A Ranma ½ story by
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Terry Brooks and the publisher of his books own all the characters and ideas that I use from them.
Author's Notes: This story will be crossing over with a trilogy of books by Terry Brooks: 'Running With the Demon', 'A Knight of the Word', and 'Angel Fire East'. Characters from these books may make short appearances throughout the story but it will mainly be Ranma with the concept of the trilogy.
After making sure that no one was around, Ranma closed the dojo doors and moved into the center of the training hall. With a moment of concentration, his body lifted into the air, seemingly defying gravity. Then he began to move. It was a variation of one of his favorite kata, one that displayed the might of the Saotome-ryu and its mid-air combat maneuvers. Flitting around the room, Ranma soon became encased in a crimson bubble, its surface showing him as a distorted, humanoid blob.
"Here goes," he said to himself. Spreading his hands roughly a foot apart, he focused opposing energies into them. Chi in his right hand glowed bluish-white, and whatever the other stuff in his left hand was, he didn't know, went from hazy red to a torch-like flame. He brought them together, carefully manipulating their patterns so they wouldn't explode in his face like the last hundred times. In the spirit of safety, he also pulled his force field in as close as possible, making it nearly skintight. When they came in contact with one another, there wasn't the thunderous explosion he had expected, or even the slightly bruised and burnt body; but there was something new. It was like solid flame, only transparent and containing a pulsing white spark within itself.
"Yes!!!" the martial artist exclaimed. Two seconds later his creation exploded, taking the roof of the dojo with it.
It had all started during his battle with Saffron. While fighting the demigod, Ranma had used huge amounts of energy, energy he never knew he had. He had felt it within himself like an ache, or an itch begging to be scratched, just when exhaustion had begun to drag him down, bringing his opponent's fiery blasts much too close for comfort. The energy, though, didn't behave like chi, and at first when he attempted to use it as if it were, nothing had happened. Results were easier in coming when the desperate battle caused him to act on instinct. Then he was enveloped in the raw power, and with a second wind of sorts had killed Saffron.
No one else knew, and Ranma wasn't telling. Over the past three months, during all the fights with Ryoga and Happosai and all the other challengers, he hadn't once used it, even going so far as to only practice in the dead of night when he was assured that no one would discover his secret.
"Oh, man, even Kasumi's gonna kill me," he muttered dejectedly. So what if he had finally discovered the procedure needed to combine his chi and the mysterious power that he had come to command; it wouldn't do any good if someone killed him.
"My dojo! Waaaaaahhhhhh!! It's ruined!!!" came a wail from the back porch of the Tendo home.
Akane and Nabiki soon joined the group.
"What the—" was all Nabiki's still half-sleeping mind could manage.
Akane, however, was much quicker to waken and her sharp eyes caught sight of a pigtail sticking out from behind a piece of debris. "Ranma!!!"
A panda slept peacefully, unaware of the occurrences in the outside world, currently romping through a food filled dream world.
Ranma levered himself onto his feet using a timber embedded in the ground, which had narrowly avoided impaling his head on its trip from the ceiling. Leaning on it for support, he finally saw the four people staring at him, one of which was sporting a glowing mallet, which matched perfectly with the glow coming from the rest of her body.
"I-I can ex-explain it-" was all he managed to say before making an unscheduled excursion into the upper atmosphere, a mallet still imbedded in his face.
He finally managed to get home two hours later, at nearly 4:30 in the morning. Nabiki was waiting for him at the kitchen table. Upon it sat a glass of water, a camera, and several extremely revealing nighties and bathing suits.
Her smirk made him shudder briefly. "Well, Saotome, up for a little photo shoot, say about three or four hundred poses?"
Ranma considered paying for it using the money that his mother had given him. He ruled that option out, though, nearly as soon as it passed through his mind. She had given it to him for emergency use, and his present situation hardly seemed like an emergency, just a very big inconvenience. Plus, he'd rather go on a date with Kuno than let Nabiki find out that he had a bank account; a rather large bank account. With a resigned sigh he nodded and said, "Sure Nabiki, just wait till after school tomorrow, okay?"
She kept her smirk and shook her head slightly. "Nuh uh. We're going to do this right now before Akane gets kidnapped again, or you blow up the house while training."
"I don't know if you noticed or not, but I've been blown up and malleted tonight. I'm not in the mood to put up with your crap, and with my body covered in bruises you probably won't get top dollar for your stuff."
"We both know that your little ordeal didn't harm that profitable little body. Your face isn't even bruised, and that's where Akane hit you. Oh, and I don't care what kind of mood you're in. I'm the one making the rules here," she said indignantly.
Time to try something new. It was a surprisingly good idea, and since it had come from Hiroshi, of all people, was all the more amazing: threats go a long way. "I just accidentally destroyed part of the dojo. Do you realize what I'm capable of if I actually put some effort into it?" It wasn't really his style, and using his the tactic against Nabiki of all people was beyond dangerous, but he really was in a bad mood. Akane hadn't even stopped to check him for injuries before she had laid into him with her mallet; somehow her lack of concern deeply affected him, but even he didn't know how.
Previously in steadfast control of the situation, Nabiki was at a momentary loss for words as she felt things spiraling out of her grasp. "Was that a threat, Saotome?" she finally asked, her voice dark and full of menace.
"It's whatever you want it to be. Good night. I'm going to bed." And with that he turned and went to the guestroom, to join the panda in slumber.
Nabiki felt herself flush, heat rising to her face. The reaction was not in anger, though; instead she was excited. Ranma had been so… so… different. He hadn't turned into pudding, and for once had stood up for himself in a non-fight situation. Now, this was a Ranma she could get to like. As soon as she thought it, Nabiki was struck with the horror of her own reasoning, and as punishment to herself, dumped the glass of water she had previously intended to use on Ranma over her head.
Now soaked and dripping, she dragged herself up to her room and changed out of the wet clothes and into her new yen-imprinted pajamas that Kasumi had bought for her. Her final thoughts before succumbing to sleep as she lay in bed were of how she could make Ranma suffer for threatening her and in the process getting her feelings all tangled up.
The next morning at breakfast, no one but Akane seemed upset over the dojo. Nabiki had told them that before the end of the week she would have it as good as new. Akane was another story altogether. She had been glaring daggers at Ranma all morning, and on more than one occasion bopped him over the head with a chibi-mallet for no apparent reason except for his being alive.
"So, boy, what was it you were doing last night?" asked Genma after eating all of his food and giving up on stealing Ranma's, since every time he tried his hands got another welt added from the previous tries.
"Nothing, Oyaji. Just practicing, that's all," replied Ranma nonchalantly as he grabbed the last grain of rice from his bowl.
"Don't lie to me! You've got a new technique and you don't want to share, do you?" his father snapped.
"So what if I do have some new techniques? They're mine. You've got your forbidden techniques that you won't even teach to your own son; why should I share mine with you?"
Genma sat staring at his son. He hadn't actually expected the boy to develop his own special techniques— techniques that were very powerful, from the evidence. If he had indeed done as he said, then he might finally be ready to be taught the Umisenken and the Yamasenken. Genma needed to see his son in action first, so he asked, "Would you like to learn them?"
Ranma's head snapped towards his father so fast that no one saw it move. The Saotome Forbidden Techniques were some of the most effective martial arts maneuvers he'd ever encountered; his own limited knowledge of the Umisenken, the sea of a thousand fists, and the fight with Ryu Kumon who used the Yamasenken, the mountain of a thousand fists, had taught him that. If his father was seriously considering teaching them to him, then a little demonstration of abilities that Genma wouldn't be able to duplicate anyway wouldn't hurt. "You serious, Pop?"
"I would never joke about the art, boy," replied Genma in his holier-than-thou voice.
"Truthfully?" asked Ranma. He still didn't believe his abysmally dishonest father.
"Show some respect, boy! I could help you to refine your own techniques. Mine were too dangerous, and had to be sealed away, and if yours are too, then for your own safety you must do the same."
That actually made sense. Genma, his own father— nearly as big an idiot as Kuno— had made sense. Ranma, along with the Tendos who had been watching the conversation between father and son, all stared in obvious astonishment at Genma.
"What? Have I got something on my face?"
-Insert mass facefault-
School had gone as well as Ranma could have hoped for, only being attacked a half dozen times: three times by Kuno, once by Akane because he sneezed the wrong way, and twice by Mousse. Surprisingly Shampoo hadn't shown up all day and Konatsu was sick at the hospital, with Ukyou staying with him to make sure he was all right. Shampoo had however shown up while Akane and Ranma were walking back home. When she attempted to glomp Ranma, Akane launched him with her mallet.
Mere inches from landing in the koi pond Ranma stopped and floated over to solid ground.
"So that is one of your new techniques," said a voice from behind him.
"Gah!" Ranma turned quickly, only to see his father appear out of the shadow cast by the compound's far wall. "H-how did you do that?"
"Just one of the few applications of the Umisenken."
"That was more than just hiding your aura. You were invisible!"
"No, I simply wrapped myself in the shadow."
"Well, let's get started then. I'll have your 'forbidden techniques' mastered in a week," claimed Ranma confidently.
Couldn't argue with that one; he was probably right. "Have you forgotten the deal, boy? I must see your techniques to determine whether or not you are worthy."
"I don't really have any new techniques," admitted Ranma. Before his father could respond he said, "But I have learned some new abilities."
Now angry and a little disappointed, Genma asked, "What do you mean, 'new abilities'?"
So Ranma explained to his father about the new energy that he found he could manipulate during his battle with Saffron. He told of how he could use it to fly effortlessly, produce powerful protective shields, and create numerous fire-based attacks, which put much less strain on him than chi attacks, but were also less powerful.
Incredible. Genma was beyond simple pride in his son. He couldn't have expressed his feelings if he tried, something that he wouldn't do anyway. It seemed that Ranma had progressed so far in the Art that he no longer had limits. Just imagining the combination of flight and the mid-air attacks emphasized in the Saotome-ryu gave the father goosebumps.
Unfortunately, before father and son could converse further Akane came storming through the gate with a look of smoldering rage on her face. She caught sight of Ranma, and like a guided missile, changed directions and was suddenly heading straight toward him. "You pervert!! Nabiki told me what you're going to do!! I can't believe you!! Ranma No Baka!!!" An overhead swing and Ranma was firmly planted in the ground. Genma ran for his life.
Nabiki came running through the gate a minute later then stopped to lean against the wall to catch her breath. "Gotta warn Ranma," she gasped.
"No, thanks. I couldn’t afford the info, and it's a little late anyway," said Ranma after regaining consciousness and seeing Nabiki panting like she had just ran a marathon. Why does she care?
"Damn." Now she definitely wouldn't be able to take any pictures today. The massive lump and bruise on Ranma's forehead making it pointless.
"Mind giving me a hand here? Oh, wait, never mind, no money, forgot." Making it look like he was pulling himself from the ground Ranma slowly levitated from his chest high burial. Once free, he asked, "What did you tell Akane?"
Knowing Ranma to be broke, and that he would eventually find out anyway, Nabiki decided to tell him. "She asked me what scheme I was planning to get the dojo repaired. I told her."
He looked at her suspiciously. "Is that all? She sure did seem mad."
Her 'I'm so innocent I couldn't step on a weed' face appeared instantly. "No, that's all."
Ranma was having none of it and continued to stare at her in silence.
Unnerved by the determined look in his eyes, and remembering the oblique threat from the previous night, Nabiki after several long seconds said, "I might have said something about renting you out to a couple of your other suitors. You know, on dates and stuff?" Oh shit, why had she told him that?
"After the last time you did that, Hiroshi, a friend of mine, brought up an interesting point. Know what it was?" She shook her head. "He told me that prostitution was illegal in Japan. I had not even thought of it that way until then, but when I did, it all made sense. You were treating me like a whore." Unusually Ranma, who by now would have owed Nabiki his entire life’s wages, was now holding his own against the mercenary girl.
Oh, my god! She'd never treat Ranma like that. The thought was cut off as she realized that that was exactly how she treated Ranma. Nabiki used people; it was fun, especially in Ranma's case, but not like that. Unnoticed by the girl, her revelation being of such magnitude, tears welled up in her eyes before she ran into her home.
Oh, my god! I made Nabiki cry. The thought was amazingly satisfying to Ranma who had been on the receiving end of much of Nabiki's machinations over the last year. Still, the sight of any girl crying could be equated to superman and his reaction to kryptonite.
"Now I've gotta apologize." She'll probably make me her slave or something.
"Go away!" screamed Nabiki. She didn't want anybody to see her until she could get her emotions under control. Too bad that years of repressed emotion tend to build up, and when they are released don't just retreat back behind the wall that once held them.
"Come on, Nabiki, tell me what's wrong." Akane was at a loss as to what to do. She had been leaving her room after changing into her yellow gi to go and practice in the back yard when Nabiki, in tears, ran into her room and barricaded herself in.
"This is your last warning!"
"Remember the those pictures of your third birthday party?"
Akane growled in anger and frustration as she walked off, but the threat was recognized. She'd do almost anything short of killing someone to keep those pictures secret.
Ranma waited until Akane was down the stairs and out back before approaching Nabiki's room. He hesitated a moment before knocking and was met by, "Damn it, Akane, go away!"
Ranma's senses had been honed over the years to the pinnacle of human development, so he easily heard the muffled sniffles and sobs. It didn't hurt that the walls weren't all that thick. "Hey, Nabiki, it's Ranma. I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for making you cry. It was mean and I'm not really mad at you or nothing."
"Argggghhhh" Why wouldn't they just go away? She just needed some time to sort things out, that's all.
"Are you all right?" asked Ranma worriedly after hearing the pained cry. When he received no answer, Ranma became worried, and with a solid shove knocked the door off its rollers and into the room.
Nabiki had her head buried under a pillow and was shaking badly, her incoherent mumbling made even more garbled because of the pillow.
"Nabiki?" No answer. "Nabiki, speak to me." Still no answer. He walked over to her and shook her shoulder lightly, trying to get her attention.
In a blink Ranma found himself the target of a near bone-crushing hug. Nabiki had her head leaned against his shoulder allowing him to finally discern what she was saying.
"Why won't it stop?" repeated constantly.
An hour later, Akane came in from her workout and headed to her room to get a change of clothes. At the top of the stairs she saw Nabiki's door knocked down and rushed into her room. The sight that greeted her was plain damned scary.
Ranma had the look of a deer caught in the headlights. In his arms was a sleeping Nabiki, dried tear tracks showing clearly on her face.
Akane automatically assumed the worst, which was unimaginable to any other human being. "You pervert!!! What did you do to my sister?!"
"Lady, is it wise to manipulate them so callously?"
"Yes. If they are to be a team and prevent the coming darkness, their relationship must be changed dramatically from what it is now."
"Your previous alterations have been minor, but the amount of magic that you've used this day alone will alert every Void-aligned demon in the hemisphere to them. What if the Void's agents find them before they arrive, and what will happen to the family if Ranma and Nabiki are gone when the agents do arrive?
"You have witnessed Ranma's battle prowess, as have I, and never before has such a mortal warrior existed. If he were to fall so early, then we are all lost."
"What of Nabiki and her family?"
"For now, Ranma will protect Nabiki. Another of our allies will see to the family’s safety."
"You know best, I guess."
"Yes, I do."
To be continued.
Author's Notes: In this story Ranma is going to be a psychiccer. If you're not familiar with the Psychic Force games, a psychiccer possesses power over an element or force and can use it to do the new things that Ranma does. Nabiki will be returning to some semblance of normalcy in the next chapter, but her view of Ranma will be changed drastically. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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