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Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

For how long will you deny?

How long until you walk away?

Your facade can't disguise

The fact that you're in misery

 

Tap. Tap. Tap.

 

One handed typing was not efficient at all.

 

Tap. Tap. Tap.

 

Owen had come to such a realization not long after the cauldron incident. The closer the clock on the wall got to 2 am, the closer together the q and a keys got to each other on the keyboard. Removing his glasses, the stoic majordomo let out an uncharacteristic groan.

 

Everything about him had been uncharacteristic for sometime.

 

David was beginning to give him looks, when he was on the clock. Looks that clearly said 'I know you like the back of my hand...what's wrong?'

 

It did not help that the after negotiations with some rather unsavory members of society a week prior went south, he sorta...flipped out. No magic though. Just one rather unassuming personal assistant. Beating the holy hell out of 8 professional thugs and their boss . With his fists.

 

Granted, one of those fists was magically enhanced stone. Nevertheless getting blood out of an Armani suit is possible but raises too many questions with the dry cleaner. Especially if the dark purple suit jacket you give them is supposed to be blue. So he threw the whole outfit, shoes and all, away. It had too many rips. You can't buff teeth marks out of leather anyhow.

 

Bottom line: Both Puck and Owen Burnett were loosing it, fast.

 

Realistically, there was nothing preventing him from ditching his wooden alterego. Or his bargain with Xanatos all together. One could argue the whole decree and banishment thing. To which he'd respond: Oberon is a self-deluded megalomaniac.

 

But not for the reasons many would assume.

 

Oh no. The Puck has played many a role not only because it is fun but inspires complacency. Assures the sheeple keep their heads held too high to bother looking where they where they are being led.

 

He couldn't understand what the appeal was to sitting on a throne and lording over minions. It's so...damn...boring when everyone is too afraid of pissing you off to do anything remotely interesting. No one acts natural, they all stand on ceromony like obedient little dolls.

 

Fuck that noise.

 

Eons ago he gave up that post and let someone who wanted to deal with that headache take it up...Oberon and Titania. Oh yes, his greatest trick happens to be the illusion of control. The fae king was dense as a brick when considering anything could possibly be beyond his sphere of influence. Though his queen, not so much.

 

He suspected the Lady of Avalon to have some idea of the jester's true nature, just no where near the true scope of things. At least that the impish trickster was far more powerful than he appeared. Her behavior a year prior at the Gathering fiasco certainly suggested she did not want him angry at her husband. Oh, her discreet, crafty manipulations did him so proud! Why wasn't her brother more like her? Oberon was as subtle as a hammer to the skull with his machinations. Yes, brother. Though only in the sense that they were given form and subsequently life by the same creator. No other relation. And no, THAT bit he knew Titania had not worked out.

 

Still, it was better this way. He wasn't about to tear out his gorgeous hair from dealing with bullshit. The little big man got to play king of the castle. Unless you know who's head started to get a little too big, he was content at his 'station'. After all, the Mighty Lord of Avalon hadn't a clue he was merely an emissary.

 

What irony...especially since went all was said and done, Puck had trapped himself in his own prison. Driving himself crazy.

 

"Unc! Unc!"

 

By his feet sat another reason for his continued charade; reaching up, clearly wanting off the floor. When did he crawl in here? Did Fox know Alex wasn't in his bed? More than likely no...

 

Frustrated by seemingly being ignored, the quarter fae vanished in a shower of green sparkles only to reappear in his teacher's lap with the same dislpay. Looking quite proud of himself, the small boy proceeded to bang his little hands on the keyboard with gleeful abandon. There goes the report he'd been working on...

 

"Unc!" Alex shouted to gain his attention again. He looked upset not being the center of attention. There's a trait he got from both sides of his heritage. Despite his age, the Xanatos heir was very intelligent. His young underdeveloped body unfortunately only allowed him to do so much unless he borrowed another means. Be it a body, or toy, or...a sly smile graced Owen's face as he allowed himself to transform.

 

"Heya kiddo. You really don't have to call me uncle ya know."

 

A squeal answered his statement. Followed by the light tapping of keys, depressing seemingly on their own. The monitor showing just how brilliant he was.

 

/Okay, Grandpa Puck/

 

"Oh, that's my boy!"

 

The thing about making your own prison, you always have the keys. But sometimes you need a good enough reason to use them. Making sure his youngest descendant didn't have to deal with the same clusterfuck he ran away from himself seemed as good as any. Besides, a trick isn't truly a trick until revealed right?

 

This would be fun.

 

*tbc?*

 

Chapter Text

David Xanatos had been wondering just what was up with his assistant. It wasn't like him in either persona to resort to violence. Still, the 3 comatose and 5 crippled wise guys plus their now mute (a crushed windpipe can do that) boss were glaring examples of the possibility. Just another reason he took great relief in knowing the disguised fae was on his side above all others. Including his rightful Lord. 

So when asked to meet in his office to discuss the situation, he tried not to appear over anxious.

"Sir, if I told you that a much more formidable force of nature existed, one that created this world and all in it, including the three races what do you say to that?"

"Have you been listening to the lunatics spouting off about the end of days or some other such nonsense in the streets Owen? Or are you trying to tell me I might have to worry about something other than the Lord of Avalon endangering my family?" The sun vanished slowly behind the glass and steel that was the Manhattan horizon. In a few minutes, it would be raining stone fragments past this very window... "Because of the the two, Murphy's Law favors the latter."

"Endangering this household? No. But this entity does surpass your stepfather in law in might. Though I would think it quite obvious said entity clearly favors you and yours." Cool as ever, only a single eyebrow raised.

"If that's true, and there is a higher power willing to let the likes of Oberon trounce about unchecked, allow someone like me to do as I please with little repercussion, and drag the populous at large through such turmoil, then I must conclude that God has a rather warped sense of humor." Xanatos frowned. As he peered out over the bustling city's skyline, he caught his assistant's wry smile refelecting in the window. The timing of the expression served to deepened that frown.

"Well if that is how you truly feel, I am unsure if I should be offended by the slight or accepting of the complement." His shoulders shrugged. "Did you never wonder why things always seemed to turn out well for you, even in defeat sir?"

"Always chalked it up to luck. Never was a very religious man. But religion isn't what you're talking about, now is it?"

"No it isn't. Humans and other high functioning beings construct such concepts to explain what they cannot. An attempt to bring some order to their world when in fact there is no such animal." Owen walked to stand beside his boss. Straightening his tie, he continued to speak. "Chaos is the only true order as it were. Without change, there is no dynamic, no drive and the universe stagnates. Grinding to an anticlimactic halt."

Thunk.

Owen turned to see David's forehead now resting on the cool glass. His eyes closed, jaw locked. Without a word, he lifted his head, and repeated the action.

Thunk.

"Should I continue or have you pieced it together?" Humor quite clear in the tone.

"I think get it. Though just what I've managed to get myself into eludes me at the moment." David sighed.

"At least you recognize all of your choices have been your own, despite my direction of events." 'Owen' seemed to fade out. A new person faded into his place.

The hair, eyes and ears were that of Puck. Yet he remained Xanatos' height. The build was also rather lithe, swathed in several layers of white silk resembling a toga. A train of fabric trailing behind. For all anyone might be able to discern right now, a lovely woman stood beside him. Ignoring the flat chest that is.

"So...you just wind us up and watch us go for your entertainment?" Clearly angry, David had yet to open his eyes again. His sagging shoulders and limp arms all signs of a defeated man.

"While often amusing, the answer to that question is complex. I have and I haven't.You have no need to act like a kicked puppy. Think of it this way, many of the players in this little show possess very astute designations. After all, I never lied when you asked me my true name."

*tbc?*

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

*I#1*

 

"I should just like to say you're all dead men walking." Green eyes rolled.

 

"That's big talk coming from you zombie boy.Don't tell me you've been domesticated." A brunette munched on a Twizzler. "Where's the wild n crazy little bastard we know and love?"

 

"Oh come on. You're just as bored as we are." A blonde chuckled. "And about as powerful. Just without as many...restrictions on you."

 

"But he isn't as brain dead as you lot." Another blonde glared from beside green eyes. "I don't know the Lady Sun very well or her match. But the Lord Moon isn't the type to see fucking with his family as a harmless prank. Whatever the 'positives'."

 

"I'm inclined to agree with them. They maybe the youngest of us but Peter and Felix seem infinitely wiser than their elders at the moment." A smooth voice drawled. A black brow above crimson eyes quirked in derision. 

 

"Hush Oidiche." The only female in the room scoffed. "Do you not see the benefits as well as the entertainment value here?"

 

"Yeah, listen to sexy in green." The candy eater giggled earning a glare from her.

 

"Circumstances might have made us different than most second tier mages but our creator can wink us out of existence just the same. We are not risking our lives or Henry's for the sake of amusement. Later losers." With a swirl of shadow,  the young pair vanished.

 

"Hmph. You gonna be a party pooper too Big O?" Another Twizzler was shoved in the brunette's mouth.

 

"I have no intention of aiding or hindering this endeavor Gabriel. Merely observe. And yes Titania I do understand the possible benefits. However the risk isn't quite as worthwhile as you may think in my opinion." Red eyes lazily surveyed his companions. "I am quite familiar with Sylphine, Jasmine, Castor, Pollux and Artemis at least. And how terrifying they can be when properly motivated. So, when asked, I will give them what information I have."

 

"You’re scared of two second tier mages?" The remaining blonde asked, leaning in curiously. "Enough so to play tattle tale?"

 

"Of course not Okuninushi. I have no shame in admitting my wariness lies in several enraged parents whose combined might would be more than enough to scatter me to the ether."

 

"The cost of allowing this shadow world to further fragment could cause a tear. One that cannot be closed thus jeopardizing us all. This so call 'Dark Lord' will be the end of his reality and others if we leave things be. You cannot deny this course of action is the best way to establish ones powerful enough to prevent that." Titania spoke again.

 

"There you go again. It's a means to an end but hardly the best one. As I said count me out. I am far more concerned with what THEY will do to me than you all. Good day Lady and Gentlemen."

 

With a flash of pink, 4 became 3. Three meddling chaos mages. None really with a dark affinity in the traditional sense (as Peter and Felix had) yet known in their realities as masters of trickery and subterfuge. Old hands at getting what they wanted, when they wanted and screwing with people in the process as an entertaining bonus. It just so happens this time their scheme was mutually beneficial to them and their, um, targets.

 

There's no way this could blow up in their faces.

 

*I#1*

 

Gathered together after many mysterious resurrections and other developments, the main powers of Seireitei, Hueco Mundo and the Ningenkai sat down to finally get some straight answers from the revealed Soul King.

 

"Sylphine, what a pleasant surprise!" The 'humble' shopkeeper said out of the blue. A white paper fan snapped open to try and hide it's owner's nervousness. 

 

Everyone sort of looked at each other after the declaration. Confused until...

 

"ELECTRIC ZEPHYR!"

 

The man formerly known as Urahara Kisuke went flying out of the soutaichou's meeting room propelled by a wave of electricity via a new hole in the wall. In the destruction's wake stood a girl Rukia's height. Light brown skin, long black box braids with a single gold butterfly bead on each end. Smoldering aureate eyes glowing. She was huffing raggedly with unabashed anger. After a calming breath, she stepped through the hole after him with the heads of the 13 as well as several guests gaping and on high alert. Well most of them. Several present knew this stranger very well; also that getting in her way might not be so swift at  the moment..

 

And Okuninushi probably deserved whatever she dished out. One of his siblings didn’t so much care if he did as was thrilled it was happening. 

 

"Maa, maa, calm down everyone. That's Sylphy-chan! Ain't she a doll?  I get the feelin it best not to draw her attention away from her current focus though." Gin Ichimaru, now revealed as Izanagimi waved it off.  

 

"WHERE IS MY SON?!" She screeched. 

 

"Yep. Introductions should prolly wait a bit." He smiled with genuine cheer.

 

"...that girl blind sided Urahara." Soutaichou swallowed uneasily. "None of us sensed her until she struck." /Just how powerful are these beings?!/

 

Outside their reality's resident trickster picked himself up in time to narrowly avoid the sharp edge of a tessen swipe. He parried it's twin with Benihime. Electricity sparking with contact. 

 

"Picture this. One minute, I'm singing to my sweet little jewel as he lay down to sleep. The next he vanishes not of his own volition. Across our bond I feel my match do the same. Cas is a big boy, not worried. My baby is my first concern."

 

"Always with that sparkling personality  Now why would I know where darling little Bakaret is?" With a push, he forced her back aways. 

 

"Wrong answer dipshit!” She charged, both tessen sparking like an overloading transformer. 

 

“Geh! Shibari, Benihime!” With a hasty slash of his zanpakuto, a net of black and red energy dropped from nowhere above her.

 

“Reversal of Fortune!” Sylphine called. As the net came down, the blonde found himself switching places with her and ensnared in his own attack. He forgot she could do that!

 

“Shit!” Dispelling it only gave her an opening to grab his neck and begin shaking him like a ragdoll. Affinity was she stronger than she looked...

 

“You're the portal expert. And Oidiche is too smart to lie to me, this was YOUR brainchild. So again, WHERE IS MY SON FUCKER?!”

 

“I (gack!) don’t know what (gack!) you’re (gack!) talking about!”

 

Back with the others...

 

“Is he serious right now?” Kira asked no one in particular. “He does know she could end him right? He’s turning purple...”

 

“Oh, don’t worry Kannon-koi. She needs answers first an ya know dead men tell no tales. Okun-chan just happens ta have once again outsmarted his-self.” Gin grinned. Those who'd moved to attack (or rescue) found themselves held in place by an invisible force. 

 

“Yeah. Outsmarted. That’s what we’ll call it.” Ichigo snorted. “Sylphine is gonna pop that dumbass’s head like a zit if he keeps it up.”

 

“Who is that?” Rukia asked. She really didn’t want to get closer to her friend. Why? It meant getting closer to Aizen, whose lap the orangette sat on. He'd been scary enough as a deluded megalomaniac with a god complex. The revelation of him being Enma, actual god of hell and married to his BROTHER Ichigo (or rather Kishi-Mojin) dialed up the creep factor. 

 

Black clawed nails gingerly trailing along Ichigo’s white clothed thigh; their owner unconcerned with the uneasy fleeting looks thrown his way. Right now he'd rather be ripping said cloth from his lover's body. Hell, he'd settle for just hiking up Kishi-Mojin's kimono so long as it meant making him scream his name in the throes of passion imstead of sitting here with people he doesn't give a shit about. Bend him over the nearest table and give these stuffy brats a show. As loathe as Kishi might be to admit it the fertility god did fancy exhibitionism...

 

For affinity sake! Even their father's first action had been to thoroughly debauch his favorite son before revealing anything! You would have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to notice the blonde's flushed and sweaty face; or that Kannon could barely stand much less walk on trembling legs when he did appear. Where else would he inherit such a um, healthy libido? 

 

So unfair... 

 

Well since big brother decided to cheat the test, he supposed he could settle for enjoying the tiny mage strangling him instead.

 

“That would be our cousin Sylphine. The Lady Sun, Wind Witch, Goddess of the Storm and a few other titles. Though falling quite short of thirty stories, she breathes fire in a no less terrifying manner when angered. Just call Okuninushi-niisama Tokyo.” For the second time since their reawakening Fugen Bosatsu (Ulquiorra) made a joke. Now it was officially weirder. Not just because the emo-spada did so but cuz he did it with a deadpan voice. 

 

Across the room Shinji started laughing hysterically. So much so that he wound up on the floor clutching his sides. The captains, lieutenants and espada just blinking at him. This was awkward enough. Then a few of his fellow Visored chuckled too. Ishida face palmed. Sado tried to pretend he hadn't heard but a small smile graced his lips.

 

 

"Hah! Dare ya ta say that to er face mopey." Kenpachi boomed heartily.  "She'll rip yer balls off."

 

"What is so damn funny?! She's going to kill him and you're all laughing!" Youroichi frowned, worried for her friend. So what of he lied to her- 

 

"It's a pop culture reference. Only those living in the human world for more than a few years got the joke. Sylphine is usually so sweet and bubbly but Bakaret is her world. She's scared enough for his sake to really maim nii-san but he won't die." Kisshōten (Orihime) assured confidently. The sound of an agonized gurgling not two seconds later caused her to flinch, some of that confidence to wane. "Probably...maybe." 

 

Stark (Baku) simply snored through the whole ordeal. Despite the ruckus...and tiny Hoshikawa (Lilynette) kicking his sides. 

 

"I (gack) yield!" A feeble gasp escaped his mouth. With barely any air in his lungs and black spots dancing before his eyes, the blonde realized the jig was up. Instantly she dropped him like a stone.

 

"Talk."

 

"He's back where he belongs, his native reality." Rubbing his neck Urahara blinked dumbly. "Hold on, Castor is missing too?"

 

"Already figured that much out and Cas can take care of himself. The problem is I can't open a gateway there. How do I get my son back?"

 

"You don’t." Cue the air around them charging with static again.  "Wait! I mean you don't yet.In the meanwhile he's perfectly safe. Thanks your loving care he is strong enough to act as a true agent of chaos there and stop it from causing a domino effect of destruction. But what do you mean Castor is missing? Only the natives...of...oops."

 

"Oops? OOPS?!"

 

"Um we may have made a boo boo? A slight miscalculation." He started to scoot away. "Turns out hat reality isn't quite as affinity deaf as we thought..."

 

He expected to be violently thrashed again. To have a dainty foot crush his nose or a small fist to bear down on his skull. Not have a gentle hand tilt his head up or a sweet voice speak calmly with an innocent smile. The hard as ice eyes weren't really a surprise. Nor the crushing grip on his chin.

 

"As in the royal 'we'...or other heads I need to knock in?"

 

*I#1*

 

Far removed from that circus, two eternal guardians were having coffee at a quaint Belgian sidewalk cafe. A bit of a ritual for them to meet this way; leaving doppelgangers at their posts while they enjoyed some downtime.  Discussing matters transcending time and space. And how to avoid them.

 

"Pity something blocked such a plot from my all seeing eye." A man smartly dressed in a gold colored business suit spoke. After a sip of his latte he adjusted expensive sunshades which hid his pure white eyes well.

 

"Indeed. What a shame my staff cannot access those hidden events either." The green haired woman nodded brushing a few crumbs from her purple skirt. Not one person noticing her maroon eyes.

 

After a beat the dark skinned man set his mug down, steepled his hands and sat back in his chair.

 

"Plausible deniability is a wonderful thing isn't it Lady Pluto?"

 

"Oh yes Lord Heimdall."  She held up a plate of gingerbread men. "You must try these cookies. The recipe's been in this family for centuries. Each generation is absolutely splendid at replicating it's perfection." 

 

*I#1*

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

*I2*

 

To obtain, something of equal value must be lost.

 

After it’s world came into being, the entity known as Truth looked around at it’s brethren across the multiverse...And said nope.

 

Spending eternity as a glorified babysitter to the insects he created that at any moment could destroy their own reality if he didn’t pay close enough attention sounded as amusing as a hole in the head. So, Truth set forth to make it’s own rules within the rules. Remove the need to have chaos mages by making the chance of such screw ups virtually impossible. Give them all equal access to the cosmic energy and make the taboo price so steep few would dare break it and even fewer would survive the cost. Make himself known to those dumb enough to try. And equivalent exchange would do the rest.

 

Things rolled on pretty smoothly. Until...

 

Van Hohenheim and Dante came in like a wrecking ball hellbent on changing the natural order Truth so carefully set in motion. These two dunderheads wanted to live forever when they had no right to, deciding mass genocide and swapping bodies like underwear was the way to do it. Even after the whole unpleasant side effect of their shiny new meat suits beginning to rot away from the inside out. The change happening faster with each body they stole. The pair having no understanding that the human body was not meant to handle the power of the Philosopher's stone- thus why homunculi could never be human in the first place. That the creatures' sanity deteriorated the longer they existed; if you could call the torture of memories and longings belonging to the dead person you were meant to be but never would sanity in the first place. That that damn stone was never meant to exist but thanks to that pair it did.

 

Then along came Edward Elric and by association his brother Alphonse. Unlike every other before them that tried human transmutation and failed, they not only set about fixing their mistake and doing some good along the way, the pair was willing to give up their chance once they learned the true cost of the stone they sought for 3 years. It wasn’t worth the cost.  And they actively tried to destroy it. The elder willing to sacrifice the thing that made him unique for to restore the younger to normal. Two children had a better grasp of the workings of the universe than a man and woman centuries old. There was just something about the two, their compulsion to set things right no matter what amused and confused Truth. He knew Ed would offer his Gate for his brother’s body So, he was going to cut them a break or sorts; throw in his arm and leg for free..

 

Then this shit happened.

 

“Great. Back here again.” Edward sighed. To be fair the Gate of Truth is where he wanted to be for this to work but still, he hated that featureless jackass as much as the bovine mammary secretions it reminded him of.

 

“GET YOUR LILY WHITE ASS BACK HERE!”

 

That...wasn’t Truth. It was fair too feminine, too high pitched and too cheesed off.

 

“GAH! I told you I can’t do it!”

 

That was it. Though a lot less haughty and put together than usual. Ed looked around until he saw the familiar deity booking it across the white abyss like it’s metaphysical ass was on fire. Hot on it’s heels a small (shorter than him!) girl, dressed like a Xingese warrior and armed with folding fans? That’s not important. What was important were the bolts of lightning she was shooting off with them.

 

“Be reasonable child! Even if I wanted to help you, my world works differently than yours! I cannot  open the gate without being paid a toll!”

“If you wanted to?!” she girl roared. “IF YOU WANTED TO?! I never asked to be here you freak, someone threw me here! How’s about you open that gate and I don’t make you shoot electricity out of your ass!? How’s THAT for payment?!”

 

“What is going on? Al!” Ed’s scan had completely missed the emaciated body propped up against the stone gate, being too distracted by whatever was happening off in the distance. It was only his soulless shell but still, he was right there! This had to work. Seeing him again was too painful for it not to.

 

The sound of a body hitting the ground then being stomped on like no tomorrow once again drew his attention back to the weirdness. Truth was splayed out  face(?) down with the strange girl bouncing on it’s back like a trampoline. Though Ed was fairly certain it didn’t enjoy it at all as the girl seemed intent on breaking it’s back The deity wailing pitifully all the way. This girl...how could she possible force something like Truth to beg for mercy?

 

“I give!!!!” Truth hollered. “I give!”

 

“Then send me on my way!” The girl allowed the deity to stand. Her arms crossed over her chest expectantly.

 

“I CAN”T. Not without being paid a toll. Equivalent Exchange prevents me from just conjuring things without something in recompense.” Seeing her left eye began to twitch, the Keeper held up it’s arms in defense before hastily continuing. “You’re not mortal! Your energy could do it though you might be weaker for some time once you pass. Or you could use him.” The being thumbed back at Ed.

 

For a moment, she didn’t seem to have heard the response. Standing completely still and just blinking at the blonde. Then her gaze drifted to Alphonse's body  What was she thinking? Holy shit! Was she considering using them to pay her toll? She continued to just stare at the brothers, making all present uneasy. Especially when Ed noticed a growing spark of abject horror alight in her eyes. Her blank expression gave way to one of disgust and anger.

 

Truth tried to back up.

 

CRUNCH!

 

“You dipshit.” came the cold reply. Truth now stood clutching it’s face(?), blood trickling between its fingers. Ed couldn’t help but have mixed feelings about the whole thing. On one hand she’d refused an offer to use them as cannon fodder, drawn her arm back and struck like a piston to make the prickliest thorn in his side bleed like a waterfall. On the other hand she had made Truth bleed- what was she to do that to a god like entity? Have it so terrified and be able to injure it at all?

 

"Will you stop that?!"

 

"You monster. You're no better than Vishnu; thinking it's perfectly acceptable to break the rules to suit your fucked up whims." Her voice remained level, only her glowing golden eyes betraying her fury. "You don't even FEEL it do you?”

 

“...”

 

Again with the staring, this time at Truth itself. Who despite having no face, managed to look ashamed with the girl’s gaze boring into it like a laser. Until she sighed and buried her face in her small hands.

 

“You don’t nor have no idea what to do about it. Outstanding.” she groaned. “Why am I always cleaning up the messes caused by my aunts and uncles? I really thought you all were supposed to be sage and crap. Aside from Mama, Uncle Ebedi and Auntie Aurii, you all seem to be morons. There’s a difference between bad luck a bass ackward logic you know that right?”

 

“Get off your high horse girl. You’ve no idea what you’re talking about, you’re just a mage-”

 

“Who, at present, could whoop your ass. By myself. Doesn’t that seem a bit unbalanced to you?” Her stare was flat. “You’ve screwed with the way things are supposed to be so much, Affinity balanced things out the best way it could to keep this reality from cracking like a china plate. At least that shows you’re slightly smarter than Vishnu. You traded your real power for whatever half baked version of order this is. Equivalent exchange is just another term for it. So, how’s that workin for ya?”

 

“If you’re so much smarter and more powerful than me, why don’t you figure out how to leave?” Truth’s tone was bitter with a sharp sting.

 

“I already have. And as a bonus, I’m gonna help you out of this mess.”

 

“Or, you need to fix what’s wrong so you can be on your way.”

 

“To-may-to, to-mah-to. Don’t be more of a dick.”

 

By this time, Ed was certain he’d either had a stroke, was hallucinating, dead or something of the like. Words had officially lost any meaning. What the hell was going on?! The fact that both were now looking at him made him realize he’d shouted that last bit. Now  (more) uncomfortable, he shifted around on his feet nervously.

“It’s your lucky day Mr. Al-che-mist. My...guest may just be able to get you out of this with no toll.” There was the smarmy condescending bastard Major Elric hated so much. It might have looked more imposing if not for the river of red running down its front.

 

“Stop trying to save face. You’ve lost all credibility, shut up.” The girl shook her head, then flashed an angelic smile at the braided blonde. “What Truth meant to say was all the shit I’m sure you two’ve been through has given you so much karma credit it’s ridiculous. And because he fucked up, the cosmic balance has put you on a pretty rough path to being where you truly belong. I’m Sylphine. Though the circumstances could be better, it’s nice ta meetcha cuz!”

 

WHAT?!

 

*I2*

 

Far away, in the last reality the Goddess of the Storm had visited, sat a frazzled blonde desperately trying to appear as if everything was alright to those around him as he sipped tea poured for him by a small pigtailed girl. Sitting across from him, his younger brother not buying it for a second.

 

“You are aware that once our sweet little cousin realizes you derailed her to a reality that poses issues for those wishing to exit when her goal is simply to find her stolen child, she will at some point return here to violently castrate you and hand you your testicles in a jar yes, Onikunishi?” the brunette drawled.

 

The only response he received was the thump of a head making contact with wood and a loud groan from his elder brother.

 

“Please go away, Enma.”

 

“Oh no. I intend to stay nearby to have a front row seat for that.”

 

 

*I2*


 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

*I3*

 

Once again, she was trapped somewhere through no fault of her own. Though this time it was more or less just luck of the draw. Luck of the shitty draw.

 

She came here tracing an energy signature belonging to one of the ‘Legion of Dumbasses with a Death Wish’ members. A fitting name given to the ones Oidhche identified as being responsible for her Emerald being shanghaied. And stranding Peter and Felix in his home reality (one not particularly accepting of ‘supernatural creatures’) when they told the idiots to shove it; her equally ticked off brother going to rescue his priests. Or rather rescue Yahweh’s realm from a (likely more so than usual) psychotic Peter Pan and his equally powerful lover with a homicidal split personality. Seriously anything those two met there would be utterly fucked. Angel, demon, hunter, whatever .

 

Unlike the two of them, Oidhche had the advantage of forethought; dispelling any fluctuations of power, no matter how small, not his own generated around him during the meeting. It also helped that the elder mage wasn’t quite as distracted by wanting to leave.

 

After embarrassing the absolute hell out of Okunishi in front of his playmates, he gave up their identities quick. Admitting he himself bore the misfortune of not being able to leave his own reality in lieu of a small crisis. Translation: he was the only one without the ability to hide from her or any other parent wanting answers/blood.

 

She originally didn’t care why this one took to hiding out in such a random reality. Only after arriving did she understand. And then care very, very much about more severely maiming her target as well as punching the Guardian of this reality as hard as she could in his face for the hell of it.

 

His stupid, adorkable face.

 

To be clear, she knew full well said guardian could crush her like a bug if she did but boy was it tempting. After listening in on the grand revelation, she completely understood this reality worked as smoothly as it did only at great cost to it's creator. That as far as she could tell, he sensed a disturbance long ago and instead of resetting his beloved reality before it even got off the ground, he sacrificed his ability to consciously regulate it until he regained his strength after massively reconfiguring how it related to its shadow realities. He had, in a sense, created the reality that halfwit Vishnu dreamed of without any of the megalomania and affinity defying issues that lead to multi armed Guardian destroying his own realm. Seemingly by accident. All to divert a destabilizing event. While that's all well and noble and surprisingly novel (re:the loopiest of loopholes to ever loop de loop), it created a bunch of problems. Some of which no one  seemed keen on admitting.

 

The main one being his daughters had no fucking clue he definitely existed until about 12 hours ago. His last act before hibernating had been to give them life so that someone was actually monitoring their reality. Seeing as they never met daddy, all they knew is a force greater than themselves existed and had created them. It's only logical that they might wanna find him. If for no other reason than to ask “Seriously dude WTF?!”

 

As a result, what formed was an amorphous layer cake consisting of around 22 dimensions, each of a higher energy state than the last. The cap of which, called the Hyperdimension, serving as the only place the three Goddesses could fully allow themselves to occupy. The debatably unstable bottom being the lowest energy plane upon which the latest kerfuffle took place. Mostly.

 

Acting more or less independently of each other The Chousin set about their grand experiment. Washu (goddess of wisdom, knowledge and basically a neutral mage),would lose herself completely to the lower planes of existence and nearly all of her powers (and ability to protect herself) went out the window. Tsunami (goddess of life, creation and essentially a light mage) would act as a sort of medium with one foot in the lower planes, the other in their higher planes accidentally binding herself partially in a physical form. Tokimi (who ruled death, destruction but above all else was a dark mage) would remain in the realm of higher beings only interacting from afar thus unable to change and grow as her sisters did through experience; eventually becoming quite distant from them and causing contention. See, the word ‘experiment’ sounds a lot more like they actually had a plan than ‘let's fuck with the natural order until something drastic enough to wake the supreme being happens’.

 

Shadow realities did exist here...to a degree. In another weird twist, they weren't exactly separate. Not like the branches of the many worlds ‘theory’ that made up literally every anchor/shadow reality relationship she has ever encountered. More like wound about the anchor like a screw. The apex of the spire? Tenchi. Seriously, a version of him existed in every last offshoot. Which should not be. At some point, according to probability, there should be at least one scenario where the events necessary for him to exist just don't occur. How could that be?

 

So, even though they found their supreme being, he was sealed within the form of a mortal adolescent boy. A boy whose death will release him fully from his avatar. A fact only learned by accident which, suprise, is a terrible thing to occur before he’s ready to awaken. Was it mentioned the avatar's body is NOT invulnerable and lifespan finite? Yeah, the avatar fucking died twice (even after the three sisters reset time to prevent it). The result? A (debatably) normal boy with god level powers he had near zero conscious control over. So now there happened to be a race against the clock for this deity to mature enough to not full on break his reality when he totally woke up again. Or for his half aware self to not destroy it on accident. At least his heritage gives him possible millennia right?

 

Considering his middle name is trouble magnet?

 

Good.

 

Luck.

 

With.

 

That.

 

As such she found herself being stared at by the Masaki family and friends as she graciously accepted a mug of tea from the young Princess Sasami.

 

“So yer some kind of goddess from another world, huh?” Ryoko snorted. “So why are you here?”

 

“Among other things, him.” she pointed to a confused looking Tenchi. “Though I doubt he could be of much help in his current state.”

 

“So you wanna steal MY Tenchi do ya-?!”

 

“YOUR Tenchi?! As if Tenchi-sama would ever belong to the likes of you!” Aeka screeched at her.

 

“Yeah no. I have no romantic interest in this derp, being a happily married woman. No offense. I just...(sigh)...my baby is missing and I know for a fact one of the culprits is hiding out here.” she took a long sip. “The problem is I don't know where. As an anchor reality, I have no right to act here without the permission of the Guardian who created it. In this case him.”

 

“Um-” Tenchi blinked, opening his mouth only to be cut off.

 

“But it seems Tenchi’s current state of being prevents that. After all he can’t give permission if he doesn’t know what he's giving permission for.” Washu nodded sagely.

 

“Well-”

 

“Then that settles it. Get lost toots. Go peddle yer sobs story elsewhere. We can't help ya.” Ryoko demanded.

 

“Hey now-”

 

“While I would not have put it quite that way, that devil woman has a point Sylphine-sama. If you know Tenchi-sama cannot aide you, why remain here? I am sure there are other...realities? Yes realities where you would have more success, correct?” Aeka spoke diplomatically. The jab at Ryoko earning a glare.

 

“But-”

 

“Oh my! This is just like my soaps! The ones that make me cry! I can't imagine not having my baby, worrying about him being all alone!” Mihoshi wailed.

 

“...”

 

“Oh that's so sad Sylphine-sama. There has to be something we can do for her!” Sasami sniffled.

 

“Perhaps, if you actually spoke to me not about me you could get an answer?”

 

Tenchi had everyone’s attention after that simple inquiry. His emblem flared to life upon his brow though this time he appeared more...serene than previous instances. The air about him that of a regal confident deity. Not a panicky spaz who had suddenly checked out mid-battle. With a gentle smile he turned to their guest.

 

“I am sorry to hear of your troubles Sylphine-sama. Though I do not believe the situation is as cut and dry as it appears. As for how that can be, well I suppose I must explain my actions as well.” Tenchi vaguely motioned to the table causing it to vanish and everyone found themselves in a different seat arranged in a semicircle. With one addition.

 

“W-what?” Tokimi blinked in confusion. She had been minding her own business in her realm, resting after their ordeal. Now she sat between Washu and the young princess bound to Tsunami...whom appeared behind the girl in ethereal form. To Washu’s right sat her daughters Ryoko and Ryo-ohki. Beside them, Mihoshi. To Tsunami's left, the House of Jurai members still earthside. Including Noike who had been adopted in.

 

“Now, this story is rather long if I go into much detail so I will summarize to keep from boring you all to death. As you know, the Three Goddesses have been searching for a being with potential greater than their own. What just occurred being the culmination of eons of searching and experimentation. What everyone fails to understand is I am not sealed or trapped within Tenchi Masaki. We are two facets, two levels of the same being. The depth of something is not apart from it’s length and width, merely another property by which to perceive it. I suppose you could call me Tenchi-kami-sama to differentiate. Now, did no one wonder why the Choubimaru’s cannon blast didn't create the same crisis as Z slicing me in half? After all it took the three of you to shove me back into my shell did it not?” Air quotes went up around the word shell.

 

The girls (and Yosho) pondered this. All that changed in the new timeline was Z not existing. So the same result should have occurred right? He was very obviously killed by the blast-

 

“GAAHHHH! I JUST ASSUMED!” Washu flailed her arms wildly, almost taking out Mihoshi (Tokimi merely leaned away, eyebrow raised). Grabbing her hair in frustration she glared at Tenchi-kami-sama. “Some greatest mind in the universe I am! With no tangible, data I still made a hard conclusion! The cannon blast didn't kill you did it?”

 

“Don’t feel too bad Washu-chan.” Tenchi-kami-sama waved it off. “No, it did not. I didn't even die when Z succeeded. A lower level being couldn’t truly harm you or one of your sisters much less myself. What Z did do was severe the binds on my awareness.” At this the deity blushed, rubbing the back of his head. “Though for a split second, I admit to being a tad out of it. Resulting in the dimensional tremors felt by your supervisors as I awoke completely. Though I came to my senses in time, I felt it more prudent for the sisters to be the ones perceived to have averted disaster.”

 

“Out of...you mean all of creation almost ended because you were groggy ?” Nobuyuki, his gobsmacked father, sputtered.

 

“That’s.... a fair assessment.” He had the decency to admit it. “As a guardian, my existence on this plane is...a delicate situation. Technically speaking, I am not allowed to interact at all with this plane unless there is a dire reason. On the scale of reality breaking. My purpose mainly is to hold my reality together. My daughters have more freedom but as it's mages are unable to directly interfere with the mortal realm. Only able to create priests and priestess from those who have passed on to carry out their will on this plane. However, exceptional circumstances exist for them as well.”

 

“Personally I am more interested in why you would even bother.” Yosho spoke carefully. “You are the supreme ruler of our very existence Tenchi, yet you play the role of awkward teen spoiled for unwanted choice to a fault. While I am guilty of running away from my position centuries ago, I was at least secure in the knowledge that the post I left vacant could be filled by my sister who actually wanted the role or that my father was far from on his way out. You literally just told us you had absolutely no control over anything after you went to sleep. But why did you go to sleep in first place? And aren't you in violation of the taboos you mentioned?”

 

“Well no and isn’t that kinda hypocritical of you sir? I mean things have to be this way or everything goes poof. Tenchi wouldn’t be irresponsible when others are in danger right? Since he allowed things to naturally develop in direct opposition of the those rules, the taboos are the norm for us. If he backs off then things go so wonky he HAS to step in again. Come to think of it, they didn't really do anything bad. Washu-san had no powers for most of her time here and her discoveries probably accelerated the progress of the universe as a whole without favoring any one person or people. Tsunami-san didn’t seek out the ancestors of the Jurai royal line, they sorta bothered her while she was sleeping. She didn't actively do anything to establish the Empire, only gave them the means to do it themselves. And when she did get involved it was more Sasami’s will than her own. I remember how she saved her as a child but it’s kinda obvious Sasami did die that day- Tsunami just brought her back the same as ever just as part of herself. Tokimi-san never really did anything on this plane, only interacting with um...avatars? Yeah! She used people already here to affect this plane rather than come here herself. I also remember something in the GP files about Dr. Clay having an accident with his ship centuries ago. Grampa was very surprised when I brought him in. Hmm? Uh, is there something on my face?” Mihoshi suddenly noticed everyone gawking at her.

 

Well, Tenchi smiled serenely at her before slightly shaking his head. Sylphine didn't seem at all affected by her deduction, instead looking rather bored with the whole affair. As if the crew were idiots for NOT reaching the same conclusion.

 

“I suppose it's only natural that she would put things together so quickly. She takes after her ancestor, The Goddess of Knowledge. At least in part.” Tenchi chuckled. Ignoring his pink haired daughter’s sputtering, he turned to Sylphine face stern. “Sylphine-sama, the same events which lead me to my actions I fear to be the cause of your troubles. A  disturbance in the very balance between all realities has caused strange anomalies for many guardians. Like ripples in a pond, the effect has been far reaching yet not affecting all areas at the same time. My ability to investigate has been limited; my initial solution was a snap decision to save my realm first and foremost. I have only just now become aware again.”

 

Sylphine froze. What the hell could cause the affinity to falter to much it created a domino effect like that?!

 

“What?! How?!”

 

“I can only imagine. Though I suppose the best place to start, seeing as I too have questions, would be locating your wayward cousin, ne?”

 

Light years away, an unassuming merchant oversaw a long awaited delivery of rare ingredients for his confections specifically ethyl methylphenylglycidate. The raw materials were hard to come by on the world where he worked and their nearest source happened to be solar systems away. As he opened a barrel of sweet smelling oil for inspection, a sense of impending dread shot down his spine.

 

Starling the dark blond man so badly, he lost his footing and plunged face first into the viscous solution. Luckily, no one was around to see him failing about before the drum tipped completely over coating the storeroom floor in his precious, expensive ingredient.

 

*I3*