Disclaimer: Hibiki Ryouga and Ranma 1/2 belong to Takahashi Rumiko; YuuYuuHakusho belongs to Togashi Yoshihiro.
Written/Revised: 22 September 2006

Notes: No real spoilers. Suggestions for improvement (as well as a better title) welcomed.

The Reaper Wears Pink
by Dusk Nightshade


Pain was the first thing Ryouga became aware of, a deep throbbing pain centred in his chest. He coughed weakly, felt blood dribble from his mouth.

What... what happened? The question drifted up from the depths of his pain-hazed mind. A small frown followed by a wince marred his face as he tried to remember what he'd gotten himself into this time.

Red bubbled up from his memory. Yes, a long-haired redhead... wearing pink. She... she was fighting? Something big and rocky, very ugly. Violent too. I went to help... Her whip wasn't working very well on that... thing. I... blew up its hip with my Breaking Point Technique... it was faster than it looked. Must've got me before that blue light smashed it to bits.

Am I dead then? No, being dead can't hurt this much. Ryouga snorted to himself, causing another coughing fit.

"Bingo!" chirped a cheerful voice from somewhere above and to his right.

Ryouga managed to crack open an eye, and was rewarded for his efforts with a large pink blob topped by a light blue one surrounded by more blurry colours. Slowly the pink blob solidified into a girl wearing a kimono, and the light blue blob turned into her hair, held up in a ponytail. The other colours--presumably his surroundings--refused to focus into anything recognizable.

"You're not quite dead yet," the girl continued, who appeared to be floating, "And if you're lucky, you won't, either."

Who's she?

"I'm Botan, a Grim Reaper," the girl, Botan, responded, "I'm here just in case my friends don't manage to save you."

... Grim Reaper?

"Yup!" Botan pulled a small black book out of her sleeve and flipped through the pages. "Hmm. You aren't really supposed to die today though, but sometimes accidents happen!" Botan closed her book and beamed. "Can't be helped, really. Little hazards like that are part of the whole 'free-will' package."

Ryouga became aware of other voices; they sounded so far away, though the seemed to originate from the moving blobs--a large light blue one, two pink ones, one large and topped with red, and a greenish one. He wasn't quite sure but it looked as if the light blue blob touched him. He began to feel very cold, but somehow he could breathe easier.

"Aah, that's looking much better!"

Ryouga looked back at the... Grim Reaper, who was leaning closer to him, peering at his chest.

"Yukina's doing a great job," she said. "You'll be back on your feet in no time."

That said, Botan put away her book and--Ryouga blinked, he definitely had to be hallucinating now, if he hadn't been hallucinating the whole thing--sat on what looked like an oar that appeared from nowhere. Ryouga wasn't sure, but she may have winked at him; she was getting all fuzzy again. As if in compensation, the rest of his surroundings became less blurry. Ryouga winced; the guy wearing green also got much louder.

"Hope I won't see you for a long time, Hibiki Ryouga!"

He watched the fuzzy pink blob fly away--on an oar, of all things--until she disappeared.

A last throught drifted through his mind before he fell blissfully asleep: The reaper wears pink?