Demonbane Ltd., formerly AngelSpirit Co., presents a work of Ranma ½ fiction
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ characters property of Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon belongs to Takeuchi Naoko, Koudansha, TV Asahi, and Toei Douga, and DIC.
Foreword: Part One is here, folks. Yeah, not really that much of a thrill, I know, but it's more or less the first non-SI I've managed to produce and polish into serviceability, so there. I'm feeling all tingly about it anyway. ^^v
I think that I've given enough clues — or at least will give them in this chapter — as to what I've crossed Ranma ½ with. It's gonna be a "multi", though, so watch out for plot contrivances. In any case, please, pester me not with match-up questions here, kay? If only for the simple reason that I have yet to figure how that would fit into this plot.
A word of warning: This part Well, we have instances of implied extreme brutality, rough language, some dark elements and all that. Basically, not for those with weak stomachs. On the other hand, I'm kinda sick right now (you try to stand in a line outside of a Generalkonsulat while waiting to make an application for a visa and see how you like it in the rain in inadequate clothing for about an hour) so some of this may be a little skewed. That is, more skewed than usual.
Chapter One: It's Red and It Runs in the Family
Morning came with the usual laziness of a time of day not really welcomed by most students, be it elementary, college, or as it is the case for this young woman, high school. Well, actually morning came pretty much in the normal manner of all mornings; that is, inevitable, relentless, and doubtlessly not caring in the slightest for all those who hated every waking moment of the day.
The girl shifted away from the glare of the sun peeking through her room's window, not yet awake enough to comprehend what the light meant and wanting too much to go back to sleep to find out. The pillow she pulled over her head helped a little.
Blissful sleep seemed to be millennia away already, though, and fading ever quicker as conscious thought reasserted itself. A groan echoed from below the pillow.
The sleep implement was shifted to the side and under the head as the girl decided, with a lot of grumbling, that sleep wasn't about to come back. Her head slumped back onto the pillow, face trying to burrow into the soft material as a shot of dull pain came from it.
"Ow" she muttered, taking pains to be quiet. Moving as softly and with as few jolts as possible she slid out of bed to sit on its edge. Uneasily, she placed her feet on the floor and stood up, wobbling slightly. Equilibrium came back to her in a moment, and the body worked on auto pilot, shuffling out of the room and towards the bathroom. The half-closed eyes and ruffled brown hair were testimony to the still incomplete control her mental facilities held over her body. The fact that she nearly collided with the doorframe bore mute testimony to that.
Luckily for her reputation, at least that was what she thought at the time, nobody noticed this Procession of Woe, participants: one. After a few minutes she managed to slip into the bathroom and managed not to slip on the tiles covering the floor. Thank heavens for small blessings.
Her target? The sink. With a few more shuffles she was there, and had stuck her head under the faucet. The right hand executed routine 24A — turn on water.
"EEEEP!" she exclaimed as the cold liquid washed over her hair and head, waking her instantly. She had enough practice not to jerk her head up and hit the faucet; rather she quickly but cautiously backed away from the sink, maneuvering her head so it didn't impact any hard surface or object.
She sputtered for a moment as reality became a factor in life again, and looked to the mirror above the sink. And stared. What the hell?
She knew that she normally looked not-at-all presentable in the morning, much less first thing in the morning, but this was something way different. She felt that bad too. Her eyes were puffy and had bags under them, there was a rather nasty bruise on the side of her face, fortunately not very large but there nonetheless, and her hair was caked with mud?
The sound of rapid footsteps filled the alley and a person darted into it, flats impacting loudly on the paved ground, occasionally making a wet sound when the figure's path crossed a puddle.
A ray of moonlight showed it to be a girl in her teens, dressed in slacks and a business jacket, with short brown hair. She was running full tilt, glancing back every so often at something behind her. Her breath was steady, but already a little heavy, and puffs of condensation came as she breathed out into the cold night air.
Nabiki looked back into the mirror. Her head hurt as if she'd had too much to drink.
Ridiculous. She never had too much to drink. She valued self-control too much to allow herself that. So what had made her feel this bad? Almost every muscle and tendon tingled with pain, and she could feel the effects of extreme exertion with every move she made.
And the bruises
She shuddered briefly at something barely in her grasp, and stepped away from the mirror, settling down onto the washing stool. A hot soak was what her body told her it needed.
She could see them closing in, a lot of them, from all sides. There was no way out, no escape. She'd known this was coming, ever since that day the "reminder" had been sent.
She thought she'd be able to pay it off, and when she saw that she couldn’t
She'd hoped to be ready but that had been foolish a hope, she now knew. How could she have been ready for this?
She staggered as her foot caught on a slightly raised sidewalk tile, and that was enough.
Not enough resources. Not enough foresight. Not enough wisdom to foresee this. Enough clumsiness to maybe be her last failure.
Nabiki's head shot up from where it had been laying against the edge of the furo, on a washcloth. Her eyes were wide and panicked as memory came back with a vengeance, at least partly. There were scraps, emotions, pieces of a larger whole she really didn't like.
Her legs came up against her chest as her arms circled her knees, a shudder passing through her.
She didn't remember all of it but could infer from what she did recall that things had been bad. There was hesitation as she dared to examine herself, finding more bruises now, some on her legs, a large one on her back.
Hesitantly she reached between her legs and breathed a sigh of relief. No soreness, pain or aggravation. She hadn't felt any before, but that could have been shock, denial What had happened? Apart from the beating?
It hadn't been too dangerous. She still remembered how to fall. Once you learn that you don't forget. Kind of like riding a bike, that. But it hurt.
Some are blessed with supreme resistance to pain, able to take a wallop and not even flinch. Some are overly sensitive and can't handle a slap. She was neither, somewhere in-between the two extremes.
The blows had been dealt by way of fists and feet, often with brass knuckles. She was grateful that there was only one that had landed on her face. That is, before they started to tear at her clothes.
And then the rain came, falling in odd colors of scarlet, all around her.
She stumbled, albeit with a more controlled stumble this time, down the stairs and into the dining room. What she saw wasn't that different from what went on every morning since maybe a year ago. The breakfast table was set, the smell of food wafted from the kitchen, tantalizing
Her father sat at the shogi board opposite his good friend. That image required further study though, as it didn't really convey the scene very well.
Picture a traditional Japanese dining room, long and low table, sitting mats on the floor, a shogi board next to one of the doors leading outside. The door is open, despite the morning chill, and through it the yard could be seen, outer wall, pond and all.
Framed by this two men sat on opposite sides of a small, aged-looking wooden box. Both were broad in the shoulders, and of middle age, but that was about where the similarities in appearance ended. One was taller, slimmer, with long black hair and a moustache on his somber face. The other was fat, bordering on obese even, wearing glasses and a bandanna over his head to hide his baldness.
The fact that the latter man turned into a panda on occasions, usually involving cold water, was something to be noted also.
They didn't even notice her come in.
"Oh, good morning, Nabiki," her elder sister said, coming in from the kitchen with portions of breakfast. With deft and practiced motions she went about setting them on the table. It was sad, the middle Tendou daughter found, that her sister had steadily become more and more engrossed in her chores through the years. Kasumi was a sweet person, and very caring, but lately Nabiki was past fooling herself by now. All the little things, all the not so little ones; her father's friend, the stupid freeloading panda, had just brought things that had been slowly brewing to a boil. Even if there had been a fragile balance before his arrival, that tipping of the scales and its results were not to be blamed on a single person.
Akane. Too angry, too lost in that anger to care.
Kasumi. Lost in serenity, beyond noticing.
Soun. The father was living in the past, oblivious to the present.
And herself. She had been focused on keeping that fragile balance that let them float on the surface, if barely. Now that it was gone, now that her focus had been shifted, and that she'd let despair creep in
Mistakes had been made, regretted, and shelved. Nothing in life was left without a price, and no deed was unjudged.
"Nothing in life," a cold, mocking voice beside her said, "is without a price. You didn't think this was a selfless gesture of good-will, now did you?"
A small pang of pain around the neck, and then
The rush of wind. A warmth to be a contrast against the cold night air. The rustle of sheets.
"Nabiki?" her sister's voice pierced the veil of remembrance, calling her back from the then to the now. "Are you all right?"
"Yeah, just dozing, Sis." She nodded. There wasn't even a hint on her face or in her posture that she was uneasy, just the usual cold mask.
"You shouldn't be out so late if you're this tired in the morning, Nabiki," Kasumi chided her while laying out another bowl of rice. She absently noted that her father and his friend were already at the table. Her younger sister was probably still out on her jog. Nabiki envied her sometimes, and pitied her at others. Akane could, through her and Kasumi's work, afford to be careless. The middle Tendou daughter couldn't. That was the source of envy. She missed the simple days.
The taste of food came from her mouth, unexpectedly. She blinked and looked down in confusion. She was seated at the table, chopsticks in hand, and a piece of chicken slowly dissolving in her mouth. Akane sat beside her, and the rest of the household was also present, partaking in the meal.
Her body had taken over, all by itself. Again. As it tended to do when she was too deep in thought. She'd have shaken her head in slight disgust at the habit, had she not gotten used to it long ago. When one could not work against things then one had to work around them.
It stung, true, but it hadn't gotten worse over time as had been predicted. If anything, he'd adapted. It had been, was, and always would be his specialty.
Standing atop a transmission antennae, legs casually keeping him balanced on the red warning light at its tip, he faced dawn. The device in his pocket hummed with life as it felt multiple streams of reality intersect.
The ivory-skinned man spat in disgust as he felt the all too familiar tingle that signified a time streamer's presence. He was well masked from detection by scrying, true, but the device he'd taken from Moebius couldn't do it forever. Last night he'd allowed himself a lapse, a brief dally with the lines of destiny and chance. It had been a familiar experience, one he hadn't been able to place before his departure from this world, but also one that he remember having felt all too often.
Was he reverting to old patterns? To blindly trusting in luck, fate and the like? He hoped not. It had led his home for thirty years into a state that bordered on oblivion and himself to the point of near destruction. He vowed not to repeat that mistake although working precisely along the lines was not the same as simply skirting along their trail from time to time.
It had its compensations, yes.
The old code was still in his mind after all these years and after all the things he'd done. It had, he reluctantly admitted, though he had a small smile on his face, been quite pleasing to skit along this line. Probably his old moral values acting up again.
Oh well, can't be helped.
With a brief mental gesture he reached for the spark, igniting it and letting his body change. Well, in appearance at least. A simple glamour, though he was not beyond polymorphy. He simply had no use for it at the moment.
As the sun crested the horizon and then the city skyline he smirked, and stepped forward into a fall that looked frighteningly like flight. He was patient, true, but at the moment he felt he should check the lines again.
Could it be compassion? he wondered briefly, then dismissed it as something not worth pondering yet.
Legs barely bent to arrest the impact as he came down on a roof about ten meters away from the base of the tower he'd been on. Then he straightened, and the motion alone was enough to propel his body through the air once again, at a speed that made the clothes he wore snap in the rushing wind. Coming down about fifty meters away on one leg he took a leisurely step forward. The leg bent at the knee, and he jumped again, this time moving even faster, going even further.
He was rapidly coming up along one of the lines, the same he'd seen last night. There were more there though, as if in interaction. Nothing was coincidence. Angling his body to lose some velocity and altitude the now black haired youth came down on a rather low wall surrounding what looked like school grounds.
She had, as usual, arrived early. There were, no matter how things stood, deals to make and money to earn. Even if the thrill was slowly going from excitement to fear, she enjoyed her little operation still. She'd been enjoying it even more before she'd been forced to give some people a cut from the earnings after having failed to come up with enough money to pay off a loan.
She'd fallen for the oldest trick in the book. Sure, at first there had still been a chance, but her father and the freeloading panda had decided, in that very week, to drink themselves silly each night and to hell with hangovers. It was almost pathetic. "Half-year anniversary of his son's death" her foot.
The loan still had to be paid up, though, and she barely made enough now to pay the interest rates on it. She was busy with calculating the odds when something drew her attention. There was a barely perceptible tang in the air, and the feeling of being watched.
She whipped her head about, facing the closest section of the school wall.
There was a young man, maybe a little older than she, maybe her age, perched atop it. He stood there with the sort of disregard one would associate with being bored. It didn't fool her very much though. The fact that his eyes were on her, as if appraising
She looked into gold-flecked blue eyes, the slitted pupils giving them an odd quality. There had been something she couldn't remember; her body felt too sluggish. She knew that look, though. It was as if the person holding her were appraising a ware, or a particularly interesting purchase. She didn't like that look one bit.
She blinked. He was gone, and nobody had noticed him, apparently.
Damn it! she chided herself. I won't get careless! Not now
Her hand brushed the bruise on her cheek, hidden by expertly applied make-up. It was a must, because the bruise would only go away after a week or two. Inconvenient, but a must.
"Sis?" she heard a voice beside her. Managing to contain the "eep", and ashamed of not paying attention yet again, the middle Tendou daughter turned to her younger sister, Akane, who now stood beside her with a worried expression on her face.
"Heh? Oh, sorry. I'm just figuring new odds for the fight, that's all. What with " Nabiki didn't continue, seeing Akane flush.
"Nabiki!" Akane stammered "Don't talk about that."
"Why?" Nabiki smirked, but there was some genuine mirth in it. "It's not as if you don't flaunt it each day, every day. You two've gotten awfully affectionate, little sister. Next we'll take bets on you necking, and then comes the question how long until you come up for air."
Yup. Akane was living up to her name, and blushing like only a Scarlet could.
"I just hope Daddy doesn't find out " Akane started, looking downcast.
It was fun, she admitted, the simple banter. No watching yourself, no worries. Kami, she wanted the innocence of youth back.
She bit back a snort. She was only a year older than Akane, after all.
With a sigh she left her little sister to her antics, walking off and back into the school building. She was sure that none had noticed her movements were a little strained, and it hadn't been all that hard to exert the proper pressure on administration in order to be excused from phys-ed classes.
She had to think. The betting pools were mostly running themselves now, so she could take a breather. It had been a close call last night. She shuddered, then collected herself. The hallway was empty, luckily. Her reputation was something she valued highly.
Still, she was shaking on the inside, despite the mask she'd put on. She knew they wouldn't let up, and that whatever had happened last night couldn't be counted upon to happen again.
In a place where space-time had little meaning, where an artifact so powerful stood that only one dared use it, a shimmer in the air heralded something that hadn't been heard of for millennia.
A beautiful woman of indeterminate age, tall and regal, with flowing viridian hair, stood before a gate-like construct, and looked into its depths. It showed her images, it showed her possibilities. And it showed disturbance.
There was a goal that she had devoted her life to, and now it was threatened by something. It was a force that she thought she wouldn't see again, and yet here it was, bringing discord and chaos with it.
Its source was shrouded by a thick fog, and no attempts at scrying would reach it. There was only one thing it could have been.
"Time ssstreamer." the young man hissed quietly as he turned, raven black bangs being tugged by the wind. He'd sensed the approach a few minutes back and had decided to pick the place he would wait in. The sloped rooftop of a penthouse that rested atop a high-rise seemed appropriate. "What do you want from me, mage?"
Her camouflage was good, a tight weave holding her energy and life-force hidden from sight. He had felt the beat of her heart though, heard her breath. As she emerged, seemingly fading into view atop the roof, on the side opposite to the one he stood on.
He smirked at her appearance. He'd seen more daring outfits, certainly. Ones only courtesans dared wear in public. Still, there was no mistaking the power that radiated from her very being.
"It is I who should ask that question." The woman was tall, with long green hair that fell well below the small of her back, dressed in an abbreviated version of a school fuku and holding a staff that radiated as much raw temporal disturbance as she did. "No matter. Leave this Plane, or deal with the consequences."
"I think " he started, and allowed the glamour to vanish. Ivory skin shimmered in the light, waist-length ponytail waved in the breeze like the shawl of a wraith, ghostly white. Eyes which had merely been of a curious color before turned slitted, and were soon aglow with crimson. He hissed faintly, just because it seemed like the right thing to do, as he opened his mouth and allowed the fangs to extend. " not."
Pure, unrefined power crackled in his clawed right hand. And he smiled.
To be continued.
Author's notes: Well, this little thingy popped into my head a while back when I was considering a way for a decent SI fic. No dice, though, and I ended up with another Ranma offshoot. What is it, you ask?
Why, a Ranma/Legacy of Kain crossover. The premise is unoriginal to say the least, with Ranma having been thrown through a weak spot in the continuum, and being re-incarnated as the son of a Noble in Nosgoth, a child named Kain. We all know where this goes, ne?
Anyway, this is a cross with Blood Omen, so none of the following parts apply. Why? Well, I figured that Kain was sufficiently pumped by the end of that, and it was a good breaking point of the story. With Ranma/Kain deciding to save Nosgoth and die, and instead being warped back to his old home by means of the Time Streaming device he'd acquired on his travels, both bodies and spirits combining.
What happens? Well, Ranma has lived thirty years plus the timeline from LoK, and is far from the inexperienced person he'd been at the beginning of Ranma ½. He's also a vampire, with a bit of a different view on morality than what's considered normal. And he's brought most of his toys, along with the Soul Reaver, with him.
The Tendous Well, Genma's visiting, and has been for the past year. Drink and food cost a fair bit. Nabiki tries to make ends meet, but has already had a few bad encounters with the yakuza. Kasumi is pretty much what was shown in the canon, and so are Genma and Soun (meaning they're two imbeciles). Akane's gotten angry one time to many and has cracked under the pressure from the horde, only to be comforted by one of her friends. A romance develops, which results in the horde laying off her when it is revealed. A romance with another girl. Kuno does not take this well and tries to "free Akane Tendou from this perversion" by force. He is constantly getting beaten to a pulp by said girl.
When Ranma comes to Tokyo, things get interesting. He stumbles upon Nabiki getting beaten up as a warning, and stops her assailants in a rather gruesome manner. Imagine the use of Flay on them. Yup, that Flay. After getting a little payment from the girl, he deposits her home (I told you, no remorse or regrets). Still, if I or someone else decides to continue this cross it with Sailor Moon. Pluto getting on his case is nothing new. Pluto meeting her match and being frightened by him would be. This is Kain we're talking about, the guy who killed a Time Streamer, and hates the guts of all like him because they work towards a purpose with little or no regard for anyone. He's immune to temporal powers due to the device, and is really a bad person to piss off. The fact that whenever the Senshi come near him he effortlessly disappears pisses them off even more, and they start a full blown hunt.
Yak hunting on one side, Senshi dodging on the other, Genma bashing here Well, it's the best I could come up with. Anyone care for this thing? I'm willing to hand it out to someone to continue, as long as I get to play consultant and write the occasional part.
As usual, any and all mail should go to firstname.lastname@example.org, C&C welcome and invited.
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