Under A Dark Cloud

It was a light, airy office, of the kind that could be found in any office building across the omniverse.

Given that this particular office was located in Subreality, where the laws of time, space, physics and reality changed on a daily basis, the fact that it seemed at all typical was odd.

Seated at the only desk in the room was a young, dark-haired woman, currently flicking through a file and tutting.

Perfectly normal, unless you discounted the fact that she had red eyes, and her hair was a deep, natural purple.

"Miss Ayeka?" said a voice from the air. "There's a Ryouga Hibiki here to see you."

"Thank you, Sasami." Ayeka set the file aside and sighed. "I do wish she wouldn't keep calling me Miss Ayeka..."

The door opened, and an amorphous black cloud entered the room, soon followed by an intense, dark-haired young man, a bandanna set in his hair. The grimace on his face revealed two fanged canines.

"Mr Ryouga," Ayeka said formally. "Welcome to SPI. How may we help you?"

"Someone at the Sake Bar said you could help me." Ryouga jerked a finger at the cloud. "Can you do something about this... this *thing*?"


"Because it's been following me around ever since I woke up this morning. I've tried virtually everything, and I can't shake it."

"Do you know where it came from? Is there anything you might have done to make it... manifest?"

"Believe me, I wish I knew." Ryouga said darkly. "No, I came into town yesterday, settled down for the night - and woke up with *this* thing floating over my head."

"Would you mind if I tried something?"

Ryouga shrugged. "Go ahead. It won't work."

Ayeka formed an energy ball in her hand, and threw it at the cloud.

Which swallowed it like a marshmallow.

"I thought so," Ayeka murmured. "But they normally only affect Writers, so how-?"

"You know what this *is*?" Ryouga interrupted.

Ayeka nodded, resting her hands together on the desk. "Yes. It's an Angst Cloud."

"Is that supposed to be funny?"

"No," Ayeka said patiently. "Sometimes, a Writer's Angst will manifest itself as a small black cloud over the Writer's head, but it usually goes away once their mood brightens. Depending on genre, we can manifest them too... but cases in Subreality are rare."

"So it's perfectly natural? I should have known." As Ryouga slumped back in his chair, the air around him darkened. "Which means I'm stuck with this until I... 'cheer up'?"

"Perhaps." Ayeka said. "Does your aura usually flare up when you're depressed?"

Ryouga nodded, not even bothering to lift his head.

"Then... I wouldn't think so."

"Oh. So now I'm stuck with this *permanently*?"

Ayeka shook her head. "I may have put that a little unclearly. If you can control your depression like that, there's no good reason why this should happen. And if it's not your depression-"

"I can't control it. Or get rid of it." Ryouga finished. "So what *is* it?"

Ayeka frowned. "Unformed Angst." Off Ryouga's blank expression, she explained, "Normally, the Writers either let off Angst in Reality, or channel it into their stories, giving it at least a vague framework. That," indicating the Angst Cloud, "is one of the ways Angst can manifest outside a story."

Ryouga nodded. "Could I ask another question?"

"Please do."

"Where in the Founders' name did you learn that pigswill?"

"Subreality Police Department training course. Required for anyone applying to be a private investigator." Ayeka said, without batting an eyelid. "However, the questions we should be asking are... if it's not yours, then whose /is/ it? And where did it come from?"

"And how do you suggest we find out?"

Ayeka frowned again. "Would you trust your sense of direction-"

"Hah! I can't even trust it to find the bathroom! My accursed sense of direction defies comprehension!"

"I was afraid of that." Ayeka thought for a moment. "Would you /recognise/ where you settled last night?"

"Of course."

"Sasami," Ayeka said to the air, "we're going out on a case. Get ready to close up."


Ryouga's mind, meanwhile, had snagged on another detail altogether. "Close up?! *Close up?!* But you only close up if you don't have anyone... else..." His voice trailed off. "There are only /two/ of you at work today?"

Ayeka ahemmed. "There are only ever two of us at work."

"The entirety of Subreality Private Investigations is you... and that blue-haired girl out there?"

"It's sufficed us so far." Ayeka said.

"You think *that* suffices?"

"No, I said it had sufficed us so far." Ayeka corrected. "This way, please."

"There is no possible way we're going to find anything." Ryouga said flatly.

"You wouldn't have come if we hadn't been recommended." Ayeka said.

"Did you actually do anything to be recommended for?!"

"We have successfully resolved our share of cases, yes. Allow me some credit at least. Neither Sasami or I are novices." Ayeka said, opening the office door.

SPI's waiting room was an excellent example of the genre, all told. A receptionist's desk, complete with blotter and telephone, comfy chairs, potted plants, water cooler, kettle, tea and coffee, and copies of the Subreality Times.

Its only apparent concessions to its local reality were the small raised circle in one corner, and the blue-haired girl sitting on the desk.

She hopped down as they entered. "Big sister? I'm ready to go. Just need to find my coat..."

Ryouga stared her, then at Ayeka. "We're doomed, aren't we?"

Ayeka smoothed down the front of her kimono. "As I said, we're not novices."

"Doomed." Ryouga muttered. "I knew it. Doomed."


Several hours, and several miles of Subreality City, later...

"Oooh..." Sasami groaned. "My feet hurt."

"We're fictives. We don't get tired."

"Tell my feet that."

"You only /think/ you're tired."

"I tried telling my feet that. They said 'we don't care if /you/ believe it or not, but /we/ do!'"

"Perhaps we should take a break." Ayeka suggested. "We have been over half the city, after all."

Ryouga blinked. "We have? But we only started ten minutes-" He looked at his watch. "Oh. Already?"

Sasami rolled her eyes.

"I don't get it." Ryouga said, as they sat on a convenient bench. "What do you hope to find by learning where I stayed the night?"

"In the absence of any other evidence, it's the only thing we've got to go on." Ayeka explained. "Our best hope is if it was an inexperienced Writer - experienced ones are better at covering their tracks."

"And maybe I can ask him why I'm the /only/ fictive wandering around with my own personal Angst Cloud!" Ryouga grumbled, glancing up at the cloud.

And the clouds above it.

Clouds. Oh no...

In Subreality, clouds meant only one thing.

He quickly opened his umbrella.

"Maybe it likes you?" Sasami suggested.


"Don't be silly, Sasami. Angst doesn't /like/ people."

Wait a minute, Ryouga's brain said. Since when did hail go 'TING!'?

He leaned forward to see what it was.

The next one buzzed through the space his head had occupied.


Ryouga took in Ayeka's face, pale with shock, and unilaterally decided to do /exactly/ what she said.

The third ricocheted off the hemispherical force field that now surrounded the trio.

"I can't keep this up for long..." Ayeka said, through gritted teeth. "I suppose we're lucky Daemon's dead - if it had been /him/, I seriously doubt we'd be having this conversation."

Ryouga span around. "*What is this?*"

His eyes narrowed. Top of the building. Two storeys.

"When I say 'drop', drop the field."

He put his umbrella back on his backpack, leaving both hands free.




He grabbed Ayeka and Sasami by their waists.







Gravel crunched under his feet.

"Waow!" Sasami bubbled. "Let's do that again!"

"NO!" Ayeka and Ryouga snapped.

Emergency staircase. Door firmly locked from the outside.

Ryouga scanned the surrounding buildings.

"Do you see anything?"

"...No." Ryouga admitted.

"Cloak of invisibility. Stealth suit. Teleporter. It depends how good they are. Not a good shot..." Ayeka said, not looking around. "But it's never safe to judge."

Split. Splat.

The first drops of rain began to fall.

Oh /no/... the small part of Ryouga's brain said.

He raised his hand, and wiped the water off his hair.


A second later, he had no hair. Or a hand to wipe it.

"BWEE! BWEE!" the small black pig tangled in Ryouga's clothes squealed.

Ayeka sighed. "I suppose it /was/ too much to hope we would be /that/ lucky."

Sasami glomped the pig. "Oohhhh... Poor little thing."

"Sasami, you're holding a full-grown martial artist."

"You never complained when I held Ryo-oh-ki." Sasami pointed out. "And she turned into a spaceship."

"That was different."

"...Big sister, why are you blushing?"


"Oh..." Sasami said. "In that case, do you want me to pick up his clothes?"



A short while later, they had repaired to the Subreality Dojo & Sake Bar to gather themselves. Fortunately, the place was deserted, apart from Sakura, the waitress.

In Ayeka's opinion, people rarely appreciated these opportunities.

She glared at the pig as if it carried rabies. Admittedly, she didn't know what rabies /was/, her homeworld lacking many of Earth's primitive facilities, but she was fairly sure it was nothing good.

"Here you go!" Sakura chirped happily, placing a bowl of hot water and a towel in front of them. "For P-chan!"

"P-chan?" Ayeka said. "You mean..."

Sakura nodnodnodded.

"And you..." Ayeka said, exploring the full horror of the concept.

"Pour it on him. Or drop him in it." Sakura said.

"I'll do it." Sasami volunteered.

"No. I don't want you seeing this. Hands over your eyes, please. And no peeping."

"Don't I need traditional peeping gear to do that?" Sasami said innocently.

"No. Peeping." Ayeka picked up the bowl as gingerly as if it contained nitroglycerine, closed her eyes, and tipped it over the pig.

Moments later, once Sakura had stopped laughing, Ayeka felt it safe to open her eyes once again.

Fortunately, the next sight that met her eyes was a fully dressed - and dripping wet - Ryouga Hibiki.

"Ah... Thank you." the furiously blushing cursed boy managed to stammer out.

Ayeka's eyes narrowed, daring him to say anything else.

"And... um... sorry..." He lowered his eyes.

Ayeka's eyes never left him. "Sakura, might we have some miso soup?"

"I'll see what we've got."

Once she'd bustled off, Ayeka continued. "Very well. From our recent experience, I think we can conclude that, whatever is going on, first, someone is willing to hire a mercenary to keep us - or rather you, Mr Ryouga, but no doubt extended to us by now - silent. This was /not/ meant to scare us off - if they wanted to do so, there are far better ways, especially for a Writer. We were /not/ meant to survive it."

Ryouga squirmed. Ayeka's unwavering gaze was starting to unnerve him.

"And I think it has to do with a comment you yourself made. You said you were the /only/ Ryouga Hibiki with an Angst Cloud of your very own. Assuming that is true..."

"It could be a vendetta." Ryouga said.

"The kind of people who would seek vendetta on /me/ know better than to use bullets, while I suspect anyone who would want revenge on you would rather challenge you face to face. It would be far too much of a coincidence - but it's not something we can rule out as yet."

Sakura bustled back in, carrying three bowls of soup.

"Thank you," Sasami said.

While they tucked in, Ayeka went on. "As I was saying, we can conclude that the culprit is engaged in criminal activity, insane, or both. Whomever is after us is /actively/ dedicated to keeping us quiet. If this were a normal mistake, they would have apologised once they'd found us - and that would be quite within a Writer's abilities." She steepled her fingers together. "Quite frankly, it wouldn't surprise me if we've stumbled on an Angst Pusher."

"Will you stop talking about this so /coldly?!/" Ryouga exploded. "They're out to kill us! Kill! Us! They want to see us /dead/, see us gone Beyond, and for /what/?! Because /I/ picked up *this* thing... this... thrice-damned Angst cloud, they're ready to see us all in /Hell/, and they won't stop until they /succeed!/ You're discussing your life as if... as if it means no more to you than that bowl! If you think so little of your - or your sister's - life, then go out there and let them finish the job! It's not as if it /matters!/"

He realised someone was sobbing.

Almost trembling, he looked up into Ayeka's tear-stained face.


"You dare?" she whispered. "You /dare?/ Look at me. Look at me, little pig, little /worm/."

He could do nothing else. To disobey was as unthinkable as fighting a hurricane, as useless as declaring war on the tides.

Where she had been sitting was an avenging angel, her voice that of Heaven's own wrath.

"You dare to say our lives mean /nothing/ to me?! You /dare/ say I could /ever/, *ever* abandon my sister?! You dare say that to /me?!!/




Ayeka and Ryouga froze.

Sasami's voice, her beautiful voice, cracked and stumbled as she spoke, leaving only silence in its wake. "Please. Both of you. We can't do this. If we fight like this... they've already won. They won't have to do a thing. Just... just /watch/, before they move in.

"We... we need you. Both of you. Each other.

"Without that... we'll... we'll be /nothing/. Just bodies, waiting for them to put us away.

"We'll be exactly what they think we are. And we'll have no-one else to blame.


"...Why?" Ryouga finally said, his voice ragged. "Why do they want us dead?"

"Because... for one, dead characters tell no tales. Undead ones do, but not the dead. For another..." Ayeka hesitated. "I think they're taking a more... direct approach to retrieving their Angst." She looked back at him. "They could do this themselves. Could write us dead - they could do /that/ much, now they know who we are. They don't want to. They don't want to be traced.

"But in the end, only they know."

"One other thing. People who can disappear like /that/ are people who can follow us without us even noticing. The whole /point/ of disappearing like that is not to be... noticed..." Ryouga's voice faded out.

"Quite good." a relaxed, cultured voice observed, seemingly from thin air. "Personally, I'd have preferred it if it were cut with a little romance, some sexual tension, but I seriously doubt either of you are at that stage just yet. Still, a classic yin/yang clash - reservation against impetuosity, denial against blind rage. Could have been better quality, but still saleable."

"You /are/ the mercenary trying to kill us, right?" Sasami said.

"Only inasmuch as it aids the retrieval of my employer's merchandise. My employer was /quite/ baffled as to how they could lose so much Angst, until they realised what had happened. They /will/ have to safeguard against that in future. Somehow, I think we really should have expected it would happen sooner or later."

"You're telling us this because we should know why we're about to die, yes?" Ryouga said.

"If I thought /that/, I wouldn't have tried shooting you from a rooftop, would I? No, this is the standard 'creep out the victim' line - let them know how close they came, bring it home that little bit more, /then/ kill you." the mercenary said. "And you came very close. Tell me, have you ever heard of an Angst Magnet?"

"Yes," Ayeka said. "It's a character who seems to end up centre stage in any angst fic - Batman, Robin, Gambit, Angel..."

"True enough. However, it seems to be taking on an even more literal turn these days. Characters who draw Angst to themselves simply by walking around. Most irritating to /any/ hard-working Angst dealer. And it seems your friend here is one of them."

"That's just what I needed to hear." Ryouga muttered. "As if I needed another curse..."

"The quality of mercenaries has deteriorated since Daemon, hasn't it? /He/ just killed his targets..." Ayeka observed.

"Newbie Writers are a big market. They expect this shtick - and it builds a reputation. By the way, Miss Ayeka, I am well aware of a forcefield's /offensive/ capabilities - so I would make no false assumptions about my location."

Ryouga shook himself. "Wait... /wait/, you had... no... you had the perfect opportunity to... drug... our food..."

"Please. I don't weigh myself down with gadgets. What I do have - and have found to be very effective - are sleep gas capsules. I doubt Miss Ayeka's forcefield works when she's unconscious."

Ayeka managed a half-smile, as her head sank onto her chest. "Thank... you..."

Sasami was already unconscious.

"You think... you think /one/ sleep capsule can put me... to /sleep/?" Ryouga snarled.

"No. That's why I used three. Should be enough to put an elephant out."

"You will /pay/ for this."

There was a click.

"Perhaps. But you'll still be dead."


This is the world as seen through astral projection.

Here, all things are revealed. Here, everything can be seen.

And... she can see /him/.


He turns, mouth filter in place, his shotgun readied. "And who are /you/?"

"I am Tsunami," she says. "And I will not let you do this."

"Then stop me."

She reaches out a finger, taps him on the forehead. "Sleep."

He blinks. Nothing happens.

"Missed." he says smugly, taking aim.

Then he crumples to the floor.

She blows off her finger. "Still got it. Fastest dea ex machina in the West." She frowns, a look of concern crossing her beautiful face. "I do hope Seraph doesn't sue for nick infringement. I should really get in touch with my lawyers about that..."


When he woke up, he found himself tied to one of the bar's chairs.

"Deus Ex Machina." he muttered. "I should have known."

"Dea." Sasami corrected. "Hello there. I'm Sasami of Jurai, and you're the mercenary who wants to kill us. This-" she gestured towards Ayeka, "is my big sister, Princess Ayeka of Jurai, and this-" indicating Ryouga, "is our client, Ryouga Hibiki."

He looked between Ayeka and Ryouga's expressions, both promising death and devastation, and steeled himself.

"My sister would like to apply several thousand amps of current to a sensitive part of your body." Sasami frowned. "I didn't quite understand it - something about being unable to peepee upright. Mr Ryouga, on the other hand, would like to introduce you to something he calls the Roaring Lion Thunder Bullet. He said something about 'payment coming due'."

She turned. "I thought that was going too easy on you, so I asked if we could bring in someone who knew what they were doing.


He blanched, but kept his mouth tightly shut.

"Of course, you don't /have/ to say anything. However, I'm /sure/ we could find out whichever gas you used to knock us out, so we could bring you in for /that/. Sakura would be more than happy to back us up. And once we'd done that..." Sasami blew on her hand. "Ayeka picked up one of the bullets. It shouldn't be hard to trace which gun it came from - and the layers of identities used to collect it... After that..."

His face blanched in terror.

"But we /do/ have police contacts. Maybe - just maybe - we could get them to go easy on you."

He kept his mouth shut.

"I've heard the social worker has been taking a very personal interest in cases lately..." Ayeka added, almost as an afterthought. "What's that song of his? 'I love you, you love me'..."


Sasami smiled happily. "Oh /good/. I /knew/ we could clear everything up to everyone's satisfaction."


The young Writer paced the warehouse floor nervously. "Where /is/ he? We're meeting the Aussie tonight, and if we don't have anything, she'll /eviscerate/ us..."


The warehouse wall exploded.

The Writer could see a dark, shadowy figure moving through the dust.

Please, he thought. Please. Let it be Garibaldi or MacLeod. I'll even take Worf or Odo. Just /don't/ let it be *them*.

"Michael..." the figure snarled. "Prepare to /die!/"

"S-Say /what?/"

"This cloud that oppresses me, that looms over me every hour of the day... it is /your/ doing!"

"B-but... what are you talking-?!"

"Silence! I *attack!*"

The figure leaped off the rubble-

-and landed directly in front of Michael.

"Will you face me?"

Michael looked up into the face of oncoming doom-

-and shook his head.

"Very well, then. Tell me how I may remove this cloud."

"I... I don't know." the young Writer stammered. "I... I mean... I don't know how to deal with an Angst Magnet... um, if you kill one, /that/ usually stops their Angst..."

"/That/ is your idea of a solution?"

"W-well..." Michael stammered.

He had the very nasty feeling he was about to lose control of his bladder.

"What kind of /moronic/ idea is /that?!/"



"Thank you," a purple-haired young woman said, stepping through the hole in the wall, looking around herself distastefully. "That was exactly what we needed to hear."

A blue-haired girl popped up from behind her. "Yeah! You're _busted_, Mr Writer!"

Michael raised a finger. "Um... okay... no problem, ah... could I ask just one thing?"

"Yes?" the purple-haired girl said.

"Could I please use the toilet?"


A hour or so later, at Subreality City Police Department:

Ayeka raised a sceptical eyebrow. "Are you /sure/ this will work?"

"It /should/ do. It's usually the best way to disperse any ambient Angst. At least, that's what the handbook says." Ukyo Kuonji said, a little defensively.

"'Oh My Goddess!' fic?"

"It does work..."

"Mm." Ayeka said.

"Good work, though. We may not have the Aussie - but the way he's spilling his guts, we'll definitely have his supplier, and we're getting some juicy leads on the big dealers." Ukyo shook her head. "They're getting better at this - we knew there was /something/ coming down the pike, but no-one was willing to talk." She chuckled. "And not only that, we've got our very first, actual, living, Angst Magnet. Scully's going ga-ga over him. This is gonna make her /year/ - no, check that, her /decade/. 'Observations on the Conceptualisation, Manifestation and Fictivisation of a Metaphor', with your friend in there as the type subject."

Her voice turned serious. "You could have come to us, you know. Royal pride getting in the way again?"

"Not everyone is comfortable with, or used to, coming to the police. When someone brings a case to me, it becomes my responsibility," Ayeka said quietly. "As such, they are /mine/ to deal with. Once they have been brought to light, I will turn them over to you, but not before."

"That's going to get you in serious trouble."


"-suffices, I know, I know." Ukyo finished. "What if it doesn't?"

"Then we will deal with it when it happens." Ayeka's expression brooked no further comment.

'O-_kay_. Well, we'll keep Ryouga her for a bit, make sure no-one else's Angst is sticking to him, and, if everything goes well, we'll release him in a couple of days." Ukyo looked around, then lowered her voice conspiratorially. "And if you can find a way to keep him around for the next couple of years, Scully's going to be your friend for life."

Ayeka inclined her head. "Thank you. I'll see what I can do."

"Oh?" Ukyo raised an eyebrow. "Got something in mind for our Lost Boy?"

"Payment for services rendered." Ayeka said equitably. "Never let it be said the House of Jurai does not pay its debts."

"Otherwise you'll blast them into orbit?"

Ayeka's face was the picture of innocence. "You might think that; I couldn't possibly comment."

Ukyo chuckled. "Heh. Auntie Jenny still wants to know what happened that night down at the Bowling Alley, you know."

"As I said at the time," Ayeka said, smoothing down the sides of her robe, "it was a simple disagreement, resolved to everyone's satisfaction."

"Uh-huh. You know, I don't think Worf ever wants to see another bowling ball as long as he lives?"

"He wasn't to know I'd practiced Energy Bowling, was he?" Ayeka observed.

"I don't think the balls are supposed to blow the skittles to pieces, though..."

"Oh, really? I'll have to keep that in mind."


When Ryouga was released a couple of days later, he was surprised when Ayeka and Sasami were waiting for him at the SCPD, even more surprised when they took him back to SPI, and distinctly worried when they told him what they had in mind.

"Will it work?" he asked nervously, from his position in the raised circle.

"It should," Ayeka said. "The telepad is set for the Jusenkyo Springs. It's preset to your organic and astral patterns such that once you come out in a human form, you will be returned here. Ready?"

"Can I have a moment to think about this?"

"No." Ayeka pushed a button.

The circle flickered, once, and he was gone.


Ryouga flickered into existence outside a small, rundown hut.

The man snoozing outside jolted, and woke up, the newspaper covering his face falling to the floor. "Ah sir! I did not hear you. Apologies."

"Is this Jusenkyo?" Ryouga asked.

The man nodded. "Yes, this Jusenkyo. I am Guide." He peered closer at Ryouga. "You poor person who fall into spring of Drowned Baby Pig, are you not?"

Ryouga scowled, but nodded. "Where is the spring of Drowned Man?"

The Guide indicated a solitary pool. "Mr Customer looking for Nannichuan? It over there."

Ryouga stared at it. At last... at last, after so long... he would be free of the pig!

Don't hesitate, he told himself. Don't look back. This is your chance. To be a whole man.

To be free, once and for all.

He strode forward, straight into the pool.


Ryouga flickered, and disappeared.

The Guide sighed. Poor Mr Customer had one of the worst senses of direction he'd ever seen. How someone could get turned around in only a few steps...

And the worst of it was, he hadn't even waited to hear which spring he /had/ fallen in.

He was really going to have to get round to putting those multi-lingual signs up, he could tell...


The circle flickered, and Ryouga Hibiki popped back into existence.

Wait a minute... a small part of his brain said.

...Why was Sasami bent over in a fit of giggles? Why was Ayeka trying - and failing - to stifle her blush?

He looked down at himself.

Then he raised a fist to the sky, and howled "RANMA, THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!!"

"Why?" Ayeka asked. "Ranma had nothing to do with this."

"If it were not for him, I would not have been cursed in the first place! And if it were not for him, I would not have fallen into... into... /that/ accursed pool!" Ryouga clenched his fist. "Ranma, you will /die/ for this!!"

"Oh, I don't know." Sasami said, finally surfacing for air. "I think you look cute. Especially as a girl."

"Now, Sasami, that's no reason to tease Mr Ryouga. Just because he fell into the wrong pool..." For some reason, Ayeka was finding it increasingly difficult to breathe.

Besides, he /did/ look cute as a girl. A few inches shorter, perhaps, with a decided increase in bust size, and a shock of light blue hair, with a bandanna pushed up over it.

The dark eyes and fangs were still there, though. Even if they did look significantly... well, /cuter/... than they had before.

"WHAT WAS THAT?" Ryouga demanded of the universe at large. "Spring of Drowned Rei Ayanami?!"

"We could always give it another shot," Sasami suggested. "I don't know... I /like/ girl-Ryouga..."

"NO. Knowing my luck, I'd probably end up in the spring of Drowned Pokemon! DAMN YOU, RANMA!!"

Ayeka rested a hand on his - well, her - shoulder. "There is one good thing about this."

"WHAT?" Ryouga snapped.

"Well... we /do/ have an opening for a secretary..." Ayeka finally gave in, and doubled over in laughter.

Someone was going to pay for this, Ryouga vowed.

He looked down at hims- *herself* again.

Well, she amended, as soon as she could find some new clothes...




Author's notes: And that's /that/ little piece of weirdness done. Apologies for weirdness, senselessness, and general lack of coherency.

Summary: Featuring another revolting development in the life of an Angst Pusher.

Disclaimer: Most of the characters here belong to someone else, bar Michael and the mercenary, neither of whom are based on anyone in particular. Ryouga, Ukyo and the Guide belong to Rumiko Takahashi (Ranma 1/2). Ayeka, Sasami and Tsunami belong to Pioneer/AIC (Tenchi Muyo). Sakura belongs to CLAMP (Cardcaptor Sakura).

Subreality created by Kielle, SCPD formed by Rossi and Ian Foster. Daemon's (messy) death in 'SCPD: The Case of the Comatose Writer'.


Copyright 2002 Imran Inayat.