A Ranma ½ / Oh! My Goddess crossover story
as chronicled by Trella
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Oh! My Goddess belongs to Fujishima Kousuke, Kodansha, TBS and KSS films; AnimEigo, Studio Proteus, and Dark Horse Comics. The characters created by the goddess Rumiko Takahashi and the deity Kousuke Fujishima are herein used without permission, and I, the author, do not expect to earn one red yen from my unauthorized usage thereof. However, the situations in which the aforementioned characters find themselves are my own fault. There… How’s that for a disclaimer?
Friday afternoon. After school (much to the relief of that man of action, Ranma Saotome, who was presently shaking off his terminal case of boredom at Ucchan's, but then, that's another story…), and Nabiki finally had what she had been waiting for.
"Hey, Kasumi, the pictures came in!" Nabiki greeted Kasumi upon getting home. The elder sister was briefly puzzled. "Pictures? What… Oh! Of Freya's fight with the police?"
"Exactly!" Nabiki affirmed. "I'll have to remember to thank Gosunkugi for his darkroom expertise later. Amazing that the kid's actually good for something."
The two sisters poured over the photos. It was all there… Freya in her armor, Freya with wings, Freya smearing Tokyo's finest. It all affirmed a theory Kasumi had been developing about Nerima's latest mysterious visitor. She showed Nabiki the material she found on the Internet, and as the younger Tendo girl read through the papers, Kasumi explained.
"I don't really think Freya's… Well… quite human, Nabiki. Or maybe it's that she's more than human. The similarities between her and the Freya in those papers is just too much to ignore, and while I don't really believe our Freya's a goddess… that'd be too silly, even for us… I feel sure she's some sort of supernatural creature. Perhaps even an angel."
"An angel? Kasumi, that's so… Western!" Nabiki scoffed.
"But look at the wings and that armor!" Kasumi defended.
"Hey, I'm not saying you're wrong about li’l Miss Freya being… something. After all, haven't we dealt with ghosts, phoenixes, dragons, not to mention some really weird martial arts. What do you think, Kasumi, did we do something really bad in a past life to deserve this sort of karma?"
Kasumi leveled a serious gaze on her sister. "Nabiki… we couldn't possibly have been that bad."
"Yeah… There's something supernatural about Freya, you're right about that," Nabiki said as she turned her attention back to the matter at hand. "And look at this. She came to school today during lunch, pumped me for info about Kuno… and she paid me with these." And Nabiki casually dropped the two gold coins Freya had given her into Kasumi's hand.
Kasumi, naturally enough, boggled. Well, she boggled for Kasumi, that is. Her normally placid face quirked slightly as she felt the weight of gold in her hand. That ever so slight catch in her breath was the equivalent of less centered people squealing "Or! Or! Les oodles, morbleu! Nous sommes riche! Ah, St. Tropez, 'ere we come!" At least, if those people were semi-French, anyway. Then the scholar in Kasumi took over and she examined the pair of coins more carefully.
"Nabiki? How would you like to go into town. Today. Right now, in fact?"
"Kasumi?" Nabiki was surprised at this uncharacteristic show of impulsiveness on the part of her sister.
"We need to get these coins identified. They look old; almost ancient… but they also look freshly minted. That can't be right, can it? We need to find an expert opinion," Kasumi explained.
Thus it was that the two girls were partaking the advantages of Japan's justly famed public transportation system. Nabiki made a quick change of clothes while Kasumi scribbled out a quick note to the effect that she and her sister would be out for a few hours (a note about which she had some trepidation, since if Akane saw it first, she'd likely take it into her head to cook up a little something for the family, with the usual results, but that was something that couldn't be helped this time).
Now, while Japan Rail is famous for its efficiency, cleanliness, and punctuality (not to mention the shinkansen, which is just now reaching the US, and bloody well about time, too, and Amtrak had better expand bullet train service to more than just the Eastern corridor… please excuse this author's rant, and back to the story), its also famous for being… well, crowded. Like, pack the people in like sardines. And when there's that many people packed together, it’s almost inevitable that an unpleasant percentage of them would be that subspecies of human that are called… ecchi.
Gropers… feelers… fanny pinchers… and just plain perverts! Now, while the intra-city rail upon which Nabiki and Kasumi were riding wasn't that crowded (by Japanese standards), since it wasn't the peak commuter hours yet, there were still some hentai types sharing the car with the two Tendo girls. What were those nasty types thinking? Let's look into their collective minds and find out.
"Woo, mama! Lookee that! C'mon, baby, bend down… bend down!" This thought was directed toward Nabiki, who was wearing her trademark shorts (Nabiki never minded showing off what she worked so hard to maintain). Then the chikan pervert saw the young woman next to Nabiki, and his filthy mind instantly envisioned the most naughty of thoughts, of the two girls doing all sorts of things to each other… the fact that they were clearly sisters only added to the lecherous excitement. And then they both turned and caught his eye.
Suddenly, our pervert's thoughts (okay, there were more than one in the train's car, but since he's by far the worst of a nasty lot, the author is letting him represent the others of his breed) take a strikingly different turn. Like that it would be a crime against nature itself to be even thinking such thoughts about the older of the two girls, and it would sully the entire globe to even give her round and shapely fanny (what he could see of it, since Kasumi was favoring a long and demure skirt) a pat. And as for the other… here he shivered as his thoughts turned to her. While the older girl's eyes were quite innocent and utterly guileless, the younger girl's eyes all but announced 'Try it, buddy… try anything, and you'll be owing me your first born child, the hospital in which he's born, the schools which he'll attend, and the company in which he'll end up slaving away his days. And I have ways of collecting!"
Needless to say, even such a consummate and complete pervert like Futana Shimeru decided to leave the Tendo sisters unmolested.
That was the joy of Kasumi, Nabiki reflected as they walked through the corridors of the museum. Despite outward appearances, appearances as carefully crafted as Nabiki's own, there was always something new to learn about her older sister. For example, she was quite surprised when, upon entering the museum, the security guards all seemed to know the eldest daughter of Soun Tendo, and what was more astounding, when Kasumi expressed a desire to visit the curator of the coin collection, a quick call to the back offices was made and the two were allowed through. Nabiki knew her sister had a life outside of home and kitchen, but she never suspected it could be so intellectually rich.
As impressed as Nabiki was with her sister, that feeling did not extend to the curator. The younger of the two girls didn't really know just what a curator was supposed to look like, not having encountered many at all, but this one certainly looked the stereotype she held. Mr. Howard, as Kasumi had introduced him, was rather wispy, somewhat underfed, pale, and quite colorless. Nabiki had the distinct idea that if someone patted the man on his back, a small cloud of dust would emerge. Indeed, the only thing remarkable about the man was his rich British accent. (There was also that very curious plaque on the wall behind his desk that read "Toot'n'C'mon", but Nabiki just dismissed it as one of those unexplainable mysteries of life.)
But this insipid man certainly came to life when Nabiki, at Kasumi's direction, dropped the two coins into his hand. Nabiki barely restrained a giggle as Mr. Howard screamed (rather high pitched) and fumbled, the coins dropping onto his desk. He hastily scrambled in a drawer and pulled out a pair of cloth gloves. With his hands now suitably protected, he picked up the coins to examine them more closely. It was plainly evident that he was quite shocked at what he held.
"Wh-where did you get these?" he stammered.
"A friend gave them to me," Nabiki responded. Hey, there were times when it never hurt to tell the truth.
The response… Well, just plain flummoxed the man. "A friend… gave them to you… just like that?"
"Um… Well… Yeah. That's about it." Nabiki nodded.
If it were possible for the man's eyes to pop out and his jaw to drop to his desk, this is what they would have done. They certainly thought about it.
"Is there something wrong?" Kasumi asked.
"I… I don't know. This is impossible. These coins… if they are indeed what they appear to be, they're over a thousand years old. But there's no sign of wear at all. They look absolutely new… but there's no signs of forgery, and no forger would mint a coin this old looking so new…" Indeed, the esteemed Professor Howard was babbling. In fact, he was about ready to get a calculator out, punch in a few numbers, pull his hair and scream despairingly, "It just don't add up!" Luckily for his sanity, Kasumi had a suggestion.
"Isn't there a test to determine the age of metals?"
"Hey, good call, sis," Nabiki whispered.
"Well, I didn't want to poor man to have a seizure," Kasumi whispered back.
The poor man in question mopped his sweating head with a somewhat used handkerchief. "Yes… Yes, you're right," he panted. (He was near to hyperventilating, in fact… better find an oxygen tank, girls!) "Fortunately, we've got the labs here for that."
The coins were tested for trace minerals to determine where the gold was mined and processed. They were tested for the way the gold was originally melted, examined under powerful microscopes for tool and die marks, and the results compared to an extensive database, and the result…
"…is that these coins are about 1060 years old, Byzantine Empire. And I'd like to know just how your friend got hold of two such perfect specimens! Um… You don't suppose that…" Mr. Howard wasn't gauche enough to come right out and say it, but Nabiki caught on quickly enough.
"You want them, they're yours. Don't really know what I'd do with them anyway."
Actually, Nabiki had several ideas about what she could do with the coins. Collectors would pay top yen for them, obviously, or she could find a good auction house. There was always Christie’s, for example, although her father would likely flood the house at the thought of the travel expenses.
Kasumi thought it somewhat uncharacteristic of her sister to just give away something as precious and valuable as the two coins, and said so… delicately, of course.
"Well, yes, true," Nabiki explained, "but we can get a hefty charitable tax credit, and we can always hit this guy up for future favors. Might need to do more research on Freya at odd hours. I mean, just how did Freya get those coins? Its almost like she had herself a time machine and zipped back to get them… and if I’m thinking like that, then I must be watching too many cheap sci-fi movies."
"Yes, it’s all so mysterious," observed Kasumi in agreement. And then the eldest and most responsible Tendo sister squealed like a little schoolgirl. "Oh, Nabiki, don't you just love a mystery? Maybe we can solve who's been robbing all those banks next!"
Nabiki… blinked. Stopped and took a breath. "Umm… Kasumi, while I appreciate the enthusiasm, this is serious stuff. I mean, we don't know who or what Freya is, what her intentions are. She could be dangerous, after all. Wouldn't be the first time some mystical force decided to drop in on the house and give us all a nice big hello. And as for those bank jobs… Well, what do they pay the police for, anyway…?" Then Nabiki muttered to herself, "Strange, though, that they haven't found any clues to those jobs."
Kasumi pondered her sister's words as they walked. "Well… To be honest, I'm not sure that Freya really is a threat… or at least a danger. I just have the impression… the feeling… that her intentions, as you say, are rather benign. Don't ask me why I feel that way, though. Maybe it’s because… Well, do you remember the sparring she did with Ukyo? Ukyo's very good, of course, but I had the feeling that Freya was holding back. Holding back a lot. And that if she had truly wanted, she could have defeated Ukyo at any time. In fact, although I hesitate to say it, I had the impression that Freya, mystery that she is, could have demolished the dojo itself without a thought."
Nabiki didn't exactly scoff, but she did point out, "So? Ranma and his Demolition Brigade tend to wreck the dojo on a regular basis, usually without thinking. I swear, one of these days I'm going to hire them all out to a contractor that needs to take a building down. Put that energy to at least profitable use."
Kasumi giggled at that, then sobered. "I don't mean the dents, holes and general mayhem that Ranma and his little friends do, which, as you say, they tend to do with distressing regularity. I mean…" and here the girl made the appropriate gestures with her hands. "…BOOM, poof… gone! No more dojo. None. Nothing left, not even any debris. Maybe not even any postholes left in the ground. Total devastation. I think that's what Freya's capable of."
"Wow. I'll trust your instincts on that one, sis… I never got that impression, but then it's all the more important that we figure out just what Freya is."
"I might have a solution to that; just maybe. We'll be having a guest for dinner tonight: Kodachi. I accidentally bumped into her and… Nabiki, are you all right? You sound like you're choking on something. Well, anyway, I was thinking of inviting two others, as well. Freya — so we can observe her. Perhaps we can show her those photos you took, or have them just accidentally laying on the table and see how she reacts — and also my old friend from High School. Urd's always liked mysterious things, after all."
"Kasumi, you're so devious!" Nabiki admired. "Although… I don't know why, but Urd — I remember Urd (hoo-boy, do I remember her) — and Freya in the same room? I don't know why, but the thought makes me shudder!"
"Yes, I admit the thought gives me pause, too, but Urd knows all about Nordic legends. It seems a bit odd with her being as dusky as she is. She almost looks like that one girl from an American comic book. I can't remember the name of it right now…"
"But surely Urd's in Scandinavia. Just the call will be expensive, let alone travel costs," Nabiki pointed out.
"Nabiki, with our family at potential risk, can money be so important?" Kasumi scolded. Well, it was scolding for Kasumi, anyway. Nabiki looked suitably ashamed. Kasumi went on, "Besides, I've heard that Urd was living with her sister here in Japan. In Nekomi, in fact. The strange thing is, I heard they were living in some abandoned temple with a college boy. That doesn't really sound very proper, let alone comfortable…"
Nabiki just shrugged. "Takes all kinds."
And thus the two young women made their uneventful way home, untroubled by any perverted attention. Hey, even among the hentai, there's a grapevine.
As had been pointed out earlier, Kasumi was worried that her dear youngest sister might venture another expedition in the kitchen during her absence and try another go at pois… er… cooking for the family. As well-founded in past precedent as this concern was, in this particular instance, it was a needless worry. Not that Akane had markedly improved her culinary skills — she hadn't — it was just that she, Ranma, and Shampoo had accepted an invitation to a certain restaurant called Ucchan's.
But this wasn’t just some ordinary get-together one might expect between the semi-friendly rivals that Shampoo, Akane and Ukyo had been, or between people coming to learn just how important they all were to each other, as they were discovering, perhaps even without the aid of Shampoo’s wish. This particular gathering had the air of Something Important, as evidenced by the expression on Ukyo’s normally cheerful face.
"Hey, what’s wrong, Ukyo? You look like your best friend’s died or something," Ranma observed with all his usual delicacy and tact.
"Is so," Shampoo agreed. "Spa… er… Ukyo look like have much on mind."
"Yeah. What’s up, Ukyo? Anything you want to talk about? You know you can tell us anything," Akane prompted.
Ukyo hesitated. She had planned to tell her loves… Well, something, but now it came to it, she faltered. Still, she was from the Kansai region, so had a reputation to uphold, and she just came out with it. Well, sort of.
"Well… Yeah. There is something. I… I gotta go someplace for a few days. Well, it might be more than just a few days. Actually, I don’t really know how long it’ll take."
"Ukyo?" Akane urged.
"It’s… a Kuonji matter (Ukyo was lying, of course). We have these things kinda like reunions every so often. No outsiders. Sorry guys, I’d invite you otherwise, but you know how it is."
"Oh, that relief. Shampoo think it maybe something like you do something silly like journey to Cursed Springs or like that."
Ukyo burped and coughed slightly. "And that’s why I invited you all here today. I’ll be leaving tomorrow, and, well, like I said, I don’t really know how long it’ll take. I just wanted us all to be together for a bit." The ponytailed girl was having a hard time keeping herself under control. The thought of leaving her friends, her loves, was a hard thing to bear, yet bear it she must, for her personal honor. She owed them all so very much, but especially Shampoo… or so she thought, anyway. And so she busied herself cooking up okonomiyaki and playing the perfect hostess, and she soon relaxed in the company of those who were most important to her.
There was someone else playing hostess in Nerima… Well, preparing to play hostess, anyway. It’s been noted elsewhere (and often) that in the Tendo kitchen, Kasumi ruled supreme. It was her realm, her kingdom. There was not an implement or an ingredient the location of which she did not know — which is why she tried to keep Akane away from the kitchen as much as she gently could. There was something about her youngest sister, however much she might love her, that disturbed the harmony of her domain.
However, Akane was safely away at Ukyo’s, and Nabiki, while never particularly fond of the more domestic aspects of running a house, was at least not a total klutz and was actually being helpful getting things ready for their guests. After all, this was a dinner that was important to both the sisters. For Kasumi, she would be welcoming back an old and dear friend, as well as hopefully making a new one in Kodachi. As for Nabiki, it was another chance to carefully observe Freya. So both wanted this meal to go off without a hitch. Nabiki set about the task of preparing the house and the dining room, while Kasumi busied herself in the kitchen making ready the food she had chosen.
And so, all was ready, and the guests began to arrive. The first was Kodachi, which was surprising, since one would have expected her to be "fashionably late". Also surprising for one as apparently exhibitionistic as the Black Rose, she was wearing… Well, not her usual leotard. In fact, the long black skirt with red rose appliqués was rather fetching. A raving, psychotic loony Miss Kuno might have been, but at least she had a sense of style.
Next to arrive was Freya herself. Nabiki greeted her, partly because of the fact that Kasumi and Kodachi chatting away like old pals was beginning to creep her out a little. She knew her sister could make friends with almost anyone… but Kodachi? There was something almost… unnatural about that. Nabiki and Kodachi had never gotten along all that well, though their relations weren’t outright hostile, but she had to admit, the Black Rose was being well-behaved. That in itself worried her.
So it was a relief to get away and welcome the object of her interest into the house. Freya was dressed casually, nothing ornate, yet somehow her choice of clothing appeared very dignified.
And thus it was that Freya and Kodachi met. Kodachi was aware of her brother’s growing interest in Nerima’s latest resident, and so finally took he opportunity to thoroughly scope her out. What she saw did impress her. After all, Freya moved with a feline dignity and grace, and she was quite the beauty.
"So, you are the one to have so lately captured my bother’s heart. I must admit, you do seem somewhat better than that redhaired floozy that so shamelessly bears my own beloved’s name, not to mention that… that…" Kodachi, just in time to maintain politeness, remembered in whose house she was, and she really didn’t wish to offend her hostess (and for some reason, she really didn’t want to do anything to upset or hurt this Kasumi Tendo. Such consideration for those lower than herself was quite rare.) by labeling Akane with unkind names, no matter what she may have thought of her brother’s other romantic interest. For Kodachi was, believe it or not, rather protective of her brother. It was true, they argued most all the time (and made life a real terror for their faithful retainer, Sasuke, poor li’l guy), but they shared a horrible trauma that they coped with as best they could. So Kodachi had an interest in whatever female captured Tatewaki’s heart. Or whatever organ might be involved… Naturally, like any sister, she didn’t think any girl was good enough for her brother, but this Freya… there was something about her. Something almost ethereal.
Finally, there came a third knock at the door, and this time, both Kasumi and Nabiki rose to greet the new visitor, leaving Kodachi and Freya alone. The two began something of a verbal fencing match, Kodachi trying to learn more about her brother’s latest love interest, and Freya attempting to satisfy the rose girl’s curiosity without giving too much away. And just then, the voice of the third invited guest drifted into the dining room. Freya's eyes narrowed sharply, her body went tense, and her hand convulsed sharply, crushing the teacup she was holding. Kodachi hardly missed that, thinking to herself, Oho, what’s this?, but aloud she asked, "Freya… is there anything wrong?" At the very least, the fire-haired vision sitting across from her should have been dashing off in search of bandages. The shattered teacup had to leave some very sharp splinters, after all, which should have gashed and deeply cut into Freya’s hand… and yet, there she sat, evidently unaware of what she had just done.
"Wrong? No, no, no, nothing wrong. Nothing, heh-heh, at all! Why would you, heh, think there's anything wrong?" Freya nervously stammered. And then she squealed, "Yow! Hot!", and shook her hand where the tea had spilled over it.
Kasumi recognized the distinctive knock at the threshold of the house as she went to the entrance, and eagerly greeted her new guest. In walked a silver-haired vision of incredible beauty. Without hesitation, she caught Kasumi up in her arms and gave the eldest Tendo daughter a hug that seemed a little less than proper. Nabiki looked up in surprise at the dusky-skinned babe… er… visitor that was so fondly embracing her older sister. Naturally, she knew Urd — for indeed, it was Urd. In fact, it was because of Urd that the middle Tendo girl realized that she liked girls. I mean… really liked girls. This wasn't due to Urd's incredible beauty, although she was an absolute stunner. It was more because of…
Well, if we skip back a couple of years, to the days when Kasumi was in high school, we might note that she had made the acquaintance of a foreign exchange student that went by the unlikely name of Urd Odinsdottir. Kasumi, drawn to anyone who might help her learn about new places and peoples, befriended her and the pair soon became quite close. In fact, Urd was given to making visits to the Tendo house, each girl helping the other with their studies. Kasumi, quite naturally, had a mastery of most all the subjects she studied, while Urd was an indifferent student at best in every subject — except chemistry, for which she seemed to have a genuine passion.
There was one other subject that Urd had a passion for: biology. Or to be more precise, shall we say applied biology? And during one sleepover with Kasumi, Urd had applied some biology on Kasumi, who… um… bear with me here, please… quite lapped it up. So just how is it that Kasumi can have experienced that — and don't think that was the only time — and still remain the innocent that she is? Quite simple, really. For Kasumi, it was quite natural that two good friends, so close and loving, should wish to share life's joys together. Including that one. She saw neither harm nor blame in it, which might be why she wasn't concerned about what others might call the "immorality" of that "group arrangement" thing.
But getting back to Nabiki: Well, Urd can be rather vocal, and Kasumi proved to be something of a moaner, and the walls between Nabiki's room and Kasumi's were thin enough to allow the younger girl to hear… Well, not everything, but certainly the juicier bits, and being the quick study she was, she quickly realized just what was going on behind the green door. Except that the door to Kasumi's room wasn't green. That's when she started to look at her fellow female students in… a new light. Not that she let on about it, of course; that way lay ruin for her, with her carefully crafted icy reputation… and she didn't have any problem with boys, either, having scoped out a few tight butts in her time. While she focused most of her attention on her studies, when Nabiki did sneak a peek, she gave both genders equal time.
But to return to the present. The somewhat overfond embrace broke (and about time, thought Nabiki), and the two more-than-friends gazed at each other with happy smiles. "My goodness, Urd, it’s been too long!"
Urd agreed. "That’s for sure… how are you getting along with that Dr. Tofu?"
Kasumi giggled. "He’s still as silly as ever… but what about your sister? I heard she found a young man?"
"Keiichi? Yeah, well… the boy’s a bit of a wimp, but I gotta say, his heart’s in the right place. And he does seem to make Bell happy. Just wish they wouldn’t take so much time about… things."
Kasumi blushed becomingly. "Oh, but there’s still plenty of time for that, isn’t there? Anyway, there’s so much to catch up on… and there’s some people I’d like you to meet."
As Kasumi led Urd into the house, they passed Nabiki, who fell in line behind them — but not before the Nordic beauty gave the middle Tendo sister a rather fetching and somewhat suggestive smile, as if hinting she knew what was on Nabiki’s mind… and the Ice Queen of Furinkan High School did something she very rarely did: she blushed.
From the sound of it, Freya and Kodachi had been getting along well enough during their hostess’ brief absence. Both were somewhat guarded, but curiously enough, Kodachi didn’t feel the resentment she normally would have when faced with someone so beautiful as Freya. Not that Kodachi was at all insecure about her own looks; she knew she was an utter knockout, and most women certainly could not possibly compare to her own majesty. Still, she could see her brother’s reasons for falling for the flame-haired beauty.
The aforementioned flame-haired beauty had her own opinions about Kodachi. What a nutcase, she thought, especially when Kodachi talked about her ever-so-shy suitor, Ranma Saotome, and uttered her trademark laugh. The which, quite naturally, caused Freya to shudder inwardly. But the goddess also remembered what Nabiki had told her about the Kuno’s and their family tragedy, and she knew that if she were to have any chance with Tatewaki, she’d have to win over his sister. Besides, Kodachi did have some good qualities, buried though they might be under her apparent madness. Maybe, thought Freya, if I reach out with my powers and touch the poor girl, just there… And she froze on that thought as…
"Kodachi… Freya… I’d like you to meet an old friend of mine, Urd Odinsdottir," Kasumi introduced. Kodachi nodded her head ever-so-slightly in a polite greeting (although she couldn’t help thinking that Urd seemed to share with Freya that strange ethereal quality she had noticed earlier), but Freya’s reaction…
Was, well… curious, to say the least. She looked very tense and watchful, almost guarded, and this was just the sort of behavior to capture Kodachi's deep interest. So the self-proclaimed Black Rose set about observing Freya as Kasumi, Nabiki, and this new person, this Urd, came into the room. And yes indeed, Freya was definitely upset and agitated, and this was most curious. After all, she was quite relaxed and at ease just a minute ago, when it was only the Tendo sisters and herself with the Nordic beauty, but in walks this Urd and suddenly Freya’s almost as nervous as Ranma facing a cat.
And this Urd person. She seemed to share a couple of things with Freya. For one, there was a strange, almost unearthly ethereal quality to both of them; it was almost as if Kodachi was in the presence of something almost holy, yet tempered with an earthiness that suggested neither of the two would turn down a good party. The other thing was that this Urd seemed to be almost as surprised to see Freya as Freya was to see her. The tension was mutual. And then there were those most unusual facial markings both women bore, differing in design and pattern, yet arranged in the same way.
Freya made a visible effort to relax and brought her teacup to her lips for a sip — yes, that very teacup that she had shattered in her hand. It was only when her lips touched not porcelain but flesh that she fully realized what she had done. Reflexively, she giggled and rubbed the back of her head in embarrassment.
As might be expected, Nabiki and Kasumi were both watching this as carefully as was Kodachi.
Freya finally found her voice. "Well, Urd… Been a while, hasn't it? Mind telling me what you're doing here of all places? Last I heard, you and that Mara…"
Urd, rather quickly and blushing, interrupted whatever it was Freya was about to disclose regarding her and the aforementioned Mara. "I could ask you the same thing, Freya dear…" Urd was almost hissing out that "dear".
"Oh! Then you two know each other?" Kasumi asked.
"Oh, yes…" Two voices chorused, and two pairs of jaws clenched…
It was evident there was some tension between the two Nordic visitors. It would hardly do to have them glaring over their teacups at each other — even though Freya didn’t have a teacup at the moment — and it would disturb the harmony of the house. It was bad enough when Ranma and Akane bickered. So Kasumi exerted her usual calming influence, with a word go two here, a gentle touch there, a glance or a look… whatever she sensed would work. And soon, the strain between the two had thawed a bit, and at one magical moment, both Freya and Urd even smiled.
And it was that smile that did it. For Kodachi, wounded as she was by years of maternal abuse, it was like the sun burning away the clouds in her disordered mind, and she knew, she suddenly knew, with a certainty that surpassed anything she had ever known before, the nature of her fellow guests.
"You! I know what you are! You’re goddesses!"
To be continued.
Author's notes: Okay, what’s going on here? Kodachi, of all people, solving the mystery about Freya? How can this be? Well, in a lot of traditional cultures, it’s believed that those that are disordered or disturbed are more in touch with the Spirit World, and they don’t come too much more disordered than Kodachi, normally. Of course, she does have cause, since I’m borrowing Jim Bader’s theories regarding the upbringing of the Kuno siblings here.
And what a place to end a chapter! Will Urd and Freya try to deny Kodachi’s "accusation"? After all, she is a nutcase. And if so, what will they say? And what of the missing people in the story, like Ryoga and Mousse for instance? Well, Japan’s favorite bacon-boy will have to wait in the wings for a bit more, but Mousse… Let’s butter him up with a chapter all of his own. Well, not a whole chapter, just a half chapter: Chapter 6.5 of "Aiyah! My Goddess?", coming up next!
Many, many thanks go to Jim Bader and T.H. Tiger for their help.
|Layout, design, & site revisions © 2005||
Webmaster: Larry F