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.
"Yeah," answered Ranma. He really didn't want to talk to Nabiki about anything, but she deserved some answers… at least the one from his dreams did.
"I talked to Cologne about that girl today and how you fought her. I believe that you are a psychomancer like her."
"What are psychomancers?"
"People who can control certain things with your mind. You can control fire, I'd guess."
"That's obvious," remarked Ranma sarcastically. "Anything else I should know? I'm not going to grow extra arms or anything?"
Nabiki couldn't help herself, she had to laugh a little at the mental picture of a four-armed Ranma that popped into her head. Seeing Ranma's venomous glare she stopped herself and said, "I'm sorry. You don't have to worry about anything bad happening because you are a psychomancer. In fact, there are several benefits. Now you'll never get sick, you can live ten times longer than you would have, and fire won't hurt you."
"Great, now the gods will have even more time to destroy my sanity," said Ranma quietly to himself.
Nabiki heard and had to bite her lip to stop the words of comfort that nearly sprang forth. Ranma wouldn't appreciate her attempts at kindness; he'd assume that there was a price. Pretending that she hadn't heard, Nabiki said, "Don't worry about the dreams. I'll find this Gwynedd place that Cologne mentioned, and we can make whoever is causing us to have them stop."
Ranma nodded and resumed melting pebbles and throwing them into the canal.
Nabiki saw that Ranma was finished and decided to visit the library to do a little research.
Ranma waited another hour before heading home. He just didn't feel like dealing with Akane today. She was sure to find something to blame on him. Kasumi was in the kitchen already preparing dinner when he entered. "Have you seen Akane, Kasumi?"
"I believe she is in the dojo practicing," replied Kasumi with a smile.
Ranma thanked her and walked to the dojo.
"Where have you been?" demanded Akane. She just knew that Ranma was up to something with her sister. That pervert.
"I was doing business with Nabiki." He paid her no further attention, walking past her and to the opposite side of the dojo where he began a kata with such speed that he became nothing more than a blur to Akane.
Upset at being ignored, Akane threw a bokken into the blur and was rewarded a moment later as Ranma came crashing to the floor with the bokken entangled in his legs.
"Humph, serves you right," declared Akane with her arms crossed under her breasts.
"Grrrr," growled Ranma. He didn't even bother to remove the bokken from between his legs, nor did he give acknowledgement to the fact that his right leg was broken. He did turn the wooden sword into a pile of ash, though, then he turned to Akane and glared at her with so much anger that instead of coming to his aid like she had intended upon noticing his leg, that she ran away crying.
Kasumi came running into the dojo a minute later, dragging Nabiki with her. They found Ranma floating a few inches above the floor, his right leg dangling uselessly.
"Oh my, Ranma, I'll call Dr. Tofu," said Kasumi. She ran off to make the call before anyone could think to stop her.
Nabiki approached Ranma and offered, "Here Ranma, take my hand, I'll help you get comfortable."
Ranma took her hand without speaking and allowed her to pull him over to a stack of mats.
"Akane said that you were hurt and ran to her room. How'd you get hurt?" Nabiki began rolling his pant leg up until a few inches below his knee she came to a large purple bruise. "Oh, Ranma!"
"She did this," he spit out, "for no reason at all, she threw a bokken at me when I was doing a kata and I was too distracted to notice until I was already down."
Nabiki made a dangerous sound deep in the back of her throat and was about to go in search of her younger sister to maim her, but Kasumi came in and said, "Dr. Tofu should be here in a few minutes."
"Kasumi, Akane did this to Ranma for no reason. Could you go talk to her and find out what her problem is?" asked Nabiki. "I don't think I want to see her right now."
Kasumi frowned and gripped her apron tightly in her hands. "I think I will." Kasumi then went in search of Akane. Although she meant to give her a stern lecture, it would be no less punishment than if she had been flogged.
Nabiki could see that Ranma was angry easy enough. His fists were clenched so tightly that his knuckles were white and the tendons in his neck were stretched tightly. To divert his mind she told him of her findings at the library. "I found out where Gwynedd is, Ranma."
Instantly Ranma relaxed and asked, "Is it close by?"
He sounded so hopeful that Nabiki hated herself for answering her question. "No, I'm afraid not. It's in Great Britain."
"Wha… bu… that's like thousands of miles away! How are we supposed to get there?" Ranma slumped back into the mats ignoring the pain in his leg. His confidence wasn't exactly at its highest, either.
Nabiki, too, knew the distance, but she also knew just how they were going to get there. "How do you feel about airplanes?"
Ranma realized what Nabiki was talking about and his eyes lit up. "I didn't even think of that." Then he seemed to sober and asked, "Do you think you can wait until my leg heals?"
"I don't mind waiting," the dreams didn't really bother her, she actually liked them, "but maybe I should go ahead and make the trip and get it over with."
Ranma shook his head and said, "No, you can't go by yourself. It's not safe for tourists to be by themselves in foreign countries, and this whole Knight business could be dangerous."
"I didn't know you cared," said Nabiki mockingly, but she really was moved by Ranma's concern.
"It's not like I have a choice in the matter."
"What do you mean?" Nabiki feared his answer.
"Don't worry about it," he deflected her question. "I should be healed up in a couple of weeks, and we can go get this crap straightened out."
"A couple of weeks? Ranma, your leg is broken, and no matter how good you are at martial arts, you won't be ready to travel for a while." She emphasized this by poking Ranma's leg causing him to yelp in pain. "I'm sorry, Ranma," she said with enough sincerity that Ranma didn't become angry.
"I broke my arm a month before Oyaji and me went to China, and it only took a couple of weeks to heal; then we swam all the way there."
Nabiki would have called anyone else bad liars if they claimed what Ranma just had, but she knew not to doubt Ranma when it came to weird stuff. He was also the most honest person she knew, short of Kasumi.
"Right this way." Kasumi led Dr. Tofu into the dojo.
Amazingly, the good doctor didn't lapse into hysteric blubbering in Kasumi's presence. He knelt down next to Ranma and Nabiki and began examining the injury. "Does it hurt badly?"
"No, Sensei, it's only throbbing a bit. It did hurt at first."
Gently, Dr. Tofu prodded the large bruise and the area directly around it. "This is a very immature prank to pull, Ranma," said the doctor sternly.
"Huh?" The two Tendo sisters and Ranma said.
"This bruise is several days old and there are no broken bones." He pointed to the bruise that only minutes before had been deep purple. It was now mostly yellow and brown with some of the old purple in the center.
Ranma's jaw was too wide open to speak so Nabiki said, "But… Dr. Tofu, I saw it myself. Ranma's leg was broken, and that bruise was much worse just a few minutes ago."
Ranma nodded his agreement and began to flex his leg.
"Could it have healed that quickly, Ono-c… Dr. Tofu?" Kasumi asked. Ranma and Nabiki looked at her like she had grown another head, causing her to blush crimson when she realized her slip of the tongue had been noticed.
Ranma and Nabiki exchanged knowing glances. Kasumi and Dr. Tofu were married in the dreams, after all.
Dr. Tofu, trying to change the subject back to Ranma's leg, asked, "Ranma, have you ever broke a bone that healed this fast?"
"No." He never stopped flexing his leg as if he expected it to break at any time.
"What about your arm? You said that it healed in a couple weeks." Nabiki had a good idea what the cause of Ranma's miraculous recovery was.
"Yeah, but that's a lot different than ten minutes," he pointed out.
"Two weeks. Ten minutes. Even for someone with as strange a life as you, Ranma, that is incredible." The doctor once again looked at the bruise and to his astonishment it was almost completely faded away.
"This must be because you are a psychomancer, Ranma."
Dr. Tofu and Kasumi looked at Nabiki, wondering what she was talking about. She briefly explained the day's events and the discussion with Cologne after school, leaving out information on the dreams.
"I've never heard of your condition before Ranma, but if I had to make a guess I'd say that you are in no danger."
"It's no big deal really. I'll be fine."
Kasumi invited the doctor to supper, but he declined the invitation. He had a patient coming in at six who couldn't reschedule.
"Did you talk to Akane?" Nabiki asked Kasumi. Ranma was in the bathroom washing up, and Genma and Soun hadn't gotten back from picking Nodoka up at the train station.
"No, she wouldn't let me in her room, and Dr. Tofu arrived before I had a chance to reprimand her."
"Well, she is going to listen to me whether she likes it or not." Firmly decided, Nabiki went to give Akane a piece of her mind.
Five minutes later Nabiki returned to the Kitchen. Her fists were clenched and if she had had proper training she would have been generating a battle aura.
"That little, spoiled, psychotic brat!" screamed Nabiki. "She had the nerve to blame Ranma! Can you believe that?! She said he shouldn't have ignored her!"
Kasumi frowned at both her sisters' behavior. "I'm sure she'll see her mistake and apologize."
"She's up there right now waiting for him to apologize to her!" Nabiki slammed her hand down on the table.
"Oh my, Nabiki! Calm down, please." Kasumi couldn't remember ever seeing Nabiki this emotional.
"It's not fair!" she cried, slumping into a chair. Her anger seemed to seep away, to be replaced by sorrow. "It's just so unfair!"
Kasumi is a much more intelligent person than she is given credit for, but now the poor girl was as oblivious as to what was going on as she normally appeared to be. She took the chair next to Nabiki and asked, "What's not fair? Are you worried about Ranma and Akane's relationship?" Nabiki started crying.
"What relationship?" she managed to say. "Akane abuses Ranma and doesn't care about his feelings at all, but Ranma loves her and hates me." No longer could she hold in the emotions that had been building for the last several days. Nabiki collapsed into her sister's arms and sobbed until she passed out from the strain.
"Oh my," whispered Kasumi. The idea of Nabiki caring so deeply for Ranma was almost too hard for even a seasoned veteran of Nerima like Kasumi to believe.
Ranma was about to round the corner and enter the kitchen to get a snack when he heard the sounds of a girl crying coming from within. He stopped outside the door and listened.
"What relationship?" she managed to say. "Akane abuses Ranma and doesn't care about his feelings at all, but Ranma loves her and hates me."
Ranma realized that it was Nabiki crying and nearly fell over in shock. Did Nabiki care about him? If she did, why had she always been so manipulative and cold towards him?
Kasumi, helping a still crying Nabiki to walk almost ran into Ranma. She looked mildly surprised, but when Nabiki caught sight of Ranma she looked horrified and tried to turn away so he couldn't see her crying.
"Nabiki isn't feeling well, Ranma, will you help me get her to her room?" asked Kasumi innocently.
Ranma nodded and threw Nabiki's free arm over his shoulder to help support her. When they finally made it up the stairs and to Nabiki's room Kasumi waited until the other two were in the room before giving a gentle shove that resulted in them both falling to the floor, then she slid the door shut and hurried downstairs.
"I… uh… wh… um… sorry," stammered Ranma after he disentangled himself from Nabiki. He was blushing beet red.
"Save it," murmured the girl. She crawled into her bed and said, "I'd like some privacy."
"Yeah… sure… privacy."
"Kasumi, what's wrong with Nabiki?" asked Ranma when he found Kasumi downstairs, once again tending to dinner. The girl was making no sense at all. It was almost like she actually cared about him.
"Don't you think she could tell you that better than I could?"
"Yeah, but she wanted to be alone."
Kasumi sighed. "Ranma, do you know why girls are always falling in love with you?"
Ranma leaned against the wall and began nervously drumming his fingers on it. "Heheheheh… never have been able to figure that one out."
She smiled warmly and said, "I don't think anyone knows."
"What are you getting at?"
"Somehow you've managed to get Nabiki to fall for you," answered Kasumi casually. There was a thump behind her. She turned around to find Ranma sitting on the floor looking like he expected the world to end at any moment.
"N-N-Nabiki," stuttered Ranma.
Kasumi nodded and said, "I think she is very confused by her feelings, and upset that Akane treats you so badly."
"She also believes that you hate her." Kasumi went back to cooking, letting Ranma sort through the information on his own time.
Ranma couldn't figure out how Nabiki could have any feelings for him. She had always treated him so coldly and manipulated him with no concern for his safety. What had changed? The answer came in a flash. The dreams that they were both experiencing had to be the cause. He admitted to himself that he cared a great deal about the Nabiki from his dreams. The same must be true for Nabiki.
Ranma walked into Nabiki's room without knocking. He pulled Nabiki's desk chair to the side of her bed where she was studying a ledger and said to the surprised girl, "I know what's going on."
Nabiki's face was tear stained and her eyes were red and puffy. "Huh?"
"The dreams, they're why you love me."
Nabiki's face hardened into the emotionless mask she normally wore. Its effectiveness was less than adequate, since her eyes looked so pained. "I don't know what you’re talking about, Saotome."
"Sure you do. You never have been able to stand me, but now you're in love with me. It's the dreams and this whole Knight of the Word crap that Cologne won't tell us anything about. Someone's messing with our heads, making us fall in love with each other." Ranma 'urked' and threw his hands over his mouth when he realized what he had said. The full-body blush added to the effect.
Nabiki's reddened eyes blinked and her mouth fell open slightly. Had he just admitted that he loved her too? Oh, god, he didn't hate her!
"Don't worry though, we can get it all straightened out and once things are back to normal no one will be able to find out, okay?"
Did she want to go back to how she was? Before, she had been hopelessly lonely, and mistreated Ranma in revenge for him not being what she had first expected when he arrived. Now, even if nothing ever came of the feelings that had been thrust upon her, Nabiki would rather keep them and cherish what she could.
Ranma left her in thought.
To be continued.
Author's Notes: It gets better. ^_^;;
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