I spent the better part of the day finishing this
because I felt bad about leaving the cliffhanger at
"Writers who take more time trying to spell than write are editors." -Unknown
My Fics: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/126066/
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-- Attached file included as plaintext by Ecartis --
-- File: OtakuMuyo2draft.txt
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(Because honestly, there's no real need for this.)
by Tannim Murphy
Disclaimer: I do not own Ah! Megami-sama or Sailor Moon. Nor do I
own any other series that I happen to mention that has an identifiable
copyright. The character of Tannim is loosely base upon myself, and
thus copyrighted by me.
To say that Tannim was shocked would have been like saying that water
was wet. Standing before him was a girl in the most accurately
reproduced costume of Belldandy that he could ever conceive of
existing. The only problem, of course, is that she was only fifteen
years old. Not the right Belldandy age.
"How did you get in here?" he asked the obvious question.
"Through the mirror," Belldandy replied.
"The mirror. Of course. Right." Tannim smacked himself. 'You
idiot, you shouldn't have left the front door unlocked when you left.'
"But I didn't come through the--" Belldandy was interrupted by
"Hey... what happened to all my stuff?"
The haphazard style in which the room had previously been kept had
been replaced by neat rows. Rows upon rows of neat rows.
Belldandy fidgeted as she looked embarrassed. "Well, when you weren't
here, I called my superiors and asked them what to do. They told me
to wait and..." she shrugged. "I didn't have anything else useful to
'How am I supposed to rid myself of a crazy fangirl?' Tannim paused
in his thinking. 'Wait, why would I want to rid myself of a crazy
fangirl who likes to dress up as Belldandy, break into my house, and
clean my stuff?'
At the sound of sniffling, Tannim sharply turned his head. The
Belldandy of fifteen had eyes filled to the brim with unshed tears.
"If, if I'm a bother, then I'll just go." Sniff. "I don't know what
a fangirl is," sniff, "but I'm not dressing up." It was obvious she
was trying very hard not to cry.
There's a certain state of panic that men go into when confronted with
a crying woman. It was worse though, because she might as well have
been Belldandy, it was so heart wrenching to watch. "No! Nonono, I'm
sorry! Please, don't cry! I didn't mean it!"
'Wait, did she just read my thoughts?'
Belldandy's nod confirmed it.
'You're really the Goddess, First class, Second category, Belldandy?'
'You're shitting me.'
Belldandy blushed at this. "Um, no, I'm not. Oh! I know!" She
clapped her hands together excitedly. "Here's my business card! It's
a pleasure to meet you, Tannim Murphy."
Numbly, Tannim took it. It did indeed list her as Belldandy, Goddess
working for the Goddess Relief Office.
"You mean you're real?!" In his shock Tannim began speaking out loud
"Um, yes. Why wouldn't I be?"
That threw Tannim's mind into a whirlwind of thoughts that caused
Belldandy to wince. "Please think a little more quietly," she begged.
Tannim finally settled on thinking one very long 'ooooooooooooooh
shiiiiiiii--' loudly while trying to quietly think of something to do
or say. Nothing was forthcoming.
This new bout of nervousness from Tannim caused Belldandy to become
nervous as well. The tears were back at half power, but they were
augmented by a distraught look and nervous bowing.
"I am very sorry to have inconvenienced you, but I'm here to grant you
This proclamation floored Tannim. His right hand slowly rose to his
face, which Belldandy watched with a look of innocent curiosity. The
action terminated in the classic 'Who, me?' pose, complete with
Feeling a little bit better, Belldandy nodded. She attempted a smile
to cheer up the young man. That smile vanished as she heard the next
thought that escaped Tannim's mind.
'But... she's just an anime character!'
"Why would you think that?" she asked, clearly puzzled.
"Here, I'll show you." Tannim got up and walked over to the neat rows
of DVDs. "I think I've got the movie somewhere in...." 'What the
Tannim stared at his collection of DVDs. The last time he had really
taken a look at it was when he had bought that box set a few days ago.
Somewhere in between then and now, it had changed.
"Did you do this?" It was Tannim's turn to look confused.
Belldandy nodded. "I did stack them like that."
"No," Tannim suddenly found his voice hoarse. He gulped. "Did you
change all the anime shows?"
Belldandy shook her head. "What do you mean?"
Tannim began to rifle through the anime that was strewn out before
him. Gone were the titles of Trigun, Robotech, Ranma 1/2, Sailor
Moon, and Oh My Goddess, to name a few. It was small consolation that
shows like Bubblegum Crisis, Excel Saga, and Ghost in the Shell were
still with him, but most of the rest had been altered.
The biggest change in his collection was the large set of Skysaber
DVDs. Roughly pound for pound Undocumented Features took up the
number of Robotech DVDs Tannim had. The Bet replaced Ranma. Twisted
Path. Heart of Sugar. The list went on.
Belldandy, who had been quiet throughout all this, suddenly piped up.
"Oh boy." In that moment, Tannim understood Dr. Sam Beckett
perfectly. "I think I'm in trouble." He sat down heavily on the
A caring soul to the core, Belldandy couldn't deny her nature and was
by his side in an instant. "What is it, Mr. Murphy?"
"Call me Tannim. And I'm... not from around here." He understated.
'Am I still in a coma? Did I die at that lab?'
Belldandy watched along with Tannim as he replayed the events in his
"Oh my! That's terrible!" she cried, shocked.
Tannim looked sharply over at Belldandy. Those words....
"Excuse me, I know this is a strange request, but could you say, 'ara,
hidoi' for me?"
"Ara hidoi?" Belldandy looked questioningly at Tannim.
"Never mind." He had the grace to blush. 'Well, assuming I'm not in
a coma or dead... just how did I get here?'
"Get here? Where are you from?"
'Another world.' The thought escaped Tannim's mind before he could
Whatever reaction the young man was expecting, understanding wasn't
one of them. "Oh, are you from Jurai?
"A little less Tenchi, a little more El Hazard." Tannim joked.
Now that the situation had calmed down somewhat, Belldandy giggled.
"You're very confusing, but also interesting, aren't you?"
"I suppose now I am," Tannim mused. "So, uh, I get a wish?"
"Yes!" Belldandy nodded happily. "But be warned! You only get one
wish, so you must make it carefully."
"Is there a time limit? Can I think about this first?"
"Of course you can, and there's no limit, take all the time you need."
Belldandy smiled as she settled further into the couch. Her eyes
started to dart back and forth between Tannim, and his Xbox console.
Following the look, Tannim smiled. "If you'd like to play, I've got a
couple of good games."
"Oh, could I?" The happy, glee-filled smile lit up the room, and the
young man swore he was blinded for a moment. He nodded.
Soon Belldandy was cheerfully fragging aliens while playing Halo 2.
She was really absorbed too; the look of concentration was cute.
Tannim jumped at the outburst. Belldandy didn't seem to realize that
she had spoken.
It was still on the first level, and she was playing on hard mode.
The young man watched in awe as Belldandy skillfully lobbed another
grenade behind the hiding position of some Grunts. Those who could,
scrambled away and straight into her Battle Rifle's line of fire.
Those who couldn't, perished in the resulting explosion.
That action drew out one of the Elites, who opened fire on her
position from behind her with a dual-wield of the deadly Plasma Rifle.
Rather than wasting time to turn and engage the threat, she moved
forward and ducked behind a crate to let her battered shields
recharge. This infuriated the Elite, who charged forward to engage in
hand to hand.
Before the creature could reach its destination, however, Belldandy
had counter-charged. Switching her Battle Rifle out for her own
Plasma Rifle, she leapt on top of the box and then forward over the
Elite. She even managed to twist in mid-air to keep the enemy lined
in her sights the entire time. And during all this, her stolen Plasma
Rifle was eating hungrily at his shields.
The Elite, in the last mistake it ever made, roared angrily at the
loss of his shields. Belldandy simply stepped in close and clubbed
him over the head like a baby seal.
"Mein gott! You're good!"
Belldandy blushed at the praise, but didn't pause in her game-play.
"I've been told that girls should have hobbies," she ventured.
Tannim found this immensely amusing. "You do realize that this
officially makes you the coolest girl in every single dimension there
ever is, right?" 'Who would have though of a video game playing
The blush deepened. "Stop, you're embarrassing me. Besides," her
blush faded as she sighed. "No boy would be interested in a girl like
"You're kidding, aren't you? What could ever possibly make you say
that?" Tannim looked at her like she was crazy.
This time, Belldandy paused the game and put down the controller. She
curled up slightly and wrapped her arms around her knees. Her look
was not a happy one.
"I really enjoy being nice to people, and bringing them joy, but
that's not all there is to me. Sure, at first a few of the boys
thought it was cool I was into video games as much as them." She
smiled sadly. "But when I would hand them their collective asses time
and time again, they stopped wanting to play with me. And I've been
told that no one would want a girl whose greatest skill is playing
games." Belldandy shrugged helplessly.
'Those, BASTARDS!' "Don't you ever listen to anyone saying anything
like that, ever again!" Tannim ordered. "They don't know what the
Heaven they're talking about."
Belldandy smiled with real warmth. "Thanks Tannim. I wish I had a
boyfriend as nice as you."
"I wish you did too," he replied sincerely.
Belldandy responded by glowing slightly.
The room took on various shades of blue as the incandescent glow
brightened. Belldandy looked at Tannim in shock as she began to hover
off the couch.
"What are you doing Bell?"
A beam of light shot from the marking on Belldandy's forehead, and
through the roof of Tannim's apartment complex (incidentally
obliterating his satellite dish in the process).
"No! You've got to be kidding me!"
The swirling miasma of power around Belldandy began to pick up light
objects around the room. Tannim had to scramble off the couch to
avoid getting pelted. As it picked up speed, it also began picking up
DVDs... Tannim was just in time to watch as the entire pile got sucked
up into the whirlwind. The noise they made as they clattered together
was awful, but throughout it all Belldandy didn't react to a thing.
After the blue lights stopped swirling around, and the beam stopped
shooting, Belldandy slumped to the couch. DVDs were scattered
throughout the entire apartment. The young man got up and approached
the Goddess, trying to get a good look at her without actually
"Belldandy? Are you all right?"
A few moments later, Belldandy groggily began to return to
consciousness. "Tannim? Is that you?" She suddenly snapped into
being wide awake. "Oh no!"
Tannim was pushed to the side as Belldandy raced to the phone. He sat
bemused on the couch, only half-listening to the conversation.
"Hello. This is Belldandy. Yes, the wish just now... What? That's
acceptable too? No! Please, God! ...I see." She hung up.
After a few moments of silence, she spoke without turning back to
Tannim. Her voice wavered and cracked. "Your wish... has been
Before Tannim could think of an appropriate thing to say, Belldandy
burst into tears. It was the most soul-crushing experience imaginable
for Tannim, as the realization sank in that he had made Belldandy
(Belldandy, of all people) cry. Who was next on his list, Kasumi?
But he brightened slightly at a thought. "Hey, don't be sad. With
the wording of that wish, I don't have to actually stay your boyfriend
for any length of time."
This produced results the exact opposite that he had been hoping for.
Instead of calming down and seeing reason, Belldandy leapt at Tannim
and tackled him in a glomp that would have done an Amazon proud. She
even started crying harder against his shirt.
Tannim was freaked. Belldandy was not known for bursting into tears
and bawling her eyes out. Granted, this Belldandy was probably going
through puberty, so it looked like all bets were off. He tentatively
tried to pat her on the back as she slowly regained control of
He wisely remained silent as Belldandy pulled herself together. "It's
not your fault. I'm... well, it is, but..." She took a deep breath.
"Tannim, I don't think you realize the implications of what you have
just done." Unshed tears still shone in her eyes.
"I'm really, really sorry?" he tried.
"Oh no," said Belldandy with surprising tenderness as she hugged
Tannim tighter. "I'm the one who's sorry. You just wasted your
precious wish on me."
"Oh? How so?" Tannim asked.
"In essence, you just wished that I would always have a boyfriend of
good quality for the rest of my existence." Tears began to fall again
as she looked away.
Relief flooded Tannim. "Oh thank God. I thought you were stuck with
me. That wouldn't have been good."
Belldandy glanced at Tannim out of the corner of her eyes. "Why would
that have been a bad thing?"
"Well, let's face it. I'm not Tuxedo Mask." At her blank look, he
continued. "You're a little bit under the legal age limit."
A bolt of lightning arced through the open hole in the ceiling,
blasted a message on the floor, and startled Belldandy and Tannim
"What's it say? asked Tannim as he peered at the script.
"To Belldandy, Goddess First Class, please report back to Heaven.
Just because you've got a new boyfriend doesn't mean you can shirk
your duties. Kami-sama." She didn't read aloud the post script, but
it made her blush.
"Oh. I guess this is goodbye." Tannim wasn't sure how to feel on
"Yes." Belldandy looked very chipper compared to just a few moments
ago. She gave him a quick peck on the cheek. "I'll see you when I'm
Tannim stood stock still until the light had completely faded from the
mirror on his wall.
"How in the name of all that is Holy did THAT happen?"
It was in the middle of sneaking into his job the next day that Tannim
decided he'd have to go to Japan and find Keiichi. He honestly
wouldn't feel good about the situation unless they at least knew of
each other's existence. He was simply too much a fan of the series to
do anything else otherwise.
This also brought Tannim to his next set of troublesome thoughts. He
was in some sort of reality in which Belldandy was real. It was quite
possible that the Makoto Kino of the mall was in fact the real Makoto
Kino, and Tannim had a sneaking suspicion that Ranma was alive in well
As if summoned by his mere thought, Makoto Kino was the first Amazon
Mallrat to spot him. "Hold it right there!"
Rather than stopping him, it only served to alert Tannim to Makoto's
presence. He scurried away through the crowds.
All the way down to the food court, the two played cat and mouse.
Makoto moved as quickly as she could through the crowds, but she was
far too polite to shove. Meanwhile, Tannim had the Wally Walk out in
full force and occasionally knocked over small children in his haste
to escape Sailor Jupiter's wrath.
That was another thing that troubled Tannim. If Sailor Moon was here
but altered somehow, the Senshi might not win. He made a mental note
to check on that when he went to Japan as well.
Tannim looked back behind him to see how Makoto was faring only to
spot her stopped and talking animatedly on her cell phone. Not good.
He tried to pour on the speed to his walk as he kept an eye out for
When Tannim rounded the corner to the food court and MegaGamers, he
was met with a solid line of twenty or so females blocking the way.
It looked to Tannim like all the stops had been pulled.
"Not good." He made an about face and prayed they hadn't seen him.
This is when he spotted Makoto again, but she wasn't alone. She was
with about eight of the older girls, spread out and slowly walking
down the Mall. Four were on either side on the second floor checking
stores, while the other four were on either side on the bottom floor
doing the same. Makoto kept in the center throughout all this,
scanning the crowd.
It was the classic hammer and anvil move. Tannim wasn't sure he could
successfully run past an alert Makoto without having her hold him down
long enough for backup. And no man stood against twenty angry
"Psst. Hey, mister!"
Tannim looked over towards where the voice had originated in one of
the employee service hallways. The speaker turned out to be Red Hat
from the day before. He motioned for Tannim to follow him.
Tannim did just that. The two hurried down the corridor and away from
the searching women. "Thanks, you're a life saver."
"You could have used this too if you'd been paying attention." The
boy snorted derisively.
"When a small army of women is out to do you bodily harm, your
thinking gets skewed." Tannim shrugged. "Still, thanks for saving my
"No problem, I hate it when my sister starts getting out of line like
that," the kid replied.
"I don't think we've officially met, by the way. I'm Tannim, Tannim
Murphy." He held out a hand to shake.
"Yeah, I know, you're the new hire. Rick Rockwaller, at your
service." The boy returned the gesture. "Bonnie's little brother."
"Cool. Say, I've got a sweet deal on cards if you're interested...."
"Hold it right there!"
The two boys looked at each other, before glancing behind them.
Thirty feet down the hallway, and flanked by two of her older Amazon
sisters, Makoto Kino stood poised in the classic 'I have you now!'
pose. More terrifying was that each of the older ladies withdrew from
their purses various weapons.
The woman to Makoto's right was a blonde wearing an impossibly short
mini-skirt and a bubble-gum pink halter top. From amidst the large
makeup bag she withdrew a slender piece of metal. It was short, only
about a foot in length... up until the point where she gave it a good
spin. Out from either end shot an additional foot and a half each,
turning it into a four-foot staff. The weights at either end provided
the hitting power while the fact that it was mostly hollow allowed for
Meanwhile, on Makoto's left, the redhead was pulling out an old-style
police baton. In a set of clothes that could barely be called decent
her spaghetti-strap top clung tightly to her ample bosom, and her very
tight and short pants left nothing to the imagination. She gave the
baton an experimental twirl one would expect from an experienced tonfa
Tannim gulped. "Better tell the old man I'm coming in hot." He
glanced back at Rick, and found a Rick-shaped hole.
'I wonder if he heard me?' thought Tannim as he turned forward to face
Makoto and her friends. She hadn't moved from her position of just
inside the entryway.
Tannim had no illusions as to his chances now, which where slim to
none. Out in a crowd he had the advantage, but over an open stretch
of terrain... a fourteen year old high school athlete would have no
trouble running Tannim down like a dog. Now that they were away from
people, it looked like the Mallrats were finally showing their true
colors. Tannim wished desperately that those colors hadn't been of
the talented martial artist variety.
He grinned nervously at the ladies. "Can't we talk about this?"
Makoto smirked triumphantly. The blonde giggled in that annoying way
only valley girls can perfect and the redhead licked her lips while
giving a sultry wink.
"I didn't think so." Tannim bolted.
He had only managed twenty feet or so before he felt something wrap
around his chest and pin his arms to his sides. Despite his better
judgment Tannim glanced back to see the tonfa wielder lowering her arm
in disappointment. The blonde was running faster than Makoto as the
other two gave direct pursuit.
Tannim nearly lost his balance, and used the sudden burst of fear to
power his legs. 'If that bolas had hit my feet and not my torso, I
would have been finished!'
It was another thirty feet down the hallway before Tannim's right
shoulder was impacted by blondie's staff. It didn't have enough force
behind it to crush bone, but that didn't stop it from setting Tannim's
shoulder on fire with pain. The young man surprised himself by not
crying out, his entire focus on picking up speed. A small whimper did
escape his lips when the second impact crashed into his other
Thinking quickly, Tannim leapt to the left just in time to avoid a
third attack. He watched in horror as the staff slammed hard onto the
ground next to him, bisecting the area his head had been in moments
The counter strike took him off guard. Rather than retracting the
staff for another strike, the blond swung it viciously to the side
along the ground.
Tannim's legs got caught up in its length. Without the aid of his
arms to halt his fall, the young man's momentum smashed him hard into
the ground. Luckily, his side managed to take the brunt of the
damage. He rolled onto his back just in time to watch Makoto and the
redhead arrive behind the blonde.
"You're pretty fast," he muttered. He glanced up from his position on
the ground. "Neon pink panties definitely suit you."
Rather than get angry, blondie giggled. "Thanks. You understand that
I'm going to you have to beat you down now, right?" The girl said
this as she gripped the staff like a baseball bat and lifted it high
over her head.
Before she could complete her motion, the staff's relatively thin
middle splintered in two as a shotgun blast rang out down the hallway.
Gunter waited a few moments for everyone's eyes to be firmly on him
before pumping his shotgun menacingly, ejecting the spent cartridge.
Rick grinned at Tannim from behind Gunter's legs and gave the thumbs
Makoto growled. "We'll get you later!" The girls beat a hasty exit.
As they were leaving through the door, the one with red hair gave
Tannim another wink and a blown kiss.
He shivered. "Thanks for the save, boss."
Gunter untangled Tannim from the bolas and helped him to his feet.
"C'mon, we'd best get back to the store before they come back in
The three scurried down the empty corridor until at last they came
upon the rear entrance. After they finally entered MegaGamers, they
all breathed a sigh of relief.
Gunter locked the door behind them and set the shotgun next to it.
"That was a close call there. I knew they were mad at you, but what
"Eh, something about me spilling a drink on their Queen's new blouse."
Tannim waved off the statement.
Rick's eyes bulged. "You mean you're the one who ruined Bonnie's new
The young man stared. "You mean your sister's the Queen? Bonnie?"
Something tickled at the back of Tannim's mind. "What did you say
your last name was?"
"Yeah, my sister's Bonnie Rockwaller."
Tannim blinked. "Bonnie Rockwaller from Kim Possible is leading a
tribe of Amazon Warrior Mallrats?" It fit. It really fit, Tannim had
to admit to himself. And why wouldn't he be seeing American shows as
well as the Japanese ones?
"You know my sister? She hates Kim Possible. It's originally why she
started the group in the first place. She wanted to be the villain to
finally defeat that international super-spy teen." Rick chuckled.
"But she never went farther than conquering the mall."
"All right boy, enough slacking, get to work." Gunter interrupted.
"I don't care to see the damage those little tykes have caused my
store while we were away."
Rick scampered out of the back room and to his waiting friends. He
began animatedly relaying what had occurred, complete with hand
gestures and sound effects.
"Right, right," muttered Tannim as he snagged a box on his way out.
The things he did for money.
Bonnie Rockwaller, the self-proclaimed Amazonian Queen, glared at the
kneeling subordinates before her. "You have displeased Us."
It was an odd sight: three women kneeling to a fourth in the middle of
the food court, with another line of women standing to one side of it
all. Despite this, none of the passersby paid it any mind. It was
just another one of the things you had to put up with to go to the
"I am very sorry, my Queen," bowed Makoto, along with blondie and red.
It had been three months since she had been running with this group.
For whatever reason, deferring to someone as 'queen' seemed right to
Bonnie took a delicate bite out of her pizza slice. "We thought you
said the plan was fool proof. How did our new recruits fare against
one untrained man?"
"Tiffany did a good job, but Brandy wasn't much help." Makoto
The redhead in question jerked as if slapped. "Okay, so I was a
little over-eager with that bolas," she admitted sheepishly.
Makoto continued, "We would have caught him, but the owner of
MegaGamers left his store to engage us. We had to fall back."
With a growl, Bonnie took an aggressive bite out of her pizza. It had
tormented her to no end that for the first time since she had become
Queen that someone had gotten away with an affront to her person.
That the person was also safely ensconced within the hated MegaGamers
store was a double blow to her ego.
"That boy has made a mockery of Us for far too long. I want him
captured, and I want it done soon. The moment he steps foot outside
of that store, make him Ours." She motioned to one of the many women
standing in rank beside her. "Take this."
The person indicated stepped forward with a box, which she handed to
Makoto. Makoto opened it.
What she saw caused her to grin. "This will do nicely, my Queen."
As things were beginning to wind down for the work day, Tannim finally
got some rest from those noisy brats. It came in the form of dusting
the various miniatures that were on display. This task required some
care, but not a lot of effort.
The young man paused over the figurine of a unicorn. "Hey, Gunter?"
"Hm?" Gunter grunted from his position at the cash register. There
currently weren't any customers, but neither was there a pressing need
to be any where else.
"Why don't they just charge in here and get me?"
'They' being the thirty or so women that were currently prowling at
various distances outside the MegaGamers store.
"The minefield is probably dissuading them." He replied.
"Oh. You've got a minefield?"
"Yep." Gunter nodded proudly. "Last one to try some funny business
spent the next few weeks picking splinters out of her legs. It's
low-grade stuff, really. They've left me alone since."
"I don't suppose you've got an emergency escape tunnel," muttered
Tannim as he eyed the horde of girls. The looks they were throwing
his way were not friendly ones.
"Why? Did you want to use it?" asked the German man. He motioned
towards the back room. "Got a tunnel that leads to the North entrance
to the mall."
"But I parked way far away to the south so I could sneak in here
today!" whined Tannim. "Man, it's going to suck walking back to the
Gunter grinned humorlessly. "Would you rather deal with them?" He
thumbed the Amazons. Tannim swore he saw the glint of metal somewhere
in the crowd, but he couldn't be certain.
"Point taken. Same time tomorrow?"
"Sure, don't get yourself killed. Tunnel's located underneath the
table in the back. Just lift the latch"
Tannim stalled leaving to ask one more question. "How do they let you
keep a shotgun? Or set up a minefield?"
"Feh, you think the spineless mall management would actually complain
to my face? Besides," he shrugged. "I'm blackmailing them."
"Ah. Well then, take care." Tannim moved towards the back.
Gunter nodded, before speaking loudly enough for the girls outside to
overhear. "And I want you to stay back there until every single spare
trading card box has been checked for inventory, got it?"
Tannim smirked as he exited. He, too, spoke loudly. "All right, all
right, you slave driver." He made it a point to slam the door behind
The park Tannim found himself walking through was located on the far
eastern side of the mall. He decided on the safe route, and had
walked due north until he had exited the parking lot. He was in the
middle of the trek back towards his vehicle.
"Man, I'd better pick up some sort of martial art if I want to keep my
job. Too bad it's illegal to practice the Semiautomatic Handgun
School of Jujitsu." He sighed.
"You there! Boy!" A strange voice cried out from behind Tannim. He
spun around only to be greeted by one of the foulest stenches he could
recall in recent memory. It was akin to a bucket of rotting fish set
on fire, and then that fire being put out with urine.
"Gah! Smelly old hobo! Get away from me!" Tannim cried in reflex as
he stumbled back. The grungy hobo ignored Tannim's protests and
scrambled forward deceptively fast. With the smell even closer, it
literally knocked Tannim on his ass. He settled for leaning back as
far as he could and holding his nose shut. "What do you want from me
"You! Your aura! You are a Child of Destiny!"
"Great. Not only is he smelly, he's crazy," muttered Tannim under his
breath. Louder he said, "That's nice. Now leave me alone."
The hobo's eyes burned with the intensity of the mad as he stared at
the boy. "Didn't you say you needed to learn martial arts?"
This brought Tannim up short. "Well, yeah. I'd like to get in shape
and be able to defend myself against some Amazons," the boy admitted.
"Aha! I knew it! Are you not also chased by a chef and a tomboy?"
"No! Crazy old man, just--"
"Non-sense, m'boy! All in due time! We must start your first
"Lesson? What lesson?"
"Why, your martial arts lessons, of course! You do want to be able to
win the One True Tomboy's heart, don't you?"
Now Tannim was stumped. Here was someone obviously insane, but it
sounded like it was the kind of insanity that was catching. He asked
the obvious question: "You know martial arts?"
"Of course not! Do I look like someone who has any sort of useful
skills?" The hobo snapped.
"Not really, no." Tannim replied honestly.
"...which is why I have been waiting for one of the Children to show,
so I could give them this!" The homeless man reached into the
recesses of his dirty jacket, and began rummaging. "Made sure to put
it deep in there, too! Right under my armpit, so it wouldn't get
lost. Aha!" He pulled out the booklet. It was little more than an
oversized pamphlet, with the words 'Cheater's Guide To Becoming A
Really Powerful Martial Artist.'
Despite the smell, Tannim was intrigued. As far as he knew, no book
existed like that where he came from, and it at least looked like
something made by a professional company. Some sort of joke book
"That'll be twenty dollars."
Tannim glared at the hobo. "That's been your plan from the start!
Some sort of scam!"
"I've got to eat too, you know! C'mon, it's worth finding your
destiny for a measly twenty bucks! I haven't eaten anything in two
days!" The hobo snapped right back.
Tannim fingered the ones and fives he had gotten for selling that box
of cards to Rick and his friends. He felt flush from finally having
money, and pulled out two fives. "Ten, and that's my final offer."
"Cheapskate!" the bum cried as he snatched the money from Tannim's
"Bane on society!" cried Tannim as he swiped the book from the bum.
It was slightly oily, and smelled terribly. He turned to stuff it in
his pocket, and by the time he was facing forward again, the hobo was
no where to be seen.
Tannim hadn't noticed the old guy leave, because the stench seemed to
stay behind. "Gah! How much can one person reek?"
The rest of the trip home was uneventful. At least, it was up until
he pulled into the parking space at his apartment complex. As soon as
he stepped out of the car two men in black suits materialized on
either side of him.
"Excuse me sir, we'd like a word with you," one of the men said as he
gently took an elbow.
"It concerns a matter of national security," the other man said as he
grabbed hold of the other arm.
Between the two of them, they frog-marched Tannim to a waiting white
van, whose back doors opened just long enough for Tannim to be thrown
"Look, if it's about the credit cards--"
"It has come to our attention that you are under the employ of one
Gunter Krueger, aka "The Bull." The man sitting in the passenger seat
spoke without preamble. "We were hoping someone of your standing
would agree to help us finally bring that man to justice."
Aside from the realization that he had just been abducted by the FBI
or some equivalent, Tannim was intrigued by the man in the black
suit's choice of words. "Someone of my standing? I've got standing?"
The agent turned to look Tannim face to face. He was in his forties,
with grey streaks beginning along the sideburns of his predominantly
brown hair. The sunglasses hid his eyes from view. "Of course the
heir to the Masters Foundation is held in high regard by the
Tannim would have to puzzle over that later. "Um, do I have to decide
right now? Can I have time to think about it?"
"Of course. We don't want to feel like we're pressuring you."
Tannim glanced pointedly around the interior of the van.
The other man coughed nervously. "Er, that was necessary for your
safety. When you need us again, simply speak into the dial tone and
ask for 'The Agency.'"
"Riiiiight. Well, I'll just be going now. Toodles." Murphy opened
the back doors himself, and jumped down. As soon as he slammed them
shut, the van sped off in a peel of rubber.
"I think I almost liked my life better before," mused Tannim. Then he
thought back to Belldandy. "Almost."
The apartment was much as he left it, a complete mess. He pulled out
the booklet that he had purchased from the bum and began to flip
through it. There were a lot of weird symbols, and writing he
couldn't understand, but there were pictures, too. Each picture
showed a different martial arts technique, but there were only four in
all throughout the twelve or so pages.
"Man, what a gyp." Tannim said, disappointed. He tossed it on the
nightstand next to his bed as he prepared for sleep. "I wonder what
they were talking about earlier. Maybe my past isn't what I think it
He allowed himself to lie down. "Ah, well, thinking about it won't
help. I'll just call my parents and ask them about it tomorrow." He
muttered sleepily to himself. Tannim's breathing eventually slowed as
he slipped deeper into unconsciousness.
After half an hour, the martial arts pamphlet glowed from its position
on the nightstand.
Given the recent number of life-changing situations Tannim has gone
through, it would not have been unreasonable for him to have had a
nightmare. Also, given that he was now unofficially Belldandy's
boyfriend, he might have had one of THOSE dreams.
Instead, it was some middle ground. The landscape was that of some
sort of mountain wilderness. The area he stood on was mostly flat,
and fairly good sized, but there were steep slopes in various
directions on all sides. Tannim took in the surroundings, not really
understanding what he was supposed to be doing here. Didn't dreams
usually have more action than this?
A fist slammed into the back of his head. "Ouch! That hurt!" Tannim
turned around in shocked horror. "That hurt. Where the hell am I?"
"Welcome to cheating your way to martial arts. My name's Rukia, but
you can call me sensei." The girl standing before him couldn't have
been an inch over four and a half feet tall. She was wearing a black
karate gi, and grinning at Tannim expectantly.
"Is this a dream?" Tannim muttered in shock.
"Yeah, but don't worry, it still hurts. That's how you know you're
learning." The maniac grin, as well as the ominous cracking of
knuckles, filled the young man with a sense of dread.
Tannim Murphy woke the next morning, and found he couldn't move a
muscle. The dream he had the night before was quickly fading, as was
usual for his dreams. Except this time he felt like he was forgetting
something really important.
"The hell? What did I do last night...?" He weakly tried to sit up,
before giving up and slumping back down. Every single muscle in his
body felt like a lead weight. "Damn. What happened to me?"
Author's Notes: Finally, the second chapter is finished. Don't
expect a third at the same rate as the first two, school is starting
up after all. Please, feel free to let me know what you think.
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