Jisu (friendshipbeam) wrote in expandedtaste,
Jisu
friendshipbeam
expandedtaste

Chapter One

Mew Ichigo smiled down at the crowd. She waved the stolen tiara
with one hand so it sparkled in the early sunset, as she was
standing on the bars of Tokyo Tower and holding on with the
other hand. The people beneath her squealed and waved up at her.

"Mew Ichigo-sama!"

"You're the greatest!"

"I knew you could do it!"

The catgirl giggled, a tiny blush arising on her face. She waved
down at the crowd, seeing bits of light reflecting off the
jeweled head ornament. "Don't worry, everyone! As long as there
are thieves to catch, or monsters or scary people around, for
that matter..." She let go of the tower with the other hand and
took a deep breath. Pink, red and black spiraled down and landed
effortlessly on its feet on a billboard. The magical girl gave
a smile and wrist-flicking pose that had been perfected over
five long years of fighting evil in cat ears and a skirt.

"Let me serve the future of the earth, nya~!"

The crowd let out a deafening cheer as Ichigo flung the tiara
down into the hands of a beautiful girl, who sobbed with joy
at getting her possession back. The thief, knocked out with a
Strawberbell from behind, twitched on the floor of the tower as
the police that had come to arrest him waved and called down at
her. Mew Ichigo glowed with the praise from all around her.

"I-chi-go! I-chi-go! I-chi-go! I-chi-go!"

"Nyaa... I love you all, too..."

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

Momomiya Ichigo jolted from her bed, jumping in a panic at the
sound of her alarm. A series of "Nya!?"s, furied dashes, and
tripping over her own feet sent her crashing down onto the floor
in a pile of arms, legs, bedsheets, ears and tail. She twitched,
a shudder running up her body.

"This is so unfair."

-

Sana Jisushi

and

Her Laptop, Makoto

present

[Expanded Taste]

Chapter One: [Pre-Fresh]

Tokyo Mew Mew, all cast and concepts (c) Ikumi Mia, Yoshida
Reiko, Kodansha, Studio Pierrot.
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, all cast and concepts (c) Ryukishi07,
07th Expansion, Studio Deen.
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, all cast and concepts (c) Takeuchi
Naoko, Kodansha, Toei Animation.
All series that will be later used (c) their respective owners.

Written by Sana Jisushi, using her laptop Makoto, her second
monitor Setsuna, her mouse Anise and her full-size plush of Jane
Austen. Why this portion is in the disclaimer, I do not know.

Special thanks to Saica, official beta reader, and Satou and
Masume, official naggers to update.

(c) 2007 all of the above.

-

That was a while ago, actually... I know, I know! I remembered
what happened six years before, so I should remember this!
Geez... It's not like I'm trying to get out of telling another
story or anything. You're the lazy one, you know!

Fine, fine! I have enough work as it is... Actually, I did then,
too. The day it started, I was working in the cafe...

-

"I dropped my spoon!"

"Get me a water!"

"That waitress just fell down!"

"Waaah, I'm sorry!"

"Waitress? My tea!"

"Retasu, be more careful next time!"

"I said I dropped my spoon!"

"Another ice cream sundae, please!"

Ichigo dropped onto a cafe chair like she was deflating, arms
hanging motionlessly at her side. "Nyaaa... This is more tiring
than usual..."

"I'll say," the girl next to her sighed, not looking up from her
newspaper. "I had to serve three more tables today. And we're
fully staffed, too."

"That's three more than zero, then?" Ichigo muttered, giving her
a look.

"Oh, please," the other girl replied, still not paying any
attention. "What do you think I am, some kind of heathen? I've
been doing this for years. Obviously, nobody else has a problem
with it."

Ichigo grumbled, flopping onto the table. Aizawa Minto continued
to read, her pale, delicate hands turning the pages of the
business section. It was true that Minto had been working at
Cafe Mew Mew for the past six years, and in that time, had been
drinking her tea at peak hours and ignoring Ichigo's complaints
that she work. It was also true that Ichigo's were the only such
complaints. However, Cafe Mew Mew didn't hire its employees for
their waitressing talent.

Each of the five girls on wait staff -- long-suffering Ichigo,
delicate and lazy Minto, clumsy and nervous Retasu, attention-
grabbing Bu-ling and frigid Zakuro -- was hired for one reason.
They were Earth's chosen saviours. Six years ago, back in 2002,
the girls' employer had discovered that each of them had a very
unique DNA pattern that perfectly matched samples of critically
endangered animals. When the animal DNA was injected into them,
their bodies would not reject it or suffer any drawbacks. In
fact, they would become superpowered, animal-eared magical girls
with the power to eradicate mutated monsters and save the planet
from a small reconnaissance group of aliens that wanted to bring
their whole planet over and invade the Earth. As for the cafe,
it simply served as a convenient base of operations for the
project. Therefore, they were required to work as wait staff, no
matter how terrible at the job they were.

Minto knew this. Ichigo knew that Minto knew. And because of
this, no matter what Ichigo said, and no matter how true it was,
Minto had never been punished. She simply sat there, hair in
two untouched buns, bobbing as if they were mocking Ichigo's
frazzled red pigtails.

Ichigo moaned. It wasn't fair.

"Please stop hogging the table," Minto stated, reaching for her
teacup. "I'm trying to read." She put the business section down,
sipped some tea, and put down the cup. Ichigo weakly moved her
arms off the table as the blue-haired girl beside her picked up
the national news. "Hmm. 'Tsukino-Sonozaki Debate Set for
Thursday'. That sounds interesting, I suppose."

"Ichigo!"

She looked up. A blond wearing black leaned back against a
pillar, standing out against the frills and pink of the very
girly cafe. A few of the customers stared and blushed. He
shook his head and smirked, knowing he could get away with it.
Of course he could. He was the boss.

"Why aren't you working? It's not the end of the day yet."

Ichigo dragged herself up and glared the best glare she could.
"Tell Minto that, why don't you, Shirogane." Without waiting for
him to answer, she went back to the serving grind. She didn't
want to hear whatever smug remark came out of this guy anyway.
He'd always treated her like this. Apparently he'd had a crush
on her six years ago, and torment and piling on the work were
ways of showing his affection. Now he just did it because he
liked being in charge. Minto thought it was a riot. Ichigo
thought it was a pain.

"We're almost out of chocolate sauce! Is there any more in the
pantry?"

"Who did the grocery shopping last?"

"There's your new spoon!"

"LOOK AND BE AMAZED!"

"What?"

"Not again..."

"That's right, look! As I perform the greatest trick of all:
FLAMING DEATH NANO DA!"

"Ichigo, get Bu-ling down from there before she hurts herself."
That smirk made the catgirl's hair stand up as she clenched her
fists.

"Fiiiine."

-

"That took forever, nyaaa..." Ichigo sleepily shifted her weight
from one leg to the other, dragging her feet forward, her arms
swinging limply next to her. Her eyelids slipped slowly down
every so often before shooting back up again, remembering that
she had to be able to see to get home from work.

"Ichigo is tired! Beep! Ichigo is tired!" A hovering pink ball
of fluff tilted its round, black eyes toward her. Its red metal
ears moved up and down to catch reception from different areas,
and its stringy red tail swished back and forth like Ichigo's
would if she had it out.

"Yes, nya..." The catgirl groaned lightly. She was used to it.
Masha was her longtime sidekick and, as she would call it had
she taken to the whole magical girl idea from the start, an
"artificial mascot creature". He'd been programmed for a short-
term world-saving adventure, function before AI, and what was to
become of him afterwards hadn't been high on the Mew Project's
list of priorities. Therefore, even after six years of keeping
him, and however-long he'd existed before then, the little robot
wasn't any smarter than a very small child. Stating the obvious
seemed to be his favourite thing to do.

"Home! Beep! Rest!" The innocent squeaking only made Ichigo's
eyelids droop further. Unable to resist any further, she flopped
onto the nearest park bench.

"I want to go home too..." She petted her floating fluffball,
who made a little purring noise that he'd probably picked up
from her. Ichigo slowly closed her eyes, shifting her forearm
underneath her head, and began to drift off...

"NYA!"

"Nya!?" Ichigo jolted awake for the second time that day, again
falling over on the ground. A blue cat darted past her, panting
in a panic, and ducked behind the bench. She blinked and looked
in the other direction, where a group of children slowed down
as they approached her.

"Oh, no. Not them." Ichigo moaned, attaching Masha to her phone
and crawling over to the cat. "The evil ones."

"Evil ones, beep! Evil ones!"

"Shh!" She looked over to the trembling cat and gestured for it
to come over to her. "Come on, nyaa... Where do you live?"

"Nya." It wasn't an answer in cat language, because Ichigo would
have understood it. It was just "nya." The catgirl gave a
frustrated groan and tried again.

"Come on, I'll help you! All right?" This seemed to work, as the
cat looked pensive for a moment but bounded into her arms. She
petted it and smiled, getting up. Upon seeing that the children
still hadn't gone, Ichigo turned and ran faster than they could
hope to get in the next three years.

"Run! Run!" Masha beeped, thinking he was being helpful. Ichigo
dashed through the park and across the street, catching her
breath by a lightpost. She looked down at the cat, who gave her
a puzzled look in return. No, almost pensive. It didn't seem to
be a very sociable cat, anyway.

"Sorry," Ichigo began, shaking her head as her pigtails bobbed a
little. "It was better to just get away from them. I know those
kids. They're like jungle children..." She moaned at remembering
the last time she'd seen them. They'd chased a helpless kitten
around the park with a stick. Even worse was that the cat in
question had been Ichigo.

"Nya," said the cat.

Ichigo's pigtails drooped. "Don't you ever say anything?"

"There you are!"

Ichigo spun around, the antisocial cat in her arms. Masha
quickly shrunk to the size of a cel phone strap and attached
himself to Ichigo's bag - the 'civilian alert' strategy, which
hadn't failed them in five or six years. The unspeaking cat
meowed happily at the figure down the lane, as Ichigo's eyes
widened.

The woman in front of them took a few graceful steps toward them
and tilted her head. It was easy to see why this dark antisocial
cat seemed to like its owner so much, Ichigo thought as she put
the cat on the ground and it walked over to the older woman. Her
bright white hair sparkled in the light of the sunset. When she
smiled and knelt to pick up her cat, it looked like she was
glowing.

"I was looking all over for you, you know." She shook her finger
at the cat before taking it into her arms. "You've always acted
like you were more responsible than I am."

The cat turned up its nose. "Nya." Ichigo noticed, though, that
it couldn't help but smile and snuggle into that woman's arms.
She petted Masha instinctively, even though he was disguised as
a normal accessory. He blinked up at her, confused, but she
didn't even notice.

The blonde woman smiled at them. "Thank you for finding her." So
the cat was a her. Ichigo probably should have been able to tell
anyway, but when dealing with a cat that didn't like to talk to
you, you never knew. "We should probably get going now." She
turned around and walked gracefully out of the alley with her
cat in her arms. Ichigo stood there gaping for a whole three
minutes and thirty-seven seconds before Masha poofed back to his
normal size and chirped that she should probably get home now.
She stepped out of the alley and walked towards home, head
tilted up to the sky.

-
_Next Episode_

Nyaa! It looked normal back then, but the next day, all of a
sudden, things were picking up again! And by that, I mean a
monster in the airport! Who made that thing? I'm glad you're
back, at least! But who are those little girls? Hey, it's that
lady with the cat from yesterday! Whaa!? I'm still famous!?

Next episode: [Reheated]! Let me serve the future of the earth!
Tags: chapter, chapter one
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