So, I thought I'd write a bit more of this story, at least enough to explain away Keitaro's new form of unkillable-ness (Hint: It's not a crossover/fusion with anything). Enjoy, if you want.



Once everyone was conscious, dressed (in Naru's case), and straightened out and whole again (in Keitaro's case), Haruka steered them all toward the seating area of the living room. Keitaro was seated on the couch with Haruka standing behind him and Su sitting next to him, while everyone else was scattered around him, taking care to not get any closer than they felt they had to, as though he were diseased with something highly contagious.

"Now then," Haruka began. "Sorry I wasn't here for the introductions. I honestly wasn't expecting you so soon."

Keitaro rubbed the back of his head, embarrassed. "Sorry, Aunt Haruka."

"Do NOT. Call me that," she snarled, her hand already raised to smack him over the head before reluctantly changing her mind, lest she put too much effort into it and have to waste time reviving everyone again.

Realizing he wasn't going to be hit, Keitaro relaxed. "Sorry, Aun- err...Haruka. It's just that I got really excited when you said that Grandma had important news for me, so I got up early and caught the very first train here. I guess I should have called first. Where is Grandma, anyway?"

"Not here. And I'm sorry to say that the important news she had for you probably isn't the one you're hoping for."

His face fell. "Then what…?"

A clearing of the throat by Kitsune brought their attention back to the group. "Uh, sorry to interrupt, but...did he just call you 'Aunt'?"

Haruka fished out a new cigarette, lit it and took a deep drag. "Right, right." She placed a hand on Keitaro's shoulder. "Girls, I'd like you to meet Urashima Keitaro. My cousin," she said with a firm glare at Keitaro on the last word, who gulped and nodded his head quickly.

That got quite the reaction, beginning with a collective gasp of shock and disbelief.

"Wait a minute, Haruka!" Naru shouted, shooting up from her seat, gesticulating wildly toward Keitaro. "Are you seriously telling us that you're related to this…this…?"

"Zombie," Su supplied helpfully.

"I'm not a zombie!" Keitaro moaned in exasperation.

Naru continued. "This…freak of nature?"

Keitaro grimaced. "You know what? 'Zombie' is fine."

"Yes Naru, my cousin," Haruka repeated, completely unfazed. "Our mothers were sisters."

The girls were still staring at her, expecting her words to be some big joke. But at the perfectly serious look on her face, a few of them relented.

"Okay, he's your cousin then," Kitsune conceded. "That just makes me even more confused about how he could do..." She grew a little queasy at the fresh memory. "Well, you know."

Haruka sighed. "In order to understand that, you're going to have to understand a few things about the Urashima family as a whole, first."

Motoko unconsciously tightened her grip on her sword. "What sort of relevance would that have on this situation?"

"Oh God, there's not more people like him, are there?" Naru asked, looking thoroughly horrified by the thought.

"Wait, are you like him, Haruka?" Kitsune demanded warily.

"Would you all just calm down already!" Haruka commanded, quickly beginning to lose her patience. "Keitaro is completely harmless. For God's sake, Shinobu is probably more dangerous than he is."

Shinobu, who had been doing her best to seem invisible throughout the goings on, shared an uncertain look with Keitaro; neither one really sure who should feel more insulted by the older woman's statement.

Fortunately, it also seemed to calm the others down, though the tension was still there, as Motoko and Naru's white knuckles could attest to.

"Now, to answer your question Naru," Haruka continued once she was satisfied she'd regained everyone's full attention. "No, Keitaro's condition is a one-of-a-kind thing. It was an accident brought on by, and I'm going to insist that none of you ever repeat this to anyone, faulty magic."

"...Magic," Kitsune deadpanned after taking a moment to wonder whether or not she'd really heard that. The repeated shocks she'd undergone in the last fifteen minutes had all but removed the buzz she'd worked up, but still...

Naru and Shinobu looked just as disbelieving. Su's already existing interest in Keitaro increased at the thought of having not just an undead, but a magical undead in their midst.

Motoko once again reached for her blade, eyes narrowing. "What sort of magic?"

"Motoko! You can't possibly be buying this!" Naru demanded.

Haruka quirked an eyebrow in the brunette's direction. "You just saw it with your own eyes, didn't you, Naru?"

"Well yeah, I mean I know what I saw. But come on: magic? Everyone knows that magic doesn't really exist!"

"Magic does exist, Narusegawa," Motoko insisted, not looking away from the two Urashimas. "Though there are very few people left in this day and age who realize that."

Su nodded. "Yeah, like Liwu Muka. He was the official shaman back home and he knew lots of magic." Gaining a thoughtful look, she turned to Keitaro. "Can you do a rain dance?"

Keitaro shook his head.

"Darn, neither could Liwu. Every time he tried it we'd end up getting hit with tsunamis instead. He kept saying he always juked when he should have jived and unga'ed when he should have bunga'ed."

Kitsune put her head in her hands. This was starting to get weird. Not that a guy who could survive being dissected and put himself back together again wasn't weird, but people arguing about the existence of magic wasn't going to help matters any. Not really knowing what else to do at the moment, she placed a comforting hand on Shinobu's shoulder, who was still looking just as lost and disoriented as she had when this whole thing started.

Keitaro, meanwhile, managed to shrug off Su's odd comments and turned to cautiously address Motoko. "Um...what exactly do you know about magic?"

Motoko leveled another fierce glare at him, causing him to flinch back. "I am the heir to the God's Cry School of kendo, a school that my ancestors founded centuries ago for the purpose of slaying demons, evil spirits, and practitioners of the dark arts. And while I admit to not having seen much in the ways of magic myself, I do know enough about it to realize that the art of reanimating oneself after being cut in half can't be anything other than the work of some demonic ritual!" She unsheathed her sword, raising it until the tip rested inches from his throat. "What wickedness are you involved in? Necromancy? Have you bound your soul to a devil? Confess to your sins and your end will come swiftly!"

Taking great care not to gulp for fear that the slight movement would cause the blade to pierce his throat, Keitaro swept his eyes as far as he could toward Haruka. "H-help?" he pleaded.

Haruka finished off her cigarette as calmly as ever and reached for another. "What are you worried about? No matter what she tries, she can't kill you."

"Tha-that's completely beside the point!" he insisted while Motoko scoffed at the notion that she couldn't kill this heathen male if she really wanted to. "Just because it won't kill me doesn't make it any sort of enjoyable experience! Do you have any idea how stiff my body gets from constantly having to reattach parts of it? Regrowing them is even worse! Not to mention the inconvenience of it all..."

Releasing a smoke-filled sigh, Haruka decided to take pity on the boy. "Put the sword away, Motoko."


"Let me finish explaining things, and then you can decide whether or not you want to try killing him." Keitaro shot her a look of betrayal, which she ignored. "But until I finish, everyone needs to stop interrupting and jumping to conclusions or we're never going to get through this, all right?"

Slowly, everyone nodded, Motoko the last of them as she re-sheathed her sword and gave Keitaro one more dirty look, assuring him that he wasn't off the hook yet.

"Now then," she began again. "The magic in the Urashima line traces all the way back to the 1500's. Back then, whatever magic they possessed was simple...some would probably say stupid, in nature. Things like turning apples into oranges and removing set-in stains from rugs and place-mats. Honestly, I think the main reason that our ancestor's kept their magical abilities a secret from everyone else was because of how embarrassed they were of it themselves.

"Things were like that for the better part of a century before our Great-times-ten-Grandfather, Urashima Ushio, stumbled upon a secret ritual granting immortality."

Disbelief appeared on several female faces. "And how exactly does one…go from turning apples to oranges to discovering immortality?" Naru questioned.

"And how does he 'stumble upon' it?" Kitsune added.

Haruka shrugged. "I haven't the faintest. He died long before I ever had the chance to ask him."

Whichever girl wasn't looking disbelieving before was now. "But you JUST SAID he was immortal!"

"'Immortality', was what they always considered it, even though it didn't actually grant the caster eternal life," Haruka interrupted before another tirade could begin. "What it did do was make him virtually unkillable: blades couldn't cut him, bullets couldn't pierce him, fire couldn't burn him, and blunt impacts might have left him winded but without a bruise. Despite all of that, he could still die of natural causes like old age, diseases or starvation. So really, a more proper term for it would have been 'Indestructible'."

The girls looked at Keitaro, who was still looking very uncomfortable at being the center of this discussion. They were all thinking along the same line: Even though he'd survived decapitation and full dismemberment, he certainly didn't have the impenetrable body that Haruka was describing. In fact, Naru and Motoko would go so far as to say that he was much more fragile than any normal person should be; as though he were made of paper or something.

Haruka noticed the questioning stares, but wasn't quite up to that point of the story yet. "Before long, every member of the Urashima family had the Indestructibility ritual performed on them, and were ready to enjoy long, worry-free lives. After all, having almost no fear of a premature death will do wonders for a person's confidence. Of course, for some that confidence led to some horrible decisions that didn't reflect well on the others...

"Unfortunately, after a few generations, a problem came to their attention. It seemed that while the spell may have made them invulnerable, it also made them incredibly unlucky."

"Unlucky how?" Naru asked, having given up on making logic out of the situation and just going with the flow at this point.

"Just your run-of-the-mill bad luck," Haruka replied. "Only multiplied several times over. Continuously failing at crucial moments, always being in the wrong place at the wrong time, bouts of clumsiness so horrible that some of them could literally trip over their own shadows...things like that."

Motoko bowed her head in thought. "So the spell that Ushio discovered was also a curse, then."

"So it would seem. And to make matters worse, the bad fortune seemed to grow worse with each new generation that partook in the ritual. It culminated with our Great-Grandfather Honda. He had joined the Navy and, while out at sea one day, caused an accident that sank not only the ship he was on, but four other ships along with it."

"...How?" Naru demanded incredulously.

Haruka shrugged. "Details were a bit sketchy even back then, but torpedoes, oil tanks and a discarded mop were apparently key factors."

"And he caused the whole thing himself?" Kitsune asked.

"The fact that the very first thing he said when rescue teams found him floating amongst the remains was 'I can explain' certainly indicated as such."

Keitaro turned red and sank deeper into the sofa at hearing the overly familiar line. This, of course, didn't go unnoticed by the others.

"So what does this all mean for him then?" Naru asked, nodding in his direction. "You told us his...condition was an accident."

"I'm almost to that part," she affirmed. "Anyway, after Honda's incident, the rest of the clan decided that Invulnerability just wasn't worth it anymore. The curse was simply too much to handle now that it was becoming a danger to others and not just themselves. They didn't know how to reverse the spell, so they were all stuck with it, but they vowed not to use it on anyone ever again. Hence, Grandma Hina was the first Urashima in several centuries not to have it. And we'd kept it that way for several years now..." She placed a hand on Keitaro's head. "Until this guy came along."

All eyes returned to Keitaro, causing him to sink even further.

"So, what? He heard stories about his ancestors, thought it would be cool to be immortal or whatever, and tried performing the ritual on himself?" Kitsune guessed.

"Not even close," Haruka told her. "No, it was actually his mother's fault."

"His own mother did this to him?" the ash-haired girl ask.

"But why?" Shinobu finally spoke up, wondering what sort of person would do such a thing to their own child.

"Well, it went like this: Even without the Bad Luck Curse, Keitaro was one of the clumsiest, most danger-prone kids I've ever known when he was younger. By the time he was eight years old, he'd already had three broken arms, two broken legs, twelve broken ribs, and a broken hand and foot. And that was just broken bones. I can't even tell you the number of cuts, scrapes, bruises, concussions and other injuries he'd suffered from in that time."

Naru frowned, suddenly hit with a memory of a boy she used to know who was always covered in bandages. …Or had it been a girl?

"Auntie was afraid that Keitaro would end up getting crippled or killed if the accidents kept piling up any further. Of course, she had heard all about the stories of our ancestors and their Indestructibility ritual, so one day she brought Keitaro to the Inn and asked Grandma Hina to perform it on him."

"But what about the bad luck curse?" Shinobu wondered tentatively.

Haruka shrugged. "Her thinking was that his luck was already so dreadful that even if he did end up cursed, it couldn't possibly make it worse than it already was. And even if it did, at least he'd be protected.

"But Hina refused to perform the ritual. Said it had been sealed away for a reason, and that if she did it, it could very well lead to great misfortune for not only Keitaro, but everyone else around him as well. They fought for hours over it, but Hina stood by her word; even though she hated seeing her grandson in pain all the time, she felt she was making the right decision.

"Auntie ended up storming out of the Inn, but returned later that night when everyone was asleep. She found the spell text, took it and Keitaro up to the annex, and started performing the ritual herself. Unfortunately, Grandma woke up, realized what was going on and went to stop it. She ran in just as Auntie was finishing the incantations, which caused her to screw it up, and…" She gestured to Keitaro. "This is the result."

The girls looked at Keitaro, who fidgeted under the stares.

"As you've already seen," Haruka continued. "Rather than receiving a body that can't be damaged by pretty much anything, he received an incredibly fragile body that can be regrown or reattached when necessary."

"I knew it had to be something," Naru muttered. "I knew I couldn't have hit him hard enough to knock his head clean off unless he were made of styrofoam or something." Motoko nodded in agreement, having felt the same way about the result on the male's body from her sword blast.

"Styrofoam is pretty accurate, to be honest," Haruka told them, suddenly feeling weary from having to relive the story of her cousin's plight again. "Hell, punching aside, a person could easily rip his head off with their bare hands if they wanted to."

Keitaro paled considerably. "Haruka, could you please not give them any ide-ah Ah AH! Sto-!" Before he could finish his plea, his head separated from his neck with a disturbing 'Pop'.

"Wow, it really does come right off!" Su exclaimed, sounding downright ecstatic as she held the disembodied head up for everyone to see.

Shinobu immediately passed out again. Kitsune and Naru took on matching looks of nausea and both made a dash for the bathroom, all but tackling each other in an attempt to get there first. Motoko's face turned a light green, but she managed to keep a respectable composure about her. Haruka sighed and reached for another cigarette.

"You are my new favorite thing ever," Su informed the upside-down head in her hands with a jubilant grin, drawing a sharp cringe from it in return.

"Please don't do that anymore," he begged.

"Aw, but this way I could easily get inside your head and tinker around with your brain! Maybe I could implant a few cybernetics. I could make you into a robot-zombie-ninja!"

"Put that thing back, Su," Motoko commanded firmly.

"Awww," the tanned girl whined as she set the head back on the slumped body, which quickly reattached itself. Keitaro sat back up, tilting his head to the sides until his neck cracked twice.

"No matter how many times it happens, you just can't get used to having your head removed," he muttered, causing the listeners to sweatdrop for lack of anything else they could do or say in response.

Haruka and Motoko revived Shinobu as Kitsune and Naru poked their heads back into the room, making sure Keitaro was whole again before returning to their seats.

"Um…i-isn't there any way to…to f-f-fix him?" Shinobu stammered weakly once everyone was settled down again.

Keitaro shrugged helplessly as Haruka shook her head. "None that we know of," she admitted. "Even if there had been a way to reverse the original Immortality ritual, there still wouldn't be any certainty that it could fix a botched version of it."

"I had thought that I'd finally be getting a cure by coming here today," Keitaro mumbled, drawing a few sympathetic frowns from the girls.

"Hey, don't feel so down," Su said as she patted him on the shoulder. "I think you're cool like this."

Keitaro couldn't help the weak smile that appeared at the young girls words. "Well, that makes one of us."

Naru turned her attention back to Haruka. "So then, the reason why Hina-san has hardly been here over the last few years…"

Haruka nodded. "She's been searching the globe for anything that might help turn him back to normal, though there hasn't been much luck with it."

Keitaro frowned. "Aunt Haruka-" She cut him off with a fierce glare. "S-sorry. What was the point of Grandma calling me here if she hasn't found a cure yet? She said she had something important for me, so what else could it be?"

Snuffing out her latest cigarette, she silently walked into the kitchen and returned holding a few sheets of paper. "She called you here for this," she explained, handing the papers over.

With a sudden and strange sense of trepidation, Keitaro began reading the first of the papers. The girls grew a bit worried as his face began to grow pale, his breathing slowed greatly, and his eyes stopped blinking as they focused intently on one specific portion of the letter.

After waiting several seconds with no recovery on his part, Naru frowned and pulled the paper from his unresisting hands and began reading through it herself.

"'Dear Keitaro'," she read aloud, skimming through it as everyone else was just as curious as she. "'Hope this letter finds you well…still searching for anything that might help…mystical properties on Pararakelse Islands…turned out to be another dud…could be gone another year or more…leaving you Hinata House in the meantime…Love Grandma. PS: Kanako says 'I love you''."

A moment of silence befell the group.

"Where are the Pararakelse Islands?" Kitsune wondered, having never heard of them.

"Who's this Kanako that's with her?" Motoko asked. She was sure that Hina had never mentioned her before.

"She'll be gone for another year?" Shinobu said a bit sadly, having never gotten the opportunity to meet the old lady yet.

"Are duds good to eat?" That was Su.

Another bout of silence, and Haruka wisely stuck her fingers in her ears.

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN, LEAVING HIM HINATA HOUSE!" all five girls shouted together.



And that's that, for now. Not really sure where I'm going to take this story from here, but inspiration will hit me eventually.

Until then.