by Apple-chan

Disclaimer: insert witty disclaimer remark here

A future fic of sorts. Set approximately 11 years after the Anime. Plot is...umm...the Hot Springs. Yeah. As in Funbari Onsen. That is, Funbari Onsen's third anniversary.=)

Pairings: Mainly AnnaXYoh. And then some. I'm not sure yet.=)

Spoilers: The whole Anime series.

Warnings: PG-13 for adult situations, mild swearing, and the lot.

Others: This is 11 years after the Anime, so everyone's grown up. Yes, even Manta.=) And it's probably gonna be very weird...

Prologue - Welcome to Funbari Onsen!


The phone at the receiving area of a traditionally-Japanese-looking place rang so loudly that it could have woken the dead. And in Fubarigaoka, as morbid as this may sound--there were a lot of dead people. That would have been lots of ghosts to exorcise.

Anyway, as I was saying, the telephone at the said area rang loudly enough to wake the dead. But fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it--the sound of the phone was barely discernible from the commotion that can be heard all over the place.

Barely discernible to all--except, of course, to person beside the phone. Clad in a white and purple kimono, the said place's manager rolled his eyes to the ceiling, placed the receiver against one of his ears and an earplug in the other, and--in an exceptionally polite and cheerful voice, spoke.

"Hello, Ryu desu. How may I help you?"

It was past nine in the morning at the said place, and it was somewhere around spring, so the weather was nice and cold. And usually, at this time, and around this season, the whole place was very busy. Not just the receptionists, the valets, or the maids. Yes--even the manager, the resident doctor, as well as the owners themselves were busy.

The said place was fairly big, and, as it was the only one of its kind so very near to a city, it rarely ever was completely empty. Usually, when people came to stay in the place, they more or less came in groups that average about as few as two, or as many as twelve or twenty-four. And people usually came to stay during holidays--like Golden Week, or New Year.

During those times, the said place was packed, almost to the brim. In fact, said place would have been overflowing and overcrowding with people if the Okami hadn't thought of the practicality of asking people to call and make reservations before they actually come.

But, as everyone knows by now, not all people in world are known for their decency. There are some who are known for their rudeness, impoliteness, brashness, and, perhaps most disturbing of all--lack of ethics. Lack of morals. Some people, who are just too arrogant and foolish enough to believe that no one can say no to them--and that no one has the right to say no to them--go to the said place during peak season days, and expect that they will get room and service for themselves.

Unfortunately, those people who even TRY to do such things don't find out how ruthless the said place's Okami can be, until it was too late. And by the time they realize it, they have already been kicked out of the said place--with bruises and broken bones for good measure--all because they tried to be cocky and rude and arrogant and everything else unpleasant with one or two or all of the staff--or even worse, with the Okami and her husband.

And last year, a group of six rich-looking and arrogant teenagers came to ask for lodging and use of facilities at the said place. Without reservation. As was mentioned, coming to the said place without first calling for reservation was a crime worthy of punishment from the Code of Hammurabi for the Okami, even if the place wasn't quite full yet. Protocol was protocol, and SOP was SOP for the said place's Okami.

And her husband.

And their staff.

Anyway, the group of teenagers had even dared to DEMAND from the place, reasoning that maybe, just maybe, they could make an exception in this case. And then they had proceeded to showing the said place's manager a large wad of bills, accented with cocky smirks and smiles of triumph. But the manager had been undaunted. He had stared at the wad of bills, and then looked at the ringleader squarely, without flinching.

And he had told him no.

Extremely baffled and losing his patience, the teenager gang's ringleader had began to make threats. His friends had responded to the refusal as well by bringing out their cell phones, and threatening the manager with lawsuits.

At which point, the said place's owner had appeared, looking quite tousled and sleepy. He had been reluctantly summoned by said place's resident doctor to help the manager deal with the problem.

Said place's manager had approached him automatically, and briefed him on the situation. The manager, at that time, had began to panic. He had started to babble--in a low tone, of course, lest the teenagers hear him and start to make fun of him. They were already making fun of him as it is, what with his hair and all.

Ever calm and collected, the said place's owner had smiled, and quietly told the manager to allow him to handle the situation. And then the owner had gone up to the counter and looked at each and every one of the teenagers critically. He had surmised quite clearly that each of those six kids were from rich families--rich families who looked down on people. Rich families who only recognized those who had, at the very least, a bank account that was equal to theirs. Rich families who only acknowledged those who were in the same status as them. Rich families who were cruel to those who weren't.

But he knew that the kids themselves weren't really that bad. He could also tell that they just wanted to take a vacation--and they weren't actually planning on carrying on their threats, either.

He had then quickly scanned the records for free rooms. There was one, big enough for the six of them. The manager could have very well given them a room, and there still would have been plenty to spare.

But rules are rules, and regulations are regulations. And, as stated very clearly and concisely by one of the main laws of the place, written by his wife: "Walk-in guests are not allowed. Only those who have made reservations may receive rooms. No exceptions."

And so it had to be, the owner knew. No one has ever dared challenge even one of the laws set by his wife. Not even him, he noted with humor.

And so, just like the manager, he refused the offer of the teenagers. But unlike the manager, he had accompanied his refusal with a big smile.

And of course, this had angered the teenagers even more. At that point, they had actually threatened the owner that they were really, really, honest-to-goodnessly going to sue the said place.

But still, the owner had continued to smile at them. He didn't know what else to do anymore, so he had settled on the old reliable--he smiled. It always worked with his wife.

This, of course, had done nothing but infuriate the teenagers even more. Never mind their composure, never mind their poise--at that time, the six teenagers had cracked their knuckles, walked threateningly towards the said place's owner, and proceeded with beating him up.

Or, rather, they TRIED to. Said place's owner had merely evaded all of their kicks and punches, still with that big smile on his face.

The rest of the staff had cleared up and warned the rest of the guests to steer clear of the front desk, because the owner was handling a slightly minor problem as of that moment.

And just when the six teenagers were getting themselves all completely and thoroughly slugged and bruised up and wounded by their own doing (with the owner still smiling before them and evading their attacks), the personification of judgment, of reason, and of LAW in the said place--had appeared.

And then there was silence. The six teenagers had all gaped, speechless.

A vision in dark blue maternity dress was this personification--the Okami of the said place. Very...well...off into eight months of pregnancy, the said place's Okami had walked...or, rather, glided towards the center of the battlefield, where her husband was. She had then tossed her long golden hair over her shoulder, came up at her husband, and frowned at him.

And then she gave him a swift punch on the head.

Her husband had given her a wounded look, but then, he retreated inside one of the main rooms of the said place like a meek puppy. But he kept the door slightly ajar to watch his wife in action.

And what he saw had made him smile. There, out at the front desk, in all her pregnant glory, was his wife. And she had just finished unceremoniously kicking out the six uninvited guests out the door.

What was surprising, though, was the fact that the six teenagers had complied, without word or threat.

A week after, those six same teenagers came back to the said place again--only this time, they had their reservations at the ready. This time, the manager and the staff--as well as the owners, had welcomed them with open arms and a smile. Protocol was protocol, after all.

Anyway, back to the present. It was actually nearing the end of Golden Week, which meant that people all over the place were rushing and enjoying the last remaining days of their vacation. Which was another way of saying that the place was completely packed.

Aside from the fact that it was nearing the end of the Golden Week, there was another reason why the said place was packed. It was actually celebrating its third anniversary at this time of the year. And when it was the said place's anniversary, it was unusually packed. And I mean -unusually- packed. Which is another way of saying that, during its anniversary, the said place had a tendency to have all sorts of eccentric guests from different parts of the globe.

And thus, the commotion in the place.

The weirdest thing of all? All these somewhat eccentric guests are very good friends of the said place's manager, resident doctor, Okami, and owner. Most especially the owner.

Of course, it wasn't hard to believe that the said place's owner would have eccentric friends. After all, he wasn't what you would call normal, himself. Neither was his wife, the Okami. Nor the resident doctor. Nor the manager.

The said place's owner, his wife, the resident doctor, the manager, and the owner's friends--they were shamans.

And the said place was called Funbari Onsen.


End notes:

There we go. I finished the introduction.=) Happy, happy, ureshi, ureshi desu!=)=)=)

The rest of this fic is still alive and hovering all over my brain, just as it has been for about a week ever since I started writing Goodbye (that's my other fic...hehe, if you haven't read it, then please do so. Shameless plug, ne?^_^). In fact, the story was actually taking place inside my brain while I was on my way home...that I almost forgot to get off at my stop.=) That would have created a LOT of problems...

Uhm...I really don't know a whole lot about Japanese holidays, but from what I've gathered, Golden Week is the peak vacation season in Japan, and it falls around springtime. Golden week starts April 29 and ends May 5.=)

Oh yeah. In this chapter, as you may have noticed, aside from introducing Funbari Onsen, I've also introduced...the Funbari Onsen owners (Anna and Yoh, I'm sure you know), the manager (Ryu--incidentally, also the head cook at the Onsen^^), and the onsen's resident doctor (Faust VIII--hehe, I'm sure you knew that). In the next chapter, the rest of the characters will all make their appearances.

Anyway, I hope you all liked this chapter. This is my first attempt at writing an SK chapters fic that actually has something resembling a real story and plot. Sort of.=) Or maybe not. But I hope you still like it all the same. Chapter 1 will be posted next week.

Review will be very much appreciated.