Severance (n):

1. the act of seperating a part of the whole or the state of being seperated.

2. a breaking off, as of a friendship.

Chapter 1: Sound and Fury

Hi. The author's notes for this thing are pretty exhaustive, so if you're just looking for a light, fun read... well, go read something else. But if you just want story, by all means, skip ahead. You won't be missing anything critically important.

What I wanted to say here was that this is my first time trying anything like this. I'm normally pretty down on TMM OCs, which is justifiable, I think. That said, if anything about any of my characters smacks of the sort of easy characterization present in many other fics like this, please please PLEASE tell me. I'm usually pretty good at making characters that, um, don't suck, but they are my characters, and my view of them is thus a little skewed.

Also, I'd really appreciate longer reviews. This is uncharted territory for me, and I want to know what I'm doing wrong. That said, I'm not gonna complain about short reviews, but if you only say "Update soon!" you probably won't get a review reply, 'cause I don't have a whole lot to say to that.

Other things to watch out for: The rating will almost certainly switch to M at some point. This chapter itself should almost be an M (I got rid of some cussin'), but no one reads M-rated TMM fic. So, it's T for now. Oh, and just because a few canon characters are in here, don't assume they're exactly their canon counterparts. This IS an alternate-universe, after all.

You've been warned.

A discarded bike rattled against the chain-link fence as its owner, out of breath already, whipped her head frantically around, short, sandy hair alternately obscuring and framing a freckly, worried face. Crapcrapcrapcrapcrap, the sandy-haired girl thought. She was alone on the dusty outer edge of the baseball field, the only vanguard against the oncoming dusk and the thing framed by the encroaching darkness.

It looked like it had probably started life as a deer. Even ten feet high, bipedal and black-furred, there was something essentially deerlike about its horned head.

No deer ever had teeth like that, though, the girl thought as the monster, alerted by the sound of her bike, turned and bared incongruous fangs. It just stood there looking at her for a second, like she was an oncoming car and it wasn't a monster, just an ordinary deer too stupid to get out of the way.

That second of hesitation was enough, though. Outwardly calm despite all interior panic, the girl yelled, "Mew Mew KD Metamorphosis!" and yellow light surrounded her. In flash of a milisecond, she was transformed, her sweater and jeans having turned into a yellow leotard and blue boots. Sandy-brown wings sprouted from the small of her back, and she still had time to dodge as the chimera lept at her, antlered head lowerd.

KD's wings flapped nervously as the thing veered at the last second, just barely grazing her arm. A small cut blossomed where it had struck her, and she hissed in annoyed pain. All by herself, there wasn't much she could do, and she knew it. She readied herself for the deer-monster to turn and make another pass.

"Reborn, KD slam!" she called, punching her brass-knuckled fist toward the approaching monster. A brick-shaped wedge of yellow light shot from her hand and impacted the monster's shoulder with a sickening crunch of breaking bone. The chimera's arm, which looked vestigial to KD, hung even more uselessly at its side. Stumbling sideways from the force of KD's attack, the monster reached its deery head down to its injured shoulder and gnawed at the wound until the entire arm hung free in its weird jaws.

It didn't seem to take any notice of the reddish-green blood flowing from the severance wound, but flung its detached limb carelessly at KD. She dodged instinctively, but the arm wrapped itself around her neck, bones crunching horribly in her ears as it deformed to curl around her. She struggled to free herself, but the brass knuckles made her right hand all but useless for prying.

Black spots were dancing in her vision to a litany of goddammit where are they this is all their fault I'm gonna DIE when she thought she heard the rhythmic flop of feet against the brown grass, followed by whispered profanities and various transformational shouts.

"Mew Mew Noa Metamorphosis!"

"Mew Mew Yomi Metamorphosis!"

"Mew Mew Akane Metamorphosis!"

"Mew Mew Lorne Metamorphosis!"

After the fraction of a second it took the others to transform, Noa was immediately beside her, wrenching the severed limb off her throat. KD stood dazed for a second before the contents of her stomach decided to make a surprised reappearance. Noa, ponytail swinging jauntily, bounded nimbly aside as KD puked in the grass, off to fight the monster.

"Reborn, Noa Thunder!" Noa shouted, stomping the ground. A blaze of green light shot across the ground, illuminating the grass a living shade before impacting the chimera, making it stumble and open it's mouth noiselessly.

To the surprise of all involved, rings of golden light, vibrating with their own internal energy, issued from the thing's mouth. One hit Noa square in the chest, leaving a bloody hole in her gray tube top as well as the flesh beneath it, like a particularly horrible case of ringworm.

Noa's horned head lowered in shock, and she fell to her knees, and then to her side on the ground, almost soundlessly, her mace making as much noise when it hit as she did. KD stumbled over to her, still nauseous and dizzy, but a chocolate-colored hand whipped out from nowhere to push her back.

"Kaede," Lorne said gravely, lifting her long skirt to step over Noa's prone form, never releasing her hold. "Now is not the time to worry about her. You're the leader," the dark-skinned girl spat, injecting the word with more venom than a pitcher of cobras, "right? Go do your worthless little job."

When the rather dazed KD failed to move aside, Lorne shoved her, and she tripped over Noa, who seemed unconscious and still bled badly. She fell on her backside, but that put her in a better position to assess the damage. Noa's rhino-hide armor was usually stronger than this, KD thought with a measure of resentment.

No. It wasn't Noa's fault, she countered herself bitterly as the unconscious girl's fuku melted away, being replaced by a day-glo t-shirt and sweatpants. It was her own fault. If she hadn't been caught off-guard by the monster's arm, Noa would have been able to defend herself. If she'd waited the others instead of charging into a fight without a plan, she may have been able to study it, to warn everyone that it had an energy attack.

If she'd thought to bring her first-aid kit, her friend wouldn't be bleeding to death in the brittle grass.

She shook her head violently, breaking herself out of her stupor. "Akane! Get over here!" she snapped worriedly, the efficient leader once again.

At the same time, there was a cry of, "Reborn, Akane Lash!" and the girl in question's whip, which looked disturbingly similar to the hairless rat tail poking out of her backside, wound around one of the chimera's legs and began to burn into the flesh.

At the sound of her name, though, Akane's anemic-looking head snapped up. She jiggled her whip, which slid easily off the monsters leg and wound it up, wincing as it burned her, too, and scurried over to KD.

"Akane, finally!" KD said exasperatedly. "Will you tear some strips off your skirt? Noa's bleeding, bad." Akane looked down at her ripped white skirt. True, she was wearing opaque leggings underneath, so there wasn't much risk of immodesty, but she knew she'd feel naked, and the thought made her flush with shame.

Still, she nodded morosely and ripped the fabric to ribbons without complaint. "I don't... I'm not sure what to do for her," she mumbled, taking in the scope of Noa's wounds. KD sighed heavily and grabbed the ripped pieces of skirt out of Akane's hands.

"Fine. I can do it." KD's wings flapped in irritation. She waved a dismissive hand. "Just... go help Yomi and Lorne or something."

To an outside observer, it really looked like they needed the help. Yomi, looking like a preteen Sailormoon cosplayer in her fuku, was being forced backwards by the deer-monster.

"Reborn, Yomi Spark!" she yelled, over and over, her shuriken turning into tiny light grenades that exploded against the thing's chest in showers of blue-white sparks. Her attacks pockmarked the chimera's torso, leaving bare patches that looked as though they'd been electrocuted, along with the smell of burnt fur.

The monster seemed more pained by the ring Akane's whip had burnt in its leg than by anything Yomi was doing, though, and even though it showed a small limp, it continued to advance. Yomi's eyes were rolling white with terror, and Akane ran forward, whip drawn.

"Reborn, Aka--"

"Reborn, Lorne Slice!" The black girl's long, mahogany-handled glaive whirled through the air, filling the field with the angry red light of her powers. Thin blades of energy scored into the chimera, leaving huge gashes that bled that odd green-red.

It fell, but didn't turn back into a normal animal, although the random, spastic kicks it made looked very like a deer before the hunter puts it out of its misery.

"That, was a jerk thing you did, Lorne!" Yomi said, terror turning to ire now that the danger had passed. "Just letting that stupid thing do whatever it wanted to me while you lined up your shot! Why are you such--"

Lorne cut the short, slight girl off by turning her back wordlessly. "Kaede!" she called, in a velvet voice laced with razors. "Oh fearless leader--" there it was, that poisoned tone again, "--We really can't finish this chimera off without you, so if you'd be kind enough to grace us with your presence..."

"I don't wanna deal with your crap right now, okay, Lorne?" KD replied wearily. She stood up and brushed herself off, having finally staunched Noa's bleeding, then tiredly muttered, "Reborn, KD Slam." This time the golden light of her attack grew, engulfing the monster and turning it back into an ordinary deer that looked at the assembled Mews confusedly for a moment before bounding away.

Lorne strode over to the place where the chimera had lain and ground the tiny, jellyfish-like creature that remained into the ground with one heeled boot. She began walking away.

"Lorne." There was something in the severity of KD's tone that made the taller girl turn back, lackadaisically, to regard her leader. "I made you second-in-command because I know you wanted a leadership role, but using Yomi as monster bait is just fucking unacceptable." She stabbed a finger towards the little girl in the sailor fuku, who had the decency to look properly ashamed.

"KD, I don't think this is necessary..." Akane muttered halfheartedly, but the bird-girl continued regardless.

"And the rest of you. We've been doing this for what, four months? When I say there's chimera activity behind the ball field and that I'm going to check it out and I need backup, that means you come right away."

"KD..."Akane tried again, never looking up from the ground. She was heard this time, though. KD closed her eyes for a moment, tugged hard on a hunk of her face-framing hair, and took a deep breath.

"I'm sorry, you guys," she said, weariness clouding her voice. "I know it's not really your fault. I'm just worried about Noa. It's not fair to be taking it out on you."

"Um, don't worry," Yomi said as brightly as she could, although only moments ago she'd been fighting back tears. "This was super-scary, but we'll do better next time."

"Thanks for trying, Yo," KD said with a halfhearted smile. "But I know this is my fault. If I were a better leader--"

"--Then we'd have saved the world already, wouldn't we have?" Lorne finished scornfully. She de-transformed and gingerly scooped Noa up. Her wound looked better already, no new blood was seeping through the makeshift bandage anymore. "Noa will stay with me until she can go home. That is not up for debate." She shot KD a glare, as if daring the leader to challenge her. "I suggest you all get home as well."

It was a measure of how tired the girls were that although they ordinarily disobeyed any orders Lorne attempted to give as a matter of principle, none of them made any protest, but all de-transformed and began to trudge individually back to their houses.