Curses Aren't The Only Change

Chapter 9

Disclaimer: I think that you are smart enough to figure out how much of this I own.

"Hey Ryouga," said Haruka putting aside her bento. "How have you been?"

"I've learned a great new move while training in Tibet. I'm going to try it on Ranma next time. Oh and," Ryouga took off his backpack and grabbed a letter out of the top of it, "this is for you. They said they should be getting back to Japan soon."

"Great, so are you sure it was Tibet that you were in?"

"YES, I am getting better you know. Puck's advice was very helpful. I was able to stay with Rozi-sensai for 3 days before I got lost."

"Good" The bell signaling the end of lunch period interrupted Haruka. "Hell, I can't miss more school. Can you wait here or should I tie you to that tree?"

"I'll be fine. I told you I'm getting better."

xxxxx

"So anyway then, I heard her say something about tying him up."

"I don't know why she hasn't been expelled yet. I mean skipping half the time and getting into all those fights."

"Just look, he is just sitting there waiting for Haruka. Wonder what perverted things they are planning on doing together."

Michiru hadn't realized the person those two fluff heads were talking about was Haruka. She looked out the window and saw the boy they were presumably talking about sitting under a tree. It was then that she decided to solves some of the mysteries surrounding the girl absolutely fascinated her and she would start by following them after school.

It turned out to be a lot easier to follow Haruka and her friend then Michiru had thought. Haruka was walking slowly and keeping an eye on her friend, who kept veering off on odd directions until corrected. Once they reached an empty lot Haruka said something about seeing a technique Ryouga, obviously that was the boy's name, had learned. Then they started fighting.

xxxxx

"Don't tell me you haven't asked that girl out yet?" said Ryouga throwing a high punch. "Come on you yelled at me for that."

"It's not that simple." said Haruka blocking his fist with an upper block

That's what I said when you asked me when you asked me when I was going to ask Makoto out."

"Yeah but at least you know Makoto can keep herself safe." That was an understatement and they both knew it, "I don't think Michiru could. She's not a martial artist. She's just a normal girl."

'What was someone suppose to say to that?' thought Ryouga. It was odd for him to see a depressive fit starting from the outside and he wished could help his friend like she had helped him. Then Haruka's cellphone rang and she was all business when she answered it.

"Haruka here...Uh huh...Ok I'll be there soon."

"Off to work?"

"Ya, sorry about this."

"Hey no problem." Ryouga paused then just said "Good luck."

"Thanks" said Haruka as she left.

Ryouga turned to leave himself and ended up colliding into a aqua haired girl around his age.

"Sorry." said Ryouga

"Don't worry about it." said Michiru "I couldn't help but notice what you were just doing. Could you tell me about it?"

"Its just sparing."

"Seems a bit extreme for sparing. I'm Michiru Kaioh by the way."

"Ryouga Habiki... Hey you're that girl Haruka is interested in aren't you?"

"Let's say I would like to know her better, but I don't know how to get closer to her."

"Oh well she is...Hey I could teach you martial arts."

xxxxx

Before she entered the police station Haruka paused to catch her breath and make sure she didn't look like she was coming in to report being beaten up, fortunately Ryouga hadn't managed to punch her in the face during their sparing match. The officer manning the front desk was luckily someone she knew and he was able to direct her to Itsuyu-san. As she was going around the corner she heard some new guy asking who the kid was and she had to smile at the answer of someone who is better at what she does then you and can beat you up.

"So what is the case you want Occult Investigations to look into?"

"Hi Haruka," said Itsuyu "Did you run all the way over here? You look rather out of breath."

"Ryouga's in town. I was sparing with him when you called."

"Ah," Itsuyu pulled out a folder,"These photos are rather graphic, but I would like your opinion on them."

Itsuyu wasn't exaggerating this time thought Haruka as she looked over the five photos, every one of them was of a bloody or in other ways horrific death. "There doesn't seem to be any similarities besides the obvious in any of them."

"I know, I can't find any either. If it wasn't for the fact that they all have happened in the space of the last two weeks all to people of the same social circle, then we would not think they were related at all."

"Tell me all the facts you know."

After the meeting was over it didn't take long for Haruka to get to the hideout of the ninja clan that she was now head of. After she passed the Tsunumaki Library, she cut up an alleyway and opened a barely visible door.

xxxxx

The boss had a new job for them. She had found it though her contacts with the police. It was to track down who or what was killing some upper class twits. It was definitely more challenging the assassinating normal people that 'business men' wanted out of the way. Haruka was a much better leader then the last one. Quite unexpected for someone still in high school, but it was still true.

This could be seen in how she divided everyone up into two person groups to do different tasks of the investigation. Hinin and Asono would be staying at the base. Asono always stayed at the base and and Hinin did not have proper reserve but he could find information out well on the computer. It was good that he would be staying here for both of those reasons. It was even better that the boss knew who to put on physically tracking down where the poor saps had gone before their deaths. He had been getting bored and working with the luscious Yura was always good.

xxxxx

Ryouga wasn't sure how to go about teaching Michiru. It wasn't like he had taught anyone before, but it was the only way he could think of to help Haruka with her romance. Today he had gone for the most basic part of martial arts, how to punch, but what should he do when he met up with Michiru tomorrow. Most of the stuff he knew just wouldn't work for someone of Michiru's build, Martial arts Rhythmic Gymnastics didn't really seem to fit either. Maybe some aikido or tai chi, but they might not be useful enough.

Ryouga looked up from his thoughts. "Argg!!! Where the hell am I now!?!" Calming his thoughts he tried to remember what Michiru's aura was like so he could find her again.

xxxxx

It had been a long day and Haruka was tired. She also needed to ask Sojobo-sensei if he knew about any movements in the supernatural community. Both of these could be taken care of at the same time, by going to sleep. As she got ready for bed Haruka wondered what type of dreams she would be having if it wasn't for Sojobo's nightly training, probably nightmares.

Haruka went to sleep and 'awoke' in the dream realms ready for more training with Sojobo-sensei. She also had some questions to ask him, but he asked her one of the very questions she was going to ask..

"Have there been any signs of supernatural activity where you are?"

"Depends on if you would consider a number of brutal deaths to be supernatural activity."

"Oh were you able to sense anything from the sites of death?"

"Haven't been to them yet." Haruka didn't mention that she wasn't very good at sensing leftover magic. She wanted a good fight tonight, not lessons on how to sense magic again. "Just seen pictures, but it didn't look like it was a human that did it."

"Hum, there have been a number of disappearances among the lesser kami, but no one can figure out why or where they are going. Now prepare yourself."

xxxxx

The Drut building was a massive and impressive structure that had hosted many upper class social gatherings. Michiru hated it, but she was obligated to show up at these things. She was also still rather annoyed at Ryouga for disappearing yesterday after he had said he would teach her martial arts, so she wasn't even going to bother trying to socialize. She was just going to do what she normally did, find a quite place to play her violin. That usually kept people from talking to her. This worked for the most part until a lady with a foreign cast to her face came up and started listening. Amazingly considering how most of the people at these things acted, the lady didn't say a word until Michiru was done with the piece and had lifted her bow from her violin.

"Your music resounds with the sound of the sea." said the lady

"Thank you." said Michiru thinking that was an odd compliment.

"Can you help me get away from those men?"

Michiru looked where the lady was pointing and decided to help her, for those men looked like brutes.

xxxxx

It was obvious from the information gathered that the Drut corporation had something to do with the deaths, but they couldn't be the killers. Every one of the five people who had died had been to one of their parties, and every one of them had deposited a large amount of money into the Drut account shortly before they died. The dead weren't the only ones to have made a large deposit to the Drut account though, there was a long list of people who had also done so including a Dr Tomoe.

It was time to go talk to these people and find out what they knew. Somehow Haruka didn't think that they would tell her anything if they knew she was working for the police, so Occult Investigations would be pretending that they were with the school newspaper. She Yuka and Hinin were all the right age to pull it off. An hour later she was on the fifth person on her part of the list, Miaka Tsuno. The first four had not been home. Someone was home this time though, a nervous looking girl.

"Hi, I'm doing an articl-" before Haruka could get any further, there was a loud crash and a weasel like creature came flying though the air straight at the girl with its sickle like claws extended. Quick as lightning Haruka interposed herself between the girl and the creature she recognized as a kamaitachi and drew her sword, blocking the attack all in one movement.

xxxxx

Azoci was amazed at the stupidity of the merchandise. After getting out of its containment cell, and he would find out how that happened, it stops to talk to one of the regular party goers that provided his bosses with cover. It would be easy to distract the girl, What did the merchandise have to talk to her about anyway.

"You must come look at my new painting and tell me what you think." the blue haired girl was saying to the merchandise.

Azoci snorted a bit annoyed that he would have to wait for this artsy stuff to be done. 'Wait a minute there is no way one of the regular party goers could have a painting back there," he thought after a few minutes of nothing happening

"Excuse me," he called as he opened the door just in case he was wrong. The boss would be mad at him if he caused trouble with the idiots providing them with cover.

Not only was the room empty, but the window was open. After swearing for a few seconds he called for some backup.

xxxxx

It was when the men started shooting at them that Michiru realized that this was more complicated then she had thought. She also thought that the alleyway they were in was too narrow to maneuver in and had no idea where that last thought had come from. And now there was a guy in the way somehow... wait that guy was Ryouga.

"Can you... oh great I was able to find my way back." Ryouga looked very happy about this for some reason.

"Uh, right now we have some guys with guns after us, so could you please move out of the way?" said Michiru rather scared and confused.

What happened next surprised her. Ryouga simply grabbed a telephone pole, yanked it out of the ground and threw it towards the pursuers putting them to flight.

"My you are strong of arm, good sir. Might I know your name?" asked the lady who Michiru now realized she knew nothing about.

"I'm thinking that this is more then just romantic troubles. So what is it that I have gotten involved in?" asked Michiru

"Do you believe in magic?"

"What is that suppose to mean?"

"Because it is magic and want of its power that has caused this situation." as she said this a glowing ball of water appeared floating above her hand. "I am Salas Alae, the Sea King's daughter.

xxxxx

"Wouldn't you like to have your revenge on the people who caught you instead of that idiot?" Haruka said as she fought the kamaitachi off. She hoped she was guessing right.

"I will get my revenge on both of them. Do not interfere."

"No you won't. I tell you what will happen, you'll go attack the kidnappers and either get killed or captured again..."

"Why do you know that?"

"Because it has already happened five times."

The kimaitachi floated in the air for a moment thinking, "So what is your plan?"

"I am currently working for some people who do have the power to take care of them if they know where they are and have the ability to act. She," Haruka nodded towards the woman, "can provide both of these things if she is still alive."

"Hey since when does a school newspaper have that kind of power." shrieked Miaka 'how much of an idiot was this woman' Haruka mentally groaned.

The kimaitachi completely ignored the girl's squealing as he said "I will be willing to try this your way, student of Sojobo as long as she understands her place in this deal."

"You, Tsuno, are going to come with me to the police station and are going to be very cooperative or I am going to leave you here with him."

The trip to the police station was uneventful.

xxxxx

Detective Itsuyu turned on the recording equipment and said "This is a interview with Miaka Tsuno that is taking place on September 12." He then turned to Miaka. "Now where do we start... How did you get a kimaitachi?"

"Oh a party the Druts are always putting on parties. Me and Sawa got invited to the back room by her cousin. They had the most amazing creatures for sale there."

"Was that Sawa Ano who was found dead in her parents condo two days ago?" Itsuyu did not mention the state of the corpse found.

"We each brought one. Sawa is dead now and I almost got killed. Why did this happen?"

Itsuyu couldn't help but feel some compassion for the girl. Yet at the same time as he was glad that this was her reaction, instead of insisting on a lawyer. This way he would be able to help other peopl... beings with the information he was getting.

xxxxx

After Itsuyu was done questioning Tsuno, he had her escorted to a room that had some wards on it, just in case. He then talked some with Haruka about this case.

"So what we have here is a group kidnapping kami and selling them. The murders that we are investigating are from kami that have tried to escape...this is way over my pay-grade." said Itsuyu

"Why? You have worked on getting rid of slave rings before, that's how we met."

"Back then I was a member of a task force set for that exact purpose and I had contacted my superiors before hand." said Itsuyu, "Hmm, if call superintendent Sakisen he is pretty open minded about magic."

"I promised the kimaitachi that they would be taken down. One doesn't break a promise to a kami."

"Will you trust me to get things organized?"

"Always," said Haruka, "but don't take more then a few days."

After Haruka left Itsuyu made a phone call. Fortunately Sakisen -san was there and not in the middle of something either. "I have a problem that I need help with. I have enough proof to put several people away for a long time, but it is all based around magic and no jury would believe it. Do you have any advise?"

xxxxx

After all that it was most logical to go to the family home of the Kaioh's, not that Michiru's parents were home. They were never home, which suited Michiru just fine right now, because Alae-san wanted to teach her some magic.

When they arrived at Michiru's room Alae-san said "Lets start with the basics, summoning water. Watch and see if you can follow this."

"I think I see. Can I try?"

Salas nodded. The spell didn't quite work when Michiru tried. Water was summoned, but instead of forming into a ball it splashed all over the room. When the water hit Ryouga, he turned into a red bird whose wings seemed to be made of fire.

xxxxx

Ryouga- phoenix decided he had better find some hot water quick, so he could tell Michiru that it wasn't her fault. He darted out the door to look for hot water... And ran right into a woman who, well, had been carrying a pot of tea. That tea was now all over Ryouga, which meant that he was now human again which was not really helping at the moment because he didn't have any clothes on right now.

"Um, ttthis...isn't ...wwhat..." Ryouga tried to say as he ran back into the room he had just left. 'Wait a minute this wasn't the right room.'

xxxxx

The bird darted out the door before Michiru could stop it then there was a loud crash just outside the door and Reia-san, the housekeeper, came to the door.

"You know your father is going to have to hear about you having naked boys in your room."

"It is not possible. Shapeshifting takes more energy then was in that kenning." said Sala being completely oblivious to what the housekeeper had just said.

"What am I going to do? When my father hears about this!" Michiru paused for a second and realized what Alae-san had said. "Oh good, we had better find him and ask what happened." then looking over at the pile of clothes on the floor, "And return his clothes."

They found Ryouga in the room across the hall, very embarrassed and grateful for his clothes. He explained about his Jusenkyo curse. From there the conversation turned to magic and eventually wound its way back to Michiru's attempt to summon water.

"However, did you manage to get the kenning so close to perfect?" asked Alae san

"I just tried to follow the music that I heard mentally," said Michiru.

"I thought that only bards could do that. No matter, let us try the kenning again without spilling."

Several hours later, Michiru had learned a number of different shields. However every time she tried a kenning that could hurt someone the music seemed to twist away and she couldn't catch it. Alae san said that it might just be that she herself was no good at them so couldn't teach them. This was disappointing, how was she to get Alae san's cloak back this way.

When she mentioned this to Hibiki-san he said, "So it is easier to punch a magic user in the face. They don't expect it, and doing the unexpected can be a good idea in a fight."

"Do you think that will be enough to defeat them, Sir Ryouga?"

"Probably not... maybe you should go talk to Haruka, Michiru." Michiru looked at him surprised. "Not just because of that, Haruka works in the field, runs Occult Investigations and probably can figure out how to get her cloak back better then us. The fact that the two of you might maybe like each other has nothing to do with my suggestion."

Michiru laughed, "But it is a nice benefit. I will talk to her tomorrow."

xxxxx

Lunch break was the best time to talk to someone in another class and Michiru took advantage of it.

"I hear that you sometimes take jobs regarding the supernatural." said Michiru, "I would like you to do one for me."

"What is the job?"

"It is to get a silke's cloak back from the Druts."

"Where did you learn about them?"

"What do you mean?"

Haruka took a deep breath to calm down. "We should go somewhere where we won't be disturbed so you can tell me all the details of this case of yours."

xxxxx

The roof was empty. Once there Michiru told of her adventures the last few days.

Haruka's first thought was 'damn, looks like Ryouga has decided to pay me back for helping with his relationship with Makoto.' Her second one was 'finally a kami that is sensible about things.' She only said the last one out loud, in slightly different words along with an explanation of the case she was working on, of course.

Then she said, "Well this case is connected to something I am already working on so I won't charge much...just a kiss."

It was a great kiss, better then Haruka had imagined

The rest of the school day went by fast, although Haruka couldn't say what happened during that time. Ok, it wasn't until she got a phone call from Itsuyu-san saying to the police station for a planning meeting that she stopped acting like a hormonal teenager and started acting like a professorial investigator, but boy was it hard to do.

When Haruka got to the meeting room Ituyu-san was with another officer, one of higher rank the him.

"Haruka, this is Superintendent Sakisen. He is the person I talked to about that case." said Itsuyu.

"Pleased to meet you sir."

"The same I am sure. Now tell me about the case from your point of view."

xxxxx

"Kitsune are part of the Imperial Court. I believe you said one of them has disappeared recently."

Haruka hadn't said any such thing, but she thought she knew where this was going so she said," I believe so."

"A high ranked member of Imperial Court being held captive would mean we needed to act fast wouldn't it?"

"Of course," said Ituyu. "Can't let terrorists harm a member of the Court."

"Now let's get down to planning this. Do you know anyone who is good with magical shields?" asked Sakisen

"I might, sir. Why?" replied Haruka.

"You will probably need one. I want your team to be on the strike force that goes in first. Your job is to go in, determine that this is actually happening. Then if it is open a back door and signal the SWAT team to come in.." said Sakisen.

"And if there isn't a back door?"

"Then make one. You will have to take along an officer on this, of course."

"Right, but there is something I should tell you about the, um, person I know who knows about magical shields..."

xxxxx

"Really boss is the tux a good idea. You are a girl after all." said Hinin.

"Me showing up in a dress would be more of a cause for comment." replied Haruka in tones of do not suggest that again.

"Just don't screw this operation up. We need to catch these perps." said Officer Tayoshi.

"I know that, and believe me, I have even more to lose then you if they get away. Don't forget to play your part properly. Most men would die to have a beautiful woman like Yuru hanging off their arm, so at least pretend to enjoy it."

xxxxx

'They are definitely keeping all of the exits quietly controlled. I wonder if that is in response to Michiru saving Salas or if it has always been that way and she just found a hole by chance' thought Haruka as she moved towards the front doors. They got in just fine though.

xxxxx

'Well it looks like Yuru was able to get Tayoshi to dance, good he was just so stiff.' Haruka turned away from them before anyone wondered why she was looking at them. Then she saw Michiru standing alone. 'I have enough time before...besides it would be good to be at the other side of the dance floor by then' thought Haruka.

Haruka was about to step forward and ask Michiru to dance when someone spoke to her.

"Haruka, I am so glad I found you. I must talk to you." said a green haired woman.

"Who are you?" 'And more importantly how do you know my name and what are you planning?' thought Haruka.

"You act just like you did back during the Silver Millennium." said the woman smiling. She looked like she was going to say more, but Haruka interrupted.

"Past life back then huh, well I guess that would make Doctor Jones happy, but I am not interested in prancing around in a short skirt." Hopefully that would get her to shut up without anyone else figuring out what the idiot was talking about.

"What!?! You can't, you must take your place as-" Haruka tried to cover the idiot's mouth before she got them both killed, but the idiot was good at dodging probably got lots of practice if this was how she normally acted. 'Great we are starting to attract a good bit of attention, just what I don't want. thought Haruka then she got an idea for how to explain away their actions.

Pitching her voice to carry Haruka said "I don't care what she told you or how much she is paying you. I am not going to pretend to be a good little girl for my mother. I bet that anyone here can tell you I wasn't very good at that anyway. This is even stupider then her attempt at sending me to that boarding school. Now," she walked up to Michiru, "would you like to dance?"

At the end of the dance the two of them slipped though the door that Salas Alae had told them about.

xxxxx

The place was even worse then Haruka thought it would be. It was nice looking. The fools had taken the time to make the place ascetically pleasing. But now was not the time to look at the architecture. How was the time to disable the guards.

"Stand back. If any of them try to use magic use a shield to stop it." Haruka told Michiru.

"Right"

One person tried just that. It didn't work. After a few minutes the hired goons ran off and the two of them chased after them.

The next room was a tiny bit fuller then the last one. There were about thirty goons instead of five, and someone on an elevated platform who was obviously both a leader and a drama queen. He proved this when he opened his mouth.

"Come on, you didn't expect that I would just let you waltz in here-" suddenly he felt the edge of a blade on his throat.

A voice whispered into his ear, "No the boss expected you to expose yourself to gloat. Now call off your guards."

There was then a large explosion that rocked the building down to the foundation.

"Sounds like Hinin opened the back door."

"There isn't -" one of the goons started to say.

"There is now" said Haruka hoping that not too many explosives were used.

xxxxxx

The wind from the sea was cool and refreshing. They had come here to see Salas off. Now that she had her sealskin coat back she was going home.

"Thank you. Michiru for your help. Take with you my blessing. You will never have to worry about drowning and all the creatures of the sea will gladly help you, my friend." said Salas before flinging on her cloak and swimming out to sea in sealform.

AN:

I case you are wondering neither Haruka or Michiru have been having these dreams that they did in cannon. I figure that they wouldn't start having them until Dr Tomoe had gathered enough power to be a threat, interestingly enough after "making the purchases" he was planning to he would have. Also in case you were wondering kitsune being part of the Imperial Court is from an actual myth.