A.N.: I got the idea for this little story after episode 31 of the original Japanese anime aired and so I scribbled it out. The events of this fic could take place almost anywhere between episodes 31 and 50 of said anime (which is rather sad when you think about it), and provides a little bit of character growth and relationship development between Subaru and Misora.Also, after Subaru and War-Rock perform Denpa Henkan, Subaru will be exclusively referred to as RockMan until the fusion breaks. This is just to provide some added clarity about their status.
Begin"So the government allows humans to borrow their things and return them?"
"But… if the items aren't returned when the government says, then the government charges you money."
"You use that term about us a lot." Subaru rolled his eyes as he stopped in front of the massive, stone building known as the library. The brown-haired youth shifted his load of four books over to his right hand, freeing his left arm to the point that he could raise his Transer to eye level."That's because it fits. You tell a person that they can take out any item they want, but they have to return it before a certain time or else you have to pay for it. That's strange." War-Rock looked through the Transer's display screen at his human host's face. The alien radio wave being was currently lounging in the device, content to watch the world's events play out around him.
"Why's it strange? Other people might want to borrow the same book you want; so by telling people that they have to bring it back, it means that everyone can get a turn having it."
"Bizarre." War-Rock shook his head. "The fact that you worry about people you haven't even met. If this were Planet FM we were talking about, then it would be first-come, first-serve, otherwise cry me a river."
"Yeah, well… that's- hey, wait, where'd you hear that term? I don't remember anyone we met saying 'cry me a river'." Subaru's face took on a puzzled expression as he reached back and began probing his memory.
"I heard it on a TV program." The alien life-form replied. "And don't change the subject. Why should you care if someone you've never met gets to use the books?"
"Uh…" Subaru paused to consider his options. Truth be told, he'd never considered that kind of a question before. He'd never really needed a reason to cooperate with the library system before, he just had. "It's… common courtesy. The books will help other people learn more, so I want to give them that chance."
"So we're back to that issue of helping others again."
"Yeah, I guess so." The brunet closed his Transer, studied the stairs laying before him, and began mounting them one at a time. It didn't take the boy long to reach the top of the stairs, and it took him even less time to slide his rented materials into the book return slot.
From there, Subaru turned, pushed the front door open and entered the library complex. Rows upon rows of books and various media crowded around him, supported by tall shelves that came to rest on the carpeted floor just as securely as the white plaster-covered walls held up the main building.
Windows were spaced at regular intervals, allowing a glimpse into the busy life of the streets, which contrasted completely with the serene, quiet atmosphere of the public library.
The brunet glanced about, taking in the scene and getting his bearings. He wasn't entirely sure what he was here for (he was primarily here as an excuse to get away from Luna and her perpetual entourage, Luna had begun trying to rope him into another shopping expedition, and Subaru had had one too many of those for his liking); and as it turned out, he really wouldn't need to know.
No sooner had the youth accessed the card catalogue and begun to boot up the system, than did disaster strike the building. The cheery little 'Welcome' screen started to vanish off the computer's LCD display, the monitor went dark altogether. It wasn't just limited to the computer screen either, one after another, fluorescent lights crackled, sparked, hissed, and clicked off in the span of a second. In no time at all, the building had been plunged into darkness.
"What the-? Not now!" Subaru's hand shot to the pair of green-tinted glasses resting atop his head, an instant later and the boy had dropped the glasses over his nose and was looking at the world through the green-tinted lenses.
Another world became visible to the brunet's eyes, as the Visualizer gathered the information about the Denpa World and converted the radio waves into visual pictures that he could actually see. And with that visibility came the certain knowledge that the library building was under attack.
"Denpa Viruses!" The youth gasped as people exploded into panic around him.
"It looks like they sensed my presence and went on the offensive." War-Rock muttered back. "They're probably after the key…"
"The key that you no longer have." Subaru pointed out.
"They probably don't realize that. They're low-grade intelligence, remember?"
"[iNow[/i you remind me." The youth bit his lip.Subaru tore his gaze away from the invisible chaos swirling overhead. The youth exploded into a run and took off down the main aisle in between the rows of book-filled shelves; it didn't take him long to discover a deserted section of the library. Taking his chance, the boy darted in between the shelves and cast one last glance about the area to make sure that he was alone.
The brown-haired human nodded to himself, and then thrust his left arm, along with his Transer, skyward.
"Denpa Henkan! Hoshikawa Subaru, On Air!"
No sooner had those words left his lips than did Subaru's world explode into a green haze that almost instantly resolved itself into the familiar yellow-tinted wave world. Blue armor slid over his legs and arms as a skin-tight, dark blue body stocking formed over his torso and expanded to cover every inch of his body. The boy's Visualizer became a red visor that rested over his features and swept into a silver and blue headband. As a strip of blue armor appeared across his chest, War-Rock's head materialized over the boy's left hand.
In the span of a split-second, Subaru had been transformed from a human being into a living radio wave and then fused with War-Rock to become none other than the famed RockMan. In this state, the two weren't limited to just one plain of existence, but could slide between the radio world and the real world at will.
"Ready, Subaru?" War-Rock's gruff voice came from the boy's right hand.
"I'm ready… let's do it!"
RockMan exchanged a quick glance with his partner and then leaped into the air. Rather than come crashing back down to earth, the youth landed atop the Denpa Road cutting through the library, and took off towards the virus infestation.
The RockMan of the Shooting Star came entered the fray as quickly as his namesake. The youth landed in the midst of the virus horde and came up with his RockBuster firing. Purple beams rocketed away from War-Rock's mouth and sped through the air to collide with various viruses; upon contact with the beam, the viruses were erased from existence.Four Mettrio fell beneath the might of the RockBuster, but that just prompted the rest to become that much more aggressive.
RockMan cast a quick glance over his shoulder, and then sprang aside just in time to avoid a shock-wave that had been sent in his direction. Now that he was temporarily safe, the brunet launched his counterattack.
The Blue Bomber hurled the azure piece of card stock across the library. The aforementioned card slapped into a stray bird-like virus and stuck to the creature's face. The next instant, the youth was hurtling across the area along the path that his projectile had taken. War-Rock lashed out and closed his jaws about the Battle Card, and in the process sent the bird flying
backwards through the air.
RockMan whipped about as a bolt of green energy swept over War-Rock's head, replacing the radio-wave alien on his left hand with a four-barreled cannon.
Shooting Star RockMan brought his new machine-gun around and cut loose. Bolts of yellow energy spurted away from his weapon and leapt across space- deleting any virus unfortunate enough to get caught in it's path.
In a rare moment of teamwork, one of the Mettrio viruses leapt straight into the machine-gun fire, sacrificing itself to protect one of the viruses behind it. As the Mettrio vanished away the Basarika virus, a small virus wielding two swords and looked like it was wearing a ski mask, leapt forward, miraculously avoided the hail of gunfire, and desperately tried to slash at his adversary.
RockMan saw the incoming attack and deftly jumped away from the virus. His move sent him sailing up through the air and straight through the library's roof- of course, the building sustained no damage because the brunet was nothing more that a radio wave- the Blue Bomber could walk right through walls, objects, even people and they'd never know it.
The Basakira growled and pursued his attacker.
"Don't let the rest of the pack get away because of this small fry." War-Rock advised his partner.
"Right, I'm on it. Battle Card, Predation!" Shooting Star RockMan whipped his hand through the air, materializing and throwing another Battle Card. The boy's left arm lashed out as War-Rock chomped down on the attack trigger.
"Big Bomb!" A gray, football-shaped object appeared in the youth's right hand. The Blue Bomber hurled the projectile down into the library building where it detonated, taking out the viruses in a massive explosion.
Unfortunately, it didn't even scratch the Basakira virus. The blade-wielding menace shot through space and tried to cleave through the radio wave human. But RockMan was still faster, the youth's left arm shot through space as War-Rock's jaws closed about the offending blade, preventing it from completing it's strike. The RockMan of the Shooting Star then lashed out and kicked the virus away from himself.
"Persistent little guy," The Bomber commented.
"Now isn't the time to admire your opponents, watch yourself!"
RockMan looked up, just in time to see another Basakira race in and take a slash at his face. Shooting Star RockMan vaulted away, narrowly avoiding a grisly end, and allowed his momentum to carry him through the wall of a nearest building before coming to rest on the nearest wave road. The youth didn't pay any attention to his indoor surroundings, they didn't mean anything to him.
"They're coming back!"
"I know!" RockMan's right hand spun through the air, launching another Battle Card into space. "Battle Card, Predation!"
One of the Basakira flew into the room, spotted his prey and then leapt at the Blue Bomber with both swords flailing.
"Hedge no Jutsu!"
The Basakira's sword cleaved through RockMan… and then became enveloped in a cloud of smoke. Slowly the swirling ash settled to reveal a severed raccoon doll in the spot that the decapitated RockMan should have occupied. The Blue Bomber had escaped and left a doppelganger in his place.
"Wide Sword!" A broad blade swept through space, deleting the lone Basakira.
Just as the virus was fading away, it's partner joined in the brawl. The sound of teleportation reached RockMan's ears, prompting the youth to look up. The Blue Bomber's eyes widened as he spotted the other virus closing in on him from above- he didn't have enough time to dodge to either side before the virus would reach him. Faced with this problem of being hemmed in with nowhere to run and certain death looming overhead, Shooting Star RockMan did the first thing that came into his mind.
He went material.
A rainbow glow spread over the Blue Bomber's body as he left the Denpa World behind and entered the material plain once again. Now that RockMan was solid and the Basakira was still Denpa, the virus' sword passed harmlessly through RockMan's body and failed to affect the boy in the least.
A split second later and Shooting Star RockMan was back in the Denpa world. The Blue Bomber cut loose with his RockBuster and put an end to the battle.
"Quick thinking... going material like that."
"Yeah, well… I have my moments." RockMan shrugged and grinned slightly. It was a rare day when War-Rock complimented anyone, and so the boy intended to savor this comment.
Unfortunately, his mood was spoiled as an all-too-familiar voice reached his ears. Almost instantly, the boy's eyes widened in horror.
"I know you're there, so you might as well just show yourself, RockMan!"
"That's… Misora's voice!"
Fear clenched the Blue Bomber's chest as he realized that he had leapt straight into a fully furnished bedroom… one that Misora Hibiki was occupying. The youth whipped about, then blanched and quickly turned his back on the girl.
"War-Rock… what do I do?"
"What do you mean?" War-Rock's puzzled expression perfectly matched his tone of voice. "It's Misora, it isn't as though she-"
"RockMan! Show yourself to me!"
"It isn't that!" Shooting Star RockMan hissed back; suddenly he was very grateful that he was invisible in the Denpa world. Not only could he phase through solid matter without leaving a mark on it, he was also unable to be seen with the unaided human eye. "War-Rock, we're standing in the middle of a girl's bedroom, when she's in her nightgown!!"
"There's a problem with this?" The alien's bewilderment was covered with a mask of condescending disconnection, but it was still there.
"Yeah, there's a problem with it! She- oh, never mind…"
"Oh boy…" The youth sighed. A rainbow glow spread over his frame as the youth turned around to face the music. This really didn't look right, Misora wouldn't have any idea about the virus battle, she just knew that RockMan had suddenly dropped into her occupied room.
The transition completed itself far too quickly for the Blue Bomber's liking, and the next second RockMan was back on the material plain and fully visible. Much to the youth's relief, the pop star was now standing next to her bed and clothed in a floor length terry cloth robe. Unfortunately, the redhead's arms were folded across her chest and her expression was one of disapproval.
"Misora… This, uh… isn't what it looks like."
The pop star's cracked a grin, breaking her stern expression.
"I know, Harp told me what was going on. I'm not mad that you dropped in, but I would have been ticked off if you had left without talking to me."
The brunet breathed a sigh of relief as he remembered Misora's FM partner, Harp. Of course the FM alien would be able to explain the situation to Misora, she would have been able to see everything.
"Right… it's… yeah…" The Bomber chuckled nervously as he rubbed the back of his head. "It's not something that I try to make a habit of."
"So… did you get all of them?" Misora walked across the room and peeked out the large picture window at the library across the street.
"I think so. Most of them were just Mettrio's, so they went down fairly quick, it was just the Basakira that gave me trouble."
Misora nodded in agreement.
"I hate those things."
"Don't we all." RockMan moved to join his companion by the window. "I don't know who made those things, but they had a nasty imagination."
"Tell me about it." The pop star's left hand unconsciously moved to rest over her left shoulder. She'd never admitted it, but one of the aforementioned viruses had broken through her defenses and nicked her once. The injury had carried over to the real world after their Denpa Henkan had broken.
Shortly thereafter, Misora and Harp had met their match against a horde of viruses. If RockMan and War-Rock hadn't been around, then the redhead would probably be six feet under right now.
"It's times like these when I wonder why we're even fighting like this." Shooting Star RockMan mused. "All we did was try to establish contact with them and create a BrotherBand… why's that such a problem?"
Harp appeared next to Misora and entered the conversation.
"All I know is that the FM King ordered us to, I don't really know why."
"I'm beginning to wonder if anyone tells anyone anything on Planet FM." RockMan rolled his eyes as he remembered just how uncooperative War-Rock was. If his partner was like this, and had been raised on Planet FM, then it was expected that the rest of the planet would be that way.
"Not really." War-Rock spoke up. "FM Seijin tend to play things close to the vest."
"Close to the vest?" Harp sounded bewildered. The figure of speech was lost to her.
"They keep things secret." The Blue Bomber translated the earthly phrase for the other FM seijin's benefit.
"You earthers have such strange expressions." The musical FM mused.
"I know, it's 'strange'."
At this point, another voice broke into the conversation. It was a high-pitched frantic voice that bordered on hysteria.
"Misora! What's going on in there! Are those voices I hear? You're supposed to be resting!"
"Huh?" RockMan and War-Rock turned to look at the door. Meanwhile Misora just huffed in an exasperated manor.
"My manager, the guy's a total lunatic. He tries to micro-manage everything about me, including what I eat, what I wear, etc. He freaked out when he found out that I was involved in the virus attack a few days ago, and now he's insisting that I do nothing but lie in bed and 'rest'."
"That's… yeah…" RockMan felt his eyes grow wide. He'd never considered this aspect of Misora's life before.
"There ARE voices in there! Misora, who's in there? Answer me!"
"I really don't like this guy." War-Rock gave voice to his opinion.
"I'll have to agree with that." Harp commented.
"That does it! I'm coming in there!" The frantic voice came from the other side of the doorway.
"Don't you dare! You've got no right to just barge in here!" Misora shouted back.
"Maybe we should just leave." Shooting Star RockMan frowned and bit his lip.
"Don't go yet!" Harp countermanded the idea. "There's so much we have to talk about!"
"On the count of three, I'm coming through this door!"
"Will you just leave me alone! I told you, I'm not-"
A low growl came from War-Rock's throat. The FM Seijin turned his head to look at his partner and then issued a command.
"Come on, we're going to teach this punk human a lesson."
"We're what? What are you going to-" The brunet's frantic query was cut off as War-Rock suddenly lunged down at the floor, dragging his partner along for the ride by his left arm. The two beings dropped back into the radio wave world and vanished from sight as they phased through the floor.
There was a loud crash as a man wearing a medium purple suit and sporting a fish-tail hairdo exploded into the room amid a shower of splintered wood. He was greeted by an ear-piercing scream from Misora's lips.
The man winced, but swept his eyes over the room. He seemed mildly surprised that no one else was present in the area.
"Alright, where is he?" The manager stormed across the room and threw the closet door open. The middle-aged man began rifling through the clothes hanging from the central rod, knocking more than one to the floor below. "I distinctly heard a boy's voice in here; so where're you hiding him!?"
"I don't know, because he isn't here!" Misora huffed and folded her arms across her chest in pure defiance.
"Don't give me that!" The man gave up on rifling through the closet, dropped to his knees and peered underneath the girl's bed. "You're supposed to be resting, not-"
At that particular moment, a loud crash came from outside the now-fractured doorway. There was a screeching yelp of a cat's painful cry, and then a loud 'fwo-hooosh' sound.
"Was that?" Misora felt her eyes grow wide. Whatever RockMan had just done, it sounded like it had effected-
"Mr. Tibbles!" The middle-aged man bolted upright and flew out the door like a projectile from a cannon. "Hold on, Daddy's coming!"
Misora just watched the manager run screaming down the stairwell. Then she breathed a sigh of relief and slammed the door as hard as she could, which turned out to backfire on her as the now-broken latch failed to catch and allowed the door to rebound open again.
Shooting Star RockMan chose that particular moment to phase up through the floor and return to the material universe. The brunet was shaking slightly, as if the stress of what he had just done was starting to send him on a guilt trip.
"What did you do?" The pop star shot a concerned look at the tresspasser.
"It wasn't me, it was entirely War-Rock." RockMan shook his head. "And… well… let's just say that it's going to take a while for that cat's hair to grow back.
The redhead exploded into a snicker as all sorts of scenarios rushed through her head, each one was more comical than the last. But truth be told, if anyone deserved it, it was that cat.
"He had it coming." War-Rock said simply. "I despise pushy humans."
"So do we." Harp commented.
Misora nodded and then moved back to the window.
"Now you know what I have to put up with. It's so bad that I can't even sneeze without his say-so." The redhead dropped her head against the clear glass and sighed again. "I love singing, but because I sing everyone out there thinks that they know everything about me, they assume everything that the magazines say is true. Then all the managers and producers try to control everything about your life… Sometimes I just wish I could go back to being a normal kid and actually get to see my parents again.
"It just gets so lonely being cut off from everyone, never people able to have friends who really care about who you are, not what they think you are. Maybe that's why I like being Harp Note so much, it's a chance for me to just forget about what everyone else wants and just be me, to do things because I can get out and actually take part in the world. There are times when I want to become Harp Note and stay that way forever… never go back to being Misora."
From his position on RockMan's left arm, War-Rock opened his mouth, then paused and coughed to cover his actions.
"Well… uh…" The brunet swallowed nervously before replying. He hadn't expected to become a counselor on the fly. "You're a great Harp Note… but you're also a great Misora. I… I know what it feels like to be cut off from the people that you love. To know that you'll never get to see him gain, to hear his voice… see his smile… and it hurt a lot at first. So much so that I tried to cut everyone else out of my life because I was afraid of the pain I'd feel when I lost them.
"In a way, I was trying to achieve what you've got here. I was trying to wall everyone out of my life and live completely isolated from them. Fortunately, War-Rock showed up and forced me to realize that I did care about others, and I did want to help them. He helped me to not really live a lonely life. I'm glad that he showed up when he did, otherwise I don't know what I would have done."
"It's the same way with Harp." Misora nodded in agreement, she could completely understand where Subaru was coming from on his point. "Harp showed up and all of a sudden I could be myself again. We could get away from the producers and the managers and do whatever we wanted. We could help people, we could writer and sing our own songs… And we had friends outside of the golden citadel."
Misora moved away from the window and picked up a small picture frame. The photo of a brown-haired, green eyed pair of twins stared back at her. The girl smiled a bit as she remember their adventures together at the base of Mount Killaprognetto.
"It's true." Harp entered the conversation. "At first I wanted nothing more than to fulfill my mission and get off this planet… but the more time I spent with Misora, teaching her about music, helping her cope with her manager, and writing songs together… I came to realize just how much I enjoyed our time together. And how much I didn't want it to end. That's why we started fighting, to protect that time that we had together."
"Likewise," The Blue Bomber found himself grinning crazily over how much he and Misora had in common. "I started battling the FM Seijin to defend my friends against their threat. Yeah, I may lose them sometime, but I can't imagine never having known my… my Dad. But I don't think I could really enjoy life not having known them. That's why I fight, to protect them so that our time doesn't have to end."
"Just like Harp and myself. We fight so that our time doesn't end." Misora smiled back. "It makes sense, doesn't it?"
"Yeah, it does." RockMan nodded slowly.
"Uh… I don't want this to come off sounding the wrong way…" A clouded look passed over Misora's features as an idea presented itself to her. "But… you know who I am… but Harp and I only know you as RockMan and War-Rock. Do you think- would it be alright for me to know who it is that I'm really talking to? To know who's behind RockMan's mask?"
The Blue Bomber jerked away suddenly and bit his lip fiercely. His civilian identity was perhaps his greatest secret ever; not even his mother knew the whole truth about his extra-curricular activities and Amachi was still in the dark about them. Goyouda was perhaps the only one to seriously suspect the truth, but Subaru's quick thinking had temporarily put the sleuth on the wrong trail. If word got out that RockMan and Subaru were one and the same, then the youth could be in a world of trouble.
It was a little like being asked to peel away your skin and bare your innermost thoughts to someone- the prospect of someone finding out his civilian ID was almost painful.
"I'm sorry- I-"
"No… it's O.K." The brunet frowned and looked away. "I shouldn't have overreacted. You're right, I do know your secret… It's... I just don't know..."
Misora nodded and then turned back to the window.
"It's alright, don't worry about it."
"No... you're right. I know your secret, it's only fair that you know mine."
"Su- RockMan, are you sure you want to do this?" War-Rock spoke up.
"I… I do." The Blue Bomber nodded.
At that moment, fate intervened. A large explosion rocked the room, drawing the two to the window and causing them to look out at the outside world. Off in the distance, one of the Denpa Roads was shimmering in and out of existence and radio-wave explosions were lighting up the sky.
"There's trouble." The brunet muttered under his breath. "It looks like the viruses are attacking the financial district. "I've got to go."
"We're coming along, too!" Harp said. "Right, Misora?"
"Of course we are! Denpa Henkan, Hibiki Misora, On AIR!"
There was a swirl of pink light as the human Misora and the FM Seijin Harp fused together to form Harp Note. The transformation took less than a second to complete, and Harp Note grinned at her companion as she readied her guitar for action.
RockMan paused for a second and then smiled.
"Alright, let's go Harp Note!"
The two exchanged a warm look, sealing the fledgeling bond that had been ignited between them. For better or for worse, RockMan and Harp Note were partners, but more than that, the two were potential friends. Of this the two were sure: there would come a time and a place when the two would meet outside of the battlefield, and then the two would realize just how much they truly cared for the other.