Beyond the Fall

(Part IV)

By: Ryquest


Shuichi sighed as he assessed the shocked reaction of his cousins, as well as their parents. Genma had approached Ranma-chan, peering at her speculatively from behind his thick glasses. Ranma-chan, or rather, Koori, smiled at him demurely, golden eyes glimmering in amusement. Soun’s jaw had dropped open, and was muttering intelligible noises while his eldest daughter Kasumi was patting his shoulder and smiling tolerably. Nabiki had taken on an oddly detached look, though her slightly raised eyebrow hinted of curiosity. It was Akane, however, who rushed at Shuichi and grabbed him by the collar. She began to shake him forcibly while Shuichi chuckled softly.

"Imotou?!" Akane demanded, her voice rising a notch. "You’re supposed to be related to us, Shuichi! How can Ranma, of all people, be your sister? First of all, he happens to be male!"

"Calm down, Akane-san, I can explain," Shuichi replied, glancing at the agitated Akane to Ranma-chan.

"It had better be good," Akane threatened ominously. She was bothered by the thought that some strange entity had suddenly taken over Ranma’s body. Ranma no baka. Making me worry like this.

"I think we’d best return to the dojo and talk this over," Genma said. He turned his gaze to his erstwhile son-daughter. "I don’t know who you are, miss, but I have a stake in this. Ranma is my boy, you see."

"I understand," Koori replied softly. She bowed politely to him. "My apologies, but it seems that you will become my father, as I happen to be inhabiting your son’s body."

"Not that you’d make a bad daughter, girl," Genma replied, smiling, "and it shows that you’re not an ingrate like that boy of mine, but I think you and Shuichi should clarify just what exactly is going on here."

"Oh, we will, otou-san," Koori replied. "But I am not sure the truth will entirely be to your liking."

"I am also known as Kurama," Shuichi began. He scanned the faces of the people seated cross-legged before him in the dojo before his gaze fell on Koori. "And I’m not entirely human. I am a youko – a fox demon – with power to manipulate plants through my youki. Years ago, I was shot by a hunger in Makai – the demon world – while attempting to steal an object of great value. You see, I was a famous thief back then.

"I fled to Ningenkai – this human world – and inhabited the body of an unborn child – that of Minamino Shiori. I had originally planned on staying here for only a short time until I recovered my full strength. But my mother’s love bound me here by ties much stronger than my desire for power and wealth. And I have grown to appreciate being human.

"I am a member of the Rei Kai Tantei, the detectives of the Spirit World, Reikai. Occasionally, we are called to battle the demented youkai and humans who have evil plans for destroying or taking over Ningenkai. Strange how this world I have once regarded as insignificant has proved to be of much beauty and value."

"Why, onii-chan," Koori exclaimed, poking Kurama, "you’ve become somewhat of a softie."

"You have proven right in some ways, Koori-chan," Kurama smiled, grasping her hand and squeezing it gently. "Though I have never thought it would end up like this for both of us."

"Pardon me for breaking up this tearful reunion between you both," Soun interrupted, "but you haven’t quite gotten to the part of Ranma’s involvement in all this."

"Allow me to explain this part," Koori glanced at Kurama, who nodded. "Youko Kurama was my older brother, and I was known as Youko Koori. We were both born silver fox demons and lived in the Makai. During that time, the passage from Ningenkai to Makai was quite easy, as there was no barrier yet imposed by the Reikai to prevent the passage of youkai to the world of the humans. Some youkai went to Ningenkai in search for food, for some youkai were flesh eaters, or objects of value, like artifacts of power or gold and precious stones. Others chose to ignore the presence of Ningenkai completely, since they deemed the human world silly and beneath notice. My brother was once vehemently of that opinion.

"A small number of youkai, however, liked interacting with humans for the simple reason that humans could make good friends and allies. I was one of them. I befriended humans, and found that those I have met thought I was some sort of kami. It was amusing, really, but I learned from them what was so beautiful about being human. Those that I had met have thought me the value of kindness, compassion and love.

"Yet times changed, and as more youkai with evil intentions poured into Ningenkai, humans grew more hostile of our presence. Even those of us who once interacted with humans for friendship were viewed with hostility and suspicion. One night, as I was wandering through the countryside, I was met with angry villagers who were superstitious against fox spirits. I tried to reason with them, but I was captured and beaten. I could not bring myself to harm them – they were just misguided, I thought, and driven by anger resulting from unreasoning fear.

"I sought to escape, but their fanatical leader learned that I was gone and roused the villagers in pursuit. Weary and wounded, I stumbled around blindly and could not find that tunnel that linked back to Makai. I lost track of my bearings until I came to a place with pools of water and high bamboo poles staked to the ground. I hopped on top of the bamboo poles, thinking to escape pursuit. But as I was making my way on top of those poles, I lost my balance and feel to one of the pools below. I tried to swim, but I was too weakened. And so I drowned."

A hushed silence followed her explanation. Kurama placed an arm about her shoulder, drawing her close to him. Koori sighed contentedly against her older brother. She had missed him. They have had their differences in the past, for he was a cold-hearted youko drawn only to power and wealth. Yet he had cared for her and taught her in the use of their youko powers. He had repeatedly warned him about humans and told her to stay away from them, his only edict that she refused to obey. And, in the end, her stubborn refusal to stay had separated them when she ended up drowning in an unknown pool.

Now they were back together. And they were both inhabiting human bodies. Fate sure has a strange sense of humor. Funny, though, how my brother seems warmer than I ever remember him to be. There is more love and concern mirrored in those emerald eyes than I could ever recall looking into his once-golden orbs. Golden orbs that mirrored mine. Being human has changed him, and I think it was for the better. And so Koori simply leaned against him, enjoying his sense of warmth and protectiveness. Ignoring the stares that were being directed at them by members of the Tendo family and by Ranma’s father, Saotome Genma. She just knew that her soul had been trapped in a body that was not hers. She had felt her soul drawn into his body when he fell in the same pool she had drowned him. Until she met Kurama, though, her soul had lain dormant, mostly like a detached entity who could only wait, and observe.

All that has changed when Kurama had arrived at the Tendo household. It was as if his very presence had brought her dormant soul back to life. When Ranma’s body reverted to its female form, she felt her soul seep into his consciousness until she was able to take over his body. Koori repressed a sigh. It felt so good to live again, to experience the physical sensations she had lost more than a hundred years ago. Yet it was not going to be simple. After all, she was sharing the body of a teenage boy with a lot of living relatives who were going to clamor for his return. And she could not begrudge them of it.

"That’s quite a tale," Soun nodded thoughtfully. "My guess is that when Ranma fell into that pool in Jusenkyo, your soul somehow entered his body. And in his female form, you are more dominant than Ranma, which explains why you took control of his – her – body."

"This doesn’t quite solve our dilemma, though," Akane rose to her feet. "She has to return Ranma’s body to him. After all, it’s his to begin with. That is, unless she plans to take control over him permanently." Akane threw a suspicious gaze at Koori.

"I cannot – will not – do it, Akane-san," Koori replied. "Ranma has all you people who love and care for him. And it is true what you said – I am merely a guest in his body."

"Surely we can’t just exorcise her out of that body, father," Kasumi said to Soun. "After all, Koori is now as much as part of Ranma as he is."

"True, Kasumi," Nabiki stated, "true." Ranma-chan really becomes a girl. This makes for very interesting dating possibilities.

"Please allow me this time with my brother," Koori said, bowing. "When Ranma reverts to his male body, his soul will take over again – until the time when his body again becomes female. I myself will splash this body with hot water before this day is over."

"There you have it, problem solved," Nabiki stood, heading for the door. "Enjoy your day with your brother, Koori. I have…business to take care of." With that, she exited the dojo.

Koori approached Akane and took her hand. Akane was startled as she found herself drawn by her golden eyes. There was wisdom there, she thought, and a sense of honor that she exudes. She really isn’t Ranma. Looking that this, she appears all to be what he isn’t – calm, regal and gracious. Koori smiled and embraced her, leaving Akane even more astounded.

"I know you care for Ranma, Akane-san," Koori whispered to her. "I will take care of this body, and will not dishonor him in any way. I only wish to spend time with my brother. If there is any favor I may do for you to compensate for this request, please kindly inform me."

"Just…enjoy yourself, Koori," Akane stammered, embracing the golden-eyed girl back. "And please bring him back."

Koori nodded then stepped away from Akane. Kurama merely watched them both, his expression unreadable. He offered his arm to Koori, who took it as they both bowed and stepped outside the dojo. Akane, Genma and Soun watched them leave, then glanced at each other.

"What does her arrival mean for us, Saotome?" Soun glanced at Genma. Genma shook his head and shrugged. "Well, for better or for worse, she’s now part of the family. I can only hope we don’t get more than the usual amount of damage around here."

Okay, now time for some couple pairings. ^^ (What would this fanfic be without 'em, ne?) hehehe... This is a YYH/Ranma 1/2 crossover, a product of caffeine overdrive and midnight summons. ^^ Standard fanfic disclaimers apply. Comments/suggestions, just mail to ryquest!

Ranma 1/2 is a copyright of Rumiko Takahashi / Shonen Sunday / etc. Yu Yu Hakusho is a copyright of Yoshihiro Togashi / Shue Isha Fuji TV, Studio Pierrot. This fanfic is for non-commercial, entertainment purposes only.

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