NOTES: This is my first Rozen Maiden fic. It takes place after Traumend and follows the anime continuity. It may contradict the events of Ouverture, as I have not seen it. I will split it into several episodic arcs. Spoilers for the anime, obviously. Feel free to leave comments and such, but please don't overly criticise as I am only doing this for fun.
EDIT/UPDATE: This story contains yuri/femslash and twincest. If you don't like that then don't read this. Be warned.
Rozen Maiden: Märchen
It was a beautiful rose garden, filled with countless white roses as far as the eye could see. The fragrance was divine, the breeze soft, the air pleasantly warm. The girl walked among the roses, almost blending in with her flowing white hair and white dress. She knelt down and picked one of the roses, lifting it to her face and inhaling the scent of it. As she turned her head, her hair moved, revealing that in place of one eye grew a delicate white rose very much like the one she held.
He came then, her father. She smiled and ran to him as he approached, and he knelt down to stroke her hair. She was happy. She asked him if today was the day - the day she could meet her sisters. She'd been waiting to meet them ever since father told her about them. Six beautiful sisters, fellow Rozen Maiden. Father grew sad. He told her that she couldn't see her sisters, not yet. She was special, and he had a very special job for her. He needed her to protect something that was precious to him, and only she could do it.
Seeing his sadness, she would have done anything to make him smile again. She told him that she would guard the treasure for as long as he wished. He did smile then, but it was a sad sort of smile. He led her deep into the rose garden, to a clearing. There was a stone altar there, and upon it was a wooden case adorned with a metal rose. She looked at it and then turned her one-eyed gaze up toward her father.
He told her that she had to go to sleep for a very long time. She was scared. She didn't want to sleep, but if that was what father wished ...
She climbed into the case and curled up. The last thing she saw was father's face as he closed the lid and plunged her into darkness. The last sound she heard was the 'click' of the lock. She felt sad and lonely then, so she slept and dreamt of roses.
Time passed ...
The demon Laplace strode through the rose garden and made his way to the clearing. There he found a brilliant white crystal shaped like rose petals, though it was large - larger even than himself. He stopped and stared at it. There was a tiny crack, and as he watched, it grew. The crack spread and widened, and within moments the entire crystal rose shattered into a million fragments.
And there, amidst the remains, was a case. His ears twitched as he heard a 'click', and he watched in silence as the case slowly opened. Kirakishou, the true seventh Rozen Maiden doll, emerged into the light.
Jun shut the front door and stifled a yawn. "I'm back!" he called out. There was no answer, and no one was there to greet him. That was not so unusual these days. He slipped out of his shoes and wandered into the front room. The television was on and there was a Detective Kun-Kun DVD box on the floor in front of it. An episode of the puppet show in question was playing. He strolled over to the fridge and grabbed a carton of orange juice.
"Welcome back, human, how was school?"
That was Suiseiseki. Jun turned and saw her standing up on the couch, watching him. He frowned.
"Do you have to keep calling me 'human'?" he asked, "I have a name you know."
"Avoiding the subject I see," Suiseiseki tutted, "I can only assume that your puny brain failed to grasp even the most basic problems the educational system has to offer."
"You're one to talk!" said Kanaria, springing into view. Jun gaped at her as she glared at Suiseiseki. "It's not as if your brain is anything to brag about."
Suiseiseki gasped. "What was that? Did you just call me stupid?"
Kanaria crossed her arms and looked smug. "If the shoe fits, y'know?"
Jun shoved the juice back into the fridge and groaned. "Kanaria, what are you doing here again?"
"Oh, Micchan is away on a business trip, so I thought I would stay here until she got back."
"You're kidding? It'd be nice if you at least asked."
Kanaria frowned. "But I did ask - Nori said it would be fine."
"Oh she did, did she?" He looked around for some sign of his sister. "Where is Nori, anyway?"
"She went out to get some shopping," Kanaria said, "I'm sure she'll be back soon."
Jun sighed. Well, it couldn't be helped. Kanaria wasn't that bad, truth be told. None of them were, really, but he felt as if he ought to show at least a token amount of annoyance. Having her around might actually liven the place up. Ever since the incident with Barasuishou things had been pretty quiet. He hadn't realised how much Hinaichigo cheered the place up until she was gone. To his own astonishment he actually found himself missing her a lot. Suiseiseki wasn't helping matters either, alternating between sulking and annoying everyone. She was missing Souseiseki and she didn't know what to do about it.
"Where's Shinku?" Jun asked. Kanaria was still watching him nervously, but Suiseiseki had returned to watching Kun-Kun. She shrugged.
"Where do you think?" she muttered. Jun glanced upwards.
Shinku was a problem. On the one hand she'd recently got to see her father, who'd essentially brought her back from the dead. On the other hand he'd promptly dumped a ton of responsibility onto her shoulders, charging her with the task of bringing back Hina and Souseiseki. She was acting as if she were on a personal mission from God. She'd even stopped drinking tea. Jun was worried about her.
He found her in his room, which was a complete mess. Unusually, the mess had been caused by Shinku and not him, which was odd because normally she insisted on things being neat and tidy. Books were strewn everywhere, most of them left open. Some were stacked three feet high and sprouted dozens of bookmarks. Shinku herself was slumped over his desk, sound asleep. His computer was on, and as he approached and glanced at the screen, he saw that she had more windows and tabs open on his web browser than he could count. That was another thing - she'd taken to using his computer to look things up online. Until recently she'd never even touched the thing. These days he could barely prize her away.
"Shinku..." he sighed. He set about tidying up, collecting the scattered books and stacking them neatly into the corner of the room. When he was finished he got changed out of his school uniform (felt weird wearing that again) and then turned his attention back to Shinku. She looked so peaceful, asleep, but he had to try and sort this out. He reached over her and shut the computer off. The sudden absence of the computer hum caused her to start awake.
"What?" she said, not quite with it. She looked around and saw Jun. "Oh. You are back." She turned to the computer and stared at it, her eyes widening in apparent horror. "Why is this off? What happened?"
"I turned it off," said Jun, his hands on his hips. Shinku seemed to panic, something that was so very unlike her.
"Why ... why would you do that?" she tried repeatedly to turn the computer back on, to no avail.
"I unplugged it as well," Jun explained. Shinku seemed to get a hold of herself and turned her full, irate attention on Jun.
"For what reason?" she demanded.
"Shinku, this is getting ridiculous. I know you want to find answers, but this isn't the way to do it!" he said. Shinku stood (she'd been kneeling on his chair so as to reach the keyboard) and hopped down onto the floor. She brushed herself off and regarded him coldly.
"Indeed. Perhaps then you would care to suggest an alternative?"
"You know I don't have any idea how to bring them back, but that doesn't mean you should bury yourself in books, hoping that just maybe you'll stumble across something."
Shinku glanced around his room, noting that he had tidied away all of said books. Her eyes narrowed. "Do I need to remind you, Jun, that Hinaichigo and Souseiseki are relying on me? Father entrusted their fate to me, and I will not stand idly by and do nothing."
Jun sagged. "I never said you should do nothing, I'm just saying that what you are doing is wrong. I don't know what the right thing to do is, but clearly this isn't it. You've been at this for almost two weeks now and you haven't found anything that could help."
Shinku winced and looked away. "That is my failing. I am not trying hard enough. I must redouble my efforts."
Jun slumped to his knees so that he was more level with her. "Shinku, please ... I hate seeing you like this. Won't you at least come downstairs and have a cup of tea?"
She seemed to consider it for a moment, but then she saw the cases. Inside were the still forms of Hinaichigo and Souseiseki, neither of which had moved since the false Alice Game with Barasuishou. She shook her head and marched past Jun, heading for the corner of the room where he'd stacked all of her books.
"Okay," said Jun, getting to his feet, "That's it."
He grabbed a hold of a stunned Shinku and made it out the door to his room before she had even recovered enough to protest. Whereupon she did protest, loudly.
"Unhand me this instant!" she shouted, shoving at Jun. "How dare you touch me without my permission!"
That was starting to sound like the old Shinku, he reflected. He winced as she kicked and punched at him (very unladylike behaviour), and held onto her as he went downstairs and into the front room. Shinku was still spouting off demands at the top of her voice and drew the attention of everyone, including Nori, who stopped midway through unpacking the shopping to stare. Jun finally set Shinku down in the middle of the room and stepped back. He glared at her.
"Right, strategy meeting. Everyone. Here. Now!"
Suiseiseki and Kanaria slid off the couch and joined Shinku, who looked as if she were ready to attack Jun at any second. Jun sat down on the floor and crossed his arms, not taking his eyes off Shinku.
"Umm, what's going on?" asked Suiseiseki cautiously, noting the very obvious tension between the two. Shinku curled her tiny hands into fists.
"This servant is interrupting my research," Shinku said icily.
"As a matter of fact I'm helping," Jun shot back, "Since you're so obviously determined, I see no reason why the rest of us shouldn't pitch in as well."
"What?" said Kanaria, looking back and forth between everyone, utterly confused.
"Umm, Jun-kun? Is everything okay?" Nori asked, the worry painfully evident in her voice. Jun still did not take his eyes off Shinku.
"Everything is fine, sis," he said calmly. Shinku shook.
"I do not require any assistance, I can manage perfectly well by myself," she said. Jun snorted.
"Obviously not. You said it yourself - you've failed to get anywhere so far. You clearly can't manage on your own."
Shinku's anger melted away to be replaced by hurt shock. She stared at the floor, blinking back tears. "Father told me that I must help them. I will not fail him. I will not let them down. Father told me..."
"Oh, Shinku..." Suiseiseki reached out and hugged Shinku tightly. "For once the puny human is right," she said, "Don't you think I want to help bring back Souseiseki? Let us help out."
Shinku sobbed into her shoulder, and Jun suddenly felt bad at pushing her so hard. It needed to be said though. He couldn't let her carry on the way she was. His expression softened and he looked across at his sister.
"Hey Nori, could you make us some tea please?" he asked. She blinked and then smiled.
"You got it."
Five minutes later they were all comfortably seated with a cup of tea. Shinku had stopped crying and seemed almost embarrassed at her behaviour. She sipped her tea and took a deep, steadying breath.
"I do not know what to do," she admitted, "There is very little information to be found on the Rozen Maiden. I have tried to track down master doll makers like father and Enju, in the hopes that I might find one to help. So far I have not been successful. I am at a loss."
Jun set his tea down and looked to the other two dolls. "Do either of you guys have any ideas?"
Suiseiseki merely shook her head, but Kanaria seemed thoughtful. "Umm, well it seems to me that the biggest problem is that we don't have their Rosa Mysticas. If we want to bring them back, we need those, right?"
"But how are we supposed to find them?" said Suiseiseki. "Rosa Mystica are meant to go to whoever wins a battle in the Alice Game. From what Jun said, that horrible Barasuishou had all of our Rosa Mystica, and now she's gone."
Jun scratched his head, trying to think the whole thing through. "I know Rozen collected your Rosa Mysticas and put them back in you, but he didn't do the same to Hina and Souseiseki. Shouldn't he still have them?"
Shinku frowned. "If he did, why then would he task me with helping them? Father must know that we need their Rosa Mysticas to restore them. I do not believe he would hold on to them if he expected me to be able to return them to Hinaichigo and Souseiseki."
They all fell silent for some time, mulling the situation over. The silence was broken by Kanaria, who was fidgeting in her seat.
"I have a question," she said. Everyone looked at her expectantly, prompting her to go on. "Well there are a total of seven Rozen Maiden dolls, right?"
"Yes," said Shinku.
"Umm, well ... we all thought that BaraBara was the seventh doll. But she wasn't really, she was an impostor."
"Yeah," said Jun, "she was made by Rozen's apprentice, Enju. He wanted to prove he was the better doll maker."
"What's your point?" asked Suiseiseki in an irritated fashion. Kanaria squirmed.
"Well, just that ... if BaraBara wasn't the real seventh doll ... who is?"
Everyone stared at her. It took several moments before her point finally sank in. Shinku's mouth hung open, and she was appalled with herself for not realizing this sooner. Suiseiseki blinked in astonishment.
"You know, the little brat actually has a point," she said. Kanaria glared at her.
"Hey! Kana's not a brat, y'hear? I didn't say anything before because I thought it was so obvious you all already knew. I guess spotting the obvious is beyond even your severely limited abilities."
A fight broke out between them, but Jun's attention was drawn by his sister, who walked into the front room carrying a big package. She groaned.
"Jun-kun, you haven't started ordering things from online again, have you?" she asked. Jun got up and took the package from her. It was quite heavy. It was also addressed to him, which was odd because he certainly didn't recall ordering anything.
"No, I told you I don't do that anymore. Someone must have sent me something."
The package was rectangular and wrapped in several layers of packing paper. Jun set the thing down on the floor and tore the paper away, while Suiseiseki and Kanaria continued pulling each others hair, completely oblivious. Shinku watched Jun with interest.
"Woah!" Jun stared in stunned amazement as the wrapping came away. The dolls stopped their squabbling and stared as well. Nori leaned on her knees and peered at it.
"Hey, isn't that..." she started to say.
It was a case. A Rozen Maiden case, the same kind as each of the dolls used to sleep in at night. The design was unmistakable. And it had been sent to him. There was an envelope taped to the top of the case as well, with his name written on it. He pulled it off, tore the envelope open and removed a letter from inside.
Please take care of her
Jun blinked. Rozen? Rozen had sent him it? He lowered the letter and stared blankly at the case. Wait ... her? He reached out and lifted up the lid. If everyone present had been surprised before, that was nothing compared to the utter shock they all felt as they saw what lay within the case.
It was Barasuishou.
"Huh," said Jun.