smile.

Shinku smiled "Really, such a troubled child you are." And continued on her way.

Only did Suigintou notice the cloth she held. It was the Jun's handkerchief, the one he used to clean her up. She turned back to the leaving group and smiled as she opened her wings and left on the other direction.

O O O

"Jun, what happened on your arm" Nori asked worriedly.

"Just an accident" he replied in his usual care-less tone.

"I'll get some bandages and some antiseptic." As Nori headed upstairs.

Jun slouched on the couch as the dolls got their positions. Suiseiseki however, stood downcast before them until she decided to present herself in front of Jun and grabbed his left arm which got the boy's attention.

"S-Suiseiseki…"

Suiseiseki closed her eyes and neared the rose ring for a kiss. Jun's eyes widened and immediately freed his hand from the doll. With swift motion, Jun placed a finger on the doll's forehead and nudged it sharply.

"Gah!" Suiseiseki winced in mild pain as she held her forehead.

"Relinquishing the contract without my consent…" Jun said sternly.

"YOU EVIL DOLL!! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING?!"

Suiseiseki was taken aback. Jun sighed and slouched back on the couch.

"Geez, such troublesome dolls you are"

He then looked at the ring and closed his eyes and comfied as he shifted his gaze to the ceiling.

"We'll find her" he finally said after awhile.

Suiseiseki looked at him sadly.

"I know we will."

"Jun" Shinku whispered. Kanaria nodded. "That's right –nano. Jun-kun will find a way." With that she leapt and landed on Jun's face.

"umph! WHAT THE!!" he managed under his suffocated face.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! GET OFF ME HINAICHIGO?!!"

"Unyuu… hahaha"

Jun reached for the doll who tried to ride back on him.

"See –nano. It is just as Nori said last time."

Jun looked at her quizzically. "Last time?" still holding her away from him.

Hinaichigo nodded. "When Shinku's wind goes down because Suigintou's feather jammed the hole, Nori said back then that when Jun has that look on his face, he can do anything." The doll replied happily.

"H-Hina… Ichigo…" Jun looked at her astonishingly. 'She remembered that?'

Shinku smiled as she remembered her servant's effort in bringing her back. Suiseiseki too remembered and looked at Jun. He does have that look that he had back then. Suiseiseki's eyes fell downcast as she blushed.

"J-Jun"

Jun and Hina looked at Jade Stern. "Thank You" Jun smiled. Hina turned and smiled at the medium and, catching her opportunity, leapt off his hold and landed back on his face.

"Ughaah.. HINAICHIGO!!"

"Jun, Jun, Jun" The doll said giddily.

"Honestly I wonder how you find this amusing -kashira" Kanaria mused.

"HUWAAAHH!! Hinaichigo!! Get off my face!!" Jun raged as the doll scrambled on him. He tried to pry her away but her hold was strong.

Shinku neared Suiseiseki and smiled at her. "Jun is a good boy. We're lucky we have him as a medium."

Suiseiseki wiped a tear and chuckled. "Even though he's puny –desu. I believe in what he said. We will find her Shinku. Because, Jun is always there for us…"

O O O

"We will find her Shinku. Because, Jun is always there for us…"

"Always there?" Kirakishou whispered. She has observed every detail of the account of her sisters on that day.

"True, but for how long?" Laplace, who stood beside her mused.

"Father" Barasuishou, who was standing on the other side, whispered as Enju came into the room, carrying with him a familiar face. He placed her on a nearby chair and presented it to Kirakishou.

"Well?"

The doll stood up and neared Lapis Lazuli. She held her lifeless chin high and tilted her head sideways as to examine her face.

"Very well done Enju."

He bowed to the compliment. Kirakishou lifted Souseiseki up and held her hands and seemed to dance with her in an invisible waltz.

"Wonderful" she said as she continued with her sister.

"Even her broken arm is fixed perfectly."

She laid her back on the chair and summoned the Mystica.

"Now the Trojan Horse…" Souseiseki's bluish mystica glowed as its color changed from blue to purple then back to blue again. "…Is ready… All we need now is…" she trailed as she neared the mirror who displayed the day's events. It shifted from Suiseiseki to Jun who was struggling free from Hinaichigo and focused on him.

"All we need now is the fool who will grab the bait…" Her gold eye glimmered with madness as her echoed laughter haunted the ivory walls of her palace.

O O O

End of Act 7

O O O O O O O O O O

For those who have been keeping up with this fic, my deepest gratitude to all of you.