Megu and Suigin Tou's Excellent Adventures
A Rozen Maiden fanfic by Aondehafka
Disclaimer: the characters and concepts of Rozen Maiden are owned by Peach Pit, not me. This story is based on the anime, not the manga.
Warning: This is set after the events of my previous Rozen Maiden story, Atmung. If you don't read that one first, you're going to be very confused.
Chapter 1: They Might Be Giants
Rain fell in sheets from a sky the color of slate. This was a cloudburst that barely spared the energy for occasional gusts of wind; thunder and lightning were absent entirely, as if they had been drowned along with the vanished Tokyo pedestrian traffic. The deluge had lasted half an hour now, and showed no signs of slowing.
Regardless of the dampening effect of the weather, there was one event that struggled onward. The baseball game had begun at its regularly scheduled time despite the threatening skies, only five minutes before they opened up. Under the pouring clouds the pitchers, batters, and fielders played on, as if in tribute to Man's eternal struggle to triumph over the vagaries of Nature, or at least to avoid the issue by building covered stadiums.
Out of the multitude who had gathered to watch the game, there were two girls worthy of special note. One reason for this was they were the only two individuals in the entire stadium that no-one else had noticed—had been allowed to notice—so far. They had taken seats two-thirds of the way up from ground level, just high enough for the drumming of the rain overhead to be a soothing background sound rather than a distraction. The taller of the two had fair skin, black hair, and grey eyes, and looked to have barely left her teenage years behind. She wore a pleasant blouse and pants combination. The other girl... well, her appearance was rather less conventional.
Suigin Tou stared down at the field then to her fellow spectators, trying to find some justification for the maddened thousands of people who had given up their Friday evening to cram into the Tokyo 'Big Egg'. "And this happens every week?" she asked her companion, a note of disbelief plain to hear.
"Every week?" Megu echoed. "I think it's more like five or six times a week."
The First Doll blinked. She started to mutter a disparaging remark about the incomprehensible nature of humanity, then swallowed the grumble. After investigating the path Shinku took and learning what some humans were capable of, Suigin Tou thought she probably ought to be relieved at the sight of all these docile sheep.
"Have you ever watched a baseball game before, Suigin Tou?" Megu asked.
"No," she replied. "I've never paid attention to this game. If I hadn't been awake in America during the 1920's, I wouldn't know anything about it at all." She peered down at the teams on the field. "I see they still aren't letting the dark-skinned players in with the pale ones."
"Mm," Megu said, too distracted by a sudden base hit and outfield error combo to pay attention.
"But of course, they're only human," Suigin Tou continued loftily. "I shouldn't be surprised to see them take so long to learn such a simple lesson."
"What about you, Megu?" Suigin Tou asked. She wasn't particularly interested in the answer, but being ignored had never sat well with her. "Who's your favorite player?"
"Oh, I don't have one," Megu answered. "I don't know any of them."
It was the second time in minutes that Suigin Tou had been taken aback. But she was almost used to it now; after Jun showed Megu how to unlock the power of the Rose Bond, the girl had turned one hundred and eighty degrees away from her old drifting, passive lifestyle and gone from a crawl to a run. To a Rozen Maiden, who had passed through the centuries without really changing (and who even now didn't like to think too hard about the significant changes she was experiencing), Megu's metamorphosis was astonishing – more remarkable than any caterpillar that ever grew wings and took flight.
Suigin Tou didn't particularly like being knocked off balance time and time again. However, when it happened all she had to do was contrast Megu's current attitude and activities to their bond's early days, and the irritation would fade. And so it was with patience that she asked, "Then you're not a particular fan of the Yomiuri Giants?"
"No," Megu confessed. "I never even watched a game on television. A few years ago I had a nurse who came from America, and she told me many stories before she realized that hearing them just made me feel emptier. But that's all."
"I see." The First Doll paused, both for dramatic emphasis and to wait while Megu was distracted by the latest at-bat. "Or rather, I don't see."
"What don't you see?" Megu asked. She gestured at the countless throngs of spectators around them, filling the Tokyo Dome nearly to capacity. "Is it strange that I should want to come here now? To do something that's normal for so many people, but that I never, ever could have if you hadn't come to me?"
"Th-That's not what I meant," Suigin Tou said, lightly flustered.
"Then what did you mean?"
"If you're not a huge fan of the Giants, why..." Suigin Tou floated forward until she was filling Megu's field of vision. With her right hand she held up the '#1 pitcher Akira Kudo' pennant Megu had given her to hold; with her left she swept off the 'Yomiuri Giants' baseball cap that had nearly swallowed her head and gestured to the '2009 Destiny of Crushing Dominance' sports shirt which hid just about everything else. "Why did you buy all this and give it to me to hold?"
"I'd never heard of the other team at all," Megu explained. "I think the Giants are supposed to be the best team in the nation, the unofficial baseball team of all Japan. Or something like that."
"But... why me...?"
"Camouflage. Everyone expects to see fans wearing sports merchandise. Since you've got that as a disguise, it makes it easier for me to keep them all from noticing you."
"Oh." Suigin Tou waited awhile longer, watching as the latest hitter for the Giants hit a double, then successfully stole third, but was caught short when he tried to repeat the feat for a run. "Megu?"
"What is it?"
"I was already hiding myself."
Megu blinked, surprised enough at this to turn halfway away from the game. "I didn't know you could."
"You must be joking!" Suigin Tou sputtered. "Bad enough it was Shinku and that pet of hers who developed such a useful thing – you can't seriously think I wouldn't learn how as well!"
"I never really thought about it," Megu admitted. Then her brow wrinkled in thought. "But if you don't need me to do that for you..."
Suigin Tou smiled, anticipating the removal of the ridiculous, oversized, overpriced merchandise.
Five minutes later, her smile had faded to the more familiar disconcerted look. Megu had yet to say anything else or take her purchases back. She had spent the time in deep thought, with a look of intense concentration on her face. The First Doll wasn't quite willing to disrupt that concentration, but she was becoming more and more curious, and perhaps slightly alarmed, to know what had taken such firm hold of her medium's mind.
All at once, everyone within ten feet of Megu let out a synchronized gasp. In the next moment, a gaping Suigin Tou was pushed aside by fans politely but firmly crowding around the girl, asking for autographs and wanting to know whether this was a promotional stunt or a private indulgence. Suigin Tou was frankly too shocked to respond as quickly as she would have liked.
Just as the First Doll was about to summon a wingstorm to scatter the flock, Megu took matters into her own hands. Even in their sudden mysterious enthusiasm, none of the fans had crowded so close as to breach her innermost personal space. And so with a mighty leap she shot straight up and out of their midst, shifting her path from vertical to diagonal once she was free of the crowd. She glided down to an aisleway thirty feet closer to the field, an unmistakably sheepish look on her face.
Suigin Tou hurried to join her. "What on earth was that?"
"I altered the cloaking effect for a moment," Megu answered, blushing faintly. "Instead of having them see something utterly unremarkable that they shouldn't notice at all, I made them think I was actually one of the Giants' star players."
"I suppose that explains the people calling you 'Misawa-san' and 'Koichi-sama'," Suigin Tou replied. "Was it an experiment, to see if you could make them think you were him even when he was down on the field?"
"No," Megu explained. "There is no 'Koichi Misawa'. I made the name up from two real Giants players, Hiromi Misawa and Koichi Okajima. I saw them on a bulletin the man in front of us was holding."
"So you made them believe in someone they actually knew didn't exist," Suigin Tou surmised. That explained the befuddled looks that had replaced the earlier fervor once Megu made her exit. She smiled approvingly, glad that her medium was discovering further applications for the Rose Bond. As far as Suigin Tou knew, she was the only Rozen Maiden who'd always cared about finding new ways to use her power, so this was just one more thing she and Megu had in common. "Nicely done."
"Actually I didn't think it through enough," Megu demurred. She dropped her cloaking field entirely and stepped over to tap a young boy on the shoulder. "Pardon me... are there any players for the Giants who aren't here today? Maybe someone who's sick?"
"That's right," the boy answered. "Hideki Makihara is out with a knee injury."
"Thank you." Megu stepped away and hid herself once more.
"Why did you want to know?" Suigin Tou asked.
"Just a thought."
"What kind of thought?" the First Doll pressed, not a bit reassured by the tone with which her medium had spoken.
"Well..." Megu trailed off, looking wistfully at the scoreboard. Bottom of the third inning, with the score three to zero in favor of the Dragons... the outlook definitely wasn't brilliant. "Isn't there a song in America that goes, 'Root, root, root for the home team, if they don't win it's a shame'?"
"Supporting the home team is one thing, Megu," Suigin Tou observed. "Disguising yourself as a player is another."
"I know that," Megu said meekly.
"And it's yet another thing to use your unique abilities to hit home runs on behalf of your 'adopted' team."
"Especially a homerun that flies clear out of the ballpark."
"The covered and enclosed ballpark."
"You've made your point."
"I should hope so," the First Doll grumbled. "That was NOT how I wanted to find out the Tokyo Dome management keeps agents on hand to prevent supernatural interference."
Megu grimaced, though if Suigin Tou had been paying attention she would have seen a smile hiding underneath the expression. It had certainly been an interesting fifteen minutes, getting out of there with their freedom and anonymity intact. Interesting, challenging, and heart-racing. "Out of curiosity, how would you rather have learned?"
"Hmm..." Suigin Tou spent an agreeable few moments drifting through a fantasy of Shinku and Jun in place of her and Megu. Except of course that Maiden and medium ended up drenched, captured, and humiliated, rather than pulling off a last-minute escape by bullet train as the sun broke through the clouds. "I'm sure I could think of something."
"Anyway, I wanted to thank you," Megu continued, seeing that her companion had let go of any remaining disgruntlement.
"You're welcome," Suigin Tou said with a shrug.
Megu blinked. "Don't you want to know what I'm saying thanks for?"
Suigin Tou shot her an inquisitive look. "I assumed it was for helping you get away." Megu might be growing by leaps and bounds, but she simply hadn't had time to build up the reserves of power that Jun enjoyed. By the time the Big Egg Blackwatch agents stepped in to confront her, she had already burned three-quarters of her available energy. Thus it had fallen to Suigin Tou to do most of the work in their mad scramble to escape.
"Of course there's that," Megu replied, "but it almost goes without saying."
"I beg to differ," Suigin Tou stated flatly. "That kind of effort definitely merits a 'thank you'. I will not be taken for granted, Megu."
Megu smiled gently. "Counting on someone isn't the same thing as taking them for granted, Angel-san." Her smile widened at Suigin Tou's taken-aback look. "Who was it that spent her own energies to keep my heart from failing, without even telling me?" she asked. "Who yanked the I.V. out of my arm and me out of my bed, out of my old life entirely, to keep me safe from Laplace? And who was it that let herself be ripped to pieces by Bara Suishou's attack from behind, rather than draw on all my life to save herself?"
Suigin Tou put considerable effort into finding some pithy, unruffled comment, but came up short. The best she could do was give a reasonably composed nod.
"With all that, I think it's right for me to count on you," Megu continued. "And I wasn't trying to say I'm not grateful, or that I don't think you deserve thanks. I just meant there was something else, over and above what I already knew you would do for me."
"And what was that?"
"Even with me hitting three home runs for them, the Giants still weren't winning. I just wasn't strong enough to give them all the help they needed today. But you could have, Suigin Tou. As soon as I said I wanted the Giants to win, you could have made sure they did. You could have told me to sit back safe and sound while you took care of everything. And you didn't."
"I'm glad that meant a lot to you, Megu," Suigin Tou said dubiously, "but I'm not sure why it would."
"Shouldn't it? You let me stand or fall on my own," Megu explained. "You only gave me the help that I absolutely couldn't do without. It's like..." She stopped, groped for words, then reached out to lightly touch one of Suigin Tou's feathers. "You could carry me easily, Angel-san. But instead you gave me my own wings."
"Er, yes, well, you're my medium. Letting you grow stronger on your own just means you can provide more power for me," Suigin Tou managed.
"If you say so," Megu said gently, her smile not diminishing at the Maiden's words.
'Blasted know-it-all humans,' Suigin Tou thought, looking away before she could get any more flustered. 'Still... even though the others have nothing in common with them, they feel so much affection... maybe I can understand a little better now...' Except for Shinku, the First Doll amended. She might dimly understand how the Gardeners or Hina Ichigo could care as much as they did, but she knew all the way down to her nonexistent bones that she'd never be able to comprehend Shinku's decision.
Nor did she want to dwell on it yet again. Better to think about what she'd gained than what she had lost. It might not be easy to talk about this, Suigin Tou reminded herself, but who exactly was she trying to impress here? Megu wouldn't think less of her if she somehow found the words to honestly say what she meant. And none of the other passengers could even see them. "Megu... I..."
With a screech and a squeal, the train slid to a halt. The instant it stopped moving, all doors on their car slammed open to admit a flood of Blackwatch agents. "THERE YOU ARE!" roared the lead enforcer. "Thought you could get away so easily, did you? Not on OUR watch, villains! Now drop the disguise field and come quietly!"
"Not a chance," Suigin Tou sneered back in unabashed relief, peeling away the roof with a single wing-swipe. "Come on, Megu, time to fly again."
Well, what do you know. For the first time I'm actually writing a sequel to one of my completed stories. I hope that everyone who liked Atmung will enjoy this follow-up, and that adding it will draw in new readers as well.
With that being said, I have to warn you: you really need to watch the Rozen Maiden OVA Ouverture before you read the next chapter. It draws heavily on information that's revealed there. You can see my profile for a link that will get you to where you need to go for access to those two episodes (at least as long as they remain unlicensed).
Updated 8-13-2007: When I first posted this story, I put it in the Anime X-overs category due to the importance that said crossovers have to the plot. However, the utter lack of attention the fic was getting compared to Atmung prompted me to change it over to the Rozen Maiden category as well. Really it should have been there all along; for all the crossover elements and their importance, this story is exactly what the title says.
One more note before I go: in the original series we see Megu wearing pants much more often than we do a skirt (in fact, off the top of my head I can't remember her ever wearing such a garment). The same thing will be true here. I'm saying this now because I don't want to bother mentioning her clothing in each chapter, or have to reassure people that although she's flying blithely around she hasn't left her dignity behind.