When You Wish Upon A Sword, ch.6
a round robin fic
this chapter by Metroanime (Gregg Sharp)
R.Takahashi and VIZ own Ranma 1/2. this is just a different spin on the same characters.
NOTE this is the last segment of "When You Wish" that i'm putting out.
The entire thing started as an omake for an attempt to write a lemon (Twisted, and didn't get nearly as lemon as i'd intended) and was continued for Philip Chan who wanted to see a Ranko+Ranma story. The major appeal to me was the round-robin concept, where i wanted to see other people get in on this and see what kind of creative cooperative effort could be done. Unfortunately, Jared (White Pheonix) dropped out of the project due to the nature of some responses and Philip hasn't said a word about the very project he requested since chapter two.
i just wanted to finish out some ideas before dropping this.
The man was old. Really old. Not old in the manner of Happosai or Cologne, where they simply seemed to shrink and wrinkle over the years. Nor did he resemble a faded green muppet from Star Wars. The signs were of similar age, though.
Ranma had been raised judging people in terms of combat potential. It was only since his time with the Tendos that he'd gotten the idea that one's threat potential was not the sole criteria to judge others on.
The figure was stooped with age, resting heavily on a cane. Taller than he was, almost skeletal in appearance, and obviously not in the best of health. A gaijin, though that didn't mean as much to Ranma as it did to some other Japanese.
According to what Ranma read in posture and bearing, this was someone who had once been extremely dangerous. A warrior who had once been his equal but had faded over the years to a shell. It gave Ranma a taste of mortality to see this and to observe that the man's chi was all but completely faded from his frame.
"Nippon Nodoka," said the man with a nod. "I've a table over here where the breeze touches."
Nodoka bowed low. "Great Grandfather."
Ranma startled at that and looked over the figure again.
The man caught the scrutiny and gave a tight smile in return. "Great great grandson. Though I think for simplicity's sake, I'll just call you grandson."
Ranma blinked. He had non-Japanese ancestry? How far back?
"Hmmm. Suppose you *should* know," said the man, walking slowly towards the table and then seating himself on one of the chairs with a very audible sigh. "One of your ancestors moved to AmJamesa during the days of the Tokugawa era, it was not *popular* to have contacts with Westerners at that time."
Ranma gave a blank look at that. It was *fatal* to have much in the ways of contacts with Westerners at that time. Taking a seat next to Ranko and his mother, he listened without saying anything. For years all the family he'd had was Genma. Now he had more than doubled that size.
The old man looked off into the distance. "A family named Saotome which moved to AmJamesa and settled in the Old West. They survived there, and a young girl named Michiko met a young gunfighter named James. Though he was a soldier-of-fortune, he spent twenty years with his wife. It wasn't until later, mainly due to people who were only interested in how much money they could make screwing over others, that things turned hostile towards mixed marriages."
"So, that means that I'm..." Ranma knew that *not* being pure Japanese would have gotten him kicked out of the Tendo marriage. As well as a lot of jobs.
"Your father's line is pure Japanese. Your mother's parents were apparently Japanese who moved back to Japan after WWII and the idiocy of those AmJamesan concentration camps." The man settled back. "I myself am half Comanche. Does this bother you?"
Ranma shook his head. Just knowing this would have ended Kodachi's pursuit of him, most likely gotten him kicked out of the Tendo household. Akane might have been able to handle it. Akane's dad? Probably not. One of the reasons he'd been big on Saotome+Tendo was the idea that both were old samurai lines. Would Shampoo or Ukyo have cared? Probably not. At least this was better than being burakumin or something like that. (Though *that* had been a prejudice that Ranma had never quite understood either, but then there were an awful lot of things that Ranma would admit privately made absolutely no sense to him.)
"Great great great grandpa!" (glomp! snuggle!)
James coughed. "Well, you must be Ranko. Would you mind not squeezing so hard? I'm kinda old."
"Uhm, how old, anyway?" Ranma looked over the guy again, noticing old scars. Here a finger was missing, and judging by the limp, he'd broken a leg and it had never healed right.
"Ranma!" Nodoka didn't approve of this impoliteness, and so gave a quiet reprimand.
"It's okay, Nodoka," said James, patting the girl hugging him on her head. "I was born in 1841, child, in what's now a ghost town in a patch of California desert. It isn't even on the maps anymore. I grew up in the height of the Gold Rush, mainly as a message boy and what they'd later call a gofer. I became a mercenary and fought in little wars that never mattered one whit as much as the people who paid me thought they did. I spent some time working for the Secret Service back when they'd gotten going. At that time I met Michiko and settled down. After her death, I wandered the globe to find adventure and forget her. I had my fill and more of fighting during the drug trade as the 7% solution became all the fad in England and back East.
"I've met people whom history will never remember, but who were as great in their own right as anyone that is marked down in the schoolbooks. Then I decided, must have been back in the Seventies of *this* century that I ought to look up my descendents and see what happened to the children of Michiko Tomizawa and James West."
Nodoka continued the narrative as James stopped. "It was during his travels that he discovered me a little over a year since you'd left. He used his extensive contacts to set me up as an itinerant adventurer. That's what I've been doing since then."
James West sighed as a plane went overhead. "I wonder what Artemis would have made of all this. It used to be so many problems could just be solved with a decent haymaker or a quick draw. Then there was... what's his name, the time traveler. Odd gadgets that should never have worked, much less efficiently. Since then I've fought undead, creatures from Beyond, the Five Horsemen Of Annoyance, and worse. But all things have their time and mine is almost over."
"Oh, come on, you've got plenty of time," chided Nodoka. "You're still more spry than people half your age."
Ranma worked that out slowly. Math not being his forte. The man across from him was 151, so half his age would be... 75? Heck, he was only half Cologne's age so why worry?
James shook his head. "I know how much time I've got left. Less than a year. That Tibetan monk I learned the age extension trick from died himself long ago. Five years ago, that wight drained off enough of my inner strength that I haven't recovered. No, I'm finally going to rejoin Michiko, and that's the way things *should* be. However, I *may* have enough time to train another Heir."
Ranma blinked as he realized everyone was looking at him. "HUH?!"
"Great grandmother, you no kidding?"
Cologne nodded wisely. "Yes. Ranma is still alive. Where he is, that I'm not sure. It is someplace shielded against mystic probes, that much I know. And he goes from danger to danger, but that's pretty typical of him."
"Then what are we waiting for, let's go!" Ukyo was all ready to go charging off without another word being said.
"One," said Cologne in a dry tone, "we have no idea where he actually is."
THAT stopped Ukyo. "Oh, that's right."
"Two," continued Cologne, "Shampoo no longer has a claim on him. The life he brought back to the Tribe cancels out the Kiss Of Marriage's obligation."
"WHAT?! Great Grandmamaaaaa!"
"Don't whine, Shampoo, it is unbecoming."
"Shampoo not whining," whined Shampoo.
Ukyo grinned, that meant she had a clear shot at her Ranchan!
"Ukyo, on the other hand, still has to undergo the Rite Of Initiation in order to become a full Amazon." Cologne tapped her staff thoughtfully against the ground. "Her mother and Shampoo's mother have agreed on this course and it is the only legal way for me to assist you in this regard."
"Ranchan..." said Ukyo, her eyes misty. Soon she would go off and rescue her Ranchan, and then the wedding, and then the two of them getting to know each other better. Silk sheets, a fireplace, and much sweating entered into this picture.
"Spatula girl stop drooling, that also unbecoming."