Read Or Die Fan Fiction ❯ Read or Dare! ❯ Chapter 4

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Two Years Ago...

Joker opened his office door, the slim blonde haired man moving inside smoothly even with the support of his wooden cane. His suit was crisp, the blue cloth perfectly spotless as he walked in, hesitating only a moment as his eyes pierced the shadows. "I know you're in here," Joker said to his visitor calmly.

Click! The old fashioned standing lamp by the desk came on, creating a pool of bright light in the near darkness of the office. The woman sat behind the large oak desk, looking up at him coldly. Papers were scattered on the top, some of them held down by the machine pistol that sat on them, all of them marked top secret.

"If you needed to see me," Joker said to the woman sitting at his desk mildly, "you could have just made an appointment."

"Shut up," Nancy Mukahari said coldly. The black haired young woman dressed in a simple leather body suit looked at him with fury in her eyes, "I know."

"I'm not sure what...." Joker started to say.

Nancy slammed her hand down like a clap of thunder, Joker shutting his mouth with a snap. "You did a good job of hiding it," she growled out, "but I put the pieces of information together eventually. The Library created me and all the other Ijin, were directly responsible for the deaths and destruction they caused."

"Not quite," Joker pulled his coat off casually, hanging it up on a coat rack as he continued, "we started the Ijin project, but our subjects got away from us."

"Why?" Nancy blurted out angrily.

Joker loosened his tie, studying her thoughtfully. "The Ijin were never meant to escape," he finally said, "nor to awaken. We wanted to create an exceptional being, one with the capacity to meet our urgent needs."

"To save Mr. Gentleman," Nancy realized.

"Indeed," Joker agreed, leaning against the side of his desk, "he was dying, his irreplaceable knowledge and wisdom were going to be lost to us. Early studies showed a normal human couldn't house his essence, but someone like the Ijin might."

"So what happened?" Nancy asked, her hand resting not far from her pistol, ready to pick it up and use it in seconds.

"The fire three years ago killed Mr. Gentleman before we could record his essence," Joker said softly, "all that work came to nothing." He paused, “And the Ijin were released, we think, by our foes in Dokusensha.”

Nancy frowned, “But why would Dokusensha do that?”

Leaning on his cane Joker shrugged slightly as he answered, “In all honesty we don’t know. It could simply have been meant as a distraction from one of their other plots, or something more complex and sinister.”

Nancy digested that, her hand still firmly gripping her pistol. "I came here to kill you," she said to Joker quietly, "your actions lead to the deaths of dozens of people in New York, Library personnel and others.”

"And what of your actions as an Ijin?" Joker asked calmly. He met her eyes gravely, "You committed assassinations, spied and killed as needed for your agenda."

Nancy nodded slightly, "I guess we're both monsters, then."

"Yomiko believes in the Library," Joker said thoughtfully, "in the good that it does." He ran a hand through his short blonde hair as he admitted, "And I find that I've come to believe in it too, with our battles against Dokusensha and working to restore all the books that were lost to us in the fire that destroyed our headquarters."

"Low blow," Nancy muttered, "bringing up Yomiko."

Joker just nodded, "Indeed."

"Yomiko would be devastated to find this out," Nancy murmured as she looked down at the papers on the desk, "it would hurt her so much."

Joker kept quiet, watching her thoughtfully. The woman dressed all in leather had changed in the years he had known her, grown. Once a blind servant of the Ijin she had become someone who could make her own moral choices. More importantly she had fallen in love and it was that one thing that had changed her the most.

"I won't tell her about this," Nancy finally said as she looked over at Joker intently to ask, "The project is over, right?"

"Your clone still exists," Joker answered her frankly, "and there is a hybrid child being raised by a foster family. Other than that, it's done."

"All right," Nancy nodded slightly, her expression thoughtful. She took a deep breath, "Here's what we're going to do."

"Yes?" Joker asked, his face showing polite attention.

"I'm not going to kill you," Nancy got up from her seat, leaving the incriminating documents there on the desk, "and we're both going to carry on as if none of this ever happened." She brought her pistol up swiftly, aiming it at his head as she continued grimly, "But if I ever find out you're pulling something like this again, I'll kill you myself."

"If I did do something like this again," Joker met her eyes as he said mildly, "I'd want you to kill me, too, Miss Deep."

"Fair enough," Nancy tucked the machine pistol away then strode through the wall, leaving only silence in her wake.

Joker went to his chair and sat down, giving a relieved sigh as he took the pressure off his injured leg. Sitting back he took a moment to collect his thoughts then he pressed the intercom and said, "Wendy, could you come in here?"

The blonde young woman strode in with a tentative smile as Wendy asked, "Did everything go as we planned, sir?"

"Yes it did," Joker gathered up all the Ijin documents then passed them over to her, "you can finally destroy them along with the other copies we scattered about."

"Couldn't we have just told her about the Library's involvement," Wendy stacked the papers neatly before tucking them under her arm, "and that we intended to make amends? Planting these documents for her to find was a lot of work."

"Nancy wouldn't have believed me," Joker shook his head wryly, "she had to find it out on her own." He smiled slightly, "And now that she does know we don't have to keep worrying about it blowing up in our faces later."

“That’s good," Wendy flashed him a warm smile as she said, "I rather like Nancy and wouldn't want to have to try and kill her." She looked thoughtful and asked, "What about Junior and the younger Nancy?"

"Keep Junior in foster care," Joker said thoughtfully, "he seems happy there. As for the other Nancy we'll keep trying to retrain her."

"Having a second Miss Deep might come in very handy," Wendy agreed.

"Yes, she would," Joker agreed.

`Wendy headed to the door as she cheerfully asked, “Would you like some tea, sir?”

“I’d love it,” Joker agreed.

“Then I’ll be right back....” Wendy started when her toe caught on the corner of a piece of rug.

“Look out,” Joker called.

“Awk!” Wendy tripped, going down in a cloud of papers.

“Some things never change,” Joker murmured to himself with a smile.

To be continued....

Author's Notes: This episode is in some ways a spoiler for ROD the TV series. I was trying to explain in the two preludes why the Library hadn't gone bad in the Tenno universe as well as to explain the back story a bit. One can assume that Shane, Yomiko and Nancy were back at base between missions when this happened.