When you wish upon a sword...

a Bet Omake by Gregg Sharp & Skysaber. all disclaimers, provisions, and limitations apply.

this was originally the Omake for "Twisted The Board Game" but a *lot* of people suggested i send this out seperately. enjoy.

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Nabiki smirked. "Everybody just LOVES Ranma." Now if she could just figure out a way she could get him to relinquish the sword and wish to her. She could think of *so* many uses for it.

"*You* don't," Ranma pointed out.

"Moi?" Nabiki raised an eyebrow at that, a plan beginning to gel. "Whatever makes you think that, Ranma-kun?"

"You sell me out whenever you get the chance," grumbled Ranma. "Or sell me off."

Akane was about to correct Ranma when she remembered a few "candid" shots of herself that had been sold to Kuno. "That's right, Nabiki. You don't care about anything besides money, do you?"

"Hey!" Nabiki winced at that. Mainly due to the accuracy of that statement. "I don't sell out family."

"Often," said Kasumi in a voice that was as soft as a leaf landing in snow.

"Shampoo call her Mercenary Girl for reason."

Ukyou shrugged and wondered aloud how many situations Ranma had been in that Nabiki had made worse. THAT got all of them thinking.

Nabiki began to visibly sweat as she eyed the sword in Ranma's hands. "Uhm, Ranma-kun, this is getting away from the subject at hand. Shouldn't we be working on getting rid of your curse? Now, for a slight fee, I might. . ."

Nabiki's voice trailed off as everyone started looking at each other and making an odd grin. It looked oddly familiar, but it took a few moments for Nabiki realized that it was her own "I've got you now" smirk. "Uhm, maybe I spoke a little hastily?"

"Wishbringer, I wish that Nabiki. . ."

Nabiki squawked. "NO! Ranma, you can't!" She mentally added that she would, in a heartbeat. One of the wishes she wanted to use would have had everyone else in the room her willing slave, that way she could work them into the ground and never have to lift a finger herself. She could see that and a thousand other fates being inflicted ON her instead of BY her. It was horrifying.

Ranma sighed. He was *so* tempted. All he had to do was wish that Nabiki was a nicer person, or that she had a conscience, or that she liked something else more than money. It wasn't the curse he'd been wanting to get rid of, but it *was* becoming a curse on his existence. "Nevermind. Cancel that. That wasn't what I wanted to wish for."

"Wish cancelled," the sword acknowledged. "Awaiting new input."

Noting that he still looked tempted, Nabiki tried to avert disaster further. "Now, Ranma, you realize that you've been just as greedy as I have! When was the last time *you* did something for someone else without any thought of payback?"

Ranma tried to remember and couldn't. Everytime he'd done a good deed, it had been a completely thoughtless gesture, and therefore he couldn't remember any such actions. He felt his stomach turn at the thought that he was actually like Nabiki. Of course, to prove it wrong, he ought to do something completely selfless with the last wish. But what?

Ranma's eyes swept the room. They passed over the cute but fuming Akane, the still-a-little-panicked Nabiki, the unconcerned Kasumi, the cutely smiling Ukyou, and the trusting look from Shampoo. Ranma frowned a little as his eyes swept back to Kasumi, who was doing needlepoint. It occurred to him that Kasumi was often there, in the background, working a LOT of the time. Never complaining, rarely stopping. If he were to do a good deed with this last wish, as he STILL couldn't think of a way past the ("grant the pigtailed girl a wish"/being free of the curse = no pigtailed girl) paradox, wouldn't it be completely UN-Nabiki
of him to pay someone back who'd never asked for it?

Ranma tuned out the argument starting up between Shampoo and Akane, it was the same one they always had anyway. Besides, he was getting the feeling he was on to something important. It was the same kind of feeling when he was about to master a new martial arts technique, like shoving some great weight up a slope just before it slid down the other
side.

What could he do for Kasumi? She had been a mother to her sisters for so long. . .

Ranma stopped. Mother? The Tendos had lost their mother. Ukyou had lost her mother. From what he had overheard, Shampoo had lost her own mother. They'd all grown up mom-less, like this was some kind of club for the Maternally Deprived. Even the Kunos...

"Are you listening to me, baka?!" Akane yelled at Ranma who had an expression on his face she'd never seen before. A peculiar intense expression. "WELL?!"

"That's it," whispered Ranma into the silence following Akane's question. The sword came up. "WISHBRINGER! I wish all our moms were alive, completely healthy, and here!"

"Insufficient power for such a request."

Ranma's face fell. Everyone else was still staring at Ranma in shock. "Oh, well how about just Mrs Tendo, then?"

"Am requesting access to sufficient power to grant first wish. Working."

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The request went first to the Goddess Relief Office. Getting a busy signal, the request then went to the Earth Assistance Hotline. When that resulted in a voicemail message, the request went to the next power that could possibly do this task.

------

"Rival Relief Office, we do more with less. This is Grey, may i help you?" The reluctant demon listened to the message. "You're kidding? You're not kidding. Oh kay. Let me see if the system's got enough manna charged up. Nope."

Grey paused. Doing more with the Barely Adequate (For Most Tasks) Force than some did with the Ultimate Force was a point of pride for the RRO. He couldn't let it go that easily. "Hmmm. We can reconstruct the bodies and handle the teleport OK. It's the lifeforce requirements that stick. Hang on. There may be a way to do this."

Tapping wildly at all three keyboards, found in Timeline 394178 Aleph where the Devilhunters were about to rumble with the Senshi, diverted their manna into the system with a hacking program, then set up for a not-quite-Divine Intervention.

------

The phone rang. Kasumi went to answer it. "Ranma, it's for you. It's concerning your wish."

Everyone blinked at that.

"Uhm, who is it?" Ranma wondered briefly if Sasuke had snuck in and reported this to Kuno.

"He says he's working in Heaven and has a way that you might be able to do the...first wish?!" Kasumi's voice broke a little. It was possible?!

"Uhm, I. . ."

"Oh for Hea-urk. Damn, I wish they'd lift that restriction. It really sucks having to refer to the place you work at with a bunch of metaphors." A portal formed in midair and an oddly dressed young man stepped out. "Look, I only gotta little time before I have to go back. The main problem is that there isn't enough lifeforce available for the three mothers that are dead. YOUR mom is alive and well over in Juuban, so there's no major problem there."

"She is?" Ranma looked startled. He had a mother? She was alive? Why did he spend all that time with his Pop then?!

"There's really a Heaven?" Nabiki's eyes began to bug out. If there was a Heaven, then there was a significantly higher chance that there was also a Hell. That could be a problem.

"Yes," Grey said to Ranma then repeated the answer to Nabiki. "Oh, and yes there's a Hell, Tendo-san. It's not a nice place. Don't go there if you can avoid it. Just the suburbs are a pain. Pink flamingos everywhere. And you really don't wanna know what they're doing there. Uhm, oh yeah. THE PROBLEM! Saotome-san, can you spare some life force for a little while? Look at it as priming a motor before you can start it up."

"Huh?"

"Oh, not mechanically inclined in this timeline? How about, er, a match needed to light a campfire."

"Uhm, can I get my wish then?" Ranma was trying to focus on some aspect of this he could deal with. This was weird even by his standards.

"Yes," the demon said before vanishing.

"Ranma," Akane began to caution. "Maybe you shouldn't..."

"Then do it!" Ranma followed the tenets of the Saotome School. Action without thought.

"Then your wish is my command," announced the sword.

Ranma collapsed. Nobody else noticed as bodies suddenly appeared in the room.

"Mother?" Kasumi stared, tear tracks forming at the sight of the pale figure weakly moving before her.

"Mom?!" Akane wasn't even aware that she had stepped on Ranma's face to cross over to her mother's side.

"Don't mind me," mumbled Ranma weakly.

"Mother?" Nabiki said, crossing herself. She wasn't Christian but at moments like this, why take chances?

"-Mother?!-" Shampoo stared at the Chinese woman struggling to rise.

"Mama?!" Ukyou squeaked, unsure of the woman's identity, but she *did* look like a relative.

The noise level rose abruptly with crying, laughing, two languages being spoken, and the occasional groan from the martial artist otherwise forgotten about on the floor.

Ranma watched as three daughters Tendo carried their mother upstairs to rest. As Shampoo hauled the frail form of her mother off to the Nekohanten. As Ukyou struggled to support her own mother and take her to the Ucchan's.

"Uhm, somebody? I can't move. Help?" Ranma gasped. He felt more helpless than he had during the time that Happosai had weakened him using the Weakness Moxibuxtion. This was nearly as bad as when Kodachi had paralyzed him, and then Akane had gotten angry and left him alone on the roof all night. It had been cold and wet that night. At least this was indoors. Though it felt a LOT colder than it had earlier. "Someone? Please?"

His eyes tracked to the stairs. They'd abandoned him. Surely *one* of them could help him after he'd just done this thing. No, *everyone* had to go off at once. Shampoo and Ukyou at least had the excuse that carrying one person by themselves was a difficult task.

Couldn't *someone* come back for him? He remembered that night. He hadn't had any idea of the problems Kodachi could cause or what to do. Kodachi had paralyzed him and would have kissed him but Akane rescued him from the kiss only to abandon him while he couldn't move. He *hated* being helpless.

Then came the thought he might be stuck this way. Powders wore off, but the three moms were alive, so that meant lifeforce went their way, which meant...

"Anybody?!! Help??" He choked out at what was for him maximum volume. He was beginning to feel real scared. No, he would NOT cry, he wouldn't...

"Hello?"

A voice came from the front of the house, footsteps followed. In moments a woman in a kimono and with reddish brown hair came into view. "Hello, I'm sorry. I was passing by this house and I heard a cry for help. Is anything the matter?"

Ranma was blubbering. "I can't move." He whined out, his confidence gone with the rest of his power.

"Oh dear, let me help you then." The woman lay down her bundle and began to arrange cushions. "Is this a frequent problem? Are there any medications I could fetch for you?"

Ranma was bawling. "No, it ain't ever happened before."

He was looked at with some concern. "Then what happened? What could have caused it? Did you injure yourself? I shouldn't move you if your back might be broken. Do you want me to call you a doctor?"

Ranma discovered he couldn't even shake his head. Some martial artist he was. "No. It ain't that. I ain't hurt er nuthin." He sobbed off the rest of his words.

"Then what could be the problem, why can't you move?" The woman asked.

He considered telling her, then not, then.... aww, why the heck not? This stranger was being nicer to him than anyone he'd thought of as friend or family.

"It's because I made a wish. I wished that the moms of my friends would be alive again, and here. Then some guy from Heaven showed up and said there was 'insufficient life force' or something and asked if I'd be willing to donate. And... and I agreed to it."

It didn't come out that elegant. But pieced between the sobs and the mumbling and the repetitions, that was what she got.

She blinked at the young man. "So you are saying magic made you like this? I'm not sure I can believe you."

Oh, he had an answer to THAT alright! "If you don't believe in magic, just pour cold water on me. Go ahead, I can't *wait* to see the look on your face."

Puzzled, the lady inquired the way to the kitchen and returned with a cool glass, which she poured delicately on the young boy's chest (the face seemed impolite). Then dropped the glass to the tatami mats when the young man morphed.

"I... I see." The woman blinked several times at the young girl now lying before her.

The moment of bitterness gone, passed with the worst of the sobbing, Ranma closed his eyes and found that it felt really good to have someone to listen to him for once. "I got a wishing sword from Kuno, I was going to use it to cure my curse so I can be a guy again. But I... instead I used it to... I made a wish that all our moms were alive and here again."

The sobs threatened to return, but the well of pain was weaker now. "Then all my friends abandoned me here when I couldn't move. I guess... I dunno if I can blame 'em is all. They got their moms back, and that *would* kinduv occupy their attention. I know it would mine."

The woman looked quite concerned. "Didn't you get your own mother back?"

"I dunno. The guy who came said she lived in Juuban. I guess I could go see her sometime."

The woman's heart went out to this youngster. "Do you know her name? I live in Juuban. I might know where she lives. If not I could ask."

"I dunno. It's been ten years since I'd seen her. Pops always let me think she was dead. I," Ranma had to take a deep breath. "I don't even know what her name is anymore."

"Then what is your name?" The woman decided to be businesslike about this. There were ways she could use to find the woman and reunite her with her lost child.

"Ranma. Ranma Saotome. My pop's name is Genma Saotome."

The woman could only stare at him. He began to think he'd done something wrong. "Look, if you're another person pops said I'd marry your daughter, or if he sold me to ya for food, I already got hundreds of things like that hanging over my head. So don't be trying to get me to marry somebody er nuthin like that.... err, why are you lookin at me like that?"

The woman had tears running from her own eyes, but hadn't moved or budged. "Ranma. You say your name is Ranma?"

He would have nodded, but was too weak to do so. So the boy-turned-girl merely said. "Yah."

"And your mother lives in Juuban, and you wished for her to be alive and here?" The woman wished to be clear on this.

Growing puzzlement on the young girl's face. "Yah."

Gently and tenderly, the woman stroked the redhaired girl's face. "Well, here I am. My name is Nodoka Saotome. Pleased to meet you again, my son."

If Ranma could have thought of anything other than what he was feeling at that point, he would have understood about how the others had reacted. At the end of a very tearful reunion, Nodoka lifted her bundle, and gave it to her offspring, wrapping her hands around it so that it wouldn't fall, and swept the girl up to carry her home.

On their way out they noticed a letter with Ranma's name on it pinned to the door.

Curious, they read it while they walked, which required much juggling and some fussing about with hands, but they managed it.

"There ya go. Don't sweat it, Saotome-san. You'll be able to move in the morning, but you won't be back to full strength for about a week. A normal person'd be recovering from something like this for years. I don't expect the three mothers to be up to full strength for a long time. You did good, Saotome-san. I'm sure the Powers That Be have updated your files accordingly."

There was a picture of the demon smiling at him and a P.S., along with a phone number.

"Y'know, Saotome-san, you might try forgiving without the forgetting part. It'll solve you a lot of problems in the long run, mainly by not making the same mistakes over and over again. Just advice, y'know."

As they walked further along, Nodoka said. "You know, son? I think that it was very brave of you to wish good things for others instead of a cure for yourself."

The smaller redhead sniffled. "I ain't that brave. And I did try to cure myself, the sword wouldn't do it."

Nodoka smiled, she was a mother again. "No dear, you could have wished for knowledge of how to cure your curse or many other things. But you didn't. You helped others. I am proud of you."

Ranma started blinking. THAT kind of an answer hadn't occured to him!

As they walked on into Juuban, Nodoka whispered. "But I do think I am going to have to do something about Genma."

Ranma laughed weakly, leaned further into her mother's chest, and whispered. "I'll hold him down for ya."

They laughed and walked on into the night.

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"Still searching, still hoping, still alone."
-N.Brazil

yeah, yeah, i know. if i were using canon-manga, Akane would realize after a few hours that Ranma had been left downstairs, and would go down to find that his mother had already disemboweled and beheaded him for not being sufficiently manly. Not to mention that Ukyo didn't know
Shampoo and Nabiki never came up with the "info service" concept, despite that Ukyo *had* met Cologne and heard Cologne call Ranma "son in law" during the Hiryu Shoten Ha storyline. Nor was Ranma able to convince Kuno to part with that last wish in the canon...

i'm using the anime continuity and this is just a kinda "intended as an omake" story within the Bet anyway. ja ne, gregg