Understanding, a Megalomania fic.
Canon Passicalia held a list in her hand, filled with an assortment of items.
"Flour, oil, milk, bread, rice..." She wanted to make sure she got everything. Her head turned.
The eyes of the half-blood looked down the aisles and rows. She was in an unusual place for her.
A market. It was near a nicer area in the middle class part of town.
She was not used to shopping for food for another, but figured she had to since it was, of all things, her responsibility for the departments new guest, Merri, an Ajin. Rebecca and Bachenbell were busy, both on their own little cases and work. With no food in the department, she had to be the one to feed Merri. Inspector Taylor let her go provided she get him a package of donuts and coffee.
Now Merri was fairly easy to shop for, but there was a catch: fresh food only. You see, her partner and commander Johann Bachenbell had a foolish habit of buying out of season produce and products. She could tolerate it after a while, but for the good of our little Ajin, she could never trust the former agent of Special First Branch of the Metropolitan Police Force.
He had transferred to the Second Branch where he met her. They worked together well, and found they could relate. However there was one thing that ground a gigantic wedge between them...
Bachenbell is cheap. Very, very cheap.
He has no sense of taste, buying weird toys with his money. The whistle, while useful for what it did for them during the robbery, was one of the few things he bought that was not complete and total junk.
Bachenbell is also the type to feel sorry for the business owners in the slums. He could not stop himself from trying to support the businesses there, buying their food and products, hence a charitable fool. Much of the free money he earns goes to an orphanage, one he had come from.
At least he's a good person. A smile curled her wind chapped lips.
Her smile degraded with the next thought.
But that doesn't excuse the stupid ways he tries to save money. And if he'd STOP PULLING MY HAIR...
Case in point: The Great Chicken fiasco. Against the wisdom of greater minds, somehow one slipped into his hands in trade for a low price. He split it up and attempted to served Canon and Merri some of the bird. The three of them dug in.
Following this was the typical: vomiting and wretching, trying to empty their stomachs, even when there was nothing in them. Over and over again, followed by chills and a fever of 103°F. A bit worse than the watermelon incident, but really, discounts were not worth food poisoning. Bachenbell was not affected, but the constitutions of Canon and Merri were not hardy enough to take what he usually gets.
Never again, she thought, shuddering, "Ugh...still have that taste on my tongue."
This market was closer to the nicer part of town. This meant the food was fresher, and no more food poisoning. It also meant that Ajin were fewer and farther between. In an area like this, there was a higher chance that she would be attacked for being who she was.
She let this thought pass and filled her basket. She was swift and efficient, nabbing all the deals she could see with her eyes.
Eggs, butter, Ham, Cheese, mayo, Coffee. I can stick that stuff in the shared fridge. What did Taylor ask for? Oh yeah...And Canon found his donuts, sitting on the 2nd shelf, 3rd aisle.
She watched for the store brands. She couldn't afford much.
Budget products were everywhere in this place. One could wonder...
The slum dwellers paid more for worse things. Her pay was seriously drained by having usually eaten out. This left her thoughts veering towards larger considerations, the fact she had no savings, no real property of her own.
I can't afford to retire, hell I'm broke. Many people have less then me. The kids in the orphanage have nothing. If I got sick...
Could I survive?
But she justified it, with another idea,
I'm young. I won't have a problem.
And that tangent left her as she continued to walk through the aisles.
She left with her goods down the snow-blazed street, passing people with their own concerns and diversions. Most were human, save the few that looked to be Ajin themselves. As she walked, her eyes saw that a few of the humans were watching the Ajin with suspicion and a dose of contempt, while many of the Ajin carried with them fear and resentment.
The same emotions, from different angles. Both braved the cold of the snow just the same.
She could spot people who didn't carry anything on their faces. A few were even happy, probably thinking of loved ones and funny jokes, things they would receive or events.
At least some people have good priorities.
As a breeze overtook her, Canon thought with disappointment, I need bus tokens.
Her feet continued to take her toward the police station where her office was. Officers of the Metropolitan Police Force, Special Second Branch were usually expected to do the dirtiest jobs in the city, dealing directly with the Ajin who lived in the slums.
They usually handled all the petty crimes that Ajin would commit. Unlike the 1st branch, who were known for their zero-tolerance ways with the Ajin and fighting terrorism, the 2nd branch were for all intents and purposes, the one meaningful force that actually did something for the safety and welfare of Ajin. Much of the things that it used to do, including most investigations and such, were removed from its charter, changing the directive to be financially more viable an agency, at least, according to Inspector Taylor.
In other words, and in the thoughts of Canon, The Departments cheap too.
"Huhh..." she sighed. She was still somewhat of a distance from the 8th station.
She walked past a park, filled with snow, and heard a yell, "AHH!"
she looked in. Whats that?
Two children, a taller human and a shorter one, were harrasing and mocking a young Ajin. The half-blood could hear the obscenities from their mouths...
They stung her deep inside.
"Ajin TRASH!" From the taller one.
"Mutant filth!" From the shorter.
"Go eat the dirt!"
The larger child knocked the Ajin to the ground. Together, the two started kicking.
The two children turned to Canon, "Huh?"
"I am officer Canon Passicalia of the MPF Special 2nd Branch. You kids will stop!"
The larger one started on his feet, "Quick! Run from the bitch!"
While that child ran from the half-blood officer, the shorter one tripped on his feet.
Canon had the stuff in her hands and knew she could not chase the other boy. She set down her goods and walked up to the shorter kid. He was a sandy haired boy, not old enough to be a teen, but old enough to probably understand some things. He looked as if he would panic.
"What did you think you were doing?" She yelled exasperated.
The boy looked up at her. He was expressionless, with absolutely no message in his face to tell what was inside his mind.
Then he surprised her.
What in all that's holy?...
While the boy continued to sob, the policewoman slowly turned to the other child, the Ajin who had been kicked and yelled at. She was bruised. Canon put her arms around her to check if she was O.K. Her eyes looked over the Ajin who made it into her arms.
She appeared to be fine, but Canon could see the child's eyes. They betrayed the feelings within the girl, the anger, the sadness.
Much like how she once was.
What to do...hey.
That's a good idea.
The sad Ajin turned her face up in surprise."
"Whats your name?"
The girl did not speak. She looked unsure, maybe thinking of Canon as a stranger.
"Come on, you have a name right?"
The girl said nothing.
Canon turned to the boy. He had stopped sobbing.
"Whats your name?"
The boy held that same face. He looked away and then turned back, "Frankie."
"O.K. Frankie, I want you to apologize to this girl."
The two children's eyes opened wide.
The boy stood there still. Canon asks, "Do you know what you did?"
"We...we were walking. My friend spotted her first. He walked up to her and asked if she was Ajin...She said yes, and my friend started yelling, and I thought it was a good idea to yell too."
"Because, we like making girls cry."
Canon thought for a second. Hmm...
That makes sense.
"You're lying, right?"
The boys eyes opened wider.
"You knew that she was Ajin. If she was not, would you have joined in?"
The boy stayed silent and staring. Canon turned away to look at the girl.
The Ajin was starting to bruise, but fortunately, she was not bleeding.
We don't need anymore bloodshed these days.
The Ajin girls face looked away. She was troubled.
Canon knew she had to reach out to her.
"Do you want to tell me your name?"
The girl looked at her with a curious expression. A bit lighter in heart than Merri.
"I...I'm..I'm Sophie. Sophie Carlson."
"Good. Thanks for telling me."
Canon turned to the boy, "Well you didn't answer me before, do you have an answer?"
The boy was quick, "Yes."
He paused, then spoke.
"We don't like them. They look weird. They sound weird. They smell weird. They're weird."
"Whats wrong with being weird?" Canon said with no weight to her words.
Ironically, that line caught the boy off-guard. He went though several expressions, like stumbling through one thought after another.
They were silent themselves, and only the ambient noises of a city surrounded them.
"Could I ask you one thing?" Canons words were slightly pleading.
The boy said nothing, but his attention was held firmly. He nodded.
"Can you apologize to Sophie? And say her name?"
The boy hesitated, eyes looking down, then to the left, then he nodded.
The boy walked closer, to the girl in Canon's arms.
His mouth opened, a little breath sneaking out.
The three of them sat for a full 5 seconds before a single sentence was said.
"I forgive you, Frankie." The Ajin girl returned, looking Frankie in the eye.
The policewoman was genuinely shocked, not expecting this. Then she smiled.
She lifted the girl to her feet and turned to the boy again, "Now, do you promise never to hurt any Ajin again?"
"Yes," another quick answer from the boy.
"You sure? You lied once already, I need to know, will you?"
The boy nodded with eyes transfixed. His eyes did not turn away.
Good. He understands.
Canon looked at the two of them, "Well, how about this...Could you do something for me Frankie? I want you to take Sophie home."
The two kids were shocked.
This bugged Canon, "Aw, come on. How bout you do this for me? I know you don't like each other, but you should try to get along."
The two children looked at each other. Then the boy turned, "O.K."
"Good! Now I want you to remain nice to each other."
Frankie reached his arm out, walked toward Sophie, who eased back tensely. She was surprised by the sensation of pressure on her shoulder.
Canon had laid her hand there. She was smiling. "Go on."
Frankie continued to outstretch his hand. Sophie took her hand into his.
"Where do you live?"
"O.K. I live near there. Lets go."
The boy took her hand firmly and they walked away, Frankie smiling, and Sophie captivated. Canon was happy. She had done a good thing today.
Maybe, things will be easier now, and they learned a good lesson.
And shortly thereafter, Canon's thought disintegrated into narcissistic self-praise.
I'm so cool and awesome, I bet I could top Rebecca now.
She continued to enjoy her state of mind, all the way to the station.
That's where she realized her coolness was a mistake, for you see...
The groceries are still sitting in the park.
The agents were together, Johann, Rebecca, and Taylor, who had each come back from their respective duties. Canon had explained what happened.
Johann was bemused, "So you're telling me that when you saw that the boy didn't think of her as human, you asked for their names and tried to get them to call each other by them?"
"Yup, Its a trick of psychology, people are less likely to hurt each other and will care more for another if they identify with them." Canon smiled, somewhat approving of herself.
Rebecca was amused, "Huh, that is pretty awesome...I never figured you as that smart before, Canon."
And her smile disappeared. Strike a nerve, Rebecca.
Johann thought for a moment, "Hey...Isn't that a trick that people use to stop an animal from being slaughtered?
That is when Canon unleashed her demon fury on him.
Merri was hungry, and it was too late in the evening to go back and get food. Canon whipped up the one thing she could find, an old noodles package.
Merri, being her usual self, refused to eat. "No."
"Hey, I made this for you, you better accept it."
Merri pushed her bowl away.
A sharp yank brought Canon backwards. She knew who it was, pulling her ponytail.
"Dammit, Bachenbell-Sir! Stop that!"
"Someones in the lobby for you."
As he let go, she walked down the corridor to the main entrance.
There were two kids, the ones from earlier. Frankie held something in his hands.
She took the bag from Frankie hands. "Aw, thank god!" She looked over the two kids. "Why'd you take her here?"
Frankie spoke up, "When we reached her street, Sophie asked to go back to check something. We returned and found your stuff."
Sophie chimed in, "We had to walk all the way here."
"You walked here? In this cold?" Puzzled Canon in this moment.
She looked more sure, and put down her bag. She patted them on the head.
"Well, at least you kids are safe. Here." She took from her left breast pocket two tokens, "Catch the line back home. It should be the Six."
Frankie and Sophie thanked her. The human boy reached out freely to the Ajin girls hand, and she openly returned a smile. They turned and left, waving good bye to Canon. Her heart rose in levity, a feeling of genuine accomplishment, Something truly good happened today. Canon would remember this.
She suddenly realized the mistakes she made, forgetting the bus tokens to get back and then get home were on her the whole time.
Embarrassment washed over her.
Damn it, now I gotta walk home.
And she turned around, knowing that brat was still hungry.
Damn it all to hell.
And she forgot the good thing that happened today.
Note: Megalomania won the 8th Square Enix Manga Special Award. I can see just why, what with its exceptional story, and I felt that it deserved its own fanfic. Canon reminds me of Kyonko from the Haruhi GB's or Seras from Hellsing, and Bachenbel is a bit like Batou of Ghost In The Shell, some of the reasons I made this fic.
Disclaimer: This Franchise is owned by Hiyama Daisuke. If he didn't want it, I'd buy it.
Ajin: A member of a race of creatures who are part-human. Created long ago during a stronger, more advanced civilization, they were slaves until a war in the last century that freed them. They continued to have limited rights and face discrimination to the present. Their forms can resemble barn animals, insects and robots all the way to mythical creatures and demons. Canon is a halfblood whose father was an Ajin. The MPF 2nd Branch handles Ajin crime in the slums where the majority of them live.
A Dramatis Personae (Yes, I know it should be at top.)
Canon Passicalia: Half-Human, Half-Ajin policewoman. Very righteous if a bit silly.
Taylor Coolridge: chief of 8th police box, inspector. Appears to have been burned in an incident.
Chief Officer Johann Bachenbell: Canons partner. Has a shady past with the MPF Special 1st Branch as an elite agent.
Officer Rebecca: Agent for the department. Tracks drug dealers.
Merri Widow: Izuna Ajin, living at the station, almost sold into slavery like her sister, saved by Canon.
Writing note: Canons last name could have been put as Passicalia or even Passicagilia as I read somewhere; I felt Pascalia was more natural, but chose to go with how it was written. Bachenbell can be called Pachelbel, though again, more of the same.
Now since this is the first Megalomania fic on this site, I do not expect a review anytime soon, but if you've read this, I hope you do review.