Disclaimer:Kim Possible and all related characters are owned by Disney.
Shikabane Hime originally owned by Gagan Comics, anime by Feel and Gainax.
No profit (and definite loss of time) accrued.
Yori lie in the wooden tub.
It was sweltering in the bath house. Yori had wandered into it hours ago, after missing every single routine duty Yamanouchi expected of her. By the time the sheer listlessness of her empty existence had formed into a plan, the girl had started upon it.
Yori had chopped wood for herself: it would be wrong to take chopped wood from the others and she believed HE would not approve. She had filled the tub by hand: HE was quite the hard worker. She had lit the fire under the tub soley by grinding the splinters of her chopping: HE was quite innovative when HE chose to be. The girl had allowed herself to revel in the feeling of the water warming up: HE had a child like wonder about the world.
The boiling water brought her out of her reverie. Through the thick steam in the bath house she could see the water rolling in the tub. She could make out the straight cuts across her wrists, let alone the brownish-red patches where 3 liters of her blood had boiled off the floor an hour ago. Yori knew in her heart that she was dead: she hadn't felt it pump for some time now.
In reverent Japanese, Yori murmered aloud. "I would have thought that jigoku would have flames instead of steam."
Because she knew she was in hell. She killed herself and went to hell. It was the only penance Yori knew. The Ultimate Monkey Master, Master Stoppable Ron-san, ascended not due to her love or her companionship or her dutiful tending. He had ascended because of a woman who would never love to serve him. A gaijin ingrate that would never revere the opportunity afforded her by Master Stoppable.
Yori's only regret was not being able to serve Ron-san well enough.
Master Sensei had informed her that he sensed and evil coming that would require the Ultimate Monkey Master to protect every primate on the planet. Yori nearly had a heart attack from worry-was Ron-san up to the challenge? When Master Sensei assured her that he was, Yori fell to her knees in relief. When he told her that Master Stoppable would ascend because of the love of another woman, her heart did break.
The young ninja wandered the grounds in a haze. She didn't hear any of the reports of alien invasion. She didn't care how many graduates of her school had fallen in Japan fighting the machines before the world was saved. And when she heard the howl, because how could one attuned to such things not hear the howl of every ancestor of every human agreeing to serve a single man, she realized. The need for penance. The need to die.
If only she could have served him better. More. Something.
And Master Sensei stood in the door of the bath house. The students behind him ducked away from the super heated steam and he, alone, withstood the scalding vapors. Yori supposed that she was lucky.
Master Sensei would help send her to hell, right?
"Master Mibu", Yori could hear Master Sensei state fairly sternly. "I brought what remains of my student to your attention because of your expertise. Not your judgement. Remember well-I did not have to."
Yori attempted to remember how she got to where she was but everything seemed...dampenned, like a wet blanket was thrown over the whole world. Where was she anyway? She tried to look around but everything seemed blurred, strobed, stigmaed...any possible flaw of sight. She tried to sit up, but she didn't seem to be able to break the wet pieces of paper wrapped around her. That's right, she had been bathing so she should be wet and naked. Why were these prayer strips wrapped around her body then?
"Master Sensei.", the girl heard another man reply. "I respectfully assure you or our deepest gratitude that you trusted us enough allow us to aid. However! It is no longer your student. It is Shikabane. It needs to be destroyed."
Apparently Master Sensei disagreed. "Respected Brother Mibu. I know certain truths. I have taught many students in the art of...appropriating certain truths. One of these is that the Kougon sect has been not destroying Shikabane for centuries. All of these Shikabane are young-like Yori. They are female-like Yori."
"How could one such as you know these things?", Mibu...not quite countered. His tone was akin to drawing a pet from his hiding place.
Master Sensei scoffed. "Contrary to popular belief, the art of dispensing of oppressors by any means neccessary is the oldest profession. How could one who attempts to instruct in that path's ways not be intimately familiar with all the consequences of tragic deaths and deep rooted regrets?"
"I see.", Mibu stated.
Master Sensei continued. "I also have someone in mind for you to bind with Yori."
The other man disagreed. "We have more than enough qualified monks trained specifically for this type of arrangement."
Master Sensei informed, "But the person I have in mind provides a unique opportunity."
"Wade!", Kim Possible nearly hissed. "I want to know where my boyfriend is and I want to know now!"
The chubby child on the other side of her Kimmunicator screen physically recoiled from the angry young woman. "Well, after Ron went all monkey-style on the Lowardians his chip blew out. There's no way of telling where he is. Honest."
"Do you want me to come over to your house and ask you in person?", Kim threatened.
Wade considered it for half a second, typed for a quarter second then answered. "He's back in Japan."
Master Sensei maintained a lotus position, sitting in front of three younger people in Yamanouchi's main shrine. Ronald Stoppable, the Ultimate Monkey Master as heralded by the Yamanouchi clan, and now seemingly contracted priest of the Kougon sect, sat on his knees before the old teacher in a brilliantly white gi. The corpse of Yori, now risen from the dead and damned as a shikabane, sat lotus style at Ron's left. Kim Possible sat on his right in full mission garb, because as ticked off as she was the girl knew some lair was going to blow up within the hour.
Kim started slowly. "I want to go over everything. The reason I want to go over everything is because I don't want to jump straight to the conclusion that my boyfriend went behind my back (half way around the world) just to be bonded to an exotic, attractive girl who thinks he's a god. Who by-and-by just so happenned to stop aging so she'll be as hot a ninja as she is now for-ev-er.
"Firstly, Ron Stoppable is the Ultimate Monkey Master. This isn't just from dumb luck from our (i.e. me and my boyfriend's) first mission against Lord Montgomery Fiske, hereafter known as Monkey Fist. It was fate that was inevitable not chance, as shown by countless prophecies accrued by Yamanouchi. Therefore, my boyfriend meeting the beautiful and dutiful Yori was bound to happen as was her duty toward my boyfriend. When MY BOYFRIEND 'ascended' when we (i.e. me and my boyfriend) saved the world from the Lowardians, this poor attractive and athletic girl-who by the way assured me that it was my boyfriend and I's fate to be together, committed suicide because she hadn't served him enough or his rise meant her work is done or some other way too honorable for me to complain about reason. Because she felt so strongly about my boyfriend."
Ron raised his and to interrupt. "KP, you keep calling me your boyfriend a lot."
Kim's eyes clenched. "Shut up."
"Yes ma'am.", was the guarded reply.
No one noticed Yori's eyes narrow just the slightest bit at Kim's cowing of Ron.
"Secondly. There is such a thing as a Shikabane. An undead corpse that has every power of its form amplified, from its healing to its strength to its memories to its speed. An undead corpse that can shrug off cold and fire and hunger and solitary confinement or anything else short of spreading its brain all over a city. An undead corpse with only two things to its name: the regret that was so intense that it refused to die and a curse that, while only one power, can be any power from hypnotizing mankind to creating private dimensions to shooting fireballs to plain old death.
"But not to worry. There's another super secret sect of warriors beside Yamanouchi-the Kougon sect. They have been fighting these monsters for centuries. Each one of them is not only trained in a particular weapon, but has practiced a stinkin' near magical Zandan skill to perfection. And it just so happens that if they come across a Shikabane that hasn't killed yet (and how often would that happen given their obsessive regrets that trump the Grim Reaper's call), and is female and young like the daughter of the founder of their sect, these Kougons can perform four rituals. The first being binding said Shikabane with prayer scrolls that are otherwise normal but holy strips of paper so it doesn't get loose and start killing until the process is over. Second, they wipe the regret from her heart. Then the Shikabane willing gives up its curse and whatever superpower that curse granted. And to top the whole thing off this Shikabane chooses a living human to rein her in. In exchange this undead monster can hope to go to heaven by killing 108 undead monsters that are too male or too old or too blood soaked to go through this process.
"Now we get to the good part. The afore mentioned sexy, exotic teen ninja comes back from the dead because she's so obsessed with my boyfriend. And of course, the grand master of Yamanouchi knows the high bishop of Kougon and cut a deal. My boyfriend already is trained in the personal weapon to end all personal weapons, the Lotus Blade capable of being anything those imbued with Mystical Monkey Power will it to be. My boyfriend has already mastered a Zodan technique-Heavenly Tai Shing Pek War, also known as throw aliens through their own star ship. So why not marry the never age, wet dream that's just undead-superpowered-ninja enough to be the ultimate bad girl but just proven-devotion-heaven-bound to be the ultimate girl next door to my boyfriend."
Ron dared to speak again. "I wouldn't call it married, KP."
Kim turned on him so fast the room physically shook. No one could see her eye color, as they were only open enough to let the tears fly as she jerked her head around. "Do you even know how mad I am?"
"You went behind my back. So either you know I can't trust you or you think you can't trust me.
"Then you married Yori. Yes, 'bonded with in an intimate ceremony within religious practice' counts as married in my book.
"And I know, in my heart of hearts, you only did it to save someone who would have otherwise been killed. A friend. One of my friends, too. And I know she couldn't help loving you or revering you or whatever it is that kept her from rising because that's how I feel about you. There's absolutely no one who's done anything wrong, so I can't lash out."
Kim through her arms around Ron. "And now when we're supposed to go to college together as the first step together forever, you're about to go on this epic quest. Don't you know how afraid I am of losing you?"
"No.", Ron replied instantly. The boy actually was a bit suprised by Kim's real reaction. He had braced himself for a scolding, if KP hadn't jerked him away from his stupider ideas he might not be anywhere right now. But the idea that he wasn't going to be with her...
"It never occurred to me that you would lose me. I mean, the idea of not being with you no matter what never crossed my mind, KP. I wish you wouldn't call it marriage, because without you that just seems sick and wrong. Yes, Yori's corpse is going to be a part of my life until she gets to heaven. But I was thinking that would take time away from you like baby sitting Hana takes time away from you. I sure wasn't thinking going off to Norway and showing up to missions late or some other crazy thing that would never ever happen.
"I knew you knew I loved you. How could I think that you would think that I would think about leaving you for a moment?"
And sure his hair was wet from Kim tears. But Ron could feel the smile of her lips on his neck. And the Americans in the shrine knew in their heart of hearts, everything would be alright.
The Japanese did not.
Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable were finally back in Kim's bedroom. Ron sat on the bed while Kim stormed around him.
"I hate this!", Kim stated yet again. "This is supposed to be the summer between high school and college where I get my boyfriend all to myself. Instead, I have to watch him...cavort with the shikabane of a girl that kissed him before I did."
Ron raised his hand and Kim silenced him with a glare.
"I'm angry, Ronald Stoppable.", Kim told him. "I'm venting. Yes, I know it's because I'm jealous. I love you, she shouldn't. You're my boyfriend and I hate the fact that she needs you. I don't understand any of this: Mystical Monkey Power, Ultimate Monkey Master, the dead girl in my living room..."
Eventually, she sat down next to him. Kim laid her head on his shoulder. "If I could just figure this out, maybe I'd feel better."
At this, Ron perked up. "Why don't you just ask her then?"
Kim turned to glare at him. "No, seriously, KP. You don't understand this sitch and so you feel it's getting away from you. You know I love you and only want to be with you. You don't know what's going through Yori's mind. Ask her. Maybe it'll help."
Kim's hard face softened. "You're right. But if I still have a hard time with this, bear with me. Please and thank you?"
"You know I'll always have your back."
When Kim came back downstairs, she saw her mother's hand plunged as deeply as it could be into Yori's black and white-trimmed kimono. "What is the stinkin' sitch?", she yelled.
Mrs. Dr. Possible turned at the exclamation. Only then did Kim see the stethoscope she wore. "Kimmie!", she exclaimed in glee. "This is absolutely fascinating. I mean, I'm sure I would have gotten a kick out of not finding a heart beat or breathing even a pulse. But, hello-ninja! I'm sure Ronald's friend could fake those. But you should listen to her lack of gastrointestinal movements or reactions. It's amazing."
Kim arched and eyebrow. "So, your psyched about listening to nothing."
The woman pouted. "Well, it doesn't sound fun when you put it like that."
Then she turned to Yori's corpse. "I would simply love to get you under a nuclear magnetic resonance imager and take a few brain scans. It would totally make my colleagues flip their lids."
Yori nodded her head slowly. "It would be my honor, Dr. Possible-sama."
Kim finished walking up to the two. "Um, mom? Could you excuse me and Yori? We need to have a long talk in private. Please and thank you."
"Of course, Kimmie.", her mother told her. "I'll go get your father and brothers and see if I can't distract them with dinner."
And with that, the elder woman left the room. Ron's girlfriend, world saver and all around girl with a future and the corpse of a girl who through all of it away (or at least tried to) regarded each other for a few moments after she left.
"What do you feel about my boyfriend?", Kim asked. "And the truth this time. Not those lies about fate."
Yori frowned. "They were not lies, Possible-sama. I still have every reason to believe that Stoppable-san's and your fates are bound. His ascension is proof of that. It is simply fact not accepting fate can have dire consequences...one of which is seated before you. I simply...obfuscated my regard for a man to that man's consort. There is no crime in that.
"As for what I feel for Master Stoppable: Through no fault of his own, he has charmed his way into my heart. His bravery, helpfulness, the way he makes me smile...all the things I believe you see in him, I do as well. You can understand better than anyone how inevitable it is to love him. The difference you and I have is how much I respect him."
"I respect Ron.", Kim interjected.
Yori covered her hands with the sleeve of the opposite arm. "And how do you show this reverence? By scolding him. By giving him commands. This is not reverence at all. It is as if you have no idea the service Master Stoppable does us by simple being him."
"I don't get it.", Kim told her. "I love Ron to death. But I don't see how this Mystical Monkey Power, no matter how shiny, can be this important. So some scruffy super-villain thought he can use it to take over the world. Drakken thought the same about muffins and flowers and Pangea...just this year!"
Yori shook her head. "Master Stoppable is a savoir. Just as Buhhda Shakyamuni Siddhārtha Gautama saved the world from extremism, Buhhda Stoppable-san have given us just as much. He stands ready to defend the entire world, safe guarding the progeny of all our ancestors. As prophesied, he has saved the world many times. No one else could have shown a being such as the Han that one's own humanity is worth having. It is...how do you say, an 'added bonus' that he is such a wonderful man as Stoppable-san. To me, to those who properly understand, he is an embodiment of what life is supposed to be and why it is worth living. His child-like wonder, innocent heroism and so many other things that make him what he is are no accidents. But to you, it seems he is simply the 'added bonus'."
"Do you really think I 'disrespect' Ron?", Kim asked. Her tone wasn't accusatory, just honestly questioning.
"Please do not ask me questions that you do not wish the complete answer to, Possible-sama. I would be forced to mislead you for your own benefit."
"How can lying to me be good for me?!", Kim cried.
Yori faced her cooly. "How would Master Stoppable have reacted if he was asked to teach the Han to overcome the Yono? And how would Stoppable-san react to having a baby sister? If the heart is clear, what is true is readily revealed. When clouded, even by jealousy, the truth cannot be known."
"I am not jealous of you!", Kim told her. "Ron's mine, so I don't have any reason to be."
"At least we agree on that.", Yori replied. "A woman with a mantle of the rising sun, windows to her soul of the purest jade and porcelain beauty has absolutely no reason to call a plain orphan such as me 'exotic'. A woman who is still filled with enough life to bear him an heir (let alone the perfect hips for the task) has no reason to fear being usurped by the corpse of a girl who has already lost him to her. Stoppable-san is drawn to life. Vigor. I gave all of that up in a fit of self-contempt.
"The reason I wanted Master Stoppable for my contracted priest isn't to take your place, Possible-sama. It is to show him that I can be a woman cloaked with the armor of righteousness. That I can be someone he can be proud of. And maybe, when I ascend to heaven after my 108, he can smile upon me so that all may know what made me human was never lost."
"So please.", Yori continued. "I know that I have little place to ask anything of you, Possible-sama. But believe that I do not wish to upset either you or Stoppable-san by threatening your relationship in any way. I will aid you in understanding Master Stoppable's place in our world, but only at a pace you invite. I am going to need Master Stoppable for...acquiring the 108. But I will apologize in any way you need me to for taking you from Master Stoppable's bed."
"Oh, we haven't...", Kim trailed off when Yori's corpse' expression implied that was the wrong answer. "Uh...I mean, no apology necessary."
Yori and Ron approached the house with only her single duffel bag. His constant hockey jersey and her kimono swished in time with each other. Every step they took mirrored the others. Even they could not tell who was leading who.
"Possible-sama tells me that she is not jealous of our contract, Ron-kun.", Yori mentioned.
"I have ten KP size finger nail marks in my arm that say otherwise.", Ron said while rolling his eyes.
"This is your home?", Yori asked.
"This is Hanna's home.", Ron told her. "The rest of the fam just tries to survive. Which is really easy when she's in fan blade time. Like bullet time but on the ceiling, you know.
"Hopefully, she'll help sell you to my parents. They've been looking for a live-in-nanny, but strangely enough no one seems to be taken with her."
Yori nodded as Ron opened the door. "It will be my honor to help with the Han in anyway I can."
Hanna was inside running from wall to wall as she tended to. Once she spotted her brother, the baby let loose a coo and changed course to him. Her attitude changed as soon as she spotted Yori's corpse standing behind Ron.
Hanna bared her toothless gums in anger for the first time in her life. The baby's arms went from outstretched 'pick me up' to 'rip you to shreds' instantly. Ron barely caught her as she lept toward the girl. He felt if he was back in the talent show juggling as he tried to keep a hold on Hanna. The baby clawed the air mercilessly in her attempt to attack Yori. The shikabane stepped backwards slowly away from the child while hiding behind her duffel bag.
Once Ron managed to shut the door on Hanna, he tried to catch his breath. "Everyone said she had a strong grip, but no one mentioned her bite. Those gums hurt!"
Yori hid her smile, respecting the new problem. "The Han realizes what I actually am, Stoppable-san."
Ron rubbed the back of his head. "Uh yeah. Could you, maybe, wait in my tree house out back while I think of something?"
"Thank you for your generosity, Master Stoppable.", Yori said with a bow.
Ron awkwardly returned the bow then ducked back into the house. A split second later, anyone who cared to could hear Ron's screams. "Ow, I need those fingers, Hanna. For like pressing things and holding onto things and this one thing KP likes but I shouldn't be talking to a baby about that/"
The monster walked around the house to the backyard. In the center of the yard was a single, sturdy tree. An aging shack was nestled in its branches. Yori walked to the base of the tree and checked for observers. Once she convinced herself that there were no witnesses, she flexed her knees and flew the length of the trunk into the tree house with her duffel in a single leap.
The girl took stock of Ron's tree house. There appeared to be a wall scroll emblazened with the portrait of a fierce warrior-ruler as the only decoration. A couch of questionable age and unquestionable usefulness was the only furnishing. There was a myriad of brik-a-brak, all seemingly innocuous yet ready to be fashioned into any number of unlikely weapons. The American-style recoil based sling shot was proof of that. It was a ninja's house. It was Ron-kun's spirit's home. Yori, for the first time in a long time, felt some measure of peace here.
"Psst!", she heard Ron stage whisper. Yori went to the cut hole in the tree house. Ron hung his head out of the attic window, while Rufus stood on the sill. Rufus' reaction to her was no where near as violent as the Han's. She did not know if it was because the animal could feel the contract through the mystical monkey power he wielded or if it was simply because she was down wind. Either way, Rufus stood staring at her puzzled while scratching his head.
"Yori,", Ron continued. "I don't know how much trouble it'll take to get you into the house, so I might be a while."
"If it would be easier, I can remain here.", Yori replied. "I am already such a burden. It would do me no harm to be sheltered in your sanctuary."
Ron frowned. "Are you sure you want to sleep out there? I mean, I don't even have any clean blankets and they all smell like I do in the morning."
Yori's eyes narrowed slyly. "I don't really need to sleep. I am without need after all. I apologize-I am dead after all."
Rufus snapped his claws as he realized what he had been trying to determine about Yori this whole time. Then it dawned on him what that meant. The naked mole rat cringed away from the sill. His guilt over his reaction led him to try to cover it, but in the end he decided to jump down from the sill and retreat into Ron's bedroom.
The girl continued unabated. "But it may get chilly later in the night. Might I use one of your blankets, despite...?"
Ron nodded readily. "Of course, let me just see which one has the least naco stains on it."
His Shikabane Hime giggled as he searched. "As if that would matter to me, Ron-kun."
Ron returned to the window and threw a black comforter the few feet that seperated his room's window and the tree house's. Yori caught it unerringly. "Domo arigato, Master Stoppable-san."
"Well, good night?", Ron called out before retreating into his room. He had left the window open, so even if she had not been trained in the way of the shadow warriors all her life or had her senses heightened by their revival in death or was mystically bonded to the speaker she probably would have heard the ensuing words anyway. As it was, she perceived them as well as if she was in the room.
"What's got you so razzled, little buddy?"
"Oh, Yori. Uh yeah, she kind of is. I mean, they told me that a lot. But it's not like she's vampire-pale or zombie-gray or something so I mean maybe she's only a little dead?"
"Until she goes to heaven, Rufus."
"I don't know. It's supposed to be after she's killed 108 monsters. But monster's don't exactly grow on trees...unless there was some sort-of monster fruit. That would go on trees. Squeeze them to get Monster Juice. Who would want to drink monster juice? Monsters might but that'd be monsters drinking monsters and that's just sick and wrong!"
Yori continued to listen to Ron-kun's ramblings. She held the blanket to her nose and took her first breath on American soil, breathing in the scent. She spread the comforter in the tree house and went through a yoga kata. In every position, she used the scent of Ron-kun on the blanket as the living would use incense: an aid in reminding one-self to breath as deeply as one could in meditation.
Even though the two were in seperate buildings, Yori and Ron were physically closer here than they were on seperate floors of Possible-baka's house. She thought she could feel him resting peacefully because of the contract, but she may have been fooling herself.
Oh well. At least she was with him now.
Sorry to just jack everyone who read what looked like four chapters with the re-edit. Here's why.
I tend to write very short chapters, regardless of the quality of the particular fan fiction. My best (or at least, best recieved/reviewed) has a chapter of 214 words. My worst (or at least, most questionable) have chapters with thousands. I write fan fiction with the idea of a scene or a step in the story in my head, throw it against the screen and see what sticks. Some times that gives a spottanaety [sp?] and flow that would otherwise not exist. Some times it just compounds grammatical mistakes with plot mistakes.
In the original fourth chapter, I ended up introducing a new setting and an idea best left delayed or unanswered while not including another hint/clue/tell that should have been in the first true chapter.
Oh, man that was a run on sentence. Let's try this again.
The first step of this story is not to set up the 'crossover lie'. i.e. Some invention of the author that says 'this series' meets 'that series' before the actual story begins. It was to assure the audience of a few things. Yori is a) dead b) monstrous c) is sitting on a higher but unexplored power level. Kim sees her as a problem (Kim's character flaw isn't OCD as shown by her allowing Bonnie to retake cheer leading captain. It's jealousy as shown by numerous instances throughout the show.) Ron is innocently clueless-how deep he's in, his abilities unleashed, what he means to other people, etc. etc.
Originally, 0 of 108 was posted in four parts. The fourth part introduced some ideas that were completely irrelevant. A new setting and an idea best left untouched so far was part of it. The re-edit allowed the inclusion of the Hanna and Rufus reaction. It may be overselling it now, but having these reactions throughout may come across as beating a dead horse.
Each 'actual' chapter of this story will be a number increase toward the end goal of 108 shikabane killed. For those of you who have seen the anime's second season...yes, I know. For those of you who only know Kim Possible...I'm not going to tell you not to watch an excellent Japanese horror show that's posted by the company on youtube and hulu and funimation and other legal sites. But there are some kicks in the teeth and the end plot of this story will take it into account. That being said, I'd like to say that chapters won't be posted # of 108, a b c and reformatted to a singular chapter after the fact...but that would be a lie. Don't let that stop you from reviewing at any time-I believe I'd take criticism into account before reformatting. Especially if the audience sees problems as the murder rate rises.