Disclaimer: I own nothing, except the desire to entertain myself and others using other people's characters.

A/N: It's official: I'm a moron. I now have three writing projects under way. I should be finishing one, then starting the next, but noooooo; I have to fling discipline into the wind, and work on what my muse (the heartless, evil, fickle b**ch) staples into my mind on any given day.

Stranger In A Strange World

Strange Prologue

Tsukune Aono gazed morosely out the window of the small school bus carrying him to his new school, and in all likelihood, a new life. He was initially excited and anticipating his immersion into high school life, but trepidation and homesickness accompanied the realization that he would not see any of his friends or family until after graduation in three years. Three years, he thought sadly, as he remembered his last evening at home...

Tsukune's mother looked in disappointment at his final report card, surveying the neatly printed column of 70s. "I know you want to try to fit in with average people, but must you be so successful at it? I'm beginning to wonder if your disguise as one of these feeble humans has penetrated through to your brain function."

"Aww, mom, what was I supposed to do? Ace every course? Become a child prodigy? Do you have any idea how hard it was not to burst out laughing during Science classes?" Tsukune rolled his eyes in an all-too-typical human teenager fashion as he spoke.

"Of course not, son, but would it have killed you to get at least one above average score? Do you know how difficult it's going to be to get you placed in a decent high school? The controlled environment of a private academy is out of the question, now." She looked at him nervously. "Are you sure you're ready for immersion in a public, mixed gender human school?"

"Whether he's ready or not is now irrelevant." His father joined the conversation, having just returned from work, and waved a packet of papers at them. "By a stroke of luck, Tsu-kun is now officially enrolled as a student at Youkai Academy."

"But…how?" his mother looked at her husband in surprise.

"It's a co-ed private academy; distant and exclusive, apparently. He'll have to live there until graduation as a requirement of attendance," his father said. "And don't ask," he added with a cryptic look at his wife.

His mother looked resigned. "I would have preferred you continue to attend all-boys schools until you were better acclimatized to human culture, but at least it's a somewhat controlled environment."

"Mom, I'm so ready for this! Don't worry! I've been living as a human boy for ten years now!" Tsukune made no effort to conceal his enthusiasm. "I'm going to go to school with human girls!" he cheered, making a "V" with his fingers and thrusting his other hand, balled in a fist, into the air.

The next day, watching the Academy's bus approach the designated stop, Tsukune said his good-byes to his parents. Hugging him tightly, his mother sniffled, "Be careful. You know how intolerant these humans can be."

Hugging her back, and kissing her on the cheek, Tsukune smiled and said, "Don't worry! I think I can hold my own among a bunch of high-schoolers!"

His father grasped him by the shoulders, looking directly into his eyes. "Don't be careless. Remember son, you're an average teenage human boy, so stay in character!"

As they entered a tunnel, effectively rendering the view out the window distinctly uninteresting, Tsukune returned his gaze to the creepy bus driver. How hard can it be? he asked himself. Pretend to be human for three years? Ha! I've got ten years of practice at that!

Stepping off the bus, Tsukune heard the bus driver mutter something to his back, but paid no attention. The world had changed. The sky was definitely a different shade of blue, or whatever, and he was looking over a cliff at an ocean that could only be described as red. The sign for the bus stop was a black-caped scarecrow with a jack-o-lantern perched on its shoulders in place of a head. No living vegetation was evident, only gnarled and bare trees lining a path that, presumably, led to the Gothic style building in the distance. Headstones littered the verge of the path, completing the sinister landscape. Humans are weird, he thought as he surveyed the area, reciting a personal inner mantra that helped him to take the oddball, unsophisticated, and downright puzzling human way of life in stride.

Tsukune shrugged his shoulders, and picked up his bags to start down the path. He was about halfway to the academy when the hairs on his neck prickled up, and he felt someone or something approach. The curious, sociable side of him would have stayed put to meet up with whoever it was that he sensed, but his curiosity found itself bound, gagged and stuffed into a mental closet by his discretion and unfamiliarity with the psychic energy he was detecting. Taking a few quick steps off the path and standing behind a tree, Tsukune closed his eyes and concentrated on the aura whose source was closing fast on his position. He knew he was pretty good at sensing people's auras and energy, but what he detected now left him stumped. He was certain, at least, that he was detecting a human female, but the weakness of the aura and its unfamiliar nature didn't match up. As the proximity of the energy peaked and started to recede, he realized in horror just how badly he misjudged the aura. The weakness he had detected was only due to the fact that it was unintentional leakage. Whoever this girl was, she was carrying around a staggering reservoir of barely-contained, insanely potent psychic energy. This girl, I've got to meet, he thought to himself as his curious nature freed itself. But carefully, his thoughts continued, very politely, and very carefully. Opening his eyes and stepping back out to the path, he saw the receding form of girl on a bicycle, wearing a green jacket identical to his own, and a long flowing mane of pink hair. Maybe I'll meet her in class, he mused, as he resumed his trek to the decrepit gray building in the distance.

As the standard-issue Tsukune Aono luck would have it, he was late for home room class. Walking up to the open door of classroom 1-3, he knocked tentatively on the frame. The teacher was cleaning some writing off the chalkboard, and made one last swipe of the eraser before looking in her register. "Tsukune Aono?" she asked.

Tsukune simply nodded nervously, nonplussed by the distinctly feline appearance of his new homeroom teacher. Did her hair just move? Apparently not noticing his stare, she continued, "I'm the class 1-3 homeroom teacher, Shiziku Nekonome. Take your seat at the first available desk in the last row, please." As he started to walk to his desk, she went on, "We just went over a brief orientation. You can get filled in by one of your classmates after the lesson."

Again, Tsukune just nodded as he walked. Auras and strange energies swirled around the classroom, coming from the students and teacher alike. They were as varied and diverse as any he'd seen, and almost without exception, insanely powerful for human auras. There was definitely something special about the humans at this school, and he found himself wondering with amusement if he'd accidentally been admitted to some secretive, special school for "gifted" humans. As he neared his desk, all thoughts of auras and energies evaporated when he recognized the occupant of the desk behind his. The long, silky pink hair was unmistakable, and now complemented by large, emerald eyes, the entire package was nothing short of breathtaking. Oh yes, he mused, this is going to be a good year, even if she is the psychic equivalent of a nuclear warhead.

Finally seated at his desk, pondering his new situation, Tsukune felt a light tap in the middle of his back. Surreptitiously leaning back and tilting his head, he heard the girl whisper, "Moka Akashiya".

"Tsukune Aono," he replied in his own hushed voice, not believing his luck. The first human female classmate I meet, he thought, and not only is she the absolute cutest in the class, she's also…wait a minute…is she smelling me?

Sure enough, Moka was leaning far forward in her seat, inhaling deeply, and exhaling in soft sighs. It was obvious she was enjoying the scent of him, even from at least a meter away. His shoulders slumped slightly as he returned his attention to Miss Nekonome's lesson.

Humans are so weird…


A/N: This will be an ongoing story with, I hope, a twist you haven't seen in this fandom before. If there's any one who'd like to beta this fic for characterization and plot, let me know. I'm new to R+V, and basing this solely on the anime. For the poor bas***d/lucky individual who volunteers to beta, I will fill you in on the whole Aono family backstory and path forward for this fic. Reviews/flames/obscene propositions always welcome!