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Chapter 2

A Ranma ½ story by

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.

Ranma, sitting under his usual tree, was peacefully eating a freshly grilled okonomiyaki. Shampoo hadn't shown up as he had expected, and Ryoga was still off in the world, so life was bearable, sorta. Akane wouldn't even look at him, but that only meant she couldn't hit him, another point in the good day category. It would soon be passing the bad day category, if, and only if, the idiotic boys at Furinkan High stopped splashing him with water. They had learned from Nabiki, of course, that he was cured and were curious to see the miracle of a wet-yet-still-male Ranma. One of the braver, and dumber guys of the senior class had actually gone so far as to berate Ranma for taking being selfish and not giving anyone a chance to see Ranma-chan again. He would be getting out of the hospital within the month.

"Saotome, you fiend!" The familiar cry of a certain kendoist silenced the gathered students. Ukyou, who had been sitting near Ranma and making puppy dog eyes at him, quickly folded her portable grill up, batter still cooking on the surface, and hurried to safety. Her line of customers followed suit.

He knew that the idiot was bound to show up. Frankly he was surprised that it had taken so long. Shoving the last half of the okonomiyaki down his throat, Ranma stood up, wiped his hands on his pants, and asked, "What is it now, Kuno?"

"Do not seek to fool me with false indifference! I have discovered your heinous crime and know that even now you must tremble in fear for I am the vessel of holy vengeance which, with Kami-sama's blessing, shall bring about your demise!" Then he drew steel.

Ranma scowled. He scowled darkly. It made three girls cry just to see his face in that position. "What did I do now, Kuno?" he spat.

"The mercenary sister of my beautiful goddess of the hunt, the object of your dark obsession, has informed me that you have vanquished the pigtailed goddess. Even now, she must weep to be held in my powerful arms. Alas, we are now separated by the most determined of foes: death. But you, foul demon, shall pay for your crimes! This I swear on the honor of the Kuno line!" Kuno began a slow and steady advance on Ranma from across the schoolyard.

Nabiki probably thought this was all wonderfully funny, Ranma thought. Would it be so funny if someone got hurt or killed? Ranma wasn't willing to find out. In a blur he rushed forward and punched Kuno in the gut before he could even begin to defend himself. The older boy fell to his knees gasping and heaving. While he was incapacitated Ranma kicked him in the head. As Kuno went flying, Ranma's arm shot out and grabbed the point of his katana. It slipped easily from Kuno's slack fingers.

The bell chose this time to ring, signaling the end of lunch.

Ranma flipped the sword around and caught it by the hilt. Contemptuously, he prepared to break it over his knee, but at the last second got a better idea. Holding the hilt in his right hand, he placed the point on the palm of his left, then as the gathered students watched, he curled the blade into a tightly wound circle of steel that resembled nothing more than a shiny lollypop with a fancy stick. There were gasps and whispered comments from his audience. They were all amazed that even someone as legendary as Ranma could do that without injury. Ranma wasn't about to tell them that he had cheated a little. Iron, and therefore steel, is highly ferrous.

"I heard about what happened at lunch today, Ranma," Nabiki commented as she and Akane walked home on the sidewalk. Ranma, as always, took the higher fence route.

"I wonder who the mercenary was that sold him the information. I can't wait to get my hands on her since now Kuno thinks that I killed the pigtailed girl. There's no telling what he will try now," Ranma said while looking down on Nabiki with cold indifference.

She met his gaze, but didn't say anything. Her eyes easily said she didn't give a damn.

"Ranma," Akane screamed, "are you threatening my sister?!" She didn't wait for an answer.

Ranma ducked out of the way of Akane's thrown school bag. A few seconds later he heard a splash. Akane had thrown her books into the canal!

Akane screeched, gripped the chain link fence he was standing on, and tore it out of the concrete that anchored it. "It's your fault, so you can go and get them!" Akane then attempted to throw the fence and Ranma into the canal. She was only partially successful. The section of fencing did make a nice splash. Ranma, however, used his fiancée's head as a springboard and propelled himself across the street and onto the roof of a nearby grocery store.

In the heat of the moment, Akane hadn't even felt Ranma's foot on her head, and Nabiki's vision was clouded by concrete dust, so he made a clean getaway while they waited for him to come out of the canal with Akane's school bag.

Ranma didn't bother to announce his arrival, instead going straight to the dojo. He'd only be able to practice in it whenever he wished for a couple more days, then he would be moving across town. As he entered, Ranma noticed the hole he had accidentally inflicted on the dojo had already been repaired, leaving no evidence of its existence except for a slightly darker color where new materials were used.

"Ranma, you in there? Boy? Where are you?" Genma called from the backyard. He entered the dojo moments before Ranma could begin working out. "There you are, boy. Come with me, Tendo and I need to talk to you."

Ranma shrugged and followed his father into the sitting room of the house. He sat on a cushion and waited to here what retarded scheme his and Akane's father had dreamed up to get them together.

"Ranma," Soun began, "we've decided that since you will be leaving to stay with Nodoka-san in a few days, that you and Akane should be wed as soon as possible."

Genma picked up the torch. "We've already called the minister. He should be here within the hour. Aren't you happy?!" Genma finished with tears streaming down his face. Soun was bawling like a baby.

Ranma was anything but happy. In fact, he was kinda pissed.

"I'm home!" announced Akane. She appeared in the doorway with a curious look on her face.

Soun leapt to his feet and rushed over to his daughter, hugging her tightly. "Oh, I'm so happy for you!"

"What are you talking about?" she asked.

"Why your upcoming marriage to Ranma, of course."

"What?!" She knocked her father back as she threw her arms up and spread her glare between all three of the men in the room.

"Hey, don't look at me like that. It's not like I had anything to do with this crap. They just told me, too."

Akane said, "Leave this to me," and whipped out a really big mallet.

Glad that she wasn't after him, Ranma quietly slipped out of the room and headed back to the dojo. As he left he heard cries of 'Not your own father!' and 'Son, help me!' mixed in with the more pronounced cries of pain. Served them right. They wouldn't have anything to worry about if Akane dealt with the minister the same way.

Letting the matter drop, Ranma returned to the dojo. Once there, he found the box in the back corner where they kept all the weapons that people left behind when they tried to kill him. There were hundreds of shuriken, knives, and other assorted throwing weapons that all belonged to Mousse. It also contained more exotic weaponry, such as some of Kodachi's rigged gymnastic implements. Pushing all the chains aside, he gathered a handful of shuriken from the non-poisoned pile.

Next he set up one of the new titanium training dummies that Nabiki had bought for Akane. He tore the pigtail off of it, though. Dealing with distorted space was easy for Ranma; it was his main ability and came easily to him. That's not to say gravity and magnetism eluded his control, but he didn't feel that he could fully trust himself in a fight yet if he had to use them. Not that he expected to ever really need that kind of power unless he decided to take on the Japanese Self-Defense Forces.

In hopes of bettering his control of over his secondary powers, Ranma threw the shuriken into the air and suspended them there by counteracting the natural pull the earth exerted on them. He couldn't control them like he had the dart from the night before because there were too many, but he could move them all in the same general direction. After a moment of gathering the energy in his hand, Ranma cast it outward towards the floating shuriken. When the magnetic pulse hit them, they were sent hurtling towards the dummy. Almost faster than Ranma could see, several of them sunk deeply into the metal dummies, but five continued past it. This is where the second part of his plan came in. Concentrating, he created a very strong unidirectional gravitational pull. No more than a foot past the dummy, the shuriken slowed to almost a stop, then snapped back to the dummy like they were on rubber bands. They all *thunked* solidly into the spot where Ranma had increased the gravity.

Ranma walked up to the dummy to inspect his handiwork and saw that the shuriken in the back of the dummy were imbedded almost entirely in it. The circular spot where he had increased gravity was also deeply indented where the titanium had compressed under its own increased weight. That had gone better than he had hoped. Once again grasping the magnetic side of his powers, he tore the shuriken from the dummy and smoothed out their dulled and bent edges good enough that he could use them again. For the next hour, Ranma practiced directing the shuriken at different areas of the dummy with a combination of directed gravity and magnetism. By the time he decided to stop for the evening, Ranma had discovered how to create multiple areas of altered gravity, and could use them to guide specific objects. The shuriken, though, were a lost cause. Ranma had turned them into nothing more than twisted lumps of metal with his training. Good thing he had more.

"Bravo, Saotome, bravo!" came Nabiki's voice from behind him.

Ranma spun around, startled by Nabiki's entrance, and silently berated himself for letting his guard down. "What do you want, Nabiki?"

"Oh, nothing really important. I'd just like to know where you learned magic." She held up a mini-video cassette. "It was really amazing. I'm glad I got it on tape."

Ranma suddenly remembered something he had seen on a movie the month before. A man had killed a woman, but was caught on tape. The man had found the tape and rather than destroying it, had used a powerful magnet to erase it. With a little smirk, he gathered and directed the force into the tape, and just to make sure the job was done, used a lot of it. "Magic," he barked out a humorless laugh. "I can't do magic."

Nabiki shook her head. "It would explain why you aren't cursed anymore. I mean like if you had found a book or something and it told you how." She shrugged. "I'm sure you'll be honest with me, won't you?"

"I really don't know any magic Nabiki, I promise. What you saw was just really advanced chi control," he assured her. In a way he wasn't lying. The system of generators, capacitors, and emitters that made up the weapons system that he had become fed off the energy his body generated, his chi, so if you stretched it a little you could see what he did as very advanced chi control.

"Really, Saotome. Do you expect me to believe that? If I were to show this tape to Cologne, what would she say? I'd be willing to bet it would be something about the impossibility of making things fly"

Sighing, Ranma held out his hand. The tape flew from Nabiki's hand into his own. A second later, after she had taken a deep breath, Ranma returned it to her the same way. "All I did was pull or push it with my chi. Simple as that."

Nabiki stuck the tape in the back pocket of her shorts for safekeeping and frowned at Ranma. "I know that you're hiding something from me, Saotome, and I'm going to find out what it is." She then, in a huff, left Ranma alone in the dojo.

"Well, that went well," he told his new training partner, the now perforated titanium dummy, which he had affectionately named Ryoga.

That night Ranma had trouble going to sleep. Every time he closed his eyes, his mind would wander and he would begin seeing strange landscapes, alien wildlife, and titanic battles between a people whose skin and hair covered a wide range of colors. They fought one another savagely, some using simple swords, while others manned laser cannons. The visions didn't disturb Ranma, who was used to fighting, but it was distracting. They might have bothered him more if he hadn't known why he was having them. The alterations to his brain, he had learned from one of those bursts of spontaneous insight he seemed to get now, that allowed him to control something as chaotic as distorted space and perform feats like teleporting without appearing inside of walls had expanded his senses beyond imagining. Now wherever he had been, Ranma could go back to that place in his mind and view what had happened there in the past, or what was currently happening.

Unfortunately, he also had a lot of un-accessed knowledge about whatever planet it was that Chiron was from floating around in his head, and combined with the lack of control over his visions, he had a virtual theater on the back of his eyelids. Ranma only hoped that Chiron knew someway to help him get control of the visions, or sleep was going to become a precious commodity.


To be continued.

Author's notes: I know this is a short chapter, but this felt like a good stopping point. I'd lie to think everyone who has sent me comments about this story. The response was unbelievable!


Chapter 3
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