Generations come in the shape of tiny new arrivals that make their appearances in events often termed happy whether those involved consider it such or not. This was usually the case with any sort of happy event. Granted, to be sure, it was because happiness was so much more often the prime emotion involved than almost anything else.

Discounting, of course, the immense level of fear that usual came with any event likely to produce major changes to the way one's life has so far run. But even the character of those fears, when connected to so-called happy events, were often connection to losing or otherwise screwing up said happy event.

There was a world, much like several others, where a succession of these happy events came to the lives of three couples.

There was a fourth couple who, while important to the story as a whole, were primarily important in that the arrival of their first child triggered the series of events that would follow. Though, really, there was no fault, blame or even responsibility could be laid at their feet.

Rather it was the response one of the other three couples had to this fourth couple's child that would start everything.

For one set, this was not their first child. However, that first child, impressive as both parents thought he was, had not yet produced a child with his wife and they had started to fear that their line would end with him. Thus, without informing their first child or his (perceived to be) barren wife, they started trying for another marker in the game of life.

For them, the happiness involved was a rather meager thing of practicality and use. Likewise the fear, what little there was of it, was a selfish one of repeated failures, and failure to repeat success. What they understood of pain was purely physical and shallow. In addition, there was a feint disappointment involved when the child in question turned out to be female.

For such tinder-dry hearts to produce such great burning passions in their offspring is a mystery that is difficult to comprehend.

Still, it was another shot at greatness, and this time it was a child that both wife and husband could take part in the molding of.

When a second happy event occurred four years later and also introduced a new girl to the world, the disappointment was much greater and accompanied by the fact that this third child was the last this couple was likely to produce. They left the responsibility for their youngest to the elder daughter, still barely in her fourth year.

Of all the skills and ideas they taught their children, those that were most important, and most taken to heart, were those they had only the most shallow belief in:

The purpose of life was to grow strong.

The purpose of strength was to protect those that had less than you.

Everything was an opportunity for training.

And they still never told their son that he had sisters.

For the second couple, their early life was so lacking in attention and recognition that the concepts of marriage and children were fairy tales of the vaguest cloth. They had a concept of the man or woman that they would end up marrying, though only one of them ended up correct in their initial aspirations.

In the course of their life, they had achieved greatness in their own right. They knew pain deeply, and not merely the physical pain that came with pitched battle.

They knew the pain of rejection.

The pain of loneliness.

The pain of loss.

The pain of betrayal.

The pain of discovery.

The pain of growth.

The pain of recovery.

The pain of responsibility.

Their first child was accompanied by a hectic collection of fear and hope and determination.

…a determination that their child's life would be better than their own…

…a hope to see their child grow strong, healthy and happy…

…a fear for all the dangers that could beset their child along the way.

The fear was less prevalent with their second child, four years later, but no less powerful. It sat in the background niggling them with fears of what such a dangerous world could do now that they had two young ones to fear for.

The third couple was united across worlds of difference.

The world of life.

The world of death.

They were brought together by the most unusual of circumstances, and kept together by the parade of battle and emergency that followed.

A child between them was the most unlikeliest of miracles.

Doubly so in that such a pairing had already resulted in the man of the couple.

They likewise had seen much pain from their lives of battle.

Though with their nature, they did not feel the same loss that came with ordinary death. For them, that normal sort very much was merely a passing from one existence to the next. However, rare though it was, they had suffered through the loss of friends and loved ones as well.

There was a destruction beyond death, so it seemed.

They were an odd pair, seeming gruff and uncaring, but their was warm care and soothing passion underneath their prickly exteriors, and as much as their sarcasm sparked off of each other, so to did that fire rebound, and that cool wind grow in binding strength.

The child between them was a wonderful miracle, but one they would not share for long.

The father died not long after, and with rare exceptions, the dead were supposed to remain on one side of the divide and the living on the other. With both parents being dead, both were called to their "proper" worlds, and the only contact they had with their daughter was through those messengers and guardians assigned to the region their she lived in.

Not so unusual a thing for a girl to send word to her dead parents.

Much more unusual for the dead parents to answer.

The fourth couple included the eldest child, the son, of the first couple. It was two years after the birth of their second sister, whom they had no knowledge of yet, that their own child was born. An event delayed by the couple's eagerness to see the world and close some loose ends of their young lives before introducing a child to the world.

As soon as their son was born, they sent a letter to the parents of the husband.

A letter sent more out of politeness than anything else.

The husband's parents, for reasons already made obvious in the description of how they saw their children, were not welcome in the neighborhood of the younger couple.

Had they known that the sister's existed and what the purpose for that existence was, they'd likely have thought carefully about sending that letter.

But, then, had they known of the sisters, they'd likely never have left them to be raised by those two shallow and dry hearts without close observation.

In any case, that letter found the first couple, and, in the space of a few lines, their daughters had become…

…extra.

*****

"Excellent!" Genma Saotome declared loudly upon reading the message. "I knew the boy had it in him all the time."

"Oh," Nodoka said. "My boy is so manly that he can even sire children where the land is barren."

It was rather fortunate that Soun Tendo was not present to hear that last comment. Had either Ranma or Akane been there to hear it, things wouldn't have been much better.

The two had left the area of the dojo for more reasons than just have some privacy. Though they'd never admit that they, or at least Genma, were not quite welcome around their son and his family.

Sitting inside the room and watching the elder Saotomes celebrate were two young girls.

The eldest, with black hair and blue eyes, couldn't have been older than ten years old, and she sat seiza staring ahead happy that the message she had received on her village errands was pleasing to her parents.

Occasionally, she'd glance to the side where her six-year old sister, a cute blonde girl, was yawning in a bored manner and threatening to try again to come out of the demanding seiza posture, which she was only vaguely maintaining anyway.

Whenever the blonde's posture started to slip, the black-haired one quickly and quietly shook her head. Her eyebrows would point up nervously as she bit her lip and glanced toward their mother cautiously.

Eyes narrowed shortly before they rolled, the younger blonde nevertheless kept herself at least looking like she was sitting properly. Drawing a nearly soundless sigh of relief from the elder.

The black-haired girl waited to be addressed, and hoped to hear more about her mysterious and seemingly god-like elder brother. If she had known the message she had picked up in town had been sent from her brother, she might have been tempted to peek at it.

Might.

Though as she had that thought, she flushed nervously and quickly beat that hint of disobedience to her mother down.

Almost as if the woman could hear the thought, she turned to glance at the girls, consideringly.

The younger blonde was seemingly unaware of the look, but her older sister swallowed slightly.

"Ryoko, Joseibi," she said, smiling in the way that always made Ryoko hope for a ray of the sun that was her mother's love and pride.

The fact that Joseibi's name was included was both encouraging and nerve-racking. On the one hand, perhaps their mother was about to shine that acceptance on her younger sister, finally. On the other hand, perhaps Joseibi was about to do something to pull the other side of their mother to the surface.

"This is an occasion for celebration," she said. "You've become aunts."

"The Saotome line is secure," Genma declared happily standing up and practically dancing.

Joseibi watched this with a growing sense of impatience and irritation. The only reason the blonde hadn't gotten up and left yet was that the last time she had done that, things had gone badly for Ryoko and Ryoko was about the only one in her family that did anything to take care of her.

"Wai!" Ryoko declared, hands going to her mouth in likewise celebration.

"Now, Ryoko," Nodoka said, a trace of disapproval entering her voice. "The sentiment is appreciated but that is not the behavior of a young lady of our line."

"Hai, Okaasama," Ryoko said, cringing at the admonishment.

That had brought attention on her well enough, and a glimpse through downcast eyes said that Joseibi had shifted back to a true seiza and their mother hadn't noticed she'd been out of it.

"This frees up much concern," Nodoka said, sighing. "Some measures are no longer necessary. We should see about advantageously placing the two of you."

Ryoko blinked at that, not quite understanding what had just been said. She understood that her mother was speaking of marriage, but to date she had been instucted that she was not in a position to be choosy. She would have to find a man willing accept his wife's name.

In a blink the black-haired girl realized what had changed: she was no longer needed to carry on the family name. The realization left her with a curious sensation that she couldn't quite identify.

"Ah, before that, Nodoka-dear," Genma said quickly. "Perhaps now is the ideal time to give our daughter some real training."

Ryoko blinked again and fought the urge to widen her eyes. There wasn't likely to be anything of that, her mother had never consented for Genma to give them any training away from the house. She had always wanted to go on a training journey such as her brother had done, as other martial artists she had heard of had done, but Nodoka was always so concerned with safety.

"Indeed," Nodoka said after a moment's thought, much to Ryoko's surprise. "Some advanced training might make her twice as appealing to a powerful family." Ryoko's eyes were wet with cheerful tears as she came to the conclusion that her mother was going to reward her for her long dilligence. She was going to be allowed to pursue her interest in the martial arts.

"Perhaps it would be good to take Joseibi as well," Nodoka suggested.

Ryoko blinked again, eyes drying.

"Okaasama..." she said quietly.

"What is it, daughter?" Nodoka asked, turning toward the girl, smiling beatifically, but in a way that left little doubt that she was merely trying to disguise her own dislike for the interruption.

"Joseibi-chan is not interested in the Art," she said hesitantly, ashamed that she would force her mother to have to hide such disapproval.

"Nonsense," Nodoka said. "My family are samurai, your father's are martial artists. The Art is in our blood."

Joseibi avoided snorting, even at six-years old and, as Ryoko said, less than interested in the Art, she knew more of martial arts than Nodoka did.

"But..." Ryoko said.

"However," Nodoka said. "I suppose it would not be any harm to see to some of her education myself."

Ryoko froze, staring down at the ground and shaking minutely.

Nodoka stood up and started walking toward the side of the room, toward where the family sword was.

Joseibi felt a trickle of fear as the woman did that. She wasn't yet certain of everything the sword imported, but she did know that Ryoko's joy from a kind word from...well, almost anybody...but especially their mother was more than matched by her sister's fear of Nodoka reaching for the sword.

And if Joseibi felt a trickle of fear, then Ryoko...

The younger girl glanced toward her elder sister and flinched on seeing the orange fire swirling in Ryoko's eyes and the smouldering where the black-haired girl's hands touched the floor.

"I'll go," Joseibi said in a casual way accompanied by a fake yawn.

Ryoko looked up in surprise and the fire was already dying from her eyes, but there was still fear there.

Fear for Joseibi mostly.

Nodoka turned to look in that calculated look of sunny approval that worked so well on the blonde's elder sister. Their father, however, was seeming rather uncertain about all of this.

Genma glanced toward the girls and thought seriously.

Ryoko, he had plans for. In addition to being a remarkably obedient child, unlike certain other children, the girl was a genius. He had never seen a code that could confuse her for even a minute. She had read some of the most deviously encoded training scrolls off like she was reading a grocery list. That instinctive code-breaking ability made her an incredible tool for the acquisition of techniques.

Joseibi, however, had Ranma's disobedient streak in full, Ryoko was the only one she even somewhat listened to, with no hint of either Ryoko or Ranma's genius for the fighting arts. Of what use could she be...

Genma eyed the sword behind Nodoka and decided not to risk saying anything. "Then it is decided," Nodoka said. "Husband, you must swear that our daughters will make excellent scions of our combined blood."

"Indeed, Nodoka-dear," he responded. "I swear it on my li...honor."

Ryoko looked to Joseibi briefly and then turned a cheerful smile on to their parents.

"I shall count upon you, husband," Nodoka said enthusiastically.

*****

Naruto walked down the street with Hinata at his side. Their son was at hers and their daughter was on Naruto's shoulders. The laughter and cheer was clear on their face as they enjoyed just being with each other.

A family enjoying the times of peace that they had fought and bled for fifteen years past.

People smiled and were pleased to see them as they passed.

They had achieved many great things, but this was the greatest of them.

They had achieved what would be considered by many a more or less normal life.

Even though their situation did have its quirks.

The blonde girl on Naruto Uzumaki's shoulders giggled and hopped down to the ground suddenly with a giggle and looked up with her six-year-old face as she started forming hand signs and split into two little girls.

"Let's play ninja!" she shouted happily in stereo and suddenly two identical little girls were scattering in either direction.

"Kuren! Stop showing off," the boy, hair purple and spiky, ten years old, complained.

His peers had pointed out several times that she hadn't yet entered the academy and already could use the bunshin. There were predictions that she would reach the kage bunshin state by the time she left the academy, while he hadn't even managed to use his byakugan yet.

"Let her play, Jiraiya," Naruto said warmly as he followed after his daughter's clones with some of his own. Half letting her play, half watching for her safety.

"Don't worry," Hinata said as she watched her husband and daughter play back and forth across the street ahead of them. "Sometimes it takes longer for us to find what we're good at. Your father and I were graduated from the academy before found our skills."

"She doesn't have to show off," Jiraiya repeated, mouth firm.

"It's not showing off," Hinata said. "It's playing. I remember someone coming home and substituting himself for every piece of furniture in sight for two days after learning the jutsu."

"Yeah," Jiraiya said, embarrassed.

As they were talking, Hinata noted ahead as a black-haired girl in spectacles walked around in vague, uncertain directions holding a little yellow fox kit in a bundle of loose clothes. She had a bulky backpack for her age, and two others weren't much further away, leaning against a park wall near a bench, and she occasionally started wandering back that way. The bokken at the young girl's side indicated that she was training in the martial arts, but Hinata didn't recognize her from among the students at the academy.

"Do you know her, Jiraiya?" she asked her son quietly.

"No," he answered. "I don't think I've ever seen her before."

Naruto had noticed as well, but one of his clones had already indicated that he was staying with Kuren. A serious cast to her face, Hinata started walking forward quietly patting her son on the back and indicating him to follow.

"Hello there," Hinata said as she reached the young girl, about the same age as Jiraiya. "Who are you?"

The black-haired girl flinched and glanced up nervously. For a moment, Hinata could have sworn that she'd seen the girl's blue eyes flash to brilliant orange.

"Ano…" the girl said in a long, drawn out second that easily broadcast her nervousness.

Then she looked at the fox in her hands, the little creature seemed determinedly unhappy. After a moment of obviously uncertain thought, the black-haired girl set the fox on her shoulder and then bowed…very carefully.

"I am R..ryoko S..s..saotome of the Mu..s..sabetsu Ka..ka…kakuto S..s..saotome-Ryu," she said, and then taking the fox back into a cradle formed by her arms.

Musabetsu Kakuto Saotome-Ryu?

The girl was from a martial artist family, judging by the packs, a wandering family. She wasn't shinobi. So what was she doing…

Hinata's eyes widened slightly as she realized the import of this.

A technique thief.

Wandering martial artists traveled and sought new styles to learn. The most well regarded, and often the strongest, sought to earn the respect of those they learned from, and some of those had formed the foundation for Konoha Taijutsu, but such martial artists would have made themselves known to the guards and waited to be allowed in the village.

A creditable martial artist would not have left a child, disciple or daughter, alone in a strange city, but rather arranged for the shinobi to care for her while dealing with the taijutsu specialists of the city.

"Gomen nasai," the girl said quietly. "I…I need some…hot water, d..do you know where I…I can get some?"

"Hot water?" Hinata asked.

The little girl nodded, biting her lip.

Hinata laid her hand on the back of her son, who was about to complain about being treated like a child when he made sense of how her finger was moving against his back. He waited patiently for her to finish the message she was writing as she chatted comfortingly with the girl in front of her.

"Are your parents here?" Hinata asked.

"My father and imouto-chan," the girl said, holding up her fox. "Sh…she's...she is, she is. SHE IS," there was a haste and urgency to the way the girl had corrected her speech that made part of Hinata's gut curl. "She is why I need the hot water."

Hinata vaguely wondered who the third pack belonged to if the fox was 'imouto-chan', but hadn't noticed any signs of deception in the black-haired girl's eyes.

"Did your father bring you hear? What does he look like?" Hinata asked.

"He is…big," a hesitancy, probably the man was fat, "and…wears a cloth on his head," bald. "And he wears glasses like mine."

The glasses in question were held to the girls ears with string rather than a full frame.

"People usually get mad at him at a lot," Ryoko said nervously.

Hinata patted her son on the back and he darted ahead to find one of Naruto's clones and spread the information. The black-haired Saotome girl watched him leave and bit her lip.

"I just put him in trouble, did I not?" she asked, eyes definitely flashing with orange fire now. "Father says I…I…should not talk so much. I do not mean to. It is not hi..his fault th..that I talk too much."

Hinata felt like strangling the girl's father should she see him at the moment.

"Don't worry about it, dear," she said smiling as gently as she could, and the orange fire receded a little. "Kuren! Jiraiya, let's go find this little girl some hot water for her Imouto-chan."

As the woman herded the children toward a restaurant, she watched as Naruto's clones darted away, some to carry the news, others to start the search. Hinata paused a moment to trigger her byakugan and noted something even more chilling to her at the moment than the foundling girl's behavior.

Turning to look at her "son" she saw something else entirely. And a few seconds later, as it burst into smoke to reveal a chair, everyone else knew what happened as well.

Worry piercing her heart, Hinata created a small squad of clones herself, which dashed into the streets even as she herself had to stay with the other children.

"Jiraiya," she whispered to herself. "Now's not the time for you to get into trouble." Then she turned down to the two girls and smiled comfortingly before going to the attendant. "Can I get some hot water please?"

*****

It was luck that led Jiraiya Uzumaki to find Genma Saotome as the old martial artist was discovered by some of the ninja of the village, making off with several scrolls.

It was not good luck.

Genma Saotome was a coward and bully. He had an elevated image of his own heroism and lived vicariously through the exploits of his son. However, he was a master martial artist and devious in ways beyond what most people, even shinobi, had encountered.

Had Hinata not spoken to Ryoko, then he might have easily gotten in and out of the village with little immediate fluff. As it was, he was considering using the umisenken to break contact.

Jiraiya should have noted by the way the man tossed about chunin in his path that he was more than a match for a ten year old student still in the academy, but he was full of his father's determination, and didn't let such realistic views cloud his judgment.

As he moved into a jumping kick, Genma easily shoved him aside, sending the boy sprawling to the ground.

"Hmph, the ninjas here are so weak," Genma muttered. "Not sure why I should bother with their techniques."

"Watch who you're calling weak!" a growling voice roared out as one of the blonde clones that had been harassing him landed and swung out with a fist.

Genma idly snorted and ducked under the attack to snap his own punch into the clone. No matter how skilled and powerful the original, such contact was always enough for the clone. Only this time, he didn't receive a puff of air, but just a bare grunt before being tossed across the field of battle.

Genma realized in quick order, that this last fighter was no clone, but the original, and judging by his facial expression, the man was far angrier than any of his clones had been. A glance toward the purple-haired boy who struggling to stand up told him why.

"Oh, is that spoiled whelp your son?" Genma asked.

A wordless snarl was all the answer as Naruto charged forward.

Genma was also old and Naruto was powerful, in the same league as Ranma had reached since defeating the phoenix god. Reluctant as he was to do so, there was only one way that he was getting out of this mess. The Saotome Final Technique wasn't enough by itself yet, he'd need to cut his way free first.

"Kijin Gun-Dai Ranbu!" Genma shouted loudly as he went into a whirling dance and launched sickle shaped arcs of destruction in ever direction about him, forcing all the shinobi trying to corner him to seek shelter.

Naruto himself almost muscled his way through the vacuum slashes toward the old man, but noticed one of the of the slashes heading for his son, who still hadn't recovered from the hard throw he'd taken earlier.

Altering his trajectory, Naruto dashed ahead, trying to beat the vacuum blade to its target, noting as he did, that one of the thief's claimed scrolls was caught on the edge of the blade and, rather than be fully sliced through, it was being slowly slashed in half.

That was a sealing scroll, not a technique scroll.

Whatever was within had been sealed away and in moments would be released.

The desperate ninja twirled through the kage bunshin hand signs and a line of clones whipped out to slam into the vacuum blade one after another until it had been dissipated just shy of Jiraiya.

Naruto and the one remaining clone sighed in relief as the battered sealing scroll fluttered to the ground between the clone and Jiraiya…

…and the last thread gave way.

The burst of energy washed over Jiraiya and the clone alike and then was gone, leaving a large circular nothingness behind.

Eyes wide and disbelieving, Naruto shakingly turned to look for Genma, but the old thief had already fled into the Umisenken while everyone was distracted.

With his son gone and the enemy that had done it vanished, he had nothing to direct his action against or toward. The shock worked over him in a slow creep over seconds that turned to minutes.

And just before the howl, he was struck by a sudden image…memory…of that last clone.

*****

Jiraiya looked around at the pieces of Konohagakure that appeared with him and his father's clone in the city that surrounded him.

The clone looked around fiercely for a moment and then grabbed someone nearby.

"Where is this?" he demanded.

"What?" the innocent shopkeeper said.

"Where," Naruto's clone snapped. "Is. This?"

"R…rukongai…" the man said. "1st district."

"Something wrong here?" a gruff voice asked.

The clone turned to see the tall, orange-haired man with the huge sword at his back and a bag of groceries in his hand.

"I need to know where this place is," the clone said. "So that when I dissipate, the real me can come get my son."

The clone pointed to Jiraiya who stood up nervously now.

"How'd you get here?" the orange-haired man asked, face serious.

"A madman with a destructive distraction," the clone said. "Look, I'm just a clone, pop me and the real me knows what I know."

"Okay," the orange-haired man said. "But it ain't going to be that easy?"

"Why's that?" Naruto's clone asked dangerously.

"Because that kid there isn't going to be strong enough to make the normal return trip," the other said, pointing at Jiraiya. "We'll have to set something up."

"What, I'm strong!" Jiraiya protested.

"Quiet squirt," the man in the black robes said. "Grown ups are talking. The living don't get over hear easy, or go back. Trust me, I did it myself a few times as a kid."

"The living…" Naruto said, hesitantly. "So this is…"

"The next world," the orange-haired man said. "Now, he's not supposed to be here yet, and neither are you. But I have a kin still back your side of things…shouldn't be to hard to arrange…"

A rock came out of nowhere and slashed through the blonde-haired clone sending into a puffing cloud of smoke.

"Woo!" a boisterous voice smashed. "That's a pretty flimsy Ryoka, eh Ichigo."

With a twitching eyebrow, Ichigo walked over to the kid that had just been left behind and handed him the groceries.

"Hold these will ya, kid?" he asked before turning to the source of the voice. "Ganju, were you born stupid?! Or did you just blow yourself up too many times?!"

"What?!" Ganju demanded. "I get rid of one lowsy troublemaker and you're threatened?"

Ichigo set his face into his palm.

"Kid, we're going to go see his sister," Ichigo said, pointing toward Ganju. "And then talk about getting you home."

*****

Back in the living world, and two days later, in Water Country, one Miyako Kurosaki was stretching out some of the kinks as she eyed the top of the fence post next to her, eager to try out walking on it, whether or not Master called her ready for it or not.

Aunt Yuzu had likewise told her in no uncertain terms that she was not to be walking on fence tops, for decency's sake if nothing else. Of course, that was why Miyako had started wearing pants.

Training was much of what she lived for.

After all, if she was strong, then, when she died, she'd be a soul-reaper for sure. And that would mean that she was sure to see her parents again, rather than be lost and alone forever in Rukongai.

Miyako was still walking, half-skipping in an effort to get more efficiency out of her step, when the black-robed figure jumped down on the road next to her. Looking around she saw the familiar red-haired and tattooed face of one of her parent's friends. She didn't see anyone around to watch her talking to nothing, so she waved at him.

"Good morning, Ren-chan," she said, orange and black streaked hair half covering one eye.

Renji sighed in exasperation.

"Can you not call me that, kid?" he asked.

"Oh," the girl said with an innocent face that nevertheless cared the evil bite of Rukia's sense of humor, ",but then when people see me talking to you they'd be like 'why is that girl talking to someone with a full name and personality, she must be crazy, let's stone her!' Instead of saying 'oh, how cute, she has an imaginary friend, aren't they adorable at that age?' Okay? Ren-chan?"

"Right," the soul-reaper said, shaking his head in exasperation. "I have some letters for you from your parents, but first I need to see Orihime."

"Orihime and Tatsuki are out of town," Miyako said. "People got sick in another country and needed a healer and Tatsuki went to protect her. Aunt Yuzu said they might not be back for a long time. Anybody else?"

Renji was about to answer.

"Ren-chan?"

He twitched as he walked.

Rukia would kill me if I did anything to Miyako. Then Ichigo would kill me. And Rukia would kill what was left.

"Chad?" he asked.

"Bandit-hunting," Miyako said. "Three years on contract. Ren-chan."

"Ishida?!" Renji asked.

"Something about Rogue Reapers?" Miyako said. "Ren-chan."

"Oh, forgot about that," Renji said. "Is everybody with high spiritual pressure out of the city? Urahara!"

"Moved shop when people started noticing him," Miyako answered. "You don't keep up with what goes on here anymore, do you? Ren-chan."

"It's been a few months, who expects things to change so much in a few months?" he asked.

"So, what you're saying is that you're the only one around that knows about soul-reapers except your aunts," Renji said.

"Aunt," Miyako said. "Aunt Yuzu is still in the dark. Ren-chan."

"We have a message we need to deliver," Renji said. "I don't think either of you could make the trip."

"Well, we know people, Ren-chan," Miyako said. "Aunt Karin could have the message delivered."

"That'll have to do," Renji said, thinking of the human boy stuck in the soul society. "This can't wait for us to track down someone we don't have an immediate idea of where they are."

"Okay," Miyako said. "To Aunt Karin then."

****

Authors Note: My hope is time skip six years so that Joseibi (based on a character belonging to person that was in a next-gen Ranma game with me) is at graduating shinobi age and Ryoko is the age she was when I played her for four to five years.

At the moment, there's little enough communication between Konoha and the Kurosakis to explain how an exchange would be hard to arrange for six-plus years. Though, I'm assuming Jiraiya gave them at least the name of the Hidden Village.

Eventually, they'd try a soul-reaper in gigai, though, probably in a few weeks, but there's still the issue of actually making the trip.