My Chinese Ghost
Disclaimer: I'm BAAACK… but I still own NOTHING except Mei.
Chapter 11: Family
Mei could only stare at her reflection in the mirror, and be amazed at the fact that it was actually her reflection she was looking at. Not Ranma as a woman, not her borrowing Ranma's body, but actually her own body once again.
It scared her a little bit.
"Mei, get a hold of yourself." She hissed, softly so no one walking by the bathroom door could hear her. Closing her eyes, she collected herself using the breathing exercises her father taught her all those centuries before.
"No… don't think about that… Just breath." She lectured herself. After a few minutes, she opened her green eyes once more.
Some things had changed, from the last desperate moments of her life before Jusenkyo. Her skin wasn't abraided or bruised, nor were there any scars remaining from her desperate flight from bandits turned rapists. She was also healthy, healthier than she may have been at the time of her 'death'.
Her body was filled out, both in the general sense and in the chest, an apparent inheritance from the better diet offered to people of the modern time, and Ranma's family legacy. That legacy also showed it's self in her eyes, and other subtle ways. She no longer looked like a full bloodied Chinese girl, but more a blend of Chinese and Japanese characteristics.
Part of her wasn't really sure what to think of that. The rest of her was just thrilled to be alive again.
A knock on the door startled her out of her ruminations. "Um… yes?"
"It's me… Nadoka dear. Are you alright in there?"
"Yes, Ms. Saotome."
"Can I come in?"
Nadoka opened the door, slipping in with a bundle in her arms. She set it down and smile down at the girl. "No need to be so formal. Not for someone who's so close to my son."
Unlike most of the Nerima Wrecking Crew, Mei could recognize teasing when she heard it. "Not so close as I was. I suppose he liked his space."
"My son does certainly need some, it seems." Nadoka gripped Mei's shoulders gently, then, and turned her so she could get a good look.
"What happened to your clothing dear?"
Mei looked down. She hadn't really considered her outfit. She was dressed, somehow, in the clothing she'd fallen into the springs wearing. Unlike her flesh, it hadn't healed over the intervening centuries, instead remain ripped and torn, particularly the pants, which the bandits had done their level best to destroy, before she'd scored a lucky kick and gotten away.
The last outfit her father had seen her in.
"Oh my… Is something wrong?" Nadoka asked, hugging the girl without considering her actions. "Why are you crying?"
"They're all gone. My family, my friends. I… I was able to ignore it, a ghost… but now… I don't even have Ranma… not that I ever did but…"
"Shhh… Silly girl. Do you really think my manly son would leave you by the wayside? From the way I hear it he credits you with saving his life at least twice. Something regarding Saffron… and a dish Akane cooked."
In spite of the tears, Mei giggled.
"There we go… That's better." Nadoka looked down at her. "You've lost so much, haven't you."
"It could have been worse." Mei assured her.
Nadoka doubted it, but she didn't say anything.
Mei turned back to the mirror. "I hope the Tendo's won't mind me staying here for a few days. I… I just don't know…"
"They won't even consider sending you away. I know Soun, and it's not in his nature." Nadoka assured her. "But you're a considerate girl, and considering the future."
"If there is one. The demon…"
"Is a problem for a later day. Right now, you're feeling guilty about worrying about yourself. And you shouldn't be. The world has just become a far scarier place." Nadoka tilted her head, smiling softly. "I imagine that is an odd realization for a ghost, hmmm?"
"Yes Mrs. Saotome."
"I'm not sure you should call me that… but we'll talk about that in the moment. What were you hoping to become, before you died. I imagine a bride, being so long ago."
Mei nodded. "I wasn't very sought after though. I was too much my father's daughter." She punched the air a couple of times, showing what she meant.
"Around here, that's nearly more important than knowing how to cook. Saddly." Nadoka assured. "You'll be fighting the boy's off with sticks. Or those punches. Trust me."
"Which brings me to Ranma…"
"I wouldn't… I mean…" Mei blushed, in spite of herself. "I never really saw Ranma that way. Granted, I was dead at the time, but still… he's got enough women chasing him, pouring water on him, trying to kill or marry him…"
"Yes… I've heard the monologue. You do sound remarkably like Ranma-chan while doing it."
"Well, Ranma is borrowing my throat."
"This is true." Nadoka chuckled. "And it makes some things easier. I might be a slight bit… focused… on my son's manliness, but I think you might have pushed the situation over the edge as a fiancée."
Mei raised an eyebrow, wondering exactly what Nadoka defined as an edge, if she didn't think Ranma's situation had already gone over it… and into the ocean below.
"But… since you aren't…" Nadoka shook her head, and turned to look in the mirror. Mei could sense she was a bit nervous now.
"Is something wrong, Ma'am?"
"Not wrong…" Nadoka sighed. "You're sixteen… physically at least. A minor now, if not in your own time."
"Yes. This commonly irritates Ranma."
"Most things irritate Ranma. I think it's why he gets on with Ryoga as well as he does." Nadoka deadpanned. "That being said, you can't really venture into the world alone. Even Ryoga has parents. Somewhere."
"Yes, but I have no one…"
"A fact myself and Elder Cologne discussed while the young hot heads… and fathers… argued and you slipped away. She was going to approach you about possibly joining the amazons, but I convinced her to let me approach you first."
"Approach me about what?"
Nadoka looked into the mirror again, adjusting her already perfect hair. "You held my son when I couldn't, and were his friend when they weren't anywhere else to be found. You came from his body, newly born, or reborn. The way I see it, that makes us something akin to family. And I always wanted a daughter."
Nadoka looked at her, Mei having gasped in surprise. "Would you consider it? Since I've been told of Ranma's curse I've had no daughter of my own to shop for. Ranma suffers through the occasional shoe trip… and I really shouldn't do that to him when I want him to be so manly… but you'd make both of our lives much easier if you agreed."
"I… but… you just met me!"
"I asked Ranma in a lull. He nearly came to ask you himself." Nadoka frowned wryly. "I say ask, I should say announce it to you as a fiat acompli, with absolutely no regard for if you'd want it or not. I'm not sure you couldn't rule out a trumpet fan fair. Ranma can be surprisingly dramatic at times."
"But you don't know me."
"No, but Ranma does, and was apparently going to bring it up with me after the devil argument ended. And Genma also knows you. Apparently you scare him." Nadoka grinned evily. "This improved my opinion of you even futher."
"I won't push you. And Cologne has offered you a place in china, if you want it. But seriously, Mei… everything you know is here, especially with Ranma. How could I not offer you a place in our home, with all you've done… and all you've suffered."
Mei looked down, then back up. "I'd… I'd like that very much, Mrs. Saotome."
"Mother, dear…" Nadoka smiled. "Oh, and these are a few of the things Ranma wore for me when I thought she was Ranko Tendo. I imagine they'll look very nearly as good on Mei Saotome, don't you."
"I didn't take his favorites." Nadoka winked, sliding the door open. "Even if he wouldn't admit to liking that ball gown of his. Lord knows he wears it often enough. When you've changed, bring me and Kasumi what you're wearing now. Kasumi can mend it."
The giggling Me held out a leg, the pants shredded. "This?"
"Anything Goes School of Martial Sewing. Apparently Kasumi's a grand master." Nadoka shrugged. "I live in Juban, so all I know is Kendo. Works on the monsters just fine." She shrugged, and slid the door closed on that note.
"Well Father… I hope you don't mind." Somehow Mei was sure he wouldn't. Half way through changing she stopped.
AN: Okay, I couldn't pass up the Juban/Monsters comment. No Sailor Moon stuff will actually appear, but come on… you all know about my other stories, probably.
Also, for those who are interested, I now have TWITTER… and am figuring out how to use it for MANY reasons. For those who would like to know, I can be found here: Shadoe_Fox. Do a search and track me down.