Tokyo Mew Mew Replaced
Chapter 03 : Enter the Café

The school bell rang to signal the end of the day.

“Okay, class dismissed!” announced the tired teacher, who sluggishly got out of his seat. Some eager students were already at the doors however- a couple of girls chatting, one discussing her plans for a date over the weekend, a group of friends who had decided to go to the park after school, a particularly jumpy male student who probably wanted to get out of the school building as fast as possible. Natasha sat in her seat a little longer then she normally would, staring out the window, daydreaming of what had occurred earlier that morning. A sense of glee welled inside her, and she could felt as if she was dreaming, expecting that any moment someone would shake her awake.

As it so happened, she soon found herself being thoroughly shaken by Umeko, who was standing over her with her school bag slung across her shoulder.

“Hey, wake up Nat! We have to get to that café, remember?”

“Oh- Oh yeah!” Natasha jumped up and grabbed her things. She hurriedly skipped out of the class room, Umeko trotting along behind her.

“I really can't believe this!” Natasha said, swivelling round to look at her friend. “This is so amazing...This is so amazing!!” Natasha bounced around the partially empty corridor, while Umeko just giggled.

“Ah, well I'm glad you're happy about it,” she ran forward and stopped right in front of the ginger. “I looked pretty badass in the costume, huh?”

“And you were really awesome! Wow, that scythe thing- you took down that monster so fast!”

“Yep, Yep I am pretty awesome. But hey, you were pretty cool too- and that green costume's pretty cute.”

“Aww thanks. Hey how do you think those things work?”

“Uhm...I don't know. A wizard did it?”

The two giggled, before continuing walking towards the exit.

“You guys, wh-where are you going?” a voice behind them said.

Umeko and Natasha turned to see Rinzen, standing in the middle of the corridor.

“Aren't we going to the club room?” She said, her voice slightly sad.

Umeko and Natasha exchanged a look, and then Natasha replied.

“N-Not today Rin! But tomorrow, definitely. We're just busy today.”

The little brunette walked up to her two friends.

“Oh okay.” she said smiling, her face lighting up. “So what do you two have to do?” “Um...j-just somewhere...” Natasha didn't really want to lie to her friend. But she also knew she probably wasn't meant to be telling everyone about her new promotion to superhero quite so soon. A little white lie wouldn't hurt right? But she couldn't think of an excuse.

“Listen, we'll see you tomorrow, okay Rin?” Umeko piped in a jovial tone. Natasha felt herself relax as she could see Rinzen had taken this reply.

“Oh...well okay then.” The small girl almost murmured her look of slight dismay returning. She gave a weak smile and then walked past Natasha and Umeko, towards the exit doors.

After the she was sure Rinzen was out of earshot, Umeko said:

“Wow...that was close huh?”

“ you think we should have lied to her like that? Do you think Ryou would mind if we told one person?”

Umeko folded her arms.

“That Ryou guy doesn't seem like the most easy-going. He'd probably snap at us.”

“Yeah...I guess you're right...” Natasha replied. The two made a move to leave, before they were once again interrupted.

“Hoshimi! Takeda!” An austere voice called out.

“Are we ever going to make it to the café today?” Umeko mumbled to Natasha as the duo slowly turned, recognizing the voice of the student council head. The tall figure of Aoi Kinomi strutted towards the two lower-classmen in the stately manner the students of the school had come to fear.

“Not meeting your group today then?” the 3rd year commented, mockery lacing her normally cold tone.

“What's your deal Kinomi? Why're yo-” Umeko started, before Natasha cut her off.

“Wh-What Umeko means Kinomi-san is that we all have personal matters to attend to and can't always be in club.” she cut in, trying to prevent Aoi from keeping them much longer.

The tall upperclassmen only gave an unimpressed scoff.

“Just shows how active your third rate 'club' is, doesn't it?” she said, before passing the two and exiting herself.

Once again, Natasha felt relief flow over her, and she let out a half-hearted laugh.

“Wh-What was that about?”

* * * * *

The sun was still up, but dimming by the time the girls reached the café. Café Mew Mew was situated in a park, surrounded by trees full of lush foliage and bushes with their flowers in full bloom. A gentle breeze was blowing across the park and coupled with the soft lighting gave the area a calm and serene feel. The café itself was rounded in structure, and very pink, decorated my hearts and other cutesy décor.

“...And this just opens up a whole new mess of questions,” Umeko mused, staring at the garishly feminine building that seemed to be the home of their new employer.

Before Natasha could reply, the doors of the café flung open and a blond man poked his head through the door way.

“There you two are!” Ryou exclaimed, before gesturing for the two to come in, “Hurry up!”

Natasha drew her breath.

“Here we go!” She said, feeling herself smile.

“Here we go.” Umeko acknowledged.

The two girls stepped forward, and entered the café.

* * * * *

It was a much awkward scene then either Natasha or Umeko could have imagined. There they were, in the unbearable pink interior of the café, sitting on plush pink heart shaped chairs, on one side of a rounded table, across from two men who looked incredibly out of place with their cutesy surrounding. Sure, they weren't the manliest- what with the brunette's ponytail and Ryou just generally being too pretty – but it was still strange to think that they'd be comfortable in a place so obviously more appropriate for a four year old girl. Natasha just sucked up her embarrassment and decided to break the ice.

“So what's up?” Umeko interjected in a deadpan voice, before Natasha could even open her mouth.

“I thought it was obvious- you two are Mew Mews.” Ryou said. The expression on his face said that he either wanted to bite Umeko's head off or that he wanted to burst into laughter from how up front she was.

“Well yes, but...what else?”

“Yeah! What are our duties? Do we have shifts and patrols? Oh and what other cool things do we do? Is this our secret base?” Natasha said, jumping into the conversation. She couldn't help it- she was way too excited.

“Well, you have plenty of duties,” the brunette interjected in light hearted voice, “I'm Keiichiro by the way” He smiled and held out his hand across the table, which Natasha and Umeko shook. Then he turned to Ryou. “I think you should probably explain? I don't think they quite understand the seriousness of this situation.”

Natasha unintentionally crossed her arms.

Seriousness? I understand this is serious... she thought.

“Okay- right how much do you two know about the Mews? You've seen them on the news right?”

“What?! Of course I know!” Natasha seized her opportunity. “There are five Mew Mews, to start off. There's Zakuro, who's purple and who has dog ears and a tail, and she's the beautiful one. Then there's Mew Pudding who has a monkey tail and is yellow- she’s really young and jumps around a lot. After that there's Mew Lettuce who's green, but I don’t know if she has any animal parts. Mew Mint's the blue one and she has wings. And last but not least there's Mew Ichigo! She's the most famous because she was on that animal show! She's pink and has cat ears and is the leader! She's so amazing- she's my-”

“Okay, but what do you know about what they actually do?” Ryou said flatly, his expression unimpressed.

Natasha's face fell. She knew that they had saved Tokyo...but from what?

“Well, then, let me explain.” Ryou started.

“The Mew Mew project was something that was started by my late father- he created it as a method of preserving the Earth's endangered species. I utilised his research a few years ago to create the Mew Mews to fight against a different threat to the Earth- one that came from outside of this planet.”

Natasha felt herself go a little cold. What was he taking about?

“A few years ago, Aliens be-”

“Are you kidding me?” Umeko blurted. Ryou, however, was undeterred.

“As I was saying, Aliens began infiltrating our planet. However, only a small group came here, under command of an Alien named Deep Blue, who sought to take this planet. However, the Mew Mews were able to defeat this threat and we made peace with the Aliens.”

“Well then...then there's not much to worry about, right?” Natasha said hopefully. She had no idea how she felt about having to fight extra-terrestrials- the mere thought of life existing out in the universe and then coming to Earth blew her mind.

“That's what we thought. It's been pretty quiet for the past two years. But recently, after the Mews left, I've been worried about them coming back. And after what happened this looks like those fears are true.”

Natasha froze. So that was an Alien this morning? That thing had nearly killed her.

“So, what we’re asking is- will you two help us fight these Aliens? Until the original Mews return?” Kiiechiro chimed.

Natasha looked from him to the blonde, and then to Umeko who was looking directly at Ryou.

Think about this Nat...Is this really what you want? Natasha balled up her fists.

“Yes. I agree.”

Umeko nodded solemnly.

“Yeah. Me too.”

“Well that's great then!” Ryou said, all the sternness falling away as he stood up, and placed two boxes on the table. “These are you’re uniforms. You start work at the café tomorrow!”

“W-work?” Natasha looked at him, stunned.

“Yes. A bonus of working as a Mew Mew is that you get to work in Café Mew Mew too!” he said happily. He again pushed the boxes towards the girls who reluctantly accepted, before going over to the door and opening it into the evening.

“As what? A waitress?” Umeko said sarcastically. She and Natasha walked over to the door step where Ryou was gesturing for them to leave.

“Yep!” he said, and before Umeko could complain, he shut the door on their faces.

* * * * * *

“How did that guy ever rope us into that deal?” Umeko complained, as she and Natasha walked out of the girls changing room at the end of the next day. They had just explained to Rinzen that they had taken up jobs in the café, and this was why they had to skip out on the club again so they could be on time for their shift. In reality, they still had around half an hour left for the café to even open, but the two felt that they needed time to go over the past two days goings on. As they chatted about how unfair their new boss was, they found themselves near the boy's changing rooms where a familiar figure was walking out.

“Akito!” Natasha squealed happily, going over to the boy.

“Hey there Natasha! Hi Umeko.” he said with a smile.

“Hey. Aren't you a little late out? And where's Mikan?” Umeko said, looking about for her current target of admiration.

“He's the reason why I'm late. He's always the last one out, so I wait for him, but he always shoos me out after a while. Either way, I gotta go. See you two.” He waved the two girls off and walked down the corridor. Natasha watched after him, wishing he'd stayed a little longer. Her train of thought was soon interrupted by Umeko's phone being thrust in her face.

“What are you doing!?” She exclaimed, startled.

“Go in there and take pictures?” Umeko said, shamelessly smiling at her friend.

“Are you crazy?! I can't go in there!!”

“Oh just make up an excuse- just say you thought it was a girls changing room or something. Pleeease?”

“Why don't you!?”

“Because I'm not as quiet and sneaky and amazing as you!” Umeko giggled, handing Natasha the phone. “Now take good pictures!” Umeko smiled and she pushed Natasha's through the swinging doors and into the boy's changing room. Natasha stumbled through and quickly turned rough to yank the door open, only to realize Umeko was holding the door on the other side. Sighing, she decided to just get this over and done with.

Creeping into the room, Natasha tried her best to keep quiet, until she finally spotted Mikan's figure. She crept closer but then realised something.

Natasha was most definitely not looking at a boy.

[end chapter]

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