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Chapter 3

A Ranma ½ / Highlander crossover story
by Dark Phoenix

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

"I take it that pain is not what just caused that outburst?" Dr. Tofu inquired after Ranma had eased Akane onto the bed.

Ranma sighed and looked at the doctor helplessly. “I told her the truth about how I broke the engagement with Shampoo. When she found out that I couldn't have kids— well, you saw; she freaked out." Ranma was about at the point to wishing that he had kept his mouth shut and just disappeared one day. No, he couldn't do that. If he moved on with his life, he had to make sure everyone else did too.

"She didn't 'freak out', Ranma. Akane cares a great deal for you, and was upset that you couldn't have children. I would hazard a guess that she was most upset that she wouldn't be able to have your children," advised the doctor sagely, “I don't know your specific feelings for the girl, but if you could at least humor her for a few days, it would greatly reduce the stress she must be under."

Ranma knew that Akane liked him, maybe even loved him, but he didn't feel that way for her. Maybe he once had, but he knew for certain the only affection he felt for her was that of a friend, like Ukyou… or Ryoga, when he wasn't being psycho. But humor her? No, Ranma wouldn't be doing that. If he was going to break all his ties with those who cared for him, the least he could do was not get anyone's hopes up. To Dr. Tofu, he lied, “Sure thing, doc." He waited until the man had examined the wound in Akane's arm before continuing. “I heard that Nabiki set the police after Shampoo. Will Akane be safe here with you while I go find out for sure?" Ranma wouldn't have left if he hadn't trusted the doctor, but it never hurt to get a second opinion.

He smirked at Ranma and said, “I’m not unskilled in the martial arts, Ranma. I could probably defend Akane if it came down to a fight. Go on; I'll call if anything happens."

Ranma thanked him, and was soon standing outside the gates to Furinkan High. It had been pure luck that the paranoid old geezer that taught his last period class was scared to come to school for fear of being attacked in the streets and having his head cut off. But now Ranma had to wait the last few minutes for the students to be dismissed for the day. Five minutes can go by pretty slowly when they want to.

Nevertheless, the intercom came on with a crackling screech and music from the little guitar that the brain-dead principal had bought in Hawaii began to play. Ranma was going to smash that little wooden torture device one day soon. Only two weeks of it, and three people in Ranma's class alone had changed schools. It was amazing. After living through the fights, explosions, and that one alien invasion, the stalwart students of Furinkan were being taken out by a damned midget guitar. Ranma's thoughts came into focus when he saw Nabiki leave the school, flanked by a pair of assistants and a trio of big, mean-looking guys that Ranma could have taken when he was seven.

As usual, the mercenary Tendo was the first in the courtyard, making her information available to any who wished to purchase it, or pay to have some juicy little tidbit on themselves disappear. Ranma had covered half the distance to Nabiki when he saw Tatewaki Kuno striding purposefully down the step and into the courtyard. He couldn't help but laugh at Kuno, when he saw the arrogant idiot slip behind a tree, obviously waiting to get the drop on him.

It was pleasant to watch the three brutes flow away from him when they saw his destination. Ranma didn't particularly enjoy people fearing him, but some people only understood fear and power. While he held the power, they feared him.

"Uh, Saotome, what are you doing here?" Nabiki asked almost nervously. "I was informed that your last class for the day was cancelled."

Ranma didn't pay much attention to the girl's unusual attitude. She probably just didn't want him scaring her business away. "Hiroshi didn't come in today until lunch today. He said that when he passed the Nekohanten, there were cops swarming all over the place. I was just wondering if you had anything to do with that," Ranma answered.

Nabiki sighed and regained the tiny fraction of confidence that she had lacked moments before. "Oh, that," she shrugged. “Yes, I reported the amazons to the authorities. They should be going by Dr. Tofu's clinic some time today to get Akane's statement."

"Oh," Ranma said, feeling stupid for even asking such an obvious question, “well, thanks." He turned to go before Nabiki could get the idea to charge him for her service when a voice both condescending and pleased rang out, silencing all the conversation passing between students as they filed out of the school building.

"HA!!!" Kuno bellowed, striking a dramatic pose. “I see that the half-man has decided to show himself after all!" he sneered at Ranma.

Half-man? What in hell was the retarded asshole talking about? "Uh… sure, Kuno. Half-man. Right. Whatever you say," Ranma replied sarcastically, cracking his knuckles and advancing inexorably on the kendoist. "This is gonna hurt," he warned, dodging Kuno's first slash.

"How it pains me to fight an inferior, even one such as you, foul sorcerer! Kuno cried, sounding anything but pained. “Now hear me, man that is no man, you're dark secret is mine at last!" He continued attacking Ranma, who dodged each strike effortlessly while trying to figure out what Kuno was ranting about. “I demand that you release the fierce tigress, Akane, and the pig-tailed goddess from your evil grasp, for they will never bear the fruit of your loins!!!" Kuno finished the statement with his pattern strike, all of which were dodged as easily as his previous efforts at sorcerer smiting.

The 'fruit of your loins' comment is what clued Ranma in on what Kuno was actually talking about. He didn't know where he had heard it before, and in all likelihood, hadn't. The phrase had probably seeped into his memories from one of the immortals that he had killed. Wherever he learned it, Ranma didn't care. Suddenly, Nabiki's uncharacteristic nervousness made sense. She should be very, very nervous, he thought.

Deciding to end the pathetic excuse for a fight, Ranma reached out and grabbed Kuno's bokken in mid-swing and tore it from his hands. The first hit took the disarmed samurai-wannabe behind the knees, the second in the back of his head. The two strikes had Kuno on his hands and knees in less than a handful of seconds. Before he could regain his footing, Ranma lashed out with his foot, kicking Kuno squarely in the gut. Kuno skipped, stone-like, across the courtyard and impacted meatily with the wall of the school. Kuno’s landing displaced enough bricks that his body stuck to the wall.

Ranma ignored the whispers that his unexpected brutality ignited within the crowd of students. He had to catch up with Nabiki and… He didn't know what to do, actually. He couldn't just kick her ass. She was a girl and pathetically weak. Ranma knew he was too ignorant and clumsy to get any kind of complex, embarrassing revenge on the girl like she did to others who didn't pay their debts. The only real option open to him was to scare the living shit out of her. It was petty. It was spiteful. Ranma didn't particularly care. The damage had been done and if Nabiki hadn't sold the information to anyone else, enough people would still figure it out that the next day would see the whole school abuzz with gossip, but revenge was at hand. For too long he had put up with the girl's manipulations and blackmail.

Unfortunately, Nabiki was nowhere in sight. She had to go home sometime, though, and Ranma would be waiting for her.

"Wow, look who's home!" Ranma exclaimed with false cheerfulness. The fact that he was sitting on Nabiki's bed and scowling when he said it, didn't serve to comfort the girl.

"Saotome," Nabiki stated firmly, “it was business, just business. There's no need to get hostile." The slow step back towards the closed door and reflexive action of searching for possible escape routes with her eyes gave away her lack of concern.

"No need to get hostile? What makes you think that? Of course, I should have had the common sense not to tell you anything important; but now that you went and sold the information I have every right to be hostile. Very hostile. I mean, think about it. Kodachi will find out and blame one of the other girls, like Shampoo did to Akane, and we all know what she's capable of. Ukyou will do the same thing, probably to Kodachi, and she never has figured out that she can't hit people with that spatula of hers as hard as she does Ryoga and me. So, say we're lucky and only one of them dies; that would still be your fault." Ranma shook his head and chuckled. “It really doesn't matter what I say; I know you don't care… but I bet I can make you care." In a single surge of motion, as fluid and graceful as any super-powered ballet dancer could ever hope to be, Ranma was interposed between Nabiki and the door.

With her only escape route cut off, Nabiki began to edge away from Ranma. "I don't know what's got into you, Saotome, or what you think you can accomplish by hurting me, but I swear that you'll wish you had never been born when I'm finished with you." She backed into the wall and gasped, finally aware of her captivity.

"Who said anything about hurting you?" Ranma asked. He stood over her, looking down into her glaring eyes. “I only intend to threaten you." Ranma held his right hand a few inches from her face and slowly extended his energy. Inch by inch, the mirror-bright silver blade of air grew, until Ranma held its full three-foot length before Nabiki.

"Just think, there would be no trace of a murder weapon, after all, it would just disappear when I was finished. Hell, why would I even need a weapon, Nabiki? There are several pressure point combinations that can stop your heart or freeze your lungs, or almost any other imaginable kind of internal failure. I've always wanted to try the one that makes the person's head explode. Anyway, I'm not going to do anything like that to you now. I would have to be a lot more upset; but believe me, I am more than capable of doing everything I just told you."

Nabiki was trembling, just enough for Ranma to perceive it. “How dare you—" she started to shout, attempting to find comfort in anger as her younger sister so often did.

Ranma slammed the blade into the wall a fraction of an inch from her head. Several strands of brown hair were cut away by its passing, giving Ranma a nice, evil idea. “Not a word!" he snapped. Taking care not to actually cut Nabiki, Ranma shortened the length of air held in his power, and sliced most of the hair from either side of Nabiki's head while she stood as rigid as a steel cable stretched tautly. When he finished, brown hair covered the girl’s shoulders and what remained looked not unlike the extreme cut of Amanda's hair, except for the Mohawk that Nabiki now possessed. "Well, have a good day. I gotta go make sure no one gets killed."

As he walked out the door, Ranma looked back to see Nabiki standing in the exact same position as he had left her, not so much a blinking to clear the hairs that hung in her eye lashes.

Ranma was only halfway down the stairs when a wave of guilt swept through his mind. He was ashamed of himself. More ashamed than he could ever remember having been before. It was the knowledge that Nabiki would only become more angry if he attempted to apologize that stopped Ranma from turning around and doing just that. Besides, he was still angry and didn't feel all that sympathetic towards Nabiki, just upset that he had done something as long-lasting and obvious as destroy most of her hair. There was no way to change what had already been done, so he pushed the subject from his mind as well as he could, and marched down the remaining stairs.

"Ranma," Kasumi called from the kitchen, telephone in hand, "Dr. Tofu is on the phone. He says that Ukyou is trying to kill Akane." She sounded perfectly calm and composed.

If only the rest of his life could be as predictable as this whole mess was turning out to be. “Is he still on the phone?"

"No, he's calling the police now." Reminded that she still held the phone, Kasumi hung it up and said, “I hope Ukyou doesn't get in trouble; she's such a sweet girl, but Dr. Tofu must protect his patients."

Ranma barely heard her, seeing as how he was running out the front door. Damn it, nothing was working out how it was supposed to! At least, Ranma reflected, the sooner everything settled down, the sooner he could leave.

The pig-tailed immortal arrived at the clinic just in time to see Ukyou fly bodily through the door and into the street. Limping, and bleeding from several small gashes, Dr. Tofu drug himself through the smashed open doorway and retrieved the dropped giant combat spatula. “Sorry I'm late, doc. Looks like you handled things pretty good, though."

The doctor smiled and hefted the spatula on his shoulder. “It’s been a while since I fought anyone seriously." He shook his head and chuckled. "Now I can understand what gets you into so many fights, Ranma. What a rush!" Dr. Tofu exclaimed.

"Shouldn't the cops be here by now?" Ranma asked. He walked over to Ukyou and saw that she wasn't dead, but from the angle of her right arm, she wouldn't be up to making okonomiyaki any time soon. Ranma hoped Konatsu didn't get it in his head to avenge the chef.

Turning back to Ranma from surveying the damage to his clinic, the doctor said, “They should be, but your young chef smashed through the door before I could actually dial 911. I'd better go make sure Mrs. Hazuki didn't have a heart attack."

Ranma didn't have the knowledge of shiatsu that Dr. Tofu did, his knowledge focusing more upon debilitating and deadly aspects of the art that his father forced upon him, but he knew enough to deepen the unconscious state that Ukyou was in so that she could get some medical treatment without waking up and trying to kill her doctor. Once he was sure she wouldn't awaken for at least a couple hours, Ranma gathered Ukyou up in his arms, careful not to cause any further damage to her arm, and carried her into the clinic.

"I'm reinforcing this cast with some wire mesh. It'll be harder to get off when the arm heals, but taking into account how active all the martial artists in Nerima are, should be more than worth the extra trouble," Dr. Tofu told Ranma and Akane as he wrapped another layer of the fine metal net around the first layer of hardening plastic.

"Humph!" Akane snorted. “I don't see why you're going through all this trouble for her, Dr. Tofu. She just tried to kill me and you," she insisted.

"We don't know if she intended to kill either one of us, Akane, and I've taken an oath to see to the well being of all my patients," the doctor replied. First, though, he had seen to the well-being of himself. Ranma didn't fault him on that. Ukyou had scored more than a few hits with her throwing spatulas. It wouldn't have done any good for him to faint while working on her arm.

"This is all your fault, Ranma," Akane snapped. Apparently she had either forgotten her little outburst earlier, or just didn't care. Whatever the reason, she was back to her normal bitchy self.

"It's not my fault. It's Nabiki's fault. She's the one who sold the information about me being sterile to Ukyou," grumbled Ranma. The 'just disappearing one day' option was starting to look more attractive by the hour.

"Whatever," Akane returned. “I’m going to go call Konatsu. He can carry her back to her restaurant." With that, the youngest Tendo swept from the room, leaving a shimmering wake of angry chi in her path.

Not quite two hours after Ranma arrived at the clinic, the hastily reattached door swung open and Nabiki stepped in. She no longer had the Mohawk that Ranma had so courteously gifted her with. Instead, the sides had been trimmed evenly and the top had been shorn down greatly. The pageboy cut she had had for years was nowhere to be seen.

Dr. Tofu looked up from sweeping glass fragments into a pile and saw her. "Whoa, Nabiki, nice hair cut," he said sincerely. “It looks good on you."

"Thanks doctor. Are Ranma or Akane in?" she asked sweetly.

Dr. Tofu, by nature, wasn't a suspicious person, but he new better than to take Nabiki Tendo at face value when she was acting anything but dead serious. Still, he couldn't see any reason to lie. "Akane left a few minutes ago. I'm surprised you missed her. Ranma is out back trying to find some screws to help hold the door in place until I can get someone over to fix it."

Nabiki said, “I know someone who will give you a thirty percent discount if you say you know Ranma and can prove it. Would you like his number?"

"I'd appreciate it," the doctor answered.

"I have it at home. I'll call you later and give it to you, but I need to speak with Ranma now. Do you mind?" Nabiki asked, nodding towards the back of the clinic.

"No, go right ahead."

"Ow!" Ranma cried as a hammer, a hammer much larger than a doctor should need, fell from the uppermost shelf and landed on his head. Someone cleared their throat behind him. It was Nabiki.

"These are for you, Saotome," she said before he could speak, handing him an envelope and a receipt. “There’s a bill there for the most expensive salon in Tokyo. It's much higher than normal because I didn't have an appointment, but I'm sure you don't mind. And the other is an order to report to court next Monday. You have been served." With a hard face, and efficiency in her movements, Nabiki turned around and walked back into the clinic without looking back.

"Nice hair cut," Ranma commented belatedly as he held the bill and the envelope. Nabiki was suing him! Ranma had to fight down the sudden urge to blow something up, a lot of somethings.


To be continued.

Author's Notes: Got a few questions that I need help with.

  • Anyone know how Amanda first died?
  • What was that woman’s name that saved Duncan when he was a kid? She's a witch and trained another immortal, but he went bad. She's really old, almost Methos old, and pretty hot.
  • Did the renegade watchers have a separate name, like a sub-group or something?

It's been a while since I watched much Highlander so I can't remember all the little details. Thanks.

C&C welcome at dark_phoneix@hotmail.com

Chapter 4
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