Note: Three years between updates… that has to be some kind of record, huh?
Disclaimer: I don't own Ranma ½ . If I did, I'd be a real writer and if I tried to not update for years like I did with this fic I'd starve!
Lost Days Lamenting Lost Days
The sun was barely filtering through dark gray clouds overhead as Ryouga walked slowly through a nearly empty park. The air felt heavy, promising rain. It was times like these he wished he could just let it rain on him, get drenched from his head down to his soul.
And maybe the rain would get rid of the smell too. He was SO tired of smelling like a barbeque restaurant! Shouldn't the smell have disappeared in three days?
Stupid family of five making him save them from a burning building! Bah! And damn those building makers too and their lack of fire exits! It was times like this he just wanted to... teach about fire safety?
Well, something like that. But the stupid voice in his head hadn't told him to save anyone else in the past week, so at least he hadn't been drafted into some kind of superhero deal. Tights were SOOO embarrassing. He didn't think he could bear having his stuff all on display.
Ryouga sighed and flipped through another page in his father's spare address book. At least, going to his home hadn't been a complete waste. He hadn't really expected to find anything in his father's study, certainly not an address book. The little black book had been dusty and worn, but it seemed to be an important link.
Considering names were organized under categories like "Seer", "exorcists", "demon exterminator", "occult expert", "ghost hunter", and "crazy supernatural shit you should stay away from"; how could it not be?
So here he was on day three of his 'bother people in my dad's address book' quest. Unfortunately, most of the listings had turned up nothing but empty buildings and wrong numbers.
A couple listings had been interesting, if not completely helpful.
At the Higarashi shrine there had been some weirdo cosplay guy there dressed up like a dog man so he had quickly left. Otaku people scared him.
The goddess hotline hung up on him, saying something about him needing to work on his anger management skills and that they didn't give wishes to violent people like him and how did he get their number? And no they did NOT want to change their long distance service... all before he had a chance to even open his mouth. He figured it must be some kind of strange phone sex line and gave up.
Which sadly wouldn't be all that out of character for his dad to have in his address book.
Ryouga had then stopped by "Genkai's" place, but Genkai didn't live there anymore and instead there was a restaurant there. The owner, some nice lady named Keiko, sold him some good tasting ramen while her rough looking husband complained about the dent Ryouga had accidentally made in their door. After getting struck by a chi blast that came out of nowhere, he paid for the door and his food and then took his slightly crispy self elsewhere.
And then there had been that fortune teller in Kansai...
The day before...
Ryouga leaned forward, looking at the plump fortune teller with a mixture of awe and trepidation. The so called seer swept her long grey hair over her shoulder and waved her bangled wrists over her crystal ball.
"Ah, I see it all now. Yes, it's becoming clear!" She gasped. "The stars are aligning in a special formation that only happens every thousand of years! A great burden has been cast upon your shoulders. Only you can stop the universe from total destruction and stop the evil from---hold up. Whoops! Got the magic scrying board upside down." She flipped her board. "Now it says... keep on trucking kid. Please deposit 800 yen in the cup! Have a nice day!
Ryouga stared. "You expect me to pay for that?!"
And he couldn't forget about that lady from the Phantom Quest Corp and her bouncy... NO! He was not allowed to go to happy flashback land anymore! He was still feeling woozy from all the blood he had lost that morning.
So here he was, finally checking the last name in the book, organized by the western alphabet...
Y: for Yuko.
Yuko Ichihara to be exact. And it had a damn heart drawn next to it. Nothing good could come of that.
Ryouga stopped, double checked the address, and grimaced. Yep, this was the place. This area just screamed 'up to supernatural stuff'. An impressive Victorian style house with a beautiful lawn was flanked on all sides by skyscrapers. An ornate gate decorated with crescent moons surrounded the property. It was like time had stopped in this small section of land...
And, knowing his luck lately, it probably had.
Ryouga hesitantly opened the gate, vaguely feeling a tingling in his fingertips as the iron gate opened with an ominous creak. He couldn't resist the urge to roll his eyes. Suspicious gothic house? Check. Creaky Gate? Check.
He stepped free of the opening and watched as the gate slid shut of its own violation.
Gate with a mind of its own that closes by itself as if showing that you can never escape the dark grisly fate awaiting you inside the house? Double check!
Walking into an unknown person's house that you found in your dad's address book while looking for information about why you've suddenly started to see the future, hear voices in your head, and no longer have the family curse?
Ryouga followed a stone path leading up towards the house, braced himself at the front door and paused at the sound of voices.
"Watanuki's reading porn!" Two little kids chanted in unison.
"It's not porn!" That sounded like a guy around Ryouga's age. "It's my health science book! Come on, hand it over! I've got homework!"
"Ah, our little boy is growing up." That was a woman's voice. It sounded older than the man's voice to Ryouga's ears. Not a lot older, but definitely not a teenager.
"Watanuki's turning into a man! Watanuki's turning into a man!" the weird children chorused again.
"Soon, he'll be growing hair where there was no hair before!" The older woman cackled viciously.
"Argh!" The teenaged guy made some really unmanly screechy sounds.
Ryouga promptly turned around.
"Go make some tea Watanuki! We have a visitor!" The woman cackled again. It must have been her hobby or something. A cackling madly hobby. Just the kind of person you want to visit.
Before he knew what was happening, his feet had taken on minds of their own (which was an oddly nostalgic feeling) and carried him into the house.
The interior was very much like the exterior: old fashioned and fancy like an eccentric old lady's home.
But this lady was anything but old.
Ryouga's eyes widened at the figure lounging in the center of the room on a chair like throne. Dark tendrils of hair cascaded down her pale body and were blown gently in the air by a mysterious breeze, a red dress clung to soft...
"I'm up here."
"S-sorry! ...err I mean, what are you talking about? Heh heh."
In more ways than one...
The lady's cool indifferent gaze bored into his very soul. Red ruby lips slid into a smirk. The atmosphere in the room was chilled and that mysterious wind continued to blow, making her hair seem almost a separate living entity.
And then, quite suddenly, the mood deflated.
"Heeeeeey! You're Hoshi's son Ryouga aren't ya?" The woman grinned genuinely but didn't lose an ounce of intimidation. "Heh, leave it to a Hibiki to confuse the workings of time and space, let alone the gate's seal..." She squinted at me for a moment then suddenly seemed to know… something. Ryouga had no idea what.
"Yeah, that's my dad's name. I saw your name, Miss Yuuko Ichihara, in my dad's address book and I was hoping you could help me?"
"Perhaps." She turned around and waved at a spot behind her back Ryouga couldn't see. "Can the mysterious wind Watanuki. It's wasted on this customer."
A skinny guy wearing a black high school uniform and glasses poked his head out from an alcove off to Yuuko's right. He was holding a paper fan. "Why'd you even ask me to do this in the first place?"
Yuuko rolled her eyes. "What's the point of having long hair if it doesn't mysteriously flutter in the breeze in dramatic moments?"
She turned to face Ryouga again and melted back into her throne. "Oh well, the exercise is good for you. Go make us some tea." She paused. "And snacks, Hibiki's are always hungry." She waved her hand dismissively like a queen.
Hey, that was sorta-
Ryouga's stomach rumbled.
Completely true, unfortunately.
The glasses guy disappeared behind a screen door and the sound of a paper fan being ripped to pieces violently could be heard from the other side.
"So, um…" Ryouga cleared his throat and tried to squash the mounting sense of nervousness he was feeling in the pit of his belly. He was NOT intimidated by this mysterious otherworldly lady with giant—yeah not intimated at all. "You see I've got a problem I—"
"Kid," She looked at Ryouga like he was her favorite nephew… her favorite mentally retarded nephew. "You have MANY MANY problems." Her smirk turned even more cat-like. "Your family, the little piggy wiggly, your relationships or lack thereof with the opposite sex, your education, your terrible fashion sense--"
"Hey! A GIRL picked these clothes out!"
Yuuko raised one thin black eyebrow. "A girl who is known to frequently cross-dress in men's clothing?"
"Well she'd know about men's clothing then wouldn't she?" Ryouga's eyes widened. Wait, PROBLEMS? PIGGY WIGGLY? How the hell did she know? An idea struck Ryouga like a ten ton truck and took his breathe away with its intensity. Could she, have a cure for his Junsenkyo curse?
"Can… can you help with ANY of those problems?"
Yuuko's smirk faded and she suddenly turned deadly serious. Her eyebrows knitted together and Ryouga could just FEEL power throbbing in the room. "I can, but the price for that wish would be more than you would want to pay. However, the matter is irrelevant. THAT is not why you are here today." She smiled and the teasing friendly woman returned once more.
Two little girls, one with pink hair and one with blue hair bounded into the room. Both carried a single long thin book over their heads. They skidded to a half in front of Yuuko and began to speak in unison.
"We brought it!"
"We killed some bugs!"
"And now it's got bug guts on it!"
The whole routine had a high 'What the fuck?' factor, but Ryouga was beyond the WTF factor by now. Ranma could have ran into the room in a wedding gown, declared he was having Kuno's baby, and Ryouga would have simply shrugged and asked 'Is it a boy or a girl?'
"There you are." Yuuko took the book from the freaky little girls, who laughed (STILL in unison) and skipped away. She turned to Ryouga and showed him the front of the book.
"This is what you're here for."
"A book?". How was a book going to… he squinted at the title. The Legend of: Ushinatte - The pop-up book version. Ryouga blinked. "A pop-up book?!"
Yuuko leaned back into her wicker chair. "This should be around your reading level."
"I can read! I don't need some freakin baby book!"
"Oh." Yuuko looked mock concerned. "So you don't want it then?"
Ack! Crap! He couldn't piss off the mysterious mystic lady! This was his last chance on his information hunt. He had no where else to go. "Yes." Ryouga gritted his teeth. "Yes I want it."
"Do you REALLY want it?"
"Really really really?"
"Damn it yes! Just give it to me already!"
Ryouga paused in horror. That… they sounded like… Aw hell. He buried his burning face in his hands and waited to die from embarrassment.
"First I need you to do something for me."
Ryouga looked up and peeked through his fingers.
"I need." She leaned forward and Ryouga's eyes were drawn southward against his will. "YOUR BODY."
There was a pause.
"TO MOVE MY FURNITURE."
Ryouga fell over backwards.
"Watanuki, get a broom, and a dustpan! We finally got someone to move the furniture that your weak little girly arms could not budge!"
The rest of the insane household wandered into the room.
"I DO NOT have weak little girly—"
Ryouga sighed and stood up. That book SO better be worth it.
Ukyou was one of the few girls in the world that understood boys perfectly. Through the years of pretending to have a Y chromosome, she'd discovered a very simple rule about the male species.
Boys were dumb.
And they got even dumber when they reached puberty. Somewhere around the age of twelve or thirteen, they lost dozens of IQ points all at once, and spent the rest of their lives trying to gain back what they had lost. Sometimes, they never did.
That's what happened when you thought with the lower half of your anatomy.
She supposed that she was exaggerating a bit. There were a few more dimensions to them. Such as: "Boys were gross". But didn't that go without saying? If it came out of their body, or if they could pick at it until it bled, it was considered really cool. Bonus points were awarded to things that could do both.
So she wasn't surprised when her surveys came back with chocolate stains, doodles all over the margins, water smudged, some strange red stain she didn't want to examine too closely, and a few exotic smells.
It was enough to make a girl buy a hazmat suit.
Ukyou grasped the huge pile of papers, making sure to keep them as far away from her body as possible, and dropped them haphazardly into a cardboard box. Unfortunately, she couldn't find any anti-radiation lead lined ones, or even a box with a lid. Yuck, they better not leak anywhere or she was going to be pissed.
She caught a hint of a white bandanna above the heads of the passing people on the streets, near a bread stand across the street. That could be only one guy... Ha! And he was still wearing the bandanna she made him buy! This was perfect! She could force him to take the survey. After all, she needed a paper full of wrong answers to compare the other entries with.
"Hey! Ryouga! C'mere!"
He looked up and waved hesitantly, but nevertheless trotted over to her. She raised an eyebrow at his appearance. Talk about scruffy, the boy looked like he'd gotten in an attack with rabid dust bunnies and lost.
"Hey Ukyou." He stopped in front of her and stuffed a book back into his bag. Okay, that was weird. Ryouga... with a book? It must be a martial arts manual with really big pictures.
"What happened to you?"
Ryouga shrugged and scratched his head. "Eh, saved a family from a burning building a couple of days ago. Then this lady made me move dusty furniture..."
Ooookay. He was such a weirdo. "Why didn't you clean yourself up?"
Ryouga rolled his eyes. "Feh, what's the point? I'll just get dirty again."
Yes, boys WERE gross.
Ryouga looked at her oddly.
Ukyou straightened her girl's uniform. Here it comes. She knew what was going to happen. It was what always happens when a tomboyish girl wears a dress. He was going to 'just notice' she was a girl!
Ryouga raised an eyebrow. "You look... weird."
"What was that for?!"
"You were supposed to notice that I'm a girl!"
"Huh? I already know you're a girl." Ryouga looked at her like she was insane.
Okay, so maybe she was off her rocker a bit. What was she so mad about? Sure, she would have rather heard "you look pretty today" or "Ukyou your beauty blinds me with its radiance"... ok so Ryouga would never say that, but whoever said a girl's mental fantasies had to be realistic?
Still... WEIRD was the best he could come up with? Jackass.
Ukyou's hand clenched around her spatula handle, then relaxed. "Oh just forget it dumbass. I need help with something. You're technically a man, so sit down and take my survey." She gestured to the chair in front of her folding table.
"Sorry Ukyou, but I'm kind of busy and..."
"Come on. It won't take long. I'll give you a free okonomiyaki." She tried to employ a puppy dog expression, but it settled somewhere at angry yippy dog.
"Will you... stop being mad at me? Ryouga looked down at the ground and put her puppy dog expression to shame.
Ukyou inwardly winced. Was he still upset about that? It's not like he did anything while in Akane's bed as P-chan... He didn't have the guts. And besides, it wasn't HER bed. Geez, he was more like a girl than she was.
"Yes, we'll be on good terms again. And you get free food."
Ryouga still looked slightly unconvinced. "Ok but... why do you want me to take a survey?"
Err... Ukyou said the first thing that came to mind. "It's National Survey Day."
"Whoa, really? Ok." Ryouga sat down.
Ukyou marked off the entire section on intelligence.
"Ok, first question. What do you want to be ten years from now?"
"Alive." Ryouga picked up his free okonomiyaki and started to munch on it.
Alive? He was really reaching for the sky wasn't he? "What are your hobbies?" She wrote in "trying to kill Ranma" before he opened his mouth.
"Trying to kill Ranma." Ryouga blinked. "Oh and fighting evil cults and attempting to change the hands of fate."
Ukyou stared. "You've been doing some interesting things in the last couple of weeks haven't you?
"At least you're branching out." She made some marks on her paper. "Next question. What's your favorite color?"
Ukyou smirked. "You know, yellow is considered the most annoying color in the spectrum."
Ryouga glared and swallowed another mouthful of okonomiyaki. "Who decided that?"
"I don't know... scientists... or artists... something like that. I heard it in class once."
Ryouga rolled his eyes and started to get up. "Listen, I'm busy so--"
"What's your blood type?" Ukyou grabbed his arm and forced him to sit back down.
"I dunno, is there a dragon blood type?"
Ukyou stared again. "Riiiiight. Moving on, what career are you planning on?"
"I'm a martial artist. You know that." Ryouga puffed out his chest.
"Oookay then." Ukyou wrote 'Unemployed Bum' under the question.
Ryouga glanced over at her paper. "Hey!"
"How many children do you want to have?"
Ryouga looked down and twiddled his thumbs. "I doubt I'd ever have anything like that..."
The okonomiyaki chef wrote 'performance problems' on the paper.
"I DO NOT HAVE PERFORMANCE PROBLEMS!" Ryouga tried to melt into the ground as people in the area began to stare. He continued in a softer tone. "I'm way manlier than Ranma or any other guy around here, thank you very much."
Ukyou wrote "overcompensation" under the question.
"Stop that!" Ryouga growled. "I don't have time for this. I'm leaving!" He grabbed his free okonomiyaki and turned to leave.
Ukyou wrote under the last question 'Takes the goods and leaves before he's finished'.
Ryouga swiped her pen.
"Give that back!"
But Ryouga had already disappeared around a corner and made a bee line for the bread stand. Guys! Honestly… and just fed him! Fine, let him go to the weird looking bread stand people. She glanced downward and cringed. The idiot had left his pack! Her eyebrows shot up to her hairline when she saw what book the jackass had actually been reading.
What the hell was he doing with a pop-up book?
Oh forget it, she was about to be late for a cooking club meeting. She didn't have time to worry about the idiot. Ukyou quickly packed up her belongings and hurried away. If she had stayed just a minute longer, she would have seen said idiot eat a piece of bread, pass out, and get carried away by the brand stand workers.
But she didn't, because Ryouga's luck really is that shitty.
The first thought he had upon waking was that he'd been kidnapped… again.
Actually, his first thought had really been 'that bread was mighty tasty' but he preferred to think he had a non-retarded thought upon waking.
Ryouga opened his eyes slowly. "Oww... uh... jeez those 100 hundred guys that took me down really did a number on me..."
Ranma snorted. "Oh shut up you bastard. I know you ate the bread too."
Oh, just freakin fantastic. Not only was he kidnapped, he'd been kidnapped with Ranma.
Not only was Ranma also there, he was chained to Ranma with some kind of chi sapping chains. He could feel them just sucking out his energy.
Ranma rolled his eyes and sighed. "Yeah whatever. This sucks..."
"Feh, what are you worried about? I'm sure your hoard of fiancées will come to your rescue." Ryouga's brain struggled to come up with some kind of escape plan. Maybe he could gnaw off his own arm to escape? Keep pulling and hoping brute strength would rip the chains before he ran out of chi and collapsed? Scream like a girl and hope someone comes?
Ranma twisted towards his right arm as far as the chains would allow. "What hoard?! I dumped them all for Akane... And do you think Akane is strong enough to rescue us?!"
Next Chapter: Ryouga and Ranma attempt a daring escape while still tied together. With such forced proximity, will passions be ignited?! Will hate turn into love?!
Just kidding, that won't happen. Sorry yaoi fangirls. -
Ryouga: (spits out the cyanide pill he had been about to bite down on) "Heh, I knew you were kidding all along..."
C&C is nice, but comments with suffice. I'm not sure if I'll ever update this again, but this chapter has been sitting on my computer almost done for years. And by almost, I mean I literally put off writing two paragraphs for three years. How's that for procrastination? I wonder if I broke any records…