Crossover Fan Fiction ❯ Stares ❯ Birth ( Prologue )

[ A - All Readers ]


“Glibyumilith! Hyaygikem!” yelled an excited voice. These were the first words I heard.

There had been a truck, a lot of noise and then nothing. I guess I was lucky that death has been so instantaneous, and now there’s blurry noise, a lot of squishy sensations, a wet warm cloth, and… milk? I drank it down wriggling around. A huge face looking down at me, sweaty red hair like raspberries plastered to her forehead in relief. I guess this is my mother. Another woman looked down, holding a blonde haired girl with a strand of curling hair stuck out, and two enormous blue eyes glaring in my direction. Another baby. After feeding me I was placed in the same crib with the blonde girl.

We slept, we woke. When she cried in hunger, so did I. Our mothers would quickly turn up and feed us, change our nappies, wash us, tend to our needs until we fell asleep together again.

So reincarnation is real. I wish I had paid more attention to the priests and monks about this. Not only is reincarnation real, memories follow the soul rather than the body. That’s actually huge, when you consider it. What are memories if not engrams stored as protein strings in the brain attached to neurons awaiting activation? Activation takes a few minutes, which is why it takes a few minutes to remember old memories. Activating proteins is not instantaneous. And now I had proof they aren’t as believed by science, and I’m reborn with an entirely new body, a new brain, new kidneys and liver and immune system. My blonde sibling possessed the family ahoge, and if ahoge follow the soul, what does that say about the universe? Souls are real. All that religious stuff might actually be true, some of it obviously was. I mean, I'm here, and I'm me, but I'm reborn. Why did no Isekai light novel I've ever read even considered the implications of this huge thing? 

It was a good month before I realized I was a ginger named Tobias. It wasn’t a bad name. I’d been a typical dark haired Japanese before, a high school student with a complicated dating problem and the cutest little sister ever. We’d been crossing the street together and then a truck blew through a light at full speed and murdered us.

It was no accident.

I don’t know why I still remember Chiba, or my old life. I had always read stories about this kind of thing, but I figured they were just fiction, wish fulfillment stories that sold well to otakus with no dating options and miserable lives. They'd rather die and be reincarnated in a world where they actually mattered, even if it was to die fighting a demon lord. At least they mattered, somewhere else.

I’d had options in my last life. I’d expected to be a despised loser in high school because of the abuse I’d received in Middle School from that girl and her cronies. However, things changed in High School and my terrible looks had managed to charm several women for some bizarre reason. Maybe it was the Ratz Curse, being ugly in an age of affordable beauty, and all that. I think maybe women in high school might not be as shallow. I was sort of dating several of the best girls in the school. My arguments with Yukinoshita, both of them and their mother, had been great fun, as had teasing Yuigahama. I would never see them again. Never find out if my painful honesty and understanding of people well beyond my peers would result in a successful date because I’d been murdered by Truk-kun. And those isekai light novels had turned out to be truth in advertising.

I also learned I had an older brother named Rudy. My blonde sister and I shared a dad but had different moms. So apparently polygamy was a thing. My brother was much older than us, around seven years old and was a mage. There was magic here, so we weren’t in Bulgaria or something. Rudy was skilled, no chanting long phrases like Tanya’s mom Zenith. He would gesture and there would be a globe of light floating above his hand. Apparently this was a big deal. He'd already had a tutor and mastered some higher level spells, from what I overheard between our mom's talking. 

I was learning names and language after a month. Tanya’s stare was every bit as self-aware as mine, so I had to wonder who she was. Her ahoge was tall, like my fallen sister who had died with me in the crosswalk that day, so I tried her name but she just stared at me. Those huge blue eyes took in everything. I often felt like it was too bright so I often had a squint. My sister’s eyes sometimes glowed in the dark, and I get the idea she’s using magic on herself, which is pretty odd. It was when she lifted out of our crib one night, hovering on a column of air that I was sure was stirring up dust all over the place that I realized Tanya was a prodigy like our older brother.

My mother’s name is Lillia, and she wears a classic maid uniform. There are tense faces around the dinner table regarding her status and my own, and father does not show enough affection to Lillia, though he does dote on me and Tanya. We don’t cry as much as we used to, which makes Lillia frown. I hug her when she looks worried like that. She’s a good mother, doting properly, and careful. She also looks after Tanya, including feeding her when needed. I’d also fed from Zenith sometimes.

Our father, Paul, is a swordsman. He spends a lot of time training, and then would leave with other men for a day or two, returning with piles of furs and meat, which he and Zenith would smoke in a smokehouse out back of the house. The house was large, creaked, and had stone floors. Stone floors are cold, uneven, and the cracks collect dirt and cinders from the fire in the kitchen. My mother and her slightly purple shaded eyes and her glasses was the primary cook or assistant as needed by Zenith, who I presume to be the First Wife of our Dad, Paul.

The house was made of beams with the gaps filled in, a style used in Japan and Europe. It had wavy glass windows, the panes circular and joined with something black, probably lead. A very old technique. Once I was able to crawl, I would explore the house, look out the open windows at the waving fields of what was probably wheat, and what was probably not Europe. The moon was wrong, for one thing.

Magic was in common use, by Zenith, Rudy, and my sister Tanya. She had been caught floating by an open window, earning some admonishments and attention for the feat. I would like to say our parents were astonished, but they ended up comparing her to our older brother, who is apparently a prodigy mage for both silent casting and exceeding his tutor’s skill levels before we were born.

“You’ll grow up to be a swordsman son, right?” Paul pleaded with me. I still can’t talk so I think this is perhaps asking a bit much. Mother took me to father’s desperate hands and bounced me on her knee.

It wasn’t long before I started getting teeth and shifted to soft foods and then solids as my teeth made breast feeding a painful impossibility. So long! Still, senses of a baby are quite acute, including smells, hearing, and touch. We absorb everything around us like sponges and Tanya kept flying around, sometimes getting out into the yard. Her hard stare and curly blonde hair were quite amazing. 

I crawled a lot and picked up climbing onto things as a necessity to see what was going on outside, where the action is, or what the moms were doing, usually household chores, but sometimes weaving cloth or spinning wool into yarn. There were no shops to buy this stuff, not here anyway. A lot of work goes into basic necessities of life. When I finally accomplished pooping for myself, we celebrated. One less task for the ladies to do, and one important bit of self respect for me.