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Arc 1: A Shadow in Nerima

A Ranma ½ multi-crossover story
by Shade, international author of insanity

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. th15 f1c u535 cr3at10n5 th4t d0 n0t b3l0n6 t0 m3! B0w t0 th3 l33t! W3 w1ll a551m1lat3 y0u!


Act 5: Bad to the Bones


"Fight fair? Mercy? I'm sorry; you've obviously mistaken me for someone that gives a damn."
—Shadow

 

"One of these days I'm gonna get that old ghoul!"

Ukyo Kuonji was late. Not that attending school rated high on her list of priorities. But miss a chance to check up on and spend time with her fiancé in class? Now that was a very bad thing from this young woman's perspective.

She would have come sooner, but halfway here she'd remembered that Akane had cooked Ranma's lunch for today, although calling those experiments in bad taste that was probably an insult to decent lunches everywhere. Why couldn't that klutz get it through her head that she was an abomination when it came to the kitchen?

Before coming to Furinkan, Ukyo had always been certain that she was the ultimate unfeminine tomboy. Upon meeting her fiancé Ranma Saotome again, she'd been sure that his claims of her cuteness were more lies spun to avoid his just punishment by mega-spatula. But then she'd gotten to know Akane Tendo. Now there's someone that makes me look like a paragon of womanhood by comparison!

"Don't worry Ranma-honey! I'll save you!"

Never underestimate the power of fresh okonomiyaki.


A monster stalked the halls of Furinkan High. Armed with the traditional tools of his fiendish trade, this heartless beast prepared to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting student bodies. Soon… Soon they would all scream in terror as Furinkan High was transformed into Hell on Earth.

"Da keikis gonna get da bolo head fo' sure dis time!" Principal Kuno indulged in a little evil maniacal laughter. "Bwahahahahahaha!!!" His doctor had told him that it helped lower his blood pressure.

There was only that one little gokiburi in his luau. That little Saotome punk. "Bruddah get da kine buss up. No mo'a disrespect da Big Kahuna show him who wea' da pineapple round hea'!"

The kid was rude, violent, and just an all around regular pain in the ass. Plus his hair was too damn long. But that was gonna change! He had gotten a whole new shipment of nasty tricks shipped in just last week. This time for sure, the rebellious students would be crushed like so much taro root in the poi pounder!

And speak of the devil; there was that brat right now. "Aloha, kukui baka! Gonna do da snip-snip to da kine tardy keiki!"

He opened up with a barrage of his favorite — and quite expensive — trick, explosive stuffed lobsters complete with matching snapping razor-lined claws. Ha! Let the foolish boy try to get out of… HUH?!

With almost contemptuous ease, the dark-haired young man proceeded to pluck the incoming crustaceans right out of the air. His fingers plunged straight through the reddish brown shells to pluck out and disable the detonators attached to the payloads of pineapple handgrenades. The grenades themselves vanished within his hands immediately afterwards.

Sixteen twitching husks hit the floor with an audible splat.

"Was that it, or do you have something else more interesting to show me?"

What the bugger was wrong with that kid's eyes today? It looked like one of them was glowing!? But that was preposterous! "Dis time fo shuuah!"

His next attack was a mix of electric razors and sharpened pointy scissors. The Principal leapt up to follow his attack, secure in the knowledge that even Ranma couldn't deal with that many sharp objects in the confined space of a school hallway. The boy had only two choices really, run away and try to dodge most of the incoming missiles or stand his ground and get hit by a lot more of them. Either way, the longhaired twerp would be at a serious disadvantage when the middle-aged Kuno came in to shave him bald as a Buddhist monk. "Gotcha, Bolohead!"

With a casual, underhanded toss, Ranma lobbed one of the grenades he'd lifted into the front of the wave of approaching shaving accessories.

*BANG*

The blast shook the ceiling and rattled windows in the hall so hard that hairline cracks formed at the edges of each one. The concussion also blew Principal Kuno's projectile blitz right back at him.

"Aaaaa!! Auuughh! Aiiiieee!! Iiiitaaaaiii!! Crikey!!"

The last came out when a sinister hand reached out of the smoky haze to grab the dazed and bleeding administrator by one of his thick ankles.

"Mommy!!!"

It started dragging him back into the waiting darkness.

"Nooooo! Help! Help me! Not da Coconuts! Not da—"

Snap-Crackle-Pop

There's always a bigger fish in the pond.


"Ewwwwwww!"

Hiroshi and Daisuke had been found. Needless to say, the ones that had discovered them could have done without that dubious honor.

"Oh dear Kami-sama! That's the most disgusting thing I've ever seen!!"

Furinkan's restrooms had been renovated and upgraded to Western standards several years ago. This meant, among other things, that the boy's side sported public style wall-to-floor urinals. Which were currently occupied at the moment.

"My poor bleeding eyes!"

According to the traditional law of physics, two bodies cannot occupy the same three-dimensional space at the same point in time. Otherwise bad things happen.

"Somebody stop that cheesy porno music!!"

Of course, Ranma never had been one for following laws even before he'd lost what passed for his conscience. And so his unfortunate victims had somehow both been shoved into an amount of space that had never been intended for its present capacity. But that wasn't the most disgusting part.

"I've gone blind!!"

Their positions were.

"My Brother! I feel your pain!!"

In order to squeeze both victims inside, the pair had been stripped buck-naked. And there was a very good reason why nobody had heard any screams or cries for help from the perverted duo.

"Evil! I have witnessed TRUE EVIL!!"

It's rather hard to talk with your mouth full.

"Dear Kami-sama! We've been taking showers with those sickoes!!"

Who says evil doesn't have a sense of humor?


Ranma was hunting. His elusive quarry offered an interesting challenge, leaving behind a random trail of candy bar wrappers, pudding cups and bitterly cursing janitorial staff.

"…"

Of course, it was a rather obvious trail as well.

Miss Hinako had been a bad little girl. And bad girls got…punished. He smiled in anticipation.

And then all of a sudden Ranma's plans for the delicious teacher went flying out the airlock as a familiar figure crashed through the hall window.


He was depressed… A very familiar state, for he was cursed.

Not only by Jusenkyo. Or his miserable lack of direction. And it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that while he had a physical build that Hercules would envy, it was paired with plumbing more appropriate to a five-year-old. Ryoga Hibiki was cursed by the presence of Ranma Saotome, the source of all his problems, past, present and future. All of it could be blamed on Ranma.

That was why he had to beat him. Humiliate him. Destroy him. Even if he had to lie, cheat, and backstab his enemy, it was all in the name of justice. Because it wasn't his fault. It was Ranma's fault. Always Ranma's fault.

The stolen bread, the missed duel, Jusenkyo, the countless beatings he'd suffered, and Akane. Dear, sweet, perfect Akane, who that evil villain treated like garbage. There was no justice in the world!

"Damn you, Saotome!!"

Filled with an abundance of manly depression, he leapt forward, blind to anything that might be in his path. The glass in front of him might as well have not been there, since he didn't feel a thing, physically or otherwise.

"You really don't have any respect for other people's property, Hibiki."

It couldn't be!? It was! "How dare you call me Hibiki! My name is P-chan!!"

Wait a second?! That wasn't right! Oh, forget this thinking business! It made his head hurt. Violence was so much easier.

"RANMA, PREPARE TO DIE!!"


He'd fought Ryoga several times before, but there was something different about this battle from the very beginning. It was as if Ranma could see every move his opponent made before Ryoga actually did it. It was almost… pitiful.

Blow after blow the young man sidestepped, ducked, or teasingly twisted away from without a care. When the increasingly frustrated Lost Boy tried a feint, Ranma not only saw it coming ahead of time, but also turned it to his own advantage. A sharp crack resounded through the hall as his backhand smashed into the off-balance Hibiki and sent him crashing down the corridor. He'd hit him so hard that Ranma had actually felt the other boy's teeth smash into his inner cheek. The young man watched with an odd sense of detachment as the fanged boy started to spit mixed gobs of spit and blood to the already messy floor.

But that didn't last long. Something was stirring inside of him. Something cold, dark… and hungry.

Ranma looked at his adversary and didn't see a bitter rival or a fellow martial artist. Instead, he saw prey.


Something was wrong. His mouth was full of the sickly metallic taste of his own blood, the gash inside oozing lightning pinpricks of white fire. How? HOW?! Ranma had never been able to do this to him! Sure the bastard was faster then him, but he'd never been strong enough to hurt him like that! It had only been a single blow, but his face felt as if he'd been struck by a freight train.

"What's the matter? You look surprised."

Shaking his head in an attempt to clear the spasm of dizziness that had swept over him, Ryoga got back to his feet.

"That's more like it. It wouldn't be as much fun otherwise."

He couldn't believe what he was hearing from that arrogant son of a Genma! "Fun? FUN?! How dare you mock me?!" Ryoga glared as Ranma gave him another one of those irritating smirks. Saotome flexed both of his hands easily, the slight pop of his knuckles only heightening the surreal feeling here. No way was Ranma stronger then him! "Did you think a single hit like that would stop me, Saotome?! That felt like a baby's punch!!"

Ranma raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"

"Take this!!" This time Fang Boy went for his bandanas. He grabbed them off his head and flung them out at a rapid pace, filling the corridor with his spinning razor edged projectiles. There was no way even Ranma would be able to dodge all of that, not in these confined surroundings. "I've got you!!"


Once again Ranma experienced that peculiar sense of the outside world slowing down. A part of him knew that Ryoga's bandanas were coming at him incredibly fast, but to his eyes they seemed to be moving as though they were traveling through transparent mud instead of air. He had all the time in the world to act.

Reaching behind his head, the martial artist pulled free the dragon's whisker that bound his ponytail. Letting his long hair fall freely behind him, Ranma looped one end of the whisker around his index finger and reached deep within himself for a reservoir of power that he'd never known existed before. His improvised whip gleamed evilly for a moment… and then he lashed out.

The space in front of him seemed to split into a thousand shards of light and darkness as the shining hair wove into a gleaming web of chaos. Bandana after bandana was sliced apart as it entered the lethal area of effect until finally no more of the projectiles remained in flight. With a snap of the wrist, the martial artist called the whisker's length back to his hand and retied it back in his hair.

The expression on Ryoga's face was simply priceless. Of course, only someone without any shame or sense of fair play would have attacked someone so obviously stunned like that.

Ranma's kick sent Hibiki rocketing through the wall like an out of control soccer ball and into the next building.


The sound of rapid property devaluation alerted the chef to her fiancé’s probable whereabouts. When in doubt about where to find Ranma Saotome, one seldom went wrong by simply heading towards the explosions.

Ukyo hoped Ranma would be feeling hungry after the fight. It would make it easier for her to get an explanation out of him for yesterday's disappearance. He had a lot of nerve to scare her like that by just vanishing without a trace! If she hadn't purchased that monthly subscription plan from Nabiki she might never have learned he'd gotten back late yesterday afternoon and would probably have still been looking for him… Not that she could totally blame him for wanting to duck out on the usual insanity. There were people in this district that could drive a saint to drink.

Ah! She'd found him. There was no mistaking that… pigtail? Ukyo blinked.

"Ranma-honey?"


He savored the feeling of cartilage shattering against his foot like a well-aged fine wine. He could taste the spicy swirling miasma of rage, the fine jagged arcs that marked the sweetness of pain, and the small but quickly growing kernels of intoxicating fear building up within the Lost Boy. The eerie glow in his eyes grew stronger as he chased after Ryoga.

This was merely an appetizer. He wanted more. Much more.

Ryoga saw him coming in. Hibiki was still struggling to rise, the adrenaline pumping through his veins fighting off the first signs of shock from his broken nose. He tried to growl a curse, but this time only a wet bubbling wheeze emerged from his torn and bleeding mouth.

Ranma gave his target no chance to get his bearings, smashing a brutal one-two-three combo past the other boy's attempt to defend with lethal efficiency. His predatory smile grew as he felt one of Ryoga's ribs give way under his assault. Ranma sidestepped the clumsy punch that came back in retaliation, and then took advantage of his opponent's position to smash the flat of his palm straight into Ryoga's outstretched elbow like a sledgehammer. There was a wet muffled crunch as Ryoga's arm flopped backwards from the impact. This time his efforts were rewarded by a piercing scream of raw agony.

He paused for a moment, soaking in the sweet sound of another being's suffering, and then the back of his neck tensed up as he sensed the presence of someone else intruding on his meal.


She couldn't believe her eyes. "Ranma! What do you think you're doing?! You're killing him!"

Although Ukyo bore no love for Ryoga Hibiki, she was still shocked by Ranma's behavior. And not just by the chilling ease with which her fiancé had dispensed such extreme violence, but even more so by the savage enjoyment that she saw in his features as he did so. What was wrong with him? "Ranma! Stop—"

A low sound, not quite a snarl, rumbled from the depths of his throat as he spun around to face her. The rest of her words died stillborn in Ukyo's mouth as Ranma tossed aside the moaning Ryoga like yesterday's stale okonomiyaki. That primitive burning gaze held her transfixed, like a helpless young chick in the clutches of a hungry serpent. Her giant battle-spatula hung limply in her frozen hands. For the first time that she could ever recall, Ukyo was actually afraid of her fiancé.

On some basic unconscious level the okonomiyaki chef could sense the ruthless force seething within her Ranma. It was in his eyes, the cruel line of his smile, and in every unhurried movement as he approached her. She saw his hunger, and witnessed it shifting from bloodlust to something even more frightening.

Desire.


Some subconscious level of awareness alerted him to the fact that he was no longer alone on the road. When he turned and saw the strange geeky fanboys approaching with large military-style rifles pointed in his direction, he did what any survival-prone person would do. Namely, dive for cover without bothering to waste time with silly questions like "Who are you?" and "What do you think you're doing?" Obviously they were no friends of his, and you didn't point guns at people that you intended to invite to a tea party.

"Shoot him, you dolts!"

"Idiots, Sir!"

"Whatever! Just shoot him!"

Well, that answered one question for him. He wasn't dealing with a bunch of Einsteins here.

*BANG*BANG*BANG*BANG*BANG*

But as the bullets began to fly all around his position, the young writer ruefully acknowledged that enough firepower could more then compensate for their lack of brains. His only consolation as he crawled through the dirt and thick underbrush that bordered the road was that they seemed to be terrible shots.

Wooden stems and small thorns did their best to hinder his already slow progress, drawing small trickles of blood from his bare arms and his legs where they managed to pierce through his worn jeans. He ignored the pain as best he could; getting shot would hurt a lot worse and be a lot more permanent then just some scratches.

Shade crawled as fast as he could at an angle from the shooters, trying to get out of the firezone while at the same time trying improve his chances of remaining lead-free by putting a bit more distance between himself and his attackers. At least the sound of gunfire drowned out any noise he made crawling through the dry brush. It felt like hours under there, just putting one arm in front of the other and moving ahead one leg at a time as branches and dry sticks jabbed cruelly against his stomach. Each time a bullet whined over his head he involuntarily twitched, expecting to feel it slam into his back and blow a hole through him.

The utter silence that suddenly followed was almost explosive in contrast to the ear-wrecking din of before.

"What are you idiots doing? Keep shooting till he's dead, dead, dead!!"

"We're out of ammo, sir."

"Idiots!! Do I have to do everything myself?!"

"Was that a trick question, sir?"

"Ooo! Ooo! I know this one! It's door number three!"

"Arrgghhhh!!"

A single gunshot sounded.

"Oh my God, He killed Kenny!!"

A muffled commotion broke out behind his position. Shade couldn't believe what he was hearing. But then again, he also wasn't one to question an opportunity. Trying to make as little noise as possible, he got back to his feet and made his way deeper into the woods. Somebody was going to pay for this.

They were going to pay dearly indeed.

 

To be continued.

Arc 1, Act 6
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Last revision: May 21, 2007

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