"Here you go, sir! Enjoy your meal!" Chirped the overenthusiastic attractive female cashier wearing the distinctive red shirt with short blue sleeves and a yellow collar of the Burger King fastfood establishment, complete with a hamburger-styled cap fitted on her crop of shiny golden locks. She giddily exchanged a bag full of five cheeseburgers, three portions of French fries and a side order of coke over to a nineteen-year old foreigner.
"Thanks. I'll be sure to mail ya the bill after this sends me on a one-way trip to hell," The retired Spirit Detective sarcastically grumbled, eliciting a giggle from the bubbly cashier as he sauntered out of the restaurant with his order in both hands, using his shoulder to shove the door open.
He decided, the first time he set foot on a foreign land that forced him to speak in his second language his generation were forced to learn in Elementary school to bridge the language barrier, that he struck out like a sore thumb midst the onrushing Caucasians and African Americans on the Big Apple. A few would look his way in curiosity to his presence in their world, but thankfully, only a minority of the stares were adult ones. Most were kids, innocently curious to see an alleged grown-up so radically different in features to what they were used to seeing in their country of birth.
That was fine to Spirit World's former employee. He loved kids, the adorable little rascals they were.
He picked his choice of restaurant well, making sure it was close to where he wanted to eat: the statue of liberty. It took him no more than a few moments to reach the lake separating the sculpture's island from the city itself. He flicked glances to both his flanks, confirming no one was watching him before dematerializing entirely, reappearing on the shoulder of the massive statue itself.
"The view's something else up here," He mumbled in thought. True enough. The Big Apple was quite the sight from a distance. Skyscrapers, buildings far taller than he was used to seeing daily in his own country, stood, pointed at the heavens, all compressed and congested around the city. He wondered how they could even get around when he first reached New York a week ago.
With a gentle breeze blowing the bangs of his short crop of raven hair, Yusuke Urameshi heaved a sigh and propped himself down on the lady's shoulder, one leg crossed sideways over the other to make a makeshift table for his lunch. He pried open the bag, dipping his hand in and pulling out a burger, looking at it with a comical scowl on his face.
"Sheesh. Talk about a heart attack in a bun." But as he took a chunk out of it, he added with a lackadaisical air around him, bits of his burger flying out of his mouth, "…At least it's cheap." From there he lazily picked a couple of fries out of the bag and placed them into his mouth to chew on them and swallow them down his throat before doing the same to the rest.
He retained most of his style from his more rebellious years, the kind of look that told senior citizens to avoid guys like him. After years of being a delinquent it became who he was at heart. It wasn't something he could just rewrite so easily. His raven-hair remained slicked back with gel and he sported a white wife-beater sleeveless tank top, underneath a long-sleeved unbuttoned medium green dress shirt, perfectly displaying his toned chest and dog pendent chain. All of which were topped off with beige coloured baggy jeans and black and white sneakers on his feet.
"Nineteen year old Yusuke Urameshi, a middle school dropout, a fired spirit detective, the captain of the champions Team Urameshi of the dark tournament, the fearless defender of justice, and quarter-finalist in the Makai-tournament is bored as hell…" The ancestral son of the deceased Raizen more or less summed up his life in a bored tone.
What a bore. He had been too naïve, assuming everything would all "work itself out" on the end of his Spirit Detective journey and start of adult life, the bona-fide fairy tale ending, but this was life and sometimes things didn't always pan out to one's happy expectations. The time he reunited with Keiko and the rest of his friends from his three-year spell in the Demon World, they all were nearing the end of High school and applying for spots in prestigious Universities.
That left him as the odd man out and his explicit lack of aspiration in anything outside of fighting opened up a whole can of worms with Keiko. She demanded him to take night courses to get his missing education, but he had no interest in quantifications used to become a respectable member of society when there was an easy, accessible way to make money and not only was it exploitable too it served as good practice to sharpen his skills for the next Presidential demonic tournament.
He had been itching for a crack at the blind warrior since losing to him and that served as the wretch that drove him and Keiko further apart then they already were before Yusuke initially left for Demon World to train with his now deceased ancestral father.
He was too hung on fighting to be the family man she wanted.
Since then he wandered the world, officially leaving his mother's nest, embarking on a journey of expedition, just searching for anything that could give him the purpose he missed having being a Spirit Detective.
"This blows! What's the point of having all this power if there's nothing to do with it!?" Yusuke grumbled in frustration, grabbing his fourth burger and greedily getting a bite out of it in a manner resembling a caveman.
'Can't go home 'cause mom will just nag me to death 'bout not getting into Uni like Keiko and Kuwabara,' Yusuke mused, looking up at the clouds like they would tell him the future.
'I mean what does she take me for, a professor?' Yusuke asked himself rhetorically, a comical look of annoyance coming to his features, 'I'm qualified for blowing shit up, not discovering the reasons for the dinosaurs' extinction.'
Yusuke sighed. He remained silent as he ate his meal with a deep look of concentration on his features, trying to avoid his mind getting clouded so he could consider his options of what to do for today.
Yusuke's mind came up blank even as he wolfed down his final cheeseburger and last ounce of unhealthy food.
"Aw, to hell with it; I'll just wing it. There's gotta be some interesting cracks pots I can let loose on around this globe of normal, I've just got to find 'em," Yusuke concluded, throwing his litter into the vast lake before hopping off of the statue, flickering out of existence to set off once again.
His goal: to find something of interest.
Coasting Through Life
Warriors Who Wander the World
He had to resist the urge to plant a well smacked palm against his face when anything of real significance happened in his hometown of Tokyo, the very hometown he set off from in the hopes of coming across any minor leads that could potentially lead to something bigger. It took him three months before he retraced his roots home, but that was only so he could farm some extra cash in shady underground events and take in the sights of each town he frequented.
He had to say, did all towns have a bridge and a lake? Because it seemed no matter which town radically different in scenery they all saw fit to have a bridge and a lake for whatever superstitious reason only the lord knew. It was actually kind of weird.
Anyway, back to the topic of noticeable interest.
A boy, probably in his teens and a little younger than Yusuke himself, walked with a casual ease on the thin railing of a fence that separated entrance to a canal, his nonchalant stride contradicting his extremely tangible depressive aura. Seriously, anyone with the keen senses to detect emotions like Yusuke would've thought the boy had the nasty habit of cutting his wrists on a daily basis. He was that much in the mud.
Sadness and prodigious balance aside one thing regarding the seemingly emo teen struck out to Yusuke like a sore thumb. Well, two things really, but one involved the other. His aura was low, laughably low, yet emanated with a potent despondent vibe about it Yusuke almost wanted to slit his own wrists, and he was nowhere near suicidal.
He did not get that way by way of accident. His emotions were entirely too tangible in his aura for him to be naturally weak. Normal humans without the spiritual training of Yusuke and his boys of kickassery did not possess emotional ki potent enough to physically affect the state of others.
"Someone sabotaged him," Yusuke concluded in a mutter underneath his breath so the teen and his company wouldn't hear him, narrowing his eyes in disdain. What a dickish thing to do.
It was, as if, the braided haired teen had heard him, murmuring out in over exaggerated despair, "I'm gonna be weak forever!"
Yusuke smirked despite himself, 'Called it!'
The boy's companion, a beautiful girl with shoulder-length midnight black hair, tried to cheer him up by staying optimistic, "Oh c'mon Ranma! You're being ridiculous! I'm sure Grandfather Happosai won't let you stay this way forever!"
The smirk on Yusuke's face widened a bit until a sharp fang was seen poking out of his lips, glinting in the sunlight. 'Damn I'm good.'
Ranma's aversion to hand-holding and fake reassurances were clear in his bitter reply, "Aw, what do you know, Akane!? This is the old freak we're talkin' about here!"
And with that snappishly said, Akane's comforting smile was gone; vanished as if it never existed, "I was just trying to help, idiot!"
Ranma's stubborn pride was just big enough that he wouldn't recede in his mistake, glaring down at his companion in annoyance, "Aw, like hell! Who would want the help of an uncute tomboy like you!"
"Fine! See if I try to cheer a jerk like you up again!"
Yusuke moved along discreetly, hands in his pockets like he wasn't eavesdropping, successfully passing himself off as a random stranger going about his business, leaving the two to their squabbling. He found no value in a petty argument between - potential? – lovers. The Keiko-nostalgia was strong in it, reminding him why their relationship never moved past first base. They argued frequently, to the point being together was more stressful than not.
That and Yusuke was a kind of Goku-esque deadbeat bum whose only preference in life lied in the very delicate art of ass kicking.
If they were together, Yusuke couldn't see it lasting even to the end of highschool.
"Wonder if I should help the guy out with that old dude," Yusuke mused in reflexive thought. It could have been a beneficial task to run with knowledge to gain from it. Potential win-win. Zapping an enemy's strength seemed neat. Granted, it was like hacking in a video game, but he wouldn't mind getting his hands dirty if the fate of the world was on the line like it was when he fought Sensei.
Then again, he highly doubted the boy would be up and arms for the idea of some random stranger saving him in his distress. In Yusuke's brief observation of Ranma's interaction with Akane he determined the weakened warrior was very prideful, not even accepting pity for his troubles.
"Meh, I'll keep my eye on 'em for now," Yusuke concluded in reason, "Something may come up later." He could've been fun to spar against. You know, when his full power was once again accessible to him again, though Yusuke had his severe doubts. If his power was anywhere near Akane's, then Yusuke could've evaporated him with a fart.
Her reserves were the equivalent of Goukai's, one of the very first "bad-guys" Yusuke fought as a Spirit Detective. And as the "hero" of any decent story half worth its salt only grew in power as his story progressed, Yusuke was worlds beyond of his former nemesis, meaning it was likely no one here would satiate his itch for battle.
He sighed with that realization and continued on his way, no course of action or route decided, just letting his feet carry him to the next thing of interest.
…That, surprisingly, only took a few minutes from leaving his front row view of Akane and Ranma's argument.
"Now where am I?" His eyes landed on another raven-haired boy also in his teens, cloaked in a yellow sleeveless shirt and a marching bandanna, followed by his black trousers and black shoes on his feet. Interestingly enough, he also possessed a fang protruding from his lip, which was one of the main features Yusuke noticed instantly, beside from his abnormally large Spirit Energy reserves, "Oh Akane! Where could you be? It's been so long since I last saw you and I miss you!"
Akane? It was in the realm of possibilities that the Akane he was referring to was the same one who accompanied the weakened warrior, based on the fact that they were in the same neighbourhood block of Nerima. It was shaky at best considering the boy didn't have any earthly clue pertaining to his whereabouts, though it could be bypassed if the boy turned out not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, which would be great for Yusuke.
He had always had a thing for fisticuffs with a fellow muscle head.
"Maybe I should get the ol' jet running up," Yusuke quipped, an animistic smirk of hunger eagerness emerging on his face. He would have to severely limit himself, Kenpachi-style, to make the fight more interesting, but it had been too long that he grinned savagely like the beast he felt like he was in battle.
With that in mind, he strode forward with purpose to initiate friendly conversation with his potential opponent, but apparently, another lady by the name of fate was also giving him the cold shoulder, sending a diminutive elderly woman out from her garden with a water can who, absently, and, oddly pleasantly, dosed the boy, causing his form to shrink as the remains of his vacant clothes plummeted.
Yusuke intelligently reacted to the spontaneous occurrence of sheer oddity, "Huh?" Even the visible small tremor produced from the impact of the boy's umbrella hitting the ground didn't spur him from his daze. He rose a skeptical eyebrow when a piggish squeal reverberated from the loose shirt before a snout emerged from the neck area, "Okay."
Well, then. His battle boner was dead.
He felt blue balled, in an odd metaphorical kind of way, as he approached the tiny creature who had once been a teenage boy, emerging from the confines of the shirt wearing the same bandanna the boy wore around his forehead, only around his neck.
That was something to take note of, "Whaddya know, you literally do learn something new every-day," Yusuke said to no one in particular, raising his eyebrow when the piglet flinched and turned its head to look at him with wide eyes.
Yusuke bent down and plucked the struggling piglet off of the ground, staring at it with a frown on his features, "Well I'm slumped. Are you my dinner?" The piglet rapidly shook its head with sweat bullets raining down its face, "So I guess that means I ain't losing my mind. You really did just go from a dude to a potential turkey cooked dinner at the touch of a little water, eh?" He fisted his cheek in bored indifference.
The piglet frantically nodded its head, sweating nervously at the mention of a turkey cooked dinner.
"So what now, you stuck this way, or what?" The piglet shook its head, "You can change back?" The piglet nodded its head at Yusuke's question, prompting him to turn his head to the cause of the strange boy's transformation.
"Will that do the trick?" Yusuke wondered and the piglet shook his head, "Eh. So water won't reverse the effects?" The piglet jerked its little head from side to side in the negative, "It will eh," The piglet squealed and nodded its head in confirmation, "Just not ice cold water, is that what you're trying to tell me?"
The piglet squealed and nodded its head.
"Guess ya need to be roasted in hot water to turn back eh." Yusuke stated and the piglet whined but gave another meekly nod in confirmation before Yusuke effortlessly lifted up the transformed boy's belongings which had fallen off of him due to his shrunken body.
The piglet gulped at the mysterious boy's show of strength as Yusuke wielded his heavy umbrella, backpack, clothes, and shoes all in one hand.
"Alright. Let's go find ya some hot water then," Yusuke said, much to the piglet's delight before it felt cold water hitting its and Yusuke's forms, causing Yusuke to become enraged as he spun around to the little old lady, "Hey, watch where you're spraying that thing lady! This isn't a car-wash, y'know!"
The old lady just looked up at Yusuke with a pleasant smile on her face as she gestured to her ear, "What's that sunny? You hear something?" Yusuke and the piglet just stared at the old woman with an aura of awkwardness around them.
"Uhhhh. Nothing." Yusuke eventually dismissed the matter since he'd more pressing issues to deal with, "Hey, lady, you gotta furo in there or what?"
"Hmm. What's that? You want a cup of tea?" The old lady asked ignorantly, spinning on her heels to walk back into her house.
"No! I said have ya gotta a fu-."
"Come along child. It's been a while since I've had good company," The woman murmured, seemingly ignoring Yusuke's real reason for wanting to tread in her home as she sauntered into her house and left the door open for Yusuke to walk in.
"Geez. I wonder why that is, eh? Maybe if you booked an appointment at the doc's to fix your broken glasses and hearing-aid you wouldn't be avoided like the plague." Yusuke quipped under his breath and the piglet squealed in agreement.
"…Oh well." Yusuke sighed, taking his first few steps to the house with the piglet and the piglet's things in hand, "Let's get ya fixed up, dude."
"Make yourself at home dear. The tea will be ready in thirty minutes," The old lady's voice rang out from somewhere in the tidy, neat little home once Yusuke had ventured into it.
"With pleasure." Yusuke grumbled. Not long after saying that did the half-demon find the bathroom located on the top floor of the little ancient lady's house, "Figures, the old bag's about as stable as a pile of bricks," Yusuke quipped, walking into the furo and chucking the lost-boy's belongings on the ground.
The piglet and Yusuke cringed at the sight of the ground getting ruptured from the heavy belongings Yusuke had carelessly thrown to the ground.
"Damn little guy, you sure come packing, didn't ya?" Yusuke asked in a jesting manner, but the piglet just remained frozen.
Upon walking over to the bath Yusuke switched on the hot water and coolly turned his back on it and began walking over to the wall as if giving the water some time to heat up.
Once Yusuke could feel the steam filling the tub, he knew the water was hot enough for the piglet to transform back into human-form, so Yusuke coolly chucked the piglet over his shoulder and into the bath with a splash.
"Phew. I thought I was a goner back there for sure." A relieved sigh came from behind Yusuke, sounding very much like the voice of the young man Yusuke was about to confront before karma gave both them the middle finger, "Thanks. I own you one…"
"Yusuke. Yusuke Urameshi," Yusuke introduced himself, leaning up against the wall before pulling out a cigarette, lighting it up with nothing but the tip of his index finger.
"Ryoga Hibiki," Ryoga was at least perceptive enough to notice the skill Yusuke had in energy control to light a cigarette with his finger, 'This guy must have extreme mastery over his ki,' He deduced, "Thanks for the save, I guess," It was a little bit awkward talking to a stranger who had been somewhat aware of his cursed form beforehand. Most people would usually just pick up Ryoga in his cursed form and attempt to cook him rather than ask him if he could change back.
Of course once they threw him in the boiling hot water they had prepared to roast Ryoga, he would instantly turn back into his human form and be enraged as hell and ready to murder someone for his suffering.
That was usually the bane of his existence.
So it was understandable why Ryoga felt a little meek in the powerful black haired man's presence. Add to the fact Ryoga sensed an incredible amount of Ki just oozing off of this young man in front of him the moment he stepped in front of his piglet's form.
'My Ki doesn't even come close to this guy's. He's like a living god compared to me!' Ryoga mused, staring at Yusuke as if he were some deity from above.
Ryoga couldn't even begin to clasp the concept of measuring the teenage boy's enormous Ki-signature to his own, 'This guy's… something else.'
"No props," Yusuke brushed it off, coolly taking a drag from his cigarette while Ryoga nodded a little tentatively, "Tell me something, since I'm new here and all. You owe me a little info at least."
"Oh right," Ryoga snapped at attention hastily, but meekly, "What do you need to know?"
"How did ya do that?"
"Y'know, go from a potential punching bag for me to release my frustrations on to someone else's dinner, eh. You cursed or something?" Yusuke guessed, making Ryoga gulp. This guy wanted to spar with him.
Yusuke would kill him.
"Oh, well, you see-," Ryoya started to explain, pushing his index fingers together as if it would buy him some-time to think of how to elucidate to Yusuke how he transformed into a piglet after getting doused with cold water so Yusuke could be sated enough to not want beat the information out of him.
"I'm all ears," Yusuke assured, being patient with the shy boy.
Anger suddenly filled Ryoga's eyes at the thought of the cause who left him cursed, so the lost-boy just seethed furiously, "Saotome!"
"Saotome?" Yusuke blinked, prompting Ryoga to elaborate on the matter.
"It's all that damn ingrate's fault for knocking me in the Jusenkyo Spring of Drowned Piglet! Arghhhh! Curse him! Curse him to hell!" Ryoga screamed furiously, causing Yusuke to blink before he took another drag of his cigarette.
"And where're these 'Jusenkyo Springs of Drowned Pigs'?" Quoted Yusuke.
"China, and there's only one drowned piglet spring. The one I fell into," Ryoga raged, balling his hand into a fist, and digging his nails into his skin at the thought of Ranma's smirking face. The smug bastard.
"I'm just gonna take a wild guess here but what the fuck was ya doing in China?" Yusuke questioned, seeing holes in Ryoga's story.
"To seek vengeance on that spineless coward, Saotome!"
"Yeah! He had the audacity to steal my bread at lunch time when we were in middle school together, and when I finally had enough of his mockery of me I challenged him to a fight but he turned tail and ran on the fourth day I arrived in the place we promised to do battle at! The scum!"
The collision of palm and face echoed audibly in the bathroom. He had heard of some stupid motivations in his small misadventures in his employment under Koemna, but his had to take the cake. Hand him a noble prize, "You mean this Saotome-kid waited three days for you to show up at the place you both agreed to duke it out to whoop your ass?" Yusuke asked to make sure he had this right as he gawked at Ryoga's stupidity, 'Damn. I think I feel bad for this Saotome-guy. Ryoga's a bigger doofus than Kuwabara.'
But that was only assumption, a pretty good estimate if Yusuke said so himself, but an assumption nonetheless. Confirmation of the lingering question of Saotome's patience waning wouldn't hurt when he was condemning someone to mental retardation in his mind.
"Damn straight! That scaredly cat turned yellow belly, and ran by the time I got there!" Ryoga raged.
Ryoga was retarded.
"What the hell were you doing in the time Saotome was doing his nails, hiking through a desert?" Yusuke asked, but Ryoga bypassed that question in favour of hitting the side of the bathtub with his fist in frustration.
"Damn Saotome. He doesn't deserve an angel like Akane-san," Ryoga muttered.
"Akane eh? Who's she, your lady-friend?" Yusuke teased, rolling his eyes, 'More like crush.'
"She should be!" Ryoga shouted. The more he spoke with Yusuke the more comfortable the normally shy boy became to the point where he was willing to shed his protective shell and roar his feelings for the youngest Tendo to a guy he had just met. After all it wasn't like Yusuke knew Akane Tendo, so Ryoga somewhat felt safe that his dirty little secret would be kept hidden from the goddess known as…
The youngest Tendo deserved nothing less but the best.
"Whoa, easy there Tiger. No need to burst my ear-drums out," Yusuke joked while holding up his hands in something akin to a placating manner, an easy-going grin on his face.
Ryoga might have been startled that should a powerful fighter hadn't scolded him for more or less shouting in his face if the adrenaline-rush wasn't threatening to carry him to the other side of the planet and back again.
"Akane-san shows nothing but kindness to that ingrate Saotome but he replays her kindness by treating her like dirt!" Ryoga roared with a fist pumped up in the air and at this point Yusuke's grin had turned sheepish seeing the kitten of Ryoga evolve into a fearsome tiger at the mention of his princess, Akane.
'Wow, this guy sure did a 180, women I guess. He's a sucker for love.' Yusuke mused with an amused smirk on his lips. He could certainly relate to that, "Well if you care so much about your princess, why don't you pound this douchebag's ass, show him AND her who's king? I'm sure she'd be all over you if you did."
The anger drained out of Ryoga, leaving a pitiful expression on his face, "It's not that simple Yusuke-san."
"Oh yeah. How ya figure? Share with the rest of the class," Yusuke urged.
"Saotome, he's a," Ryoga tried to find the words, but his confidence was leaving him. Fast.
"He's a… what now?" Yusuke probed deeper into the matter.
Ryoga hastily twisted his head to the side to hide the shame on his face, "A no good cheater!"
Yusuke immediately understood the implications of that, "Ah. So he kicks your ass, eh?"
"Not helping Yusuke-san," Ryoga deadpanned.
Yusuke chuckled, "Haha. Alright. Steady the sails, Ryo. 'Cause ya seem like a decent guy-," 'Pathetic more like,' Yusuke corrected himself mentally, "-I've decided to lend ya a helping hand so ya can score your princess, and show this Saotome-guy who's the big-cheese between you two, you feel me?"
Hope filled Ryoga's eyes, "You'd do that for me?"
"Sure. Got nothing better to do with my time. I can cross charity-work off of my good deeds list of which will hopefully see me rise to the luxury hotel up in the big blue sky when I eventually kick the bucket." Yusuke quipped, Ryoga nodding almost lifelessly along.
"Say, where does this Saotome-guy live anyway? I'd like to introduce him to my knuckles," Yusuke said, smirking while he cracked his knuckles, making Ryoga gulp before a devious idea struck the lost-boy like thunder.
Yusuke could give Saotome the righteous beating the arrogant boy had been begging for.
"Oh. Well Saotome lives in the Tendo Dojo with Akane-san and her family," Ryoga explained, suddenly feeling very small once Yusuke turned incredulous eyes onto him, "Well Akane-chan and Saotome are being forced to wed because their folks want to merge their dojos or something."
"Damn. An arranged married. What, did their elephant-god from above order 'em to wed their children?" Yusuke asked, suddenly realizing how bad that sounded, "On second thought, don't answer that one." Yusuke hastily added as he rounded his arm in a circular motion to prepare himself to evaluate Saotome's skills, knowing he would need a rough idea of Saotome's fighting-style so he could train Ryoga to counter it effectively.
"I've got enough bad karma as it is," Yusuke grumbled while Ryoga looked at him in a dumbed fashion, "So shall we head off to this dance V.I.P-style and show this Saotome-guy who's top dog around these parts."
"You mean right now?!" Ryoga hadn't been expecting to face the bane of his existence so soon.
"Yeah. I'm itching for a decent warm-up," Yusuke smirked.
Oh. Yusuke wanted to take on Saotome. That was good.
"Oh. Well you see I'm not sure how to get back to Nerima," Ryoga murmured timidly, becoming increasingly uncomfortable at an alarming rate from the incredibly defined deadpanned gaze Yusuke bored into him with, "What?" He shifted in his spot nervously, feeling his IQ drop from such a stare that told him he totally wasn't getting something which was plainly obvious.
To Yusuke, that confirmed it.
Ryoga was absolutely retarded.
Yusuke pointed to the ground, promptly causing Ryoga to follow his finger, "You're in Nerima."
"What!?" He shot to his feet like a jolt of lightning, "You serious!?"
"Yeah dude! You've been here all along."
"What are we waiting for!? Akane needs me! Let's go!"
"Now you're talking!" Yusuke hollered cheerfully, moving over to the door, patiently holding it open until his new disciple in ass kickassery was equipped in his travel pack and weighted umbrella. Once he was sure he would follow, he bolted through it, only making it to the top of the staircase before he realized Ryoga had, in fact, not followed.
He traced his Ki-signature back to the bathroom, shoving the door open to find Ryoga staring off into space in lost confusion, "Yo!" He said to draw his attention and Ryoga glanced over with him with a brightened visage, "What gives? Why ain't you following?"
Ryoga glanced down, twiddling his thumbs, "I got lost…"
"In a furo?"
"I'm terrible with directions, okay!"
"Ryo, there's only one way out besides the windows!" Yusuke argued and Ryoga slumped in surrender, "How dumb do you have to be to get lost in a furo!? Gah, you're hopeless," When Ryoga visibly shrunk in on himself, Yusuke's expression softened. He was explicitly self-conscious. The very last thing he needed was harsh ridicule. Yusuke was an asshole, but even he wasn't that cold to put down someone who didn't have much confidence in himself to begin with, "Ah, it's fine."
Ryoga lifted his head back up with hopeful eyes, "Sensei?"
That was kind of nice to hear.
"You should at least know where the Tendo Dojo is, right?"
Oh well. He would probably remember on the way out.
What was the worst that could happen?
They could teleport from one country to another.
Yusuke wasn't sure how Ryoga had pulled it off, but somehow he conjured up a portal in the form of an blinding white light without doing anything other than walking with no real purpose, transporting them not only from Tokyo, but also Japan itself to the Big Apple of gigantic towering skyscrapers and busying streets of onrushing civilians.
Ryoga yelped. The annoyance was prevalent and tangible like a lifeform itself in his sensei's strained voice of irritation disguised as patient calm.
"We're not in Tokyo, are we?"
"We're not even in Japan, are we?"
Ryoga could have sworn he could hear snickers of mockery from the statue of liberty itself as he sighed in resignation.
An inhale was the only warning Ryoga got.
"How the hell did we end up in New York City?!"
"I told you, I was bad with directions!"
"This is not some place you just mislead anyone to from Japan, genius!"
"What do you want from me?!"
"Gah, you're hopeless!"
"That's the last time I ever let you take the lead," Yusuke declared as the two touched down from the sky, smirking in despite of the restriction.
"Look, I said I was sorry alright!" Ryoga defended, straightening himself from being carried by his adaptable master. It was a good thing Yusuke could fly otherwise it would've taken them ages to get back to Japan, nevermind Tokyo.
"Aw, don't worry about it." He couldn't stay too mad at his new disciple. Although he had messed up transporting them to America by sheer inconvenience Ryoga insisted to right his wrongs and adamantly tried to teleport them back to their country of birth. He didn't have any control of his hidden skill and just ended up materializing them just about everywhere that wasn't Japan, one of those locations being a Strip Club and the two got two separate free lap dances for their troubles.
"Besides," Yusuke jerked a thumb upward, promptly causing Ryoga to follow it to a sign above with the surname of his beloved embedded in Kanji, and Ryoga froze, "We're here now."
"Oh?" Words escaped him from the vast unexpectedness of arriving at their destination from just returning to their country.
"C'mon," Yusuke nudged his head toward the dojo doors, "Let's go. Your girl awaits."
Ryoga flushed, face turning beet red, "Right…"
The two strolled through the huge double temple-like stone metal doors of the dojo, stopping at the front entrance to the estate itself. A set of knuckles rapped nonchalantly against the Japanese door, but there was no answer.
"No one's home?" Ryoga murmured, disappointment colouring his voice.
"Shouldn't be. Can sense a buncha folk inside," Yusuke stated casually, rekindling Ryoga's hope. He knocked again, this time more impatiently, "Hey, open the door, damn it! You got company!"
Ryoga cringed from Yusuke's brazen command, "Sensei." It borne results, though.
Not after Yusuke's decidedly rude call, did the door slide open, revealing a pair of soft chestnut coloured eyes shining with hesitance at his obvious belligerence. It caused him to feel bad. Frightening wallflowers definitely wasn't any semblance of an idea for amusement of his. Although he didn't have Kuwabara-level, or even Hiei-level of honour, he liked to think he had enough morals that he left most women to themselves, and by most, he meant the ones who weren't tomboyish and masculine enough to take a swing at him.
"Yes?" She asked, looking docile.
Yusuke mustered up a sheepish grin, "My bad, lady. Got a little impatient."
Confusion was evident in her eyes of unsullied purity, "I… see," She assured, entirely uncertain. A radiating smile of politeness took shape on her dazzling face, "And you are sir?"
"Sorry, Kasumi-san." Kasumi brightened in recognition, giving Yusuke all the proof he needed to know they were most likely at the right place. Or at least somewhere with people Ryoga knew. She slid open the door fully which previously blocked her view of the boy as well her own appearance.
She was dazzling as Yusuke expected, though there was a distinct conservative and innocent nature about her which kept the normally perverted young man from ogling at her natural beauty. Chocolate brown hair was kept in a loose ponytail tied in a baby hair scrunchy, which marched a long, baby blue dress that fell past her knees, covering her curvaceous figure and a white apron fell over her normal attire.
All in all she looked like she would make the perfect wife for someone soft-spoken like Kurama.
"Oh Ryoga-kun!" She brightened, hugging her hands to her face before lowering them to her waist, still grasping them together, "It's been so long since we last saw you. I'm sure Ranma-chan has been missing you. You two were always such good friends."
"Yeah, right. Friends," Ryoga muttered sarcastically. Leave it to Kasumi to see the best in any relationship, even if it were mostly comprised of toxicity like his and Ranma's. He just ignored Yusuke's teasing elbow nudges and snickers entirely.
Kasumi turned her polite smile to him, "And who might you be, sir? A friend of Ryoga's?" She asked with a nod to no one in particular, "It's always nice to meet new people."
"Well actually, Kasumi-san, he's my-."
"Big brother!" Yusuke quickly cut in, shocking Kasumi and most noticeably, Ryoga himself, ignoring the latter's utterance of "what" and instead wrapped an arm around his shoulder, "And as any good big bro, I figured, hey, why not check out the folk my little bro's so hung up on."
"Oh my!" She gasped and Ryoga almost thought Yusuke had insulted her intelligence somewhat with his dubious lie, until she spoke up again, "I never realized Ryoga-kun had a brother. He does take after you. You both have fangs!"
The supposed brothers blinked blankly, taking a moment to scrutinize the other and see each of their fangs protruding from their lips, "Huh?" Ryoga tossed up a shrug, "You're right."
"Oh my! It's nice of you to introduce us to your family, Ryoga-kun," Kasumi gushed in a gentle fashion and Yusuke thought she looked absolutely adorable as she maidenly held a palm against her cheek, swaying lightly in a breeze that never was, "I'm certain Ranma and little sister will be just thrilled!"
"Speaking of which!" Yusuke chose that convenient moment to step straight to the chase, rubbing his hands together, "Mind pointing us in their direction?" He tilted his cheek Ryoga's way, grinning mischievously to his dry expression, "Big bro's real eager to meet his little bro's pals."
Concern marred Kasumi's picturesque countenance of a proper lady, "Oh, they're out back, but…" The implications went unsaid, but echoed audibly all the same.
"What?" Ryoga wondered, lost as to what the maiden was hinting at, "What's going on, Kasumi-san?"
Luckily, Kasumi's light probing didn't escape his unofficial older sibling's watch and he was on hand to summarize them without even taking a step toward the bush, sighing at Ryoga's explicit lack of perception, "Something's going down out back and they're in the thick of things."
The bandanna-clad warrior's eyes dilated, "What?" He hurried a frantic gaze to a startled maiden from the hasty turn of his head, "What's going on out there Kasumi-san?"
She glanced down the hallway, then back to the de-facto brothers, repeating the process several times in a futile attempt to gather her words, her gaze becoming more uncertain with each turn, "Grandfather Happosai, he…"
That was the only piece Yusuke acquired to finish the puzzle and politely urged the struggling young woman to cease her explanation with a raised hand, "Ah, I see what's happening here," He stated and invited himself in, scooting past the puzzled Kasumi with Ryoga snapping at his heels.
"You do?" He asked.
"Uh-huh," He made a nonchalant sound of approval, "Before I met up with your lost-ass, I came across that Ranma-guy you're obviously hung up on," He shrugged, laughing off Ryoga's pout of annoyance, "Wasn't sure he was the same dude you were bitching about til' we got here, but since you at the helm got us everywhere but here, I decided, 'what the hay, it's worth a shot at this point."
"So that's why we made it straight here when we landed from flight." Ryoga concluded as an afterthought, hand on his chin, "Thought that was odd."
"Yep." There was no semblance of urgency in either's stride despite their awareness of the possible situation Ranma was in. Both hands of the young hybrid remained nonchalantly in his pockets as he led his disciple to the abundance of reiki-signatures, currently residing in the back garden and the living room. Because the living room's porch led to the garden two audience members borne a perfect front row view of the conflict out back, sniveling under the table and hugging the table cloth to their faces like frightened children.
Yusuke spared them a glance of complete disdain, not even widening with any feigned semblance of shock at the panda that cowered next to a raven-haired man garbed in a Karate Gi. If Ryoga could become a piglet then it was reason enough to assume there were other cursed animal-based springs in Jusenkyo.
Had he stared a bit longer, he might have seen the sign that emerged from the shelters of the table from the panda's paw, *Who's he?*
"I have no idea," The raven-haired man answered, surprisingly calm. He studied Ryoga's figure flanked to the unknown youth's side perceptively, "A friend of the lad's, perhaps?"
One of the attendants of the battle between what could have been considered beauty and the ugly in Yusuke's sentiments was the first one of the four to take note of the two, her puzzled countenance brightening at Ryoga.
Yusuke could see what his disciple saw in the girl that triggered his hormones so. Beauty ran in the Tendo family, or at least among the sisters. She had a slender, curvy figure, decently sized double C-cup breasts and neat shoulder-length raven hair, dressed in a yellow sunflower dress, over a white-collared blouse buttoned up with a red bow, and shoes that matched her bow in colour.
Typical girly-girl, Yusuke mused, but considering Ryoga's introvert personality, it was understandable why he would have a boner for those types of girls.
"What are you doing here?" She questioned happily, waving him over.
"Well, I," He fumbled, face turning red as he pushed his index fingers together.
The person beside Akane, another girl with a spatula branded upon her back as though it were a weapon, seemingly took pity on him, switching the subject to something just as fascinating as Ryoga's reason for coming to the Tendo Dojo at this time of all, "Who's he?" Direct, Yusuke could certainly appreciate that. Unfortunately, he ignored her in favour of stepping on to the battlefield, and by that point everyone just ceased in their actions to stare blankly at the wandering young man, even the two combatants which were, weirdly enough, an incredibly short elder and a girl with the same distinct braided hairstyle Ranma had earlier, only hers was an exotic bright red and not onyx.
It was so bizarre, even for them and they were attuned to the unusual. Eccentricity had become the norm in their daily day to day lives and normality was the odd crazed exceptional that had them taking a pause to ponder an occurrence that shouldn't have needed to be thought over.
The situation before them now was anything but normal, but it was also too far from their extended range of ordinary that they couldn't just pass it off as 'Seen it all before.'
They were some crazed loons buzzing around the neighbourhood, the redhead mused, but the guy sauntering between the conflict between her and the smurf old man had to take the cake. Even the usual nutjobs who took front row to the mayhem she created never got between her and a fight.
'Gee. Nerima has another nutjob on the loose. Big surprise,' She mused dryly, watching the apparent knight in green approaching her arch nemesis with an unfeeling detached aura about him, 'What the hell does he think he can accomplish anyway? Guy's gonna get sent flying.'
The diminutive elder didn't know what to make of the young man with the balls large enough to confront him. His energy signature felt oddly, and, terrifyingly, similar, but he couldn't get a good reading out of it with him suppressing it as skilfully as he did. That alerted him, but he hadn't been alive for decades to fear the first skilled fighter in sight. He merely had him on edge, discreetly of course.
"Whaddya need, fella?" The old man asked croakily, the huge shadow of the muscular teen shrouding his tiny body. He glanced up, tipped his head off to the side in confusion, grasping at straws to the young man's intentions, "You here to help that disrespectful, Ranma?"
Ranma cringed from Happosai deduction, "No way! Like I need anyone's help getting that Pressure Point Chart from ya, you old freak!"
"Well you can't have it!" He waved a four-sided folded up piece of paper in his hand before flicking his head away from the young man eyeballing him in disdain.
"I said I don't need a hand!"
"Oh give it a rest, Ranma!" Akane commanded irritably, "What if he's strong, huh? He might be able to help you get the Pressure Point Chart off of Grandfather Happosai, idiot!"
Ranma rounded on her with a scathing glare, "Well, s'cuse me for having pride, Miss Damsel!" She knew she had once again placed the top edges of her foot right in her mouth when Akane's expression immediately darkened in shades of malevolent angry, promptly getting her to sweat and back up, "Oh boy."
"Hmuph. Serves you right you damn ingrate!" Ryoga chimed in, flicking sympathetic glances to the enraged raven-haired girl.
"Sorry, Ranma-honey. You're on your own here," The chef declared sympathetically, but somehow Ranma felt that was a subtle jab at her declaration of pride moments before as the chef grinned sheepishly in Akane's direction.
"Both of you, give it a rest already!" Yusuke shouted, impatience clear in his tone as the attention was brought back to him. Even Akane's rage spilled out of her from the shock of hearing any guy tell her to essentially put a sock in it when she was angry. Yusuke finally removed a hand from his pocket and belligerently scratched his scalp in annoyance before lowering it pointedly in Happosai's direction, "Both of you are a pain. Sheesh." He flicked, shrouding his hand in a blur of untraceable speed, which only lasted a second before he sheathed his hands into the holsters that were his pockets once again.
He nodded, seemingly satisfied with whatever he had accomplished before he turned away from the elder, approaching the redhead.
"What?" Happosai uttered, baffled from the teen's one-handed spontaneous display of Ranma's trademark Chestnuts Roasting on an open fire technique, "Say, whatcha do that for, fella?" He failed to gain even so much as a careless shrug of indifference in reasoning from the green-clad warrior approaching the redhead.
Ranma could have done without it. Seeing the boy making his way over to her reminded her ego of its biggest pet peeve; people stepping into her business as if she needed their aid, "And you!" She extended an index finger sharply in the young man's deadpan face, "What's the big idea butting into things that don't concern you?! I can take that old man AND get the Pressure Point Chart off of him just fine on my own!"
Happosai shook his head, feigning pity, "Is your pride really so important that you would turn away assistance, Ranma?"
"You shut up!"
"Why you…" She pressed forward to make good on her threat, though was impeded by the young man's arm, "What now?!"
Yusuke made a beckoning motion with his palm.
"What are you getting at?" She asked blankly, having her answer in the form of a hard-scolding tap shove to her forehead from the young man's fingers, promptly getting to cover her forehead as tears sprung to her eyes, "Hey, what'd you do that for?" It was most likely because of her strength was sapped, but that had really hurt.
"Drop the superman-act already," Yusuke told her, pressing a finger to her forehead which caused her to back up slightly, "Nothing wrong with having a helping hand," Before he continued, he casually brandished the very folded up piece of paper the elder had been holding like a vital piece of dirt to blackmail someone, causing everyone to widen their eyes, "Especially when it gets shit done faster."
"When did he-?" Ukyo hurried, glancing around her hastily as though she would spot a gadget that would allow Yusuke to materialize people's possessions like a magician pulling materials of substantial mass out of his sleeve, seeing no such artifact.
Akane was the one who borrowed the omnipotent sensation that so often eluded their small neighborhood known as common sense and reached the logical conclusion, "I got it! It was when he flicked his hand!" A brief flashback of Yusuke blurring his palm before the elder ran through everyone's minds at present, "He moved it so fast we thought he was doing Ranma's kachu tenshin amaguriken one-handed when really, he was snatching the Pressure Point Chart off Grandfather Happosai!"
"Guess that's Sensei for you," Ryoga said, with surprising pride shining through his offhanded remark.
Ukyo turned to him with interest. 'Sensei?'
"So?" Waving the folded up chart lightly in front of the dazed blank face of the beautiful redhead snapped her back into reality, promptly getting her to extend her palms out in acceptance, "Am I right or am I right?"
Well he didn't have to sound so full of himself, the jerk, "Yeah, I guess," Words eluded her as she felt her ticket from weak hell land on her open palms, "Thanks," Before he could get too pleased with himself, Ranma felt it was important to let him know his overall assistance wasn't needed, just appreciated, "Still coulda gotten it myself, though, and don't you forget it pal!"
He smiled in reminiscence of her ego, "Sure."
"Noooooo!" After a seeming decade passed, Happosai was finally up to speed and aware of his stolen invaluable dirt on the redhead, "That's not fair! You cheated, cheater!" He whined petulantly, stomping his little feet on the ground, "You can't just take things from an little old man, you big meanie!"
"Give it a rest, old man!" Yusuke commanded in irritation as he pinched the bridge of his nose. How could anyone be so old yet so immature was beyond him. Essentially, he was a five-year old trapped in the body of an elder, the poster guy of manchild. It was downright pitiful and most of all, annoying, "You had your fun. Now it's time to give the hot babe with the nice rack her power back." He didn't mean to rhyme, but he did.
Ranma cringed from Yusuke's witty description of her while Ukyo glared at him, "I'm a guy!" She was ignored completely by the decidedly perverted young man beside her, who had more pressing issues to handle, like defending himself from Happosai's sudden enraged lunge.
"I'll teach ya to respect your elders, ya whippersnapper!" He raged, pushing off of the ground with enough force that his leap to the upstart youth looked like a flight charge.
All it took was the underside of Yusuke's knuckles to end the elder's resistance. A simple gesture the equivalent of someone knocking on a door, but the sheer kinetic force behind the seemingly simple door knock tap on the back of Happosai's head sent him plummeting through the ground itself, creating a hole the size and shape of his tiny frame.
'He…' Ranma began to muse, eyes wide with comical shock, shakily shifting her gaze to the crater the seemingly unconscious elder lied in, hearing no signs of movements or sounds to indicate he was good to go for a round two, 'Just KO'd the old freak with a tap.' She glanced back to Yusuke with a renewed perception of wonderment, 'What is this guy?'
"Well that was easy,' Yusuke shrugged, "No wonder the old timer capped off your strength, babe. He's weak as hell." He rose an eyebrow when the raven-haired man and panda previously cowering under the table materialized before him in dutiful bows, "Okay."
"My liege." The raven-haired man addressed him formally.
*We'll follow you forever.*
'What the hell was that?' Yusuke mused, glancing at the panda's supposed way of communicating funnily, 'That was some Wild Coyate shit.' He looked over near the porch to see Akane massaging her temple in irritation and the chef stifling a giggle behind her palm.
"...Dad," Akane grouched.
"Pops and Mr Tendo are scared spitless of the old freak," The redhead offered as an explanation, tossing up a shrug as Yusuke glanced back at her, "They probably see ya as their white knight in shining armour for handing him his ass six-ways to Sunday, pal."
"Uh-Huh." Yusuke uttered disinterestedly, "Cool story. Anyway. Need to put my little bro Ryo through his paces, so now that you got your thing Red, I think we'll be leav-." As he turned on his heel to leave, he was anchored in place by both man and panda hugging his legs like frightened children, "Gah, leggo!"
"My liege!" Mr Tendo beseeched.
*Don't leave us!* The panda's sign read with his pleading expression.
"Dad, quit it!" Akane commanded, "You're embarrassing us!"
"I'm sorry, Akane," Soun Tendo acknowledged, still grasping at the right leg of the powerhouse youth capable of crushing his cruel master, "But if the lad leaves the master will just wake up and punish us for his humiliation!" Flashes of Happosai torturing his family with childish pranks ran through his mind, promptly causing him to exclaim theatrically, "Oh the horror!"
*That's why we can't let the boy leave.* Another sign of the panda read in explanation.
"So what're you gonna do now, Mr White Knight?" Ranma asked mockingly following Yusuke's sign of acceptance.
"To hell with it. It'll be a place to crash without having to set up camp outdoors or purchasing a room in some dinky motel," He reasoned, brightening the expressions of Soun and the panda.
"You mean you'll stay?" Soun asked hopefully.
Yusuke smirked, "Yo, Ryo! Take a load off! We're setting up stay!"
Ryoga stiffened at the prospect of essentially living with his crush, "Uh, yeah Sensei," He turned a lovestruck gaze to the raven-haired beauty, 'I'm gonna be staying in the same house as Akane!~' She noticed his gaze but not the tangible affection behind it and smiled kindly at him, twisting his heart in knots, 'Oh thank you, Sensei! You really are the greatest guy I've ever met!'
"Thank you, my liege!" Soun wailed, pressing himself further against his saviour's limb, and the panda repeated his actions, followed by a sign by way of communication.
*Yes! Pandas everywhere are in your debt!*
Yusuke's mild irritation to the two's excessive hero worship of him elicited a giggle out of the redhead, "Well I'm all for you crashing at ours, bud," She began, smirking, "Now I can pay ya back in kind for butting into my fight."
An audible scoff echoed from the porch, "Pull your head out of your ass, Saotome. There's no way in hell you'll ever beat Yusuke-sensei."
"Shows what you know, Pigboy!" The blue-eyed beauty snapped, eliciting a flinch out of the cursed fighter from the nickname as he exchanged a nervous glance with Akane, the raven-haired girl blinking ignorantly at him, "I'll show ya I can too beat your Sensei, easy!"
"Not even in your dreams!" Ryoga shot back confidently, "Sensei could beat you with one-arm tied behind his back!" He smirked at Ranma's flinch of insulted pride, "Show him Sensei!"
"Ha! You see! You're not even worth the effort of pummelling!"
"He just said no, blockhead," The redhead deadpanned.
"And that's because-. Wait, what?" He glanced hopefully at his master, but he only waved his palm in dismissal.
"But Sensei, what happened to 'Showing Saotome who's top dog?'"
"That was before I knew she was a smokin' hot babe!"
Cue dramatic face-faults in perfect unison from everyone who had heard Yusuke's change of interest in the red haired beauty, his goofy leering smile only made the situation that much more awkward, which only further fueled the fires in Akane and Ukyo.
"Oh, you pervert!"
"You do know she's a guy, right!?"
"Yeah, she's got a guy form, which she isn't in right now." So it was fine to admire her beauty, and what a beauty she was, too. Hourglass figure, D-cup breasts, Ranma's girl form could have given any beauty pageant contestant a serious run for their money. Unlike her male form, which had a darker, tanned complexion her girl side had a lighter, fair-skinned complexion that complemented the exotic red of her hair. All in all she was gorgeous and since she lacked the conservative innocence of Kasumi Yusuke had no qualms ogling her.
"You know about the curse?"
"Yeah. Got the gist of the Jusenkyo voodoo stuff from Ryo. I recall seeing ya earlier with hothead over there as a dude and figured you had one too."
"How did work that out?"
"Oh! That's easy. I'm not an idiot..."
Enough said. That was all that needed to be said.
"Yeah. That would do it for ya."