FLCL Fan Fiction ❯ Deja Vooly Cooly ❯ Rolling Bass Line ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Rolling Bass Line

That time, it all felt like a dream. I had learned everything while I was asleep, and when I woke I woke up I was more that I started as. It took me time, but I understood Haruko's words. Nothing amazing ever happened in Mabase, nothing out of the ordinary... not until Haruko was here. I fell in love with the extraordinary, and lusted for it. My childish mind and heart, the thrill it gave me, that change of pace when everything became fantastic for seconds. Now, I realize what Mamimi meant when she said she'd overflow, and then something amazing did happen, and I can't be sure it wasn't because of Tasuku.

My brother was something amazing. He happened here. He left, and I was alone. Mamimi and I were stranded together, and Tasuku, who had become part of Mabase, disappeared. Mabase became a hindrance, and Tasuku was an unattainable goal that any cat or I could never live up to. What neither Mamimi, nor I understood was that no one could be Tasuku but himself. I had to be Naota.

It took Haruhara Haruko to make me understand what it was I had to be, and who it was I had to be. She did the same thing for many of us. I look back, and I remember I called Haruko a child once. As odd, loud, and wild as Haruko may have been, life was not a chore to her. No matter how selfish she may have been, Haruko gave me one thing, and that one thing is myself. Each life she touched, she changed... and up to the very end she forced me to become me.

Maybe the man with the eyebrows... Amarao, or something... maybe he just never learned. Maybe it was that he could not see. Or maybe when she first entered his life, Haruhara Haruko, or Raharu as he liked to call her, did not know these things either. He said things I cannot be sure to be true... he mentioned Atomsk, and so did she. He said she loved him. He told me a lot of things. I don't think they are all true.

What I know is that Haruko wanted something. What I know is that something was Atomsk. What I know is that she wants him for a reason. What I know is that I was the only way she could get him. What I do not know is who he was, where he came from, or what any of that has to do with me. I think it all has to do with Tasuku.

When Tasuku left, they made the factory. When Tasuku left, I lost myself. When Tasuku left, Mamimi tried to make me him. Then, when Tasuku left, Haruko came.

Now, I realize what it means to be a child, and I am no longer ashamed of myself. I am no longer going to be unhappy. Nothing amazing ever happens here, everything is ordinary. We cross the bridge over the river just the same each day. Seasons change, and before I know it, Haruko is a memory. I will not forget Haruko though. I will always remember her down to the last detail. I brought home her guitar, and I placed it in my room where it collects dust. It's more useful to hit things with than it is to play anyhow.

Nothing amazing happens in Mabase, everything is ordinary, and... that's okay with me. In time, even the extraordinary becomes routine, and even the most random becomes normal. Haruko was amazing once, and Tasuku was amazing too. and even though it all happens the same, every day, everywhere, I'm still dazzled by his swing.


Mabase was calm and quiet in the winter usually. No snow or rain yet, just cold clouds. It was the same as always there, like usual. Well, the roads were all new, that was different. Most of them had been torn to shreds by an earthquake caused by the ground caving underneath the weight of a dilapidated old factory on the town's outskirts.

Of course, even stuck a couple hundred feet into Japan's surface and nestled on the edge of town, the Medical Mechanica plant still cast enough of a shadow to prevent certain plants from even growing for nearly a mile's distance. Of course, that was normal. Had been that way for years.

Eyewitnesses will say that the earthquake in Mabase was terrible! Never a bigger one! Unless you talk to the right ones, because some people still insist it wasn't a new fault line that caused the ordeal. Some blame demons or other monsters, and some say that the devil appeared, fiery and fierce, and shook the medical mechanical plant violently, killing hundreds.

Few could guess it was a twin-neck combination of a six string Flying-V and a Gibson EB-0 (a really rare find in the color red, since they were black during production, or at least the 1961 model was) that caused the quake. No one knew that an alien toting a supped up left-handed, deep blue (the official name of the color is Azureglo, by the way) Rickenbacker 4001 bass that provoked it. All in all, it was ended in a few seconds, and something made a big crash.

There used to be a big hand there too, everyone knows about that. It was gone after the quake, and everyone who doesn't say it was the devil doesn't have any better explanation.

Still, even with all that, Mabase was pretty normal. The streets were new, and the factory was still there, but it didn't seem to work anymore.

Well, it was quiet anyway, until you tuned in to the loud gunning of an engine. One could swear it was an airplane or something, something big, and with the power of a space shuttle. God knows anything that fast could reach the outer rim of the galaxy in seconds flat, and probably with good gas mileage. It'd be an inconsistency of course, though cause what moped has the capability to shield someone from the vacuum of space?

Well, it was a designer moped from Italy a brand called Vespa, which means wasp. The inconsistencies were unimportant, cause the fantastic reality is more interesting, and besides they get away with it in video games. Anime too, granted the low-end stuff like DBZ.

Nandaba Kamon, who ran a bakery nearby, would probably have a thing or two to say if he could see that vespa fly through space. It was odd, wasn't it? Sayajin can't breath in space like Frieza, but Bardock could do it, and he could even talk! Then again, they blew up the moon more than once in that show, but who's counting?

Nandaba Kamon was oblivious to the yellow Vespa's landing trajectory though, and he never got to see it touch down and skid to a halt on the bridge over the river, much to the astonishment of the people nearby. Kamon would have paid more attention to the rider than the bike, anyhow, though.

Sat atop the Vespa was rider in a red vest of sorts, it looked like a dress almost, due to its length, but it zipped down the front. She or she as the bust size would lead you to believe thus far, and we could also base this on body shape, was wearing a black pair of pants. Her boots were knee-high, white, and had three-inch heels. She wore a white shirt, and her hands were gloved in yellow. Her face was hidden away by her riding helmet, and goggles, but strands of off pink, nearly peach colored hair poked out here and there from beneath.

She was here for a reason, which is usually a given for anyone who braves the reaches of space on an Intallian scooter, and it had a lot to do with the guitar case (specially made for a Gibson EB1433 Explorer 1998 model) which she had strung over her back. Something had clicked in her a little less vague than before, and she had to find someone she'd left in Mabase a long time ago.

She gunned her engine, and that really wasn't hard seeing as just a tap to the accelerator had her cruising along fast enough to find the bakery she was looking for, and her urgency wasn't a loaf of super-spicy curry bread.

She had timed it all just right, so he would have arrived there moments before her. She'd zoom in, and surprise him. It'd be cake to work things her way then, and soon she'd be back in business, and no amount of designer Italian transport would be needed to trek a few thousand light years across space to find kids she'd known years before.

What's an Earth Year, anyhow? 365 planet rotations? It had taken longer than that for Haruko to get a license to drive her Vespa!

Well, Kamon would have marveled at the girl underneath the helmet, and not because she was gorgeous (or what could be seen of her was, anyhow), but more because they knew each other. Not well, mind you.

It was more appropriate, however, that Kamon be sitting at home, minding the bakery while Naota was at school, and so he was, right up till Nao trudged through the door.

"Ah, son, it's good to see you're back from school! They're starting a marathon run of Excel Saga tonight, and I want to be sure to see it all, so you're minding the shop tonight." Kamon wore glasses, which were convenient in times like this, cause he could slide them up his nose with one hand while pointing with the other and actually look a little slick. The man was in his mid forties then, and fortunate enough to have his hair, whereas his father had long ago lost his to the touches of old age.

Well, some say it's age. A little secret is that its really just all part of character design. Someone might just not look right with hair, as much as they want it. That's the way the world inconsistently works though.

"Huh?" Naota furrowed his brow, annoyed. It was like that a lot; he'd get home and relieve his father from duty at the counter. He'd also do most of the chores, and help make dinner. Help Canti, their housekeeper, and not his father. Why he helped Canti was beyond Kamon, though, seeing as Canti was a robot, and therefore quite capable of the task on his own. Naota disagreed, however - Canti was an old friend, and he couldn't let him deal with the household chores all alone. So what if Grandpa and dad got lazy? "And what if I don't mind it, huh?"

"If you don't mind, that's great!" Chimed Kamon, "Then you won't have a problem watching the bakery!"

"But," Naota stuttered. His dad could be tricky, he had to hand him that, and before Nao could protest, his father had disappeared from the shop and into their home. Naota gave up, dragging his feet behind the counter, and putting on an apron. He sat there for a few moments, silent, watching cars pass on the street outside. Same old Mabase.

Suddenly, Naota had an idea, one that fit ironically into the future, but when does the past not? Well, Nao jumped up and dashed to his room in the house of theirs, which connects directly with the bakery. It was upstairs, and he raced to the center of his room to grab the blue guitar that lay there in the stand its owner had left so long ago.

Guitar in hand, he dashed down to the counter once more, and sat in his chair, strumming it absently. He didn't know any songs, but it was fun to pluck the strings once in a great while. The action killed time, and there was a monster of time to kill in Mabase.

Naota's mind was wandering again, and now it was getting itself lost, he was sure. There was a sound in his ears that sounded too much like someone playing a bass guitar for it to be his fingers against the strings of the Azurelgo Rickenbacker 4001 in his hands. He thought everything of it, but never bothered to move for fear he might disturb the baseline that was becoming more and more real in the world outside his head, and he knew from experience that there was a fine line between the two.

Although he never played it, he could feel the vibrations, and he could sense the moving strings. With each strum of the bass growing louder, and the whole song coming at him like a bullet train, Naota had to flinch in weariness of the bass he felt must be speeding towards his head, and who knows what might pop out if he got clocked right now?

It took him a moment to realize he had heard that song before, and it was like the opening theme to a show he'd starred in. His life had been going for years already, but something new had started the day he heard that tune. It had all been in his head, but that rolling bass was like pure adrenalin, and the aftereffect was something real. Manifested music, more than notes, but sometimes nothing good. His song had played out a story that could have ended it all, but the music prevailed, and so did Naota. It was a climax like no other, the sum of all those before it, and then the closing credits had played.

So, what now? Naota realized what was about to happen, but he opened his eyes too late, and the rolling bass had already become the sound of a motor rushing something long passed back into his life. His eyes became wide, and he was sure he heard the distinctive humm of that old yellow moped, its engine's roar beating all time, sounding just as lively as it had before. He couldn't have broke his gaze, no matter how hard he tried.

He was sure of it; this was the same as before. The sound was coming closer, and any minute it would speed into view from the window of the bakery. Naota's heart rushed as the tune rolled on and finally arrived.

An old VW bug zoomed past the front of the bakery, traveling much faster than legal in a residential. Naota felt his heart sink, and let his eyes fall. It was foolish, anyhow. What could he be hoping for? Her to be back? It was better that she never returned, and he knew it. Never before had he even hoped for Haruko's return. He knew she was going, and he knew she didn't need him any longer. He had accepted the truth, but in those sudden moments, the rolling baseline had taken him over just the same as it had on that bridge those years ago, when Haruko first met Naota.

Naota let his head fall, his brown hair hanging just low enough to cover his eyes. He fought back tears, and let himself set dormant in though.

There was a jingle as a customer pushed open the door to the old bakery and the clack of boots on the tile floor. Without looking up from the Rickenbaker in his lap, Naota said, "Can I help you with something?"

"Well, I see you have French rolls, and Hawaiian Sweet Bread, but nothing with a kick." said the customer, a woman, Naota could tell by her voice, "Maybe you have something a little more wild, like jalapeno bread, or curry bread..."

"Curry?" Naota's eyes widened a bit, but his head wouldn't lift from his chest. They hadn't sold Curry Bread since...

"Maybe you have the... FLCL kind?"

Naota's head shot up, and he fixed his gaze on the 'customer' who had walked in to his father's bakery. Before the counter was a memory, someone who Naota had seen and known just the way they appeared now ages ago. Haruko was completely un-aged, her hair dangling gracefully about her perfect face. Her lips were smooth, clean, crisp, and glistening... they always were. And the yellow, catlike eyes she saw through were fitting of her egocentric attitude.

She was smiling at him! After all this time, there she was, with a new guitar strung over her back, and her lips curled into a smile! Haruko showed her teeth, turning her smile into a devilish smirk, and with a click of her tongue said, "So, whaddaya say, Takkun? The FLCL kind?"

"You..." Naota was speechless. He had never pondered what his words would be to the girl, Haruko, when he saw her again. He didn't even think he WOULD see her. Naota stood up, letting the Rickenbacker on his lap fall, and reached for Haruko with one hand, trying to touch her, make sure she was real and he wasn't dreaming.

"Takkun!" Haruko grabbed Naota's hand, yanking him over the counter, and pulling him into a forceful embrace. Naota was still speechless, unable to choke out a word even if Haruko were to release her choking hold on him. Finally, Haruko held Naota loosely, letting him breath. Naota looked at her in the face, his eyes meeting hers, and he knew that she was real, even if she was a product of the music in his head.

Naota was still unsure how to make himself speak, but he managed to sputter out some words finally, "Ha... Haruko-san?"

"Takkun?" Haruko let her eyes settle on Naota's, and she smiled at him as he gazed longingly back at her.

"Haruko..." Naota repeated, his lips unable to form a different word. It was silence after that, and the silence felt like eternity, as did each moment until Haruko spoke.

"Takkun..." said Haruko smiling. Naota was limp in her arms, unable to fathom why this was happening, or how. He was dazzled.

After all, Haruhara Haruko had left him ages ago, and now he had grown up. Haruko had returned from his past, and he felt like a kid once more. Nothing amazing happens in Mabase, but once something did, and now it's returned.


I never expected that she'd ever return. It's like pulling a memory out of my head. Somehow, those memories felt trapped there, but now they have come out, and I know that even though it seems like a lie, these things are very possible.

That night, the scene was familiar, as my father and grandfather sat and chatted with a Haruko who had returned to us out of the blue. The difference was that this time, I joined in with their laughter, and never once wondered what it was Haruko wanted of me.

Haruko had come back to Mabase, and I was kid again. What I didn't realize was that I had grown up, and no matter how much I wanted to be a child once more, I was not.


Night had fallen over the sleepy Mabase, and to certain parts of the city, even the stars and moon did not shine. It was nearest to the base of the Medical Mechanica plant where it was darkest. Natural light was a mere memory to the foot of the gargantuan factory. Some places, not even the sun could make brighter.

Even as things in Mabase went along the way they always did everywhere, though, something was definitely different than before. On the floor of Nandaba Naota's bedroom, two guitars were sprawled with their necks crossing. An Azureglo Rickenbacker 4001 (left-handed) and a Gibson EA1433 Explorer (left-handed), both lay out very symbolically, but completely unintentionally as they were.

In the bottom bunk of a bed that was getting to be too short for him, Naota was trying to see through the bottom of the top bunk to make sure Haruko was still there, and it hadn't all been a dream. Her Vespa was parked out front, her guitar lay on his floor, and she was sleeping over him. Once more, things were how they had been.

"Haruko?" Naota asked, and she said nothing in response, "Haruko, I know you must be awake up there."

"Nani?" Haruko's catlike face came poking out from the top bunk. She was smiling brightly, and her yellow eyes were glistening in the dim room.

"Haruko." said Naota, softly, "Why are you back here?"

"To be with you, Takkun!" Announced Haruko, her already ridiculous smile twisting larger.


"It's the truth," that moment was a rush as Naota felt the déjà vu, it had all happened once before, except last time he was playing a different role. The boy furrowed his brow, and stared hard at Haruko.

"Then what is it that you want to use me for this time?"

There was silence as Haruko's smile faded. In either complete spontaneity, or maybe because she really was trying to reenact it all, Haruko flipped over the bedrail, and landed perfectly on Naota's bed. The difference this time was that Naota took up a lot more of the bunk than before.

"Takkun..." Haruko's eyes looked sad, and seriousness in her face told Naota that he had stung her. Remorse was a strong word for what he felt though, after all she had left him years ago as nothing but a memory, and no matter how much of a dear memory she was, it was awfully ballsy for her to waltz back into his life so suddenly.

"Don't call me that, my name is Naota."

"But," Haruko paused for a second, looking for the words, "You've always been Takkun to me."

Naota blushed, but he rolled away from the woman, so that he was facing the wall of his room. Without turning back to her, he closed his eyes and said, "You always lie like this, Haruko. I'll bet my life that you forgot me as soon as you left."

"Then why am I back, Naota?" Haruko let one of her ungloved hands snake its way around Naota's body as she lay herself on the bed beside him. He stayed still as a rock as she nestled her body next to his.

"You're the only one who knows that. You must want something, though... you wouldn't be here if that weren't so."

"Naota's grown up," said Haruko, holding the boy close to her, "I know you've missed me, but you're not letting me hold you. You said you loved me once."

"Maybe I did..."

"Then do it again, Takkun." Haruko whispered, her lip grazing Naota's ear softly, "I remember the kiss, Takkun. It was the first time you ever kissed me, you know. I blushed."

Naota could feel himself shake. Haruko's body pressed against his was making him forget who he was, and it took all he had to keep himself stationary. There was another strum in his head, that music starting up again.

"Is it... Atomsk?"

Haruko's eyes widened, and her lips closed tight on Naota's ear. Letting the soft skin loose from her mouth, Haruko withdrew a little and said, "You really have changed, Naota."

"Answer my question, Haruko. Please?"

"Nani?" Haruko looked confused for a second, but she quickly regained her composure, "Well, to tell you the honest truth, it has to do with Atomsk."

"Is he here?"

"No." Haruko said, solemnly, "but... He might be soon."

"What do you need me for, Haruko?"

"I need you... because I can't find someone."


"Someone only you can lead me to, Takkun."

"You keep changing my name."

"Takkun keeps changing himself."

"You're insane, Haruko."

Naota and Haruko both laughed. Some things would never change, but after the laughter was just more silence, and Haruko was still there, with her arm around Naota. It took moments of dazed half-sleep before the awkwardness of the situation set in. Naota found himself blushing again, and Haruko was smiling devilishly behind him.

Her lip found his ear again, and she bit on it softly before whispering, "So how about it, Takkun? Still want to fooly cooly?"

"Haruko..." Naota said, pushing her away only enough for him to face her, "go to sleep."

"Aww..." Haruko's catlike face frowned for only a second, then she smiled again and said, "Only if I can sleep here with Takkun."

Naota raised an eyebrow at the girl, and gave half of a smirk. He knew there were two ways to deal with Haruko, and only on of them was ever easy, "You can sleep next to Naota, if you want."

"That's more like it!" Haruko cheered, hugging him tightly.


That night, Haruko slept there with herself snug to me, and I couldn't help but wonder what would have happened if I hadn't been so stern. I was barely able to hang on to myself, and I almost became what I was again.

Maybe I was mature enough then to resist her, but I wasn't sure whether courage or cowardice had saved me from making any mistakes. After all, a girl like Haruhara Haruko who could be something entirely different than human is not someone easily forgotten. Something about her made me love her once, and part of me wanted more than just to accept her embrace.

I knew deep inside that the bass line I heard in my head was not for me anymore. The past was done, and recreating it was not only childish, but also dangerous. I know I didn't realize then that repeating the past meant nothing good, but I could not find it in me to keep Haruko at bay forever, and I knew it.


"Wakey, wakey, Takkun!" There was a reverberating noise like the banging of a drum, or maybe more like the banging of someone's empty head. It echoed all over the Nandaba household with a low, bass thud that started the morning on an audibly powerful note. It had been a long time, but Haruko still swung like a pro, and the EA1433 Explorer was just as if not sturdier than it's predecessors when it came to beating something completely Fooly Cooly into Naota's skull.

Naota woke suddenly, more with the noise than the pain. It hurt, but not like a hit would hurt, and more like a headache caused by sinuses. Maybe the inside of his mind was just sore from all the exposure it was getting to air suddenly though, since his brain had fallen out once again.

As soon as Naota woke, and the pain was apparent, and obviously connected to the cherry finish of the masterful EA1433, he knew that it meant no turning back. Haruko's smile was sadistic, but it wasn't her own pain she was enjoying. Tilting her head to the side and narrowing her yellow eyes, Haruko spoke through dagger like teeth, "Hehehehehe! That was nice, Takkun! I'm glad you let me sleep there, I haven't slept so well in ages."

"Hey! What are you doing!?" Naota yelled, caught off guard by the woman who still hadn't removed the guitar from where it rested on his forehead, "You did it again! You know what'll happen now."

"It has to come out, Takkun!" Haruko tossed the bass, sending it sliding across the floor of his room, and colliding harshly with the wall. Her free hand grabbed for Naota, and Haruko pulled him violently from his resting- place, shaking him wildly around. Her strength defied logic.

"Hey, no way, not fair!"

"Fair?" Haruko asked, her eyes aflame with some powerful lust. Without another word, Haruko tossed Naota into another corner of his room, and then did a tumbling roll over to her Explorer. She picked up the guitar, and held it up by the neck. "Look who's talking! Now you'll just spout another baddie from that forehead of yours, ne?"

"Hey, it's all YOUR fault! You hit me there!" Naota said, standing up.

"Oh, so?" Haruko said, glancing from her guitar back to Naota a couple of times. "Maybe I will again!"

Naota's eyes widened in fear, and he scrambled for the Azurelgo 4001 that lay on his floor. Managing to grab the guitar just in time, and dodge Haruko's swing, the follow-through still sent him crashing through the wall. Where the side of his room had once been, a gaping hole spat him out, followed by the maniacal alien girl who had spent the night with him.

Naota landed on the grass just near the road, a lucky break if there was one considering how small it was, and rolled onto his feet. He lifted the Rickenbacker Bass he had pulled through with him up, and hefted it. He turned to see Haruko was facing him, twirling her Explorer wildly.

"Haha! Gotcha, Takkun! Now it's all started up."

"What are you trying to do, anyway?"

"Me? Nani? I didn't do a thing!" Haruko smiled innocently at Naota from nearby.

"You just put a hole in my room!"

"Only cause YOU moved!"

"Haruko!" Naota yelled, holding up his Rickenbacker by the neck, like it was a bat. "Enough of this! Just tell me why you're doing all of this, and I'll be able to help you!"

"Hah! Takkun's got a bat!" Haruko laughed, pointing her own EA433 at the Azurelgo Bass she once owned. "You may know how to swing, Takkun, but I'm an old slugger, remember?"

"Try me, Haruko!" Taunted Naota, holding his guitar at ready. Haruko scoffed, spat at the dirt, and rushed at him. Naota held his guitar like he was about to smash a speedball.

Haruko reached him and swung perfectly, but Naota knocked her guitar aside with his own. She spun to swing again, and it connected with nothing but azurelgo colored frame. Naota met Haruko blow for blow as she assaulted him viciously with her EA144. Finally, after a crashing connection, Haruko leapt a few feet back and laughed.

"So, Takkun learned a little more about swinging, huh?" Haruko smirked, throwing her Explorer over her shoulder. "Okay, you win, I'll leave."


"You heard me, I'm going to get back on my Vespa and fly out of your life again, Takkun." Haruko said, smiling, "It's been fun, ta."

"You... you're leaving?" Naota's eyes widened, and the Rickenbacker in his hands dropped to the floor.

"Yeah, you don't want me here, that's plain to see. I'm leaving you now, Takkun."

"Ha... Haruko..." There was a spark in the air, like electricity making a live connection, but the humming wasn't the same high voltage as a wire. Naota could feel that old bass line one more time, and his body flailed independently as his forehead began to shimmer with red. It was a symbol that had been there before, and it looked a little brighter than last time.

There was a spark, and then another, and the flesh was stretching. It wasn't like Naota was growing, but it was like something was growing Naota. Something needed out of that head of his once more and it was taking the most open opportunity to barge through the door. The first horn was large and square, jutting from Naota's head and up into the air.

The skin grew and changed, and the seams were beginning to tear as the monster escaped its prison. First was a cylindrical green arm, its fingers round, black, pudgy things. The palm was black too, but it looked kind of odd, like a speaker or something.

Next was most of a body and a head, and it was plain to see that the sound system on this thing was top notch. It was either a robot or an amplifier shaped like one, it's body a v-shaped box housing a giant, extravagant looking subwoofer. The thing's head was like a giant LCD encased in a plastic shaped cover that brimmed with other lights and various dials.

It's legs, much like it's arms, were cylinders colored a forest green, that seemed to connect at the joints by steel ball-sockets. Its feet were shaped like big, green boots with a steel toe colored chrome.

Soon, the monster was all the way out of Naota's head.

"Ow!" Cried Naota, blinded by pain. There was a loud squeal, like a microphone adjusting, and the boys attention shot to the hulking speaker before him. "Ah, now look what you did! How will we fight this alone?"

"Here," said Haruko, "take this."

He looked to his right to see Haruko was holding a guitar, but it wasn't her Cherry Explorer, or his Azurelgo Rickenbacker, but a red Gibson EB0, 1961 Bass. Reluctantly, Naota placed his hand on the guitar, and gripped it. He looked at Haruko, and she nodded.

Naota gripped the neck of the guitar, and faced the robot before him. It stood still, but emitted a loud, resounding boom. Naota felt his ears ring, and his feet move a little under the force of the noise, but he charged forward.

His first swing was met by one of the monsters massive arms, and surprising he managed to stop the giant speaker from coming down on him. The monster's other hand then appeared alongside Naota and seconds later a loud boom was in his ears. The force of the sound knocked Naota out from under the robot's first swing, and he regained himself easily.

Naota looked at the guitar in his hand, and then at the robot before him. His forehead still glowed red, and with courage he never knew he had, he leapt forward. His feet carried him higher than they should have, and he was in the air above the monster, ready to bring his guitar down on the beast's head. He landed, and the body of the guitar connected with a humming bass sound. The monster's head caved in.

Below, Haruko stood at the thing's feet, and she had her Explorer ready to swing. Hearing Naota connect, Haruko smiled as she swept the robot's feet out from below him with one solid swing. The robot collapsed, and Naota was caught off guard. He hit the ground, and slid along, away from the robot. Seconds after that, the whole thing blew up.

The fireball was accompanied by the humm of a guitar, not the rumble of an explosion. The bass line was freed at last, and the force was enough to knock anyone but Haruko on their ass. Naota looked up as the smoke cleared, and his eyes met a yellow glove, which he gladly accepted. Haruko hefted the boy to his feet, and he saw her face once more. Haruhara Haruko was smiling.

"See what you do?" said Naota, but he couldn't help smiling back.


So, it was all in my head. The bass, I mean. Haruko had really been there, and she still is. I'm not sure I know the whole truth, in fact I doubt I ever will. It's just the way things are when Haruko is around.

The street was ruined, but that won't be that way for long. Soon, the broken asphalt will become the norm, and then they will fix it. So, for now, Haruko is amazing again. Her swing is here again. Mabase is getting used to the feel of a thundering guitar riff resounding off of its surface once more.

The color and style and even the model number and year have changed. A lot has changed since then, but things remain the same on the base line. Maybe history will always repeat itself. Maybe Haruko is just part of that cycle.

I'm Nandaba Naota, a boy who was dazzled years ago by a strange girl carrying a bass guitar. It's been years since then, and I'm still Nandaba Naota. Even if I grew up, some things will always be as they were.

So, I guess that's how it is then. Haruko and I went to the store today, on her Vespa, and when we walked out she handed me a drink. It was the kind with the pulp in it, and she had already opened it and taken a sip.

Normally, I would have been mad, but instead I looked at her and said, "Just like last time."


"Hey, you know modern physics are so advanced that we're capable of actual teleportation! I know that that sounds pretty sci-fi, but science fiction only means they haven't thought of a way to do it yet, right? I still think it looked cooler on Star Trek though."

"Next time on FLCL, episode 2: Up Comes Down. See you on the flipside!"