The Lost Art of Wandering from Room to Room By Caspian Nyghtvision

Major Note: This is Alternate Universe, so no one is really dead - at least, not anyone I like. It's July; the Ronins are taking summer college, everyone else works. For reasons that will be explained later, almost everyone (Nine armor bearers, Kayura, Yuli, the Ancient, Badamon, White Blaze) lives in Mia's house, which has magically acquired an addition with two new bedrooms and a den. That's called Artistic License. **Satisfied nod**

Disclaimers: Ronins and cast belong to somebody else, I am NOT a buggle, and there's no such thing as juu-juu. Meh.

Chapter One: 12 Konton Road

The man brushed his short white bangs out of his eyes, panting slightly in the heat. It was almost six in the evening, but the temperature was in the high eighties. Everyone else was at work, and he was left alone in the house. Well, not entirely alone. He did have the pets.

Bending down, he picked up the two heavy dog-food bowls on the floor. One was very large and had "White Blaze" printed around it, and the other was Chihuahua-sized and said "Badamon." He filled them with cold water and set them back down.

At the sound of their water bowls, the two household pets came racing in from the den, where they had been trying to keep cool. Growls and hisses erupted as White Blaze finished his water first and tried to steal Badamon's. The man sighed and separated them. Badamon scampered behind his legs and whimpered, while the tiger triumphantly finished both water bowls. While White Blaze was distracted, the man tossed Badamon a doggie treat, and the Netherspirit scurried happily off to bury it somewhere.

"If Mia finds biscuit crumbs in her underwear drawer again, she'll lock you in the closet for a week!" the man shouted after the blue-skinned pet. He rolled his eyes, a gesture that went unseen, since the baseball cap he always wore covered most of his face. All that could really be seen of his face was his tanned lower jaw, and the long white ponytail in the back. He looked a bit like a retired hippie, wearing blue jeans and a borrowed shirt. The shirt was white, and said, incomprehensibly, in red English letters, "Milkball."

From far away, he heard the distant crunching of tires on the long gravel driveway. He tilted his head and concentrated. Sounded like Mia's car, the red Samurai jeep. That meant the three people who worked at the university were coming home early. It would probably be a good idea to make sure the house wasn't a festering mess before Mia got in. The screaming, ranting, violently dangerous Angry Mia was not something any man would want to contend with. (Angry Kayura was another one. He shuddered to think.)

He looked quickly around the house. Yowls and snarls from upstairs meant that White Blaze had discovered Badamon's doggie treat, and was now going to wreak hell on earth until he got one, too. The living room was completely trashed due to the tiger's most recent kitty spaz fit. The corners of the carpet were shredded, and the couch had been turned into a big scratching post. Badamon had spent most of his day getting glitter all over the upstairs, and had stolen a lot of food and 'hidden' it. In case you were wondering, dear reader, that is why there were celery sticks in all the lighting fixtures.

For his own part, he'd done some casual mess-making that had to be dealt with. Personally, he liked a lived-in house. But it wasn't worth his life if Wrathful Mia begged to differ.

White Blaze padded in, tongue lolling in the unbearable heat. The man looked down at him. "You are aware of the fate awaiting us when she sees this place?"

The tiger seemed to raise a skeptic eyebrow.

"Needs must, old friend. Go get the Ancient Vacuum Cleaner of Doom."

The background music swelled dramatically.

Mia sighed as they finally reached the end of the driveway, and she switched off the engine. She let her weary head fall to the steering wheel. "This has been one hell of a day," she groaned.

Dais was in the backseat with one elbow on each of the front seats. Despite the scolding, the Warlord still refused to wear a seatbelt. "It does not get this hot in the Netherworld," he stated with savage force, as if it was the first time he'd ever said it. It wasn't. Mia reminded him of the fact. Since it was too hot to argue, and Dais recognized that tone of voice, he decided to let it rest. "Yes, ma'am."

They dragged themselves out of the air-conditioned haven of the Jeep, swaying slightly as the heat attacked them. Mia glowered tiredly at the stuff in the trunk they were going to have to bring in. It was too damn hot to carry anything in. As if reading her mind, Dais replied, "We'll get it later. Hey, Anubis, are you coming?"

The occupant of the shotgun seat said nothing, being fast asleep, head resting on his taut seatbelt. Long auburn hair spilled down his bare shoulders - he was wearing a tank top, although the dress code at the university forbade teachers to wear casual clothes. Still, no one was going to argue with him, and most females on campus agreed he looked damn good in a black tank top. "Aw, look at him," Mia said with her head on one side, watching him. A faint smile crossed her face. "He's so cute when he's asleep."

One narrow blue-green eye cracked open. "I am?" Anubis smirked.

She snorted and dragged herself to the door.

It opened by itself. "Welcome," said the man in the baseball cap.

"Hi, Ancient, does Ryo know you're wearing his shirt?" Mia brushed past him, into the kitchen.

She opened the refrigerator and climbed inside, aware that she was insane, and not caring in the least.

The Ancient watched her placidly, then turned to greet Dais. "Welcome."

The white-haired Warlord stared at him oddly. "Do you know what it says on your shirt?"

"No. In the fundamental heart and mind of the Universe, it doesn't matter at all."

"It says 'milkball' on your shirt," Dais said resentfully. "I can read English. I know this."

The Ancient gave him a flat look, which was unseen because of the baseball cap. "Nobody cares," he spat, forgetting to be incomprehensible. He yanked Dais into the house and waited for Anubis. "Welcome!"

The red-haired Warlord looked at him sleepily, tucking one of his sidelocks behind his ear. It fell right back into place as it always did. "Um. milkball---?"

Peeved, the Ancient hit him upside the head and stormed off.

"I feel unloved today," Anubis stated forlornly. He went into the kitchen to get a cold drink. In retrospect, he shouldn't have been surprised to see Mia in the refrigerator. But you know what they say, hindsight's always 20/20. He was very surprised to see Mia in the refrigerator. She handed him the carton of orange juice, and closed the door again.

Hee. Sorry it was short, but it's just the first chapter. Yrs in the Netherworld, Caspian Nyghtvision caspian_scholar@hotmail.com