Help Wanted, By Weebee and Jonakhensu
Disclaimer: Something clever here.
Note: This story has been bouncing around the collective unconscious for a while, and gathering more moss in the form of strange ideas as it went. Since we didn't want it to grow into a fifty series multi-cross of uber-doom, we decided to publish it now. We hope you enjoy it.
Prologue: A Cliché storm summoned by a drunk weather mage.
In a cold, dark room in the deepest section of an abandoned castle, a blond haired man stood, his hands in the pockets of the grey uniform he wore, and wondering if he'd drank far too much the night before. He had no idea why he was in said store room, nor why there were shards of crystal dissolving into the floor, and the last thing he could clearly remember was a 767 trying to crush him into paste. He was relatively sure that said event hadn't happened, as he felt distinctly un-paste-like, though he didn't have any idea what had happened after he'd begun desperately weaving the dark energies needed for a single man teleport spell.
Scowling irritably, Jadeite, first, and to his mind, best of the Dark Generals, pushed the door to the storage room he found himself inside open, entering a long, equally dark hallway with several crumpled bodies laying on the floor. Frowning in confusion, the man walked over to one, kneeling to note that it was a Youma, locked in its inactive state, with no energy to feed it. He currently wasn't sure what part of the dark kingdom he was in, but the dark general was relatively sure that Queen Beryl would vaporize any Youma she found 'sleeping' in a hall like this, so the presence of this one, along with five or six others, simply sprawled out really confused him.
Reaching into his energy reserves, Jadeite was about to awaken the creature, when he realized that his own power was critically low. He stopped himself from expending it, grimacing in irritation, and straightened. "Nephrite," he projected a small amount of energy into his voice, trying to communicate with the other man over even long distances. There was a long, silent beat, and nothing returned his call.
He contemplated calling Kunzite or Zoisite, but both of those two were unhinged, and didn't like him particularly much. They would, no doubt, take advantage of his weakness to kill him if they got the chance, and the blond general was nothing if not good at keeping himself alive. Stepping over the fallen Youma and picking a direction down the hall at random, the grey suited man began to walk, eventually gaining his bearings and heading for Queen Beryl's throne room.
He got there within ten minutes, and poked his head around the side of the door cautiously, knowing that his queen quite liked blasting people first and asking questions later when she was annoyed, though his mouth dropped open in shock when he caught a good look at the location. The entire room was trashed, his queen's throne shattered and the stand where her scrying ball once stood snapped in half. The far wall, where Metalia's presence had always hung, ever-malevolent, was now dark, its crystal only reflecting the minimal light that suffused the Dark Kingdom normally.
"What in the name of Pluto's rod is going on here?" The fair haired general finally burst out, his patience at an end and his 'creeped out' factor rather high. Walking quickly into the throne room, he saw that there were scorch marks all around it, and several piles of dust where Youma had once stood. Whatever had happened, it was violent and likely incredibly short.
There was only one conclusion that he could draw from this, though it was hard to believe. Those three little girls had successfully defeated Queen Beryl, and he was standing in the wreckage of the final battle. "So, what do I do now?" He thought, unsure. At the moment, he was trapped in the Dark Kingdom with nothing but several hundred frozen Youma for company, and barely enough energy to blow up a rock. Sighing, he turned and left the throne room, not entirely sure what he was looking for, but knowing that he didn't want to see the remains of his queen's final defeat, and the other generals' likely deaths, any longer.
"You've got to be kidding me," Ranma Saotome noted, looking the person before him up and down, and doing his damnedest to try and restrain laughter.
"Be quiet, Saotome!" Hikaru Gosunkugi proclaimed, raising his right hand with a voodoo doll in it to his face, before clenching it tightly, the near-fist beginning to tremble. "I've had enough of this! I will finally defeat you where all of the big, strong martial artists have failed, and then Akane will finally pay attention to me!"
"Right…" The martial artist muttered, looking around the empty lot that the other boy had called him to and being somewhat relieved that no one else was there. He really didn't like beating up on people weaker than him, but Gos usually had the annoying ability to be just barely a serious enough threat to need to be punched in the nose, without looking like it. "Can we just give this up and you keep glaring at me from across the classroom?"
"This isn't a joke, Saotome, and I'll prove it!" The candle-wearing boy said, loosening his grip on the voodoo doll, before producing a strand of black hair and tying it around the thing's neck. "Now, watch this!" Saying that, he tugged one of the thing's arms hard, actually tearing it slightly.
"I'm watching," Ranma said, tapping his foot, as nothing proceeded to happen.
"I… I mean," Gos stuttered, looking down at the hair in confusion, before tugging the arm harder, this time ripping it completely off. After this, he threw the doll to the ground and stomped on it several times. "Why… why aren't you in hideous pain?"
"Because your magic only ever works when you buy it out of the back of a comic book or something?" Ranma said, his eyebrow twitching. "Now are ya done? I've got some 'o Kasumi's dinner to eat back home."
"How could this possibly, I know I did it right, I know it! I won't be humiliated by you again!" Gosunkugi proclaimed, loudly, before removing his hammer and a long, rusty nail from his school uniform, charging towards the pigtailed martial artist with it. Snorting in annoyance, Ranma reached out, catching the other boy's arm and gently extracting the hammer, before throwing it over his shoulder. When the thinner boy tried to stab him in the eye with the nail, he moved his head to the side, before moving it back sharply, smacking Gosunkugi's hand open with the side of his head and sending the sharp object tumbling to the ground.
"C'mon, Gos, this is stupid," the martial artist said. "I enjoy a good challenge as much as anyone, but this ain't a challenge." He shrugged. "If ya wanna talk ta Akane so much, walk up 'n say hi, don't try and kill me 'cuz then I have to fight you like this, and both of us just get humiliated."
"I'll show you humiliated!" Gos said, still not giving up even though his arm was still caught. Reaching into his shirt with the hand that had once held his nail, he came out with a small scroll which he slapped onto Ranma's chest. Ranma's response, having had dealings with Gosunkugi and things attached to himself before, was to reach down and grab the paper, trying to tear it free, but it didn't seem to want to come off.
"Ahahahahahahaha!" Gos proclaimed. "That is a demonic summoning scroll! Soon, a being from the Negaverse will emerge to destroy you!"
Ranma rolled his eyes and cursed himself. At least, the thing hadn't been one of those stupid paper dolls, but he really shouldn't have let his guard down, even if it was against Gos. Pulling at the paper harder than he had before, it seemed to be affixed, and unbreakable. He tried channeling Chi to his hand and burning it off that way, but that only seemed to make things worse, as the paper started glowing a bright blue, similar to his own life energy.
"Now," Gosunkugi proclaimed. "Denizens of the Negaverse, I summon thee!" As he spoke this incantation, the paper pulsed once, and a man dropped on Ranma's head. Given that the pigtailed boy was rather distracted, this sudden weight proceeded to drop him onto his back, the newcomer sitting on his chest and looking extremely confused.
Looking around, he seemed to lose his confusion rather quickly, and smiled slightly. "That was much easier than I had thought," he noted, standing. Ranma took this opportunity to stand as well, and looked between the man, a blond wearing a blue-grey suit with red piping running down the chest and sides of his legs.
"So, this is your demon?" He asked, deadpan, throwing a glance over to the failure mage, though he did bring up his defenses, in case the blond was more than he seemed to be.
"But," Gos sputtered. "It was supposed to be female, and monstrous… at least according to the scroll." He shook his head. "Never mind, Negaversal being, I command thee to attack my enemy!" He proclaimed, striking a heroic pose, lightning crackling in the sky above him, the result of a technique he'd learned by observing Tatewaki Kuno, and something that he thought rather enhanced his powerful sorcerer mystique.
"Negaverse?" The blond man asked, giving the boy an odd look. "I don't know of anything called the Negaverse, and I would not be inclined to follow your commands even if I did."
"What?" The candle wearing boy sputtered. "But… but I summoned you!"
Jadeite sighed, agreeing. "Well yes, I suppose you're right," he admitted. After all, he had been trapped in the Dark Kingdom without any way of teleporting out, and hadn't been very successful in finding anything to help him do so before he was suddenly swept to earth, where he could possibly gain more energy. He wasn't sure what he was going to do, but gaining a little more power was definitely something he wanted to do first. Turning to Ranma, he nodded. "Him?" he asked.
"Yes, him!" His summoner said, pointing dramatically. "Destroy him!"
Jadeite shrugged. "Sorry, kid," he said. "I need to get some energy from somewhere, and I do owe him one."
Ranma sighed. "Yeah, figured," he said, resigned. "How well can you regenerate?"
Jadeite blinked. "Um, not very well?" he asked, confused.
"Okay, got it," Ranma said, before tightening his guard, letting his eyes take in his new opponent's stance. The blond man seemed like he might be a bit of a fighter, his stance hinting at some training in something, though he didn't know what in. Still, he figured he'd better play it safe, as demons were usually pretty tricky, and he didn't want to charge head first into one.
Seeing his opponent's ready, defensive stance, Jadeite smirked. He observed that the other seemed to be well trained in the martial arts, but this would only be a good thing, as it meant that he was healthy and would have a pretty good energy reserve. As he noted this, he shaped some of his remaining power into the configuration of a life-force siphon spell, and aimed it at his target. The stream of power he got was quite respectable, and he smiled as his reserves began to fill, though he was surprised that the silk clothed boy didn't seem to be weakening much from the drain.
For his part, Ranma was frowning, as he felt a very familiar sensation, though it was a lot slower than he was used to from Hinako. Narrowing his eyes, he drew his battle aura inside of his body, and though he could still feel an energy drain, it had decreased dramatically. Seeing his enemy's upraised hand, and the fact that it was crackling with blue energy, he dashed forward as quickly as he could, grabbed the blond by the arm and pointed it at Gosunkugi for a moment before twisting it behind his grey suited back, hard.
Just as Ranma had thought, the rather weedy boy fell to the ground, asleep, after only a second of exposure to the energy draining attack, and the pigtailed martial artist smirked. "Give up, or I make yer shoulder even more uncomfortable," he threatened, jerking the arm slightly upwards.
Jadeite winced, clenching his teeth for a moment and very, very impressed with the human who now stood behind him. Not only had the boy somehow managed to realize what he was doing, but he'd used the blond's own power to take out his 'master,' and immediately put him in an incapacitating position after he was done.
"Ya give up?" Ranma asked easily, not seeming to be making any effort in keeping the Dark General contained.
Jadeite frowned. Normally, he wouldn't give up this easily, but it took his body time to convert human life force into the dark energy he used for his magic, and he'd been letting his hand to hand skills lapse over the past few thousand years. Reluctantly, he nodded, and the pressure on his arm was immediately released.
Turning in surprise, he saw his opponent smiling at him. "All right, if that's it, I'm gunna go get dinner," the boy said, beginning to turn and walk off.
Jadeite opened and closed his mouth a few times, before shrugging and walking his own way, vaguely wondering why the Sailor Senshi hadn't shown up to spoil his operations yet.
Later that day, Jadeite hid behind a tree, and tried to look small as a glowing, winged Senshi stood across from some sort of demon in one of the Juuban district's many small parks. The woman looked, vaguely, like Sailor Mercury, though she was approximately thirty years old, and her hair was a little longer.
This, however, wasn't the most evident change, as power seemed to roll off of her in waves, and the demon, which had seemed an order of magnitude stronger than his Youma, was having trouble fighting what he had considered the least offensively capable of the three Senshi he knew about.
Frowning darkly, the blond peeked out slightly further from the tree, and winced as the blue haired woman spread her hands in front of herself, forming a small, crystalline harp out of mid-air, before announcing "Mercury Aqua Rhapsody!" As several powerful blasts of water shot from the harp, impacting the monster, Jadeite flinched.
Yes, tangling with the Senshi directly when his power base was as low as it was would be a bad idea. As he thought this, the ice Senshi manifested her scan visor and began turning in his direction. The man cursed, quickly invoking an automatic teleport back to the Dark Kingdom, and wondering if she'd seen him.
As he straightened up, he noted that the Dark Kingdom seemed a lot lighter than he remembered, specifically as he gazed at a white painted wall. Turning slowly in confusion, he noted that he was standing in a small room, a large tub full of steaming water on one wall. As he turned further, to see the other wall, his eyes widened, just as he was grabbed by the front of his uniform.
Ranma Saotome grumbled to herself, looking down at her left breast and wondering if she could pound Gosunkugi for it. There, melded into the skin, was an arrangement of black letters in a language she hadn't seen, forming a pentagram. She knew that earlier in the day, when she'd been a he, Gos's summoning scroll had hit him in the chest, but she had no idea that it would do this.
Sighing, she brought up the wash cloth to try and scrub the mark off, for the second time, and as she ran the cloth over the symbol, it changed colours from black to brightly glowing blue. She frowned at it. It was probably magic, and she really didn't want anything like that tattooed onto her skin, especially given what had happened with that ultimate weakness moxibustion thing.
As she thought this, a wave of cold air seemed to wash over her, and she shivered. When she heard footsteps, she looked up, just in time to see the blond demon guy from earlier in the day turning his eyes to look straight at her. She moved instantly, grabbing him by the front of the shirt and slamming him into the wall. "What the hell're you doing here?" she demanded, irritably.
The blond's eyes widened, and he looked around, confused. Ranma let her grip loosen as she noticed that he looked about as lost as Ryoga did whenever he entered a room. "Um," he tried, uncertain. "Do I know you?"
The redhead sighed, forcibly pulling back her Kuno bashing instincts. "Turn around, open the door, and leave. Wait in the hall, 'n I'll be out. You look at anything, I break bones."
The blond man looked rather bemused, but followed the redhead's instructions as she set him down, turning to the door and sliding it open to reveal a second small room, with another door out of it that lead into a hallway. He stood there for a few moments, noting that he was apparently on the second floor of what looked like a traditional Japanese house. Unfortunately, he had no idea how he'd gotten there, and was inclined not to try and teleport back to the dark kingdom, for fear that the rather angry seeming girl in the bathroom would make good on her threat to break bones. Given how quickly she'd grabbed him and smashed him against the wall, he had no illusions about her ability to do so.
"I could really use a few dozen Youma about now," the dark general noted, as a second human female came up the steps from the first floor of the house, carrying a pile of clothing.
"Oh," she said, looking surprised as she saw the rather formally dressed man standing next to the door to the bathroom. "We apparently have a guest."
Jadeite wanted to simply ignore her, continuing to think about what he was going to do, and perhaps leaving this house before the girl in the bathroom was finished, though something in the smile of the serene, brown haired woman who now stood before him compelled him to answer. "I shouldn't be here for very long, it was an accident involving a teleport spell." He hadn't meant to say that second part, though the woman simply smiled at him, as though teleport spells were perfectly normal, and walked past him to a room with a duck on the door, opening it and walking in.
Perhaps, the general thought, given that girl's reaction, he was in a house of mages of some sort. He wasn't sure if that was a very good thing or a very bad thing, though it did somewhat explain how his teleport had been redirected.
When the brown haired woman exited the room with the duck on it, she smiled at the blond again. "Would you like to come downstairs and have some tea before you leave?" She offered, kindly.
Jadeite shrugged, before nodding, following the girl downstairs. It was likely that he would have to leave the house the normal way, as he wasn't sure what was wrong with his teleport spell at the moment, but doubted the short red haired girl he'd just popped in on would be very appreciative if he'd done it again. As he reached the base of the stairs, the man looked around, observing that the first floor looked a lot more battered than the second, as he could see at least one hole in a nearby wall. "Excuse me," he asked, as the girl was turning to enter the kitchen. "Where exactly am I?"
The girl giggled. "Ah, just like poor Ryoga-kun," she noted. "You're in the Tendo home. We're in Nerima ward, Furinkan district."
The man nodded slowly. He was, apparently, in the same area that he'd been in when first teleported from the Dark Kingdom. Frowning, he hoped that he wouldn't have all of his transport spells redirect here, as that would be rather... inconvenient. Seeing his frown, the girl spoke up.
"Please, take a seat in the living room, and if you're lost, I'm sure Ranma-kun or Akane-chan can help you find where you need to be," She reassured, gesturing across the hall from the kitchen entrance.
Nodding, Jadeite turned, entering a large room with a low table set in its center, and a large set of double doors that led out into a yard. Inside the room were two old men who didn't even notice him, too caught up in some form of strategy based board game which, it seemed, they were cheating rampantly at, along with a brown haired girl wearing a set of cut-off shorts and a tight blue and white striped T-shirt, who was reading USA Today.
Sitting at the table and watching the news was an older woman in a formal Kimono, who was the only one to look up as he entered. "Oh, hello," she said, before her eyes widened, and she shot to her feet. The dark general tensed, preparing for an attack, which seemed to be par for the course for today, before the woman did something very unexpected, which also seemed rather par for the course for today, and sank back to her knees, bowing and touching her head to the floor.
"Jadeite-Sama, it is truly wonderful to see you!" The woman exclaimed.
Jadeite blinked, The girl in the cut-offs blinked, and he was pretty sure that one of the two strategy game players blinked as well, which cost him as the other slipped an extra piece onto the board. The room fell into deep silence for a moment, before a new voice burst it. "Okay, what the heck's goin on here?"
The voice was gruff, male, and Jadeite recognized it. Turning, he saw the boy who he had been 'summoned to defeat' earlier in the day, standing at the base of the stairs in a red silk shirt and pair of loose black pants, and with a glare on his face. "Mom, why're you bowing to some random Hinako-sensei knock-off?" He looked to Jadeite and shrugged. "No offense."
"Ranma," The still bowing woman hissed. "Please, pay more respect to one of the lords of our people!"
Ranma sighed, rolling his eyes. 'This is gunna be one of those days, ain't it?' He thought, sourly.
End Note: OMG! It's a cliff hanger, how cliche...
Don't forget to R&R to beg us to make the hurting stop.