The Everlasting Quest for... POCKY!

by WSJ

WSJ: [giggles] I just wanna give a big shout-out to Stephanie!! XD It was her that inspired me to do this. Rock on drama buddy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin or Krogers or Pocky or anything else. Just sugar. [devours Pixi Stix]

Note: The timeline is thouroughly mangled, but cut me some slack! ;) After all, it's a humor fic. :p

And now, without further ado...

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Phantom Arts Inc. is proud to present...

The Everlasting Quest for... POCKY!

Featuring...
Soujiro the Tenken!
Anji the Panda Monk!
and...
Chou the Broomhead!

On with the show!

Shishio blinked, looking at his right-hand swordsman in surprise. Something was wrong with Soujiro. Instead of his usual all-encompassing smile, Soujiro looked like he was... pouting. Yumi seemed to notice it too, she was uneasy at Shishio's side.

"Soujiro," Shishio caught his Tenken's attention. "What's the matter?"

Soujiro blinked at him, and then broke into a bright smile. "Oh, nothing much, Mister Shishio. I was just getting a bit hungry. I wonder if the servants know where the pocky stash is..."

"Ah, not much of a problem at all." Shishio said, relaxing and clapping his hands for a servant. All was still for a moment, and then the door to the room burst open, admitting a frantic-looking Chou and a frowning Anji. Anji was always frowning, of course, but today it was deeper than usual.

"Master Shishio," Chou bowed quickly to his boss, the agitated look not leaving his face. "Master Shishio, somethin' terrible has happened!"

Shishio's eyes widened slightly and he sat up. "What is it? Has the Battosai arrived already?"

"Worse," Anji said, his voice grim. "We're out of pocky."

Shishio resisted the urge to facefault as Soujiro cried out in fear and horror. "Come men," Shishio rolled his eyes. "It's just candy."

"It is not just candy!" Chou growled. "It is certified snack food! And we're out!" He sounded so distressed that Shishio and Yumi couldn't help but sweatdrop.

"I'll bet that blind fool Husui stole our pocky..." Anji growled, causing Shishio's sweatdrop to grow.

"Mister Shishio," Soujiro stepped forward and bowed to him. "I don't think Mister Himura is going to be here for several weeks. Anji and Chou and I can go and buy more Pocky." He smiled brightly, and Shishio exchanged glances with Yumi, who shrugged.

"Oh very well," Shishio sighed after a moment's thought. "You may. But make it fast! And pick up some more bandages while you're out!"

"Yay!!" Soujiro threw his arms around Anji in an impromptu hug, causing the panda monk to twitch slightly. Soujiro quickly let go and saluted Shishio. "Aye aye, mister Shishio! Is that all you need?"

Shishio looked thoughtful. "Well, now that I think about it, this kimono is getting a little threadbare... And my tobacco supply is getting rather low... If you're going out, you may as well pick up the things we need."

Soujiro nodded enthusiasticly. "Let me get some paper, Mister Shishio. I'll make a list."

Yumi smiled as Soujiro flitted about, looking for paper. "While you're out, you wouldn't mind picking up a few things for me, would you?"

"Of course not, Miz Yumi," Chou assured her. "Soujiro, you might wanna get a bigger paper."

It was another half hour before the trio of Juppangatana were able to leave. Chou was weighted down with a list of items to buy that was at least a yard long. Soujiro seemed absolutely content as he skipped along the quiet forest path in front of the other two. Chou seemed nervous and jumpy, and Anji was as stoical as ever.

"'Ey," Chou poked Soujiro in the back. "Where're we goin'?"

"Kroger." Soujiro said cheerfully.

Anji and Chou sweatdropped. "Do you know how to get to Kroger?" Anji ventured after a moment.

"Nope, no clue!"

"Whaaaaaaat?!?!" Chou leaped forward to try and strangle the Tenken. "You don't know where we are?!?"

Soujiro's eyes went swirly as he was shaken back and forth by Chou. He opened his mouth to protest that he'd never said that at all, or perhaps to groan, but something else came out instead. Something totally unexpected. Something they'd never heard before, yet was strangely familiar. Something that would set off a million screaming fangirls if voiced by the right person.

"Oro...!"

The three of them froze, and Anji and Chou blinked at Soujiro in puzzlement. "Did you just say 'oro'?" Chou asked, very carefully letting go of the front of Soujiro's kimono.

Soujiro laughed and scratched the back of his head sheepishly. "I honestly don't know where that came from! But anyway, do you know how to get to Kroger, Chou?"

Chou nodded proudly. "Sure do! You just let me up front and I won't lead you wrong!"

"YAY!!" Soujiro made to hug Chou, shojo flowers and bubbles floating around him, but was suddenly brought to a stand-still as a sword appeared in his way.

"I ain't huggin' another man." Chou said gruffly.

Soujiro giggled, but backed away from the swordhunter. "You're funny, Chou."

Anji snorted.

A few minutes later they were on their way again, with Chou at the head of the trio. Within the hour it became very obvious that they were utterly and hopelessly lost.

"I thought you knew where we were going," Soujiro said innocently.

"I do!" Chou snapped, resisting the urge to run Soujiro through with one of his swords. "This forest is just bigger than I remember, that's all!"

"We can stop and ask for directions," Soujiro suggested. "There's bound to be a Quaint Little Village somewhere nearby."

Anji and Chou stared at him. "What makes you say that?" Anji asked.

Soujiro shrugged. "Well, there always is, in stories like these. In fact, I think a hear Cheery Whistling of a farmer right now! I'll just go and ask-"

"NO!!" the other two practicly screamed, each of them grabbing one of Soujiro's arms to hold him back.

Soujiro gave them puzzled looks. "What is it with men and asking for directions? Miss Yumi was right, all men are babies."

Chou facefaulted. "And what are you, an it?"

"Oh no!" Soujiro smiled. "I'm a Tenken!"

Chou groaned and massaged his temples. He could definately feel a headache coming on. Anji smothered a snicker, and Chou shot him a possitively murderous glare. "You think you're so smart, panda..." he said lowly.

Anji smirked. "Why yes, I do." He then proceeded to turn on his heel and cooly walk off. Soujiro and Chou stared after him for a moment, and then with a small squeak of surprise Soujiro ran to catch up with him. Chou frowned and crossed his arms over his chest, having every intension of staying right where he was. The sounds of Anji and Soujiro crashing through the underbrush faded away after a moment, allowing the sounds of the forest to step in. Chou bit his lip, looking around at the leafy green-ness. A moment later he was sprinting in the direction the other two Juppangatana had gone. "WAIT FOR MEEEE!"

Anji smirked again as Chou caught up with them, grumbling about pandas and tenkens. "Chou," he said loudly, cutting through the swordhunter's grumblings. "Can I show you something?"

"What?" Chou snapped, his patience wearing quite thin.

Anji snickered and pulled aside the bushes in front of him, revealing a nearly endless parking lot and, off in the distance, a Kroger super center. It seemed that while Chou had been leading them around in circles for hours, Anji had been able to lead them directly to their desired destination.

Chou's jaw dropped, and Soujiro clapped his hands in happiness. "Oh Anji, you're the best! Now we can get some Pocky!"

Chou perked up at the mention of Pocky, and he took off at full speed across the parking lot for that distant speck of store. Soujiro giggled at his enthusiasm, and then he and Anji set out after the blond.

"WOAH!!" Chou jumped aside as he was nearly run down by a dark red Suburban. His face stormy, Chou whirled to give the driver the finger. "WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING!"

"Watch yourself!" the driver yelled, screeching to a halt to lean out his window and yell at Chou. "Stupid modern swordsman, think they're all that..." Pulling himself back into his car, the driver stepped on the gas and sped away just as Soujiro and Anji caught up with Chou.

"Who was that?" Soujiro asked. "Friend of yours?"

Chou snorted and straightened his clothes. "Hardly. Now come on. I want some Pocky before this day gets any worse."

The trio trudged onward. The parking lot seemed endless. Heat radiated off of it in waves. By the time they finally reached the store, Anji and Chou were panting like dogs. Even Soujiro looked slightly uncomfortable. As soon as they stepped inside, all three sighed in relief.

"Bless Buddha for air conditioning..." Anji muttered, taking off his bandanna and wringing it out before tying it on again. But not before Chou and Soujiro managed to see his bare head.

"You... have a crew cut, Anji?" Soujiro asked, trying to be polite.

"A neon green one?" Chou snickered, trying to be less polite.

Anji turned red. "It was a dare, okay? Now come on. We have shopping to do."

The three turned to face the store proper, and face-faulted. How in hell's name were they supposed to find ANYTHING in a place so huge??

"Shall we... split up?" Soujiro asked after a moment.

"Nah, best we stay together," Chou said, eyeing the metal shopping carts as if they were going to attack him. "Protection in numbers..."

The other two gave him strange looks, but nevertheless, off they went into the bowels of the grocery store. What surprises did Kroger's have in store...?

Meanwhile, only a couple isles away.......

"Hey Katsu, what kind of green tea do you think the Missy wanted?"

"How should I know? She's your friend."

"Humph. Well, guess we'll just have to get them all. Come on, I want some Pocky."

"Sano, I thought you weren't supposed to have sugar..."

And so, a titanic clash is in the making.

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:D Hope you like it! Reviews please!

God bless minna-san!