A/N: Well, here we go. My first attempt at a shipping fic. A crack shipping fic, at that. If I wasn't convinced I'd lost my mind before, I am now.
This takes place near the beginning of Continuum Shift.
This fic is rated T at the moment for language and eventual violence.
Disclaimer: I do not own anyone or anything from the BlazBlue universe.
Revamp 6/19/12: Patched up errors and added minor bits to fit canon better.
Revamp 4/1/15: Another patch-up. Edited some descriptions and lines for better flow, fixed up more errors, and added a couple small scenes in chapters 2 and 8. And fixed a kinda big plothole as well.
Legs aching, Tsubaki came to rest against a rail. An entire day spent searching, and not one sign of either Jin or Noel. On one hand, she was rather relieved; the order to kill her two closest friends was one she hoped to find some way around. On the other hand, something about Captain Hazama made her feel uneasy and gave her the impression that despite his polite façade, he was not one to tolerate failure in the slightest. The thought of him alone was almost enough to force her to keep moving, to not rest until she'd at least found both.
But she was tired, having spent about five hours searching the monolithic city Kagutsuchi nonstop. Tired and hungry; she recalled that it had been yesterday evening that she'd had her last bite. The scent of Chinese wafting through the air called to her, tempting her to give in and rest. Two of her immediate problems would be erased in one fell swoop… "No, I really mustn't…"
Her denial only egged the temptation on, and she found herself headed to the restaurant almost against her will. She headed through the glass doors and looked down at the short woman that awaited her. "Uh, hello, I'd…"
"Oooh, let me guess. You want New Year special?"
"Uh…" No harm in at least hearing this out. "What is this 'New Year's special'?"
"In honor of man who saved restaurant two years ago, we offer great discount for first week of new year. With one condition."
"And… what would that condition be?"
"Single lady sit with single man. Talk. And if fight, both pay double. But if not, both pay quarter of meal price."
"…Just what kind of man are you honoring with this?"
"Man is warrior of love and justice from Ikaruga. But we can't do justice, so we focus on love."
"I… uh... I suppose I'll do it."
"Very good! We have man waiting. Keep eye on him; he has bounty for dine and dash."
The NOL doesn't put out bounties for trivial crimes like that…
Her entire world surreal, she followed the aging waitress towards a table in the far corner. There, a man with spiky white hair and a blood-red coat sat, head resting in his arms on the table. He may have been asleep, but when he heard footsteps, he looked up. "Finally, I've been waiting for half an hour already! I've been wondering… you're kidding me, a member of Zero Squadron?"
"Ragna the Bloodedge!"
Tsubaki gripped her sword when she saw his face, the same one that adorned countless wanted posters the world over. Before any threats could be made or any blades could be drawn, the waitress smiled and gestured for Tsubaki to be seated. "Remember, no fight! Or you pay double!"
The two locked glares for several more moments before Tsubaki shrugged. Very well then; she could wait until after lunch to arrest him. Should leave him lethargic, at any rate. "Well, I suppose I don't have to report this…"
The fire in Ragna's eyes disappeared as he leaned back. "Well, cheap is cheap, I guess. I can be civil for a bit."
"Okay. I come back for order soon."
And the waitress vanished to the kitchens and left behind two rather angry young people. Tsubaki, determined to not make any further eye contact with the criminal, perused the menu before her. She doubted he would do anything different…
"Can't help but notice you hate me more than most Library dogs."
Although she jumped at the sound of his voice, she didn't look up. "You have many crimes to answer for. And I don't just mean destroying the NOL branches."
"Huh. And here I thought that was the whole reason for this stupid bounty."
"…No, I doubt you'd realize what you've done to me."
She hoped the ice in her voice would dissuade any further attempts at conversation. Wrong, of course. "Well, considering I really have no idea who the hell you are, I'd agree. I kill your boyfriend or something?"
"Nothing of the sort." Her knuckles white from gripping the plastic sheet, she looked up to throw Ragna a glare. "And why do you insist on talking to me?"
"Because." He jerked a thumb at their waitress, hovering not ten feet away. "They're listening. We stop talking, they'll come over here and try to force us to do so. If we refuse… well, I've already seen four people kicked out. God damn annoying, if you ask me."
"Seriously? I have to agree, if that's true." She sighed. Well, there goes that idea. "If you must know why I hate you, it's because of you that two of my closest friends have…gone astray."
"Let me guess; you've been assigned to dispose of them, right? Being a Wing of Justice and all?"
She hesitated, knowing she shouldn't be talking about her orders, especially not to Ragna the Bloodedge. But she'd already come this far, and there was no doubt that he'd see through whatever lies she could think of. "…I've already said too much, but yes."
"That's gotta suck." He leaned back and stretched. "So, do I get to know your name, or do just I just say 'hey you'?"
"…I'm Tsubaki. And your tact is appalling."
"Hey, I'm trying, dammit. I ain't exactly used to this social crap."
Tsubaki fought back a smirk. "If this is your attempt at being polite, I'd hate to see what you're like normally."
"…Not that much worse, actually. And when the hell is that bitch gonna be back for our orders?"
As though summoned by ritual, the waitress appeared by the table and set down two glasses of water. "You order now?"
"Hmph. Obviously. I've been ready since I got here. Gimme that Kagutsuchi puffer fish thing."
Curious as to what exactly he had ordered, Tsubaki flipped to the back of the menu. "…Are you sure? That's really expensive… Uh, I think I'll have one, too, actually."
"Okay. Food will be ready in half hour."
She scuttled off and Tsubaki said, "Really taking advantage of this, aren't you?"
"Do you have any idea how little money I have? I could never afford this normally. Plus, a friend of mine says it's great."
There's actually someone that considers you a friend? "And what happens if we fight and you're asked to pay double?"
"Then that window gets shattered and I get the hell outta here before anyone else from the Library can arrive. Speaking of the Library… what happens if, say, your superior sees you having dinner with a wanted criminal?"
"I'm 'gathering information'", she said, complete with finger quotes. "Don't think they'd buy it, though."
Ragna chuckled. "You're in uniform, you're not even part of Intelligence…yeah, don't think they'd buy it, either."
"Well, it's the only thing I can think of right now."
They both fell silent, sipping at their water. Determined to not allow the harpies in charge of the restaurant bother them, Ragna leaned in. "So, you say I'm the reason two of your friends are AWOL?"
"Pretty much, yes."
"Would one of them happen to Jin Kisaragi?"
The glass almost slipped from her hands. "Huh? Why, yes."
"Thought so. Bastard's completely insane around me. I'm guessing he deserted to come after me. As for the other one… I dunno, Noel Vermillion? Only other person I could think of."
Tsubaki shrank back. "Well, you've figured it out..."
"Hold on, I was right about Noel? The hell has she done?"
With a sigh, she looked back down. "She… I mean, according to Intelligence, she aided you in some way. I imagine it must have been something severe to warrant the death penalty, but…"
"That's bullshit. All she did was save me from burning to death."
"...I suppose I can see their logic—I mean, the NOL does want you dead at any cost—but still… that seems a bit harsh." I better hope that having lunch with the Grim Reaper doesn't warrant death as well. "If you don't mind me asking… what kind of connection do you have with Jin?"
"He's my brother."
"…Please don't joke like that." But from looking into his eyes, Tsubaki could tell that Ragna spoke the truth. "Seriously? Jin…never mentioned anything of the sort. You do mean his biological brother, right? You're not claiming to be of the Kisaragi family?"
"Yeah, biological." Ragna paused, wondering if he should even be talking about this to a stranger. Hell, it ain't like I've got anything else to talk about. "We lived in a church outside of Akitsu, along with our sister, Saya. For a while, we were happy, loving, all that kind of shit. Then Saya fell ill and Jin, well… bastard started to hate her. Probably because I had to spend most of my time caring for her."
Tsubaki bit her lower lip, not liking what she was hearing. "I see… what happened then?"
With a sigh, Ragna asked, "Do you know who Yuuki Terumi is?"
"Of course. He was one of the Six Heroes. Depending on the depiction, he was either simply crueler than the others or was an outright traitor. Either way, he and Hakumen were locked into the Boundary at the end of the Dark War… You're saying he was involved?"
"Yeah. Don't know how he got out, or why he came after us, but… well he and Jin burned down the church, killed our guardian, kidnapped Saya and…" Ragna hesitated. Well, if it gets me not-getting-attacked points…"Jin cut off my arm and left me for dead. If I had to guess, the piece of shit is just trying to finish the job now."
"Don't call Jin… that. And your arm is…"
"A fake. My master trained me for years just to control it."
"Your master?" Tsubaki couldn't help herself. She knew she was getting a little too interested in the criminal's past, but she managed to convince herself it could make for good information for the NOL. "Who's that?"
"Guy named Jubei. You've probably heard of him."
This time the glass did drop and spilled water across the table. Tsubaki didn't care. She leaned as far forward as she could. "Jubei? Jubei of the Six Heroes? He trained you?"
Ragna smiled. "Yep. Him and this little bitch of a vampire. He still kinda watches over me."
All Tsubaki could do was stare. The Grim Reaper… trained by one of the greatest heroes the world had ever known? "Um… if you don't mind… would it be possible for me to meet him?"
"…Aren't you supposed to be doing something?"
"I…wouldn't take long. I've just really wanted to meet one of the Heroes for so long…"
Ragna stared right back for a few moments before chuckling. "Man, you're quite the fangirl, aren't you? All right, if you don't report this to the Library or try to kill me, I'll see what I can do. Deal?"
Closing her eyes, she weighed her options. To accept this and follow the Grim Reaper just to meet a childhood hero was no doubt entirely unacceptable in the eyes of the Librarium. But if she made it quick… "I suppose. Do you know where he is right now?"
"Pretty sure he's in Kagutsuchi at the moment. He met me just outside the city a couple nights ago. Probably gonna have to search a little bit."
She found it hard to contain her excitement. This surprised her; she was certain she could hold in her emotions better than that. As she wiped away the spilled liquid, the waitress returned, twin plates of simmering red fish in hand. As she placed them down, she smiled at Tsubaki. "Ah. You no fight. That's good. Keep eye on him and make sure he pay."
"I'm gonna pay, goddammit!
"Son of a bitch, it burns! Tao really coulda mentioned that…"
Tsubaki couldn't help but chuckle at the criminal's continued reaction to the puffer fish as they left the restaurant. "So, the Grim Reaper can't handle a little spice?"
"A little? That shit felt like it was gonna burn a hole through my mouth! How the hell can you stand it?"
"Hey! Dumbass! Who's that?" A new voice cried out from the opposite end of the street. Ragna looked at its source. One of his eyes twitched. "Luna? The hell are you doing here?"
The hooded girl wandered over to them and examined Tsubaki. "Hmm… could it be?"
"Could what be, you imp?"
"…Ragna's got a girlfriend! Ragna's got a girlfriend!"
"Uh, no. I don't. Where do you get off saying that?"
"Luna saw you! You walked out of a restaurant with her! Ooh, I wonder what Master Jubei'll think! "
"Ideally, he'd be reminded that you're a god damn idiot and that it means absolutely nothing." He turned to Tsubaki, who looked confused and more than a bit red in the face. "This is Luna. She's annoying, childish, hates my guts and loves pushing my buttons as much as possible. Honestly, there aren't many people who piss me off more than her. Just pretend she doesn't exist; it makes life much easier."
Before Tsubaki could continue, Luna rose up on her tiptoes to glare as much into Ragna's face as she could. "Dick! Loser! Pervert! Luna bets you just wanna…"
He sent the nuisance onto her back with a hard shove to the face. "Get the hell away from me already! Sheesh, is annoying all you do? I really wish Sena would come out more often; at least he can be reasonable."
With a shake of her head, Luna stood up and looked over at Tsubaki. "Dump him. He's gonna be a terrible father; just the slightest thing sends him into violent hissy fits!"
"Please go find a bridge and jump off it. The taller, the better." Ragna turned and strode away. "I'm getting away from her right now, before I do something I might regret. Tsubaki, if you wanna meet Jubei, I suggest you hurry."
"Right." Tsubaki nodded and followed after him, wondering just kind of history there was between Ragna and Luna.
The hooded girl shook in anger for a second before giving chase. "Damn it, Bloodedge, I'm not done with you yet!"
"Well, isn't that too bad? I've got nothing remotely nice to say to you, and I know you're just gonna piss me off."
"What, Luna didn't do that already? You're such an easy target, you mongoloid!"
"Shut up! I ain't pissed!" Ragna huffed and increased his pace. After she caught him up to him, Tsubaki cast him a dubious eye. Ragna rolled his eyes and stopped. "Okay, maybe a little. Look, you little ingrate. I'm getting pretty tired of your bullshit. Piss off already."
"Luna's going nowhere."
Ragna grabbed the hilt of sword and whirled around, seething. Across from him, Luna wore an impish grin. As the tension grew, Tsubaki decided to try and head it off before it escalated into a battle. "Ragna, I'm going to ask you to stop. I can't allow you to-"
"Shut up, you harlot! This is between Luna and the spiky-head."
Luna's words left Tsubaki gaping. Ragna buried his face into a palm and groaned. "God damn it, Luna, you realize you just insulted a Wing of freaking Justice, right?"
"…God, you're a bitch." Annoyed, he drew Blood-Scythe and slammed it into the street. It pierced the pavement and stood straight up. "So, what do you want? A fight? Fine by me; I'd love to cave your damn skull in."
Before Tsubaki could chastise him for such a threat against a child, Luna stepped forward and placed her hands on the sword. "No, not really. Luna could kick your ass, but she's feeling nice today. So Luna'll let the stray dog go."
"…I hope that means you're leaving."
After grabbing the hilt of Blood-Scythe, Luna hefted the blade out of the ground and ran away, cackling. Ragna was only in shock for a fraction of a second before he reacted. "Hey! The hell are you doing? Get your ass back here right now so I can kick it!"
He darted after her; to his surprise, she was still faster than him even with the massive hunk of steel. She looked back and her hood fell off to reveal a mass of blonde hair. "Hahaha! Thanks for the weapon, pinhead! Maybe you won't be so careless with your next one! Well, if Jubei gives you another!"
"I need that, you bitch! Do you have any idea how many god damn people want me dead?"
She stuck out her tongue. "Can you imagine how disappointed Master Jubei will be? Leaving your weapon for anyone to take, dating an enemy soldier… Luna can't wait to hear it! Later, loser!"
After reaching a wall, Luna paused for a moment before making an impressive leap to the building's top. As she disappeared with his sword, Ragna dropped to his knees, panting. "I'm gonna kill you! I swear it, you bitch!"
Heaving, he pounded the ground and cracked the concrete. "God damn it, this can't get any worse…"
A hand gripped his shoulder, and he turned to find Tsubaki standing behind him. He took one look at her sword and concluded that he was pretty damn screwed.
A/N: Well, time to answer a few questions you may have had. Why am I, a primarily action writer, delving into this particular genre? I have a few reasons. One, I wish to develop my skills as a writer. This includes expanding what I write. Two, this is more or less an exercise in character development, something that I absolutely need to work on. And finally, I had an idea that just refused to go away.
So, why this pairing? Again, this goes back to wanting to improve and stuff. Pairing two characters together who hate each other will require at lot more work to make it work; by challenging myself, I hope to improve. And, again, an idea took hold and wouldn't die.
So, yeah. There's my reasoning for doing this. This won't be anywhere near as long as my previous stories; I'm thinking only about five or six chapters. Also, chapter 2 is almost done; that should be up fairly soon.