And I've finally come back into this fandom bearing something that'll be more than a one-shot and actually will have a developing plot! (If I can execute it correctly...)

First and foremost, this is an AU. Alternate Universe. Keep a general idea of the characters in your head, but I'm definitely taking some freedom to change things. Loki, for instance, does not have a child form in this story. He's still the Trickster God of Norse Mythology, but a little less mellowed than his anime/manga counterpart. Likewise, once Heimdall appears, he'll be Kakusei, as well. And as for Mayura, I'm giving her a little more...spark and bite to her personality.

Basically, I'm taking the freedom to make some characters a little OOC from their anime/manga parts, to fit my new little enviornment for them. I do hope that won't end up bothering anyone. But if you have any problems with the character interpretations, feel free to tell me so.

As for where this takes place... Well, most of it will be on aboard pirate ships on the open waters (oceans and such). The setting, however, is a small village on a tiny island far south from the coast of Japan. I'm not certain of the time period, but it's most definitely not modern, by any means.

This will contain eventual LokixMayura, of course. Other couplings are yet undecided at this point.

Summary: (AU) Daidouji Mayura had a knack for getting into trouble. But the day she dared to sneak onboard a pirate ship, she unknowningly immersed herself into a war that crossed worlds. ...And right into the chaotic path of one mischevious Captain.

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from Matantei Loki Ragnarok. They belong to Sakura Kinoshita. They will merely be borrowed by my muse and twisted into my story and plot for my own devious pleasure.

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Fire of the Seven Seas : Chapter One - Be Careful What You Wish For

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One slender hand dipped into the coarse sea of sand, lifting a handful of the grains from below and letting them slide between the thin fingers and dribble back down to their original resting place.

With a dismal sigh that mirrored boredom at its worst, the female figure leaned back on her hands, staring out into the endless waters of the ocean that lay before her.

'What is out there, anyway? Beyond this village, beyond this Island... What's waiting?'

A strong breeze drifted by and she threw her head back, long locks of pink hair becoming airborne and flowing out behind her on the passing winds.

She closed her crimson-colored eyes, a small smile curling the ends of her lips.

"Read me another one, Mama! Please!"

A chuckle.

"You really like the pirate stories, don't you, Mayura?"

A frantic nod, bright eyes wide.

"I want to know more!"

"Why are you so interested in these stories, little one? Don't you think the pirates are bad people?"

"They can't all be big nasty men who smell bad and do bad things!"

"What makes you think so?"

"I just know! And I'll prove it, too! I'll join a pirate crew and we'll go in search of adventure! Face danger! Find treasure! And...And..."

"And what, sweetie?"

"...Find a cure for Mama's illness, too."

A pat on the head.

"Mama looks forward to it, Mayura."

Eyes reopened, the bright oranges, reds, and golds of the sunset visible only through a blur. She hastily lifted her right hand to wipe the wetness from her eyes.

It had been thirteen long years since her mother had passed away.

She tenderly placed a hand upon the book lying dormant at her side, stroking the leather-bound and weathered cover.

Thirteen years and she was still just a dreamer.

She'd let her mother down. And herself.

Certainly though, her father would be more than delighted if she gave up all those notions of going abroad over the open seas. Afterall, he wanted her to settle down here.

And even went as far as to arrange her marriage to the Kakinouchi's oldest son, Kotarou.

Her calm features twisted into a scowl of displeasure at the thought, one hand smacking against the grainy ground and sending a thick burst of sand outward in fury.

There was no way she would ever agree to marry that arrogant playboy, whether he was well-off or not. And she had no intention of remaining bottled up on the island for the rest of her life, either.

A sigh escaped her lips as the anger resided, a mere simmer of resentment and irriation left in its wake.

She wasn't allowed to decide for herself. Being a woman was really depressing, sometimes.

And it wasn't as though she hadn't attempted to escape the little island before. Countless plans had been made, many actions been taken...

Daidouji Mayura was well-known among the villagers as the number one source of their problems.

She had an uncanny ability to find trouble around any and every corner.

Most of the fellow island inhabitants had gone so far as to ban their children from associating with her, in fear that they might contract the "adventure" disease, or take her pirate games and tales far too seriously.

But everyone agreed that would change now that she was to be wed. Mayura would be forced to throw away her bizzare and childish desires if her husband would not tolerate them. And it was quite clear that Kotarou did not approve of her behavior at all. Therefore she would be expected to refrain from her rebelious actions and become the obediant, normal housewife.

How boring.

Her father, though strict, did hold a certain small level of respect for her and her dreams. Perhaps it was only due to her mother's influence, but she was grateful nonetheless.

And now that would all change when she was passed on to her betrothed. She'd finally be forced to "grow up" and accept her place in life.

Mayura could almost hear the sound of the entire village's cheers ring within her head.

It was exactly what everyone wanted.

Everyone but her.

A large wave abruptly crashed onto shore, shattering her thoughts back into reality.

Picking the book up from her side, the young girl rose from the sands and nonchalantly brushed her dress off, pausing to cast a hopeful glance out to the glow of the dying sunset.

'Please don't let it end this way,' she wished silently, eyes shining with the last reflected light of the waters. 'Give me a fighting chance for my dreams.'

She stood her ground for a moment, as if waiting for some kind of silent answer to come, but not even a light brush of wind would offer its reply.

Releasing a final and thoroughly hopeless sigh, she turned around and started back for the village.

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"And just where have you been?"

A middle-aged man blocked the doorway, arms crossed, and looking highly agitated.

Mayura managed a nervous laugh. "Out on the beach, Papa. I didn't do anything dangerous this time, I swear."

He eyed her silently for a moment before pressing on. "You can't keep disappearing like that, Mayura. I've told you a hundred times, already!"

"I just wanted to be alone for awhile."

"I told you we were having special visitors over today," he continued, eyes narrowing. "They were most unhappy to hear that you were conveniently missing again."

"Are they gone already?" she asked, unable to keep a tiny hint of hopefulness from creeping into her tone.

One of the raven-haired man's feet stomped heavily upon the ground as his anger broke the surface. "Mayura, you can't keep running away from these confrontations and meetings if this marriage is going to work!"

She jumped slightly at his outburst, clutching the book to her chest. "I-I know, Papa."

"Then stop these foolish actions!" he demanded, throwing his arms up into the air. Regaining his composure, he sighed and stepped aside to let her through doorway. "Now hurry and get inside. The Kakinouchis are waiting."

Mayura took a step back, her dreaded fear realized. "I just remembered that I left one of my books back on the beach!" she announced suddenly. "Silly me! I'd better go and retrieve it before it gets dark. You go ahead and tell them I'll be along in a few minutes."

The father quickly gripped his daughter's arm before she could make her intended escape. "I don't think so, Mayura. You've made them wait plenty long enough."

He proceeded to drag his reluctant offspring inside and all the way to room where the Kakinouchis were patiently waiting her arrival.

Three blonde heads looked up when the girl was ushered into the room.

"Pardon her lateness," Daidouji Misao coughed, instructing his daughter to sit down with a gesture of his hand. "Mayura was doing an...errand."

She paused mid-kneel. "But I was-"

Misao cut her off with a solid glare, silencing any further speech. Mayura obliged, hastily lowering herself the rest of the way and folding her hands over the book in her lap.

She wanted to be honest with her objection of this arrangement. Maybe then they might drop the marriage proposal if they didn't like her behavior.

Her father was going to ruin her plan!

"Judging by the looks of that beat up old book, I'd bet she was out uselessly swinging a wooden sword around on the beach and shouting inchoherent manly obscenities."

Mayura looked up in surprise, her own crimson gaze meeting the laughing luster of amber.

Kotarou. She should have known.

As if in challenge, she glared back at his smirking face, somehow provoking his grin to widen in the process.

"Ah, well, that is one of the books she was given by her late mother!" Misao interjected quickly. "Sentimental value, you know."

Mrs. Kakinouchi nodded in understanding, giving Mayura a sympathetic smile. The teenage girl returned it, though only half-heartedly.

The elder blonde man cleared his throat, pulling the attention to him. "Now, about the engagement," he started, light brown eyes shifting back and forth between the father and daughter before him. "The villagers seem quite anxious that we proceed with the marriage immediately. Do you have any objections to this?"

Mayura made a definite move to object, physically and verbally, but was rendered silent as her father leaned over and clamped a hand over her mouth.

"Mayura has been really excited," he lied swiftly, muffled noises coming from underneath his hand. "Just can't keep her mouth shut about it! The sooner, the better!"

Mrs. Kakinouchi raised an eyebrow at the display and her husband gave a hearty laugh. "Good, good! I'll give them an affirmative for tomorrow's ceremony, then." He rose from his seat, offering a hand to help his wife to her feet.

TOMORROW?

Mayura struggled more violently against her father's grasp, finally managing to pull his stubborn hand off of her face. "Wait!" she burst out, just as the family had prepared to leave. "Don't Kotarou-kun and I get any say in this?"

"Mayura! You're not to speak until spoken to!" Misao hissed.

Kotarou held a hand up. "Doesn't matter to me," he declared simply.

The pink-haired teen visibly bristled. "Of course it doesn't, Kotarou-kun," she spoke, voice laced with venom. "Afterall, you have a half dozen other village girls waiting for you at any time, right?"

Twin expressions of shock appeared on Mr. and Mrs. Kakinouchi's faces as Misao's mouth dropped open in stunned disbelief.

The rich young man's surprised visage quickly twisted to an icy glower. "Hopefully you'll learn some manners before tomorrow, Daidouji."

She didn't back down from his cold gaze. 'And you know every word of it is true.'

Turning away, Kotarou ushered his speechless parents out of the vicinity, leaving Mayura and her father behind.

Once they were safely out of earshot, the teen girl whirled to face her irate father and braced herself for a lecture that was sure to last the better half of the night.

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Sleep was refusing to come.

Not that she had expected to get any rest, really.

Tomorrow. She was getting married tomorrow.

And to none other than Mr. Egotistical "I'll-Have-More-Affairs-Than-You-Have-Fingers" Kakinouchi Kotarou.

It was like something out of one of her worst nightmares!

The villagers couldn't really have disliked her that much, could they...?

A sudden image of a dozen sopping wet children and the furious gazes of their parents appeared in her mind, provoking a small bubble of guilt to rise like bile in her throat.

Okay, so maybe she had done a few things that would be considered out of line, hazardous, problematic, and on the verge of insane at times... but at least no one was ever seriously hurt!

'Well, there was that time that one came close to...'

Mayura sat up from her prone position, shaking her head from side to side. Who was she kidding?

The whole village practically hated her. And they plenty of reason to.

If she could just find a way off of the island, both parties would be satisfied. She'd be free to explore her dreams and they'd have her out of their hair once and for all.

Fat chance that was going to happen. Especially within the space of less than twenty-four hours.

A walk would probably do her good right about now. A bit of fresh air to clear her head and movement to keep her occupied.

It did sound undeniably pleasant.

Slipping out of bed, she quietly approached her single window, staring out into the night.

After a quick glance about the premises to ensure her safe getaway, she climbed out of the window and jumped the short distance to the ground below.

She'd done this dozens of times, for various reasons. And miraculously, even through her clumsiest of exits, had yet to be caught.

Smiling to herself, Mayura took off barefoot, nightdress flailing behind her, and headed toward the beach.

She already felt just slightly better, being out in the middle of the night. A small, but welcome freedom that inexplicably cheered her up, even with the doom cloud that hung over the inevitable upcoming event.

Just a scarce ten feet from the sandy shore ahead, Mayura stopped dead in her tracks, mouth falling open in complete and utter awe.

'It has to be a hallucination of some sort,' she assured herself, rapidly blinking her eyes. 'I've been reading those books too much. It's really going to my head.'

However, no matter how many times she adjusted her eyes and pinched her cheeks, the impossible vision remained.

She's seen very few boats, aside from the fishing boats in the village. And she wasn't even sure she could call what stood tall and grandly before her, simply a boat.

By now, she had abandoned trying to wake herself from the dream. It was real.

A real pirate ship.

It was huge, though that word somehow seemed inadequate even for the size, constructed of wood, adorned with gigantic mahagony masts rising into the night sky, and banners of red sails billowing in the evening breeze...

Majestic. Strong. Beautiful.

Almost something right out of the pictures in her pirate novels.

Mayura's heart skipped a beat and then started pumping almost five times faster.

She slowly and carefully stepped closer to the magnificent ship, unable to take her stunned orbs away from it as she felt herself drawing even nearer to the gently floating structure.

"I'm sure it couldn't possibly be here," a strained whisper cut through the darkness.

The teen froze in midstep, her wide eyes wandering to the source of sound. But all she could see squinting through the darkness, were two very vague sillouhettes. Cautiously, she drew back a little farther from open view, straining her ears to catch more of the speech.

"There seems to be only one small village on this island," the same voice continued in hushed tones. "We'd be wasting our efforts."

"Regardless, we're running a little low on supplies," the second, slightly deeper voice finally rose from the black night. "Pick up whatever you can find and hurry back. You know what to do."

"Right away."

Before Mayura could register what had happened, both shadows vanished. She blinked in surprise, rubbing roughly at her eyes before looking at the vacated spot again.

Had she just imagined them?

The crimson orbs wandered back to the waiting ship.

Her father would be downright furious with her if he found out, but her curiosity was going to kill her if she didn't do something at a chance like this!

And a harmless look around the ship wouldn't hurt anything, right?

She promptly scurried across the sandy beach, the sound of her footfalls absorbing perfectly into the grainy ground as she fled across.

Once reaching the side of the giant wooden beast, she weighed her options.

There were two obvious entries: One being the main boarding area, the other, a more difficult squeeze through a nearby open circular window.

The more dangerous way was definitely the easy way, but the adverse route seemed near impossible from her standpoint.

She could either chance walking straight onto the ship, or make a jump for a hopeful grab on the open window sill.

Neither were very good odds.

Mayura decided to place her bets on the former option, and hope she could magically avoid running into any of the crew, if only by pure luck.

Two members were gone onto the island at least, right?

Just before she reached the entrance route, a third option appeared. On the far left side, a ladder hung down, connecting up to the side railing of the front deck. A little less conspicuous than the most forward approach, anyway.

Abandoning her earlier plan of entry, she made a dash for the waiting ladder and wasted no time in starting her ascent to the deck.

She felt fearless, somehow. This was the chance she'd been wishing for and she finally recieved it, even if just before her life was to take the most drastic turn of all.

'Mama is counting on me too,' she reminded herself. 'Now is not the time to be a chicken.'

Once she arrived at the head, Mayura swung her legs over the side of the metal railing and landed deftly onto the polished wood. After rising fully to her feet, she brushed a hand against her forehead, wiping away a thin film of perspiration.

First step accomplished.

And as if to taunt her bit of success, she heard footsteps suddenly approaching quickly from her left.

She had to hide, and fast!

Swiftly padding to the other side of the front deck, she started blindly down passage ahead, coming to an immediate halt at the first door to her left. Hesitating only a moment, she pulled the unusually heavy door open and stepped inside.

And just as the door closed shut, Mayura realized she'd made a bad spontaneous choice.

Not only was she completely squished and almost immobile between the door and the wall, she was also surrounded by mops, brooms, dirty rags, and buckets that didn't exactly smell like roses.

Seems she had taken sanctuary in a storage closet of some sort.

Holding her breath, she listened intently for any noise outside the room.

Silence.

Breathing a quick sigh of relief, she lifted a hand to the door, searching for the handle.

But the wandering fingers found nothing to clasp.

Oh, no.

In a rush of panic, she laid both palms flat against the door and pushed against it with all her strength.

It didn't budge at all.

She was stuck; stranded on a pirate ship and locked in a closet.

This wasn't adventure. This stunk. Literally. Her eyes were beginning to water from the putrid smells of the used rags and dirty cleaning utensils. She needed to get out before she suffocated from the stench!

For a split second, Mayura almost considered screaming for help. Luckily, the urge didn't manifest before she buried it. That kind of desperation was saved until the very end.

'Don't give up yet!' she chided herself. 'There's got to be another way out of this.'

Just then, a definite jolt from beneath the boat forced her to the left, knocking a broom or mop handle to the opposite side with a dull clatter.

A knot tied painfully in her gut. The ship wasn't...moving, was it?

Another rumble erupted from beneath her feet, as if to give her the affirmative.

'Don't panic. Don't panic. Don't panic,' she repeated inwardly. 'Everything will be fine. Be calm. Don't panic!'

A third, much more violent tremor shook the ship, sending Mayura back to the right of the enclosure. But the lack of space within caused her feet to run into the path of the buckets on the floor, which clammered and smashed together with a resounding noise that made her ears ring.

A muffled voice.

Footsteps.

She was as good as screwed now.

Closing her eyes and sucking in her breath, she waited, arms bent in place and palms still stuck to the door face, her heart pounding furiously against her ribcage.

The steps came to a lanquid stop just outside the door.

What would happen to her? Would the big burly men challenge her to a sword duel? Would the Captain of the ship make her walk the plank?

Seconds seemed like hours as they passed in the tensed silence.

Then, miraculously, the footfalls passed right by the door and faded completely.

Mayura immediately let out air she'd been desperately holding, relief flowing through every inch of her system.

Extremely close call.

Wrapped up in her unexpected alleviation of danger, she could only yelp in surprise when the door was suddenly wrenched open.

Without the door to support her body's weight any longer, she fell right out of the closet.

And right into a pair of strong masculine arms.

"Well now," there was a definite spark of amusement to the male's voice. "What do we have here?"

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To be continued...?

I'm still a little nervous about this AU, to be truthful. But I am having a lot of fun with the idea. XD

Yes, there is definitely some OOC-ness. I don't care. I wanted to give Mayura a little more of a backbone. And I thought her fixation with pirates could replace her obsession with mysteries. Sorry to any Kotarou fans, as well. He seems like a little bit of a jerk, but he always did appear that way to me in both the anime and manga. Many other familiar characters will show up as it goes along.

Well, should you like the idea or abhor it, please drop me a review if you can spare the time. I'd appreciate it a ton. Especially due to my anxiousness over writing an MLR AU fic.

...And I only give you one guess as to who caught Mayura falling out of the closet. XD

Thanks for taking the time to read!