An Oh My Goddess fanfic
by Mike Breslau

Note: in this story, read this as sign language, this as emphasis, and "this as speech." All characters appearing in this story are copyrighted by their rightful copyright owners and are used without permission, but with gratitude. Please don't sue me, I haven't got enough to make it worthwhile.


Keiichi's Magic Trick
As told by Urd

I've been asked, in my role as Goddess of the Past, to explain how Sensei became the extraordinary person that he is today. To understand how it all happened you must begin with events of one remarkable hour many centuries ago. In those days my youngest sister Skuld, Goddess of the Future, and I didn't get along very well. It seems hard to believe now, but it was true then. We had very little in common. Skuld was still somewhat immature and was often emotional and a bit bratty. To tell the truth, I didn't always act fully mature either, although as the oldest of the three Norns I should have. Skuld and I had been exiled from Heaven and stranded on Earth for too long, we missed our friends, and we were constantly getting on each other's nerves. Skuld believed that Keichi wasn't good enough for Beldandy (hah!); I could tell that the two loved each other...

It seemed to be a typical evening in the Tariki Hongan temple that we called home. The sun had set in a blaze of glory, and stars were beginning to appear. Inside the temple Morisato Keiichi, then a college student nearing graduation, was in his room trying to study. Forget about the Keiichi we all know-back then he was shy and diffident, somewhat nerdy, and generally uncoordinated. My sister Belldandy, the Goddess of the Present, was in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner. I was in the living room, fighting with Skuld-again!

"Oversexed meddler!" yelled Skuld, throwing one of her obnoxious mini-bombs at me. Boom.

"Immature geek!" I replied, casting a lightning bolt at her. Crash! Yes, it seemed to be a typical evening in the temple.

We never did any permanent damage, but the thin interior walls of the temple did little to suppress the noise. Keiichi was having trouble concentrating and his patience was wearing thin. He sighed. "I've got a big exam coming up, and those two won't allow me any peace." He got up and walked into the living room, and politely asked us, "Could you two please hold it down a bit? I'm trying to study."

We weren't having any of that. "You keep out of this, Keiichi," I answered sharply.

Skuld was even blunter: "Mind your own business, mortal."

"That's what I was trying to do," said Keiichi to himself. He went into the kitchen where Belldandy was just finishing up. As always, his mood brightened when he saw her. "Bell-chan, have you ever tried talking to your sisters about their constant bickering?"

"Often," sighed Belldandy, "but it never seems to do any good. I fear they'll never stop."

"How long has this been going on?" Keiichi wondered.

"A very long time by human standards. Nothing I've done seems to help," replied Belldandy sadly.

Keiichi was getting desperate. He needed to study, he needed quiet, he couldn't get any peace at home, and leaving was not an option. "I guess I have no choice then, I'll have to do something myself," Keiichi said, his voice tinged with reluctance.

"What can you do that I haven't been able to do?" asked Belldandy. She didn't think a mortal could accomplish something that a First Class Goddess couldn't do.

He replied with a determined voice and shy smile, "Follow me and see."

Keiichi walked into the living room. Ignoring all three goddesses, he moved around quietly as if searching for something unseen. Satisfied, he stopped and stood still while he calmed himself and gathered his thoughts, then he spread his legs apart slightly and raised his hands. A completely unexpected power and confidence seemed to flow from him as he intoned in a low, resonant voice:

FEUDING SISTERS SILENT BE
QUIET FOR ETERNITY

I felt a delicate, warm tickling sensation as his spell settled into place. It was suddenly very quiet inside the temple. The power Keiichi was radiating subsided to a low level.

I was way beyond being shocked. It was not only unprecedented, it was unthinkable that any mortal could cast a binding spell onto a goddess. Belldandy gaped with astonishment. Skuld was angry and indignant, but when she tried to protest nothing could be heard.

Belldandy broke the silence. "Keiichi!... What?... How?" Her voice trailed off in confusion.

"Patience, Bell-chan, I promise everything will be explained soon," Keiichi answered. Turning to Skuld and me he said, "Ladies, do I have your attention? You're now in what I call 'quiet mode.' You can't make any sounds while in quiet mode, nor can you cause any pain or damage. Don't try to remove my spell because it's booby-trapped and it'll bite anyone, other than myself, who tries to examine or remove it."

I was really upset and stamped my foot indignantly-but nothing was heard. I gathered my mana and threw a force bolt at Keiichi. Normally, he would have tried to evade the blast, but this time he held his ground. There was a silent flash, and Keiichi felt nothing. Skuld tried throwing one of her small bombs. Another harmless flash was seen, and a bit of odorless smoke that soon dissipated.

"They're hardly more than shadows!" exclaimed Belldandy. "Keiichi, that was an eternal spell. You can't leave them like this forever."

Keiichi smiled. "I've no intention of leaving them like this forever-though I admit the idea is tempting-but I want them to get a taste of what quiet mode is like." Addressing the silent goddesses he added, "Now listen carefully." Resuming his spell-casting stance and raising his power level again he chanted:

WHILE BOTH ON GOOD BEHAVIOR BE
SOUND AND VOICE RETURN TO THEE

Keiichi's power radiation faded away completely. The silence in the temple lessened a bit as the sound of our deep breathing became audible. I managed to say, "Keiichi, how could..." before suddenly falling silent as an angry Skuld tried to interrupt.

Realizing the predicament she was in, Skuld made a visible effort to calm herself. She stood ramrod straight and said in the politest tone of voice I had ever heard her use, "If you please, Sir, now I hate you very much indeed!"

"She catches on fast," thought Keiichi, and he answered, "Why Skuld-sama, is that how you thank me for getting Urd-sama off your case?" Keiichi addressed all the goddesses. "Now I know you've a lot of questions to ask, and I intend to answer them tonight, one at a time. Urd, your first question please?"

My first question was obvious. "Keiichi, what have you done? I've never heard of a spell like that before."

Keiichi explained patiently, "The first part contains anti-removal defenses, including the booby traps I mentioned earlier, and the basic quiet mode mechanism. The second part suspends quiet mode while both of you are well behaved. It also generates a gentle tingling when your behavior is close to, but not quite, deserving of quiet mode. This tingle will serve as a caution or warning. There are exceptions to the good behavior rule-you're allowed to fight demons, and to defend yourselves. Finally, the second spell disarms the booby traps for as long as it remains in place. Oh yes, you're now free to examine or try to remove my spells. I encourage you to try it because my spells now absorb a little energy from such efforts and will gradually grow stronger."

I gave a low whistle of appreciation. "That's the fanciest mandatory good behavior spell I ever heard of. Awesome!"

"No, it isn't," replied Keiichi. "A good behavior spell would be a lot simpler, but it would also be dangerous and ineffective. That's one of the first possibilities I rejected. On the surface you'd appear to act pleasantly, but deep down inside you'd be resentful and rebellious. You'd also be helpless if attacked. Tell me, has anyone tried casting a good behavior spell on a demon?"

"Several times," I said, "but the results have ranged from dismal to disastrous. Why do you say it's not a mandatory spell? It feels quite restrictive to me."

Keiichi looked serious. "Urd, you always have a choice. You can learn self-control or you can learn sign language, but it's entirely your decision"

I signed: I already know sign language. Goddesses know all mortal languages.

Keiichi continued, "Yes, this spell can be a burden, but how much of a burden it is depends on the person who's inside it. Someone who's naturally inclined to be nice would hardly feel it. I didn't intend it to be a curse or a prison, but rather a mentor-a companion who gently but firmly encourages you to be more considerate of others. As time goes on you'll learn new habits and attitudes, and become nicer people organically, voluntarily, and at your own pace. If you resist the process you'll only make it harder on yourself, but if you go with the flow and act more civilized the spell, while no weaker, will have less and less effect until you hardly notice it at all."

Skuld broke in with, "Why should I have to go into quiet mode when Urd misbehaves? I shouldn't have to be punished for her actions."

"Skuld, without that clause you two might develop the habit of prodding each other into loosing your tempers. With the 'both' clause active you and Urd are motivated to comfort and support each other lest one of you fly off the handle and land you both in quiet mode. Keep that up for a couple of years and you may discover that you actually like each other, and it'll be perfectly natural because you're both likable people. The two of you will finally have something in common, even if it's only my spell."

I asked, "Keiichi, how's 'good behavior' defined? It's open to interpretation."

"You define it," was his surprising answer. "You're both goddesses, and I expect you to know the difference between right and wrong. Unfortunately, you don't seem to listen to that inner wisdom. I can't impose my own standards on goddesses; that would be inappropriate."

"So now I have a conscience with a big stick," I responded, sulking.

"I wouldn't have chosen that phrase, but that's a good description." Keiichi turned to Belldandy. "Bell-chan, do you have a question?"

Belldandy asked, "Keiichi, how could you cast such a complicated spell? You've no magical power or training that I know of."

"I could do it because I have no magic, and grew up in a world where magic was rarely encountered."

There was an incredulous chorus of "No way!" "What?" "Huh?" from the goddesses.

Keiichi continued, "You all grew up filled with magic, living in places full of magic, and so you got used to it long ago. This temple contains a fair amount of second-hand, left over magic because you three have been living here for years. Every time you use magic, a little more residual magic accumulates. It's mostly Urd's energy because she has plenty of mana but less precise control. You goddesses notice it as much a fish notices the water it swims in. But I, raised in the absence of magic, could feel it. I knew there was something special here, and it was easy to figure out what it was. For nearly three years Skuld, Urd and Belldandy have been giving daily demonstrations in the use of magic at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels. Is it surprising that I learned some principles of spell casting by watching you three? Even being possessed by the Lord of Terror was an educational, if frightening, experience.

"Once I knew that I was sensing magic, I found I could manipulate it. I secretly practiced improving my control. I approached learning magic the way any engineer would: first I tried to understand the underlying principles by which it worked, then I used those principles to design an optimum solution to a problem. Eventually I learned to accumulate mana and store it. In the beginning I didn't mention it because I was embarrassed at how elementary my achievements were compared to your own. Later I realized that it might be to my advantage to keep this knowledge to myself for a while. I practiced and refined my technique using intentionally small exercises-things like levitating a pencil or turning a rosebud blue."

"That blue rose was your work?" asked Belldandy, "I thought it was Urd's doing."

"And I thought it was yours, Bell," I responded.

Keiichi smiled. "It was almost Urd's doing. That spell, like tonight's, used mostly her left over mana."

"Hoist by my own petard," I thought.

Belldandy realized that Keiichi had always had an unusual aptitude for magic. They had first met years ago, as children, because Keiichi had been able to see a mystic light that mortals weren't supposed to be able to see. Later, after she had been ordered to erase his memories of the encounter, he had broken through the amnesia spell to remember the promise he had made to her. He had conquered that spell without even knowing it was there! Belldandy glanced down at the ring with the purple gem that he had bought for her on that occasion.

Turning to the youngest goddess, Keiichi asked, "Your question, Skuld?" Skuld was still sulking-she glowered at him and didn't answer.

Keiichi's voice became gentle. "Skuld-sama you deserve an answer too, even if you haven't asked a question. You've often professed your dislike of me, and I honor the true expression of your feelings. Yet, I can't accept your rejection as permanent. You see me as a rival for Belldandy's affection. Nothing could be further from the truth-I couldn't diminish Belldandy's love for you even if I wanted to. On the contrary, I offer you my affection in addition to, not in place of, her own. I know you're going through an emotionally difficult phase of life-my own adolescence is still fresh in my memory. However, in time you'll mature and your attitudes and feelings will change. Skuld, I promise you that I'll wait for you, however long it takes, because I want-no I need-to be your friend."

"A gentle answer turneth away wrath," I murmured, then speaking louder, "Keiichi, are you aware that goddesses live on a time scale much different from humans? It could be many times your lifespan before Skuld comes around. You may not be able to keep that promise."

Keiichi was unfazed. "Fortunately, we have an authority right here whom we can consult," he answered. Returning to Skuld he asked, "Skuld, Goddess of the Future, can you see the future and foretell what might happen?"

"Of course I can, but I don't like to," replied Skuld, still sulking. "There are many possible futures, each with its own probability of happening. Even if I see something as probable there's no certainty to be had, and for many questions it's actually better not to know the answer."

Keiichi sounded determined. "Then without mentioning any time or date, just give a yes or no answer-are you able to look into the future and tell when I'm likely to die?"

Skuld verged on anger. "Keiichi, I just told you that I can, but that I don't like to. Especially not for a question like that one!"

Keiichi pressed on. "You indicated that you can do it in general, but haven't tried in my particular case. I'm asking you to actually try it and give me that yes or no answer."

"I don't see why your 'particular case' should be any different," said Skuld resentfully. She reluctantly calmed herself, closed her eyes, and began scanning the myriad futures. After a short while her calm appearance faded, and she looked surprised and flustered. Opening her eyes, she said, "Keiichi, please give me your hands. I seem to be having difficulty."

I was astonished. Skuld had never before admitted having "difficulty" in her own domain.

Skuld took each of Keiichi's hands in one of her own and resumed scanning. A long minute passed. Skuld became visibly agitated. Opening her eyes again, she cried, "Masaka! (Impossible/Can't be!) No matter how far I look, no matter how improbable the future, he's alive! Keiichi-sama, you're immortal!"

Keiichi only nodded, while Belldandy and I facefaulted.

Belldandy was the first to recover. With tears of joy in her eyes she rushed over and embraced Keiichi, nearly knocking him off balance. "Oh Kei-chan, that's wonderful! Now you've granted my wish! Two of my wishes, if your spell works. I couldn't be any happier."

He hugged her and answered tenderly, "Bell-chan, I'd have been delighted to spend the rest of my normal life with you. To be together for eternity is more than this former mortal deserves."

I looked at the happy couple and smiled. "My, you're full of surprises tonight. I'm glad too-I know from personal experience how short the life of a mortal lover can seem to a goddess. I've tried to hurry you two along because I was sure you were wasting valuable time. But how is this possible? Is this more of your magic, Keiichi?"

"Not magic, but something even better. The Ultimate Force is responsible for my longevity," he answered. There was another incredulous chorus of exclamations from the goddesses. Turning to Belldandy, he asked, "Bell-chan, do you remember the exact wording of my wish?"

"How could I ever forget?" she replied. Speaking in Keiichi's voice she quoted, "I wish for a girl like you to be with me forever." Her eyes opened wide. Resuming her own voice, she continued, "Oh my!... forever... it was right there all along... why didn't I realize? Kei-chan, you knew and you didn't tell me!"

Keiichi thought to himself, "The Ultimate force is protecting you too, Belldandy. Any demon that tries to harm you will have to get past it, and that's not easy." Aloud: "Belldandy, I suspected it, but I wasn't certain until just now. I couldn't mention something so important to you unless I was sure, or you might be greatly disappointed afterwards. You must understand that."

Skuld nodded and realized that must be why he had pressed her with his question.

Keiichi continued, "Bell-chan, immortality may be wonderful for us, but for me it's not without cost."

She looked puzzled. "Cost? What kind of cost?"

Keiichi replied, "You goddesses have been immortal all your lives. How would you feel if you suddenly discovered that you were guaranteed to die sometime in the next 80 years?"

I felt shocked and disconcerted, and I could see that my sisters did too. Belldandy said, "I think I see what you mean-a lot of assumptions and plans would have to be reconsidered. It would change everything! We'd need a whole new way of looking at life and the world."

"My situation is a lot happier than that, but the changes and adjustments I have to make are just as profound. All my mortal friends and family are going to die sooner or later. How many funerals must I attend before I become wary of making new friends among mortals?"

Belldandy responded, "Kei-chan, we get to attend many funerals too, but it doesn't stop us from making mortal friends. We do become selective though."

"I realize that, but there's more," said Keiichi, "After a few decades my friends will wonder why I don't grow older. Eventually, envy or incomprehension may drive them away. In our increasingly documented and computerized society, a young man with a two-hundred-year-old birth certificate will raise a lot of eyebrows. Possibly some scientists will try to confine me in a laboratory to be studied. In a thousand years human culture may change so much that I can no longer fit in."

Skuld looked thoughtful. "It could happen," she confirmed.

"My brain isn't designed to hold millions of years of memories-Belldandy, what will become of me when my memory becomes saturated? You goddesses have responsibilities in Heaven. Either Heaven will have to open a branch office on the mortal plane, or more likely, you'll have to return there some day. If I go to Heaven with you the other deities may look down on me because I'm not a god, and respect is important to a guy like me. I have neither the desire nor the temperament to befriend any demons. Who will my friends be?"

"Oh my! You've been doing some heavy thinking, Keiichi. Do you regret becoming immortal?" asked Belldandy.

"Of course not," Keiichi replied, "With you and the Ultimate Force taking care of me nothing really bad can ever happen to me. I'm just pointing out that I've many adjustments to make, and no guidelines." He paused. "Where are my role models, my peer group, or my culture? Are there any other former mortals around? Probably not. Neither the rules for gods nor the rules for mortals might properly apply to me. At my age the question 'Who am I?' is very important. I have to discover my strengths and weaknesses, choose a career, and try to plan my life. Now I'll have to reinvent myself by myself, with no precedent, but at least I'll have decades in which to do it."

Skuld nodded. "I understand now. You think we're the only friends you could count on forever, and two of us haven't been the best of companions. No wonder you took such a drastic action-you felt you had no choice. But what gave you the courage to cast a spell on two goddesses? That would be audacious even for a god."

"Skuld, you're getting in one hour what has taken me years to work out. What I did tonight wasn't spontaneous; it was the result of months of planning, refining, rehearsing, and perfecting. I had to make sure that I'd chosen the best solution, one that harms no one and benefits all. I knew I'd have only one opportunity, so I had to be sure it was the best I could do."

"Why do you think you'll get only one opportunity?" asked Belldandy.

"Bell-chan, if your sisters stop fighting my supply of residual mana will be greatly diminished. This might be my last magic spell ever."

It wasclear that Beldandy wanted more details.

Keiichi continued,"There were several things that gave me the confidence to proceed. I had the element of surprise, of course. My spell was designed to make it hard to remove or deflect-the booby traps went on first and disarming them went in last. Skuld and Urd trust me; they know I wouldn't and couldn't harm them. Finally, and most importantly, they wanted me to do it."

I was astonished. "That's ridiculous."

Skuld was disdainful. "You think I wanted to be spellbound? That's crazy."

Keiichi was unfazed. "It's not crazy. Consider that you've been fighting for so long that it's lost its novelty and entertainment value long ago. Now your pointless conflicts are the result of habit, maybe even addiction. The prospect of centuries more of the same can't be very attractive, but neither of you could figure out a face saving way to stop it. When I began spell casting it was obvious that I was trying to end the fighting. I was trying to do for you what you couldn't do for yourselves. Notice how quickly you've both calmed down and accepted the situation. Of course you wanted me to succeed."

I thought about it for a minute. "Keiichi, are you sure you're not a mind reader? I had shielded those ideas even from myself."

Skuld interjected, "Keiichi-sama can't read... Oh, that tingles!" Everyone looked at her. Skuld looked abashed. Ignoring the continuing tingling, she explained, "Well, in some of the possible futures he becomes telepathic, so he obviously isn't yet. It would be better if I didn't reveal things like that. I'm sorry."

I continued, "Keiichi, we all have adjustments to make. You're not alone. Skuld and I have to change our behavior and attitudes. We're all going to have new relationships with each other." I smiled at my middle sister. "Only Belldandy gets off relatively easy."

Belldandy smiled. "Yes, but our new relationships are going to be better and stronger than our old ones. I expect we'll all be quite pleased with the changes we must make."

Belldandy approached me and began to examine Keiichi's spell. After a moment she exclaimed, "Urd, look at this! Not only are these two of the most intricate spells I've ever seen, but they interlock perfectly seamlessly. I can't tell where one begins and the other ends. There are no gaps or voids. Keiichi-sama, how did you do that?"

He smiled and answered, "Bell-chan, I needed a seamless fit to ensure complete neutralization. I didn't want bits of quiet mode or the booby traps leaking out, so I developed a seamless method of casting. It's not really two spells, there's only one spell-but it's designed to let me pause in mid cast and continue later. My spell is stable half-cast, at least for a while."

"I didn't know that was possible!" Belldandy exclaimed.

"I didn't know that it wasn't," he replied with just a trace of pride in his voice.

Belldandy was amused and impressed. "To think that I, a First Class Goddess, am learning magical technique from a self-taught novice. Keiichi-sama, you astonish me!"

I began to examine the new spell closely, following Belldandy's suggestion. "Oh it's beautiful!" I exclaimed. "When you look at it closely it sparkles like a diamond. Keiichi-sama, you've taken discarded scraps of stale energy and created a jewel. I just might wear it as a necklace..." I realized that I was babbling, and I stopped.

"Urd, when casting a spell it takes more than gesture, incantation, and mana. You need a clear intention about the type of spell being cast and, ideally, the desired consequences. Because you're so impulsive, you tend to cast before your intentions are clear and so your spells lack precision. My intention was quite clear because of the time I'd taken to refine and rehearse my spell and remove all doubts. That clarity is manifested in my spell. I think the sparkling that you mentioned is caused by the combination of the transparency of the spell and its internal complexity. However, I'd expect it to look more like an opal than like a diamond."

"So that's why I'm still only a Second Class Goddess-I'm too impulsive," I realized. I resolved to try to improve my self-control.

It wasn't easy.
Skuld said, "Keiichi-sama, you don't have to worry about the other deities respecting you. You may have the opposite problem. This spell will be covered in every future class in advanced magic. Sooner or later the whole pantheon will be coming by to examine it, and each examination will make it a little bit stronger." She continued softly, "You've even earned my respect tonight."

Keiichi noticed a pattern emerging. "Skuld, you've started to honor me with 'sama.' You're the goddess, not I. Shouldn't it be the other way around?"

Skuld's eyes were sparkling. She answered, "Keiichi-sama, I've seen more of your futures than I ever wanted to see. Now I feel I must use honorifics when addressing you. If 'sama' doesn't please you, would you prefer 'sensei?'"

Keiichi was startled. "Teacher? Me?"

When I heard this I began to put two and two together, and I arrived at a very large value of four. "Skuld dear, exactly who will be teaching those classes in advanced magic that you mentioned? We've never had any such classes before."

Skuld nodded in Keiichi's direction. "Who else? We've never had a teacher with his qualifications before."

Keiichi was flabbergasted. "I can't teach the gods magic," he protested, "That would be like teaching birds how to fly."

"I'm sure you could do that too, Keiichi-sensei. You have a prodigious talent!" answered Skuld solemnly.

Keiichi swallowed, with some difficulty. He looked nervous.

I had to revise my opinion of Keiichi upwards again. I was secretly pleased that Skuld and I had managed to turn his world upside-down-after all, he had just turned our world topsy-turvy. Things were rapidly getting curiouser and curiouser.

Belldandy observed, "Keiichi, of course you can teach us magic. In fact, you've already done it. Consider what you recently said to Urd and me-weren't those remarks instructive? Didn't we learn from them? You even described your spell as a mentor, a teacher, rather than a compulsion. It shows in everything you do."

Keiichi was briefly silent while he considered this, then he said, "It would be better if we all refrained from honorifics while there was any chance that someone could hear us. It might raise questions that I'd rather not have to answer." We goddesses agreed with this suggestion.

Keiichi looked closely at Skuld. He approached her and said "Skuld, I sense that you're distressed. Is it possible that you're afraid of me?"

Skuld quickly exhibited a variety of emotions as she tried to clarify her feelings and compose an answer. "No, Keiichi, I don't think I can be afraid of you. You're too good to ever hurt me, so there's no need for fear," she replied. Her eyes began to fill with tears. "I'm overwhelmed by awe and remorse. I've treated you so badly that now I don't feel worthy of even being in the same room with you. I can't understand why you'd want me to be your friend, and I don't know what to do, or how to make amends. I almost want to grovel at your feet and beg forgiveness."

Keiichi hugged her and answered kindly, "Let this be a lesson for you, Skuld-if you don't misbehave today, you won't have any regrets tomorrow... Oh, here I go again, slipping into sensei mode without even realizing it."

A slight smile appeared on Skuld's lips. "I can't ever misbehave again, Keiichi, your spell won't let me. Are you telling me that I'll never have any more regrets?"

"Could be," he answered, pleased at seeing her mood lighten. "Skuld, I'm the same Morisato Keiichi that I was yesterday, only your perception of me has changed. I don't want you looking up to me in the future any more than I wanted you looking down on me in the past. There's no need to make amends, or to apologize, because I've already forgiven you. Let bygones be bygones-the past is Urd's domain not yours-and let the two of us forge a new future starting right now. I was sincere when I said I wanted to be your friend. Can you find it in your heart now, or must I still wait?"

A radiant expression appeared on Skuld's tear-streaked face. "Oh yes, Keiichi, I'd be proud to be your friend. Thank you so much." They embraced, and Keiichi held her gently while she allowed her tears to flow.

Belldandy beamed. "What a touching reconciliation!" she said, and then to herself thought, "That's three of my wishes he's granted in one night. Will wonders never cease?"

I was really impressed with the night's events. "There's a lot more to him than meets the eye," I said, "Good catch, Belldandy." To Keiichi, I added, "Young man, you're batting a thousand tonight. If you keep this up I may want you for myself."

Keiichi replied shyly, "Urd-chan, I'm sure I've time enough to fit you into my schedule, but if you want to be more than just good friends you'll need Belldandy's consent first." While three startled goddesses considered the implications of that remark, Keiichi had the last word. "And now if you ladies will excuse me, I still have some studying to do tonight."


Authors Note: C & C welcome at 'mbreslau at '. Be gentle, it's my first time writing any kind of fiction (really).

This tale came to me in its entirety in a single flash of inspiration one sleepless night. Then it wouldn't let go of me until I had written it down. I had no choice in the matter...

When I saw the first volume of the OMG Anime I noted the wording of Keiichi's wish, and realized immediately that it implied immortality. If I've portrayed Keiichi as more confident or more cerebral than he usually appears, Skuld's explanation covers it.

All my prereaders have remarked that the wording of Keiichi's spell shows that I've been a parent. It's true. I've even been a grandparent, and it's a rewarding experience. For the record, I wasn't consciously thinking of my child raising experiences when I wrote this story.

I'd like to acknowledge the following fanfic authors, whose work has entertained and inspired me: Ed Sharpe for "No Mere Mortal," Brett Handy for "Oh My God!" Sean Gaffney for "Proposal/Wedding/Honeymoon," and Fred Herriot for "A Remarkable Destiny." The title of this story was inspired by the tile of Keith Dawe's "Skuld's Magic Trick."

M.B. 2/27/98, revised 7/4/15