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Title: Metagrobology
Fandoms: Bravely Default
Rating: SFW
Length: 1208 words
Characters: Airy
Pairing: Tiz Arrior/Agnès Oblige
Summary: Airy reflects on the constants and variables present across all the instances of Luxendarc.

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Airy had watched the same patterns repeating over and over almost without variation across so many worlds. Three companions were near constants. Ringabel the last to join her group of dupes was something of a wild-card. He appeared sometimes; the annoying amnesiac they met in Caldisla, always a little too devoted to Edea. On other occasions he was missing and she saw no trace of him. There was no perceivable pattern, the circumstances defying her attempts to rationalize the process. Since neither his presence nor absence seemed to impact the group's activity Airy soon stopped caring. If he was absent she would not miss him. If he was present, she would take particular glee in killing him last. And he could still prove amusing in other ways; once he wound up meeting himself. The man had been dumb-founded and unsure of just what he was seeing. As amusing as it was, the memory nagged her, something about the situation implying a troubling notion. The worry only lasted a few moments - it was hard to care any more. That one time seemed to have only occurred as a result of her allowing them to survive longer than normal before cutting them down. The group had not lived long enough to cross the Holy Pillar after the meeting.

So versions of the same world; the fractured reality of Luxendarc far too tempting for Ouroboros to resist. And after so long, the end was now almost in sight. Only a few more occasions to play the befuddled helper, to guide her companions as fast as she could and yet forever feign ignorance. If she could steer them clear of the Vampire's castle again, so much the better. Visits there were always nerve-wracking, Airy trying not to draw attention to herself. It felt so obvious where DeRosso's cryptic hints pointed, but the dupes never seemed to make the vital connection. The Angel's warnings fell on deaf ears and went unheeded.

Soon Airy would not have to watch Tiz and Agnès fall into familiar, wearying patterns. With few exceptions he would be the sole survivor of Norende and Agnès spent a wasteful amount of time looking after him. Patience was vital though; Airy once sought Agnès out as she arrived in Caldisla. The idea had been to speed the process along rather than wait for the vestal to blunder her way to the Norende crater. Without Tiz though, the Sky Knights would lay claim to Agnès making progression difficult. Rescuing her was the least of the problems Airy faced in those circumstances. As much as the fairy relished the horrors visited upon Agnès, the pliant state she wound up in was not as useful as Airy might have supposed. Killing Tiz provoked much the same problem; with Ringabel absent Agnès was again captured by the Sky Knights. While Airy could manipulate the vestal with lies and cruel words, Agnès remained a broken, pathetic thing. She dragged herself between the crystals, her spirit broken, avoiding anyone and everyone. Airy assumed her normal form on this world, passing her visage off as a side-effect of the vestal's corruption. While she could deal with monsters easy enough, it meant a far more active role in the journey. Tiring; far easier to let the rest of the dupes deal with the obstacles while she waited to act.

It was almost like a puzzle when dealing with their interactions. Tiz needed to reach the Norende crater and needed to meet Agnès. While meeting Ringabel was variable, failing to meet Edea stranded both in Caldisla. Airy had whispered madness into Ominas's ear as he slept in one early world, delighted as he turned on Edea while her guard was down. Agnès and Tiz could scrape by a confrontation with the black mage, but then there was no way for them to get to the Water Crystal. Not that it stopped them trying, Agnès desperate and Tiz adamant that they find a solution. After a week Airy almost slew both in their sleep. They had been growing closer, distracted from the mission. She resisted the impulse, aware that such an action would trap her in this world. Lord Ouroboros's anger would be terrible and he could still reach her here. Her eventual solution was the indiscriminate slaughter of the inhabitants of Lontano Villa. She delivered the airship just before dawn, a gift from a mysterious benefactor she had no imagination to explain. A few spells steered the craft in the right direction and she dispensed with the both her companions as soon as the pillar appeared.

If she let the group persist across too many worlds, the bond between Agnès and Tiz became too strong. Agnès would soon prefer spending time in his company rather than Airy's and her words no longer moving the vestal. The loner she could at first control grew close to all their companions and Airy soon became the odd one out. She was never able to quite hide her otherness well enough to join in their frivolous pursuits. The villain in their midst remained always on the outside looking in. Well, no matter, they were beneath her. All were beneath her.

Airy wondered if her current idea was the best course of action; only seven worlds remained to link. Her patience with the group had worn thin years before, now she just wanted to finish her task. Still, was it a good idea to give this last Agnès and Tiz the chance to grow so close? On the one hand she would not have to witness their bumbling first meeting again, Agnès's protests failing to drive him away. On the other, now she had to endure their nauseating pseudo-courting. Watch as they tried to hide their feelings even as they spent increasing amounts of time together. They remained stalled; more than friends but only just less than lovers. Always on the brink. Even Ringabel and Edea encouraged them at times, Airy forever glad that Ringabel had never looked at Agnès the way he looked at Edea. In a perfect world there would be no romantic ties, but two pairs were at least not too troublesome to handle.

Airy sighed as she watched Agnès and Tiz talk in low voices outside the Yulyana Needleworks. While she no longer had Agnès's trust to the degree she felt most comfortable with, at least she only needed her for a little while longer. No one could see the monstrous smirk as she anticipated the moment when they fulfilled the final awakening of the last crystal. The moment when she would take great pleasure in killing Agnès and her soul-mate. Airy paused for a moment, considering the term and its application. The universe seemed insistent that they be together. Would they have still met if reality was not broken? If the world had never come to the attention of Lord Ouroboros would there still be this awkward almost romance? With a final, dismissive look she concluded the answer was near certain to be 'Yes'. Someone or something would lead one to the other; an unavoidable destiny. One of the constants of almost all the Luxendarcs. She turned away from them both to find somewhere comfortable to curl up until morning.
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