Disclaimer: I don't own Ranma ½ or Touhou. I wish I owned Yuyuko though. Mmm…pinky…
Cherry Blossoms and Pigtails
Genma looked up. He looked down. Then he looked up again.
He wiped away the drool that was dribbling down his chin. "And…and what exactly do you want?"
A mischievous smile spread across the blond woman's face, and she twirled her parasol. "I just want a little bit of your young son's time. A dear friend of mine has been quite sad for some time, and I want someone who can put a smile on her face." She glanced off to the side. "Your little boy seems to be the perfect fit."
Genma followed her gaze. Ranma was currently running through a kata, the ten-year-old a flurry of motions. He jumped on top of a fence and attempted a crescent-moon kick, but lost his balance and fell to the ground. He gave an imperious frown, stood up, brushed himself up, and restarted his practice.
The blonde chuckled, and Genma felt as though a dozen eyes were suddenly watching him. He surreptitiously looked around, but, finding no people in the street other than his son and the strange woman, focused back on the matter at hand.
Or rather, at the large pile of gold in his hands.
Genma examined the money. It looked like gold ryous, coins from the feudal era. He didn't know why this foreigner would have such currency, but to be honest, he didn't care. He had…lent Ranma to other families for less. Much, much less. With this amount…sake for most of the foreseeable future!
After all, he could always steal, er…take the boy back at his own leisure when he desired. A little trauma from this woman would build character in the lad. A martial artist's life is fraught with peril, after all!
His view moved shiftily to just below the blonde's nose. "A week."
Her lips curled up. "Six months."
"What?!" Genma roared.
Ranma paid no heed to his father's eruption. He was used to it. It was Genma's modus operandi, though he wouldn't know such a phrase. The man would give his own preposterous proposal, act outraged at anything else suggested – like he was the one at the disadvantage! – and then wheedle the person down to terms that left the person severely nickle'd-and-dime'd.
Simply par for the course.
"The boy's training can't be put off for that long! He'll become weak if he spends all that time just entertaining some girl!"
"Four months, and I'll teach him a few things as well."
Genma stroked his chin, looking like he was about to agree, but then pursed his lips, his brows furrowed. "Two weeks."
"Three weeks, and I won't go any higher!"
"A month, and I'll double the amount."
"Sold!" Genma swiped the additional gold from the blonde's outreached hand and signed the contract that had popped up within the last few seconds, yen signs in his eyes preventing him from noticing the predatory smirk that lined her lips and eyes. "Ranma, come over here, boy!"
Ranma paused in his practice, walking over as he wiped his nose with his dirtied sleeve. "What's up, pops?"
"Boy, you'll be living with this woman for a little while. She'll teach you a few new things."
"Aw man, again? Can't I-"
"Quiet, boy!" Genma slapped a hand over his mouth, his eyes wide and his brow collecting sweat. He gulped at the bemused expression on the strange woman's face. "Listen to what your father tells you! Oh, what did I do to receive such a honorless son that wouldn't follow his father's well-meaning plans?"
"Okay, okay!" Ranma shoved Genma's hand off and turned to the blonde. "Nice ta meet'cha. I'm Ranma Saotome."
The woman kneeled down so she was at eye-level with the boy. Smiling, she fished a handkerchief out of her pocket and wiped the dirt from Ranma's face. He made a face as she did so, prompting a giggle. "It's a pleasure to meet you, too, Ranma. I'm Yukari Yakumo. Don't worry, I'll make sure you have a lot of fun when you go."
His face bloomed into a smile. "Really?" Martial arts were awesome and all, but his pops never really let him have 'fun' all that often. If he could learn some cool moves and have fun at the same time, then that would be the best thing ever!
Yukari's lips curled up again, and she hid her mouth with a hand, her eyes dancing with…something. "Of course."
"Okay!" He turned to Genma. "See ya, pops!"
He looked up from counting his brib- side of Yukari's trade. "Remember! One month!"
"Yes…" Yukari twirled the parasol around again, this time covering both her face and most of Ranma's upper body. Her tone lingered in the air – a smooth, velvety hiss that snuck into your ears and stayed there long after the maker was gone. "Just one month…"
Genma finished counting, turned his face to so see the two off, and froze.
The street was completely empty. There wasn't even a sign of their departure.
The gold in his hand felt slightly heavier than before.
Ah well. Whatever.
"To the bar!"
Just another day in Nerima – a beautiful day wrapped over sexual tensions covering massive collateral damage tied around mind-shattering insanity.
And lo, the angels sang.
"Airen! We go on date now, yes?"
"Ran-chan, leave that Chinese bimbo alone! I'll make some okonomiyaki for ya!"
"Ranma! How dare you screw around with those girls, you ungrateful boy!"
"RANMA NO BAKA!"
And lo, the earth quaked.
The eldest of the Tendo sisters smiled softly, wiping her hands on a dish towel. "It's always so lively around here thanks to Ranma-kun."
Nabiki watched the ongoing carnage with a calculating look. Already her mind was adding up the quickly increasing debt the wilder Saotome was creating. Oh yes, it would take more than a few cheesecake photos for Kuno to try and even begin to break even now. The only thing that would come close would be out and out selling the quasi boy/girl's body. She shook her head. "Whatever you say, Kasumi. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some work to attend to."
Blackmail and extortion didn't happen by themselves, you know.
The doorbell rang over the cacophony in the living room. Kasumi walked around the ensuing fight and made her way to the front of the house. Opening the door, she greeted the guests. "May I help you?"
A dreamy smile was her response. The pink-haired woman bowed formally, her blue kimono shifting easily in the breeze. "How do you do? Is Ranma Saotome on the premises?"
Kasumi looked back and forth between the woman and her companion, a girl about the same age as Kasumi donned in a green and white dress and clutching a katana to her chest. Her white hair matched the large blob that circled lazily around her body and head, her mouth formed into a tight, neutral line, her eyes and ears focused on the minor battle inside the house.
Kasumi blinked. "Oh, are you friends of Ranma-kun?"
The white-haired girl answered. "My master has a previous arrangement with Saotome." Her voice was crisp and clear, begging no further speech.
Her master giggled sleepily. "Youmu-chan, that's not very nice. You have to be more polite when talking to the matron of the abode."
Youmu's frown grew deeper. "Yuyuko-sama, I don't see why…"
"Now, now," Yuyuko interrupted, patting the slightly shorter girl on the head condescendingly. "There's no need to worry. I'm sure there will plenty of food for you to eat when we get inside."
The girl twitched. "Yuyuko-sama, you're the one who usually worries about not having enough to eat."
"Ara? Oh, that's right, how silly of me."
Kasumi tilted her head to the side and smiled in confusion. They didn't seem like bad people. She was sure they wouldn't cause any more trouble than usual. She gave a short bow and ushered them in. "If you're friends of Ranma-kun, then there's no problem." Kasumi turned inside and lifted her voice. "Ranma-kun! You have guests!"
Ranma peeked out from the tug-of-war on his body. "Huh? Who is it, Kasumi?"
At the same time, Soun walked into the hallway, attracted by all the noise. "Hmm? We have guests?"
The elder man saw a flash of pink catapulting in his direction and braced for impact. He already knew there was no way to avoid being run over. However, he found himself surprised and then immediately incensed when he found himself not bowled over and instead it was Ranma who had been tackled. How dare the boy flirt with another girl who wasn't his adorable daughter?!
Ranma, though, was more alarmed what the girl currently latched onto him and cooing nonsensical sentences had just done, rather than what she was doing. For instance, the girl had literally flown – not jumped, but floated – down the entire length of the hallway and had gone right through Soun. Not to mention the disturbing amount of small, amorphous spirits that were hovering around her form.
Even by his standards, this was something out of the ordinary.
It was too bad he wasn't allowed to ponder on the situation, for out of the fray rose Mt. Akane, ready to blow as heat radiated off of her, ki coalescing in her hands to form the great Pervert Smasher T-100.
The head of the hammer rose, creating gravitational positive energy.
And swung into a powerful arc, converting into the much more destructive form of kinetic energy.
Yuyuko blinked in the arms of Youmu, her body held in a princess carry. "Ara?"
Youmu sighed. "Yuyuko-sama, you really must learn to read the situation better."
The pink-haired girl's eyes crinkled. "Why, Youmu-chan, I didn't know you cared so much. I promise I'll be more careful from now on, ok?" She snuggled deeper into the swordswoman grasp, nuzzling into her chest. "Mmm, cozy."
Youmu blushed, flustered, and dropped her master. "Yuyuko-sama!"
"Oh, poo. That was nice. Well, at least I still have Ran-kun to cuddle. But what will I do when he has to go to the bathroom? I keep forgetting mortals have to do that."
"I don't think that's the point here…"
"So I can just follow him to the toilet? I hear that's all the rage with the folks back in Hakugyokurou – popping out of the toilet. It sounds fun to me!"
The rest of the members present watched the two-woman comedy act with flabbergasted expressions on their faces. The ashen-haired girl had been at the door when Akane had erupted, and then she was instantly…not. They hadn't even seen the girl move. And there was the whole part with Yuyuko floating in mid-air after being dropped. She was hovering upside down while talking to Youmu, the ectoplasmic blobs bobbing in agreement with her.
They had dealt with lovelorn ghosts, living paintings, and even had that possessed toaster that danced to Jackie Wilson last week, but an air-headed poltergeist? That was new to them. The oddest part of the matter was that the pink-haired lass was more interested in spouting non-sequiturs at her companion than anything else.
"Well, how about paralyzing him in his sleep? That's popular too, isn't it?"
"Are you even paying attention to what you're saying?!"
"That's silly. Of course I'm n-" She paused. Swiveling her head around, a look of recognition dawned on her face. "Oh, where'd Ran-kun go?"
As one, the inhabitants of Nerima pointed to the hole in the ceiling that was letting sunlight in.
"Ara? Who did that?"
The fingers swept to Akane, who had started to silently fume.
Yuyuko puffed out her cheeks and crossed her arms. "Well, that's not very nice!"
Akane snorted and stuck her nose up. "Hmmph! That pervert deserved it!"
"Ran-kun…a…pervert?" Yuyuko's face went lax, her body language vanishing. The spirits around her followed en suite, sluggishly moving around until they basically draped off her body. Even the air around her seemed to gain a gelatinous quality to it, becoming less crisp and more opaque in appearance.
Youmu palmed her face. "Oh heavens, not now…"
The air snapped back into fluidity, grew brighter for just a second, and then rushed out in the explosion of Yuyuko's screams. Everyone except for Youmu was knocked over by the blast of psychokinetic energy that accompanied the sound wave, tumbling head over heels to the lilting of Yuyuko's frantic blustering. "Kyaaahhh! How naughty! Ne ne, Youmu-chan, do you think Ran-kun will try to ravish me now that he's all grown up?"
"Yuyuko-sama…I don't think…"
The koi pond erupted upward as mass plummeted into it, sending waves and several annoyed koi every which way. Yuyuko spared not a moment's rest as she launched herself through the door and into the soggy stack of clothes trying to wade its way out of the water. Ranma fell backwards again, the sudden influx of materializing girl crashing into him.
"Raannnn-kuunnn! Is it true that you're going to ravish…" She raised her head from the cushiony pillows she had shoved her face into. "Me…?" Yuyuko looked up.
Ranma had shrunk considerably, his hair had shifted from black to a crimson red, and he had grown a fairly impressive pair of melons. Yuyuko looked up, then down, then poked the aqua-transsexual in the boobs. Huh, they were really pert, too.
Ranma grumbled in annoyance at the woman's star-struck expression. "Do you think you could stop-GYAH!"
Yuyuko removed her hands from groping Ranma's breasts quite thoroughly to then compare them to her own. She pulled out her kimono, took a quick peek, and blinked. Then she glanced back at Ranma. "Wow…they're even bigger than mine." She gave a closer inspection, causing a part in the back of Ranma's brain to begin gibbering in terror. "Say…"
"W-what?" she gulped. Oh gods, here it came. The girl was either gonna call her a freak or something else insulting. The rest of the household waited with bated breath, assuming the same reaction as well.
"Do you think you can give me some pointers?! Youmu-chan keeps worrying that she'll never get any bigger, but I think that she just has to have her growth spurt first."
The ground shook underneath the collected pratfall.
"Now, Youmu-chan, it's nothing to be embarrassed about. Lots of girls worry that they're not big enough."
"Who…who are you?"
Ranma was running on empty cylinders. Girls attacking her (for various reasons/emotions) she was used to. Aforementioned girls having major, varying psychological issues she was used to. Even girls who weren't exactly human she was used to as well – it helped her keep at least a semblance of a sane mind if she just accepted the fact that both human and non-humans were after her hide (for various reasons/emotions).
But what she was not used to, was not only having said girl taking her curse in stride, but going along with it!
What. The. Hell?
Immediately, Yuyuko's demeanor changed. Her face drooped, the spirits around her grew darker in color, and Ranma just knew she had stuck her foot in her mouth, as per usual.
"Ran…Ran-chan…" She winced at the change in honorifics and the overwhelming pitifulness in her voice. "Don't you remember me?"
Oh great, so she forgot something and made the girl cry. Now all she had to do was find Yuyuko's dog and kick it, and Ranma would complete the trifecta of assholery.
"Maybe ya can give me a hint?"
"I used to drag you to take baths with me all the time!"
Somewhere in space, a satellite picked up a sudden spike of thermal energy and gravitational force located in one of Tokyo's prefectures. Maybe it was the birth of a new volcano or a major bomb had been set off? Time to contact the authorit-
Oh, no…wait. It was the Nerima prefecture. Never mind. Back to work.
Ranma felt that she could cry as heat waves distorted the air around the Tendo's porch. Damnit, and she had just gotten off of the Akane Express! "Urm, maybe be a bit more specific?"
"You were always whining that I kept eating the last manjuu and called me a big poopie-head."
A spark went off in the young Saotome's brain. Neurons connected, electricity leapt, and images flashed into her mind's eye. Brown hair, ditzy smile, and an appetite that surpassed even hers a dozen-fold.
She gave a squeal and squeezed the redhead into her bosom. "Eeee! Ran-chan! You remember!"
"Why do you have pink hair?" she asked, muffled through the pounds of flesh.
"Oh, it comes with dying and becoming an all-powerful phantom."
"Oh…okay." A few seconds went by. "…wait, what?"
"So, let me get this straight."
Yuyuko tilted her head, looking for all the world like an inquisitive bird. She sat on one side of the dining table, Youmu carefully perched by her side, while Ranma (converted back to boy form) and the Tendos were on the other end, Ukyou and Shampoo gathered around, and Genma carefully positioned to make a run for it should – scratch that, when – things skipped south altogether and plunged straight into the abyss.
Nabiki was the unanimously decided spokesperson for the Nerima group, seeing as if anyone else would have tried to speak, things would have broken down quicker than Soun and Genma on an afternoon bender.
"You," she pointed at Yuyuko. "Are a ghost princess who played with Ranma several years ago, killed yourself with your god-like powers, forgot all about him, went by 1000 years before awakening a giant demon Sakura tree where your body was buried, suddenly regained your memories, and decided to see your…" Here she paused, collecting herself so she wouldn't start laughing. "Ran-kun, so you can play with him again by time-traveling back to a point he was still alive?"
"Yes!" Yuyuko chirped. "It's the classic love story, you know. Boy meets girl, girl dies, girl nearly destroys world because she wants a nice flower-viewing festival, girl violates the time-space continuum to meet boy, boy and girl live happily ever after. It's so romantic!"
Youmu sighed internally. Being Hakugyokurou's gardener/bodyguard was oftentimes much more irritating and unnecessarily frivolous than need be on a normal day. Now she had to deal with the Real World's inhabitants because of another of her master's half-baked, impulsive plans? She was going to need a lot of stomach medicine to deal with her ulcers after this…
Nabiki's brain crackled. It was too late to try and exhort money from this girl now. Everyone had already met her, and she doubted the girl was even bright enough to understand the concept of a bribe. So all she could now was sow in some extra chaos and hope that a new opportunity would present itself in the long-run. Besides, after seeing just what the newcomers had done, she couldn't be exactly sure if it all was hogwash or if 'ghost princess' was being completely honest and could very easily shuffle them off the mortal coil with a stray thought.
If she wasn't alive, how could she make money?
Deciding on this course of action, she jerked a thumb in the Fiancée Brigade's general direction. "Sorry to break it to you, but these ladies already have a claim on prince studly."
Yuyuko frowned. "Well, that's not right. I have a contract that says Ran-kun's mine."
"You mind I have a look at this 'contract?'"
"Okay!" Yuyuko fished around in her pockets. After a few seconds of fumbling, she produced a small sheet a paper. "Ah, here we-"
Soun couldn't take it anymore. With a passionate cry, he jumped across the table, snatched the paper out of Yuyuko's unsuspecting hands, and ripped it to shreds. With a triumphant yell, he scattered the pieces around, breathing heavily. "There! That should put an end to this ridiculous business! Ranma must marry a Tendo, so any other agreement is null and void!" He turned giddily to Genma. "See, Saotome! There's nothing to worry about! Yet another obstacle preventing Akane and Ranma's true love from prevailing foiled!"
"Too true, Tendo, my friend! Too true!" Genma wiped his brow with a rag. Thank goodness, yet another fiasco caused by his greed averted.
"I'm not marrying that jerk!"
"Ah…who'd want ta marry ya, ya tomboy?"
And thus the Tendo household fell into its normal routine of chaos, and all was right with the world. The status quo was returned and everything would restart its cycle like it always had.
Or, at least it would have, had the lights not dimmed then went out completely. An ephemeral glow began emanating from Yuyuko's body, and the echoes of sniffles and whines bounced all over the house, circling like doomed spirits. The household felt a chill descend on them, and they looked over as Yuyuko's body shivered, a negative pulse felt in each of them.
"Why…" She sniffled and blinked back tears. "Why would you do that? Why would you rip up my contract?" A foreboding darkness crept inward, the spirits around Yuyuko growing in size and turning scarlet. "What did I do to you? Why…why…BWA-"
"Yuyuko-sama, that was your grocery list that was just torn up."
She paused. "Eh?" Everything reverted.
Kasumi picked up one of the scraps and inspected it. "Oh my, blueberry-chocolate manjuu? Don't you know how fattening and sugary that type is?"
Yuyuko scrunched up her face and puckered her lips. Her arms flew randomly in circles. "I know! But they're just so good! Besides, I'm a ghost! I don't have to watch my figure!"
Youmu frowned and retrieved another paper from her dress. This one was more official looking, inscribed in flowing calligraphy on an ornamental scroll. "This is the real contract."
Soun apparently hadn't learned from the first near brush with death (literally), for he made a grab for the scroll. Instead, his fingers went right through it. Falling flat on his face, he blinked. He was sure the contract was tangible; it was flitting slightly in the breeze. The only reason that his hand had seemingly phased through it was…
Youmu's frown deepened at the draining of blood in the elder man. "Allow me to borrow an expression from your culture – even the Buddha only forgives twice. Try again and…" There was a click and flash of steel as she popped the guard of her katana from its sheath.
Soun fell back on his routine habit when things failed to meet expectations – he cancelled all inhibitions on his tear ducts' production of saline. "Waaaahhh! My baby isn't going to get married because of Ranma's infidelity!"
Shampoo took another route. Instinctively she could tell that this pink ditz was a much larger threat than kitchen destroyer or okonomiyaki girl. "Airen Shampoo's husband! You is obstacle!" A set of bonbori magically appeared in her hands from that often sought physic's dream of hammerspace. "Obstacles is for killing!"
"Ara? Where'd that come from?" Yuyuko asked right before Shampoo smooshed her.
The wooden floor shattered underneath the Chinese Amazon's onslaught. It was the only item that was shattered. Shampoo blinked in confusion as the pink-haired woman giggled gaily, the bonboris lodged somewhere where her colon should have been.
"Tee hee, that tickles!"
Shampoo tried to wrap her head around the situation. Pink ditz make move on Ranma, pink ditz become threat, Shampoo smash pink ditz, pink ditz go home in either many pieces or one very lumpy one. However, there was a problem with this plan.
"Why pink ditz not go smoosh?"
"Because I'm a ghost, silly!"
One second. Two seconds. Three. Ding!
"Shampoo forget." She removed the weapons from the dented boards, watching carefully what the sword-user would do. There wasn't even a relaxing of muscles. The woman didn't even consider putting herself on guard around them. Trying to salvage the social faux paus, Shampoo sat back down. "Airen still Shampoo's husband."
"No, he's not! Ran-chan gonna marry me!"
"No, he'll marry Akane!"
It all almost degenerated back into squabbling, but Yuyuko stopped it by breaking out into amused laughter. "Ara, I'm not engaged to Ran-kun."
"Really?" Ranma visibly sagged with relief. At least now he wouldn't have to worry about another crazed fianc-
"No, no, I own Ran-kun!"
The world stopped spinning. Those who want to get off, you're free to go and avoid the oncoming mayhem.
"Yes! It's all in the contract! His father, Genma Saotome, signed over his son, Ranma Saotome, to me for the rest of his life, though I would only initially have him for a month's time, for about five pounds of gold coins."
"Hey, wait a minute!" They all swung around to see a Genma with one foot already out the door. "I sold Ranma to some blonde foreigner, not to you!"
Yuyuko positively beamed. "That was my best friend! She gave me the contract as a gift!"
Genma paused. "Oh. Then I suppose I did sell Ranma to you. What a crazy mix-up, eh?"
Ranma stood up. "Excuse me one moment. I need ta have a talk with my pops." Then he cracked his hands.
Over the excruciating beating taking place less than a few meters away, Nabiki examined the contract under oath that she would not try anything uncouth. After the implied threat by Youmu, she was not willing to provoke her wrath just to appeal to her bawling father.
"Members of the first part, Genma Saotome, agree to relinquish all legal, paternal, spiritual, biological, and astral hold over the second party, Ranma Saotome, to the third party, Yuyuko Saigyouji. Members of the third party may choose to…" She scanned downward. "…if members of the first party attempt to void deal, members of the third party may find an appropriate means of retribution such as…"
Her face turned green. She turned to Yuyuko. "Is she serious? Isn't that, kinda…"
"An abomination against all the laws of nature and physics?" Yuyuko giggled. "Yukari-chan has a wicked sense of humor. I guess that goes along with being a youkai."
"He sold Ranma to a demon?" Somehow, Ukyou wasn't all that surprised.
"Not a demon, a youkai." Yuyuko reprimanded. "Demons are much more stuck-up."
"So, pink dit-pink princess not get between Airen and Shampoo?"
She patted the busty Amazon on the head. "Ara? I wouldn't dream of getting between such a cute couple."
"I just have to make sure you're good enough for my Ran-kun. I can't have him marrying anyone less than the best, don't you know. Now, how are you on the matter of making sweets?"
Kasumi set down a tray of tea and rice crackers. Oh dear, it had been so busy that she hadn't even been able to greet her guests properly. How very rude of her. She took her place by the table and gestured at the snacks. "Please, enjoy yourselves. I'm sorry I didn't get to it sooner."
"Ooh! Tea!" The ghost carefully picked up the ceramic cup and took a long, studious sip. She let out a deep, pleasurable sigh and shivered in delight. "Ahh…that's the best tea I've ever tasted!"
Kasumi bowed her head, a pleased look on her face from the praise. "Thank you very much! If you'd like, I can serve some Japanese confectionaries as well."
Stars in her eyes, Yuyuko grabbed the girl by both hands. "Would you like to die? I'm sure you'll have a wonderful eternity at my home."
Kasumi retrieved a hand from her grasp and placed it on her cheek. "Oh dear, but then who would cook and clean for my family?"
Youmu lowered her own cup, eying the twitching forms collapsed around her. "Yuyuko-sama, please stop propositioning mortals to die for you."
She pursed her lips. "Aww…really?" She closed her eyes in pensive thought. Opening them back up, she pounded a fist into her palm. "I know! Why not marry Ran-kun then? That way you don't have to die, Ran-kun gets a cute wife, and I can eat as much as I want without Youmu-chan having good reason to stop me!"
"Please don't act as matchmaker either. At least not to just satiate your stomach."
"Well, how about you then?" Youmu choked on her tea. "If you marry Ran-kun, then I'll have all the people I love all around me!"
"Oh my, me? Marry Ranma-kun?" Kasumi's eyes gained a glazed quality.
"Why not?" Yuyuko managed to add in. Youmu had no words to add as she was still sputtering. "Ran-kun is sooo cute! Especially when he looks at you with those big, teary eyes of his."
"Oh my…" Release the blood flow!
"What's going on over here? Why's Kasumi's nose bleeding?" Ranma clapped his hands of dirt and blood as he made his way over. Behind him could be seen the twitching foot of what used to be human but now seemed to be nothing more than a gelatinous blob. 'Urks' and 'guhs' could be heard sporadically over the cracking of bones and ligaments.
Akane slowly stood up. Ranma reared back, easily recognizing the look on her face. Oh man, he hadn't even been there and she was already going to pound him. Akane raised the mallet above her head.
Akane looked down. A small gremlin had grafted itself to her bosom. Said gremlin looked up, its wrinkled face leering in unabashed perverted glee.
"Akane-chan, it's been so long! Ah…it's just too bad that you haven't grown much since I last saw you."
"It's only been a week!"
The grandmaster of Anything Goes style jumped away from the haymaker aimed at his antique skull. Ahh…so sad, so sad. He had been gone for so long and not even a proper greeting had been made for his arrival. The least they could do was grant unconditional access to their bodies, or just some of their used undergarments. But instead, all he received were nasty remarks and bodily harm. What was he to do with such undisciplined children? He landed and caught sight of something new.
But wait! There were two new targets in the house! A busty girl in a kimono and a more athletic one in a dress. His initial instinct was to go after the busty one, but the primal facet of his brain, the part that served him the most often as well as the best one to listen to, was screaming at him to avoid the slightly transparent girl at all cost. It was the same voice that made him avoid Cologne after their first meeting. Boobs were boobs, but being able to grope and live another day was even better.
So, after the smaller-chested one it was!
Youmu witnessed a fear like no other when the beady eyes of the shriveled man rested on her. He was definitely more of a threat than any of the other people there, but for reasons not known. Still, it was better to err on the side of caution and use a bit more speed than normal and when the hell did he latch onto her?
"Hmm…less than I originally thought. Your breasts are even smaller than Akane-chan's."
Yuyuko frowned. "Ara." She spared a glance at the others before sinking into the floor. "I suggest you hide."
The reason for why quickly became apparent. The spectral shape circling Youmu began to vibrate rapidly, and a surge of killing intent filled the entire house. There was a rush of wind, and Happosai had flown to the other side of the room, his eyes sparkling with intent. "So, the little kitten has claws." He fingered the small rip in his sleeve.
Youmu had her back to the man. Both her katana and wakizashi were unsheathed, held in a cross formation by her waist. Her face was blank, her voice monotone but brimming with aggression just below the surface. "I, on my name of Youmu Konpaku, will make sure that you will not see the moon rise."
Happosai brought his pipe out and clamped it between his teeth. Lighting the tobacco, he took a puff. "Ho? And how do you intend on doing that?"
Youmu sheathed both her weapons. "Hell Realm Sword: Two-Hundred Yojana in One Slash."
There was a rumbling, a shaking, a pulse of energy…and then the room exploded as the sonic boom finally caught up with the slash, propelling everyone and everything except Youmu and Happosai every which way, slamming them into the floors, walls, and ceilings. Ranma blanched from his position inside a wall and under two feminine bodies, having managed to catch Kasumi and Nabiki before they were plastered themselves.
Happosai had exploded as well. His pipe and clothes disintegrated, leaving him only in a diminutive and unflattering loincloth. His body was a garden of knicks, cuts, and slices. He said nothing for a moment before grinning lecherously.
"A challenge…I like it."
And then he was upon Youmu.
Yuyuko popped her head out from the wall next to Ranma and smiled. "Wow, Ran-kun, I didn't think it would be so exciting here! You must have lots of fun everyday!"
Ranma could only groan his answer.
For the first time since he and his father had arrived at the Tendo abode, Ranma was not woken up with a bucket of ice-cold, thrown out the window, or had an attempt on his life. Now, normally, being given such a reprieve would have made his content, or heavens forbid, happy. But no, no that was too much to ask of for the chaos magnet Ranma Saotome.
So instead, he opened his eyes to find the smiling face of Yuyuko staring right into his. What a wonderful sight to awaken to.
"Gah!" Ranma catapulted backwards, thrown off by the sudden appearance, and crashed bodily into the wall. His heart lagged behind, waiting to catch up with his breath.
Yuyuko flipped up from her horizontal position above his futon to a more vertical one, her arms wrapped around her knees. "Morning, Ran-kun!"
He took a deep breath, counted to ten, and then let it out. Crossing his legs, he propped himself up. "Have ya been like that all night long?"
"Mmm!" Yuyuko rolled in the air. "That's because your sleeping face is just so adorable! I completely forgot what it looked like after a millennium."
Ranma scratched the back of his head. "Are ya gonna do that every night?"
"Hmm…" She put a fingertip to her lips. "Every night I'm here, I think. I don't really need to sleep, being dead and all."
Ranma let out a larger, longer sigh at that. Yuyuko was…an interesting character. Naïve and charming, air-headed and ditzy…Were there any other words like that? Maybe he'd hit up a thesaurus just to find that out.
Still, the ghost princess was very odd. She had insisted that she'd stay a week before going back home, promising that she would visit whenever she could. After demolishing dinner, putting both the Saotomes to shame, she had been adamant about taking a bath with Ranma, going so far as beg the boy to remain in girl form so that the other household tenants wouldn't consider anything improper.
That had gone over well.
Youmu crawled back in sometime late at night, exhausted and with her clothes rumpled and disorderly and with the distinct smell of 'old pervert' lingering.
It wouldn't be till a couple days later that Happosai would be found crushed underneath a dumpster with enough cuts, bruises, and lumps to kill a rhino.
After groping a few nurses in the emergency ward, he was in tip-top shape within the hour, but luckily he had enough fun with the half-ghost hybrid and had moved on to easier, double-D pastures, so he wasn't seen for the rest of the week.
Youmu was disgruntled with the discovery of his survival.
The upside of the whole debacle, other than the fact that Happosai was nowhere to be seen, was that she had kicked Genma out of the bedroom and set up sentry out in the hall. Each time Genma tried to sneak back in, she'd mutter something about panda steaks and pop her katana.
After the seventh try, the porkish man slept in the dojo.
Now the only problem was Yuyuko's resolution to attend school with Ranma. If that wasn't bad enough, Youmu had to follow along to make sure her mistress didn't get into too much trouble, so now he had to worry about two girls that were on the same tier as Happosai and probably Cologne.
There were some conflicts that even Ranma knew to stay away from. It was just too bad for him that such conflicts loved to stay near Ranma.
So with a heavy heart, an added proposal for Kasumi to die (with an actual poisoning attempt this time – Youmu scolded Yuyuko harshly for that and took away her fifth helping of breakfast as punishment), and two spectral, trans-dimensional women in tow, Ranma found himself back at the gates of Furinkan.
Where Kuno was gallantly awaiting the group.
"Halt, foul miscreant!" The delusional wannabe-samurai raised his bokken, pointing it at Ranma. "Verily I see that thou still persist in hounding the fair Akane Tendo! I demand that thee release both her and the other of my fairest maidens, the pigtailed girl!"
Ranma slapped a hand over his face. "Damnit, Kuno. I'm really not in the mood for this right now."
"The Blue Thunder waits for no man, especially not as foul a sorcerer as thou! You will acquiesce to my orders with due haste, or else thou shall feel the steel of my blade!"
Yuyuko poked Ranma in the shoulder. "Ne, ne, Ran-kun, who is that guy? He talks so weird! I think he's fun!"
Kuno perked up at her voice, finally noticing the new members. His gaze first landed on Yuyuko, brilliant as she was. Such beauty he had not seen before. The fair Akane Tendo was fierce as a tigress, full of energy, while the pigtailed girl was exotic in her beauty, coy and bashful. But this woman, this woman had an unearthly beauty to her, like a courtesan of old. Surely she would make just a good a match for the warrior of Japan, Tatewaki Kuno!
The maiden, the tigress, and the geisha makes three! He must have them all!
Snapping a rose from nowhere, Kuno flung it at the pink courtesan, failing to note that it passed completely through her and embedded itself in the school's walls, so enraptured was he of his own flowery and eloquent prose.
"Ahh…such beauty in such a dismal world! It makes this worthy one weep that I have not known of thee until this very moment. I, the Blue Thunder of Furinkan, Tatewaki Kuno, do ask thine name, my maiden!"
"Who, me?" Yuyuko smiled brightly. "I'm Yuyuko Saigyouji, ghost princess of Hakugyokaru!"
"A princess? Then I am correct! But of course such an ethereal splendor such as yours could only belong to those that carried the blood of royalty! Very well! I must ask that…"
As Kuno continued his shameless soliloquy, Ranma leaned in towards Youmu, muttering softly. "Do ya think you could use that same attack you used on Happosai?"
Youmi closed her eyes. "That is a skill that I should have only used in the most desperate of circumstances. It shames me that I resorted to maneuvers against such a base creature as that…" She spat out the word, like it was poisonous to the taste. "Man. Besides." She lightly motioned at Kuno, who was still absorbed in the sound of his own voice. "Using any of my attacks on him would make me feel like I was picking on a puppy. An ugly puppy. An ugly puppy with a gimp leg." At her metaphors, Ranma almost felt a sense of empathy for the upperclassman, but quickly banished it when his common sense smacked him back into reality. "It would be a gross misuse of my power."
Ranma chuckled bitterly. "Yeah, I kind of know how you feel, but I learned the hard way that Kuno is as hardy as a cockroach and ten times harder to get rid of once he sets his mind on something."
She opened one eye lazily. "Surely a normal human cannot be that tough to dispose of."
"Saotome!" Their conversation interrupted, Ranma found himself back on the receiving end of Kuno's misplaced wrath. "What relationship do you have with the princess that you may stick so close to her? Someone as tainted thou should not even be breathing the same air!"
"It's not any of your business, Kuno."
"That's Kuno-sempai to you, cur!"
"Gahh…why are you always so annoying?"
"I can tell you, Kuno-chan, for a price of course." Seeing the opportunity to finally make some money of the situation, Nabiki had detached herself from her entourage of spies, lackies, and flunkies to sneak up on her classmate. Unless she made a move now, Ranma or the others would just blurt it out, and she would lose her chance to milk Kuno of his hardly-earned fortune. "Seeing as we already have a standing business relationship, I'll give you a discount – ten thousand."
Kuno snapped open his wallet. "I do despise you so, Nabiki Tendo."
She grinned cattily back at him. "I know, Kuno-chan."
Ranma realize he could use the time Nabiki would be filling Kuno's head with half-truths and omitted information to make a run for the school and not be late for once. It was just too bad that Kuno's brain had become so efficient in filtering facts and creating faulty assumptions that the boy didn't even have to stop processing before his mouth disengaged and his vocal cords kicked into overdrive.
"Saotome! Long have I known that thou were a foul sorcerer who had sold his soul to demons. How else would thou be able to keep my pigtailed girl away from her beloved?" Here he paused, and everyone could almost see the disillusionment that Kuno was knitting in his fevered brain. He popped out of it a few seconds later and continued his rant. "But misfortunes of misfortunes, to now know that the princess is the one that thou sold your soul to, is all too tragic for words! But it was something that I should have figured out, for who else but a demon could bewitch my glorious self so easily and without any thought? Nay, for it is in evil that we find the most pleasurable and beautiful things, so that they may trick us, and drag us into debauchery!"
"How does he talk so long without having to breathe?" Yuyuko asked.
Akane twitched and ground her foot in the dirt of the schoolyard. "He subsists entirely on hot air."
"Ohhhh…Ne, Youmu-chan, I'm not a stuck-up demon, am I?"
"No, milady, he must have you mistaken for another all-powerful inter-dimensional harbinger of death."
"Why? Are they that common around here?"
Kuno didn't even see that they were no longer paying attention to him. He whipped his bokken about in a frivolous fashion, moving it in a loop before extending it straight out. "But now that I know the source of your dark spells, I can vanquish the hold thou has over my pigtailed girl, and we can finally be together forevermore!" He shifted a foot back, falling into his kendo stance. "En guarde, servant of darkness!"
Youmu stepped in front of Yuyuko and Ranma. "Yuyuko-sama, please allow me to deal with this garbage." She popped her katana.
Ranma folded his arms behind his head and leaned on leg. "I thought you said fighting him would be like beating a puppy."
Youmu's eyes flashed and the corner of her mouth quirked upward for just a moment. "That was when he was nothing more than a nuisance. Now that he's declared harm on my master, I must perform my duties as her gardener and ensure that no harm befalls her." She slowly drew the blade. "But do not worry, I will use the smallest possible amounts of my power."
"Who said I was worried?" Ranma grabbed his pigtail and pulled on it. That lady-killer smirk full of confidence drew itself upon his face. "I'm glad I can actually see you fight this time. With Happosai, you were moving too fast for even me to see."
"I see. Then perhaps I will allow you a spar should Yuyuko-sama allow it."
He puffed out his cheeks. "I don't fight girls."
She turned back to face Kuno, so Ranma missed the same tug on her lips. "That would certainly rub the folks back home the wrong way should they hear you say that."
Kuno grew tired of waiting and engaged. "Do not think a silly girl with a stick will defeat the great Kuno! I strike!" He launched forward.
"A silly girl with a stick, am I?" Youmu muttered. She lowered her katana into a relaxed grip, her body screaming about its lack of defense. "Then what will that make you when you lose?"
"The Blue Thunder never loses!" The bokken approached her head at rapid speeds.
"Cherry Blossom Sword: Flickering Scattered Petals."
Cherry blossoms and wood chips flew.
The courtyard was silent.
"Ara, what adorable heart-patterned boxers."
"Oh man, that's just what I need to see first thing in the morning."
And the Blue Thunder was vanquished. And there was much rejoicing.
So the day went on, with just two extra crazies than the usual Nth-number of crazies.
"I like candy. Do you like candy?"
"I love candy! Do you like mochi?"
"Mochi is great! Do you like ice-cream?"
"It's creamy and cold and sugary and yummy!"
"Ice-cream sounds delicious!"
Hiroshi watched the new factor to Ranma's life jump around like a sugar-infected ADHD child along with the ki-vampire Hinako. The two were acting like they had been best friends for life as they bonded over unhealthy junk food and sweets that rotted your mouth from the inside out.
"Isn't she supposed to be teaching us? This is a school, isn't it?"
"Since when has that ever mattered?" Daisuke retorted.
Hiroshi's eyes wandered around the room, falling on a sleeping Ranma, an Ukyou cooking something on her portable grill, an Akane two steps past bonking Ranma on the head with his own desk (recently she had taken to making preemptive strikes on the lad for wrongs he would soon do), various card duels, and then finally back to the porn magazine he and Daisuke were openly reading.
"Touché. Ah, look on the rack on this one."
"Tee-hee! Ran-kun! How do I look?"
Ranma gave her a quick glance then stopped.
"Yuko-nee-chan, where'd you get the gym uniform?"
Yuyuko pulled down the t-shirt over her bloomers and rolled her eyes. "Fouunnnd it."
A student came running out of the girls' locker room, her skirt half-off and her blouse unbuttoned. "Everyone! There's some pervert ghost stealing all our clothes!" She skidded to a stop and pointed in horror at Yuyuko. "There she is! And she has my uniform on!"
Yuyuko looked behind, twirling in the air. "A pervert ghost? Where?"
A pile of bloomers and shirts fell from out of her clothes, burying Ranma underneath.
Akane went easy on him. He only received a double-concussion instead of a triple.
"Yuyuko-sama, please calm down! You're scaring the civilians!"
"It's Pinkzilla, coming to destroy us all! Run! Run for your lives!"
All students, please evacuate the school in an orderly fashion. This is not a drill. Repeat, this is not a drill.
"Damnit, Ranma! What were thinking, telling her it was a free all-you-can-eat buffet?!"
"It was just a joke! I didn't think it would turn out like this!"
"Oh no! She's hit the dessert bar! Everyone, take cover!"
And then she exploded.
"So is it really true you knew Ieyasu Nobunaga?"
"Uh-huh! Yukari-chan brought him over once when he was still in his teens. He was such a crybaby, though. Then she said something about if he wanted to rule the world, he had to buck up and act like a man." She put a fingertip to her lips. "I wonder how he turned out?"
Ranma winced, laughing uneasily. For characters like the boundary youkai, causality was apparently not something to worry about.
School had ended just a little while ago, and for him, it couldn't have been too soon. Having Yuyuko around did wonders for his social life, even if it did mutate it into a fire-breathing monster with anger issues and twitchy throat muscles. Being followed around the entire day by a ditzy phantom was a new experience for him, something he had doubted was possible. At least Youmu had been around to run damage control.
To him, it looked like she had experience in that matter, and not for the first time he felt some camaraderie towards the white-haired hybrid. She had most likely also witnessed the same amount of stupidity that he saw and produced on a daily basis.
Akane had stayed behind to talk with her friends, so Ranma was left to guide the two otherworldly beings back to the Tendo house. Nothing severe had occurred yet, so now he was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It always dropped. Primarily on him.
He didn't have to wait long.
He soon heard something faint, something familiar. Quickly Ranma jumped to the side, narrowly avoiding the asphalt cracking punch cry, accompanied by a cry of, "Ranma, prepare to die!" He spun around to face his rival, the Eternal Lost Boy.
As annoying as Ryoga could be at times, Ranma needed someone that he could take his frustrations out on. Ever since Yuyuko and Youmu had arrived, there had been no breaks in the new stream of hysterics, and they didn't even have the decency to let him beat up his usual punching bags, taking all the fun for themselves
But Ryoga had finally arrived after his vacation in some probably not-yet-explored region of the planet, and had also probably picked up some new technique to rub Ranma's face in. A cocky smile surfaced. Finally, some fun had come.
"Yo, P-chan!" He waved. "You here for a while or just stopping by? Oh wait, with you we never know!"
"Ranma…" the fanged teen growled. Ranma waited for the inevitable announcement of how he was going to be ground to dust or some other exaggerated defeat. He grew puzzled as Ryoga's face darkened to red and his fists wobbled. Ryoga swung an arm up to point at Yuyuko and Youmu. "How dare you gather even more girls around you?! It isn't enough that you betray Akane with the usuals that you have to find more?!"
Ranma fell to his knees and bashed his forehead on the sidewalk. "Ryoga, can we just forget about that now and fight?!"
"Oh, we'll fight, Ranma; we'll fight after I destroy you!" He couldn't believe it, he just couldn't believe it. Ranma got all the girls, he caught them in his nefarious web without a care for their affections. The man was villainous scum to women everywhere, born with a charisma that could capture the heart of the most innocent of virgins, and Ryoga was left with a heart of glass, so fragile that even the slightest stirring could shatter it.
And here Ranma was, toying with Akane's adoration like it was nothing to it at all. He wouldn't stand for it; he wouldn't! If there was one thing he could do, he could protect Akane from Ranma's evil-doings and prove to her that, once and for all, he was the perfect man for her!
"You're evil, Ranma, evil to the core! Because of you, I've seen hell, and no longer will I let it pass. Prepare to-"
"You've been to Hell?"
Ryoga stopped in his posturing and froze as Yuyuko popped up in front of him, her eyes glistening with amazement. The proximity of cute girl fused what little of his brain cells he had left and morphed him into a stuttering mess.
Ranma collapsed again. "Darn it, Yuko-nee-chan!"
"You've really been to hell? Have you met Yuugi-chan?"
"She's a guardian of the Ancient City."
"What's the Ancient City?"
"It's part of hell."
"Hell has parts?"
"Well, of course Hell has parts. Haven't you been there?"
"Of course I have! And it was Ranma's fault!"
"Really? What did he do?"
"He made me see hell!"
"By doing what?"
"By being himself!"
"Ranma is a ticket to Hell? But Ranma's human. I never knew he was part oni."
"Ranma is a devil, and he sends me to hell all the time!"
"The hellish parts!"
"Is that in the Hell of Blazing Fires?"
"Oh no," Youmu sighed heavily. "She's stuck in a loop. And it's a particularly bad one. Last time it got this far it took both of Yukari-dono's shikigami and thirty pounds of mochi to break her out of it."
"Huh, and all this time I couldn't believe there was someone who thought as stupidly as Ryoga." He pitched forward when a book-bag slammed into the back of his head.
Akane stood over him, fuming. "Don't make fun of Ryoga. He's not a jerk like you, Ranma."
"Ranma?" Ryoga dazedly turned around. Upon finding the object of his ire, he jumped for another ground-buster, his hatred for the pigtails easily wiping over his circuitous thought patterns. "Ranma, prepare to die! Bakusai Tenketsu!"
Ranma rolled over as the pointer finger penetrated the sidewalk, erupting chunks of rocks and asphalt everywhere. He flipped off the ground and landed deftly on the chain-link fence. Picking up one of the larger pieces, about the size of his torso, Ryoga hefted it over his head. "I will destroy you!"
"Are you sure you don't know Yuugi?"
The week passed and Yuyuko ultimately had to leave. Actually, Yuyuko wholeheartedly wanted to stay with Ranma forever, but Youmu had to be a pest and talk about the rip in causality and tear in the veil of death that would occur should they not return to Hakugyokurou.
Yukari would mop up her messes, right?
The two stood at the entrance to the Tendo's yard, Ranma and the rest of the Nerima Wrecking Crew bidding them farewell. Yuyuko was on the verge of crying, sniffling into a pile of tissues while her companion spirits consoled her via soft cooing noises and rubbing on her hair and arms. Youmu was back to her serious self, though it was clear to a few that she was comforted by the fact that the long week was over. She still hadn't managed to knock Ranma out of his 'anti-girl' behavior, but it was mitigated by the fact that she now had someone else to commiserate with should Yuyuko have another hair-brained scheme.
Lips quivering, Yuyuko bawled out a tearful goodbye. "I'll…I'll miss you…Ran…Ran-kun."
Nervous over the atmosphere, Ranma fidgeted with his pigtail. "Yeah, me too, Yuko-nee-chan."
Unable to restrain her emotions any longer, she jumped forward and brought the much younger mortal into a hug. "Don't…don't forget me, please."
"Urm…wasn't that your problem?"
Youmu palmed her face as her mistress broke into another crying fit. Of all the…Stepping to the side of the strangling Youmu and uncomfortable Ranma, she gave a short bow. "It was interesting to meet you, Ranma-dono. Now I know that I am not the only one cursed to live a life of despair and inanity."
"Heheh, um, thanks?"
"Yuyuko-chan." Kasumi moved forward. She handed a small box to Youmu and smile benevolently. "So you don't get hungry on your trip back, I made some cookies for you."
"Kasumi-chan…Wahhh!" The Tendo matron soon found her an armful of pink phantom. Her tears were airy and cold, her body light and inversely warm. Yuyuko stared into Kasumi's eyes. "Are you sure you don't want to die?"
"Well, okay. When you die though, look me up; I'll make sure you have a happy eternity after." She turned to Ranma. "Same goes for you Ran-kun, when you die, I'll see to it that you have a wonderful afterlife with me in Hakugyokurou. It's a peaceful place, and very exclusive as well. Almost nobody ever gets into it."
"Wait a minute!" Ukyou exclaimed. She stomped towards the two, her face twisted in slightly anxious confusion. "What do you mean exclusive? You mean Ran-chan's the only one going there when he dies?" It was one thing to question what happened in the afterlife; it was another thing entirely to say it didn't exist at all when clear evidence to the contrary was giggling right in your face.
"Well of course it is! I run it, and only souls that I want to go there go. Everyone else is shipped off to either Heaven or Hell."
"What makes you think Ran-chan doesn't want to go to Heaven with me?"
Yuyuko flapped her face and laughed condescendingly. "Please. Heaven is overrated, and all the gods are mean and jerks. And Hell is, well, Hell. My place is so much nicer."
Shampoo took the time to add her own two cents. "But pink princess only own Airen for now. Not own Airen after death."
"You didn't read the fine print."
Nabiki's head shot up at that part. She glanced at Youmu and narrowed her eyes. "What fine print?" She had perused the contract forwards, backwards, and sideways. If she had missed something, then it wasn't on the scroll to begin with.
Youmu unfurled the scroll, procured a magnifying glass, and pointed at the border. Nabiki's eyes widened. "No way…That solid line is actually…"
"Yes." Youmu confirmed. "Yuyuko-sama owns Ranma-dono – body and soul – so she has the right to choose which realm of the afterlife he will rest eternally in." She glared nastily at Genma. "It's funny how observant some people fail to be."
Genma didn't even give the rest of them a chance to glare, splashing himself with water and converting to his panda form. He curled around a tire, holding up a sign.
Don't look at me. I'm just an illiterate panda.
Yuyuko cuddled into Ranma's cheek into her own. "Yup! That means Ran-kun and I will be together forever and ever…" She glimpsed at the fiancée brigade, and for the tiniest sliver of a moment, her irises darkened and her voice deepened. "…and ever." And just as it appeared, it vanished. "Tee-hee!"
All they could do was gape.
Yuyuko poked Ranma. "Don't worry, Ran-kun. Everyone back home is really nice. You just have to watch out for the shrine maidens. They get cranky really easily."
And Ranma, being the loveable dope that he was, missed the entire point of the last five minutes of the conversation. So he simply ran with it. "So what's it like?"
"Oh, it's great! We have flower viewings and eat lots of food and sleep a lot, and oh! We also have massive battles that determine the entire fate of our world!"
Something twinged in the back of Ranma's mind. It sounded like the voices of thousand angels mixed with the smells of a thousand dishes laid over a thousand battlefields. "And I'll go there when I die?"
"Uh huh. So I have to wait for the next sixty years or so, or until you decide you want to come earlier, but no worries." She pecked him on the cheek, released her hold on his neck, and drifted backwards. "I'll wait for you as long as I have to! After all…" She swung around Youmu's shoulders, locked her gaze back on the girls and smiled. "I have an eternity to wait."
That fatal, fleeting smile spoke of so much more darkness, age, and wisdom than those three girls could ever collectively know.
"And so will you."
The chill stayed with them as Yuyuko energetically waved goodbye and turned around the corner with Youmu. Was that really all there was to it? Could they do nothing against such a…such a poisonous foe? To simply wallow in their own helplessness at a much more powerful being? To-
"Kasumi-chan…" Yuyuko poked her head out of the road, her eyes watery. "Do you have any more cookies? I kinda ate them all already."
And lo, the earth quaked once more.
Yuyuko blinked. What? She was hungry.
A/N: Whelp, that's the end of the one-shot. I more or less made this one to try and get some of my creativity juices flowing again. While not one of my best works, it was definitely one that I enjoyed writing, and I hope you do, too. This fic was actually more of a bet than anything else when my friend made the suggestion of a Ranma½/Touhou xover and then said it was a horrible idea. Well, I proved him right, huh?!
Regardless, the humor of this fic was mainly derived just from the dynamics between Yuyuko and Youmu in the Ranma world rather than any actual major interaction between them. Mostly dialogue gags and circumstantial humor than anything else, not my strongest point, but something I like experimenting with nonetheless. It got kinda dark near the end, but that was the point, as I wrote if off the idea of the layers of Yuyuko's personality – ditzy and aimless at first, but when you dig deeper, you realize there's a fairly dangerous brain hidden under all the fluff. Perhaps there will be a sequel to this where Ranma enters Gensokyo after he dies, but that will be up to my friend, should he choose to do so, and his written works are even more sporadic than mine!
In any case, enjoy, Please Review, and remember…no flames!