Hark, I still exist. And write crack, no less! This was a gift for Zigzag, who was having a bad day so I thought it my civic duty to make her laugh (either that or have her throw things at me...)
Warnings: other author insert, quasi-self insert, and ... well, it IS crack. What other warning do you need? ;)
Breaking the Curse
Himura Kenshin knew he was in deep trouble the moment he opened his eyes to the brilliant, calming aqua of the Caribbean Ocean. A rather spectacular view, complete with white glistening beaches, and if he peered warily to his left he could just make out the slanted, low hanging palms, wafting gently in the breeze.
It was all very delightful, apart from the fact that he'd been washing Kaoru's underclothes in Tokyo scant seconds before.
Further inspection of his surroundings revealed that he was lounging comfortably in a deck chair of the most luxurious proportions with a small beach table to his left, sporting some sort of slushy concoction that he supposed was for drinking, though why there was a large slice of lemon perched delicately on the rim was far beyond him. Kenshin blinked warily down at the bowl of grapes nestled innocently next to the glass.
Something was clearly afoot.
"Well," he said cautiously after a moment. "Sessha is …very comfortable here, de gozaru."
The absolute lack of response bar the gentle sounds of the ocean did nothing to reassure him.
Kenshin held himself very still for a few moments, then eased himself back into the chair, ensuring he made no sudden moves. Loudly, he added, "In fact, this one is so comfortable he feels he will take a long nap. Very long. After all, it's not like there is anyone waiting just beyond the trees for sessha to let his guard down."
The slow melt of ice in the strange slushy drink caused the ice cubes to clink. He twitched.
"A very long nap," he repeated.
"Right here. Without any way to protect myself," he added.
"In fact, sessha will be defenseless," he offered hopefully.
There was silence. He was sure one of the palms had waggled its fronds mockingly at him. Kenshin sighed. Confident in the fact that the moment he relaxed and closed his eyes he would be under siege from a horde of vengeful Bakumatsu widows, he sank fully into the chair and did his best to impersonate an innocent and entirely vulnerable weakling, which given he'd had years of practice at it wasn't too hard, really.
Wrathful armies of psychopathic orphans and bereaved maniacal wackjobs with depraved sister-complexes completely failed to mob him with cries of revenge.
He was almost disappointed. As it was, the gentle breeze carrying the tang of salt was beginning to make him relax despite himself. The rurouni cracked an eye open and squinted beadily at the palms, just in case there happened to be ninja hiding among the coconuts.
"Okay," he muttered. "Teleportation isn't a trait I've manifested thus far … though give the fan girls enough time I suppose someone will have me do it. But really, this one would just like to go back to washing Kaoru's underthings. In particular that one with the frilly bits." He peered up at the sky. "If that's okay with you? I'd like to go home now. I have some nice canon scenes coming up in my future, and I don't want to be late."
The Powers That Be met his polite request with an absolute lack of interest. Kenshin sighed again, and reached for the slushy drink. It appeared to have melted a little in the warm sun, but perhaps it was supposed to do that. He took a small sip and grimaced at the bitter tang. It tasted so horrible, in fact, that he needed to take another mouthful to reassure himself that he hadn't imagined its terrible flavour.
Ah, well. He supposed he'd found himself in worse places over the years.
"All right," he said blissfully. "Sessha will just finish this horrible drink, and then he'll be--"
There was an odd noise that sounded suspiciously like the ocean had hiccupped at him. Kenshin blinked and stared at the water in surprise. How odd. It took him a moment to notice the sky had been blotted out directly above him. Peering upward once more, he noticed the shaggy edging of a large purple beach umbrella, leaving him comfortably in the cool shade.
"Oh," he said uncertainly. "Well, sessha does burn easily, but—"
"Hi!" someone chirped.
Kenshin froze. The voice seemed familiar, somehow. Its bright, cheery edge spoke of gleeful sadism, danced on the edge of his memory and sounded alarm bells deep within, inciting a sudden, primal response from his brain that screamed at him to draw a sword and hack at it now, right now, his vow not to kill be damned.
Masterfully he restrained the urge to rip the arm off his deck chair and bludgeon the chirpy speaker into so much red pudding. Instead, eye twitching, he very slowly turned his head to the right, noting with genuine horror that along with the umbrella a second deck chair had manifested on the beach next to his own, the small table between the two.
The blonde girl lounging on it grinned hugely and gave him a dainty wave.
"Oh, god," Kenshin said wearily. "It's you."
"No need to be like that," the blonde said in hurt tones. "It's not like I put you here. Just relax!"
He picked up the remains of his drink and tossed it down, then fought the urge to cough it all back up again. When his eyes stopped watering, he turned his glare back to the girl. "I don't suppose," he said succinctly, "That I'm dreaming? And any moment now, you're going to be set upon by hordes of midget gingerbread men and carried into the ocean to drown while the orchestra plays Wars of the Last Wolves?"
The blonde grinned. "Nope."
"Though I like the whole gingerbread touch!" she added, which might have been a bizarre attempt to console him.
"Kaoru-dono tried to make them not too long ago," Kenshin said gloomily.
"What do you want, Zig-Zag?"
"Me? Nothing!" She waved her arms around, the very picture of innocence. This meant very little; he was reminded uneasily of Soujiro's daffy grin. "Trust me, you're perfectly safe here. At least, I won't hurt you today. A friend of mine's just testing a theory."
Kenshin froze. After a moment, he carefully put his empty glass down, swallowing. "A friend?"
"Yeah. You remember Nekotsuki, don't you?"
Zig-Zag plucked a drink from the table, sipping something red that had a strawberry balanced precariously on the rim. He didn't remember the drink having been there before. In fact, as he looked down, another of the slushy drinks had reappeared, complete with another twist of lemon, even though the last twist was sitting forlornly on top of the grapes. The name Nekotsuki made him snatch for it hastily.
"Oh good, you do remember." Zig-Zag gave him a wicked grin. "Well, don't panic. She isn't going to hurt you either."
"Sessha finds that hard to believe," he muttered. Half of the bitter slush vanished down his throat before he found the courage to ask the next question. "Although 'Caribbean lounging' is not really what I was expecting. If neither of you are here to heap all manner of torture on my head and reap the joyous angst of the masses, is there any reason for me to be here?"
"Well, I'd like to hurt you," she said mournfully, fingers twitching as if garrotting slight-framed redheads in their sleep. Kenshin eyed them suspiciously and leaned back at a safe distance. "But that wouldn't help. Nekotsuki's trying to find a way to break the fanfiction curse."
"Curse. You know. Bad stuff." She nodded sagely. "Happens all the time to a lot of writers."
He made no attempt to keep the glee from his voice, no matter how out of character it might seem. "Fanfiction writers are getting hurt on my account?"
"All the time." She grinned. "Remember how Nekotsuki had a bad guy slam you in the head with a rifle?"
"In a 'barely recovered from post-traumatic amnesia' sort of way," he said stiffly. It hadn't been one of his better moments. In fact, between Nekotsuki and Zig-Zag and a few others in the fandom, he considered himself fantastically lucky to be able to sit here and drink alcoholic slush in a completely uninjured fashion. The thought cheered him greatly, until he remembered that most normal people got to enjoy being healthy on a regular basis.
That, and he'd still rather be washing Kaoru's frilly underthings when it came right down to it. Kenshin sighed and tested the alcoholic slush in question in a futile attempt to see if it tasted any better.
Zig-Zag sipped at her drink. "The day after she posted that chapter, she was smacked in the back of the head by this huge bird--"
Kenshin choked on his drink. Slush spattered on the sand as he doubled over coughing. The blonde annoyance at his side thumped him between the shoulder blades in a way that was not so much designed to assist with breathing as it was for fracturing his spine.
"Don't waste the frozen Margarita!" She glared at him. "She'll be drinking that!"
He finally managed to get his breath back, and stared at her blurry outline a little hazily. "So, this one is currently sitting on a beach drinking slushies because the author was concussed by a bird?" He blinked watering eyes, and nodded. "I see. Perfect sense."
"Well, she's not the only one."
"There have been more homicidal birds?"
"No," Zig-Zag said impatiently. "I mean we others are noticing the same problem. If an author break a character's arm, their arm gets broken. Cuts and bruises and nasty fevers all seem to rebound. I got sick because I made you sick once. And Nekotsuki spends all her time either complaining about all the injuries she's accidentally inflicted on herself through her characters, or whimpering in a corner because she's just written some really sadistic scene and she's waiting for the hammer to fall, kinda thing. I mean, you didn't see what she wrote in Underdark."
"She could just stop," Kenshin said tartly. He'd never been tart in his entire life, but now seemed a good time to experiment. "So could you. Sessha sees nothing wrong with writing stories in which he remains uninjured throughout. Perhaps," he added hopefully, "you should consider writing romance? That seems to go down well."
"Can't be done," Zig-Zag said in mournful tones. "Most of us sadists don't have a romantic bone in our body. Besides, have you seen what passes for romance in your fandom?"
'Fandom' was a relatively new word to Kenshin, but the more he heard it the more he despised it. And as a matter of fact, he had seen the romance, in which he always seemed to be some dark, sexy, possessive version of himself – a version that tended to reduce Kaoru to quivering jelly with one quirk of his sensual lips, and one which he secretly kind of dug. He coughed self-consciously, blinking a little to try and clear his head.
It occurred to him that he should stop drinking the slushies now, but he still hadn't managed to confirm whether they tasted horrible or merely bad. He tossed back the contents of the second glass and tossed the glass to the sand. "This doesn't explain," he said unsteadily, "why this one is lounging on a beach with his literary arch-nemesis. And isn't this sort of story frowned upon?"
"That's the thing!" The blonde looked positively gleeful, slurping the last of her drink down with the daintiness of a giraffe in a tutu. "See, Nekotsuki had this idea to make the curse work for us. She's testing it out right now."
Zig-Zag rolled her eyes. "Really, you're such a simpleton. Okay, see how you're on a beach? A really nice one? With frozen Margaritas and a nice sun umbrella? And totally, might I add, uninjured in every way?" She paused. "Except maybe for the drunken bit. Um. But I don't think she minds that much, given how much she's drinking to write this…"
"Sessha," Kenshin said with great dignity, "Is not drunk. De gozaru."
She grinned wickedly. "Of course you're not. Anyway. Do you get it?"
The rurouni considered his place in the universe of lunatic fan authors, and sighed. "She's trying to lull me into a false sense of security?"
"She's attempting to get me drunk to take advantage of my sexy but defenceless body?"
"N—" Zig-Zag paused, drawing back a little to size him up. Then she smiled sweetly, placing another slushy drink in his hand. "No."
"Oh." He stared at the glass foggily. "No. I don't get it."
"Oh well," she sighed. "You'll probably get the idea when a white-haired pretty-boy psychopath with a no-dachi and a giant mutant turtle in blue show up arguing about who gets to slather sunscreen all over your back."
Author's Field Notes: Dammit, another failure. What does it take to get me and ZZ a Caribbean vacation around here? I guess in retrospect we should have stuck to a little more realism, but at least this effort gave us the novel sight of a drunken, hysterical rurouni desperately trying to flee the intimate attentions of Agent Bishop and all four members of Breaking Benjamin … you'd think we never did anything nice for him. Jerk.