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Chapter 6

A Ranma ½ story by
Dark Phoenix

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.

Nabiki clutched tightly to Ranma as they watched the last transport take flight. It carried the last of her family, and a small bit of hope for the future.

"We could still catch up with them," Ranma murmured into her ear.

Nabiki shook her head weakly, and wiped a few tears from her face. "They'll be safer without us to draw the Void's attention."

Ranma nodded his agreement. A moment later he yelped in surprise as he was pinched on the butt. He looked down at Nabiki and shivered when he saw the gleam in her eyes. Damn, but the woman got horny at the strangest times.

Kasumi had finished her final check of the house an hour earlier, and after enjoying a nice, quiet cup of tea all by herself was ready to go to bed. She quietly made her way up the stairs and was on the way to her room when she heard a strange sound from Nabiki's room. Fearful that it might have been that dreadful Kuno girl, she eased the door open in hopes of not alerting the trespasser. The sight that greeted her eyes produced an "Oh my" heard for three blocks in all directions. There on Nabiki's bed was Nabiki and Ranma locked in a passionate— and quiet improper— embrace. A small part of her mind not devoted to staying conscious or taking notes for herself marveled at Ranma. Only a few hours ago he had a broken leg, but now there were no signs of the injury at all as he rhythmically thrust into Nabiki. It really was remarkable.

Meanwhile two pairs of eyes seemed to gain focus. Ranma saw Nabiki and she saw him. They also came to the conclusion that they were no longer dreaming. This had the effect of startling them both badly enough that the entire household had time to gather before they could regain their senses.

Soun and Genma collapsed in a heap against one another. Akane took in the scene and with no apparent reaction walked woodenly back to her room. And the newly arrived Nodoka beamed with pride for her manly son.

Kasumi slid the door shut and began the laborious job of returning two grown men to their beds and snapping a woman out of a self-induced trance.

Eventually Ranma gathered his wits enough to speak— barely. "N-N -Na-Nabiki, I'm s-so so-r-ry."

Nabiki buried her face in her hands and sighed heavily. How had this happened? How could it happen? They were dreaming. Just dreaming.

Ranma mistook the girl's action as a precursor to crying and said, "Don't c-cry Nabiki. I-It's my fault, no one will blame you."

Nabiki looked up at him, obviously not crying. "Ranma, it's not your fault. I'm not mad. I'm too happy to be mad."

His eyes were now at maximum size and his pupils were dilated to their fullest. "Wha… but… I mean… how?"

She slipped from the bed with the sheet draped over her shoulders and glided over to Ranma's corner. "You know what's going to happen now, don't you? Everybody saw us in here together. Our fathers will probably have a priest here by morning."

Ranma slumped back into the corner with tears in his eyes. He wouldn't let them fall, not ever. "Oh, god," he whispered, "I've ruined your life."

She laid her hand on his knee gently, making him flinch but he didn't try to dislodge it. "Ranma, remember what you said about me loving you and you loving me because of the dreams? You were right. I've been in love with you for almost two weeks. I'd guess the same about you," Ranma nodded almost imperceptibly," so if we love each other, dreams or not, would it be so bad to be married?"

"But the others, they'll be so mad and you can't fight back and Akane…" Nabiki jerking her hand away stopped him.

"Oh, I understand! You love me, but you love my bitch sister more!" she hissed, near tears.

"No, that's not it," he replied quickly. "She's your sister. What if she disowns you? I wouldn't want to split your family."

Oh. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions. This is so new and so much has changed." Still keeping the sheet around her, Nabiki maneuvered herself into a position leaning on Ranma.

Soon Nabiki's breathing evened out and deepened. Ranma laid his arm around Nabiki's shoulders and whispered to himself, "I am so dead."

Kasumi went about her business the next morning, the only deviation in her routine adding an extra place for Nodoka at the breakfast table. The older woman had been gone nearly a month. She was now closed up in the sitting room with Genma and Soun. Kasumi worried that she knew what was being discussed.

Akane entered the kitchen, looking haggard and worn. Her eyes were sunken, puffy, and blood-shot and her hair was a tangled mess. She ignored Kasumi as she headed to the dojo.

Kasumi made a mental note to have another shipment of cinder blocks hauled in. Soon breakfast was ready, and she was about to announce it when Nodoka came into the kitchen.

"Kasumi-chan, could you please get Nabiki and Ranma for me? It is very important."

"Of course, Auntie." Kasumi left Nodoka in the kitchen and went first to her sister's room. She slid the door open and peeked her head in, cautious after the previous night's episode. She 'Oh my'ed when she caught sight of Ranma and Nabiki sleeping peacefully in each other's arms. For two minutes she stood there, unsure of what she should do. Nabiki never looked so happy or content and even Ranma was smiling, something he rarely ever did unless in a fight.

"Kasumi, dear, we are waiting," called Nodoka from downstairs.

Kasumi sighed but did as she was asked. "Nabiki, Ranma, time to wake up!" she exclaimed happily.

Instantly the two young lovers were wide-awake.

"Auntie wants you two downstairs, and breakfast is ready." She didn't wait for a response, deciding to give them a moment at least to collect their thoughts.

"Ranma, let go. We've got to face them sometime." Nabiki was finally released from Ranma's grip.

"I know what's going to happen, so why don't you go and let me sleep?" He knew he wouldn't sleep. He was really going to go to the bank to get the money needed for a pair of plane tickets.

"If I have to deal with them, so do you." She unashamedly walked around her room, naked, gathering up her and Ranma's nightclothes. They had already seen each other in much more revealing positions, but that didn't keep Ranma from blushing heavily, making Nabiki giggle girlishly. She tossed Ranma his boxers and undershirt and said, "Don't be such a big baby, Ranma."

Nabiki had to drag Ranma down the stairs, literally. She knew that if he really didn't want to come with her, he could have stopped her easily. She ignored the thumps his head made as it struck the steps. If he wanted to be that way, he could deal with the bruises.

"I didn't really think you would do it," Ranma said when they reached the bottom. He rubbed the back of his head and grumbled on the lack of fairness in the world.

"You know I always keep my word, same as you." She readjusted her grip on his feet and prepared to finish dragging him to their destination.

Ranma stopped her and climbed to his feet. "Okay, okay. I'm up, all right?"

"That's better."

They were waiting for the couple, each caught between a look of ignorance and eagerness. Only Kasumi, who sat to her father's right, seemed unaffected by the situation. Her smile was as bright and cheerful as ever.

Nabiki groaned when she saw the gleam in the three adult's eyes. She had expected this, but they sure worked fast.

Ranma, for his part, didn't notice anything strange except for the reason that they were there. He also had the odd feeling that he was standing before a firing squad.

"Nabiki-chan, son, please have a seat," ordered Nodoka so that it sounded like a request or something.

Once they were seated across from the adults Nabiki said, "Don't worry; we're going to get married."

Nodoka beamed with pride for her manly son; he had seduced his fiancées' sister. That must have been very hard. Genma and Soun looked like the wind had been torn from their sails. Now their entire argument was pointless.

"Daughter, please tell us why you two betrayed your sister," Soun begged eventually. He was sure that Akane would be fine. She was a strong girl and had plenty of prospective suitors. She could even get in touch with one of those princes that took such a liking to her.

Nabiki looked hurt for a moment, but forced her face back to neutral. "We didn't mean to betray her. A lot has happened lately, and it's none of your or anyone else's business."

When they looked to Ranma hoping he would crack, he said, "Uh, what she said."

"You will, of course, marry right away." Soun was taking no chances this time.

"No, we won't," everyone looked at Ranma, "not until we're ready." He hadn't talked about this part with Nabiki and allowed himself to worry about what she would think about his proclamation, but when he caught a glimpse of the smile she flashed him all the worries disappeared.

"Now see here, you wi—" Genma's mouth snapped shut when Ranma leveled a glare on him that with a thought, melted stone. "Never mind."

"Will you keep Akane as a mistress?" asked Nodoka seriously. Maybe she could arrange something with those other girls that were so taken by her son's manliness..

Ranma blink-blinked at his mom and started choking on his tongue. Nabiki slapped him on his back several times until he could breathe once again, then said, "He most certainly will not!" She was about to use Ranma's pigtail to make him nod, but he beat her to the punch with a vigorous bobbing of his head. He gave his mother much the same glare that had shut his father up.

"I'm sure that this discussion could be finished later today. Nabiki and Ranma will be late for school if they don't hurry." Kasumi was a lifesaver.

Nabiki didn't need to encourage Ranma; he was already pulling her through the door before she could blink. "Ranma, I'm going to take a bath. Could you get me one of the school uniforms out of my closet and leave it in the changing room?" she asked before he could take her upstairs with him.

"Sure." Ranma let her hand slip from his own and continued upstairs.

Nabiki had slipped her PJs off, and was waiting in the changing room for Ranma. That she was naked didn't seem to matter. She pressed herself against the wall when the door slid open and Ranma walked through.

Sensing a presence behind him, Ranma automatically assumed an attack was imminent. In a blur of motion he had his attacker pinned to the wall. Several seconds seemed to go by before he realized that he was holding Nabiki against the wall, partially by her left breast, which was mashed in. He fainted.

Nabiki smacked her forehead in frustration, but decided to carry out her plan anyway. For the second time in less than twenty minutes, she found herself dragging Ranma by his feet.

His eyes opened and he looked around in confusion. How had he gotten into the furo? The last thing he remembered was… grabbing Nabiki's breast! A slender leg appeared in front of him, followed by the rest of the body attached to it.

Nabiki eased herself into the water, and seriously considered tearing his hair out when Ranma darted to the other side of the furo and covered himself with his hands. "Ranma, you do know that we've seen each other naked before, right?" He nodded. "You also know that we've had sex, right?" He nodded again. "So why are you acting like a baby?"

"I'm sorry," he apologized, never looking up from the water. "I can't help it."

Nabiki slid around to Ranma's side and pressed herself up against him. "Did you know you're cute when you get all bashful and shy?"

Ranma screeched in surprise when he felt Nabiki grab hold of something that she definitely shouldn't have, in his opinion.

Ten of the most embarrassing minutes in his life later, Ranma left the bathroom and ran to the guest room to get dressed.

Nabiki decided that Ranma had had enough for one day and went to eat breakfast. Everyone was waiting for her and Ranma, she surmised, when she saw Genma salivating and holding his chopsticks like miniature spears.

"Where is that boy?" Genma sounded desperate.

"He's changing," answered Nabiki. "Where's Akane at?" She didn't really want to face her sister, but she didn't want to be attacked by her either.

"She's in the dojo, but I don't think she wants to be disturbed," Kasumi replied. She didn't mention that Akane's battle aura was peeling the paint from the walls, or that the cinder blocks were disintegrating before she actually hit them.

Nabiki had no intention of disturbing Akane. The girl hadn't even tried to kill Ranma last night. Who knew what horrible things she had thought up overnight? And this time they might not be limited to Ranma.

Ranma came into the dining room, and immediately felt even more embarrassed and uncomfortable around the people gathered there. His mom still had that beaming smile plastered to her face. Soun stared at him in a mixture of anger and happiness. Thankfully, his father had only food on his mind and was completely oblivious to anything else. Nabiki, though, even with all that had happened in the last few hours, didn't bother him. He even allowed a small smile to come forth to match the tight-lipped but nonetheless warm smile that she directed at him.

"It's about time you got here, boy. I'm practically starving to death," complained Genma. Soon his complaints were cut short as Kasumi served breakfast.

Once breakfast had been eaten Ranma announced, "Me and Nabiki are going on a training trip tomorrow."

No one responded. They didn't know what to say. Even Nabiki herself was taken by surprise. Then Genma had to say something. "Oh, sure, training trip," wink-wink-nudge-nudge, "so that's what they call it nowadays. Hear that Tendo, a 'training trip'?"

Soun seemed to finally break. "Waaahhhh!!! My little girl stole her sister's fiancé! Waaahhhh! She's having sex before marriage! Waaahhhh! What would her mother think?! Waaahhhh!!!"

Ranma's announcement was suddenly swept under the carpet. Now everybody was busy watching Soun have a minor emotional breakdown, his third of the month.

Nabiki stood up and after getting Ranma's attention with a thrown chopstick, they escaped to the living room. "What training trip are you talking about, and why don't I know anything about it?" she demanded.

Ranma looked over his shoulder to make sure no one was listening before saying, "If they think we're on a training trip, all the other fiancées and idiots that think they can kill me will keep themselves busy looking all over Japan for us; but we'll be in Great Britain and they'll never know."

She had long suspected that Ranma had a pretty good mind, even above average. His battle strategies were beyond brilliant, and he learned at a frightening speed; but only in the last few months did she realize just how devious he could be. She still got a kick out of remembering how easily Ranma had tricked Ryoga into signing those papers to have his name changed to Milfred. The poor sap probably didn't even know. Now Ranma was doing it again, and she couldn't help but throw her arms around him and say, "I knew there was a reason that I fell for you."

Ranma still wasn't used to public affection, or private affection for that matter. His body went rigid, every muscle taut and straining. Nervously, he looked around to make sure that no mallets were approaching.

Nabiki turned him loose and vowed to herself that she would somehow get Ranma to open up more. "Come on, Ranma. We’ll be late for school."

Together they walked hand in hand. Nabiki had insisted.

"Aren't you worried that someone may see us?" asked Ranma.

"Not really. I can handle anybody at school, and your followers are either sick or taking care of the sick. They sure did catch a nasty bug; probably from being exposed to so many people in the restaurants." She was referring to the Shampoo and Mousse, who were sick with the flu, and Konatsu who had the same thing and was keeping Ukyou busy taking care of him.


"Oh, shit," both Ranma and Nabiki said simultaneously.

Shampoo aimed her bicycle carefully, intending to free her airen from the clutches of the mercenary girl. A foot from Ranma's head the bicycle came to a dead stop. In surprise, Shampoo looked down and saw that her airen and the mercenary girl were encased in a reddish bubble. Then gravity took over and she fell over, landed on the fence, lost her balance, and tumbled into the canal below.

"You know that will only keep her busy for a short while." Nabiki didn't want a now recovered— and in her opinion, slightly stupid and unbalanced— Amazon to attack her whenever she turned her back.

Sigh. "We'll have to go by the Nekohanten after school and straighten everything out, I guess."

Nabiki squeezed his hand in acknowledgement. He had never faced up to his problems when he was with Akane.

There were small knots of teenagers scattered throughout the courtyard when they entered. A quiet hush fell over the students when they saw two of Nerima’s most notorious people walk in holding hands. It would have been bad enough if those two people were the infamous Ranma and Akane, but Ranma and Nabiki… Half the student population fainted, half the remainder began screaming and howling about the end of the world, and the rest forgot to breathe, eventually fainting also. Only Kuno seemed unaffected. He calmly walked over to Ranma and bowed his head, then said, "You poor, misguided soul. What could have befallen even one so vile and black-hearted as you, that would force such a show affection with this mercenary?"

While Ranma tried to figure out if Kuno was a pod person or not, Nabiki put her school bag, heavily laden with books, to good use by reducing the kendoist to a quivering mass of bruised and broken flesh at her feet. "Baka," she muttered.

School was cancelled. Nabiki assumed that it was to avoid any possible riots. There was also the fact that the only teacher willing to stay at school and teach was Ms. Hinako that contributed to the cancellation. The other teachers had gone home to spend their little remaining time with family members.

"Nabiki, I think we need to leave really soon. People are getting weird, even for Nerima," suggested Ranma. Coming from Ranma, this was a scary revelation.

"I'll make arrangements right away." She braced herself before entering the Nekohanten. There was no telling what could happen if word had spread.

"Mercenary girl! I kill!!" came the cry of rage no sooner than Nabiki had walked into the restaurant. Her bonbori seemed to appear from thin air, and were glowing with an intense purple aura by the time they were a foot from her victim's head. They came no farther, thanks to a hazy wall of red energy. The Amazon had no time to counterattack though, as the shield suddenly extended at phenomenal speed and smashed her into the wall.

"…That was close," breathed Nabiki, wiping sweat from her forehead.

"Cologne," growled Ranma, "get out here before Shampoo does something stupid."

She appeared in front of the couple, standing on the counter. Nabiki gasped in surprise, already unnerved slightly by Shampoo's attack, but to Ranma Cologne's arrival was a simple matter of speed. "I was not expecting either of you back so soon."

"I don't care what you were expecting. I do, however, care whether or not Shampoo, you, or any other Amazon hurts Nabiki." Ranma glared towards Shampoo's unconscious form. "Understand?"

Cologne met him eye to eye, but refused to acknowledge his question.

The air began to ripple in the restaurant. Nabiki wrapped her arms around herself as the area she stood in became cold enough to mist her breath. Glancing around the room proved to be yet another shock, though. Some of the windows were beginning to frost over while paint was peeling from the walls in some places thanks to extreme heat. The slight breeze that began to blow seemed of little consequence.

"Understand?" Ranma's voice boomed loudly, rattling furniture and windows.

"Perfectly," hissed Cologne. No one had treated her with such disrespect and lived since she was twelve. Her staff creaked and strained in her iron grip. Long after Ranma and Nabiki had gone she looked down at her staff. It rippled, and where once a piece of ancient gnarled wood had stood, there was a midnight black one with runes carved all across its surface. She might not be able to use it anymore, but Shampoo could, and then she would have her revenge.

Taking hold of Nabiki's hand Ranma led her out into the street and towards the Tendo home.

"That wasn't part of the plan, Ranma," she snapped. Her irritation was not nearly as great as she made it out to be.

He sighed loudly and said, "I'm sorry, Nabiki. I just had to do something, though. She would never have given up on me even if we're Knights of the Word."

Still with her right hand firmly in Ranma's grasp, Nabiki used her left hand to lightly smack him in the forehead. "Don't you ever scare me like that again! What were you doing in there anyway?"

Ranma didn't react to the hit but he did answer the question. "There's more to this psychomancer stuff than just fire. I've got the opposite of it, too. You know, fire and ice."

"Since when have you been able to do that?"

"Since about three or four hours ago."

"Ranma, dear, you lost me." She had to fight a strong urge not to smack him with her school bag. She would not be like her stupid sister and ruin her chance.

"After we fell back asleep last night," Ranma blushed at the memory, "I had more dreams. Most of them were us fighting demons and monsters. When I woke up, I remembered how, that's all."

"Did you have anymore strange dreams that I should know about?"

Ranma fidgeted a little before answering. "Um, well, you're a psychic, I think."

Nabiki burst out laughing. Ranma and his bad jokes.

"Hey what's so funny?!" he demanded. "I'm serious."

Nabiki couldn't help herself. She just laughed harder.

Grumbling to himself and occasionally muttering something about 'women', Ranma accompanied Nabiki home.


To be continued.

Chapter 7
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