A/N: Unlike another, stronger fanfic, this IS a crossover between Kannazuki no Miko and Maria-sama ga Miteru. The idea came almost immediately upon reading the Maria-sama ga Miteru light novel "Variety Gifts," from which comes the original source of this fanfic. Unlike the more canonical light novels which have been (or should be in the future...get on it Studio Deen!) featuring our favourite roses, this volume contains outsider characters in a grab-bag type format. As an outside, "lesser" release, this wasn't as well-received as other Marimite light novels, surmised in Erica Friedman of Yuricon's statement,
"Somehow, it seems like the stories featuring the main cast we all know and love had a bit more of that signature deliciously chunkyflavouring, than the one-shot stories.
Mostly because we have a body of emotion and relationship to build on. With Hikari..., Konno-sensei has tostart from scratch and develop personality, situation and characterall at the same time."
The most prominent short story, "Christmas Miracle," features second-year Kurosu Hikari searching for her beloved oneesama which she only met in a dream or past experience. And I especially enjoyed this story because there is such a deep "body of emotion and relationship to build on." I know there are differences in the characters of Hikari and Kyouko, but the similarities and especially the naming (Hikari. Kurosu. Really?) makes me at least try to make this work (hey, if Kaishaku can dare to insert Himeko and Chikane into Amnesian...). This is a fanfic of two outsider, AU-ish characters inside Lillian, interacting amidst all the roses' key moments (season one), and finally (of course) finding each other.
Disclaimer: this is my first fanfic, I've tried to leave honorifics intact (which is a great challenge), and I shout-out randomly. When writing in the first person, in conjunction with the original material, I leave honorifics intact even outside actual speech, but not so in the main storyline.
Disclaimer mkII: That only really applies in this first intro chapter which is not properly mine, but taken and adapted from the official Maria-sama ga Miteru light novel. Please bear with me, and don't be afraid to correct, point and laugh. Here goes...
"Ne, Katori-sensei, do you believe in miracles?" The girl asked, amethyst eyes shining brightly.
Late into the season of Advent, the spirit of imminent Christmastide prevailed, failing to permeate the teacher's formidable exterior. The students' eager chatter belied the severity of upcoming exams which would uphold the strict Lillian expectations. However, the student's simple question struck home what general Yuletide spirit could not, and the default "this is irrelevant" dismissal choked in her throat and never materialized. For a moment, the world tilted wildly. Katori Maki felt a strange deja-vu from many years ago, where the red and green of various Christmas elements sparked an inner reminiscing discomfort.
"Ano, eto... Sensei, did you hear me?"
"Ah, sorry." Maki shook her head lightly, snapping back into the present and shaking off the vision from so many years ago. What remained was the real spectacle of the usual mixed staff room. She was by the side of the desk, golden-blonde hair bound with a childlike red bow, radiating that fragile glimpse of hope that no one else (herself included) could retain for long.
"Miracles? ...I've never seen one with my own eyes, I guess," Maki answered as she gazed at the attendance record.
The younger girl's innocent face answered "it can't be helped." Even for a mere homeroom teacher, that face could be read like the simplest picture book. No deception could ever be hidden in that face, and that sincerity and inherent closeness she exuded.
"Knowing Kurosu-san, you want them to happen, don't you?"
Kurosu Hikari, second-year Chrysanthemum class student under Maki.
"Yes. And I actually think some have occurred."
Maki glanced at Hikari and noted the astounding differences between teacher and student. Hikari's smooth light skin, golden-blonde locks and bright optimistic character greatly contrasted with her own dark hair, complexion and demeanour.
"Sensei, can I tell you a story about a miracle?"
"...The story of the miracle of... Jesus?" Even as a formerly-professed sister and religious superior, Katori Maki was a pronounced sceptic and everyone knew it. That was probably part of her charm: her piercing tawny eyes, pointed looks and even more jaded personality gave Maki a coldly professional allure. No one, not even the most innocent student, would bait Katori-sensei with such a cliché story!
"No, something else. Something that happened to me, the reason for my applying to Lillian Jogakuen..."
"That person I met in my dream, I promised to meet her again at Lillian."
Halfway through December, happy sounds could be heard everywhere: Christmas carols, bustle, sales pitches and the general feeling of happy, if hurried, goodwill. Colours would also be in abundance; the red and green and gold amongst so many other colours in various presents, in every intense hue imaginable...
So I'd imagine it.
As the surgery appointment drew near, pitch black replaced the green and red and sunny gold reserved for Christmas. My ornate fir was a dilapidated aluminum; the crèche scene my institution-issue bed. The surgery was to happen tomorrow night, and combined darkness, fear, gloom and loneliness overwhelmed my sixth-year elementary soul. The administrative nurse found me in a sorry state crying alone.
"Hikari-chan, you're almost 12 years old. You should know that crying is useless."
I knew. And it was irrational. And it would swell my eyes and make it difficult to do a simple eye surgery. But reason does not correspond with human emotion, and an awkward timidity enveloped me. I knew it showed in my voice, in the parts of my face uncovered by the large ice pack, in my tears.
"I understand, you know."
Her voice came from somewhere. The voice of a young woman. Middle school? High school? For all I knew and from what I could not see, she could have been anyone. She couldn't be much older than I.
"You can't see. You can't see the setting sun, or the shattered moon, and without light, you cry. You know, but you don't know what to do or what you can do. You think you can't grasp courage even if you reach out, or recover even if you try your utmost. You're scared. Yet you hope. You want something even resembling light..."
"Who are you?" I cut in. "What are you?" would have been closer to the truth I sought, since no normal human being could understand my fears with such poetic clarity. Who is this girl? And who in the world speaks like that; how can she say, how can she intuit so?
"Kyouko-san, can you come over?"
"I can't. I'm having appendicitis surgery tomorrow and I cannot move. But when I knew we were comrades, I spoke to you."
"In surgery. Like you, I fear. But if I think of Hikari-chan, I can persevere."
"Me too. If it gets hard, I know I'm not alone." (If only I could see her!)
For the next few hours, I was not alone. I was with Kyouko-san. We are comrades, we had become fast friends, and her regal aura and even just her calming presence reassured me.
(I wonder just what she saw in me though…)
"Kyouko-san, where do you go to school?"
"Lillian Jogakuen. Do you know it?"
Just like her very essence, that exuded a high level. I knew the school ranked far above my original desired hope for acceptance. Sure, I wanted to go there, but that was unreasonable. It was a school for the elite, and while it seemed like Kyouko-sama would be a natural fit, I just wasn't in that echelon.
"You're an excellent student, aren't you, Kyouko-sama?"
"It wasn't too hard. Keep cool and it'll be easy. Keep thinking you can succeed; you are thinking that, are you not? It might even make surgery seem less frightening."
"...mm." Only partially correct. This companion intuited my fears with astounding clarity and insight, and yet (thankfully) didn't seem to realize my primary thoughts not regarding Lillian Jogakuen, but rather on its lofty herald. A minute blind spot and vulnerability to a regal mind and presence - was it incidental or recurrent?
"Positive thinking. I wish one of my classmates were here. She's cheerful and the type who'd think luck comes whenever she can't see what fortune holds. She'd make it happen, though she doesn't draw luck to herself."
"Will she visit?"
"Probably not. We are not particularly close. But I think you and her could be friends."
"And us?" What about us? I felt an inexplicable twinge of annoyance when Kyouko-sama mentioned her classmate, although it evaporated instantly when she revealed that they weren't close.
"We're comrades now. But I think once we meet again, it shall be different."
The administrative nurse then came into our ward armed with a bright flashlight. She was quite strict, with a granite-set face and even harder affinity for rules. Conversation after hours was one of her pet peeves, so my interaction with Kyouko-sama was temporarily interrupted, leaving me to my own thoughts.
Comrades. That word again, "comrades." Comrades in surgery and comrades in friendship; perhaps even a future camaraderie as schoolmates, God willing. Comrades denoting a fellowship – a sense of sisterhood and a bond. It was an unusual word Kyouko-sama chose for a new friend: one implying the staunch bond most frequently used by foreign American novelists for friendships amongst war, angst and strife. Doubtlessly, Kyouko-sama was well-read, but that title of "comrades" communally facing imminent struggles unnerved me. "Comrade" didn't sound right, somehow.
Kyouko-sama then told me all about Lillian, that sacred academy. It was late and against the rules to talk after administering hours, but I gathered that her word was gospel. She spoke of the Rose Mansion. Church. Milk Hall. Valentine's Day, plays, tournaments; the entire gamut. But what interested me most was the soeur system, where tradition had sempai guiding kohai in individual and intimate fashion.
"How wonderful. I would like to become Kyouko-sama's imouto."
"I would love that. I'm a second-year and next year I'll be a third year, but that's no problem: soeurs can have a two-year difference between them. I'd love to spend a year together with you. Let's promise."
At first I took the promise to become soeur lightly, yet Kyouko-sama seemed engrossed, even obsessive. Talk about rosaries, chocolate on Valentine's, clubs and all that...
She needs me, somehow. Why, or how, I have no idea. But somehow that connection…
But first things first. I have to face my surgery, and then the Lillian examination. I will get accepted, even if I am ordinary and clumsy and mediocre. And I will meet and see Kyouko-sama, this time with open violet eyes staring into...well, whatever colour eyes she has...
"Much as I would like to claim Hikari as my own as soeur now with rosary and ritual, there will be a proper time and place later. But I do have this."
I heard something then, doubtlessly breaking some hospital rule, flying across the room, landing on my sternum and awkwardly lodging between pajama button and thread. Its chain entangled with my button and stuck. I grasped it, feeling its edged form and deduced it to be some kind of jewellery. But being my clumsy self, I tore that something away from my garment, through both thread and the small swells of my chest, and lost it beyond my reach on the tiled hospital floor. With a peculiar ache that accompanied the cool breeze whispering alongside the newly-exposed skin, I made that fated resolution:
"I will find you. That's a promise, Kyouko-sama."
That jewellery, what was it? It felt like half of something. Yet was it half of something? No, it was too polished and perfect to be so. What colour is this? What material even? What value? And who... and why that certain feeling; one of longing, of nostalgia, of familiarity, of loss…
Who are you, Kyouko-chan?
Perhaps it was because I had a comrade by my side or maybe it was just speaking my mind and getting my fears off my chest that comforted me. Or, perhaps it was merely the ice bag on my swollen eyelids which cooled my eyes and soothed my body. Whatever happened, I did not follow my usual routine of crying myself to sleep. This time, it would be with a peaceful heart that I fell asleep. And it was such that I faced surgery and anaesthesia with tranquility and peace.
While I was still conscious, I thought something disturbed me coming from Kyouko-chan's direction. I thought it might be Kyouko-chan's surgery procedure, but I realized that it was a visitor. My hearing grew faint, and I could only hear glimpses of shifting sheets and Kyouko-chan's low, soft voice...
"But I kil... I can'..."
"...Yes. I lo..."
My hearing failed me only after I heard the telltale sounds of kisses and other sweet and forbidden intimacies. Had I the ability and full senses, the annoyance I felt when Kyouko mentioned her school friend would have manifested itself in crushing disappointment and betrayal; Kyouko had already been taken with an intimate, if not with an imouto. But in my muddled state, I could not comprehend anything of what happened with my limited senses, and would not, could not relinquish my promise over a question mark that I did not fully experience or understand. I wanted to understand it though, almost as if understanding Kyouko-chan would be akin to understanding myself...
Right before the drugs took complete effect and my eyes still had some semblance of blurry vision, I prayed to God that Kyouko-chan would have a safe surgery and complete recovery.
I completely forgot to make a request for myself.
I awoke with one name on my lips.
"Kyouko-chan," mother repeated. "Hikari-chan, who is this Kyouko-chan you've been rambling about?" Always an open book, even without consciousness!
"The girl in my row across the hallway. She just had appendix surgery."
"Oh?" Mother looked where the wavering finger gestured, since my eyesight was still very blurry. "I don't see any 'Kyouko-chan' anywhere. We'll ask the nurse afterwards, but now, you should rest. Next time you open your eyes, you'll see the truth."
The next time I opened my eyes...see the truth...
Between then and the next time I awoke couldn't have been more than an hour, but with that thought of Kyouko-sama (Kyouko-chan? She's both older and in a higher class!), the time seemed so much longer. The next time I opened my eyes, I thought, it would be nice if Kyouko-chan had come back. But there was no Kyouko-chan.
"You must have had a dream, Hikari-chan," my mother smiled crookedly.
There was never a "Kyouko-chan" in that ward.
Stumbling and staggering, I made my rounds and confirmed this truth on the name board.
But she was there...when I was crying, she was there...she comforted me...we were destined to become soeur...
"It wasn't a dream."
My eyes involuntarily teared up. I shook off Mother's inevitable "Hikari-chan, you know that crying is useless," and the words mockingly formed an ironic déjà-vu that I could not understand. As she gently led me back to my bed where the same hospital-fare Christmas ornaments seemed to try and fail to convey any Christmas spirit, a faint pink glimmer contrasted the stark grey and white tiles of the institution floor. Slowly bending down, I picked up the ridged pink clamshell. Carefully scrutinizing Kyouko-chan's gift, I now saw that it was everything I had thought it to be: a jagged yet precious and perfect adornment.
It was also half of a complete shell.
My vision gradually cleared over the next days, and while my eyesight improved, my belief of Kyouko-chan's existence waned. With each day of harsh reality, my conviction diminished. Doubts plagued my mind: how were we able to talk with each other, how could she see me when my bedside curtains were pulled, and a myriad of other factors that made our meeting seem fictional. According to pure logic, it was likely all a dream.
I had never met Kyouko-chan unexpectedly. I had never heard a voice call out from a person I had never seen. If reality was included in the dream, then it had all had still been a dream. However, it didn't feel as if that settled the matter at all, if it had just been a dream. And the vibrant pink clamshell pendant on my neck seemed to warm my aching breast, inspiring and sustaining my resolution; that fate-defiant hope of eventual reunion with Kyouko-chan.
"I'm going to Lillian Jogakuen."
My parents doubted my abilities. My homeroom teacher's face plainly displayed a "give up" derisive look. My classmates howled with laughter at my declaration. I was warned against recklessness, and even I often questioned my own talents: I was in no way a stellar student, above mediocre only in art and photography. No doubt I would be hard-pressed, even with intense studying, to clear the barrier into Lillian. If I failed the examination, in three years I could retake the exam for high school, but that would mean another three years of separation from my goal. Additionally, it was a well-known fact that entering Lillian directly into its high school was much more difficult than if one graduates into it.
There was only one thing I did not question and that was my resolve to become a student of Lillian where Kyouko-chan might be waiting. That resolve won out, since I was accepted into Lillian's middle school. My mother and father were proud of this achievement, but I could not take solace in my honours exam. The only reason I had ever wanted to be accepted into Lillian was to meet Kyouko-chan. The acceptance and prestige involved was of no importance.
Immediately upon entering Lillian, I searched for Kyouko-chan. "Kyouko" was a fairly common name, so I searched amongst the third-year students, visiting their classrooms on free blocks and asking whether there had been a "Kyouko" absent during the Christmas stretch. I asked for information from second-year teachers who might have had Kyouko-chan last year. In my desperate endeavour, I even posted a note outlining my search for Kyouko-chan. All this was watched by teacher and student alike with amusement and a little derision. There were a few among my classmates who found this all very interesting and helped out. One of these was Hasekura Rei, a popular student who had been in Lillian's program since kindergarten who was inseparable from her cute younger cousin and next-door neighbour. Although she had tomboyish strength and looks and wielded a kendo shinai expertly, we shared many common interests including baking, sightseeing and the shoujo light novels and manga published by Oota Reiko of Cosmos Book Collection. Interestingly enough, despite her exterior Rei-san was a real lady and a hopeless romantic. That was probably the reason popular Rei-san was attracted to me and my quest for my dream oneesama.
Halfway into my first year at Lillian after an especially depressing class session, I was approached by my classmate, Ogasawara Sachiko. She was highly respected even by high-school students. Although she was close friends with Rei-san, I had never directly contacted Sachiko-san because she was very beautiful, gifted, and difficult to approach. I viewed her with a certain envy and thought that she might be similar in grace and talent to Kyouko-chan - they had the same queenly allure. The only difference was that Kyouko-chan had a certain warmth and insight and... attachment to me. I could not see Sachiko-san calling anyone, much less me, "comrade!"
"Hikari-san," Sachiko-san repeated. Stern.
"You are the one who incessantly keeps asking about your oneesama you met in a dream, are you not?"
"Yes." Although I never conversed with Sachiko-san, my unusual story was well-known by almost all Lillian students and teachers. Knowing Sachiko-san just by reputation and insight, I could tell she thought little of this scenario, so I met her eyes and gave her an open smile.
As expected, I could almost call the exact timing of her skyward eyes followed by her earthward forehead: classic expressions of annoyance. However I could not expect her next words, "There is no soeur system in middle school, didn't you know?"
"...E-eh?" Complete and utter disbelief.
"It is indeed a Lillian tradition. Yet the soeur system only exists in high school."
Sachiko-san patiently waited as she saw my picture-book face swallow the news. I knew she saw my disillusion: I couldn't hide any expression and this one of resolution and promise and fate was my deepest. For a moment, she looked at me with an inexplicable manner of pity, compassion and something slightly resembling small affection. It was only then that I realized that Sachiko-san had bright sapphire-blue eyes which seemed to penetrate my entire being. You would wonder what special girl would be able to bring out Sachiko-san's softer, sapphire gaze amidst the default iciness as her beloved imouto.
"So, I thought I'd tell you to check the high school third-years as well. Gokigenyou." Sachiko-san re-adjusted both her heavy bag and severe expression and briskly walked towards her next class.
Did Kyouko-chan ever mention she was in high school or middle school? Was the difference in years two or five? Were we destined to never become soeur? With a sadder and wiser demeanour, I walked to the high school buildings and continued my search. Even if we could not become soeur, I desired to see Kyouko-chan in person. But Kyouko-chan wasn't in the high school either. There was nowhere else to look for her. But I stayed in Lillian. Days became weeks, then months and years and realization diminished hope into a virtually defeated non-existence. Kyouko-chan wasn't gone: she was never here.
And, one day, I too became a second-year high school student.
A/N: And that's where "Christmas Miracle" intro/adaptation pauses, and the real writing begins. Again, this is my first fanfic, but please feel free to be as nice or as critical as you please. And yes, right now it seems like a very depressing fanfic, and while I can't do much in the actual script yet, I have to provide something to lighten up, right? Anywho, tributed to Jen-chan-shaw and DezoPenguin for their kindness in allowing such allusions to their own masterpieces, ^^;...
Omake I: Bad Memories (or Chelsea Dagger)
*Hospital setting, Himeko reading/acting her script*
HIMEKO: "As my eyes involuntarily teared up, I shook off Mother's inevitable "Hikari-chan, you know that crying is useless," the words mockingly setting an ironic déjà-vu that I could not understand. As she gently led me back to my bed where the same hospital-fare Christmas ornaments seemed to try and fail to convey any Christmas spirit, a faint glimmer contrasted the start grey and white tiles of the institution floor. Slowly bending down, I picked up Kyouko-chan's gift. I now saw that it was everything I had thought it to be: a jagged yet precious and perfect object..."
*Stares at object a second time*
HIMEKO: "...A miniature angel robot...? Chikane-chan, what's this doing here?"
*Himeko turns towards her lover's bed and sees the nonchalant Chikane lying down, shrugging.*
CHIKANE: "Oh, that? Thanks, I was looking for that unit for some time now."
HIMEKO: "...but why ar..." *cut off*
CHIKANE: "I've always liked these. When I created the world last time... haven't you ever wondered why the Orochi appeared as giant mecha?" *smiles*
HIMEKO: *teary/exasperated* "...Chikane-chan... the reason for 99% of all Kannazuki fans...and the reason for 99% of all Kannazuki haters...mou..."
*Himeko tosses SR figurine out the window, circa "Yumi's tossing of Alice-kun in Marimite's OVA"*
*Himeko possessively stalks to Chikane's bedside, grabs Chikane by her pendant and swings her, now sitting upright, into an extended, passionate kiss.*
HIMEKO: *between kisses* "Chikane-chan, you don't have any silly hobbies aside from me, you savvy?"
CHIKANE: *muted* "...hai."
OMAKE 2: Substitute?
*Break time between shooting scenes. Himeko and Chikane are reading the script, although Chikane is obscured by the hospital-setting curtain.*
HIMEKO: "So...I think this "Christmas Miracle" story can accommodate the two of us, but what do you think?
CHIKANE: *muted voice* "...Yeah, I guess so."
HIMEKO: *Flipping pages* "It seems really sad right now, but I'm sure it gets better, especially when we finally get together, right, Chikane-chan?"
HIMEKO: *reaches the end of the entire script. Subsequent sweatdrop and pressing fingers together* "er...Chikane-chan, I know it'll be a happy ending and I know I'll be with you...but who were you with when I was in surgery?"
(Miles away from the Lilian neighbourhood, in a familiar grandiose mansion where a senior maid and two juniors are working hard/hardly working...)
OTOHA: "Atchoo! ...fufufu..."
OHANA: "Ne, Minchi, Otoha-sempai seems really in a good mood, doesn't she?"
OHANA: "Then again, with all the allergies she's going through... how can she still be so happy? She's a master meido, and you should try to imitat.."
MINKO: "Just die."
(My sincere thanks to RadiantBeam and TruePrime as my betas. Shoutouts to: the original works, especially Marimite's light novel "Variety Gifts," DezoPenguin's Omake Theatres and Murakumo ga Miteru: Red String, Arvendell's relations fics, Jen-chan-shaw's Omake scripts, Dezo-sama and Jen-sama's permission for the almost blatant idea-snitching for the omakes, random outs to other misc. yuri titles, et all). Cheers.