Disclaimer: If you have a valid claim to something in this story, the author(s) of this story do(es) not contest it... The point of this story is solely for entertainment. If it's being sold somewhere and this message is still in place, you're being ripped off and we both have a bone to pick with the one responsible.

Encounters at the Point of Recurrence

A/N: This isn't meant to be taken seriously, btw.

One: .hack/ROOTS

Anima the Eater of Dreams, Defiler of Time and Space, Mistress of the Gear of Fate, and Witch of the Void... was bored. Very bored.

As any savy reader would guess – when a being with that many titles is bored, bad things tend to happen.

I could tell you now... or I could show you, and maybe we can laugh about it...

Anima sat upon a conjured throne, hovering in front of the massive five spoked gear that was her primary tool... and primary leash. "They're late." She muttered, agitatedly blowing a puff of air into empty space. "By now they've usually fought their way through the tower. They're late." She opened her eyes, gold orbs glowering at the various floating debris – a chessboard, table, chair, even a stuffed doll – before settling on the mirror-like floor below. "Mina, I'm bored!" She whined, and the mirror shimmered mockingly. "Don't give me that! They're usually here by now and they're late!" The mirror shimmered several times in quick succession. "Don't you laugh at me!" Another brief flash. "No! I do NOT enjoy them trying to kill me!"

When the mirror shined again... it found itself being impaled by a barrage of obsidian spears surrounded by a sickly black aura.

When the spears were forcibly ejected, and the mirror's surface was unscathed, Anima jumped to the ground and kicked it. It was a futile, childish gesture... but she wouldn't tolerate being mocked by the little slip of a being hiding in the mirror-world. When she stubbed her toe and ended up cradling her foot in pain, Anima was just about ready to use the Gear and force the damn mirror open so she could avenge herself... when she was interrupted by a series of golden rings appearing beside her. Curious, Anima healed her foot by reversing time and teleported back to her throne, gazing down at the silhouette being formed.

"You're late!" She cried as soon as they were fully formed, "Props for the interesting entrance, but you're late!"

"Well excuse me," An unfamiliar, and decidedly male voice retorted, prompting Anima to blink as the rings vanished. Instead of the guests she was expecting, there was a young man with white hair and red eyes, covered in tattoos of the same color, garbed in a small black shirt with long pants, a pair of daggers at his sides.

"Hm, now what's this..." She asked curiously, as if she hadn't just shouted at him. Nonchalantly brushing some pitch black hair out of her eyes, the dark ascendant stared at the newcomer curiously, like a cat eying its prey... only for him to stand there, staring at her impetuously in return.

"..."

"Stop ignoring me you little whelp!" She roared, "I've been waiting upwards of five decades for my arch-enemies to show up again, and I get you instead! I thought I might not kill you (right now, anyway) but you sit there and pretend I don't exist! Who the hell are you?"

The man let out a sigh, "Damn it," he muttered, "Why does this crap keep happening to me?"

Anima's brow twitched. "Your name, mortal. What is your name, so I might know what to carve on your tombstone for being fool enough to enter my domain unattended."

"Right... and I'm so scared of a little girl sitting in a floating chair." He shot back... only to find himself surrounded by a plethora of sharp, pointy objects pointed at his throat. "...Haseo." He ground out, and the weapons vanished.

Anima floated to the ground, smiling pleasantly. "There now, was that so hard?"

Haseo blinked, confused. "You're not going to attack?"

"I could," The demonic child admitted, a wry grin on her face, "But then you'd either die or leave, and I'd have nothing to do while I wait for my would-be executioners to show up."

"..." Haseo wasn't quite sure what to say to that.

"Means I don't feel like killing you – be happy," Anima elaborated, using the Gear to conjure a table and some chairs. Bewildered, Haseo found himself sitting in one and incapable of standing up. "What's your favorite food? Your name sounds vaguely reminiscent of the Isles so... rice, fish, noodles? I can conjure anything."

"It doesn't matter – you can't taste anything while in the World." Haseo grunted out in response.

Anima rose a brow. "The World? You mean the Void? You can taste things here... the problem is acquiring the food... Void spawn aren't very nutritious, or tasteful, unfortunately."

Now Haseo was even more confused, "Void? Come on – I thought even AI would refer to the World properly. Are you damaged, somehow? There've been a lot of glitches recently..."

"Oh – I get it!" Anima suddenly exclaimed, clapping her hands, "That's what you call your home dimension, right? We're not there anymore, I assure you."

"Impossible," Haseo retorted, "This is my avatar. If we weren't in the world, I wouldn't be in this form."

Anima hummed, a small smile on her face as she took this information in, "You're speaking with the Defiler of Time and Space. It's well within my abilities to bend, if not break, the rules you're used to... by merely being present."

"So you're one of the hidden super-bosses, and you have a fancy title and a couple of personality quirks... still doesn't prove anything."

Anima chuckled genuinely, eyes slitted in mirth, "So what do I need to do to prove to you that I'm telling the truth?"

"Hm..." Haseo mused, looking at the chaotic storm of energy that made up this realm's sky, "I can't really think of anything that couldn't be explained by some sort of glitch in resonance..."

"Really?" The girl asked, smiling as a dagger appeared beside Haseo's arm, drawing blood without warning. As Haseo hissed in pain, Anima narrowed her eyes even further, "What about now? It hurts, right? I wonder how your blood tastes... you're certainly more interesting than any other mortal I've come across."

As Haseo clutched his wound, looking at Anima with wide eyes, a gray blur whizzed through her head... only for her to vanish and re-appear beside Haseo. "There are my guests. Time for you to go home then..."

As the rings returned, Haseo was suddenly returned to the square he had left. Bewildered, he looked down to his arm to realize there was a throbbing black scar where the blade had cut him.

I'll be keeping tabs on you, Haseo. Anima's voice echoed in his ear, You've drawn my interest, and there's little that can do that anymore, after all these centuries.