A/N: For those of you who haven't read On Strange Wings, all you really need to know is that Ragna and Tsubaki are a couple and Jin is brainwashed and with the NOL.
Pairings obviously include Ragna x Tsubaki. There will be others, but I think I'll keep those under wraps for now.
There will be a small handful of original characters; however, they will not run the canon characters out of the spotlight.
Disclaimer: I own nothing from BlazBlue.
Update 4/1/14: Revised entire story, fixing up issues, particularly in the early chapters, and possibly modifying small parts for a more cohesive story.
He stood alone on a desolate plain. Besides the long-dead vegetation stretching into infinity, all he could see was the burnt remnants of a church. High above, the abyssal skies were devoid of all but a blood-red moon. And beyond that, nothing. No mountains in the distance, no stars dotting the sky, just him, the ruins and the moon. Ragna scowled and sat down on the ashy ground. "Goddamnit, I hate this dream. Even if it is a bit different than normal…"
"It's not a dream."
He jumped as the feminine voice carried through the night, his hand reaching for the oversized hunk of metal he called his sword. It came back empty. "The hell? Who's there? Where are you?"
A giggle. "Same place as you, Ragna!"
"I kinda figured that, you little shit… wait." His eyes widened with recognition. "Nu? The hell are you doing here? You're dead."
"I said Nu will always be by your side. So, here I am!"
Ragna groaned. "So, when you transferred the Idea Engine to me, you came with it?"
"…That makes no sense, but whatever." Sighing, he rose to his feet, spotting her silhouette in the church's remains. "Well, since you aren't being crazy right now… what do you want?"
"Nu just wanted to talk to Ragna."
"To talk? Seriously?"
"Mm-hmm. It's, like, super-boring here, Ragna. It's like Nu's back in the Boundary again. But now Ragna's here, so…"
"So you decided to chat with me in my sleep. Got it… wait a minute." Thinking back, Ragna scowled. Last he remembered, he'd been sparring with Tsubaki. He'd received a nice little knock to the head and then... nothing. He'd just blacked out, something that should not have happened. "You knocked me out for this, didn't you?"
"I just did what I had to…"
For the first time, Nu sounded less than cheerful. Her tone of repentance managed to quell Ragna's anger somewhat. "You little bitch… well, whatever. What do you need to talk about so badly?"
"…Nu was bored."
And Jubei wonders why I'm antisocial. "Well, the hell with this, then. I kinda have somewhere I need to be, so if you don't mind..."
"Oh, sorry! Nu will release you right now!"
"Alright, good. And only pull this shit if it's something important." Around him, Ragna's surroundings grew lighter, details showing through. "Hey, Nu. Uh, this really isn't like me and all, but… thanks for helping with that jackass Hazama… and… stuff… Ah, screw it, I ain't good with this crap."
"Ungh..." Ragna's eyes opened to the sight of a worried face bordered by a curtain of red hair. "Hey."
"Ragna! Are you okay?" Tsubaki's hands wound their way to his back and pulled him closer. At such nose-touching proximity, she took up his entire vision. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-"
"Nah, not your fault. It was... something else." He shook his head. The memory of Nu was strong, far stronger than even the worst nightmare. Definitely not a dream, then. "Something... really god damn weird just happened. That said, the blow to the head probably didn't help much."
He chuckled. "It's alright. It's why we decided not to use live weapons, right?"
"I suppose so. Still, sorry I got carried away there." Her hand ran along the side of his face; both winced as her finger found a stinging welt above his left ear. "Um... may I ask what happened?"
"...You remember that chick that saved my ass at the branch? Nu?"
"The girl that just kind of... vanished when she died?" Tsubaki nodded. "Yes. What, did her soul enter you or something?"
"Uh, yes. Pretty much, yes."
Tsubaki blinked. "You're kidding me."
"Tch. Wish I was. Her soul's, like, stuck in my grimoire or something."
"...Huh. Well, what did she want?"
He snorted. "She wanted to talk to me because she was bored..."
Tsubaki smiled, her worry eased at last. "Well, it's not like I don't do that."
"Yeah, but you're you. You're one of, like, two people I'll go out of my way to talk to. She's not you, and honestly, she gets pretty god damn creepy."
"...Yeah, you're definitely all right." Her arms closed tight, pulling him into an embrace. "Just... next time we spar, try a little harder, okay? I can tell you were holding back."
"Well, I didn't wanna hurt you."
"...We're using wooden weapons, Ragna. Even if you used the Azure, I doubt you'd hurt me too bad." As she sat up, she gave him a bit of a wicked grin. "And, as you've seen, I have no issues smacking your head."
"...True." He laid back down, pain pulsing in his temple. "If we get a chance to spar again, I'll actually, you know, try. Or something."
Tsubaki pulled him to his feet, glancing past his shoulder. "So, should we just call this one a draw, then?"
"Tch. You kicked my ass. I can admit to that." Ragna looked behind himself. In the distance, metallic towers jutted out of a mountainside, looming over a spread of smaller buildings. "Well, Kazamotsu's only a couple hours away. What do you say we get there early enough for a decent dinner before calling Makoto?"
"Noel? Hey, Noel! Wake up!"
With a short scream of surprise, Noel Vermillion sat up, glancing around. From the front of their ship, a girl with a bushy squirrel tail grinned at her. Shaking off her shock, Noel asked, "Makoto? What's wrong? What's happening?"
"Nothing's wrong", a deep voice answered. Seated to her left was a red-skinned giant of a man… although, truth be told, he could hardly be considered a 'man'. Adjusting his glasses, Tager looked down at her. "We're entering Wadatsumi airspace right now. Makoto was just making sure you were awake."
As Noel trailed off, Makoto swiveled her seat around. "Nah, you didn't do anything wrong. We'll probably be landing in… oh, I'd say about ten minutes. Depends on what port we get…"
"Wadatsumi Air Control to inbound vessel. We have no record of your ship. Please recite identification. Over." The static voice crackled through the radio, startling Noel once again.
Makoto reached up to grab a small black communicator. "Wadatsumi Air Control, this is private Ars Magus vessel TR0009MNV inbound from Hierarchical City 13 Kagutsuchi. One pilot, one passenger. No cargo. Over."
The other line remained silent for almost a minute, and Noel worried that Makoto's fabricated information wouldn't check out. Then… "Private vessel TR0009MNV, you are cleared to land in port 3. Upon arrival, the local NOL Air Corps officers will examine your vessel. You are free to explore the port in the meantime, but you may not enter Wadatsumi proper until the examination is complete. Over."
"Roger that." Tossing the mike aside, the squirrel girl turned to Tager. "Okay, ready, big guy?"
"Of course." The massive cyborg rose and entered the cargo bay of the ship, the only room besides the cockpit. Moments later, his voice crackled into Makoto's headset. "All right. Unit TR-0009 ready for drop."
"Roger. Preparing to drop. And… click!" She slammed a button with her fist and a hatch in the cargo bay opened, dropping Tager through clouds.
Noel looked out the window to watch him disappear. "Uh, he'll be alright, won't he?"
Makoto shrugged. "Eh. He says he's done this before. Besides, we can't exactly land in an NOL port with the Red Devil in tow, can we? I kinda wish I could see the crater he'll make, though…"
"Well, true. But won't they know that this isn't Ars Magus vessel when they examine it?"
Snickering, Makoto read the coordinates displayed on the ship's monitor. "Oh, don't worry. By the time they figure that out, we'll be in Wadatsumi proper. Um, you can use a concealment Ars, right?"
A man stood at the highest point of Yabiko, grinning as his red scarf flapped in the wind. Feeling eyes staring up at him in mild confusion, he struck a battle pose. "Brothers and sisters of Ikaruga! I, Bang Shishigami, loyal servant of the late Lord Tenjou and master orator, have returned! The glory of Ikaruga's finest...remaining...city stretches before me, a tapestry that embodies the burning passion that dwells in your hearts! Come, my friends! Empowered by love and justice, let us-"
"Shut the hell up, lunkhead!"
Startled by the sudden shout, Bang lost his balance and fell off the spire, bouncing all the way to the ground. Shaking his head, he looked up, finding himself at the feet of a young girl with mound of blonde hair. "Ugh... was it you who interrupted my impassioned speech? My word, how cruel! And your clothing... simply scandalous! Didn't your moth-"
The girl before him swung her heart-shaped staff, clocking him on the head. "I said shut up! Luna's here because Jubei told Luna to find you."
"You came on the behalf of Master Jubei?" As he rubbed the top of his head, Bang took to his feet, inclining his head to the girl. "I see. May I ask your name, then?"
"She's Luna." The girl's sudden change in voice startled Bang. "And I'm Sena. You can call us Platinum the Trinity. And you are Bang, right?"
"Yes! I am the one and only Bang Shishigami, warrior of Ikaruga!" A second later, the rest of Sena's words clicked in Bang's head. "Wait, you said 'trinity'? Is there... more than the two of you?"
"Of course, dumbass." Luna again. "Trinity's usually asleep, though. She's so lazy..."
"Trinity? As in, Trinity of the Six Heroes?"
"I see." Bang dropped to his knees, bowing. "May I ask why the great sage Trinity has sought me?"
"Uh... something about your Nox Nyctores, I think?"
"I have a Nox Nyctores? Nonsense! Surely, I would have-"
After delivering another blow to his head with her staff, Platinum glared at him. "Master Jubei isn't wrong! If he says you have a Nox, you have one!"
"...Well, what exactly is my Nox? Is it my giant nail?"
After rising, he drew the great cylindrical hunk of metal off of his back, hefting it with little effort. Platinum eyed it before speaking; judging by the voice, it was Sena. "Um... actually, we're not sure ourselves. Could be the nail. Or the gloves. Or maybe even the belt."
"Hmm... a dire predicament indeed." Bang closed his eyes in thought. "How would we determine which one is the Nox?"
"Don't ask Luna; you're its owner, you figure it out."
Nodding, the ninja paced his way past her. "...Would the great sage Trinity know?"
The lack of insults let Bang know he was conversing with the more reasonable of the two. "Could she come out, then? I understand if she can't, but..."
"Uh... I don't think so. She... doesn't come out very often. If you want to talk to her, you'll have to put up with us for a while."
"So be it! In the meantime, there is something I must do."
"...Stir up people who don't care into starting a revolution for some crappy country that doesn't exist anymore?"
Luna's words struck Bang like a mallet to the stomach. "You mock my plight? No matter; you are young and I doubt you could fathom the pain of Ikaruga."
"Uh, actually, we kinda-"
"I shall let your comments pass today. But I have more important matters to attend to than rallying my people. I am searching for the son of my Lord Tenjou, who I have learned still lives. To show my kindness for your offer to train me, I shall in turn make you my honorary disciple...s!"
"The hell? Luna doesn't wanna-"
"Come, young disciples! We have many obstacles to pass, many trials to complete, and many foes to vanquish before we find the young master! It will not be easy, but no good endeavor ever is! Onward!"
As Bang charged ahead, Platinum trudged after him. "What. The hell. Ever."
"You... the cat... you are soft. Weak."
At Hakumen's words, Rachel raised an eyebrow. "Hm? I beg your pardon? Were you not somewhat irrational concerning a certain prodigy of the Yayoi family? I do believe you are every bit as soft as I in that regard."
If Hakumen still had normal eyes, he was certain he would have rolled them. "Hmph. Don't tell me you feel nothing for the Beast. If you seek to remove her..."
"I suppose I do feel for Ragna. However, it would seem that I have squandered any chance I may have had. I became too comfortable in the endless loops, and now I must accept what has happened. I bear Miss Yayoi no ill will." Rachel gestured to Nago, and the cat familiar transformed into a chair. "At any rate, I do not believe a relationship between me and Ragna could possibly have worked. With the loops undone, the remaining time I would have with him would be but a blink of an eye to me. Like a goddess falling for a mortal, it would be doomed to end in tragedy."
"You fancy yourself a goddess, then?"
"Hardly. I was merely expressing my kind's longevity." Rachel heaved a sigh. "It will not be us that changes the future. It will be them."
Hakumen walked away. "I will define the world how I see fit. That will not change."
Deep in the underbelly of Kagutsuchi, two figures stared down into a fiery abyss. One, a man in a black suit, grinned. "I gotta admit, I'm surprised. This is very impressive. Quite the project you've got here. And who would've thought that it could reconstruct itself through sheer force of will? Pretty crazy."
The other, clad in purple and face covered by a mask, nodded. "Indeed...the 13th Prime Field Device was much better realized."
"But this heartbeat... doesn't it just set your heart all aflutter?"
"Hazama..." Relius looked away from the half-body lying in the fires. "Was this all coincidence... inevitable... or just part of some grand plan?"
Hazama shrugged. "Who knows?"
Relius sighed. That was not what he'd been hoping for from his comrade. "Never mind. Do whatever you feel is necessary."
"Uh, actually, I was thinking you could do something with this doll." Hazama grinned up at the puppeteer's surprised eyes. "I mean, you made these things, right? I think that means you are best suited for getting the Sword of Izanami ready. Whadya say, ol' buddy?"
"...Is this related to...?"
Hazama's grin widened. "At this point... what isn't related to that?"