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"Goodbye Gods Willing: Special Bonus Edition"
 
   LAST EDITED ON Jan-01-18 AT 05:35 PM (EST)
 
[ Moved this over from the defunct GW board, by request. --G.

Presented here for the first (and probably last) time anywhere are two unfinished pieces which are all that remains of Gods Willing. The first is what got written of the third episode, which never managed to acquire a title. The second is a scene intended for a much later episode - like, in the third "season" or so, if the thing had gone on as long as NXE did - and is set more than a year and a half after the part of the series that got finished. (At the time it was originally written, that part was even set in the future!)

Note the continuation of the evolution, which began in episode 2, from "Ah! My Goddess fanfic" to "Kosuke Fujishima-themed crossover fanfic"; I seem to be incapable of designing anything that doesn't cross over with something. Also note the guest appearance by Zach Stephens, bringing his EPU number to 4 if you count his solo story and his NXE Bonus Theater!! guest spot.


SATURDAY 16 OCTOBER 1994 
09h11
88 ELM STREET

Ben Hutchins, known to his friends as Gryphon, was never a
morning person. This was not a fact that he could ever adequately
explain. Even in his high school days, when he made certain to get to
bed by 10 PM, he never had an easy time of rising at 7 AM, though nine
hours of sleep were perfectly sufficient, and no more than he got on
his usual weekend schedule, 1 AM to 10 AM. It was the hour of waking
itself that went across his grain.
This morning he had a greater handicap than usual to overcome,
since he'd only gotten to bed at 2:30 and the previous day had been a
tiring one. When the noise started above his bedroom on the second of
88 Elm Street's three floors, he tried his best to tune it out, making
irritable noises, turning over and burying his head in his pillows.
The thumping and heavy walking continued, though, burrowing into his
consciousness, inescapable. His left hand fumbled its way across the
comic books and random debris next to his bed (actually just a
mattress and box spring on the floor), found the control knob on his
bedside box fan, and cranked it up to HIGH, causing the fan to shift
from a murmur to a roar.
Unfortunately, -that- created enough of a breeze across the
bed that he got chilly, which meant fumbling around for the extra
blanket he usually kept semi-rolled next to the bed for such an
occasion; but his searching for some item or other in the previous
morning's haste had displaced the backup blanket from its usual
station, so that he couldn't find it while semiconscious. After a bit
of random groping, he began to realize, grudgingly, that he was awake
and might as well accept it.
Gryphon grumbled some more, turned on his back, and switched
off the fan. As its roar died away, the sounds from above became more
distinct, and he realized that they weren't just the aimless thumpings
of noisy neighbors; there was a kind of purposeful pattern to the
comings and goings of the footsteps. The thumping noises always came
when the footsteps paused, too. Somebody was carrying things
around...
He got out of bed, hunted up his bathrobe and shrugged into
it, and went out to the kitchen, yawning. Belldandy was there, doing
one of those Belldandy-in-the-kitchen things that he was never quite
able to identify; he mumbled a greeting to her, went into the
bathroom, and shut the door behind him. Twenty minutes later he
emerged with clean teeth, wet hair, and somewhat more consciousness.
Bel was still there, having moved from mixing things in a bowl at the
table to mixing things in a pot on the stove.
She smiled at him. Belldandy smiled at everyone, as a general
rule, but this was special; this was the first-meaningful-social-
interaction-of-the-day smile for him. She'd learned in the weeks
since moving into the apartment not to expect anything in the way of
coherence from Gryphon before he'd been into and back out of the
bathroom in the morning. Now that he'd gone and returned, she could
give him his morning smile with reasonable assurance that he'd
received and comprehend it.
"Morning, Bell," he said, going to the fridge for the day's
opening caffeine. "What's going on upstairs?"
"We have new neighbors," she replied cheerily. "Keiichi is
helping them carry their things in, and I'm making them a cake."
"New neighbors, huh? More college kids?"
"I don't think so. They're young women, but past college, I
would think - about MegaZone's age. They seem very nice, though."
"Hm." Gryphon drained the morning Pepsi, refrained from
crushing the can, and tossed it into the recycling bin. He didn't
think the City of Worcester actually bothered with recycling - they
probably just chucked the recycling bins' contents into the trucks
with the rest of the garbage - but Belldandy had faith in the
ineffable depths of the Worcester County waste-management system, and
so he deferred to her optimism.
"Guess I'll get dressed and see if they want any more help,
then," he mused, and went into his room to get started. Ten minutes
later he was on his way out, dressed to move things - old jeans,
beat-up last-generation sneakers, somewhat threadbare T-shirt and
button-front flannel, light gloves, and a sweat-managing headgear of
his own devising, and of which he was rather proud.
As he passed the door to the front bedroom on his way out, it
opened a crack and MegaZone poked his squinting, grumpy, unshaven
morning face out. "'Th'hell's alla noise?" he bleared.
"New neighbors up on 3. Bell's baking them a cake. I'm gonna
go see if they need help with their stuff."
Zoner blinked, shocked into lucidity. "You? Help somebody
move?"
Gryphon shrugged and did his best to look offended. "It's
only neighborly."
Zoner shook his head and retired from the field to gather
clothing preparatory to his own shower excursion.
Gryphon went upstairs, stood in the open doorway of Apartment
3, and looked around as best he could from the doorway. The layout of
3 looked similar to that of 2 below, with the living room off the
entryway and a door at right angles to that entryway which led into a
front bedroom. The living room was still mostly empty, except for a
few boxes stacked around. There didn't seem to be anybody about.
"Hello?" Gryphon called.
"Yes?" an oddly familiar voice called back from the area
which, in Apartment 2, was the kitchen. A moment later its owner came
into view, a pretty young woman with thick black hair in a single
heavy braid, wearing bib overalls over a blue sweatshirt. She
recognized Gryphon at the same instant Gryphon recognized her.
"Oh!" they both said at once.
"Officer, um, um, oh damn I forgot your name!" he said.
"Mr. Hutchins!" she said.
"I, uh - I live downstairs," said Gryphon. "I thought I'd see
if you wanted help bringing your stuff in. Well, that is - I didn't
realize it was -you- - er, not that the fact that it -is- you, you
know, dampens my enthusiasm or anything - in fact I'm delighted - uh -
I'll come in again."
He about-faced, went halfway down the stairs to the second
floor, then came back up, looked curiously through the doorway, and
said, "Hello?"
Biting back a giggle, Miyuki Kobayakawa replied, "Yes?"
"Hi, I'm Ben Hutchins, I live down on 2," said Gryphon.
"Would you like a hand bringing in your stuff?"
"Sure, that'd be great. I'm Miyuki Kobayakawa," she said,
coming out to the doorway. "Come on downstairs and meet my roommate."
As they went downstairs, Miyuki asked, "Speaking of roommates,
did you rescue yours?"
Gryphon grinned and nodded. "As a matter of fact we did. As
it turns out I didn't need to be in such a hurry after all - it took
most of the night for an opportunity to present itself." He
shrugged. "That'll teach me to get too wrapped up in the chase."
When they got to the street level, what awaited was a big
yellow Ryder move-it-yourself truck, parked neatly alongside the curb
so that its ramp came about even with the walkway up to the house's
front porch - not strictly legal, as parking on that side was
prohibited on Elm Street, but standard and accepted operating
procedure for moving vans in Worcester. Elm was wide enough that
traffic could still get around the truck, anyway; on some of the
tighter side streets it might have been a problem, but not here.
Here there was a small crowd of people; carrying-up operations
had apparently been suspended momentarily in favor of getting things
off the truck and staging them on the porch. Keiichi Morisato,
Gryphon's housemate and Belldandy's sort-of-boyfriend, was at the far
end of said porch counting moderate-sized moving boxes; a rangy,
sturdy-looking fellow in mirrored sunglasses was carrying another box
to add to the stack; a tall and lovely girl was off to the side and
appeared to be inventorying plates in a dishpack box; and a rather
mousy-but-cute, bespectacled girl was standing next to the door,
'supervising'.
"Hey, Miyuki!" announced the girl with glasses. "We've almost
got all the small stuff off."
"Thanks, Yoriko. Everybody, come meet another of our
neighbors!" said Miyuki. The work party knocked off for a moment to
gather around.
"Hi!" chirped the girl with glasses. "I'm Yoriko Nikaidou!"
The tall and lovely girl smiled, a little shyly, and bowed
demurely. "Aoi Futaba," she said. "I'm pleased to meet you."
"Hey there!" said the guy in mirrorshades, with a hearty grin.
"I'm Ken Nakajima! How you doin'?"
"Oh, pretty good," said Gryphon, wondering idly if there were
some statistical reason for the sudden upsurge of people with Japanese
names in Worcester. None of these people even looked particularly
Japanese, except maybe for Nakajima - Gryphon couldn't see his eyes,
after all. "My name's Ben Hutchins, but my friends call me Gryphon.
Are you -all- moving into 3?"
"What? Oh, no," said Nakajima with a laugh. "We're just
helping out our co-workers. It's just Miyuki and Natsumi moving in."
"Where -is- Natsumi?" Miyuki wondered, frowning.
"Still in the truck, probably," said Yoriko. Turning, she
shouted, "Hey, Natsumi! C'mon and meet Gryphon!"
"Yeah, yeah, just a second, I'm comin'," came back a voice
from somewhere deep within the truck. "I'm just trying to dig out the
couch."
There was a rustle, a clatter, and then a loud THUMP as
something heavy fell over inside the truck. "Darn!" said the voice.
"Need a hand?" Gryphon called.
"Nah, I got it," replied the voice; and a moment later, a
six-foot sofa came out of the truck, balanced on the shoulder of a
slender girl no bigger than Miyuki. Gryphon stared as the couch came
up the steps, then landed with another resounding THUD on the porch.
"It's just a bit unwieldy is all," said the couch-bearer. She
was pretty in a way Gryphon particularly liked, with a no-nonsense
pageboy bob of thick brown hair, big violet eyes, and a face that
grinned a lot. She had on a black tank top and a white jumpsuit with
the top half tied by the sleeves around her waist, and though lean and
athletic, her body wasn't bulging with the kind of muscles that one
would think a person would need to carry a six-foot couch - and a
hide-a-bed model at that! - like it was a cassette deck.
And, Gryphon observed to himself, thank God for THAT!
She grinned at him, stuck out her hand and said, "Hi, I'm
Natsumi, Natsumi Tsujimoto."
"Ben Hutchins," Gryphon replied, offering his own hand and
enjoying the rush of relief that came when she shook it firmly but
comfortably, then turned it loose. "Or Gryphon if you'd rather."
"Nothing wrong with 'Ben'," she said, "is there?"
"Nah," Gryphon replied. "I'm not as militant about the whole
nickname thing as some people I know."
"Hi," said Zoner's voice from the doorway.
"Speak of," Gryphon muttered.
More introductions ensued, and Yoriko, in her supervisory
capacity, began assigning jobs, starting with putting Nakajima and
Futaba on dishpack-hauling duty.
MegaZone eyed the couch and said, "Gryph, you think you can
take one end of this?"
Gryphon considered protesting that it wasn't necessary, since
one of the new neighbors was a forklift, but decided that wasn't
particularly gallant; so he put on his game face and replied, "Sure,
but you get to be the one to walk backwards."
"Nah, I got it," said Natsumi. "You guys can help with the
boxes, though."
Zoner kept himself from scoffing. He could tell from the
doorway that the sofa, a six-foot leather-clad affair with the
telltale strap of a hide-a-bed, had to weigh the proverbial ton. This
girl might weigh a hundred and twenty soaking wet.
"The real trick to it," Natsumi observed as she knelt down in
front of the couch at the middle, "is getting it picked up in the
first place."
So saying, she put her hand under the front, frowned
thoughtfully for a moment, then stood up with the couch on her
shoulder, in one smooth motion.
Zoner gaped.
Gryphon grinned smugly at him over her other shoulder.
"'Scuse me," said Natsumi cheerfully, and Zoner stepped aside
to let her duck the couch under the lintel and carry it up the stairs.
Wow! Zoner mouthed to Gryphon.
Dibs, Gryphon silently replied, pointing his thumb at
himself.
Damn, mouthed Zoner.
Gryphon replied merely with an expansive shrug that could be
read as, Hey, you snooze, you lose.

[more moving]

[Belldandy brings up the cake once the living room is settled; before
they can eat it the moving crew wants dinner, and to save Bell the
trouble they order from Celestial Pizza]

The knock at the door came in the middle of a hilarious
anecdote about one of what Gryphon figured were probably -many-
Adventures of Ken Nakajima; Zoner, being closest, got the door.
"Celestial Pizza! Delivered on the Wings of Angels!" said the
familiar cheerful voice of Zach Stephens, the delivery guy for
Celestial. Lanky, blond and perpetually smiling, Zach was a fixture
in the lives of many of the pizza-sustained student enclaves of the
greater WPI area, and that certainly included Apartment 2; so he
immediately recognized Zoner.
"Hey!" said Zach in greeting. "You guys move upstairs?"
"Nah, we're just helping our new neighbors move in," said
Zoner as he ushered the deliveryman inside.
"Hey, Zach!" said Gryphon. "How's everything?"
"Groovin' as usual," said Zach. "You? Hey! Nat! 'Sup,
Wonder Girl?"
"Same as it ever was, Pizza Dude," Natsumi replied with a
grin, sharing a practiced-looking two-stage handshake with Zach.
"Like our new digs?"
"You're kiddin'! You and Miyuki're moving in here? Stylin'.
88 Elm is gonna be like Celestial Central. Suits me fine - I never
liked trying to get the Judgment-Mobile down El Camino Narrow where
you guys used to live anyway."
"It's good you already know how to get here," Miyuki observed,
smiling. "We were worried we'd have to train you again."
Zach grinned. "No chance of that - your downstairs neighbors
are Celestial Customer Numero Uno. Though," added Zach with a wink to
Belldandy, "I dunno -why- when they've got Bel here. She's only the
best cook in the state."
"Why, we do it to keep you employed, of course," said Bel with
a smile.
"And the Judgment-Mobile and I thank you from the bottom of
our hearts," Zach replied with a deep and courtly bow. "Hey, I hate
to mix business with pleasure, but the damage today is $62.85."
"Here, I got it," said Zoner. "No, no, this is a welcome-to-
the-building thing," he said over Miyuki's protest. As was standard
operating procedure, he tipped liberally.
"Thanks, dude," said Zach. "Look, I gotta jet - Theta Chi
ordered like a -ton- of 'za tonight, should be ready to deliver by the
time I get back to the store. It's gonna take us twenty minutes just
to get it all in the car. You guys hang loose, 'k?"
"You too, Zach," said Gryphon. "Hey, stop by #2 when you get a
chance - I got an Alpha Collider bootleg from Josh the other day that
I think you're gonna want to borrow."
"Cool," said Zach. "Yeah, I'll do that if I'm not like
totally wiped at the end of my shift." Zach waved and went, then
paused at the doorway and leaned back into the room.
"By the way, whose bitchin' '57 Cad is that out front?"
"Mine," Gryphon said, slightly startled as he was reminded
that it -was-, in fact, his.
"Awesome wheels, man," said Zach, giving his friend a
thumbs-up. "Same year as the Judgment-Mobile."
"Oh yeah, it is, isn't it? My... uh... a friend found it for
me."
"Sounds like quite a friend," said Zach with a grin. "Man, I
-gotta- go. I hope the Oxen aren't up to something -dumb-. Seeya
later, dudes!"

[Of course Belldandy knows what Zach is. I dunno if he knows what
-she- is, though.]


FRIDAY, MAY 17, 1996

Lunchtime at Tatnuck Bookseller on Chandler Street is always
a busy time, what with the cafe in the middle of the bookstore and
all. The bookstore's parking lot is really too small to handle the
parking demands of the peak lunchtime crowd, so it tends to get a
little crowded at this time of day. Sometimes people take their
chances and park illegally, either along the curbs next to the
bookstore (a fire lane) or in the handicapped-reserved spots.
On this particular day, nobody cared to try their luck. Not
with a State Police motorcycle and a Worcester PD patrol car parked in
the lot.

[setup material]

Gryphon clapped a hand to his forehead, his teeth gritted as
if in agonizing pain. "ARGH!" he declared. "Nakajima, you worthless
lump! You're gonna give me a stroke!"
Ken, stricken, shook his head feebly and squeaked, "Oh no."
He held out his hands, his face beseeching his friend to stop.
But there was no stopping Gryphon now. His frustration
transmuted into a towering fit of pique, he jumped up, leaned across
the table and glowered at the somewhat terrified policeman, as their
companions regarded them with a mixture of curiosity and shock.
"Every single time I think there might be a glimmer of hope on
the horizon you come up with some stunning new feat of spinelessness!"
Gryphon continued. "Even now, NOW, you stand with your toes
o'erhanging the VERY PRECIPICE of ACCOMPLISHMENT, but is NOW the time
you finally seize your destiny? No! It's time to do a volte-face and
jete back to Coolsville."
Ken cowered. "Meep."
"For God's sake, give me that!" said Gryphon, his hand
plunging into the breast pocket of Nakajima's tunic and emerging with
a small gray object. Ken looked, if possible, even more stricken,
made a feeble grab, and then subsided into miserable whimpering.
"Watch!" said Gryphon, holding up a finger in admonition. "This is
NOT rocket science."
Then he sat down, composed himself, and smoothed his
disheveled hair a bit. The others all sat back a little bit as though
a spring were unwinding slightly.
Composed, Gryphon turned to Natsumi and took her right hand in
his. She glanced down at it as if uncertain what he wanted it for,
then over at Miyuki (who shrugged), and then met his eyes with her own
as he spoke.
"Natsumi," he said, "I'm hopelessly in love with you. When
we're not together I can't get you out of my mind, and even if I
could, I can't think of a reason why I'd want to. When we -are-
together, it's as if balance has been restored to my unsteady world.
I can't catalog all the wonderful things about you, and believe me,
I've tried. I've spent hours just thinking of your face. You're my
best friend... you're the other half of my soul, but complete unto
yourself. You're too honest to steal, but you've stolen my heart all
the same, and now I have to know: Can you take the rest of me? Do
you love me too? Will you marry me?"
And with that, Ben flipped open the small gray box he'd taken
from Nakajima to reveal the gleaming diamond ring within. Ken
Nakajima gave a kind of strangled moan sound and shrank back as though
from fire. Next to him, Miyuki Kobayakawa sat transfixed, biting the
knuckle of her right index finger, her eyes huge and focused entirely
on the tableau unfolding before her.
Natsumi Tsujimoto gave Gryphon a totally blank, utterly
stunned look for about three seconds, and then the glaze in her eyes
melted as delayed comprehension dawned on her. For a moment, she
looked as if she had no idea what she could say; then a touch of color
came to her cheeks, and her shocked expression softened into a tender
smile.
Slowly, deliberately, she closed her hands over his and the
ring box.
"Yes, I can," she said. "Yes, I do. Yes... I will."
The suspense shattered, and the Tatnuck Bookseller cafe, which
had come to a dead-silent stop for the last twenty seconds, erupted in
spontaneous applause.
"There, you see?" said Gryphon, turning to a still-gibbering
Nakajima. "Was that difficult? Am I injured? No! It's done. I'm
alive. The world's still turning. Everything is the same, except
that now Natsumi and I are... " He trailed off, gears turning in his
head, and then turned back to Natsumi. "You can? You do?? You
will?!"
Natsumi, still smiling that same smiled, nodded. "Yep."
Full comprehension of what he had just done crashed into
Gryphon's consciousness like a truck, and his face lit up with a
strange combination of joy, confusion and a luminous blush.
"Oh, wow," he said.
Natsumi grinned and pulled him into her embrace, which he
happily, if somewhat mechanically, returned.
"Oh, wow," he repeated.
"Oh, Ben?" wondered Miyuki, having found her voice again.
"Haven't you forgotten something?"
"Huh?" said Gryphon, looking over Natsumi's shoulder at the
blue-eyed policewoman.
"Are you going to actually -give- her that ring, or just
-show- it to her?" asked Miyuki with an impish grin.
"Oh, OH! Right! Damn, I hope it fits," he said, plucking the
ring from the box's satin embrace and fitting it to the appropriate
finger of Natsumi's left hand.
"'Course it fits," said Natsumi, holding her hand out in the
prescribed manner to admire it.
"But," said Ken. Then he stopped, having been cheerfully
elbowed in the ribs by Miyuki. "Uh... congratulations, you guys," he
said instead.
"Definitely," said Miyuki. "Wait 'til Yoriko finds out!"
Natsumi laughed. "She'll be so depressed she wasn't
here to see it... lock up the razor blades! But she'll cheer up when
I tap her to be a bridesmaid. Or should I just call 'em attendants?
I mean, 'bridesmaid' is kind of a lie when it comes to Aoi... "
"Oh my God, I hadn't even thought of that," said Miyuki.
"'Course my one and only partner will be my maid of honor,"
said Natsumi; then she grinned slyly and added, "Unless -you- guys
want to make it a double ceremony, huh?"
Miyuki and Ken blushed and looked in opposite directions,
which made Natsumi and Gryphon shatter completely.
Lunch finished up shortly after that, and, after accepting a
bone-grinding hug from his bride-to-be, Gryphon stood next to his
Commando and watched Officer Neon tool off up Chandler Street before
turning to a still-somewhat-confused Ken Nakajima.
"Uh... " said Gryphon. "Look, I'm sorry, that didn't go
anywhere near the way I expected it to."
"No, I'm the one who's sorry," said Nakajima. "Damn it all,
you're -right-! You summed up everything I feel about Miyuki with
what you said to Natsumi, but I can't -say- it! I bought that ring
and everything, psyched myself up for a week, and I still couldn't do
it. I don't know what's wrong with me."
"Aw, Ken," said Gryphon, putting his hand on the bigger man's
shoulder. "I still shouldn't have yelled at you like that. I
snapped. It's not like it's any of my business, really. It's
just... well... " He grinned. "I just want you guys to be as happy
as I am." Gryphon's grin turned sheepish. "Uh, by the way, about
that ring... "
Ken laughed. "I'll make you buy Miyuki's," he said, strapping
on his helmet and climbing into his police Harley's saddle.
"You're on," said Gryphon.
"See you later," said Ken, and Gryphon waved as Nakajima fired
up his bike and rode away.
Chuckling, Gryphon shook his head, then took off his glasses
and hung them in his jacket's breast pocket and got ready to put on
his helmet.
As he pulled it over his head, he stopped for a moment as
another wave of realization hit, engulfed his senses, then ebbed
away. Then, buckling the chin strap and re-donning his glasses, he
laughed.
"Oh, wow," he said, and kicked the Commando to life.


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Goodbye Gods Willing: Special Bonus Edition [View All] Gryphonadmin Jan-17-06 TOP
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Benjamin D. Hutchins
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