The Ragtag Travelers

[Do not own Ranma ½, or Pokemon or anything else that doesn't belong to me..]

If a traveler is going through a desert in the think of night, Cacturne will fallow in a ragtag group. The Pokemon are biding their time waiting for the traveler to tire, and become incapable of moving…

In the middle of nowhere in some random desert…

Tatewaki and Ranma, woke up, and saw the vast distance of the hot, dry, and quiet, desert plateau there, before them. They both turned left: sand. Then right: more sand. Silky, flat, smooth sand that was painted with muti- hues of tan and beige; along with rocky, shallow, course- textured soils, and nothing more; there wasn't another thing in site.

There was a site of filled with plants of ground- hugging shrubs, short woody trees; and other plants such as Yuccas, ocotillo, turpentine bush, prickly pear, false mesquite, stool, ephedras, agaves, and brittlebush; last but not least cacti. Some of which were much- reduced (to spines). Yet, this place was a good four days away.

The two, at last, turn to each other at a loss. The moment past when Ranma, stood up, and shook off any extra sand that clanged onto him.

"Great out of all of the people I end up stranded with, and I end up with you!"

"Getting stranded with thee is not exactly my cup of tea either Saotome!"

"Where are we anyway? What is this pace?"

"We have came across some desert…obviously…what does it look like to you? " Tatewaki answered back in a sarcasm.

Ranma turned back to Tatewaki, for any kind of information that would trigger up any answers. "So…any ideas?"

"About what?" Tatewaki asked clueless as ever.

At first Ranma, dropped his before he let out a long sigh. After that, he looked back up at Tatewaki, walking closer to him ."Where we are, how we got here, what you did before we ended up here. I mean…does this place look filmier to you at all?"

"Nay. I, Tatewaki Kuno, indeed not have the slightest clue I tell you."

"Are you sure you don't remember anything you did before you came here? I mean, come on, there has to be something?"

Tatewaki thought back for a moment. "Umm.."

Ranma stared at him somewhat in whatever patience he had left. "Well?"

Just then Tatewaki, finally came up with something that never happened; at least right before he arrived there. "I remember something."

Ranma blinked in surprise that Tatewaki, had actually came across something. "Yeah, what's that?"

"I remember my date with the Pigtailed girl!"

Ranma automatically whacked him in the back of his head. "That did not happen before we came here, and you know it!"

"How art ye so sure? Dost ye remember what ye didst so before we wound up here?"

"Huh?" Ranma stepped back anxious before he responded. "No, but I'm sure that, that, of all things, didn't happen before we ended up over here."

Tatewaki eyed Ranma, in suspicion. "You would ye know if I had a date with the Pigtailed girl, or not before coming down here?"

This left Ranma, standing another pause. "Heh..uh.." He dart eyes to the side before he let out a long sigh with his head down. (Why, even brother…he'll never get it.) Just then he felt a tug at his red, Chinese, shirt.

"Well Saotome, tell me!?"

Ranma narrowed his eyes right at Tatewaki, and block him off from getting any closer. "Tell you what?"

Tatewaki shook him this time. "Wherefore ye art spying on I, and the Pigtailed girl?"

"I wasn't spying on you; it didn't even happen!" Ranma changed his position while he tried to clear the air.

Tatewaki had finally let go. He shut his eyes, and snickered to himself. "So, thou art jealous of our relationship…" Tatewaki simply turn his head to the side; along with a satisfying grin. I see."

Ranma stepped towards him, and scowled with two narrowed eyes. "What relationship?!"

"The one thou art clearly jealous of."

"Oh really1?"

"That's right; if ye keep on trying to prevent her from her one, and only true love then maybe things wouldst be different!" Tatewaki explained out at last; at least before he went on to how Ranma, was treating Akane, and the Pigtailed girl.

Ranma growled under his breath before he felt the dry heat get to him. "It's too hot out here for this, stupid!"

Tatewaki was about to snap back, but realized that Ranma, was right; it was too hot. "It most certainly is hot indeed. What good it would do for some rain?"

Tatewaki was right, they were in both need of it; or, at least some form of hydration. For a desert which is received more than twice the solar radiation then received by humid regions; losses almost twice as much heat at night, and one that is very low on humidity, rainfall (that is concentrated in short bursts between long rainless periods), and not to mention, the very rain that could evaporate even before it even hits the ground.

Ranma heard it…rain…one of things he wanted, and not wanted at the same time. A moment of silence past when Ranma, finally realize that they were just standing around, and staring at the desert. "Well…what are we just standing around here for; let's go, and maybe we can actually find our way out of this mess."

"That we shall; indeed not there is another choice; we have no food, no water; nor…anything; we may not even make it."

"Hey! Don't you even joke about that!" Ranma shook off any unwanted thoughts before another thought made him come to a pause. "Which way?"

It took the two a minute before they finally decided. "Uh…that way." Ranma, and Tatewaki, turned to each other to realize they were pointing in opposite directions.

Ranma clenched his teeth together with his eyes closed before he opened up, and spoke in clam anger. "Okay…let's try this again."

"Very well…"

"Okay, on the count of three…ready."

"One…two…three…That way!" Tatewaki, and Ranma, looked back at each other once again to find out that they picked the same way.

Ranma jumped in first complaining. "Why do you keep picking that way for?"

"Because the sun rises East! Wherefore ye keep choosing to go that way?" Tatewaki explained

"Because sunset west, moron…I say if we want to get out this heat, we go this way; the sooner we hit cooler ground the better."

"Exactly, if ye want to freeze to death."

"I still say we go west!"

"And I Tatewaki Kuno, made it very clear to go East!"

"Err…fine, we'll flip a coin."

"We don't have one. Besides… I say we shall settle this in the usual matter. Ye, shall fight me to win the direction ye want to go in."

Ranma, right then and there, booted Tatewaki, in the head knocking him out. "Done, and done! I win!" After that Ranma, dragged him along behind him ."Come on you…we're heading this way."

The evening finally hit when Tatewaki, finally woken up. Tatewaki looked back and forth confused. (Where am I now?)

"Hey! Look whose finally awake!?"

Tatewaki jumped right up, and snapped at Ranma, in anger. "Thou dear to cheat I Tatewaki Kuno, in a fear fight. Why, never Saotome, have I ever-…how lowest couldst one audacious one like thyself go…you'll pay!"

"Gee…what's got you so worked up!"

"You of all people should already know!"

"Hey! I could've just left you back there."

"It wouldst be kinder if ye did so!"

"Well thanks to me we may just have a place to stay; I thought I saw an old tacky shack up ahead."

"You think?"

"Huh…well, I can't say for sure."

"It was probably just a mirage, or an illusion of something else."

"Oh…now you're saying that I'm seeing things."

"Methinks someone is starting to hallucinate…must be from all the deserts heat."'

Ranma, held his defense, and stood his ground. "I am not hallucinating man; I'm telling you, something's up there."

"And I'm telling thee, it's on in thy head."

"Like you, and the Pigtailed girl! You're the delusional one!"

"The Pigtailed girl is not all in my head! How dear ye make such assump-" Just then Tatewaki, started to become dizzy. "Woah…" Holding still he manage to get past it.

"Yo…you okay there Kuno?"

Tatewaki nodded as he shrugged it off. "I am just fine, Saotome; let's just find that shack you won't stop blabbing about."

"Humph."

Tatewaki and Ranma, were half-way to the shack before Tatewaki, walked in front of Ranma, stopping him in the processes.

Ranma blinked. "Yeah! What do you want!?"

"Uh…" Tatewaki starched the back of his head. "Not that this changes anything, but we should'st both acknowledge that this place is starting to place a burdened on the both of us. Since that is the case then we shall to know better than to squander all of our energy by fighting all day…" Tatewaki held out his hand to Ranma. "Temporary truce."

"Uh…" Ranma was completely thrown off; he wasn't expecting for Tatewaki, to come around like he did. "Sure thing Kuno." Ranma simply took his hand, and shook it. (Something tells me that this isn't going to last very long.)

Feeling dizzy again, Tatewaki, held on to Ranma, to support his fall. "Err…not again. We really need to find that shack."

"I think we're almost there." (The desert heat must be getting to him more than me.)

Once Tatewaki, past it a second time he let go of Ranma, and was about to walk on before he felt a hand grab his. Tatewaki, turned back to Ranma, with a confused expression across his face. "Ranma Saotome, what are you doing?"

Ranma let out a nervous look aside himself; it was one of those things he never thought he would do. He turned back to Tatewaki. "It's just for precaution..just in case if you get dizzy again."

"Really, I'm fine."

Ranma just eyed him at that point. "So you say…"

Silence hit before they continued on to the old raggedy shack.

They finally made it to the, old, raggedy, beat up shack. Ranma only turned to Tatewaki. "See, I told you I wasn't seeing things."

Tatewaki merely sighed, and shrugged with a grimacing smirk; the thought of Ranma's hand attached to his never left him. "Thou ever know not."

Once they've reached the door, Ranma, finally opened it as they stepped inside.

"This is it?" Tatewaki "There's only one room?"

"Apparently so," Ranma said in agreement; he finally pulled his hand from Tatewaki's before he began searching around the place."This place is so tacky."

"Thou art tellth me," Tatewaki looking around as well, only nodded along. "I can see why they left this place behind."

Ranma tipped over a lid to an old, white container that sat in one of the corners. "That's not the only thing they left behind."

Tatewaki finally saw water bottles, and the canned food that had fumbled around Ranma's hands.

Ranma only dug more, and more to see what more there was."Let's just grab whatever we can, and get out; it's not like we can stay here. You're right about one thing, Kuno, whoever was here abandoned this place, and I don't wanna stay to find out why."

After they gather everything they needed, and rested up until they were cooler , they finally took off; leaving the raggedy, abandoned shack behind.

They walked mile- after- mile when sun had finally began to set. The two, at last, found themselves in an area that was filled with no more than fifth-teen cactus, a few rocks, and a few small tumble-weed that passed by every now, and then. Step- after- step, the two passed through the cactus/scarecrow- like forest; while the eyes of Cacturne, slowly opened their eyes, binding their time, waiting for two travels to pass on through.

"Hey! How about a break. I can surely use some food; I'm starving over here."

Tatewaki turned to him, and nodded. "Thou hath read my mind."

During their break Tatewaki finally opened up the sack; they both looked inside. "Huh!?"

Tatewaki blinked adding in his thoughts. "It looks like we ate, and drank more then what we hath realized."

"Is that really the only water we have!?" Ranma asked in surprise.

The two eyed the water bottle up to each other; just then they both went for it at the same time;pulling the water bottle back, and forth.

"Thou shalt know that wealthy get first dibs."

"Oh yeah…is that so?"

They continued to push, and shove one another trying to grab the bottle.

"Of course miscreant! What do you think!?"

"Well here's what I think!" Right then, and there Ranma, finally booted him in the head.

Ranma narrowed in annoyance at the knocked out seventeen year old. "I thought we made truce…" After that he grab Tatewaki's by his gi, and dragged him across the sand once more. "Idiot…"

By Nightfall

"Where am I now?"

"We're still at the same place…it's dark, it's freezing, and we're so far from any kind of civilization, that I don't think we're even going to make it back."

"I'm sure we'll eventually get somewhere." Tatewaki went through the pack to get something to eat. "As long as we still have food, and water-" All until Tatewaki, notice that there wasn't anything left." No food, no water, no nothing. Tatewaki, remembering that they had food, and water, veined with a nasty scowl across his face, and then looked directly right at Ranma. "Ye didn't!?"

Ranma sweated, and placed his hands out in defense; the guilty expression never left his face. "…eh…"

Tatewaki grabbed Ranma, by his shirt, and shook him back and forth, in anger. " That was the only food, and water we had! And ye took it all! All of it!"

"Well excuse me for having to drag your sorry ass across the entire desert!"

"Well ye needth to knock me out not!"

"If I hadn't we would still be fighting over it! I thought we agreed on a truce."

"Not when it comes down to survival of fittest!"

"As if we didn't already know who was going to win."

"Don't mistaken our battles for survival!"

Ranma just too cold, and too tired to argue anymore. "Yeah…whatever…" With that said he simply placed his hands behind his head, and started to walk on. Yet, Tatewaki, only continue to complain walking behind him.

The two kept walking, on and on, step after step, when a strange feeling keep haunting Tatewaki, and one that kept on making him turn around every so often; one by one, each of the Cacturne, started to slowly, fallow Tatewaki, and Ranma.

Ranma, annoyed with it, finally turned to question Tatewaki, confused himself. "What do you keep on turning around…" Just then Ranma, saw what Tatewaki, saw. "-for…Hey that cactus wasn't there before!"

"Take a closer look."Tell me, Saotome, does it seem like there are more cactus then what there were before?"

Ranma took a good look around. "Everything seems…different…somehow…"

Tatewaki turned to his left, then to his right, just as he saw one of the Cacturne move. "That cactus just moved."

Ranma turned from his left to his right, and saw one of the Cacturne there. Nevertheless, in spite of this, the Cacturne simply sat there. It didn't move; not even a twitch. "A moving cactus…" Ranma only turned to Tatewaki, and narrowed at him with an annoyed expression across his face. "…right. And you say that I'm the one whose hallucinating; you're the one whose seeing things man!"

Tatewaki scowled in vein at Ranma, from the insult while pointing to the so- called moving Cacturne. "I am not! I saw it move!"

Ranma, at last, only pulled Tatewaki, onward the other way. "Arg.. come on you.. let's just move on."

Hours later…

Tatewaki kept turning behind him to see the Cacturne in different spot as more and more Cacturne, seem to have came into view. "I think we're being fallowed."

Ranma couldn't take much more. "By a cactus?"

Tatewaki suddenly shrieked as he saw the Cacturne, walking behind in a ragtag group "No! A whole group of them.

"Wha-" Ranma turned behind him as he saw the ragtag group chasing them; walking behind them like zombies, and/or mummies. "Uh-" Ranma twitched at the sight. "What the heck?"

Tatewaki grabbed Ranma's hand as he headed the other direction. "Run!"

Ranma felt himself being pulled away. "Uh- yeah…right."

The two had no trouble out- speeding them; but that didn't necessarily stop the Cacturne. There were more Cacturne coming from all sides. The two ran far enough out of the way,(at least far enough to turn around, and see no sign of Cacturne), but in this wasn't the case.

"Have they stopped yet?" Ranma question, sick of running in the desert of all places.

Tatewaki quickly looked behind him, and found the Cacturne even closer to them than before. "Nope! We have to keep going!"

After running a X number of distance in the cool, dark desert, without any food, or water left, Tatewaki and Ranma, finally feel to the sand exhausted, and fatigued.

Tatewaki huffed alongside Ranma, out of breath. "So…tired…so thirsty…can't run- anymore."

Ranma huffed alongside Tatewaki, out of breath as well. "So…tired…so hungry…so-"

Tatewaki and Ranma suddenly saw a few shadows that appeared by their feet. The two slowly looked up, and saw the Cacturne circled up, and overcrowded them in a ragtag group. The two boys were soon hypnotized by the glowing yellow/golden eyes that stared down at them; down into a corner.

Tatewaki and Ranma, widened their own eyes like never before; horrified of what was to come. Ranma held out hand in weak defense. "No! No!"

Finally, the ragtag group of Cacturne went in all at once.

"AHHH!?" Before they knew it Tatewaki and Ranma, blacked out.

The End!