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Now Only Right Thine Heart
A 'Compass Points' Side-Story

A Ranma ½ story
by Brian Randall

Disclaimer: Ranma is property of Rumiko Takahashi and Viz video


[Walkabout]

He stared at his hands in a sort of fascinated shock. Probably unable to believe what he had done.

"What happens next?"

She looked much the same as he felt, seeming completely at a loss, for a change.

"I'm not sure. Maybe we should take back the Kinjakan?"

Both sets of eyes turned to the pieces of the staff, the iron ring and rod resting against the wall beneath a small window.

"Yeah… we can do that. That would work."

The window, which was half-white with the rise of snow pressed against the glass, and half-white with the steam of their breath.

"We have to send a letter to tell them what happened."

There was a moment of silence, allowing the whispering winds outside to rise in volume to a shrieking howl, as they flung more snow against the side of the building.

"Yes. You're right."

Neither needed to say that they weren't going back immediately.


[Discovery]

"You know, this journey has been pleasant."

He glanced at her, nodding. "Yes," he said at length, surveying the warmer desert below them. "We should probably get out of China, though. We can head back east, or south."

"Mmm," she mused, frowning. "You know, the most irritating thing about traveling is dealing with 'that' time of the month."

He fell silent, not really wanting to think about it.

"Which, fortunately, hasn't happened this month. I wonder why."

A shudder swept through him, and he turned to look her in the eye. "I'm sorry. I didn't… I…" Words failed him, and he spread his hands helplessly, looking up at her, where she sat perched on a boulder above his path.

She didn't look as angry as bemused. "Nothing to forgive. Normally, I'd be much more upset, but after seeing… that…" she trailed off, considering.

He nodded, the nightmare of ice and snow still playing in his own memory. "Yes," he said slowly. "But I still feel that I should have been more responsible."

"Yeah? Tell you what you can do to make it up to me, then."

"What's that?" he asked cautiously.

"Do it again, the next time we find a place to stay."


[End of the Road]

He surveyed the quay, frowning. "I have a feeling… I don't want to sound too silly about the entire thing, dear, but I have a feeling that we should really be heading back, soon."

She nodded, one hand resting on her swollen belly. "Yes," she said. "I want our child to be born in our own land."

A smile came to his lips at that thought. "I never would have expected this," he mused. "But I can't really complain."

An eyebrow arched upwards at that. "You'd better not," she warned.

Snorting, he began walking towards the ship. "I'd rather not swim back home. Let's get going."


[Home at Last]

"And, um, so, Tendo-san, I'd like to ask for your daughter's hand in marriage."

Soun had not been himself since hearing of Ranma and Akane's demise. Nabiki knew better than to share the possibility of their revival with him, for fear of his overreaction. "Oh?" he said, pulling himself forcible back from the being of his despair.

The older man's eyes took in the doctor, his clothing travel-worn and threadbare, and his daughter. Her own clothing was little better, and she carried a child already. Asking him for permission was somewhat moot, at that point.

"Fine," he said in a clipped tone. "I grant permission."

His daughter winced suddenly, one hand dropping to her abdomen, as she swallowed. "Your timing is priceless," she said, leaning heavily against the doctor. "Call an ambulance?"


[Pride and Joy]

She was exhausted, though the pain was fading, slowly lessening. "You know," she remarked drowsily, "I really don't plan on going through that again."

He laughed softly, cradling their child nearby. "I won't complain. That didn't look very comfortable to you."

"Good. Now, before I fall asleep… let me see her again."

"Of course."

She reached out her arms, taking the child from Tofu and hugging it gently to herself. "Her name… she… she should be named Ranko," she stated firmly before exhaustion finally overcame her.


[Visitation]

She stepped into the house warily. Her sister had said nothing more than, 'there are visitors from China here to see you,' but there could be any number of meanings to that.

She quashed down the small bubble of hope that rose within her chest as she considered the possibility that it was Ranma and Akane. That couldn't happen.

Her footsteps came to a sudden halt as she beheld who the guests were, kneeling calmly before the opened shoji panels facing the koi pond and garden. Three of them, Kiima and her two attendants.

The three turned to look at her as she entered, while her sister continued with simple pleasantries and poured tea.

"What brings you here?" she asked guardedly.

The winged woman set her teacup down carefully nodding politely to Kasumi before turning to address the elder sister. "We seek information about what has been going on in the world," she stated simply. "It impinges on us, and we must be prepared to make our move. We have no great desire to be crushed by things we never see coming."

Anger and worry mingled, both finally giving way to sense. "Maybe I can help you," she said slowly. "We don't have a lot of time, though. Kasumi? Can you fetch me a red pen, and the atlas of the world?"

While her sister scurried off to du her bidding, Nabiki sat thoughtfully at the table. Kiima raised an eyebrow, her attendants remaining silent behind her, wings ruffling nervously in agitation. "You will tell us, then?"

"I might be able to do more than just that," Nabiki muttered. "Tell Shampoo and Herb that this is a late wedding present. Now, this all began, I think, even though it's not terribly clear…"


[Exchange]

"Dear, it's not that I think what you're doing is wrong… it's that money is tight enough as it is. We can't really afford to keep on doing this."

She hesitated, eyeing the scattered paperwork on the table before her. "I… I can't just stop," she said. "But what else can we do?"

He considered for a long moment, then rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Unless you can find a way to make money off of this, I'm afraid not."

Her face fell, and she sighed. "I don't know… I want to help… but… maybe…"

His eyebrows rose in a silent question, as a smile bloomed on her face. "I may just have a plan," she remarked thoughtfully.


[Hello Again]

"Shan Pu! Herb! It's been so long — how have you been?"

The one smiled cheerily, and embraced the woman before her in a sisterly hug. "Good, Nabiki, good! You are very helpful to us."

The other moodily said, "We are… better… for your intercession, Tendo-sama."

"That's not needed, thank you."

A small voice asked, "Who are you?"

Gathering up her daughter, Nabiki explained, "This is my daughter, Ranko."

The Joketsuzoku woman smiled broadly, teeth showing in a fierce grin. "He would have been proud."

"I… I hope so."


[Trade]

"So what did they give you?"

"A few thousand tons of steel, mined and refined by the Musk."

"And?"

"It's more durable than it really should be, and combines with other metals for immensely powerful and durable alloys."

"I see."

"And, uh… it's fey. But people don't need to know that, because there's a scientific reason backing the mythical one."

"Hmm. You could make an awful lot of money with this."

"I know."


[Growth]

"Dear…" Worry.

"What now?" Irritation.

"It's time that we told Ranko the truth about Ranma and Akane." Conviction.

"Why? What good would that do?" Confusion.

"If anyone can bring them back, it's not going to be me. I… have a feeling that she's the key, if there is one." Pride.

"I'm very busy. Just… do what you think is necessary." Approval.


[Education]

"Now, Ranko, you're getting older, and, well, there are some thing you probably should know…"

Bright eyes blinked in confusion. "Daddy? I already know — we had sex education like, over a year ago."

There was a long moment of silence, interrupted by a man's coughing. "Um. Yes, but that's not what this is about. This is about your uncle."

"Huh?"

"Your uncle, Ranma."

Confusion melted into joy. "You're finally going to tell me? This is awesome!"

"Now… we haven't been that uptight about information from you… have we?"

"Yeah, whatever. Tell me about my uncle Ranma! And, like, when did he and Shampoo break up?"

Another long moment of silence. "What?"

"He was dating Shampoo, right?"

"Um… I guess, once in a while, but… no. They weren't dating like you're probably thinking."

"Well then, did he piss her off so much that she became a lesbian? Is that why she married a woman?"

"Well, you see… actually, I'll explain that some other time. It's really complicated. What I want to talk to you about, is Ranma. You see, Ranma was a martial artist…"


[Farewell]

"Okay, I might not see you guys for a while, I need to go down and put together some equipment and make arrangements."

Her father nodded stoically, a hint of a smile betraying his approval. Her mother simply nodded doubtfully.

"Ranko, dear… be VERY careful."

"Yes, we wouldn't want you to put yourself in any more risk than you need to."

She offered her parents a knowing grin. "I can manage this. All I need is some of what you've told me about Uncle's luck."

 


Author's Notes: This story is mostly just for symmetry. Fits between act one and two, but can really just go about anywhere.

 
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Last revision: May 21, 2007

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