AN: Hey, guys. Yeah, this isn't the major project I've mentioned before, and it's not another chapter of Inheritance. I make no excuses. Blame Senki Zesshou Symphogear for capturing my attention if you have to. It's a good show. Go watch it.
In the meantime, enjoy a bit of fluffy comedy in that universe.
"In a fight, I mean," Kirika Akatsuki hastily clarified at the confused stares thrown her way by her fellow Symphogears.
This clarification was, apparently, anything but. Everyone was still looking confused, except for the blonde Symphogear's girlfr- best friend! Shirabe Tsukuyomi, who shook her head and went back to eating her lunch.
"A fight between who?" Hibiki Tachibana finally asked. "Because the whole Goku versus Superman debate is pretty settled, and-"
"Like hell it is!" Chris Yukine snapped, standing and jabbing her index finger at Hibiki, who flinched back and raised her hands in warding. "Those Death Battle hacks are… well, hacks! That debate isn't settled at all and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise!"
The impact of her brief rant was, sadly, rather defused by the juice box being squashed by her pointing hand and the stray rice grain stuck to her cheek that no one had the heart to point out. On top of that, her shouting had drawn curious stares from the rest of the people in the park they were eating lunch at, and Chris flushed and plopped back down into a seated position, pointedly looking away from everyone.
"No, no," Kirika assured a slightly stunned Hibiki, drawing her attention away from Chris. "I mean, who would win in a fight between you, Chris, and Tsubasa?"
All of a sudden, Chris' embarrassed blush fled, replaced by a calculating stare in Tsubasa's direction that was matched by the swordswoman. Tension crackled between them, much like electricity.
Neither Hibiki nor Kirika noticed; while the former was busy thinking over the question, and Kirika was simply oblivious. Shirabe and the last member of the group, Maria Kadenzavna Eve, did notice, and it didn't take them much longer to see where this was going.
"Dummy," Shirabe said to Kirika between bites, even as Maria sighed and brought a hand up to cradle her face.
"Eh?! Wait! What'd I do this time?"
"That's… actually a good question," Hibiki replied thoughtfully, ignoring Kirika's outburst. "I don't know. As long as we all could handle the Noise, no one really cared how strong we were compared to each other. Though…" She put a finger to her temple, eyes closed and mouth scrunched up as her brain worked itself at max. "I'm pretty sure I did better against Chris when she was wearing that Nehushtan thing than Tsubasa did."
The tension ratcheted up a notch, a frown working its way onto Tsubasa's face even as a smug grin came onto Chris'. Off to the side, both Maria and Shirabe let out resigned sighs, their suspicions confirmed.
Sparkles sprang into Kirika's eyes, the blonde utterly ignorant of what was going on. "Really?" she breathed.
Hibiki nodded, excitement spreading across her features as well. "Yeah! Tsubasa needed to use her Swan Song to do any damage-" A vein, unseen to the two talking, popped to life on the swordswoman's forehead. "And I didn't."
"Don't feel too proud about that, dummy," Chris said, smug grin growing even wider. "Once I started using Ichaival again you were on the back foot pretty quickly."
She got a quizzical look back in return. "Uh, yeah?" Hibiki replied, puzzled.
"I feel compelled to point out," Tsubasa cut in, vein still throbbing. "That not only was I not in the best state of mind when that happened, Yukine and I were much more evenly matched when we fought on Frontier."
Hibiki and Kirika glanced between Chris, smug grin somehow becoming smugger, and Tsubasa, the cool senior who was becoming progressively less cool, and wondered with a start when their little picnic had gotten so tense.
"Eh, I went easy on ya," the gunner dismissively replied, even throwing in a handwave. "That was all about putting on a good show for Ver and breaking the bomb collar."
A low growl worked its way out of Tsubasa's throat, and then it cut off and her features suddenly fell into eerie placidity. "I see," she said, her voice calm and wound so tight it might have vibrated were it physical. "So, what you're saying is, you're stronger than me."
Chris tilted her head back, making a show of thinking about it. "I wouldn't quite put it like that…" she mused innocently. "But yeah, pretty much."
"I see," Tsubasa replied, her head bowed. Then her steely gaze shot up, boring into both Chris. "In that case, I challenge you, Chris Yukine, to a contest of arms!" Her gaze fell on Hibiki, who flinched back. "You too, Tachibana. We should settle this question of Kirika's."
"Eh?" was Hibiki's eloquent reply as she glanced back and forth between her comrades.
"Oh, you're on, Tsubasa!" Chris viciously replied. "Just name your time and place!"
"Two hours from now, in the section of the city to be demolished."
Back with the other half of the team, Shirabe had given up any pretense and was now outright cradling her head in her hands. Maria, after a moment of stunned staring, pulled out her phone and began frantically dialing a number. And Kirika could only stare wide-eyed at the cataclysmic situation she'd inadvertently created.
Tilting her head back and grabbing it, she howled, "What have I done?!" to the heavens.
Shirabe took the opportunity to jab her in the ribs. "Dummy."
"I cannot believe this is happening," Maria muttered, her hand resting on her forehead and somewhat shading her eyes.
"You made the call," Shirabe said in her usual monotone. "That's our best chance to end this with minimal physical harm and without bruising anyone's egos."
A decidedly unladylike snort rushed out of Maria's nose. "Yeah, God knows all of ours are fragile enough."
The two Symphogears were standing on the balcony of one of the more intact of the buildings left behind by Carol's temper tantrum three months prior, two stories up. Below, in an area largely clear of debris, stood Tsubasa, Chris, and Hibiki, transformed and ready to go. Well, Chris and Tsubasa were ready to go; Hibiki was looking decidedly uncertain about the whole affair.
"Why do we have to fight like this?"
Scratch that, she didn't want this happening at all.
"Sorry, Hibiki, but this is a matter of pride," Chris sighed. "Don't worry, we're not going to kill each other. Much."
With one word, Hibiki locked up, and Tsubasa's gaze ensured she'd stay that way.
"Yukine is right. This is a matter of pride." Drawing her sword, she lifted it overhead into its ready position. "And I believe we have waited long enough."
"Heh. Took the words right out of my mouth." With that, Chris drew her crossbows, aiming them at Tsubasa.
Faced with this, Hibiki could only slide into a ready stance, though she still looked decidedly reluctant to actually fight.
"They started yet?"
Up on the balcony, Maria and Shirabe blinked in surprise at Kirika's voice behind them, and turned around to see the blonde walk up to the balcony and look down. "Okay, so it's about to start. Cool."
"You're… okay with this?" Shirabe queried, one eyebrow raised. "You were a puddle of nervous panic two minutes ago."
On cue, Kirika's easygoing demeanor collapsed into a puddle of nerves and cold sweat, and she only avoided slumping to the ground by grasping the balcony railing. "Ahahahah… how could I be alright? They're gonna kill each other, and then the commander and Miku are going to make me wish for death…" She slumped to her knees, unable to tear her watering eyes away from the sight below. "Wish… and never grant it."
"There there," Shirabe breathed, kneeling down to give her best fri- girlfriend a hug and back rubs. "It's going to be all right…"
With some difficulty, Maria tore her gaze away from what were basically her little sisters and back to the fight below, where still no one had moved to attack.
'Oh for God's sake…'
"Begin!" she called out.
Instead of attacking, Chris and Tsubasa brought their hands to their chests, grasping the winged jewel there. "Drawn Blade!" they called out, the gems replying with an electronic "Dainsleif."
"You've got to be kidding me…" Maria groaned as the two Symphogears activated their Ignite Modules in what was supposed to be a reasonably friendly sparring match.
"Kill me now…" Kirika whimpered below her.
Down on the battlefield, the transformations finishing seemed to knock Hibiki out of her stunned watching. She promptly shouted "What are you doing?!", accompanied by frantic arm-waving.
Chris and Tsubasa exchanged glances. "Executing the same plan, apparently," the gunner replied, before both blurred from Hibiki's sight.
The sandy-haired Symphogear only had time to blink before both her friends' feet slammed into her gut, sending her flying into one of the condemned buildings with a massive crash, a cloud of dust kicked up in her wake. That proved to be too much punishment for the building, and it promptly collapsed inward, throwing up even more dust and obscuring the spot Hibiki had hit.
For several seconds, the two senior Symphogears just watched the building collapsed and settle. "... Do you think that was too much?" Tsubasa wondered once it stopped.
"Nah, Hamster's tough. She'll be fine." Despite her words, Chris still winced as some of the rubble collapsed further. "Probably." Glancing to her side, she narrowed her eyes at Tsubasa's stolid gaze. "What?!"
"Hamster. That's a new one."
"I can't keep calling her dummy all the time," Chris said defensively. "Plus, y'know, that thing about Miku being her sunflower and- WHY AM I SHARING THIS WHEN I SHOULD BE SHOOTING YOU!"
That last part was accompanied by Chris conjuring up her two pistols and unleashing a hail of fire at Tsubasa, a hail that was parted like a spring rain by the bluenette's blade. The fight was on.
Thirty minutes later, and the fight was still on. Tsubasa and Chris had deactivated their Ignite Modules almost immediately after getting into each other, both because they were dangerous if left on for too long and also to try and not alert HQ to the fight. They had then laid into each other with a viciousness that had left their three-woman audience rather surprised; evidently the two had had some issues to work out between them.
Now, though, it was near the end. Both girls were battered and covered in bruises and small cuts, their Symphogear armor cracked and torn all over. They were also panting heavily, hunched over and their hands periodically twitching towards their knees. Chris held one battered handgun; Tsubasa's blade was a jagged stump, the handle dented from hard use.
And high above, Maria was starting to feel a bit of panic.
'Where is she?' she mentally demanded. 'It's only ten miles from the Academy, any one of us could have gotten here in ten-'
Mentally slapping herself and trying very hard not to do it in real life, Maria readjusted her mental estimates. After all, she had no Gear; track star or not it was going to take her time to get here.
Right on cue, her phone buzzed. Pulling it out of her pocket, she read the terse message:
It buzzed again, another message popping up.
A flash of green caught Maria's eye, and she glanced down to one of the ruined streets to see exactly who she was waiting for, staring right up at her. Wordlessly, the pink-haired woman pointed to the recently collapsed building, dust still settling, and as the girl below began stalking towards Chris and Tsubasa, Maria felt a twinge of pity for them.
But only a twinge. They'd brought this on themselves, after all.
"They're gonna die, aren't they," Kirika whimpered.
"Probably," Shirabe answered.
"Well, better them than me!"
Down below, Chris grinned, causing Tsubasa to tense in anticipation. "Hey, good show," she said. "Really! You came damn close to beating me, especially with that shadow bind thing. I had no idea you could do that. But you should forfeit." The gunner sent a pointed glance at Tsubasa's destroyed blade. "I mean, what are you going to do with that? Club me with the hilt?"
Tsubasa smirked, her first sign of any kind of joy since lunch. "Perhaps. It worked well the last time I tried it."
That drew a wince from Chris, and she almost reached up to touch the knot on her head.
"Okay, yeah, point," she conceded. "But-"
Chris was promptly interrupted by a fist slamming into Tsubasa's face from the left - a slim hand undecorated by any Gear. The swordswoman stayed standing for an instant before collapsing to the ground like a sack of flour, but Chris had no time for that. The smiling face of the devil himself, incarnated in the body of Kohinata Miku, occupied all her attention.
"Hello, Chris," Miku said in a sweet voice with a smile over her face. She stepped forward, somehow looming over the Symphogear despite their nigh-identical height.
"H-Hi, Miku," Chris stammered. "Listen, we wanted to get Hibiki out of the way fast. You see how banged up we are? We didn't want her to-"
"And I appreciate that. Which is why you're going to live."
The last thing Chris saw before blacking out was Miku rearing her head back.
"So," Shirabe said as she, Maria, and Kirika all winced at the brutal headbutt that downed Chris. "The one who would win is Miku."
Kirika and Maria nodded in agreement. That just made sense; after all, this was Hibiki's girlfriend, and the power of love was truly great.
Still, all three flinched when Miku turned her gaze up to them and angrily indicated the pile of rubble set off from the battlefield. The power of love was great, but terrible as well when it was aimed at you.
"Time to dig Hibiki out, I suppose," Kirika said, before wincing as a thought came to her. "Ah, please don't tell her that I kinda sorta maybe totally started this whole mess?"
"Of course," Shirabe replied.
"My lips are sealed," Maria agreed.