Mouikkai Musume, Chapter One: The Girl Who Was Not A Girl

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Editor: Trismegistus Shandy

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The Girl Who Was Not A Girl
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A trickle of sunlight peeks through an elegantly crafted Victorian-style window with a soft and feminine style. The window is arched, its lacy curtains color a pristine white, and the glass is clear without a trace of a stain or even a smudge. As dawn passes into morning, more light comes through the window and brightens the room, chasing the shadows in the corners away bit by bit until the bed in the center of the room becomes gradually more visible. A comely though fragile-looking girl lies there, motionless. Her slender form is swaddled in a warm and comfortable-looking blanket. Her long dark hair spills out across the pillow her head lies on, her expression is serene. There's not a single rumple in the blanket covering her, indicating that the girl hasn't stirred even a little bit since falling into her deep sleep.

In her mind, nightmares terrorize her, nightmares of the last moment in time that she was conscious. The last moment that she could talk, laugh, smile, or scream. A haunting scene plays back, over and over again; each time it replays, the mind of the girl writhes with unrest, even if her body is incapable of doing so. Her body has been incapable of that type of basic reaction to the fear that tormented her for a long time. Then all at once the pain and fear disappear, as the scene replays again in an endless loop that holds her imprisoned within her own mind, a tragedy that she can never escape. In this dream, she's a boy, and about to begin a pleasant vacation with her family…

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"Are you looking forward to it, Madoka?" A kindly woman smiles at the boy, who grins in return.

"Of course! It's vacation, Mom! Of course I'm happy," the boy chuckles.

The man in the front seat grins. "We haven't had a nice vacation like this in a long time... my job's just had me so pinned down... I'm glad I could make them see how much I needed a break," he chuckles. "How much WE needed a break," he amends.

The boy's mother smiles at the man, his father. "I'm proud of you, Nobuo. I was starting to feel like you would never have the courage to ask... but you really came through for your family." She winks at the man, and in response Nobuo scratches his head sheepishly with one hand.

"Well... you knew what type of man you were marrying, Mana. I've always been shy about confrontations with my superiors..." He trails off and smiles wryly. "They're very strict with us lower management types."

"I know dear... I know..." She pats his shoulder. "What matters is we're here now... and we're free to relax for a week. It's so exciting. I haven't felt like this since our honeymoon." She smiles at him.

Nobuo blushes and grins lopsidedly. Madoka rolls his eyes and smiles at his parents’ behavior. It still seems type of gross, but he’s getting old enough to understand the relationships between men and women. Even though his father hadn't always been able to be there for him, there was no shortage of love in his family. He knows his parents are always thinking of him. Madoka turns to look outside the window and smiles. They finally were out of the city and into more rural areas. Not having been outside the city before, Madoka is particularly interested in the scenery passing by to either side of the road. There are mostly flat lands with trees. It all reminds him of a large park.

Madoka closes his eyes and zones out, listening to his parents playfully banter in the front seat. A moment later Madoka snaps out of his comfortable reverie, and his eyes widen. "D-DAD!!!" Madoka yells and points. Outside, in the lane across from the happy family, a car was swerving dangerously. Nobuo stares for a moment and the car decelerates, and the swerving car pulls ahead.

"Jeeze..." Nobuo finally sighs, turning to Mana with a serious expression. "Just because it's the weekend doesn't give people a right to let loose like that... you can hurt really someone driving like that." he comments.

"D.... DAD!!!" Madoka screams, pointing straight ahead. Time seems to slow. Instead of accelerating ahead, the driver chose to switch lanes and slow down. There is no time to stop or swerve. Madoka screams as he feels his body snap forward. A loud explosion goes off in his ears, and soon the sharp pain inside his body is joined by sharp pain outside his body. He opens his eyes and sees a car wreathed in flames. His parents’ bodies are limp and motionless, blood dripping down from numerous wounds. Madoka stares in shock and then screams, trying to free himself from the burning wreckage surrounding him as the smoke thickens and the heat increases. Bloodied and battered and in pain, Madoka blacks out.

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The girl continues to dream, suffering from this same nightmare, over and over again unaware of the figure that enters the bedroom. As the figure steps closer to the bed, the figure is that of a tall man with graying hair and a face lined with worry. The man wears an elegant dark suit with a white undershirt, for all the world appearing to be a stereotypical butler, right down to the tray in his hands. On the tray however, is not a full course breakfast as one might expect... instead he carries a bag of fluid, a washcloth, and a neatly folded towel. He sets his tray on the bedside table and sets about opening the curtains to let more light into the room. Soon the room is brightly illuminated.

The room is lacy, and the colors of the wallpaper are soft pinks and other feminine healing colors. In the corners of the room, many stuffed animals stand in precisely arranged spots. Off to the side, a vanity mirror reflects the light streaming in through a nearby window.
"Good morning, Sugar." The man smiles at the motionless girl. For lack of a better name, he had long since started calling her Sugar. She has a sweet face, especially since the terrible scars that had marred it once has faded. His master had done some of his best work. Despite his age, his skills had apparently not diminished.

"I see you haven't decided to wake up yet. Well, in any case, you're looking beautiful today, as always." He smiles and puts a gentle hand on the quilt covering her body for just a moment. It always touches his heart whenever he comes in to visit Sugar. He doesn’t know a thing about her past. One day she had been found nearly dead... or perhaps she really had died, because she had yet to come back to her body. He still hoped she would awaken. There were many mysteries concerning Sugar. No one knew who she was, and his master certainly hadn't told him.

With a rueful shrug, the man smiles. "Just you rest... save up your strength for the day you wake up, Sugar. Old Kozuke will look after you, no matter what," he murmurs, patting her stomach. and walks away towards a door that leads into a small bathroom. It has a comfortable looking bathtub and full amenities. His master has spared no expense in preparing for Sugar's needs. When she wakes up, she will find a kind and welcoming home. The master is a lonely man with a complicated problem.

Due to this problem he had been unable... or perhaps unwilling would be a better way to describe it, to find a loving wife and make a family for himself. He also had been against the idea of adopting a child, yet when he had found this girl, for some reason his heart had gone out to her entirely. Kozuke still marvels at how far his master has gone for a stranger. But that kindness has earned him a great deal of Kozuke's respect. To honor that kindness, he has treated Sugar as he would his own daughter. He has always been especially caring with her.

Kozuke begins running water from the faucet, and then opens up a cabinet under the sink and removes a metal basin. He runs his hand through the water and after a few moments when the water seems adequately warm, he holds the basin under it and begins filling it. From the counter, he selects a scented soap from among many kinds standing in a row. He has made it a point to select a different scent for her daily. It is a small form of pampering. It is said that people in comas may hear, feel, and smell things from their deep sleep. Kozuke reasons if true, a different scent daily could communicate to her that someone is caring for her and making an effort to treat her well. Perhaps those feelings will reach her one day and she will awaken... and yet a year had passed since she had come. She hasn’t stirred even a little in that time.

When the amount of water in the basin reaches the halfway mark, Kozuke turns off the water and mixes in the soap quickly with his hand, and then he lifts the basin, grunting only a little as he bears the weight of the water. He carries the basin quickly to the bedside table and sets it down next to the tray. Then he gently pulls the coverings from the girl's body, exposing her nude flesh to the cool morning air. Kozuke gently runs the washcloth through the basin of scented soapy water, and begins to gently sponge the sweat off of her body. For some reason, she is always very sweaty in the morning. He suspects her dreams aren’t pleasant.

"Shhhh... It'll be alright, Sugar..." he murmurs reassuringly as he cleans her body carefully and meticulously.
This job was a great deal more difficult when they first found her. She was bloodied and pulped. He had to clean all that away from her mangled looking body, and even after the master's procedure, there still had been horrendous swelling and scarring, and it took a long time for the burns and blisters to heal properly. He had to clean her three times a day and apply healing ointments. Although she is a girl, he understandably felt no attraction for her... rather he felt sympathy and a desire to look after the poor girl.

When her skin finally healed and became an unbroken pure white complexion, her face and body told the tale of the master's surgical skills. Even when she had become a beauty that quite took his breath away, he still felt nothing but a desire to care for this girl. Kozuke continues to efficiently yet caringly wash the girl, toweling her front dry, and then turning her over gently as he works. The girl doesn't stir even a little, as usual. When he finishes, he gently towels her back and turns her back over, yet he doesn't re-cover her again. Kozuke walks over to a nearby closet and removes a metal rack on wheels stored within. It somewhat resembled a coat rack, except it is instead for the purpose of hanging IV bags.

Sugar was unable to feed herself, so three times a day, she must have a bag of nutritious fluids and medicines infused directly into her bloodstream. In her right wrist a needle has been inserted. It feeds directly into her veins. Attached to the needle is a short see-through rubber tube that must be replaced multiple times a week. The master handles that duty, thankfully, alternating wrists when inserting new needles weekly. Kozuke feels his Master is far more qualified for that work since he is a doctor. Attached to the plastic tube is a simple device like a faucet to allow or disallow the passing of fluid or air, and an air bleed line to make sure she didn't get any air in her bloodstream. The tube has a joint on it designed to disconnect before sufficient pressure on the needle can cause damage, assuming Sugar suddenly moved tangling the line in the process.

Kozuke carefully attaches a longer plastic tube to the bottom of the bag, and attaches the other end to the tube extending from Sugar's wrist. He twists the valves at the bag and her wrist and in moments the liquid from the bag is traveling along the line and feeding into her bloodstream. The sight used to make him shudder, and he is not a man to faint at sights like this. It hasn’t taken him long to get used to it but the vision of her was still saddening to him. It stirred emotions in one's heart to see someone fed in such a way. Without it, however, Sugar would surely die. She couldn't take in enough sustenance, medicines, and liquids any other way.

With a sigh, Kozuke gently lifts the blanket and tucks her in once more. Now that she smelled nice again and was being fed, his duties are essentially over. Yet, as usual, he pulls a chair over, and sits. He has some time to himself in the mornings, and this is one way he chooses to spend it. He reaches under the blanket, gently clasps the girl's small hand in his, and gives it a soft squeeze.

"Wake up, Sugar... things aren't as bad as they seem."

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"D-DAD!!!" Madoka yells and points. Outside, in the lane across from the happy family, a car is swerving dangerously. Nobuo stares for a moment and the car decelerates, and the swerving car pulls ahead.

"Jeeze..." Nobuo finally sighs, turning to Mana with a serious expression. "Just because it's the weekend doesn't give people a right to let loose like that... you can hurt someone driving like that," he comments.

Madoka stares ahead, his heart beating wildly. Hasn't this happened before? Haven't they narrowly avoided crashing into that car before? Is it Deja Vu? He frowns, shivering. He can’t get over the feeling that he has seen this scene before... things aren't as bad as they seem. Where is that voice coming from? He'd heard that voice before, but he didn't know from where. Wake up, Sugar… The voice frustrated him for some reason.

"Where have I heard..." Madoka mutters to himself and looks up again. His eyes widen in terror.

"D-DAD!!! Pay attention!!!" Madoka screams, pointing straight ahead. Time seems to slow. Instead of accelerating ahead, the driver had chosen to switch lanes and slow down. There is no time to stop or swerve. Madoka screams as he feels his body snap forward. A loud explosion goes off in his ears, and soon the sharp pain inside his body is joined by sharp pain outside his body. He opens his eyes and sees a car wreathed in flames. His parents bodies are limp and motionless, blood dripping down from numerous wounds.

“Help meeeeeeeee!!!” Madoka screams as he witnesses his parents deaths again. He struggles and tries to free himself from the burning wreckage surrounding him as the smoke thickens and the heat increases. Bloodied and battered and in pain, Madoka curls up.

“I... I don't want to die... please God... help meeeee!” Madoka wails silently as the pain sears his body. He feels himself being cooked alive... he feels himself dying again... Again?

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Later on that day, when the sun's position has lifted higher in the sky, the light in the girl's bedroom dims and shadows once again leap out in the corners of the room. Although the light has faded, it is by no means dark in the girl's bedroom. Finally, something occurs that hasn't in just over a year's time.

The girl stirs in her bed, twitching weakly. Her fingers tighten and claw at her bedsheets, and a weak scream escapes her lips.
"D-Dad... M-om... I... I don't want to die..." she moans and mutters, clawing at her sheets. Her eyelids flicker fitfully, and then she screams, the pitch of her scream increasing. In her dream, she was being roasted alive.
Her body stretches and contorts with pain, and the tube that until moments ago was feeding nourishing fluids directly into her bloodstream snaps free, the before mentioned safety preventing the needle from damaging her vein with the force of her sudden thrashing. She moans, clawing the sheets, until finally, her eyes snap open, filled with horror.

Her body is covered with a new sheen of sweat, and her bedsheets are soaked with it. She looks around, searching the room with fear filled eyes.
"M-Mom... D-Dad..." Her eyes moisten and she curls up under the sheets and blankets, sobbing loudly.

Some time later, the tears stop flowing, and she shows some interest in her surroundings. She glances around, woodenly, taking in the lacy decorations around her. Her mouth twists humorously, though she isn’t feeling particularly like laughing right now. One image fills her mind completely right now... there is no room for anything else... even humor. The image of her parents’ dead and bloodied bodies has her shivering again and again. Finally, she hunches over again, losing interest in her surroundings, and falls asleep.

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Sometime later, the door opens, and Kozuke enters the room again, another IV bag in his hands. He closes the door behind him, and smiles at the bed.
"Good afternoon, Sugar." he smiles and steps towards the bed. As he walks towards the bed, he finally notices a few things. His eyes turn towards the IV rack. The tube that was attached to Sugar's IV drip tube is hanging down. He glances at the bed and his eyes widen. The bed is rumpled, and the girl seems to have changed her position. In fact she is curled up now instead of laying on her back. Kozuke's practiced smile changes instantly to a broad one. He walks over to the bed and carefully pulls the covers away from her body.

As he had suspected he finds she is indeed curled up. Her face is peaceful, though tear streaked and still a little red. She'd cried herself to sleep. He cannot blame her. Apparently her parents had died in the accident that she had been horribly mangled up and very nearly killed herself in. Kozuke carefully checks her wrist, and nods to himself. The IV needle is still securely taped in place, and she has not harmed herself. Kozuke notes to himself that she's covered in sweat again. Most of the scent from the soap he had washed her with is gone now, replaced with the scent of her terrified sweating. Kozuke makes a note of her status and gently tucks her in again carefully. He strokes her hair gently then. "It'll be alright now, Sugar. You'll see... you won't be alone." he murmurs.

He smiles and walks towards the door. He needs to report this to the master. Perhaps a welcome could be arranged for Sugar. She will need reassurance and care.

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The girl's eyes open slowly, as she feels herself slowly becoming conscious again. She stares up at the lacy canopy above her bed and sighs. What is this strange place?

"Why am I here?" she mutters under her breath. "I don't recognize this place..." she trails off.

"Because the master saved your life, Sugar. Good morning, by the way," a familiar voice speaks up, making the girl practically jump out of her skin. If it wasn't for the fact that the girl was utterly exhausted and weakened by her long sleep without any physical exercise, she might have leapt out of her bed. Her eyes focus and turn towards the person who spoke. She blinks as she stares at the person. He is practically a stereotypical butler, well into his middle years. His hair seems to be graying, and he has a kind smile on his face.

"Have... we met before?" she frowns, muttering. She feels like rolling back over and going back to sleep... but as she considers that option, fear eats at her. If I do that, I might not wake up again… she thinks to herself, worrying.

"Ah... not quite... though I've been caring for you for a long, long time, Sugar." He smiles, and steps forward, seating himself on the edge of the bed. "My name is Kozuke. I'm the butler here at the house that you'll be staying at... as for your condition.... Ah... well now. How to say this... you've been in a coma for over a year now. We don't know a thing about you or where you come from. There was no identification on your body... and all records in your parent's car were reduced to ashes by the fire, I'm sorry to say. Do you by any chance have any memory of your life before now? Do you know your name?"

The girl blinks and frowns, her sorrow plain in her eyes. "My name is Madoka... not Sugar. And... if you think just because I have a girly name that means you can treat me like a girl, you're wrong." Madoka smiles weakly at the elderly man. For some reason she likes him, and doesn’t want to hurt his feelings by lashing out at him.

He blinks and then smiles tolerantly. "Alright then... Madoka it is. It could take me a while to get used to calling you that, but I'll do my best not to refer to you as Sugar."

"Why Sugar?" Madoka asks after a moment of silence. "I know I have a girlish figure, Kozuke, but no one's ever called me Sugar before... I'm not insulted or anything I guess... it's just... I don't understand it," Madoka murmurs quietly.

"Why not Sugar?" the man returns with a smile. "Ah perhaps you weren't as pretty before the accident as you are now..." he murmurs with a flash of intuition. "I assure you that you're one of the prettiest girls I've ever had the pleasure of knowing now. The master does good work. There wasn't much to work with... your hair and body features were all so horribly burned... it was a wonder that you managed to cling to life. Your insides were damaged up too, so you needed replacement donor organs as well as extensive burn care." Kozuke explains.

"Kozuke... is it? I... I'm not a girl," Madoka murmurs simply, with a wry expression. "I'm a boy... so..." the girl murmurs, shaking her head. For the first time, due to that motion, she notices her hair and how long it is. "Huh? Wow... I really was out for a long time..." she murmurs.

"A boy?" Kozuke questions her with a startled expression. "Are you certain? You were a boy?" he blinks, suddenly appearing to be very upset.

"Yes... I'm sure..." Madoka says with a dry expression. "I checked a few times..." she chuckles, and then falls quiet, a realization dawning on her just now." Hey... w-wait... did you say... were?" she asks, gasping.

"Yes... used to be," Kozuke reaffirms. "Look... please don't hold it against the master... I saw your body when you came in... your entire genital area was charred and burned by the fire. Your whole body was a mess of blood and burns in fact. Your skin was charred and there were no distinguishable sexual characteristics, except for your feminine figure. The master not only saved your life, but he made you beautiful. So please don't think of him in an unkind manner," Kozuke murmurs, a pleading look on his face.

The girl just stares, shocked, and reaches weakly down between her legs. Her eyes widen again and she squeaks. "N-no way... it's another dream... I-I'm a freak now?" her voice cracks and her eyes moisten.

"No!" Kozuke suddenly puts his hand on her head and gently strokes it. "No... not a freak. From what I can see... you're every inch a girl... you aren't a freak. You're in fact very beautiful... Why, when you go back to school, I'd imagine you're going to be very popular even..." he murmurs, trying to console her. He isn’t quite sure of what to say. It is true his Master has made a horrible mistake but the way she was when she was found, well technically she wasn't a boy any longer even at that point.

The girl sobs softly as Kozuke gently runs his fingers through her hair. The gesture is soothing, and soon the girl is able to relax a little.

"I... I don't know if I want to go to school... I... I should just die... my family is gone... my... whole life is... it's ruined..." she moans.

"Don't speak like that," Kozuke murmurs in a fatherly tone. "Young people should go to school... and as for your family... they would want you to go on living... they would want you to be strong... if you committed suicide after everything done to save your life, how would that repay the master's kindness? Would your parents be so happy to see you that they would forget you just threw away your life, and your chance at happiness? You have a second chance, Sugar! Don't waste it..." he implores gently.

The girl remains silent for a long moment, curling up a little under the blanket. "I don't... I don't know... I don't know how to be a girl... I don't... my family... my friends... all gone... and I'm so weak... I can hardly move," she mumbles, almost inaudibly.

"I understand. We've been massaging your muscles and using electricity to exercise your limbs, but there's only so much we could do... you need exercise. All our efforts were only enough to keep your muscles from atrophy." He pats her head gently. "It will probably hurt... and a lot... but you'll walk... and run even... in time." he smiles. "To that end, I have prepared a wheelchair for you. Would you perhaps like to see the garden? There are some people who would very much like to meet you. You've been something of a mystery around here ever since you came."

The girl stares off into space quietly, and takes so long to respond that Kozuke almost decides to leave. "You know.... Kozuke... I... I think that's a good idea..." the girl murmurs, sitting up with obvious effort.
"My parents wouldn't want me to just die... and I don't want to live this way... laying in a bed." she murmurs, forcing a smile.

Kozuke smiles at the girl, feeling his heart warmed by her words. "I understand, Sugar... ah... I apologize." He smiles. "I can't seem to kick the old habit." He chuckles, stands up quickly, and walks to a corner of the room where a wheelchair now sits.

Madoka frowns as she looks at it. "That wasn't here before... did you know I was awake?" Madoka asks with a confused expression.

"Ah yes actually... you see..." Kozuke smiles as he pushes the wheelchair over to the bed.
"When you were in your coma... you wouldn't move even an inch... the blanket covering you was rumpled so I could tell you had moved. Also, your IV line was disconnected at the safety joint... I alerted the Master and the maid about your awakening... if you feel up to it, there will be soup for dinner. More broth actually... and applesauce. We need to baby your stomach. It hasn't been used in a very long time." He smiles and walks over to the dresser. "The master has already prepared everything you could possibly need. Unfortunately... everything he has prepared for you... well..." he reaches into the top drawer and dangles a pair of white panties from between his fingers.

"It's of a feminine nature. You have makeup kits and all sorts of feminine toiletries at your disposal... and we even researched the clothing that's in style for young girls of your age today," he murmurs as he digs through the drawers and produces a skirt, leggings, a blouse, and socks. Madoka winces at the sight of all the above.

"Are you serious, Kozuke? You expect me to wear that? I'd be... embarrassed." she blushes very redly. "A boy shouldn't..." Madoka trails off. Kozuke just smiles at her.

"No offense... but I don't see a boy right now. I see a cute girl who will look simply ravishing in these clothes. No one in their right mind will think anything of it. Furthermore,... it's either these clothes, or you could streak." Kozuke smiles with an amused look.

Madoka turns another shade of red at that and shakes her head vigorously. "No... no thank you. I'll wear the clothes... but I... I don't think I can..." Madoka trails off, looking at the clothes.

"No worries. That's part of my job. You aren't able to clothe yourself. I'll do it. That was my intention actually." He smiles and walks over to the bed. Kozuke carefully helps Madoka into a sitting position. "Put a hand on my shoulder to steady yourself." he murmurs and smiles approvingly when she does so, and carefully helps her into her undergarments, and finally her skirt and blouse and leggings.

"That didn't take as long as I thought it would," Madoka murmurs when she's been transplanted to the wheelchair. He had simply lifted her bodily and set her in the chair. That had been a sensation that Madoka had not been familiar with. It had been extremely embarrassing too.

"Alright... shall we go? If we don't hurry there won't be any sunshine." Kozuke slowly wheels Madoka out of the room.

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