A Ranma ½ story by
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.
"Sasuke, mine enemies surround me. I must discover a solution and persevere for my loves. They would be lost without me," Kuno ranted as he angrily slashed through several wooden training dummies with his bokken.
"Yes, master, but what can you do?" Sasuke asked nervously. Apparently the young master had been defeated by another dark sorcerer. What was the world coming to when a man couldn't turn his back for fear of being attacked by a dark sorcerer? Poor master Kuno.
Kuno struck a pose with his bokken held high. "There must be a way for the Mighty Blue Thunder to best his vile opposers!" Several minutes passed as Kuno and Sasuke stood among the graveyard of destroyed dummies. Finally Kuno proclaimed, "I have discovered the solution, my faithful servant."
"The young master is wise beyond his years," Sasuke assured Kuno.
And so Kuno began a long and colorful description of his plan. By the time it was over, Sasuke was visibly shaking and tears were leaking down his face. Oh, how brave the master was!
"Ranma, the Tendos are here!" Nodoka called from the bottom of the stairs.
Nodoka turned back to the Tendos and beckoned them inside. "You're all looking well. I'm sorry if Ranma's absence distressed you, Tendo-san."
Soun laughed weakly. "Just worried about the heir to the School. I don't know what I would do if something happened to him."
Nodoka turned to examine a flower arrangement on a nearby table so that no one would see her grimace. Soun and her husband only seemed to care about uniting the Schools of Anything Goes. They could care less about Ranma's feelings, or all the grandchildren that she wanted. What good was uniting the schools if there was no heir to carry it into the next generation?
Akane nervously stepped forward. "Um, Auntie Nodoka, is it all right if I stay, too? I know that you said that Ranma's fiancées couldn't come over, but I promise I'll behave." Her eyes silently plead with the Saotome woman.
To Nodoka's wonder, the girl sounded almost like she cared about something. Could she want to see Ranma? "Yes, dear, I trust that you'll be on your best behavior." Further conversation was halted when a sound was heard in the kitchen. Nodoka told everyone to make themselves comfortable, and raced into her kitchen to find Genma raiding the refrigerator.
Genma's head came into view. He had a piece of chicken clenched in his teeth, a tub of butter under one arm, and a pack of hot dogs in the other.
"Genma," Nodoka growled.
In an instant, Genma's pilfered goods returned to their resting places and he was innocently smiling at her from the other side of the room. "Nodoka, so happy to see you. I brought all Ranma's stuff." He began to whistle tunelessly.
Nodoka shook her head sadly, pointed to the kitchen door, and followed her sulking husband into the living room. Too her surprise, Nodoka found a skittish looking Satori standing in the other doorway. Hmm, if what they said was true, Satori really had nothing to fear from Akane, so letting it play out wouldn't hurt anything except maybe Akane's pride.
Akane was staring at Satori very, very intensely. Her knuckles were white from clenching her fists so hard and a muscle in her cheek had begun to twitch. It was obviously taking every bit of her willpower not to lash out at someone, most likely Satori or Ranma.
Might as well add a little fuel to the fire. "Oh, how rude of me to neglect the introductions. Satori, these are the Tendos." She introduced them each by name in order of oldest to youngest. Then, "Everyone, this is Satori, a friend of Ranma's. She's going to be staying here for a few days." Bingo. Akane was beginning to show visible signs of a battle aura.
"A friend of Ranma's?" Kasumi asked gently. "Come have a seat," she patted the sofa beside her, "and tell us how you met Ranma." Maybe Kasumi didn't want Ranma and Akane to marry, either. Or maybe she even wanted him for herself! She was so proud of her son.
Satori joined Kasumi and said, "You probably won't believe me."
Oh, no, she couldn't tell. It could ruin everything!
"Give it a shot, we're open minded," Nabiki, who up to then had been silent, said.
"Well, I met Ranma a few days ago when I was practicing in at empty consultation site. I guess the explosions drew his attention. We talked for a minute, but he had to go to school. I didn't see him again till today. He saved me from these people who have been trying to kidnap me. Auntie Nodoka sorta insisted that I stay here until my parents get back to the country."
Whew, that was close. Nodoka obviously didn't give the girl enough credit. She had used just enough half-truth to make the little lies believable.
Nabiki didn't question Satori's story, even though it was extremely vague. That part about practicing in the construction yard and explosions must mean that the girl was either a very skilled martial artist, or a hobby demolitionist, so the someone that Ranma would have to rescue her from would be very strong indeed. Besides, she could find out all she needed to know later. Nabiki looked over at her younger sister. Wow, she was looking really pissed.
The sound of Ranma slowly walking down the stairs drew everyone's attention in much the same way as Satori's arrival had. "Oh, hey," he said casually. "Guess I should have called to say I wouldn't be coming over or something, heh?"
"Ranma," Akane drew the name out and made it sound like the worst of curses, "We were worried." The youngest Tendo didn't sound remotely worried.
Nabiki began to wonder if any of the nearby furniture was very flammable, because her sister was giving of waves of heat and anger. Oh, great, she obviously had jumped to the tired and much used 'Ranma must be cheating on me because he's breathing in the same room as another girl' excuse. Really, it shamed Nabiki to think that her sister could be so temperamental. Even with his reputation, Nabiki couldn't see exactly how Akane was stringing her fiancé and Satori together. Oh, well, might as well sit back and watch the show.
The only reason that Ranma had come downstairs as early as he had was because of the fairly large amount of unfocussed chi that was beginning to permeate the house. It felt distinctly like anger, so it didn't take three guesses to figure out whom the energy belonged to.
Now Akane was sounding like she wanted to do very unpleasant things to him, and the entire group had fallen into an uneasy silence. Although he would admit it was stupid later upon further thought, Ranma asked, "Hey Akane, you want to go out back and maybe spar with Satori? What about it, Satori?" It didn't even occur to Ranma that he had just stuck a short and already lit fuse into the powder keg.
Satori looked relieved just to get away from all the curious glances and outright open stares being directed at her. She was so relieved that she, too, didn't think about the consequences of agreeing.
Akane managed a slight smile and began popping her knuckles. She had known that Ranma would go out and get himself other girls as soon as he was living at his own home and wasn't under her protection. Now she had an opportunity to pound on Ranma's newest little bimbo, and possibly Ranma himself, with it all being attributed to 'sparring'.
Akane was the first one out the door.
It began to dawn on Satori that she had done something stupid when she found herself facing off against Akane. From Auntie Nodoka's stories, Akane was a very emotional martial artist who tended to take her displeasure out on people around her. Right now Akane was directing a large amount of displeasure her way.
"Take it easy on her, Akane. Satori has never had any formal training," Ranma said from his place on the porch. The look on Akane's face when Satori kicked her ass was going to be priceless. She deserved it for even accepting the offer to spar with Satori. How could you possibly spar against someone who didn't even know how to fight? Akane, though, chose to ignore such small inconveniences.
Once it again it must be stated that Ranma wasn't thinking of the consequences of his actions.
"No training. Take it easy. Right." Then Akane charged.
Satori had been waiting for some signal from Ranma and was preparing to run away as soon as it was given. She didn't want to embarrass herself in front of Ranma. Unfortunately— it's hard to say for whom— Satori was totally unprepared for Akane's surprise attack, so she acted on instinct when Akane lunged at her. Instinct told her to 'eep' girlishly and throw up her arms to protect her face. She did this, of course, but at a much higher speed and with a significantly larger amount of power behind it.
Akane's face held a savage intensity as she bore down on Satori. She wasn't planning on giving the little slut time to cringe. Would Ranma like his little plaything if its jaw were broken? Deciding to find out, Akane leveled what would have been a devastating uppercut at Satori's chin, but at the last possible instant, an indistinct, blur shot up and, with amazing force, deflected the blow.
Akane was thrown back onto her rear by its force and was left clutching her right arm, which was bent in a direction that it shouldn't be able to.
Ranma almost interfered when Akane jumped the gun and attacked Satori with a fury. So much for taking it easy. But then he remembered that Satori was pretty much invulnerable to anything Akane could do. He watched as Akane's fist closed on Satori's jaw, and almost felt sorry for Akane. She was probably going to break her hand on the Satori's face.
When Satori threw up her arms to block Akane, Ranma had no trouble seeing the girl's super fast movement, but he was surprised when the very sloppy block caught Akane on her forearm. His fiancée went down hard, and didn't get up. She sat on the ground, pitifully holding her broken arm and crying.
Akane wasn't crying from the pain of her broken arm, although it hurt terribly, but from the realization that Ranma had been cheating on her with Satori. How else could the girl have moved with such speed when up to the very moment of attack she had looked and acted like the furthest thing from a fighter, something Ranma did regularly? Ranma must have been training her in secret. He had probably set this whole thing up just to humiliate her. She turned her head away, unable to look into Ranma's eyes as he picked her up and carried her into the house. Akane momentarily caught sight of Satori's face. Were those tears on the girls face? No, she was only seeing things through her own tear-streaked eyes.
Ranma carried Akane into the living room and gently laid her in an empty chair. Kasumi gasped when she saw her sister's arm and Nabiki turned pale.
"What's wrong?" Soun asked. He stood up and looked over Ranma's shoulder, seeing Akane's broken arm in the process. Soun let out a long, almost animal wail, and collapsed at his daughter's side.
"Jeez, Tendo, it's just a little broken bone. Nothing to get so worked up about," Ranma said as he propped the arm up with some cushions.
Akane was still avoiding looking up, fearful of seeing Ranma's triumphant face, so she endured Kasumi's gentle mothering and Nabiki's awkward patting of her shoulder without actually seeing who was comforting her.
In short order, Dr. Tofu, called by Nabiki, arrived. Using several shiatsu points he deadened feeling in the arm and reset the bone, filling the room with a disturbing grating sound. After affixing a temporary splint to the arm, he said, "I'm going to drive her ahead to my clinic and get x-rays. Why don't the rest of you catch up when you can?"
They all agreed, for one reason or another, and watched as Dr. Tofu pulled out of the driveway.
As soon as the car was out of sight, a red-eyed and weeping Soun rounded on Satori. "How dare you attack my daughter!" He screamed.
Ranma recognized a demon head in the making, and came to Satori's defense. "Leave Satori alone, Tendo. She's already apologized more times than I can count, and I told you, Akane attacked her full-out when I told her that Satori wasn't very skilled. Akane didn't even give Satori time to prepare. It's her own fault."
Angrily, Soun demanded, "If she's so unskilled, how did she hurt my little baby?"
"Instead of thinking, Akane just attacked Satori blindly, but Satori got a lucky block in that hit Akane in just the right spot," Ranma replied.
Soun's anger was diminishing as he realized that how he was treating an innocent girl. "I'm sorry, Satori, I just can't stand the thought of my little baby hurt. Wahhhhh!!!" He grabbed onto Genma and began crying all over his shoulder. Kasumi went over to comfort him.
Silently, almost forgotten in the wake of recent events, Nabiki scrutinized Satori and Ranma. The girl was standing behind Ranma, still crying softly, and hugging herself. To be expected of an obviously softhearted girl who had just accidentally broke another girl's arm. Ranma on the other hand, was behaving in a number of unexpected ways. He was being assertive against her father, defending another girl, and most unusually, behaving indifferently to Akane's plight. That really didn't fit in with any preconceived notions of the young man. And why in the world would Ranma suggest that Akane and his latest admirer, who had admitted to having no training whatsoever, spar together? He had to have known Akane's mood and how she would react to the opportunity to maim one of her rivals all in the name of sport. Revelation came in the form of blazing fireworks and a veritable marching band of mental sensation. How had she not seen it?! Nabiki slapped her hand to her forehead, a bit to hard though, bringing about the beginnings of a headache. Ranma's affection had somehow switched from Akane to Satori. How, though? His devotion to her sister had seemed absolute. He had stuck to her through thick and thin, up and down, kidnappings and attempted homicide. It didn't seem probable that his loyalties, always firm before, had altered so dramatically and become affixed to a normal girl. Satori wasn't a fighter. That alone should have ruled her out. All the other girls were… all the other girls were! The answer couldn't be so simple. But unless Shampoo was up to her old tricks and was messing around with some magical spice or other, Ranma had fallen for Satori because she wasn't a fighter. The girl also, from the short time Nabiki had known her, appeared to be very kind and gentle. Akane, too, was mostly a kind and gentle person— that is, when she wasn't around Ranma. Maybe that was why Ranma had made Akane seem to be the preferred fiancée. She didn't throw herself at him, or try to snag him with honor or duty. But still, to think that Ranma would choose another girl besides Akane felt unnatural. Her attention was drawn back to the scene by Kasumi's words.
"Oh, my, we'd better be going, Auntie. Father isn't in very good shape, and Nabiki and I should really check on Akane." Turning to Satori, Kasumi said, "I'm sorry that everything has turned out so badly, but we understand that it was an accident." She left Soun's side and walked over to Satori and embraced her warmly.
"I understand. Go on, then, I'm sure Akane would like to be with her sisters. We'll come and visit. Tomorrow, perhaps?"
"I'm sure Akane would like that."
After they were all gone, Ranma turned to Satori and exclaimed, "That was great, Satori! You really let her have it!"
Nodoka was the only adult present, Genma having been turned loose in the kitchen, so she was the only witness to Ranma being slapped very hard by Satori. She winced in sympathy as her son sailed across the room. He really did deserve that after tricking Satori into hurting Akane like that. Fortunately for her wall, Ranma disappeared before hitting it. That was a relief. At the speed he had been going there was little doubt that Ranma would have continued on his path through several more houses. Satori was a very strong girl.
Ranma reappeared instantly across the room with a baffled expression on his face. "What was that for?" he asked.
Satori choked back a sob, and in a blur that Nodoka could barely follow, rushed up the stairs.
"Son, you don't have any clue what has Satori-chan so upset, do you?" Ranma was very resilient, she noted, not even having a mark on his face where Satori had slapped him.
"Uh, no." Ranma knew that he was missing something important, but couldn't figure out what it was. He couldn't understand why Satori had hit him or why his mother had that reproving scowl on her face. It hurt his feelings a bit to be treated by Satori the same way Akane had.
"Okay, son. I can see that this may take a while, so why don't we have a seat?" Once they were seated she continued, "You tricked Akane into sparring with Satori, didn't you?"
"I didn't trick her, mom; all I did was ask," Ranma replied defensively.
"But you knew her state of mind, and you knew how she would react to the chance of hurting another girl she felt was close to you?" Ranma nodded. "So you tricked her. Tricking her wasn't all that bad, even if it did lead to Akane being injured. She's a tough girl and can deal with a little broken bone. But you tricked Satori into hurting Akane, do you see?"
"But why should she care if Akane has a broken arm? That's probably the least of what Akane was planning to do to her."
Nodoka shook her head. "Satori isn't in any way violent. She may now have fantastic abilities that far exceed those of other people, but the thought of hurting others is very disturbing to her. You set her up to hurt Akane. Understand yet?" Nodoka was very happy. Of course she wasn't letting it show on her face; that would only confuse Ranma. Her son probably hadn't even realized how he was talking about Akane yet. There was no concern in his voice, no care, only distaste and contempt.
Okay, he had used Satori to harm Akane. He'd tricked Akane into trying to hurt Satori so that Satori could hurt her. Slowly he realized what his mother was saying. Even though he couldn't see why, Satori was mad at him because he had somehow abused his friendship with her, or something like that. This was another of those times where he just had to apologize as sincerely as possible and hope for the best. "Um, I think I'll go apologize now."
Good going, Ranma, Chiron commented as Ranma ascended the stairs.
You really upset Satori. Shara has been screaming at me for the last five minutes, telling me how bad a person you are and generally cursing your existence.
Worse. She says that Satori is distraught. Satori can't see why you tricked her into hurting Akane, even though I think it was pretty smooth, and is crying her pretty little eyes out right now.
It was becoming obvious that he had f***ed up good this time. I'm on my way to apologize now.
Well, you better do a good job, because the next time Shara starts screaming, I'm going to transfer her straight to you. At least it'll save me a headache or two.
Shhhh, calm down, it's all right. Shhhh. He didn't really mean it, you know how men are, he just didn't think about what he was doing, that's all, Shara told her host gently. Really she didn't know how men were, and she had no idea whether Ranma had planned his little stunt or not, but Satori needed to hear some comforting words or she would cry all night.
"But I broke her arm," Satori sobbed. "And Ranma knew that something like that would happen when he convinced me to spar with her. I hate him!" She buried her head in a pillow and continued to sob.
The sound of someone knocking on the door went ignored by Satori, but Shara was well aware of it. She let Ranma stand at the door, knocking intermittently, until he started asking Satori to let him into the room in a pitiful voice. Then she began nagging Satori. Finally, Satori sat up and rushed over to the door, unlocked it, and ran back to the bed where she busied herself by crying some more.
Ranma entered the room and stood at the side of Satori's bed. Damn it was awkward. "Satori, will you listen to me for a minute, please?" he eventually asked.
Satori ignored him.
This wasn't working all that well. Maybe a different approach. "I know that what I did was stupid and insensitive," that sounded good, "but I'm sorta dense when it comes to girl things. I really didn't think breaking Akane's arm would upset you like it did. Not that I meant for you to do that. All I really wanted to happen was for her to attack you and realize that she couldn't hurt you. I figured that it would make her leave you alone, since we're friends and she doesn't really react too well to other girls around me." He floundered around for more, but decided upon a simple, "I'm really sorry."
Satori gave no indication that she had heard Ranma.
Ranma apologized several more times, but got no response, so, giving up for the day, he went to report his failure to his mom.
Shara felt like screaming. Ranma had really tried to apologize, but Satori paid no attention. Their relationship was still too new and fragile to allow this matter to go unresolved. She would have to do something herself. A few moments of thought brought the birth of an idea, and a minute of digging around in Satori's memory the material to carry it out. Within another minute Ranma's apology was playing repeatedly in Satori's head, along with various pictures of Ranma that Satori had mentally catalogued. There, that had to work.
To be continued.
Author's notes: Here is the completed chapter 6. I know that it's not much more that what I posted at first, but some really bad computer problems have been killing any desire I had to write. Things are about fixed though, and I should be writing regularly within a couple of days. Don't worry, the next chapter is gonna have a lot more action and comedy in it, with a lot less emotional crap.
C&C always welcome. It really helps and the encouragement might get a chapter out a day faster, ya never know.
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