A Ranma ½ / Love Hina crossover story
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video. Love Hina belongs to Ken Akamatsu, Kodansha Comics, Shounen Magazine Comics, TV Tokyo and Pioneer Entertainment. Ken-san banzai!
Foreword: The "Ranma" divergence takes place before Nodoka's introduction, but after the Shi Shi Hokodan story arc. The "Love Hina" part is an alternate universe that uses a mix of the anime and manga sources. There are spoilers if you haven't read through the manga or haven't seen the entire set of Love Hina TV series, OVAs, and specials.
Many belated thanks to the pre-readers who helped me through this, Especially Brian, Ginrai and Corwin who kept bugging me till I finally finished it. ^_^
Editor's note: For those of you not up on relative exchange rates, a yen is approximately the equal of a US penny. The real exchange rate varies according to international market influences and can change on a daily basis, but to get the flavor of what yen values are, you can just mentally put a decimal place before the last two digits of the number of yen. For example, in this story, 1000 yen is mentioned, which would be roughly $10.00, plus or minus a few cents.
Chapter 2: Promise
It took him three days to find the Hinata district. Three days of hitching rides on the rumbling roofs of the always-on-time Japanese trains. Three long days without a bite to eat, barely any sleep, and only water from public fountains to drink. But at last he had reached his destination.
His only possessions were the clothes on his back and his life savings, a 1000-yen bill. His eyes were bloodshot, his body cried out for rest, and he was starting to smell none too fresh. But Ranma didn't care. He had something more important on his mind.
He had to say goodbye.
The shopkeeper had been a resident of the Hinata district for some time. His own children had all long since grown up and left the nest to make their own way in the world. He'd seen times of relative quiet and times when the local weirdness managed to raise even his jaded eyebrows. But today the quiet grief hanging in the air in recent days seemed to have afflicted everyone in the district. The old lady had been one of the pillars of the community ever since he himself could remember. And she would be missed deeply by them all.
When the raggedy young man entered his shop, he barely noticed him at first. At least not until the young man came up to his counter and plopped down a crumpled 1000-yen bill on it. "I need some flowers."
That got his attention. Was this kid serious? What did he expect to get for only a thousand yen?
And then he saw the naked grief in the boy's eyes.
He could see just how much that single word cost the youth's pride. And without even asking, he was able to guess why the teenager needed them so badly. The pain he saw there was like a reflection of his own loss. "All right."
The old man bent down behind the counter and pulled up a slightly wilted, but still pretty arrangement of white and yellow flowers. "Will this be okay?" The shopkeeper knew he'd done the right thing when he saw the gratitude and relief ease some of the burden on the young man's trembling shoulders.
"Yes! Thank you."
"You better hurry if you want to make it to the graveyard before that storm hits." He pointed outside to the grumbling dark clouds slowly moving toward the district. But when he turned back, the boy was already gone. He shook his head and sighed. "A dream? Or will we wait to see?"
Ranma had never felt so alone as he did at that moment. He stood there shivering in that quiet, foggy graveyard. The flowers he held seemed like the only real colors there. Everything else, even the marble headstone in front of him, was all enshrouded by that same dismal shade of grey. Slowly, hesitantly he knelt and placed the crumpled bouquet by the cold stone.
"I ." Ranma stopped. He didn't know what to say. How did you speak to the dead? "I-I wish I wish that, that, I mean I " Why was he trembling so much? Why was this so hard to say?
Something wet hit the back of his clenched hands. Again. And then again. It was starting to rain. For once, Ranma welcomed the change brought on by his curse.
He knelt there, pelted by the stinging rain, letting it wash away any trace of her tears. The howl of the wind and the rumble of distant thunder hid the sound of her sobs. Men did not cry. But a woman could.
Her mind was lost in a thousand flashes of memory. Traveling. Training. Hunger. And above all the constant loneliness. Always watching other kids from the outside. Never fitting in. Never a place where she belonged. Take away the Art and what was she left with?
"Never again!" It was as much a cry of pain as it was a promise. And when the anger had spent itself, all that was left was her grief. Ranma cried for her grandmother. She wept for herself. And she mourned for lost chances that would never be.
How long she just knelt there staring blankly at the grave, she did not know. But when her awareness returned, the storm had finally passed and the day was on the wane. Pushing a soggy strand of hair away from her face, Ranma wondered what she would do now. Her father had always taught her to live in the moment. Even her journey here had been an act born of emotion rather then forethought.
She couldn't go back to the Tendos. At least, not yet. She didn't want to confront anyone she knew in Nerima yet either. Not with her feelings still so raw and bleeding. She needed a place to stay, at least for a little while.
Reaching into a soggy pants pocket produced the runny remains of the letter that had brought her here. She remembered it had mentioned something about a place called the "Hinata Sou" and something about a "Haruka Urashima". Another relative that Genma had never mentioned? The last thing Ranma wanted to do right now was rely on the whims of someone that she had never met before to take her in.
But it seemed to be her only viable option at the moment.
The place was a dump. Big, but a dump. At least, that was Ranma's first impression of it.
He was no architect, but even he could see that the exterior had seen better days. The paint on the sides was worn, faded, and peeling everywhere he could see. In many places the bare wood was exposed to the elements. Even the stone pavement leading to the building was pitted and cracked, the scars of a losing war with Mother Nature. Several of the roof tiles appeared loose as well, their sad neglected state reminding him far too much of the Tendo Dojo.
He wondered if this was such a good idea. But his body was too weary to go someplace else now. Only one night here couldn't hurt, right?
"Hello? Anyone here?" Too impatient to wait outside, Ranma walked in without waiting for a response. He was greeted by an empty interior that was surprisingly in better shape then the outside would have led one to believe. A bowl of rice cracker snacks on a small beaten up coffee table tempted him for a moment. He was extremely hungry, having dined on nothing but cold water and some complimentary samples snatched from various food stands on his way here. But there was a cold lump in his stomach that made the very thought of eating repugnant to him at the moment. Right now, all he wanted was to rest.
As he made his way through the first floor searching for a quiet place to collapse in, a familiar scent reached his reddened nose. Steam. And not just any steam. One containing the unique mingled fragrance that heralded only one thing. A hot spring.
Ranma closed his eyes and sighed in pleasure as he slid into the soothing heat of the steaming water. For the first time since receiving that letter of ill-tidings, his shoulders slumped limply in relaxation.
It was oh-so-tempting to fall asleep there in the water. He simply didn't want to move as the heat worked its way into his muscles, bringing blessed relief to his cramped legs and arms. "So good." One hand slowly reached back behind his head to release the hair tying his pigtail together. "Ooooo "
As his long hair swung free, Ranma was rewarded with an accompanying release of tension from the back of his head and neck. The long dark strands fanned out behind him as he sank deeper into the stone-covered pool. So engrossed was the young man in his blessed little island of contentment that he never heard the sound of footsteps approaching the bath.
Naru Narusegawa was looking forward to a long soak in the hot springs to ease the weariness of another tiring session at cram school. But at least focusing on her studies helped to distract her from other matters.
"Mitsune, you're planning on going in too?"
"Mm. Now seemed as good a time as any for a bath."
Naru noticed that there seemed to be an uncharacteristic somberness in her short-haired, shifty-eyed friend's normal easygoing Kansai accent. She also knew why. It was the same reason the long-haired cram student had buried herself so completely in her studies recently. What were they going to do now that Grandma Hina was gone?
Not only had the loss hit all of them personally, but the future of their girl's dorm now also looked bleak. Naru didn't want to go back home and live with her father's new family. She had a promise to keep, after all.
The two young women tucked their towels around themselves and proceeded to enter the bath area. To their surprise they saw that somebody else was already in the water. Upon spotting the long dark hair trailing behind the submerged figure, the two of them naturally came to the conclusion that one of the other residents had gotten in ahead of them.
But I thought Motoko was out training today? Oh well. Mitsune shrugged. Who was she to question such a perfectly good opportunity for mischief when it was handed to her on a silver platter like this? Sneaking up behind her unsuspecting victim, the foxy girl gestured quietly to the puzzled Naru.
Surprise, disapproval and then finally a semi-reluctant look of agreement showed on her friend's pretty face. Mitsune gave Narusegawa a saucy wink in reply. Abandoning the towel wrapped around her ample assets, the "Kitsune" of the Hinata Dorms plunged down into the steaming water to seize the person in there from behind.
Naru clasped her hands together in a quick prayer. Forgive me, Motoko. Then she dived in after her friend.
The swirling water was slightly cloudy from the natural minerals of the hot spring, compounding Naru's own problem of nearsightedness as she tried to make out Motoko's form. But she could see well enough that the kendo girl had brought her sword with her into the bath again. Granted it looked a bit smaller underwater, but what else could that thing sticking out of her lap be?
Both her hands reached out to seize it. The results were unexpected.
The first sign for Ranma that something was seriously wrong was when a pair of semi-hard points impacted against his back. The soft pillowy cushions that followed immediately afterwards reduced the number of possibilities that those nubs could be. Even a Saotome was able to put two and two together and get four.
But when somebody else grabbed him from the front, he stiffened in shock. Literally. And then he made the mistake of opening his mouth to scream .
Mitsune Konno prided herself on certain things. Her drinking. Her gambling. Her devious scheming. And the most important of them all, her natural "talents". Motoko was long overdue an attack from the 'Big Sister Bust-Size Checker'.
And she did so love seeing that prudish warrior blush. Although as she rubbed herself up against Motoko's back, Mitsune was amazed at how hard the corded muscles there felt. It was a little embarrassing to admit, but it was starting to turn her on. She'd always had a weak spot for a nice solid back, and from this angle it was easy to forget her target's true gender and imagine she was embracing a long-haired guy instead. Damn, maybe I shouldn't have had all that booze this morning. The hallucinations are kicking in earlier then usual today.
The mischievous girl was pleased to note how Motoko stiffened up as she pressed herself more firmly against the other girl's back. Her arms reached around, hands outstretched to grope . To grope .
Say, where the heck did Motoko's breasts go? Was the younger girl starting to bind them up in the bath now?
A sudden sinking feeling started to form in the pit of her stomach as Konno's hands started moving back and forth in an attempt to solve this little mystery. But when they finally encountered a chest, it most definitely did not belong to a girl. But even as she was coming to grips with this realization, all hell started to break loose in the bath.
For a moment, all was quiet in the hot spring. Then Ranma's head erupted from the water, gasping and choking from his belated attempt to scream underwater. Next to surface was a naked wide-eyed short-haired silver-blonde woman clinging to his back. And finally to cap off the madness, another naked girl emerged between his legs holding onto him with both hands like a crazed video game addict grasping a joystick.
"EEEEEKKKK!! Pervert! Rapist! Molester! SOMEONE HELP ME!!!" Narusegawa screamed in horror as she finally comprehended her situation and started to flee. But in her panic, she forgot all about her firm grip on the young man.
"OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!! LET GO!! LET GO!! LET GO!!!" Ranma started yelling in pain as he was dragged along behind the screaming girl by an appendage not designed to tow the weight of two people all by itself. Back and forth the trio went, as Naru kept going around in circles in a futile attempt to shake off the pursuit that she was pulling along after her.
Finally Naru simply couldn't take anymore, her hands letting go at last as she spun around in order to deliver one of her devastating anti-pervert haymakers. Mitsune saw what was coming and shoved off of the martial artist's back in order to get out of the way.
Ranma stumbled and tried to recover his balance. But a sudden spasm of dizziness struck. He felt so lightheaded that it was difficult to think coherently. So hot. Stayed in too long. Don't feel good. One foot slipped on the wet rock floor and he started to fall. His hands reached out in a futile attempt to grab something in order to stop the inevitable.
"Aah!" The sudden sensation of being grabbed threw Naru's aim off. Instead of clobbering the pervert in the head, her fist went wide and skidded past his ear. Unable to recover her balance, she found herself being pushed down by her target. Naturally, she assumed the worse. Noooo! He's going to have his wicked way with me! And the worst part is that it actually feels pretty good! Oh, why do I have to be such a sucker for this kind of forceful seduction right out of a trashy romance novel?
She moaned softly as the young man's grip on her breasts slid along their wet surface. They seemed to be everywhere at once as the lower half of his lean form came down on her body. She could feel his hardened heat pressing against her thigh like an iron brand, and its touch seemed to drain the strength out of her feeble struggles.
"No, not like this Oh ah!" Naru started to close her eyes, believing that this vile rake would no doubt take this opportunity to steal her first kiss from her pink virgin lips. But then she finally noticed the look on the young man's face. There weren't any signs of lust or victory showing on his face, only sheer panic. Huh?!
For some reason Narusegawa felt vaguely insulted instead of relieved.
Ranma's nervousness kept increasing as he struggled to keep his head from planting itself face first in this strange girl's cleavage. He was already aware of where his hands were, but they were also the only things keeping him from falling all the way down. Had he been able to think more clearly Ranma would have seen that he could have braced his hands on either side of her, but right now the only thing he could comprehend was that he could not fall on her at any cost, and so his hands continued their futile struggle to get a firm hold the slippery twin peaks.
"Miss Naru, is something wrong? I heard you cry out from my room and WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?!"
Then it really hit the fan as a tall girl in an old-style kendo gi appeared on the scene.
"Atcha." Mitsune could only watch the comedy of errors play out in front of her.
First came Naru's blush of embarrassment as she realized her compromising position had an audience. "KYAAAAA!!!" Followed by a quick shove to the chest that pitched the strange young man backwards and away from her .
"ZAN TETSU SEN!" Straight into Motoko's attack.
"I can't bear to watch!" But Mitsune peeked through her fingers anyway.
Ranma identified the technique as a high pressure air wave launched by the slashing movement of the girl's wooden blade. Tatewaki Kuno had often used a similar move against him before. However, he reflected ruefully, Kuno had never been quite this good at it.
With Kuno, the air pressure was strong but lost power fairly quickly, making it a relatively short-ranged attack. The stubborn kendoist could fire them off pretty fast, but it depended on repeated strikes hitting the target in order to do any real damage. But this girl had just fired off her attack from a good thirty feet away and her attack didn't look weakened in the least. If anything, it seemed to be gaining strength as it crested over the water towards him!
He managed to jump out of the way barely in the nick of time. The bottoms of his feet tingled from the near-miss, and he recognized this sensation with a sinking feeling in the pit of his already queasy stomach. It was just like when he'd gotten pounded on by Ryoga's Shi Shi Hokodan. Only this time without the dark taste of depression and anger fueling the ki. Don't need this right now!
A loud explosion announced the demise of the tall bamboo fence at the back of the baths as it was hit by her "Shining Steel Cutting Beam" strike. Motoko's initial assessment of this pervert went up a notch as she chased after him. He was obviously not an ordinary weakling molester. Stronger measures were needed to deal with this menace to maidenly chastity!
"ZAN KU SEN!" This time her efforts were rewarded by the sight of her target being hurled ass over teakettle through the dorm building wall.
"Oh no! Shinobu!"
And the chase was on!
Shinobu had been in the kitchen washing the dishes when she'd heard the first violent outbursts coming from the baths. At first she had dismissed it as another one of Kaolla's experiments going berserk and causing havoc again. But then Suu had entered the kitchen while snacking on some bananas. The tanned, mad hacker/inventor had denied any involvement in the ruckus outside and was actually rather peeved that she hadn't been invited to the mayhem. Which was of course the exact same moment that the kitchen wall next to them decided to explode.
"Kaolla! Kaolla!! Are you okay?! Where are you?!" Coughing from all the dust that had been kicked up, the teary-eyed girl tried to see through the brown haze. The sound of someone violently coughing nearby caught her attention. "Oh, there you are!"
Shinobu blindly reached out to help her friend up while rubbing at her reddened eyes with the back of one arm. She grasped a wrist and tried to haul Suu up, but her strength proved unequal to the task. "Oof! Kaolla, you really need to start cutting back on the bananas!" Even her wrist seemed to have gotten a bit chubbier.
"Ooo look at all the floating bananas ."
Wait a second. Kaolla's voice was coming from the other side of the kitchen?! Shinobu blinked several times as this fact slowly penetrated. Then she squinted for a closer look.
This wasn't Kaolla.
And that wasn't an arm she was holding.
Ow. He'd forgotten how much Ki attacks hurt. They did less physical damage then regular attacks, but since they attacked the spirit directly, he actually felt them a lot more. It hurt to even breathe now. Taking quick shallow breaths helped a little, but then the fire in his sinuses and lungs erupted into a violent spasm of coughing and hacking. Darkness beckoned at the edge of his vision. It would be so easy to just let it all go and collapse.
Well, except for one little detail.
Eeyoww! That's NOT a lever, you know! Ranma was starting to get sick and tired of people pulling on his crotch. Not only was it making itself a bigger target, but he was also starting to feel rather sore and a bit raw from all the clumsy handling. And it was that focused irritant that kept him painfully awake and aware.
With an irritated grunt the naked young man sat up, blinking the dust out of his eyes. He paid no attention to the hysterical girl who had backed away from him and was curled up into a fetal position in the far corner of the room. Ranma figured he had ten, maybe even fifteen seconds before that female kendoist would show up in here. And it would be much better for his health if he was not here when she arrived. Forget this madhouse. He'd be safer camping out in the woods.
Just wait for night, come back and grab my clothes and then I'm gone.
But when he stood up, the blood rushing to his head sent him reeling from side to side. I don't feel so good.
Ranma stumbled out of the kitchen, weaving like a drunkard through the hallway toward the front of the house. His head was pounding, his nose was runny, and despite his lack of clothing he felt like one of Akane's art projects being roasted at maximum power in a kiln. Behind him, the growing sounds of angry pursuit told the martial artist that he was running out of time. Ranma made a desperate final dash for the steps leading down from the front courtyard. If he could just get away .
"THERE HE IS!!"
Distracted by the need to watch behind him for incoming projectiles, he registered the presence of another person coming up those same steps just a little too late.
Warm. Soft. Fluffy, sweet-smelling mounds. Then the sudden ringing pain of an iron hard fist crashing down on his head.
"Hmmm, Ranma? Is that you?"
And then comforting darkness reached out to embrace him.
Haruka Urashima sighed. The fresh loaves of bread she'd been bringing over to the girls had been squished into funny looking lumps. And now her unconscious nephew was laying buck-naked on the stone pavement, victim of her "Anti-Seta" reflexes.
"Miss Haruka! You caught the pervert!!"
This was going to be one of those days again. She really needed a cigarette right now.
To be continued.
|Layout, design, & site revisions © 2005||
Webmaster: Larry F