The Hyena and The Pirate, ch 03
Hopefully without any tense changes this time...
Also, I will be using japanese words in this text. I will, however, try to make them transparent, and will only be using words that do not have direct paralells in the english lanuage.
Xander stared at the phone for a long moment before picking it up and slowly, hesitatingly, dialed the number that had been on the card. It'd been a few days since he woke up in that hotel room. He'd told Buffy that things had gotten a bit exciting between him and the demon as the result of some form of misunderstanding, but fortunately everybody had come out of it more or less intact. He didn't mention the shotgun. Or that whole thing with the catching of those energy bolts that the demon had been throwing around like they were going out of style. He didn't need Willow and Giles poking and prodding at him trying to figure out if he'd hallucinated the whole thing or if he'd somehow become a 'Champion' of the 'Light.' Capitalization theirs, sarcasm his. The phone was ringing, now, and Xander wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans.
"Moshi-moshi." What? The demon lived in Japan? And why the heck did a little girl answer the phone? "Moshi-moshi?"
"Ah, do you speak any english?" Xander hazarded. 'Wait a second...the phone number was only seven digits!'
"Ara...yes. English good is not, speak it do." She spoke slowly, making sure to correctly enunciate the L's and S's.
"Right." Xander resolved to speak clearly and without rushing. "I am looking for a woman. She is about one hundred fifty five centimeters tall, with gray hair and amber eyes." 'What the heck is going on here...?'
"Ah! Ryoko-san." She said. "Who is you?"
Xander about slapped himself on his head. He forgot to introduce himself. "Xander Harris. Her name is Ryoko-san?" He asked, writing it down on a small pad.
"Iie. Name is Ryoko." She said.
"And your name?" Xander asked.
She giggles. "Sasami."
"Sasami, can I speak to Ryoko?"
"So sorry." Sasami said, giggling again. "Ryoko-san not avai- avail- here now." Over the phone, Xander could hear the sound of a series of explosions, growing fainter towards the end. Sasami giggled. "She playing with Oneesama."
"Right." Xander said, nervously. "When Ryoko gets in, please have her call the guy she tried to kill in a bar a few days ago at..." and he gave her his current phone number.
"'Call guy she tried to kill in bar.'" Sasami repeated without really understanding. "Okay."
"Ah...arigatou." Xander carefully enunciated the unfamiliar japanese word. "Bye."
Sasami smothered a laugh at how badly the gaijin mangled the word. "Bai-bai."
Xander hung the phone up, sat back in the chair, and sighed as he ran his hand through his hair. He could not believe he'd called and left a message for a ravening, bloodthirsty demon with what sounded like a little japanese girl. He shrugged. 'Heck,' he thought, 'for all I know, the little girl is a elder goddess millenia old who's just biding its time until it can manifest in this world fully.' He snorted. 'I think maybe my paranoia is finally getting the better of me.'
Ryoko snickered as she phased in over the dining room, where her favorite structural beam was. Perching on it, she watched as Ayeka stomped in, long purple hair snarled and tangled, with leaves, bits of wood, and mud liberally spattering her. "Hey Ayeka." She drawled. Ayeka looked up at her, nearly glowing with suppressed anger and frustration. "You keep this up, and you might actually give me a decent fight one day." She snickered as Ayeka ground her teeth together and stomped up the stairs to bath and change clothes.
"Ryoko." Sasami said sternly.
"What's up, kid?"
"That's not very nice. It hurts Tenchi when the two of you fight."
Ryoko looks a bit abashed. "Yeah, I know. But sometimes it's so tempting to just kick that prissy little bitch right where she lives, you know? Besides," she looked archly down at Sasami, "at least this way she's getting some exercise instead of sitting around the house all day getting fat off of your cooking."
"Hey! That's my sister you're talking about!"
"Just teasin, Sasami-chan. You know I wouldn't really hurt Ayeka, right?"
"Tenchi'd kill me!" She continued cheerfully.
Sasami mock-glared at the laughing space pirate. "Oh, that's right! You have a message. Let's see..." She started to flip through the little pad of paper by the phone. The normal phone, not Washuu's Ultimate Telephony System(complete with self-destruct device).
Ryoko popped down next to her. "I have a message? Who would leave a message for me?"
"He said something like " She said, holding up the piece of paper with the mesage and number on it. "Here." She offered it to Ryoko.
"Huh. Whaddaya know. Didn't think he'd ever call."
"Uh, Ryoko...are you, uh..."
"Maybe we can finish that fight now!" Her eyes glittered as she poses triumphantly. "What were you saying, Sasami-chan?"
"Never mind. You're going to fight this guy?" Sasami asked, somewhat nervously. "Tenchi doesn't like you guys fighting or showing off here on Terra."
"No worries on that score, Sasami. This guy's a gengineered soldier type - just as secret as we are." Ryoko took off, flying up while she called for Ryo-oh-ki.
Sasami stood below her, looking worried, and then she nodded and walked off.
"I told you what we're doing." Ryoko said, as she stared irritably at a purple-grey crystalline structure. It meowed at her. "Why? Because I'm bored, that's why. There's nothing worth doing..." The crystal reoriented itself slightly, and almost seemed to be staring questioningly at Ryoko. "There isn't!" She said, insistently. "Well, except for Tenchi, but he never reacts well to that for some reason...besides, Ayeka keeps interrrupting us." She started to pace..if you could pace while hovering a foot in the air. "Tenchi won't fight me, he panics at the thought. Ayeka's barely good for a warmup, even if she is improving. Yosho won't fight for fun, neither will M- Washu. I'd either annihilate Mihosi or she'd get lucky and cream me with one shot. What the hell am I supposed to do? Go out to some other planet and pick a fight with a space navy? That'd go over real well with Tenchi." The crystal meowed at her again. She stared at it with half-lidded eyes. "Just trace the damn call." It seemed to shrug. "Right." Ryoko inputs the number.
It was an hour after he'd placed the call. Xander sat there, apparently entranced by the refraction of the light off of the amber liquid inside the stout glass in his hand. He hadn't spoken a word since. "First girl I call after Anya...and it's a demon." He looked, unseeing, off into the distance, and then hefted the glass a bit in salute. Then he moved to slug the entire glass down...but before he started, his phone rang. He let off a mild curse and answered it. "Speak to me."
"Hey." Ryoko said. "I'm calling for a Xander Harris. It's about a bar.."
He sat the glass down. "Ah...this is he." Xander said, cautiously. "Is this-
"Where is it?" There was a moment of silence on the phone. As Xander began to open his mouth, the woman on the other end continued. "Alright, grab him. Yes, I'm sure."
Xander dropped his phone, and started looking wildly about the room for any atackers. 'Stupid brain. This is what I get for following my instincts and calling the good looking demon that didn't kill me when she could have.' A rumbling noise filled the small room, and the windows started to shake badly. 'Earthquake! Great, just what I...need...there's no faultlines here!'
A bright white light filled the room. "Oh, fuck me in the goat ass." Xander said, staring wildly out the window. He disappeared.
Xander lurched where he was standing, both hands grabbing his stomach as he tried desperately not to hurl.
"You all right?" Ryoko leaned down towards Xander, only to be interrupted as Ry-oh-ki hopped in front of her, meowing in a remonstrative fashion. "What're you talking...oh. Oh, yeah." Ryoko laughed nervously. "Sorry about that."
"Where the hell did you take me?" Xander asked, nausea relenting enough that he straightened and took a look around at the blasted wasteland that surrounded them.
Ryoko raised her arms and twirled around, floating a foot in the air. Facing Xander, she proclaimed "The natives call this place the Badlands. Their legends say that the land was blasted, destroyed, by the furious energy of two warring demons."
Xander eyed her carefully. "And what really happened?"
Ryoko continued, in an offhanded manner. "The legends are close enough." She said casually as she spiralled down to the ground in front of him. "Two people, both full of rage, both convinced that they were doing what was right, fought above here." Her battlesuit flicked into existence as her normal clothes dissolved away.
Xander fell into what combat stance he had. "Who won?" He had a sickening feeling that he knew.
Ryoko examined him. Looked like he expected her to be both faster and stronger than him. 'He's got a good eye.' She thought. "The one who really was right." Slowly, she generated a ball of plasma on the palm of her right hand. She raised it to her eye level and looked at Xander through it. "Are you prepared?"
Xander looked a bit surprised. "Can't we just talk about this?" He asked, as he backed away slowly.
"What's there to talk about?" Ryoko asked, placing her hand in high gaurd and clenching her fist around the ball of plasma.
"Oh, I dunno, like maybe *why* you're trying to kill me?" Xander tried to keep his tone lighthearted, and mostly succeeded.
"Who says I'm trying?" Ryoko grinned ferally, and lunged forwards, the gem on her wrist beginning to glow as she tapped it for energy.
Xander dropped to the ground and rolled to the left, one hand grabbing a rock and throwing it at Ryoko, who smacked it away with her plasma blade. He came up in a ready crouch facing Ryoko, who started to circle him, slowly. Specks of plasma began to form in the air around Ryoko, and Xander watched them out of the corner of his eye. "So you're not going to kill me, or you know you're going to kill me?"
"Yes, that's exactly right." Ryoko grinned again, and then put one hand out, palm facing Xander. A lance of brilliant reddish plasma speared towards him, producing an incredible shockwave as it passed.
Xander's eye widened as he saw the beam close in on him with impossible speed, singing his hair and missing his ear by less than a quarter of an inch. The shockwave knocked him five feet sideways and to the ground, where he rolled in a not ungraceful manner back to his feet.
Ryoko smirked, and nodded at him. The specks of plasma in the air around her came to life, and darted towards him.
He threw the handful of pebbles he'd snagged off of the ground in a arc in front of him, and then flipped to the left into the small gap in the attack that had been created by the pebbles. Setting himself, he charged towards Ryoko.
"That's more like it!" Ryoko crowed, before vanishing from in front of him.
Without pausing, Xander instantly ducked and rolled, losing only half an inch of hair to the plasma staff as opposed to his neck. Setting his feet carefully, he lunged backwards out of his roll, twisting in the air as he drove his fist towards Ryoko's face. She moved to block with her plasma blade, and Xander rolled, in mid lunge, and pushed off of the ground with his hands, arcing up into the air. Ryoko followed him up and slashed at him, and he twisted around in mid air to evade the staff. She took another lunge at him, and oofed as he folded around the blade and kicked off of her stomach.
Xander landed back down on the ground, a feral grin of his own spread across his face. As Ryoko floated downward, she smirked at him.
Sasami walked purposefully towards the lab door. She'd made up her mind. Somebody needed to stop Ryoko-neesan from doing something bad. Tenchi-niisan was busy in the fields, and Katsuhito-jiisan was busy in the shrine, so that only left Washuu-imouto-chan. She knocked on the lab door a couple times, and, having recieved no response, opened the door. She sighed in relief when it opened into the lab instead of the closet. She stepped forward, and began to look around the main entrance for Washuu. Seeing no one, she called out, "Washuu? Washuu, are you in here somewhere?" She didn't hear a response, so she started forward, and started to look for Washuu.
A few minutes passed, and Sasami was beginning to get somewhat discouraged. Then, she spotted a flickering bluish light. Heading towards it, she heard Washuu cheering something on. She got to the small, dim room the flickering light was coming out of, and stepped inside. There, she found Washuu curled up on a chair that looked very comfy, with a bowl of popped corn and a large cup of soda. "Washuu?"
"Hey, Sasami." Washuu waved at her without diverting her attention from the 3d image before her. "Grab a seat - the preliminaries are over and the main event should be starting soon." Her computer interface popped up in front of her, and she pressed a couple of buttons. Another chair, bowl of popcorn, and a tea service popped out of a portal.
"Shush." Washu said, shushing Sasami. "I'm missing the pre-fight smart-ass remarks."
Sasami sighed, sat down in the chair Washuu had provided for her, and looked at the holo-cube before her. "Hey! That's Ryoko-neesan!"
The two fighters slowly circled each other, watching for any hesitations are small moves that might signal an attack or feint. The only warning Xander recieved was the sudden flicker in Ryoko's eyes, which was enough to prompt him to dive forward even as she was disappearing from in front of him. As he came up in a tight crouch, he threw some pebbles at her to distract her, and then charged in after them. He flipped sideways as Ryoko dropped a few blasts down the line towards him, reset himself, and closed in on her. Another plasma blade ignited in her off hand, and she met Xander's charge with her own. Coming in hard and fast, she over-extended half of an inch, and Xander took full advantage of it, as he ducked underneath the arc of her blades, knocked her arms further out of line with his right hand, and knuckle-punched her in the kidneys. Before he could follow up, she vanished, and he ducked, only to have her sweep his legs out from under him with one of her blades.
He howled in pain as the blade burned through his clothes and seared his flesh, and caught himself with his left hand before he could hit the ground. Even as Ryoko recovered from her low strike, Xander pushed himself off of the ground one handed, and stood, solidly on his right leg and favoring his left. Ryoko's blades extinguished themselves, and she turned to face him. "Call it-?" She started, the stink of burned flesh and cotton in the air, and then she stopped as she saw the look on his face. It was something she'd caught a glimpse of, back at the bar, and now it was back in full force. Something she remembered seeing on her own face millenia agao. "Guess not..." She drawled.
Xander stared at the one in front of him. The one wasn't prey, nor did it stink of the taint that haunted the Dreaming. The one had damaged him, but he would heal. Another whiff of the air brought Xander more information. The one has no stink of fear or anger. Perhaps the one is playing.
Ryoko frowned at the evaluating gaze she was receiving. His eye had gone amber again, and it looked like his pupil had developed a vertical slit. "Let's go, monkey boy!" She shouted, and then grinned at him ferally.
Yes. Let's play a little. "Who's a monkey?" Xander bared his teeth and play-growled at Ryoko, who responded by reigniting her blade. "Let's dance."
Savage laughter echoed though the air as Hyena, unleashed and at full power for the first time in eight years, met Space Pirate, having the first good fight just for the hell of it in almost four thousand years.
An hour later, Ryoko appeared above the Masaki household, clothes torn and bloodied, old and yellowed bruises decorating her arms and torso liberally, and a wide smile on her face. Slowly she dropped down from the sky, and carefully foated through the front door as Sasami opened it for her. "Heya, kiddo." She sounded like a cat who'd just finished a bowl of cream and was now pleasantly tired.
"Ryoko-neesan..." Sasami looked troubled. "You won't hurt Oneesama, will you?"
Ryoko flashed her a tired grin, baring one of her prominent incisors as she did so. "Just her ego, Sasami-chan." With that, she yawned hugely, and then headed up the stairs to the bath.
Ayeka snapped irritably at Ryoko as she brushed by her a little bit too closely in the changing room. "Watch it, demon woman!" She turned to glare at Ryoko, but stopped and gasped instead.
Ryoko grinned crookedly at her. "It's a good look for me, innit?" She said, turning around so that Ayeka could get a good look at her.
"Wha- Ho-" Ayeka sputtered, before getting under control. Ryoko's battle suit, which she well knew from experience was almost as tough as Ryoko herself, was torn, tattered, and in one spot thoroughly punctured - the back had a hole three inches wide complimented by an exit hole an inch in diameter. Traces of dried blood clung to her fists, arms, and costume, as well as her face. Thin, defense typical, jagged scars on her arms were the pink of new scar tissue and healing fast - in another hour, they'd probably be gone. "Who did that too you?" Ayeka almost growled.
Ryoko laughed, and then stepped out of her suit, which disappeared behind her. "I'm touched, Princess. Didn't know you cared." She grabbed a bottle of sake from the warming cubby. "A bath and some sake, I'll be as good as new." She inclined the head of the sake bottle towards the furo. "Join me for a bowl? I'll tell you all about it."
Xander staggered up the drive to the motel he was staying at. He really hoped no one asked any difficult questions...but that was doubtful. One thing he'd learned in Africa is that people didn't like asking questions - and a little baksheesh went a long way sometimes. He brightened somewhat as one of the 'porters' saw him coming. He knew the man, had pulled him out of a four vamp dogpile before he'd barbecued the lot of them with a molotov cocktail. The man, Marcel, hadn't asked any questions about the impromptu barbecue. and in return, he hadn't asked why a porter would be carrying small, heavy objects about his person that had Soldier-guy almost screaming 'Shoulder holster!'
"Mr. Harris, are you all right?" Marcel asked, his big frame almost shouting parental concern.
"Peachy-keen, Marcel. Think you could help me with my bags?" Xander felt like rolling his eyes, but resisted. 'I'm a bit too old to be mothered by a thirty five year old man.' "And how many times have I told you to call me Xander?"
Marcel grinned wryly, teeth startlingly white against the blackness of his skin. "The boss wouldn't like that. Says it's getting to familiar with the clients, and that would kill my 'objectivity.'" He carefully grabbed Xander around the shoulders, supporting him against his large bulk.
Xander gasped in pain as the movement caused ribs to shift. "Careful...careful, there. Christ that hurts..."
Marcel carefully helped Xander to his room. "You need any help there, Mister Harris?"
Xander eyed Marcel as best he could as he slowly cut his shirt off with a pair of scissors. He saw the man's eyes widen slightly and then go back to normal. "It looks as bad as it feels, I take it?" He grinned wryly, mostly to himself. "If you could help me tape up my ribs...?"
Marcel swallowed. He'd known the idiot tourist was into something heavy when he'd burned those four freaks into nothing but ash, but whatever he'd run into tonight had obviously been more than he could really handle. His torso was black and blue from bruising, long red welts streaked this way and that along his arms, accompanied by first and second degree burns just about everywhere except his head. "How many?" He asked between numb lips.
"Ah..." Xander pauses, thinking. "Two broken, seven cracked, and three or four bruised. I think that's right. Hey, could you pull that red and black duffel out, please?"
Marcel let out a silent whistle. He'd known men, tough men, that would curl up and not move from the pain of one broken rib. He reached down and pulled out the small, curiously heavy duffel and, at Xander's affirming nod, opened it. Inside was what seemed to be a well stocked aid station - everything except blood expanders and surgical tools, it seemed. "Mr. Harris...I think maybe the business you are in is not safe. Perhaps you should find a new line of work?" He asked as he quickly pulled out a long ace bandage and a few tubes of burn ointment, which he passed to Xander.
Xander chuckled, then stopped abruptly from the pain. "It's not an option. Sometimes..." He fell silent, and started to apply the burn ointment.
Marcel stayed quiet as well, and wrapped Xander's chest as best he could when Xander had finished applying the ointment. He turned to leave. Xander's quiet voice stopped him.
"Marcel..." Marcel turned to look at Xander. The fierce, burning look in Xander's eyes surprised him. "All that evil requires to triumph is for good men to do nothing. I do something."
He swallowed and backed away from Xander, away from that terrible, mirror bright, burning gaze that seemed to see straight through him. Xander lay down and closed his eyes, and Marcel backed out the door and shut it. Leaning back against it, he wiped the sweat from his brow and waited for his pounding heart to calm. Whoever this man, this 'Alexander Harris,' was, he was not a tourist, no matter what his oh-so-authentic entry visa claimed.
*Japanese sentence structure is bass ackwards, and as far as I know, has a disturbing lack of personal pronouns that are covered for by the multitudinous forms of various words. (As far as I know - I am by no means a linguist, nor am I capable of speaking or reading japanese beyond a very limited extent)
Oneesan: typical address for your elder sister, or any older girl who helps you out.
-neesan: Suffix form of the above
Oneesama: Respectful form of address for elder sister
-niichan: suffix form of Oniichan, a familiar form of address for an elder brother, or older boy who helps you out
Imouto: Younger sister, typically used with either chan or san, and occasionally sama. Other suffixes may also be used. Almost never seen without a suffix, so far as I'm aware.