Disclaimer: Please forgive me, Watsuki-sama! I have stolen your characters and twisted them beyond recognition! I'm soooo sorry! (Can I keep them now?)

Castle in the Clouds

~ Raven Boy ~

Once upon a time, there lived a boy in a village in a deep forest called the Forest of Four. No one really knew why the forest was called the Forest of Four; it just was. And there was a village, deep inside this forest, and that is where the boy lived. Not in a castle, and definitely not in the clouds.

Anyway, this boy grew up with only a little sister and their old pervert grandfather. (No, not perverted that way. No, not that way either.) And anyway, the boy never spoke. Well, he did, but it was such a rare occurrence that all the villagers just decided one day that the only things he knew how to say were "..." and a weird grunt/noise that sounded like "Aa."

They called him Raven Boy. (And Icicle, occasionally.) You see, the only times any villager ever saw him saying even "..." or "Aa" was when he was surrounded by the flock of ravens that dwelt in a tree behind his house. Which was most of the time, as the birds seemed to follow him wherever he went. (In fact, it was probably from the ravens that he learned how to make the grunt/noise "Aa" in the first place.) The villagers weren't so sure about the origins of "Icicle," however, though Sanosuke, the eldest son of the village drunk, claimed that it was because the boy had been born from a block of ice. No one ever listened to the nonsense Sano spouted, though. After all, he was a drunkard's son.

BUT... Let's get back to Raven Boy. No one actually knew his real name, because remember, he never spoke. They could have asked his little sister, but hardly anyone ever survived the Attack of the Super Hyper Weasel (They all called her Weasel, though no one knew why) With the Unstoppable Mouth unscathed. "Hi! My name's Misao Makimachi! Well Gramps calls me Misao-chaaaaan and sweetie and cutiepie and I guess you can call me that too if you want but it doesn't really matter so you can just call me Misao! And oh you know I have a big brother and he's very very handsome and soooo cool like the princes in the stories Gramps always tells me except he never talks and he never smiles my brother not Gramps I mean but..." Well, you get the idea. The villagers all pitied her. After all, living with a brother who was practically mute and a perverted (not that way) grandfather could hardly do anything good for one's sanity. Speaking of the grandfather, the villagers probably could have asked him instead, but seeing as how the old man was perverted (not that way), no one really wanted to get close to him.

So basically, the villagers all thought Raven Boy was stupid. Because he never talked. Some even scorned him, and made fun of him as he walked past, not even bothering to hide their disgust for the boy who spoke only to ravens. The other village boys played pranks on him, and tried to beat him up (He always managed to elude them somehow, however), while the girls sat around and gossiped and giggled about how cute he was, and what a pity it was that he was, you know, not quite all there. For you see, Raven Boy was indeed, as his little weasel sister claimed, extremely good looking: tall with rumpled black hair and eyes an intriguing shade of grey-blue.

Years flew past, and Raven Boy turned eighteen, but he had grown only more handsome with time. It finally got to the point where all the females in the village (minus his hyper weasel sister) were head over heels in love with him. Even though they knew he was stupid. You can imagine how that boosted his popularity with the rest of the village. So Raven Boy began to take a longer route, through the dark winding paths of the Forest, instead of walking through the village as he once had, to get home after selling firewood at the market (He sold firewood to make money for his family. Supposedly).

One day, as Raven Boy walked through the dark Forest of Four, for once not surrounded by a flock of ravens, he came upon a bright red fox sitting right in the middle of the path, staring at him with its head cocked to the side. Raven Boy stared back at the fox. The fox blinked once. Raven Boy blinked twice.

"Hello," said the fox. Raven Boy blinked again, but otherwise showed no sign of noticing the fox's greeting, as if foxes stopped in his path and spoke to him every day.

And then suddenly, the fox went Poof! and turned into a beautiful girl about the same age as Raven Boy.

"Hello," said the fox girl again, sweetly, batting her eyelids.

Raven Boy stared. And stared some more. Then pushed past the fox girl to continue on his way.

As you can imagine, the fox girl was quite miffed. She had been hoping for quite a different reaction. Most people usually either A) Started screaming in terror, or B) Fell on their knees immediately and asked her to marry them. B being the prime choice of most males she encountered. Certainly no one had ever ignored her before. However, she had more important business to attend to, so she pushed aside her irritation for the moment.

"Stop right there, Raven Boy," she said, flipping back her long black hair in annoyance. Raven Boy stopped.

"Turn around," she added, rolling her eyes. Raven Boy turned around. A full circle. Then continued walking away.

The fox girl wanted to scream in frustration. However, that would have been rather inelegant, so she did not. "No, you idiot," she said coolly instead, with an underlying hint of venom warning Raven Boy to stop and listen to her unless he wanted Something Very Bad to happen to him in the next five seconds. "Stop. Face me. Okay. Good. That's better."

"..." said Raven Boy as he stared at the fox girl nonchalantly.

"Hmph," replied the fox girl. "I know you can't possibly be that stupid. So you might as well quit pretending."

"..."

"..."

"..."

"..."

"..."

"I mean it," she added ten minutes later.

"..."

Why me? sighed the fox girl internally. She considered giving in for a moment, but there was no way she was going to lose to a self-centered jerk like Raven Boy. Therefore, she decided to come up with a plan. First, she would...

"What the hell do you want from me?"

Thunder boomed. Lightning flashed. A fanfare of trumpets sounded. (He spoke! He spoke!)

And the fox girl fainted from shock.

Tsuzuku (??)

Once upon a time, a crazy fanfic author named Hitomi sat down in front of her computer and decided to write a fantasy story. But what could she write about? Knights and princesses and evil wizards? Nah, she thought. Princesses are annoying. But then what could Hitomi possibly write about?

Just as Hitomi was despairing of ever figuring out what to write, a fluffy pink bunny suddenly popped out of nowhere.

"I am the plot bunny of the computer! I shall grant you three ideas!" squeaked the pink bunny, as Hitomi cowered beneath her swivel-y chair. (You see, the three things Hitomi feared the most were clowns, pink bunnies, and psychiatrists. Not necessarily in that order.)

"Umm... How 'bout a title, for starters?" ventured the crazy fanfic writer cowering beneath her chair.

Poof! "Granted!"

"Castle in the Clouds? Wtf?" said Hitomi, momentarily forgetting her fear of pink bunnies. "Does that mean the characters can fly or something? I mean, how else are they supposed to get up to the castle?"

"Ever heard of a metaphor?" snapped the bunny irritably.

"Uhhh, okay... Never mind... Lessee... for my second idea... umm... uhhh... hmmm... ummm..."

The bunny waggled its fluffy pink tail impatiently. "Have you decided yet?"

"Ummmmmmmmmmmm..."

"Forget this!" cried the bunny at last. "I'll just give you two darn ideas, and you can figure out what to do with them!"

Poof! Poof!

"Ravens...? Aoshi...? Huh? What do ravens and Aoshi have to do with each other? I mean, ravens are cool and all and so is Aoshi but I don't really see what I can do here... Uh, Bunny? Oi, Bunny? Where'd you go?"

You see, the fluffy pink plot bunny of the computer had chosen to flee before the crazy fanfic writer lost even more of her sanity, and by now there was nothing left but Hitomi's computer and a blank Microsoft Word document open on the screen. So, Hitomi had no choice but to meld the plot bunny's ideas into one single kooky fantasy story.

And then they all lived happily ever after. (Well, the plot bunny lived happily ever after, cuz it managed to escape before it got murdered by a certain crazy fanfic writer... Hitomi, on the other hand, had to figure out what to do with her new story about Aoshi, ravens, floating castles, and clouds, and finally lost the last shred of her sanity. Not that she had much of that to begin with. But that's another story altogether.)

THE END.

Moral: Beware of fluffy pink bunnies.