One Headlight – Miho's Story

So long ago I don't remember when
That's when they say I lost my only friend
They said she died easy of a broken heart disease
As I listened through the cemetery trees

Miho cradled the girl's head in her lap. The tears dripping from her cheeks splashed on the girls face, washing the blood from it. But the girl didn't move except for the motion of Miho's sobbing.

"No, Tika-chan, no. I'm so sorry. I couldn't get to you in time, I couldn't save you."

I seen the sun coming up at the funeral at dawn
I've long broken all of human law
It always seemed such a waste
She always had a pretty face
I wondered why she hung around this place

"All right, Miho, let's try it again. You have to do it smoothly and without hesitation, like I showed you."

"OK, Meimi-san. I'll do my best." Miho spun about and her long hair streamed out. She twirled the ribbon in her hands and it began to glow with a golden light that filled the training room.

"Golden ribbon… strike!" she called out. The ribbon seemed to lengthen suddenly and take on a life of its own. Then it shot out and hit the target on the wall, exploding it in a ball of light and heat.

"I did it! I did it!" cried Miho, jumping up and down in excitement.

Meimi looked pleased and let a small grin sneak through her stern teaching face.

"Very good, Miho-chan. You're really getting the hang of it now. Before you know it, you'll be a fully certified magical girl."

Come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There's got to be something better than in the middle
Me and Cinderella
Put it all together
We can drive it home ... with one headlight.

Her despair flooded through her as she leapt across the roofs. No matter how she tried to flee, she couldn't escape her own emotions. It was her fault but how could she have stopped it. There were so many of them and only one of her. It wasn't fair, she should have had help this time.

Then she felt it. A despair and loss like her own. A deep darkness engulfing the heart. Like hers but different. Her magical girl senses reached out and touched it. No, not a single person like her. A whole crowd, acting as one.

Without thinking she flitted over the rooftops towards it. There! In the square, a mass of people, crying and calling out a name.

"Eri-rin!" they cried. "Don't leave us."

"Please flee in an orderly fashion." A loudspeaker boomed and Miho saw the mechs, the 'zilla, the riot police with their shields. A mob was being dispersed.

A mob, with the same feelings of loss as her. So she took it, took their emotion and made them hers.

She said its cold it feels like independence day
And I can't break away from this parade
But there's got to be an opening
Somewhere here in front of me
Through this maze of ugliness and greed

"It's so wonderful, Tika-chan. Meimi-san says I'm doing so well," Miho was gushing. The other girl sat quietly behind her, smiling and brushing her friend's long, dark hair.

"How do you grow your hair so long, Miho-chan?" she asked. "Whenever I try, I get split ends and have to cut it."

"Oh, Meimi-san says it has something to do with my powers. Lots of magical girls have really long hair. It's nice, but sometimes it's a nuisance to keep it tidy. I'm so lucky you like to brush it for me. Tika-chan."

The other girl smiled again. They sat in silence for a while before Miho opened her mouth hesitantly.

"Tika-chan… do you…" she paused, then rushed on. "Do you ever get jealous of me? I know some of the other girls are. They say things behind my back but I hear them."

"Oh, don't pay attention to them, Miho-chan. And of course I'm not jealous. I think it's wonderful what you do, saving Tokyo all the time. But I could never do that. You're so brave, I'd be too scared."

Miho said nothing else. She just turned and hugged her only real friend.

I seen the sign up ahead at the county line bridge
Saying all is good and nothing less its dead
Runnin' till she's out of breath
She ran until there's nothing left
She hit the end It's just her window ledge

"Ribbon of my Heart!" Miho shouted her invocation again and the ribbon of light struck at another one of the monsters, bringing it crashing to the ground.

"Look out behind you, Miho-chan!"

She spun at the call, just barely able to deflect the shock wave of power from the biggest of the creatures. Flying backwards from the recoil she hit the wall of a building. The impact dazed her for a second before she could push herself off and fly at her foe.

But in that instant, the creature let off another bolt of energy, straight at the girl standing unprotected in the street below.

"No…!"

Hey hey hey...
Come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There's got to be something better than in the middle
Me and Cinderella
Put it all together
We can drive it home ... with one headlight.

"Where were you, Meimi? I needed you." A tone of accusation was in the girl's voice, something that Meimi had never heard before.

"Miho-chan, I'm so sorry about what happened. But a magical girl has to stand by herself, trusting in only the purity of her love and…"

"Don't give me that crap!" Miho cut in, rage spreading over her face. "You could have come. How could I fight them all? You don't care about me, I'm just your little toy. I only ever wanted to be a normal girl, you know that. But you hate me."

"Miho! You know that's not true. I care about you very much."

"No you don't. You only care about your precious little children. But they don't even know what you do." Miho was crying tears of anger now. "Wait until innocent little Yuki finds out what her mother really does. You can't keep her away from it forever, you know."

This place is old feels just like a beat up truck
I turn the engine but the engine doesn't turn
Well it smells of cheap wine and cigarettes
This place is always such a mess
Sometimes I think I'd like to watch it burn

She struck as the storm broke over Tokyo's business district. The first bolt of lightning found its earth in her outstretched hand as she stood high up on the roof of an office tower. Laughing, her hair full of ribbons streaming out from her head, she made a ball of the pure energy and hurled it from her. A building exploded as it impacted, sending fragments of concrete and glass showering down onto the crowds below.

"You've taken her from me, so now I'll take you all!"

The storm drew in on her. Lightning struck again and the very air around her seemed to energise itself in a purple halo of power.

"Cease this unauthorised rampage immediately," the amplified voice floated up from below.

"Puny man in your puny machine," she shouted back, her voice unnaturally loud and booming through the city canyons. "You can't stop me, none of you can."

Another building exploded as purple ribbons of energy spun out from her. Below in the street her captive crowd chanted her name. She had taken them from their lost idol and bent them to her will. Now they would sacrifice themselves to her destructive despair.

Leaping to the ground she faced the oncoming police at the head of her mob. At least five 'zillas, even some ninjas, she knew they were throwing everything at her.

And then she was there, fully transformed, hair long below her knees. Her foe, the one that stole her only friend.

"Meimi!"

Before the other woman could even respond, Miho emptied her power at her. The blackness of her soul screamed out with the mightiest force that Tokyo had ever encountered. Meimi was tossed like a rag doll in a hurricane. Miho laughed and prepared to crush her to oblivion.

Suddenly, something wrapped around her. What? She'd fought tentacle monsters before but this felt different. Forgetting Meimi for a second she grasped the thing around her waist and turned. It was a cable and at the other end a police mecha.

"Sonoda. I might have known you come to die with your wife." Miho let loose at the mecha and its defenceless pilot.

But something was wrong. Her power went into the cable and no matter now much she tried, it would go nowhere else. Worse, she couldn't stop it. Her power was being sucked from her.

"Magically conductive," she heard the policeman say, then she blacked out.

So alone I feel just like somebody else
Man I ain't changed but I know I ain't the same
But somewhere here in between
These city walls and dyin' dreams
I think her death it must be killing me

She slowly opened her eyes to the brightness. An unfamiliar ceiling. No, that was somebody else's story. She knew where she was immediately. A hospital, she was still alive.

"I see that someone's chosen to rejoin us." A familiar voice. Kenji! The gentle smile on his face couldn't hide the signs of fatigue and worry.

She looked around. Yes, there was Pokki snoozing in the corner under his hat. Walter stood quietly at the door as if on guard.

Miho closed her eyes again and turned her head away. A single tear tricked down one cheek.

Later that night, when they'd all left, she stole a pair of scissors from the nursing station. Huddled in a corner of her room, she hacked off the beautiful long hair that her friend had so lovingly taken care of for her. Then she wept one last time.

Hey hey hey...
Come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There's got to be something better than in the middle
Me and Cinderella
Put it all together
We can drive it home ... with one headlight.

"You want me to what?" Masamichi looked incredulously at his wife. "We nearly lost Tokyo to this one. A lot of casualties and a clean up bill that's going to wreck the department's budget."

"She's suffering more than any punishment you could give her. Just let her go, it's her only chance at ever recovering." Meimi knew she couldn't bully her husband on this one. He'd have to decide for himself.

"I'm not sure I want her recovering. She's too powerful to contain a second time. We got lucky."

"Don't worry about that. She drained all her powers into the magical battery. And now that she's cut off her hair, I don't think she'll ever get them back. She couldn't even climb a lamppost now."

Masimichi looked thoughtful for a while, then sighed. "Well, the magical containment facility is getting crowded, and it's no place for a girl her age. All right, we'll take a gamble on it. I hope you're right."

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