It was strange that the only thing she could think about as the elevator rose was the question of if her mother had read her will yet. She had posted it through her parent's letterbox only an hour or so ago before she had gone and caught the train to central Tokyo. She wondered if her parents had even bothered to read the letter... or if they had simply tossed it aside like they had with her - their delinquent daughter.
She had quite a while to think on the subject as the elevator took a long time to reach it's highest floor. Hardly surprising given it was located a good three hundred feet off the ground, half-way up the as yet incomplete Tokyo Sky Tower. She had chosen this place because it was prominent and being under construction meant that at this time of the day it was relatively abandoned. Admittedly she had needed to use every bit of her skill to sneak into the place to begin with but once inside she had been able to avoid most of the workers as they were clocking off for the evening.
Eventually the lift came to a stop and she was forced to walk the rest of the way up because the next lift was a construction one she couldn't work out how to use. The stairs would take her another three hundred or so feet up and were she a normal person she would have likely collapsed of exhaustion half-way.
But she wasn't normal - that was why she was here.
It didn't take her too long to reach the upper floors of the tower, not when she was capable of leaping up whole staircases in one jump. Even so she was panting heavily when she reached the top and the chained door which led out onto the sky high construction site that was building the tower ever higher. The chains and locks were pretty easy to get though and within moment she was standing outside on a vast ledge looking out over the city so far below.
Carefully she reached into a pocket and pulled out a pink cellphone. Staring out at the horizon she dialed a number and held the phone to her ear.
“Hello? Tokyo Police Force?” She said with a false cheer that simply did not match her dead-seeming eyes. “I'd like to report a suicide jumper. Yes, that's right. Uh-huh. Where?”
She sniffled slightly. “She's at the top of the Tokyo Sky Tower.”
The call finished she closed her phone and raised one arm to wipe at her eyes with her sleeve. Then she opened her phone again and dialed in a new number.
“Is this the Japanese News Network? I'd like to report a story in progress...”
* * * * * * * *
It wasn't long until she heard the helicopters approaching, a quick check of her cell told her it had taken almost fifteen minutes. She smirked darkly at that, had she been here for the reason she had called them then they would have come too late... but she needed them, needed the cameras the news helicopter carried.
It was hard to explain why she hadn't just gone through with things, why she was putting on the big production she had in mind... but in the end it came down to the fact that she needed to be seen, needed to let everyone know.
It was the only thing she could do now.
She stood up from where she had been sitting against a wall, face buried against her knees. Picking herself up she took a few unsteady steps towards the edge of the ledge and wiped at her eyes and face with a now terribly damp sleeve. She winced slightly as both helicopters let loose with floodlights to illuminate her and a good chunk of the building she stood on.
She tried hard not to cringe in fear - she remembered the last time she had been blinded by bright lights like this... it was not a pleasant memory.
The police helicopter was yelling something to her over a speaker but she ignored it in favor of glancing down at her cellphone, which she had already set to pick up the Japanese National News broadcast.
Though tiny it was easy to make out that what was on the screen was a live feed from the news camera.
The future, one way or another, was here.
* * * * * * * *
It was broadcast upon television sets all over the country watched by hundreds, thousands, millions of people.
Just as she had wanted.
She stepped forward, putting the edge of the ledge and the horrifyingly long drop beyond it literally an inch from her feet. The height didn't scare her as she had enough things she feared already, rather it represented an end to her fears - one way or another.
She twitched her fingers in preparation of her next move.
All around the country people watched as a young seeming girl stood above a lethal drop. They took in the way her long black hair and baggy casual clothing whipped about in the high winds caused by the two helicopters hovering nearby.
They watched as she took a deep breath.
“My name,” she yelled out, far louder than should have been possible, “Is Yamaguchi Akiko!”
Reaching out in front of her with one hand the girl, Akiko, concentrated for a brief moment. Almost immediately points of light seemed to spark up all around the girl where they hung for a moment before being drawn towards her outstretched hand. There they seemed to join together and mix into a shining mass which stretched itself into a thin shape before suddenly bursting outwards and fading into nothingness. What remained was a short silvery metal staff topped with what looked from a distance like a simple golden egg but up close appeared like a set of golden petals curled protectively around something.
“And I am a magical girl!”
Closing her eyes Akiko threw the staff-holding arm out to one side and, muttering under her breath, slowly swung her arm up and around to scribe a circle in the air with the end of it... As she did so her staff left a shining trail of light purple sparkles that was dense enough to appear as a solid line from a distance. Once the circle was complete the drew back her hand and staff before reaching out again and gently tapping the staff against what had previously been the empty air within the circle.
Only now it wasn't empty air anymore, instead it was a thick mass of purple lines and script packed so tightly together that it seemed like an almost solid wall of color. Pulling back once again the girl spared a moment to wipe at her eyes with her free hand... then viciously stabbed the end of her staff through the center of the circle - it stretched outwards as if made of rubber before the staff pierced through it.
The gold petals opened, a shining jewel revealed from within them that pulsed with light before letting out a bright flash which prompted the purple circle to return to it's original shape - albeit with the staff poking through the middle. Then the wall started moving, hitting the girl only to stretch and deform around her body. Finally it appeared to have stretched too much and it seemed to pop like a bubble.
People watching the news report gasped at the sight of the girl. They marveled at how her hair was no longer loose but done up in a tight pigtail that looped around her neck. They gasped at the fact that her clothes, previously a baggy sweater and sweatpants, had vanished only to be replaced with an elaborate purple and black costume that looked like it had come from a child's imagination.
And these people numbly realized - she really was a magical girl and she really had just transformed on live television.
“Born within the empty night,” the girl continued, sniffling slightly, in a voice that was quiet yet somehow still overcame the noise of the helicopters. “To guard until the return of the light, my name is...” the girl's voice hitched as she seemed to suddenly choke up. “m...my name i-is... ma-magical guh-girl...” She froze and shook her head from side to side quickly before looking forward once more. “Magical girl,” she yelled out, “Star Reverie!”
The news camera zoomed in then and for the first time people around the country got a good look at the girl's face - and the tears that ran down it.
“I became this when I was eight years old!” She'd been so happy that day, when a rabbit named Miteo had told her that she had been blessed with magical powers, that she was the one chosen to protect the world from the Church of Eclipse.
It was rather pathetic that the happiest day of her life had also marked the end of her happiness.
“I have been fighting evil alone every day since then!” She thought about the fights she had gone through, the endless almost daily battles... the injuries she had taken and the many sleepless nights lost to patrolling... the results of that constant fighting, being dropped from school for skipping so many lessons in order to save the world... being accused of delinquency, of drug taking and street fighting because of her constant injuries...
And in the end, being abandoned by her own parents - unable to keep putting up with her ill-deserved reputation and the rumors everyone seemed to be spreading about her.
“And I...” she choked up again, ducking her head and screwing her eyes shut in pain. “I... I'm not strong enough... to keep doing it anymore.” she whispered, the magic she had cast right at the start enough to ensure even this quiet speech was clearly heard.
“I've lost everything I ever had, everything I ever cared about... and it's never stopped.” fresh tears rolled down her face as she thought about the joy and relief she'd had when the Church had finally fallen. She cried as she remembered the despair that had run through her when the Bloody Carnival had risen to takes it's place with fresh plots and more vicious monsters... and how it had happened all over again when her final victory simply heralded the emergence of the Nightmare Factory.
“It never stopped! Do you hear me!?” The girl screamed at the helicopters, “Every day! I thought it was over when I won and it wasn't! They just wouldn't stop! They wouldn't stop and I was all alone for seven years! Seven! Years!” She threw her staff around as she screamed, the end of it crackling with energy as her magic reacted to her emotions. “I can't take it anymore! I can't take how much it scares me! I can't take how much it hurts me! I can't take any of it!”
Around the country people watched, silent, as a magical girl simply broke down - but there were many who looked on in horror for reasons of their own.
“I just...” the girl continued, sniffing loudly and calming down as she wiped at her face with one bare arm. “I just want it to stop.”
She looked up at the helicopters, straight into the cameras of the news crew.
“I... I want...”
She clutched her staff in both hands now, her knuckles visibly tight as they gripped the metal shaft.
“I want someone to save me”
The girl edged forward slightly, until her toes were over the edge of the brick ledge.
“Because if there is no-one,” she whispered, “If I am truly alone...”
Her arms fell to her sides and her head dropped.
“Then I... I just... I just can't anymore.”
One foot was lifted and time seemed to slow down for everyone watching.
“If there is anyone else... then please...”
The foot swung forwards and started to come down as if taking a step into open air.
“... please... save me.”
And then, she fell.
* * * * * * * *
“Nanoha!” Fate yelled as her friend practically hurtled from the hotel room they had been sharing. Nanoha's family had been treating their daughter to an overnight visit to Tokyo and Lindy, being her current guardian had insisted on paying them to allow Fate to join their trip. Possibly she was fed up of how she and Chrono had been at each other's throats lately, or maybe she just wanted her to see the sights she had never been able to see before - she didn't really know.
What she doubted the Admiral had expected, however, was the live broadcast of a girl - a magical girl - throwing herself off the top of the tallest building in the city.
Nanoha, naturally, had decided she was going to save her but there was really no way for the girl to get there in time with her flight speed.
Fate made a decision.
“Nanoha!” she yelled, rushing out of the room herself, and heading straight towards the stairs leading to the roof of the hotel. “I'm faster than you! Bardiche!”
“Barrier Jacket. Sonic Form.”
* * * * * * * *
Within minutes the story hit national Japanese news networks.
Within hours the story had been passed around video-sharing sites all over the internet.
Within a day the story was being broadcast on international news in almost every major country.
By the end of the week sceptics had done their best to try and disprove that they saw on the tapes - they were still trying.
Somewhere along the line so-called 'experts' had shown up out of the woodwork to comment on the story, what it meant, what the politics would do, what the military views were and all sorts of other concerns and issues that filled the radio, the television and the newspapers.
But for Yamaguchi Akiko this was all meaningless.
Someone had saved her, and that was all she needed to know.
* * * * * * * *
To say that Fate T Harlaown was in trouble was an understatement. She was in a lot of trouble, so much so that terms to describe how much trouble she was in had yet to be invented. She was in such trouble that she had already given up calculating how long she would be grounded after she realized that the earth's sun would likely burn itself out before she was a free girl again.
This was assuming she didn't get imprisoned as well. Her limited legal experience meant that she knew the TSAB actually had sentences in place for potentially immortal criminals - life sentences even.
There was a very good chance that what she'd done might rate one.
Did she regret the actions that were going to land her in all this trouble? If she was honest with herself then no, she didn't. There was a girl back on the bed in her room who was alive because of her. Alive because she had just broken every god damn rule in the TSAB handbook - at least the bits she had read so far - in order to snatch her out of the sky some three hundred feet above the ground.
On live camera even, so the TSAB couldn't even perform basic information control as the entire damn country had just seen her grab a self-confessed magical girl out of mid air. In hindsight she probably should have left immediately but the girl had clutched onto her like a life preserver and that had made a quick exit difficult. Instead she had floated upwards to land back where the girl had made her original dive from. Said girl had turned out to be almost hysterical, not in fear but in sheer relief at not being alone, at having had someone hear her plea for help and likely also at having not just died horribly.
It had taken a while to calm her down, during which the camera had been filming non-stop.
Things had only gone downhill when Nanoha had caught up with her... and had apologized, apologized to the camera for taking up so much of their time and that she and Fate really should be taking this girl somewhere safer. That she had been flying all the while as she did this, with those massive pink wings of her flight spell obvious to everyone, had only served to make an already unsalvageable situation even worse. The two had quickly left after that, the girl named Akiko held between them as she apparently had no flight power of her own. The helicopters had tried to follow but it had been fairly easy to lose them by dropping into a nearby park and hiding in it's vegetation for a while before heading home. Since then Nanoha had been checking on the girl while she had been in the kitchen making soup and listening to the news reports of 'the magical girl event' with ever growing horror.
She heard a familiar cough behind her and winced.
Maybe if she was really lucky that would not be admiral and sort-of adoptive mother Lindy Harlaown standing behind her and instead be someone less likely to ground her for all eternity - the very devil himself perhaps.
Turning around she looked up into the face of Lindy and took a moment to curse whatever force guided the universe as she really, really would have preferred the devil.
In the year 2005, the world changed forever. The transformation and attempted suicide of the magical girl Star Reverie live on national television along with her subsequent rescue by Fate Testarossa revealed the existence of magic to the world, and along with it the otherworldly creatures that threaten our very existence on a daily basis. While some were skeptical at first, claiming an elaborate hoax, the media was not so skeptical, and as support for the young girl flooded into and across Tokyo, the existence of more such girls, the powers they wielded, and the creatures they fought slowly but surely came to be accepted as an incredible but indisputable truth.
As surprised as the "normals" were to learn of the existence of magical girls, however, the existence of other magical girls came as a tremendous shock to the girls themselves. Forced to operate under intense secrecy to protect their friends and loved ones from attack by their enemies, the girls had also inadvertently hidden themselves from potential allies who might have made their burdens that much lighter. As the world reels in shock and shadowy figures make revenge plots and contingencies, the young heroes and heroines come to an inescapable conclusion: this state of affairs cannot continue. For the sake of girls like Yamaguchi Akiko, for whom their gifts have become a curse, the magical girls and boys of the world must unite under one banner, so that no soldier of love and justice will ever be alone ever again.
For more information, go here.
By the way, none of those three snippets I linked together are mine. They're the work of AngryDesu, one of the regular posters in the above-linked thread.