I'd probably start this off by blaming Paul Corrigan for this one, but it's my own fault for watching too much Gainax, I think. Anyway...

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STRANGER
a Gainax crossover by Ukyou Kuonji
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"So how long has it been...?"

There was a long silence as they stood out on the bridge, looking out over Kawasaki. An involuntary shiver crossed his back as his eyes panned past the tall smokestacks of the refinery, piercing the reddening sky like a demented pipe organ. She turned to face him, and repeated her question.

"How long has it been that she's been gone, Arima-kun?"

He blinked several times as he snapped out of his reverie. "Sorry, Miyazawa," he murmured apologetically as he turned to her, "since who's been gone?"

Her face went sour. "Arima-kun... she's an old friend of yours and you're not worried about her?"

The blank look he gave her only served to annoy her further, until he spoke: "Sorry, Miyazawa... was thinking about you and me, and all that."

Her face softened, and she chucked him lightly on the arm. "Aren't you the old smoothie. But c'mon, Arima... aren't you concerned about Tsubasa? I mean, she's been gone, like, what? Nearly a month?"

"Thirty-three days, Miyazawa."

"Ah-HAH! You *have* been concerned about her." She didn't even bother to conceal the triumph on her face.

"No, not concerned as such..." He turned back to stare out over the city. Idly swinging his foot, he kicked a small pebble off the bridge, and it landed in the canal with nearly inaudible 'plip.' "I guess I do miss her a bit, though... kinda wonder what she and Kazuma are doing."

Her face reflected the sunset as she considered what those two *might* be doing. Suddenly, she found herself wishing *she* could be doing that right now.

If he noticed any of this, it didn't show as he continued. "I don't think there's any reason to really be *concerned*, Miyazawa. Tsubasa's a big girl..." He glanced at her as she raised an eyebrow at him. "You *know* what I mean. She can take care of herself. And she's got Kazuma, too."

Yes, she *does*, she though to herself, face still slightly flushed. She felt slightly giddy as a distant-sounding buzzing noise echoed inside her head. "But... on the road with a rock band? D'you really think that's the life for her?"

"If that's what she wants to do, then, yes." He nodded, as the faraway drone of a motorcycle invaded his consciousness. "And if she discovers she doesn't like it, she'll come back. I doubt it, though."

"Doubt what?" Her eyes were wide, questioning. "That she'll come back?"

He almost chuckled, but settled for a wide smile. "Oh, no. She'll come back, you can be sure of that. She may not stay, but she'll be back." He was beginning to have to raise his voice, as the sound of an approaching motor rose in their ears. "I just don't think she'll give up being with the band. As long as you're with your true love, what difference does it make where you are and what you're doing?"

He was talking about another couple, but she knew he meant themselves, too. She beamed at him, and then...

With the reverberating jolt of an electric guitar chord - or was it the sound of a chainsaw being fired up? - she saw it. Bearing down on them at almost inhuman speed. Her eyes expanded to nearly half the size of her head in alarm.

It was almost enough to alert him to the danger, and get him out of harm's way.

Almost. As it was, it was at least enough to get him to turn around...

...just in time to get smacked by a nearly out-of-control moped that had been speeding directly toward them. He, she, the driver, and the moped went rolling end-over-end-over-each-other's-end along the bridge, until the driver pulled something out from nowhere:

An electric guitar. She (for he could clearly see from the point-blank vantage he had at this moment) swung it around a few times, over and under her head (depending on where they were as they tumbled along), before slamming the instrument, box down, into the road.

The jagged ends of the guitar sank into the concrete as though it were soft clay, and the driver gripped the neck of the guitar with both hands. He, in turn, grabbed onto her waist, while she clutched his arm and shoulder. Still caught up in the momentum of the collision, the three of them looked like a human flag attached to the guitar neck.

The driver looked down (sideways? Well, down for her, anyway) at the two lovers clinging to her, and broke into a crooked smile as she listed to the moped continue to bounce along. "Hey, guys... d'ja miss me?"

Even without gravity, the sound of her voice was enough to send him and her crashing to the ground.

"TSUBASA?!"

The driver just grinned from her new position, seated beside her guitar, while the refinery smokestack belched steam to the opening chords of "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor."

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Aaaand I'm gonna call a halt to this right now, unless someone else has any ideas where to go from here. Especially seeing as I've just watched all of FuriKuri, and can hardly make heads or tails of it. It's like downing half a dozen 'Mihoshi's (Goldschlager and Bailey's: it's blond, it's tan, it'll leave ya stupid) in too-rapid succession.

All's I can make outta this thing is that yes, that's Tsubasa Shibahime as the alien-on-a-Vespa Haruko. Why they think that that nasal monotone is so right for truly wild women, I have *no* idea. But it got the idea in my head, and thankyewSOmuch Paul, here it is for the rest of y'all to *ahem* enjoy.

So knock yerselves out. With a moped.

Itsu mo,
Ucchan ^_^