Somewhere in the vast regions of casa space, a certain blue haired monk had forgotten to use "no da" after one sentence. Such a small mistake, but a small rip appeared in the fabric of otaku time, and as it set off chain reactions it became larger and larger . . .
. . . soon the Soyokaze and the SDF-1 faced off, with Voltron as a special guest referee. . . Usagi, Miaka, and Princess Leia entered into a three way death match for the title of best buns. . .Nakago, Wufei, and Kurama entered for title of best buns as well, in an entirely different way of course... but that has nothing to do with this fic so just ignore everything written up until now. Just some Celebrity Deathmatches I'd adore to see. . .now back to the fic . . .
. . . causing the seals and wards on a trunk to weaken. Days later, a pink miasma filled the air as the trunk was opened by an unsuspecting little girl. As it began to slowly take shape, the girl stepped back in horror. She had only heard whispered stories of this strange demon from her great-grandmother. It had been banished eons ago. . . for its strange power of possessing a mind was great and widely feared. . . She ran screaming into the night as it finally coaelesced into a six foot figure. It smiled, and the light glinted off the shiny white teeth as it slowly made its way into the street, its high heels making little click click noises as it walked off, looking for new conquests . . .
Duo woke up in a strange, unfamiliar place. This wasn't unusual per se, he was used to moving around a lot for missions and hiding from Oz. What made this truly bizzare was the room he had woken up in and the killer headache right between his eyes. He shook his head, trying to clear it of the SD Shinigamis and SD Wings that twirled inside in a mad caper.
Shimatta. Just how had he ended up here anyway? He glanced around, hoping to find clues of his location or even an exit. He blinked in surprise. Who had decorated this room, Relena? Everything was a horrendous shade of bubblegum pink: the couch he was currently lying on, the cushions, the curtains, the vanity mirror, the wardrobe, and even the carpet was the same shade. Duo shuddered and leaned back gingerly against the couch. Then winced, as he unexpectedly encountered a sore spot on the back of his head. His eyes narrowed suspiciously, not only was he in an unknown location, but he had bruises and scrapes _everywhere_.
The befuddled pilot reached up slowly to feel the back of his head and felt a large lump the size of a baseball. He chuckled wryly despite the pain. If Heero was here, he'd probably say that his head was the one spot he never had to worry about injuring. His smile abruptly became a frown, the Japanese pilot certainly _hit_ him in the head enough times to prove it. Heero . . . No time to linger on his psychopathic lover, or the way the spandex shorts sometimes stretched _just_ so, or how Heero had this one spot on his neck that just . . . Duo sighed. This line of thought was getting him nowhere. Firmly, he gathered his wandering thoughts and brought them to rein, thinking to himself, woah Silver . . . The American pilot briefly sweatdropped, he probably had a concussion as well.
How had he ended up here? Duo mentally checked off the list of events which might have occurred. The only thought which seemed remotely possible, to his bruised brain was that he was dead and this was someone's insane idea of heaven . . . or hell.
He shrugged. Well, if he was dead, then the question was how he had died. He started listing the reasons in his head.
1. Heero had self-destructed and taken Duo with him. This was Duo's favorite theory, but then the Wing pilot had promised not to self-destruct again. The braided boy smirked despite the pain in his head, remembering just _how_ he had gotten his lover to agree. He had never thought that black lace would have such an -interesting- effect on the normally stony pilot.
2. -He- had self-destructed. The boy immediately crossed out that thought. He had finally managed to capture the Perfect Soldier's heart, and most importantly, his feelings were reciprocated. There was no way he would ever give that up. Besides, the damn self-destruct never worked when it was supposed to.
3.Relena had found about their relationship and killed him. Duo frowned. Iie, that was last week . . . Surely, she wouldn't try again so soon. Especially considering that Heero had personally dropped her off on one of the many colonies. The long haired boy snickered as he remembered the expression on Relena's face as she was shoved off the plane at 5, 000 ft altitude, with a parachute and a first aid kit. The parachute being his idea, and the first aid kit was provided by the ever thoughtful Quatre. Heero had wanted to simply throw her off. . .
4.Let's see . . . Trowa had vowed his ever lasting love, and Quatre had sent his Magnacs to kill Duo. No. . . Quatre had declared his love, and Trowa had sent Catherine and her throwing knives after him. . . No, Dorothy had declared her love, and the blonde psychopath had killed him to prove her affection. The American pilot snickered to himself and then sighed. The concussion must be more serious than he had thought. He closed his eyes and stretched out on the couch. Maybe he needed some sleep . . . maybe he'd dream of his cobalt-eyed lover . . .maybe he'd finally find out what made Jello jiggle, like that one time with Heero. . . he drifted off with a smile on his face.
Koenma sighed to himself. He had just finished a mountain of paperwork and was contemplating a break for himself. These days, with the insanity in the Ningenkai, every time he blinked, there was more work for him. Enma Daioh had, for all intents and purposes, isolated himself from everyone. The jr. god of death frowned and bit down irritably on his fuukaman . . . he hadn't seen his father like this since . . .he sighed again and rubbed his forehead irritably. He briefly wondered where the old Urameshi team was and snorted slightly, probably having more fun than him though. Hiei and Kurama were probably romping around the Makai somewhere. He rolled his eyes, those two . . .
Yomi and Mukuro came pounding into the Reikai office, running right over a bewildered George. They screeched to a halt in front of his desk, toppling over several piles of documents with the rush of air that accompanied them. He eyed them sourly over the papers he had been dilligently stamping.
"KOENMA!!!" they both roared.
Koenma raised an eyebrow and spoke around his fuukaman, "Well, well, if it isn't Yomi and Mukuro. Last I remember, youkai were specifically forbidden in the Reikai."
They both ignored him and practically screamed out loud, "Where is he! Where's my heir!" They paused and eyed each other suspiciously, then spoke again in unison.
"Your heir?! What about my heir?" They bared their teeth at each other with barely concealed hostility.
George was heard to murmur softly , "My, my, if it isn't the Odd Couple, reincarnated."
Koenma ducked his head and grinned to himself. Ahh, Hiei and Kurama had finally decided to go ahead with their insane plan, ne. The least he could do was play his part. He abruptly cleared his throat and managed to maintain a somber and dignified countenance. He mentally sighed to himself. Of course, the fact that he was sitting on several stacks of Yellow pages to be able to see over table level might mar that image a bit . . .
He cleared his throat loudly to get the attention of the bickering couple. When that didn't work, he tried banging his hand on the table, hard. They continued to argue. Mukuro was now toe to toe with Yomi, tilting her head at 90 degrees to meet his eyes, face on. Koenma blinked. Considering that she only had one biological eye and that Yomi was blind, that was quite a feat. He decided to use a more extreme method to gain their attention, taught to him by a strange monk who had materialized one day via a straw hat. He took a deep breath and focused on a face . . .
. . .Taitsukun, in 3-D no less, abruptly materialized in front of the two youkai. "If you two don't stop arguing and listen to me. . ." Mukuro took one look at her face, paled, and abruptly shut up. Yomi was left screaming out loud to an unnaturally quiet room. He winced and tried to regain his composure. George had fainted dead away.
Satisfied, Koenma recalled the projection, mentally thanking the wandering monk and hoping that he had been reincarnated into a good life.
"Sate, let's try to get make a little sense. You." he pointed a chubby finger at Mukuro. "explain first and make it quick."
Sullenly she replied, "Hiei is missing." then added in a heated way. "I think that, that thieving youko heir of Mr. Magoo's is responsible." She glared at Yomi.
Yomi replied, in a cool icy voice." -My- heir is missing as well. I wouldn't put it above Bionic Bitch over there to get her trained koorime to make him -disappear-"
Koenma sighed again. This was patently ridiculous. Kurama and Hiei had been a couple for as long as he could remember. -Everyone- knew that. Yet these two patently refused to admit it. They would assign their "heirs" into conflicts specifically designed to draw them apart. Neither was willing to give up. After Shuuichi's death, Hiei and Kurama would work out "scenarios", where they would kidnap each other, supposedly in the name of their respective bosses. But more as a reason to get away from the political maneuvering of the various youkai courts and the demands of the bickering youkai in front of him. The toddler just wished that someone would -kidnap- him from this tedious situation.
He glanced at a calendar. Hmmm, those two should be safely in Yuusuke's territory by now. He turned back to Yomi and Mukuro, whose arguing had degenerated into name calling and making faces. Koenma rolled his eyes. The Makai had eventually settled into a sort of peace, with minor skirmishes and conflicts breaking out around the borders occasionally. While, personally, -he- appreciated the slack in paperwork, and most of the weaker youkais welcomed this chance to avoid manipulation and coercion by their stronger counterparts, stronger youkai, like Mukuro and Yomi seemed to have become rather . . . imbalanced in the newly founded peaceful state, even though it had been at least a couple of centuries. They seemed to positively relish the chance to clash together, Hiei and Kurama's frequent disappearings being a prime example.
Abruptly he shifted into his teenage form, "Enough!" he shouted, "this has gone long enough. I am sick and tired of having to deal with your petty problems. Either learn to deal with the fact that your heirs have no intention of obeying you, or just get some new heirs." His voice had steadily risen with each word until he was screaming at the suddenly quiet youkai in front of him.
Ahhh, that had felt good. Koenma felt as if he had gotten rid of at least three centuries of stress.
"Now, unless either of you has something constructive or Inori-sama forbid something useful to say, please leave. I have too much work to do." The note of dismissal in his voice was unmistakeable. Two of the most powerful youkai in the Makai left the room, sniping and shoving at one another like two bullies forced to share a sandbox.
Koenma grinned at the memory. Sa, Kuruma and Hiei had finally decided to renounce the "honor" bestowed on them and had basically told Yomi and Mukuro to screw themselves . . they had eloped in the Makai and honeymooned in the Reikai. The latter being necessary as both rulers had been -extremely- unhappy at the insult and had sent assassins after the newlywed couple. They had sought refuge in the Spirit World for several decades before considering it safe to return to the Makai. He snorted. The junior god hoped that he never had to witness youkai newlyweds ever again. Those two had found the strangest and most awkward places to fool around in. He would never look at his father's throne in quite the same light anymore.
He sighed again. No time for reminiscing, already this brief interlude had allowed the papers to pile up over his head. Koenma reached for another sheet unthinkingly, skimming over it, seal ready to stamp. Suddenly, he paled. Masaka . . . how had they found him. More importantly, did otousama know about this. . .
"George!! Botan! Get in here now!"
"Botan, " he murmured, leaning so close that his warm breath brushed past her suddenly flushed cheeks.
"Hai, Koenman-sama, " she replied breathlessly, drinking in the sight of her usually color challenged boss dressed in a white and grey tux. He was in his teenage form, his brown-gold hair casually brushed back from his face.
"Botan, " he repeated huskily, " would you do the honor . . ."
"Gasp." Masaka, he wouldn't be asking _that_ question. Would he? She smiled dreamily, her lips already forming the word yes when . . .
" . . . of changing my diapers for me." he squeaked, having suddenly shrunken to his chibi form.
"Ha~i . . . NANI!!"
"You heard me. Change my diapers, " he ordered irritably, sucking furiously on his _pacifier_.
She could only gape in disbelief then squeal as another Koenma toddler appeared next to her elbow.
"Change my diaper, too."
"Me. Me. Me.", and so on, until she was literally buried in squealing, squalling, squalid toddlers.
"Waaaaaaaahhhh!. Tasukete kure!!!" she screamed collapsing under their combined weight.
Suddenly another, much deeper voice, called out. "Botan-san, Botan-san. Wake up! Koenma-sama needs to talk with you. There's an emergency meeting being held."
Botan refused to open her eyes and thought to herself. This is just another part of the dream . . . don't be tricked. If I open my eyes now, I'm going to see masses of Koenma duplicates screaming at me. She took a deep breath. This is just a dream, just a dream, just a dream.
George Saotome frowned. The blue-haired girl refused to open her eyes. He leaned in closer. She seemed to be mumbling something to herself. . .
" . . .a dream, just a dream, a dream, just a dream."
The blue oni sighed. This was going to take a while.
She regarded the long-haired boy, snoring away in bliss, rather bemusedly. She had been unaware when he had been dragged into their hideously pink room. She made a face. Just how in the name of Kami-sama had someone decided that pink flowered wallpaper and plastic pink furnishings were a good idea anyway. Even after having been held in this room for nearly a month now, she wasn't used to waking up in this bizarre environment. Then _he_ had been casually dumped on the couch, awaking briefly then falling back to sleep with a distinct smirk on his face. She had considered introducing herself, but the stranger looked as if he needed sleep more. After all, who knew how long they would be held here anyway.
She sighed and nestled against the chair, a truly grotesque design in gilded gold and pink, facing across from the slumbering boy. They'd be able to talk after he had his nap.
Yuusuke was bored. Mind you not bored as in, gee I wish something would happen soon. No, this late stage of boredom was more like, if something doesn't happen now, I'm going to blow up this stupid palace and half the Makai with it. The black haired boy suddenly grinned, and he could do it too. After his human heart had stopped beating, his youkai heritage had fully manifested itself. The only ones who could possibly come close to his power level was the other two rulers of the Makai, Yomi and Mukuro, and possibly Hiei.
Yuusuke smirked. He wished that his two former team mates would show up in his palace again, along with Yomi and Mukuro's troops hot on their tail. Kurama and Hiei had used Raizen's, now Yuusuke's, palace as a sort of refuge whenever they managed to escape. He shook his head in bemusement and shifted uncomfortably on his throne, eventually rising to stand in front of the window. After accidentally intruding on one of the couple's interludes, on his _throne_ no less, the black-eyed boy felt uncomfortable sitting on it. He felt even more uncomfortable telling his advisors precisely why he no longer wished to sit on the throne, those two . . .He stretched and cracked his knuckles.
Ever since, he had taken over Raizen's territory, nothing interesting had happened. A somewhat uneasy peace had settled over the Makai, and even the occasional power hungry youkai, bent on world domination, had ceased to show up. It had made his life more tedious, and the other two rulers damn cranky. Mukuro walked around with a permanent scowl on her face, Yomi had long since withdrawn into a sulking silence. The only genuine pleasure those two got were insulting each other or harassing their poor underlings.
Yuusuke stretched again and decided to pay a visit to Kurama and Hiei, after all, those two couldn't possibly be "occupied" all the time . . . could they? He grinned and thought to himself. Well then, it's time Hiei and I finally finished that little fighting exercise ne? They had called it a draw after having destroyed several important buildings in the Reikai. With the combination of Koenma threatening to sentence them both to several centuries of paper pushing and Keiko trying to bash _both_ their heads in with a two ton mallet, the koorime had grunted and casually flitted over to Kurama's side. Unfortunately, Yuusuke hadn't been as quick. He winced in memory and rubbed at the side of his face. The boy was sure that imprint of his face on the floor of the Reikai would never fade. . . It had been during Keiko's many trips to the Reikai . . .
The brown-eyed boy grimaced to himself. Even after having found Keiko through at least a dozen reincarnations, each time she died, he would mourn her too brief life. Yuusuke sighed and shook his head. Sometimes he had missed her newly reincarnated form and then have to wait several generations to find her again. Every time they met, it would be like the first time for his love. Then, she would gradually remember . . . he smiled rather wistfully. They would only have several decades together, before Botan would call. She would always promise to wait for him, and of course he would cockily assure her that he could find her wide butt anywhere, whether in the Reikai or the Ningenkai and then hastily duck. Sometimes she would smack him across the face, other times she would stop short and just caress his cheek before leaving . . .
He lightly smacked himself on the side of the head. She was due to be reincarnated soon, and he would be able to see her again . . . smile with her, talk to her . . . Saaa, for now, he would just have to do with challenging Hiei to another extended bout. Yuusuke whistled cheerfully as he launched himself out the window and into the waiting branches of the Makai tree below. There were, after all, benefits to having a youko as a friend, such as forming a convenient escape route in case his advisors tried to drag him into another "urgent" meeting.
As the disembodied voice rumbled through the pink room, its tone menacing, he thought to himself. Surely, this time _this_ would wake them up.
"As of now, the two of you will be held hostage as our takeover of the . . . " he trailed off and sighed. Again, neither the boy nor the girl was paying any attention to him. This had to be the upteenth time, he had tried to make himself known. What use was his evil chuckle and deep rumbling voice that he had practiced for so long when neither occupant woke up!
He cleared his throat loudly and gargled some more. Then said, "I command you to awake! Your fates rest directly in my hands." There, that sounded impressive enough.
Duo snorted and flopped onto his stomach, giggling softly to himself, something about Deathscythe, Heero, and . . . chocolate pudding?
The now rather desperate villain to be sweatdropped . . . he really did not want to know.
The other occupant of the room, the girl, stirred slightly. Her hand twitched convulsively and she muttered to herself as well. " . . baka, baka, baka, baka, baka."
Bigger sweatdrop, and they slept on. He shifted and then sighed. Might as well as make himself comfortable, this was going to take a while.
Duo abruptly woke up, disoriented. He shifted slightly and then rolled right off the couch, as he forgot that he was _not_ in his own bed.
"Itte te te . . ", he muttered, clutching his sore head. The braided boy painfully sat up from his splayed position on the pink carpet and abruptly froze as he caught sight of a . . . ghost?
He sighed mournfully. Concussions were such a pain in the @#$# neck. First his mind starts wandering now he was hallucinating, or maybe he _was_ dead and a ghost as well.. . . He squinted up at the ghost. She didn't seem like anyone he knew though . . .
The girl woke up, startled by a loud thump. She glanced over at the other occupant of the room then giggled softly. Her roomate had apparently tumbled off his impromptu bed. Anxiously, she went to his side, wanting to help him but unable to do so. A physical body would _really_ be helpful at this point, or even some extra reiki would allow her to come into contact with solid objects. However, she had been held here so long that she was gradually starting to fade in energy. If she wasn't rescued soon . . . there wouldn't be enough of her to return to the Reikai, much less be able to reincarnate. Suddenly, she froze as she came in eye contact with the violet-eyed boy. She eyed him rather nerviously, waiting for his reaction . . . in her experience, most people did not handle seeing spirits very well . . .
Duo grinned to himself, rather sickly. Sa, he was Shinigami after all. Dead people shouldn't scare him, ne? He gingerly extended a hand towards the brown-haired girl.
"Ah, ore wa Duo Maxwell. Hajimemashite. . . " he offered with a wide forced grin.
"Atashi wa Keiko desu. . . Yoroshiku onegaishimasu." She took the hand automatically. Then gasped, as a streak of pure electricity ran up her hand from the contact. She dropped to the carpet, with a plop, from her hovering position above the ground. What was that?
Duo eyed the girl rather warily, shaking his hand of the pins and needles lodged there. It had started normally enough, she had taken his hand. Then he had felt something _wrenched_ from within, and a sudden tingling feeling shoot up his arm and passed to the girl now sitting in front of him. Wait a minute. . . wasn't she floating above him just a minute ago, and she appeared to be a lot more solid now. . . What was going on here.
Keiko gingerly _felt_ the solid ground beneath her, then pinched herself. Ara? She pinched herself again. She could feel the slight prickle of the carpet against her legs and the touch of her hands against her own flesh. . . Apparently, the shock she had felt with this boy's touch had been a dose of pure reiki. She had the closest thing possible to a physical body. The brown-haired girl eyed the boy rather reflectively, where had he gotten such a massive supply anyway?
"Kisama! I ought to rip your throat out right now."
"Oh yeah, you and what army, shrimp. You wouldn't be able to _reach_ my throat."
And so on. . . Kurama sighed to himself and ran a hand through his long, crimson hair. He had changed to his ningen form for old time's sake. He eyed the arguing twosome resignedly. Unfortunately, some things would stay the same, no matter what century it was.
" Kurama-kun, would you like some tea, " offered Yukina sweetly with a gentle smile.
"Ah. Arigato, Yukina-san. " He smiled at her and gratefully took the cup. The idea of an impromptu reunion had _sounded_ so good at the time. He should really have known better though. Once Kuwabara and his spiky- haired lover started, nothing short of a bomb could tear them apart . . . as the years had proven. He winced and glanced over at the fight when a particularly _loud_ curse threatened to loosen some of the surrounding pictures from the wall. Ever since Kuwabara had become a youkai, the two seemed to find more reasons to argue. . .
"Kuwabara-kun, are you sure about this." Kurama had asked rather worriedly. After all, it wasn't every day that a ningen wanted to turn youkai.
"Kurama . . . I don't want to leave Yukina behind by herself. I know that you and Hiei . . ." here Kuwabara shook his head, still disbelieving that his delicate wife and that over grown wart were twins, " . . . would take good care of her."
Kurama had delicately mentioned Yuusuke and Keiko's situation. Wouldn't he rather be reincarnated and meet Yukina through different lifetimes? Changing into a youkai would be difficult enough, becoming a ningen again would be impossible.
The tall boy had looked so solemn at that thought. He replied steadily, " I know that . . .it's not that I'm afraid of dying . . . or even of not being able to find her again. . . " his deep voice petered off as he tried to find the words that ususally came so easily to him.
Kurama titled his head slightly in encouragement, indicating that Kuwabara should go on.
" . . .it's not even that I don't think Yukina isn't capable of handling my deaths. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I'm the weak one. I don't want to see her sad face every time I die. I don't want to see her cry for me, even though we would meet again. I'm just not strong enough . . . like Urameshi. . . I know this is the cowardly way out but . . . " Kuwabara abruptly stopped talking as a warm, sympathetic hand gently placed itself on his shoulder. He looked up, from where he had been starting fixedly at the ground before him, and gazed into an understanding emerald gaze.
A soft voice replied, "Kitto. Daijoubu desu. You are _not_ a coward." Kurama suddenly grinned impishly. "Just wait until I tell Hiei that you're going to be around as a brother-in-law indefinitely." The red-haired boy winked. "He was so~ looking forward to attending several lifetimes of your funerals too."
Kuwabara let out a deep, relieved chuckle. "Won't he though. Maybe I'll just go tell him myself."
Kurama grinned to himself, automatically tuning out the screaming and threatening noises sounding from the middle of the room. He still couldn't stop himself from laughing when remember Hiei's expression at Kuwabara's announcement. It had been as if someone had told a child that there would be no Christmas presents under the tree, or a favorite toy had broken. His koibito's look had been that of disbelief, shock, and disappointment. It had just been _so_ kawaii. He chuckled again then whirled around as a new youki was felt.
"Oi, minna! Hisashiburidaze."
Everyone cried out at the familiar cocky voice. "Yuusuke!"
Kurama sighed. And he had _just_ finished regrowing the vegetation from the last reunion. . .
"So, you're telling me that there's a demon world and a spirit world."
Keiko nodded. Duo thoughtfully tugged on the end of his braid. This was news to him. He wondered what Father Maxwell and Sister Helen would say to the fact that Shinigami did exist . . .A vague memory brushed through his mind, a deep booming voice, a corresponding light laugh. He shook his head slightly. They had been exchanging histories for the past two hours or so. He couldn't believe that the young girl sitting before him was several centuries old. And that she was now just a spirit, kidnapped some time ago, prevented from returning to the Reikai to be reborn. Life was getting s~o complicated.
"The people who grabbed you. Do you know who they are, or why they're holding you hostage." he asked. Better to concentrate on escaping first, then sorting through all the extra data later on when he had the time.
Keiko shook her head. She only remembered dying, staring down at her corpse and vaguely surprised that Botan wasn't there to escort her to the Reikai. Then, a pink miasama had enveloped her, eventually, dropping her off at this room. She had had no contact with anyone, until Duo.
They froze as a deep voice suddenly rang out through the room.
"Mwehehehehehehehehe . . . " it said and took a deep breath. " . . wehehehehehehehehe."
Both Keiko and Duo sweatdropped. What kind of lunatic was this anyway?
"Now that you two are _finally_ awake, you can be awed and shake before my very presence. All is going according to my master's plan. You will never escape from here. We will soon rule over all! Bow down before me. . ., " he railed on.
Duo whispered," Ne, Keiko-san, does this happen to you often."
The brown-haired girl sighed. "Unfortunately, yes. It's happened every lifetime or so. Although, I have to admit its been quiet for the past few centuries. Look's like power hungry mad conquerors are in vogue again though. What about you Duo-kun."
The cheerful boy grinned. "Nah. 's my first kidnapping, unless you count the number of times I've been thrown into prison." Then he added reflectively. " Does the dialogue get any better, 'cause this guy sound like something from a badly dubbed action flick."
She laughed quietly, only paying some attention to the ranting voice, "Gomen. It doesn't get better, and I've been kidnapped by the best."
Duo sighed and fiddled with the tip of his braid. This was more boring than the lectures Heero had given him on duty and responsitbility. He snickered, not that he listened either way, but watching Heero pace back and forth, barking off orders was kind of cute. . .
" . . . and all shall be ours! My master will lead an invasion and annhilate all who dare defy. Resistance is futile." The voice paused to gather enough breath for another round. Duo decided to interject his own opinion at this point.
"Oi! Why don't ya stop talking and show us how powerful you are. After all, 's not like we can see you or anything. How do we know that you're not just another stunted munchkin babbling on over there. For that matter, how do we know that you can . . ." Duo let his mouth take over as he quickly scanned the room for the owner of that voice. It didn't seem as if it came from a speaker system. The sound was slightly muffled so the Mr. World Domination could be hiding behind some of the furninshings . . . maybe behind that curtain. To Keiko, he nodded his head toward the curtain. She wordlessly handed him a rather heavy pink quartz paperweight lying on the pastel pink coffee table next to them. The braided boy silently kissed the object for good luck, took aim, and threw it at the curtain. Duo cheerfully flashed a V-sign when it hit the curtain with a meaty thump. Keiko giggled.
"Ouch! Teme, what the hell do you think you're doing. I ought to show you exactly how powerful I get when I'm pissed. In fact, I'll . . ." the voice petered out as suddenly the curtain was thrown open, and a menacing Duo and Keiko stood before him. The masked figure cringed against the hard walll as Duo cheerfully cracked his knuckles.
"Now, let's just see what you've got under that mask over there." and ripped it off.
The chestnut haired boy blinked at the sight before him. Underneath the mask, was a young blue-eyed girl, with her hair partially pinned up in two . . .buns?
She cried out. " In the name of the moon, I will punish you!" Accompanying those words, with bizzarre hand gestures and poses. In doing so, she knocked off her mask, revealing a hideously scarred face underneath. Both Keiko and Duo blanched at the sight.
"Freddy's here and wants to play with you . . . "
Duo shrugged. Well, if the previous one was a mask then this was probably one as well. He ripped that one off.
"Oi! That was rude na no da. Don't you have any manners, no da." And another.
"Gomen de gozaru na. This isn't it de gozaru yo."
Duo growled and yelled, "How do you do that." The angry boy plucked off another mask. This time revealing a purple haired man with a page boy cut.
"Sore wa. . . " He placed his index finger over Duo's lips. "Himitsu desu."
Duo snarled and pulled off another one. This time revealing a teenaged boy with green hair in a short ponytail.
"Miaka!" Duo pulled off another mask.
"Tamahome!" and another.
Keiko sighed as the enraged American started strangling their identity-challenged captor. Something told her that this could take a while.
Koenma solemnly regarded Botan and George as they stood before him. For once, he had opted for his teenage guise. He cleared his throat.
"Botan, George . . . I want you to find and reactivate the old Urameshi team." There that was over and done with.
Botan looked shocked. "Demo . . .Koenma-sama, we have several qualified tantei already. Wouldn't it be better to use them?"
George nodded in agreement. He had never seen his superior look so solemn . . . nor so sad. Whatever it was, it had to be big. He sweated, hopefully it wouldn't bring down the wrath of Enma-Daioh.
Koenma absently flicked back his cape. "This situation . . . is very very delicate. It involves events which you and George weren't here for . . . several thousand years ago. " He hesistated at the next statement. "All I can say, until everyone has been gathered, is that it involves the succession to my father's throne."
The other two gaped first at Koenma then each other. Succession? But wasn't Koenma the heir . . .
He cleared his throat again. "Which is one of the reasons why I need the old team back together. This is a top secret priority, and as such the climax to the story won't nearly be as interesting without a dramatic pause. Besides, this is how all the actions scenes go. An enigmatic sentence and a dramatic cue. . . Anyway, they are the only ones I can trust . . . as well as you two."
Botan and George, having long since lost a clue to where this lecture was heading, snapped to attention at the next statement. This sounded serious.
"I will be accompanying you as well. This case comes under my direct personal supervision. " he said.
This time George objected "What about the paperwork and the processing of reikai. We can't just leave it to pile up."
Koenma grinned, suddenly cheerful. "I have a solution to that!"
A dramatic pause, in which Botan and George looked nervously on, this didn't sound so good . . .
"A friend of mine, as well as his two companions, will be helping out here while I'm gone. They're very competent, and I trust them implicitly."
Botan and George sweatdropped. . . Ningen? . . . in charge of the Reikai? George moaned softly, Enma-sama was definitely not going to like this turn of events. He began contemplating what several centuries in hell were going to be like. The blue oni wanted to start packing right away . . .
Keiko screamed, "Kyaaa, you pervert!" and smacked the old balding white haired man who had suddenly glomped onto her chest. She knocked the mask right off.
"That's prevect, not pervert." corrected the suddenly horned and green faced man.
Duo and Keiko blinked at each other in confusion before turning back to the tied up villain before them. They sighed. So far, they had amassed enough disguises to dress up an entire Oz legion for Halloween, and they hadn't yet discovered the identity of their captor.
Duo sighed again and rather unenthusiastically ripped off the next mask, then facefaulted as yet another mask was revealed. This time it was a silver half mask covering a pale white face, unearthly green eyes glowed with an internal flame.
A sibilant voice hissed, "I am Torak . . . worship me with blood. Bathe my altar with the screams and calls of my followers. . ."
Duo's hand visibly shook as he ripped that mask off too. Something in that voice was so compelling . . . he sweatdropped as he saw the next mask. A fuzzy pastel colored creature blinked its wide black eyes back. Duo could feel his sugar level rising just staring at the thing before him.
"Care bear Countdown . . 5. . .4. . .3.", this time Keiko ripped off the mask, muttering something about stuffed marshmallows being all alike.
"Oh, Papa Smurf, Papa Smurf. Whatever shall we do?" squeaked out a blue faced, snub nosed . . .thing.
" . . . . snarf?"
Both frustrated kidnappees facefaulted at the next one.
"Pu? . . . pupupupupu . . pu!!." Keiko stared for a moment at the round white fluffy creature, before glancing away. Nah . . . couldn't be.
He wrapped his arms tightly around the slender body next to him, nuzzling into the warm sweet-smelling neck. The other occupant of the bed murmured softly and pressed himself against Heero firmly. The Japanese pilot smiled slightly into Duo's chestunut hair. While he couldn't quite bring himself to show Duo how he felt, in front of others. During these quiet times, he sighed contentedly. During these quiet times, holding Duo close like this, he could let down his defenses and well . . .snuggle. Heero smiled again, technically only a slight upward tilt to the lips but heck, you take what you can get, as Duo stirred in his arms. The other boy blinked wide violet eyes open and smiled enticingly, wrapping slim, wiry arms around Heero's neck.
"Ne, He~ero . . .why didn't you wake me up when you came in?" He pressed warm, open mouthed kisses on the other boy's chin..
Heero tilted his head slightly, wordlessly encouraging the other on. He grunted, "You looked so tired . . .," and smirked. "Besides, it's the only time when your mouth is closed for a change."
The other boy paused in activities to shoot Heero an exaggeratedly hurt look, then grinned mischievously. "Well, you certainly liked my mouth last night . . ."
Heero frowned, flushing slightly in rememberance, and grabbed a handful of Duo's thick hair. He brought in the grinning boy's face in close and gave him a melting kiss. Duo responded enthusiastically, pressing his chest against Heero's.
The short-haired boy frowned slightly as something registered in his hazy mind, even as he pinned his lover beneath him. Why did Duo's chest feel so soft . . . and cushioned? He gasped and tore himself away from the American, blanching at the sight before him. Duo had . . . breasts!
"Heero," s/he pouted, casually crossing his/her arms underneath his . . . her breasts. "What's wrong?"
Heero wordlessly pointed and managed to choke out. "You . . you . . .have b-b-br-breasts."
Duo glanced down, unimpressed. S/he tilted his/her head to the side and smiled in bemusement. "Of course I do, koi. You have them, too." With those words, s/he casually pressed a finger to the shocked boy's chest.
Heero glanced down at his own chest slowly, unable to believe this . . . situation. He looked and if he hadn't been the Perfect Soldier, he would surely have screamed or fainted. As it was, a nerve began throbbing above his right eyebrow. He had breasts . . . about a size B cup, he supposed. He brought a hand up and pushed slightly at one of the . . . protrusions. In a state of shock, he watched, fascinated, as they swayed and moved with his movements and breathing. Slowly, he tuned into the fact that Duo was still chattering away, blissfully unaware of Heero's chaotic state of mind.
" . . . remember that last mission we had? . . . Well, the doctors thought it was better if we became girls. Of course, since it was part of the mission, you were all for it." Here s/he . . .Duo pouted cutely. "I thought I looked good as a boy, but you insisted it was for the mission 'n everything and so this is what happened."
Heero could only stare in shock . . . his idea to become a girl because of a mission. The words mission and girl ran through his befuddled mind. His blue eyes began to lose focus, while one part of his mind could only stand back and watch as the Perfect Soldier . . . keeled over in a faint. He could hear Duo's shocked voice calling his name.
"Heero . . . Heero . . . Heero!"
Hn. Heero grunted and sat up. Then he remembered. Under the shocked gazes of Trowa, Quatre, and Wufei, he grabbed his chest with both hands, frantically patting it down for any traces of suspicious bumps, soft or otherwise.
"I'm not a girl. I don't have breasts. I won't have to go out and buy a bra . . . I 'm not a girl. " Heero chanted this to himself softly, momentarily forgetting his stoic, sullen pose(TM).
The other pilots exchanged a significant look (TM). Perhaps the Wing system was causing delayed side effects, or he had been knocked around too many times in his gundam, or jumped off too many cliffs sans parachute, or . . . it was a *long* significant look . . . (TM)
"Ne . . . Heero-kun, " began Quatre rather hesitantly, pausing in shock as Heero attempted to look down his bike shorts. He was doomed to failure as they appeared to be painted on, but whatever he must have glimpsed at must have reassured him. Heero rose from the bed and marched to his computer desk, blatantly ignoring the rest of the Gundam pilots. The others sweatdropped, the Heero they knew and . . . knew was back. The Arabian boy cleared his throat again, exchanging glares with Wufei, as the other nudged him to continue. Quatre didn't understand why *he* had to be their representative.
He continued with a small pout. "Ne, Heero-kun. Have you seen Duo? I haven't been able to find him anywhere. Rashid and the other haven't been able to find him in the kitchen, the rec room, the pool hall, the jacuzzi, the satellite room, the game room, the stables, the pool, the den, . . . "
" . . . " was Heero's reaction as Quatre continued to list all the places on his estate where Duo *could* have been and wasn't. Needless to say, it was a big estate. He glanced over at the other pilots, registering that they all looked somewhat disheveled and out of breath. They had ...foliage? in their hair as well. He raised an eyebrow questioningly.
Trowa brushed at his hair belatedly, trying to remove some of the burrs sticking to his bangs. The tall pilot seemed uncharacteristically nervous, glancing about nervously. For that matter, all of them seemed to be a bit twitchy. What was going on?
He calmly interjected, green eyes gleaming in amusement at Quatre's attempt to bring up a delicate subject, "What Quatre is trying to say, is that Duo's been missing since morning. We would really really like to talk to him." Trowa placed a particular emphasis on the word talk. The blonde boy smiled gratefully up at Trowa, squeezing the other's hand slightly.
"No." Heero smirked slightly. The last time Duo had disappeared for an entire day, Heero had discovered him in the bathtub, neck deep in bubbles and wearing only a seductive smile. As he recalled, they had nearly drowned several times before making it to the bedroom.
"No, I don't know where he is. " he elaborated, after eliciting another Look(TM) for his uncharacteristic reaction to a simple question. He smirked again, just to see what would happen. No wonder Duo liked provoking people . . . this is kind of fun.
The other pilots eyed the still smirking pilot nervously. First, Heero had actually spoken; then, he had almost smiled . . . twice. This was too weird. They started slowly backing away from Spandex boy.
Idly, Heero wondered what would happen if he burst out into a Duo-esque laugh...Probably have them jumping out the window or reaching for the nearest weapon at hand he thought. Heero cocked his head to the side . . . what was that noise?
A distant rumble coule be heard by all occupants in the room. All save Heero jumped as if they had been given jumbo wedgies and began running for the door.
Trowa shouted, on his way out, "Well, if you do see Duo, tell him to come find us quick!!" With those final words, they fled.
Heero stared after them rather bemusedly. The roaring sound had gotten louder . . . mixed with the sounds of an elephant trumpeting? or was that a lion's roar? He only had time to blink before a stampede of assorted jungle animals broke through one side of the room.
Instantly, he drew a gun from. . . somewhere and cocked the barrel. But the animals ignored him and headed unerringly through the exit where the other pilots had disappeared off to. At a chittering noise, he turned around.
Shimatta . . . was his last thought before unconsciousness hit like a ton of bricks . . . or more specifically like an explosion. A chimpanzee, that had been left behind in the chaos, had curiously picked up one of the many self-destruct devices which Heero always stored in case of an emergency.
And then had pressed the shiny red button.
As everything faded to black, he dreamt of. . .
. . .X chromosomes, complete with long chestnut braids, running madly after him, brandishing scythes and screaming "Off with his Y! Off with his Y!"
"Have some fun Wufei, he sez. Loosen up Wufei. Learn to socialize...Why don't we play a game together he sez!" Wufei spat out the words while trying to run as fast as possible "Kisama!! Maxwell, when I get my hands on you . . ."
Trowa, his bangs plastered to the side of his face, replied, a trifle breathlessly. "Look . . . how were we to know that a harmless boardgame would turn out to be something like this."
Quatre attempted to nod, but since no one would be able to appreciate the gesture anyway, settled for a verbal reply. "Hai. It was just another game we found in my attic. It didn't even come with a warning label."
And so they had been running and arguing since last night . . .
When they had discovered the game last night, out of sheer boredom, Quatre and Duo had dragged it out. The Arabian pilot had managed to sweet talk Trowa, and Duo had badgered, harassed and otherwise bothered Wufei into playing.
The American pilot rolled the dice first. Maybe they should have expected something in the way the game had seemed to *call* to them, seeming to beat with an internal, fascinating rhythm. Or maybe they should have expected something unusual in the way the gamepieces moved automatically with each roll of the dice . . .
After his turn had passed, Duo had gone into the kitchen to find a snack. When he hadn't returned, the other pilots assumed that he had gone to "distract" the Japanese boy from staying in front of the laptop too long . . .
They had gone on with the game, only to discover that *strange* things came out of the gamboard. Like a British nanny who decided that *they* were her charges. She had started pulling various things out of a handbag, casually flinging them across the room. Things like rampaging elephants, carnivorous jungle plants, rabid chimpanzees, assorted jungle animals, and most frightening of all . . .
"Tally ho!!" trumpeted a cheerful female voice, one with a distinct British accent.
At the sound of her voice, the pilots ran even faster, not even pausing to look back. They knew who, or more appropriately what, was chasing them.
The owner of that particular voice was dressed in khaki. Her mahogany hair was tied back in a neat bun. Perched on her head, at a jaunty angle, was a feather cap. What made this image truly bizarre was that she was riding, sidesaddle of course, on top of a plaster carousel horse. A pole extended from the top and bottom of the saddle. The plastic pastel horse bobbed up and down crazily as the female pointed with a black umbrella at their target.
"Tally ho!" she cried out again, leading the charge. At her back were the same stampeding jungle animals that had torn through Heero's room . . .
"Shimatta. First she gets the crazy idea that she's our nanny, popping out of that stupid board game. Then, she tries to force feed us sugar and medicine, humming a crazy song. Now, she's chasing us on a demented carousel horse. What's next?" pondered Trowa out loud.
As if on cue, the stampeding animals behind them stopped. Loud stage music began to blare from an unknown source. All the animals stood on hind legs and joined arms*cough* hooves, forelegs, wings, etc. Beaks, maws, and jaws opened, and they began to sing.(To the tune of Do-Re-Mi from Sound of Music)
//Dough, I need to
buy some beer.
//Ray, the guy who sell the beer.
//Me, the one who drinks the beer.
//Fa . . .
Mary Poppins(If you haven't figured out who it is by now . . . ) suddenly appeared in front of the chorusing animals, having abandoned her safari outfit for a . . . dress made of drapery?
The pilots could only watch, dumbfounded as she pulled out a guitar and began leading the animals in a rousing music lesson.
Quatre twitched his head to one side, indicating that they should run while the pursuers were . . . otherwise occupied.
They ran for the hills.
Koenma frowned over Botan and George's vehement objections that a ningen would be in charge, however temporarily, of the Reikai. He answered."He isn't quite ningen. He's actually a distant cousin of mine, but he likes going into the Ningenkai once in a while. He finds it . . . interesting."
Botan and George paused in their protests to blink at each other. Interesting? Distant cousin?
Botan cleared her throat and asked." Ahhh, Koenma-sama . . . cousin on which side?"
Koenma coughed, rather embarassedly. "His mother is a handmaiden of Chaos, and his father is the god of Sleep, a distant relative of Death of course. I'll introduce him, and the two friends he's bringing along, when he arrives. . . which should be soon." Probably with a flashy entrance, the godling thought to himself wryly. His cousin was always one for exhibits.
At that precise moment, a rather loud whirring sound interrupted Koenma's musings. He sweatdropped . . . no one else could have that impeccable timing, it had to be . . .
"Akira!! Suoh!! Isn't this wonderful?" Impossibly blue eyes flashed gleefully underneath a thick mop of gleaming gold hair.
"Kaichou!! " the other two cried out, as their reckless leader cheerfully waved his fan at the openly gaping group beneath him. Nokoru tilted crazily as his momentary slack on the wings of his kite caused an imbalance. Both boys quicly swept to either side and helped support him.
Nokoru flashed a blindingly bright smile at his two cohorts before swooping toward the Reikai below them. He adored flying, especially when it didn't require him to be enclosed inside.
He laughed delightedly, buzzing the scampering oni below. He frowned to himself briefly as he spied his cousin. . . Yare yare . . . Koenma looked too over worked and worried about this latest situation. Then again considering *who* exactly they were dealing with . . .
Nokoru absentmindedly threw some more confetti into the air. Hmmm, no use worrying over things . . people gone and lost. All he could do now was help his cousin.
Koenma closed his eyes briefly, as if that would help erase the image of his cousin . . . flying through the Reikai on a humongous kite. If that wasn't enough, the design, which was of Enma Daioh dressed in a pink ball gown, juggling several blowfish, was definitely an eye-catcher. He couldn't help snickering though. His cousin would never change, whether reborn in the Ningenkai as the feminist heir to a corporation whose total gross was more than a nation's or as a mischievous fairy bent on causing chaos. His search for the exotic and amusing was infamous. Despite all of Nokoru's various exploits, he never seemed to lose his cheery smile or bright look on life much like . . .someone else Koenma had known. He cleared his thoughts with a firm shake of the head, no time for those musings now. He had guests to greet.
By now, both Akira and Suoh had landed. They were resignedly waiting for the last of their group to quit floating about in lazy figure eights in the air; he was causing a brief flurry of activity from the oni by flinging brightly colored confetti, all in the shape of a blowfish, to the grounds below. Finally, he landed. For the visit to Koenma, Nokoru had decided to adopt his teenage form. He eagerly took a step forward, then tripped over the lacings of the kite which he had forgotten to untangle. Wordlessly, Suoh helped him up while Akira hovered anxiously in the background.
Nokoru thanked Suoh effusively and snapped open his fan as he walked over to Koenma. "Koenma!! Hisashiburi desu yo ne!" He beamed cheerfully.
Koenma found himself smiling back, despite all the problems constantly at the forefront of his conscience. There was something so contagious about that charming smile which drew everyone in. He gripped his cousin in a bracing hug, glad to see *someone* who could possibly understand his predicament. He exchanged warm greetings with Akira and Suoh, constant presences, no matter what life time or form, at their kaichou's side.
Nokoru, suddenly sober, asked in a hushed tone, "Is it true? They're holding *him* hostage? . . . this could mean war."
Koenma nodded to all three questions. They stared into each other's eyes, bright blue holding golden hazel eyes. Wordlessly, they broke their gaze off, as the othes approached. Koenma introduced the newcomers to a starry eyed Botan and a confused George. Nokoru immediately bowed and took Botan's hand in a gentle kiss. Koenma hmmphed as Botan blushed brightly. His cousin never changed.
"Ne, Koenma? So all I have to do is process the paperwork and make sure nothing major goes wrong, right?" Nokoru asked a little too innocently.
Suoh immediately became suspicious. Kaichou was smiling a bit too innocently, plus he had whipped his fan out and was waving it to and fro . . . not a good indication of things to come.
Koenma replied yes and pinned the other with a stern look, "And this time, do *not* under any circumstances flood the Reikai with water and convert it into a swimming pool. I don't care if it was your idea of a summer vacation. Do you know how long it took to drain the stupid thing?"
Nokoru grinned innocently. "Maa maa, I wouldn't dream of doing anything like that again. Besides . . ." he flipped his fan closed nonchalantly " . . . it was just a favor to okaasama. She thought Enma-sama needed a little . . . -cough- boost in his life." Koenma closed his eyes briefly. A boost it certainly had been.
When his father had shown up, complaining about the noise level, a particularly powerful geyser had opened up beneath him, sending him shooting up into the sky. It had taken several hours to bring him back down. To this day, his cousin declaimed innocence . . . but no one was buying it. Koenma sighed, he was in for an interesting homecoming either way. But there was no other he could trust with keeping the Reikai intact, if not sane. For all of Nokoru's antics, he was as loyal and reliable as . . . Koenma sweatdropped. There were no applicable analogies to describe his zealous cousin he decided. The jr. god decided to leave now for Kurama and Hiei's place before more doubts crowded his already besieged mind.
As he was transported away on Botan's oar, Koenma caught a glimpse of Nokoru . . .wearing a toga? He blinked several times then closed his eyes tightly. Take problems one at a time, one at a time. . .
Kyaaaa!! Kowaii ~_~ Get me out of here!