Nabiki - Master of Anything Goes R
Niklas "Hawk" Jonsson

Summary: Ranma made another bet with Nabiki? Won't he ever learn? Well, at least this time it's a bet on an Anything Goes Martial Arts fight between Ranma and Nabiki. Surely our pig-tailed hero is capable of defeating Nabiki, 'aint he? Will this be the one time Ranma actually manages to one-up Nabiki?

Disclaimer: Ranma ½, the characters and whatnot are not mine, though I certainly wish they were! The story is mine though, all mine. This series deals with mature subject matters and violence. If this disturbs you, don't read. But if it does, then why the heck are you watching the show/reading the manga in the first place?

Feedback/Flames: Yes, please. Both of them are equally fun to read, although I must admit that I greatly prefer the first variety. :)
I can be found on ICQ as 21771860 or through e-mail as iamhawk at yahoo dot com, more stories are available at my nifty lil' site at hawksgalaxy dot com or by clicking on my handle up above if you're reading this on fanfiction dot net.

emphasis/shouts/Kindred Domination/post-hypnotic triggers
+soundeffect/radio/telephone conversation/TV+

Previously, on 'Nabiki - Master of Anything Goes'

"Well, I guess congratulations on your upcoming nuptials are in order then, Saotome. I'm certain that Kasumi will make you very happy." she said with a friendly smile. "And you had BETTER make her happy too, or you'll never know what hit you. You'll be begging for the Nutcracker of Persuasion if you ever treat her wrong." Nabiki finished with a feral snarl.

"I love you too, Nabs." Ranma said with an amused smile as he reached out and put his left arm over her shoulders, not at all intimidated by her threat. But had she been able to see his face at that very moment, she would have been able to see in his eyes just how much that one statement had saddened and cost him to utter.

"Well, aren't we getting touchy-feely all of a sudden." Nabiki groused, but wasn't all that displeased with it at all, to tell the truth. She'd gotten used to having Ranma touching her during the month he'd been her slave and she'd gotten a few massages after that as well. Ranma too, had become a more physical person after all that, often reaching out to touch people. If she were to be complete honest with herself, she'd probably even admit to missing his touch after she'd been without it for a couple of hours.

Not only the marvellous massages he doled out, but something as simple as his arm over her shoulders as well.

"Ukyo and the Amazons have been remarkably quiet. I expected Shampoo and Ukyo both to show up at the parlour the moment school was out, to demand an explanation. After your little 'chat' with Kuno this morning, the rumour that you're engaged to Kasumi now is all over school. It must have reached both their ears by now." Nabiki mused.

"I talked with Ucchan at school and called Shampoo at lunch. I told them that I'd explain everything tomorrow evening so that I wouldn't have to deal with them right away." Ranma replied as he stared at the water, holding the woman he had grown to fall in love with over the last month while he contemplated the woman he was going to marry once school was out for summer.

Roll credits

Chapter Seven:

"So, ungrateful son of mine. When's the wedding?" Genma asked as Ranma and Nabiki returned indoors about ten minutes later. Both of them having pondered things in a comfortable silence, neither of them having moved away from the other or Ranmas arm having been removed from around Nabiki's shoulder until both of them stood up to go inside.

"Whenever Kasumi-chan wants it." Ranma replied, much to the surprise of Genma, Soun and Akane. Nabiki was surprised as well, but didn't show any of it. Kasumi too was a bit surprised, but merely smiled happily in response.

"School is out over the summer. We could have the ceremony then, before Nabiki goes off to find an apartment for college." Kasumi quietly suggested, something the two of them had discussed before. "Would that be okay, Ranma-kun?" Kasumi asked, looking over at Ranma for approval.

"If that's what you want, then I'm all for it, Kasumi-chan." Ranma replied with a weak smile.

"No protests? No name-calling? No insults?" Genma gasped, his eyes nearly bulging out of their sockets. He turned to face Soun with an astonished expression on his face. "Tendo, old friend. Why didn't we think of shifting the engagement sooner? We could have had the families joined much earlier!"

"True, Saotome, my old friend." Soun agreed, but in a more muted manner then Ranma would have expected, considering how much the two old men had fought for a union in the past. Soun did smile and looked happy enough, but not to the extremes that Ranma had gotten used to whenever impending marriages between their two families was the topic of discussion.

"That should work out just fine." Nabiki announced, pulling out a notepad that she glanced at for a few moments, before she looked up again. "Yeah, that just might work. We should have got enough money stashed away by then for a decent ceremony."

"Can we perhaps hope for one not attended by any... Undesirables?" Kasumi asked with a raised eyebrow directed at the middle sister, who coughed and averted her eyes, with a hint of blush on her cheeks.

"Ah... Sure. I'll do my best." Nabiki replied.

"How nice of you, Nabiki-chan." Kasumi happily approved of her younger sisters statement.

"Ukyo and Shampoo will be over tomorrow evening." Ranma revealed. "I told them I'd explain everything to them then." he added as he saw how the fathers and Akane quite obviously had heard something other then what he'd actually said, or at least interpreted it incorrectly.

"Will they accept your explanation?" Kasumi asked with a faintly worried expression.

"Hardly." Ranma commented with a wry expression.

"Shampoo isn't really a problem. I've come up with several ways to get her out of your life since you first arrived here." Nabiki revealed and suddenly found herself facing a whole room filled with inquisitive expressions.

"I knew it!" Ranma muttered under his breath, his curious look blended with a furious one.

"Ukyo... Well... I have ideas, but I'm not sure how well, if at all, any of them will work." Nabiki continued and took a deep breath.

"Shampoo can be dealt with in a number of ways. One. You can put the marriage to her up as stakes in one of your fights. The Amazons would honour such an agreement and there have been several such instances before in their history, though it's usually the women putting up men as stakes in their fights. Challenge Mousse to a fight with Shampoo's hand in marriage on the line, then throw the fight and wham, Shampoo is out of your life."

"I. Do. Not. Lose." Ranma grunted out between gritted teeth.

"I sort of guessed you might have issues with that particular approach, yeah." Nabiki commented with a faint smile. "Two. Marry her, knock her up and send her back to China. Their ceremony won't be seen as legit in our judicial system, you don't have to go with her back to China and as long as she's married and gets a kid out of it, she can go back to her village with her honour restored. Then you can go ahead and marry Kasumi under Japanese law."

"No." Ranma replied, shaking his head. "I couldn't do that to Kasumi. Sleeping with another woman is completely out of the question."

"There are other ways to knock her up, y'know." Nabiki commented with a faint grin. "If you make it perfectly clear to Shampoo and Cologne that this is the only way they'll ever get some of what they want, Cologne will agree and then Shampoo will have no choice but to go along with it."

"I'm not sure how comfortable I would be marrying a married man, legal or illegal marriage." Kasumi commented with a faintly nauseated expression on her face.

"Shampoo can end the marriage whenever she wants to. Make a deal with her to end the marriage after she'd been confirmed pregnant." Nabiki suggested with a faint shrug. "Three. You can challenge Cologne to a bout of honour and win. If you do, she'll be required to grant you one favour. Ask for the arrangement with Shampoo to be annulled and she, as one of the Village Elders, will grant you just that."

"She's not an easy opponent." Ranma offered after a few moments, the closest he'd probably ever get to admit that he didn't actually think he could beat her in a fair fight.

"Nobody is unbeatable, Ranma. I thought you would have realized that by now." Nabiki chided him with a teasing grin.

"You cheated..." Ranma muttered.

"You can too. Anything Goes, remember?" Nabiki countered. "Or if you insist on fighting fair, ask Happosai and Tofu for pointers. They're bound to have some valuable insight into how you could fight her and win."

"But it's not a sure thing?" Ranma asked for clarification.

"There's an element of chance to this option, yeah." Nabiki agreed. "While the first two are both sure things, which is why I'd prefer that either one of those were used. If you go for the third, you can almost surely count on the fact that Cologne will insist on instant marriage ceremony if she wins."

"Marry her, Ranma." Kasumi interjected after nearly a full minute of contemplative silence.

"Gnck! What?!" Ranma spluttered.

"Kasumi!" Soun protested.

"I can't do that!" Ranma added.

"Damn straight! You're marrying Aka... Kasumi!" Genma agreed. "End of discussion!"

"Quiet, all." Kasumi requested in a calm but firm tone of voice. "Go for the second option, Ranma. Do the Amazon ceremony, get her pregnant and have her end the marriage."

"But... She'd give birth to my first-born." Ranma groused.

"Yes... I don't much like it either. But if you won't go for the first option and the third risks you winding up married without having some sort of hold over them that could end the marriage, what else do we have left?" Kasumi asked with a worried expression. "At least that would be a sure thing."

"What were those 'other ways' to get her pregnant, Nabiki?" Ranma asked after some deep contemplation.

"You two could go to a fertility clinic. They'll get a sperm sample from you, an egg from Shampoo, mix 'em together and stuff the egg back into Shampoo. Or you could simply make a 'donation' directly to Cologne. I know that she has other ways of doing the same thing, though then there might be a few Amazons other then Shampoo who'll be getting pregnant when they return, as you have quite a few traits the Amazon tribe are highly interested in." Nabiki replied. "Just make sure that you get in writing that the marriage will be ended and they'll go back to China afterwards, so there'll be no foul play."

"I'll have to think about this for a while. I'd better look up the old freak as well, see if he's willing to train me a bit. I'm not comfortable with the idea of becoming a father just yet to begin with and on top of that, becoming a father to a kid or kids I'll never get to see..." Ranma announced after a while. "What about Ukyo?"

"Well, the dowry problem isn't much of a problem. The cart had already been lost to the Gambling King at that point, so what might otherwise have been a huge issue isn't much of one. The problem is, Ukyo already knows about that and doesn't really care. What with her being a boy on the family registry, there might be somewhat of a problem getting married. So if we talk to her father about that, she could go back to being a girl. But that's not really an issue with her either." Nabiki explained and looked directly at Ranma. "The problem here, is that she really likes you. Truly and genuinely. I'm afraid that even if we somehow manage to get the engagement declared null and void, she'd still pursue you."

"She would." Kasumi agreed. "We've talked quite a few times since she first arrived and she's completely smitten with you, Ranma-kun." Kasumi added with a thoughtful expression. "When you found out that she was a girl and called her cute, she fell for you like a ton of bricks."

"She's quite reasonable, couldn't we simply talk to her?" Akane suggested, surprising everybody by actually offering up a constructive suggestion.

"Doesn't hurt to try. ... Well, not usually anyway. In Ranma's case however..." Nabiki commented with a faint grin. "Perhaps you'd better take that spatula away from her before talking to her."

"Right..." Ranma agreed with wry amusement.

"It's a shame that you're such a goody two-shoes or the problem could be solved as easily as that." Nabiki sighed and snapped her fingers to illustrate her point.

"How?" Genma quickly asked.

"By insinuating to Cologne or Shampoo that Ukyo is an obstacle that could benefit from a little careful application of their little shampooing amnesia trick. If she doesn't remember Ranma, well, problem solved." Nabiki replied.

"That's an excellent idea!" Genma approved.

"Pops! Shut your moronic trap! That is not an option." Ranma growled, a dark red battle aura slowly emerging into the visible spectrum even for lesser skilled martial artists like Kasumi and Nabiki. Soun, Akane and Genma had seen the aura appear the moment Nabiki mentioned amnesia. "I won't stand for anybody's mind being tampered with like that!"

"Figured as much, or I'd done it a long time ago." Nabiki sighed. "Well, you could try to offer Ukyo, or rather her father, a similar deal as the one with Shampoo. Perhaps he'll back off and allow Ukyo to become registered as a girl again if he gets a grandchild out of it. I don't know much about him, so I'm not at all sure of how he'll respond to such an offer though. I do know that Ukyo won't be all that pleased about it, however." she continued and shrugged helplessly. "Like I said, Ukyo is the real troublesome issue here."

"I'll talk with her." Kasumi suddenly declared, attracting the instant attention of everybody. "I have a few ideas... If that doesn't work out, we'll have to try something else." she quietly announced.

"Big sis... She is reasonable, but it is Ranma we're talking about here. She might..." Akane mildly protested. "You could get... Hurt."

"I don't believe so." Kasumi argued serenely.

"She is a Martial Artist, Kasumi-nee." Akane countered and Kasumi rolled her eyes, looking consideringly at Akane for a few moments, before she turned to Ranma and appeared to dismiss him as well. "Mr Saotome. Try to hit me with one of your panda signs." Kasumi requested and nodded at a few of the signs that were lying around after Genma's earlier pandafication.

"What?!" Soun exclaimed and turned a furious expression at Genma, the demon-face just barely being held back. "You'll do no such thing, Saotome!" he snarled.

"It's all right, father." Kasumi mildly commented and put her left hand on Soun's shoulder, which caused him to slump down and calm down. "Come on, Mr Saotome. Give me your best shot." Kasumi requested and after a moment of stunned silence, Genma merely shrugged and did as requested.

If the girl was as stupid as that, being whacked in the head with one of his signs surely couldn't make matters worse.

Soun, Ranma and Akane cried out in shocked protest as Genma leaned forward over the table and brought the sign down in a powerful sweeping arch, but didn't have time to react until it was too late.

"Whaaaa?!" Genma yelled as Kasumi deftly deflected the sign, twisted his wrist, pulled him back towards her and raised her free left hand to his stomach where she gave him a little extra push. Genma was pulled forward over the table, Kasumi shifted her left hand to his elbow and replaced her left hand with both her feet as she allowed herself to fall backwards to the ground and used her legs to push Genma back and up away from her. "AAAAAAAAaaaaaaaah!" Genma continued to squeal as he was launched out of the building and splashed down in the Koi pond, a very respectable amount of space away from where he'd first become airborne, which caused the remainder of the occupants to turn surprised expressions and widely opened eyes towards Kasumi, who deftly and graciously had spun around and seated herself again, calmly ordering her hair and arranging her clothes back into place.

"I can't possibly stand up to Ukyo in a real fight, but dealing with a rash act or two if she looses her temper during our discussion shouldn't be impossible." Kasumi commented with a faint smile as panda-san growf:ed his way back into the room, dripping water on the floor as he glared disapprovingly at Kasumi.

Nobody really had anything they could voice for several minutes after that shocking revelation, so other then a few angry growling sounds from Genma, Kasumi's decision to have a private conversation with Ukyo was left in unopposed silence.

"Nice, uh, throw, Kasumi." Ranma eventually managed to get out, which broke the temporary silent spell.

"I guess all that early morning Tai Chi and Akido you do have paid off, eh?" Nabiki inquired with a pleased grin.

"Well, that and I'm old enough to actually have received enough lessons from father that I can clearly recall them." Kasumi added with a faint hint of a blush on her cheeks at the unexpected praise. "Not that I'm too old, I hope?" she added with a faintly worried look directed at Ranma. It was clearly one thing that weighed heavily upon her mind, as he thought that this particular issue had already been dealt with.

"Of course not, Kasumi-chan." Ranma replied with a heart-stopping smile, which caused all three girls around the table to swallow nervously as they felt the effects of it. Even Nabiki and she had been the recipient of it plenty of times over the last month, as she had forced Ranma to practise it in order to perfect it, claiming it could be a devastatingly effective negotiation talent against women. But not even ample opportunities to inoculate herself against it had given her a fool-proof ability to ignore it. "You're plenty young for me." he continued and reached out to gently grasp one of her hands in both of his, proving that even a couple of weeks under Nabiki's tutelage wasn't enough to completely change him into a suave manipulator.

Though 'You are plenty young for me.' was no doubt heaps better then whatever he might have used before spending so much time around Nabiki...

But for Kasumi, it seemed to more then do the trick. While it may not have been the most eloquent compliment in the history of male-female relationships, she could feel that Ranma truly and honestly meant it, that it came straight from his heart.

And that was more worth to her then any amount of flowery speech or gushing praise could ever be.

Akane nearly leapt out of her seat as Ranma grasped Kasumi's hand, but managed to subdue her initial inclination to bash his head in for being a pervert long enough to calm herself down. She took a deep breath and forced her hands to unclench, then took another deep breath. This would quite obviously take some getting used to. She looked enviously over at how the two of them were still holding hands, fighting down several fierce stabs of jealousy, but eventually managing to regain control of herself.

/I will get over him!/ Akane swore silently inside the privacy of her own mind. /I don't care how long it takes or what I have to do, but I will get over him!/ she declared.

The openly displayed affection between the two was apparently reason enough for Soun and Genma to decide that another bout of celebration was in order, so the two of them moved off to share some sake over a game of Shogi.

"Let's leave the two of them alone." Nabiki suggested to Akane who nodded after a few moments of hesitation, when her old instincts telling her that Ranma would turn into a woman-defiling perverted freak if left alone with a girl, had flared up and nearly caused her to scream out a protest. But once those had been fought down, she silently nodded and after one final look back at the engaged couple in the doorway, followed Nabiki upstairs. "Kinda hard for you seeing them like that, is it?" Nabiki asked half-way up the stairs, sparing one of her very rare concerned expressions and a sympathetic glance for her younger sister.

"Yes." Akane managed to get out between gritted teeth.

"Well, you can always come to me and talk about it, if you want." Nabiki offered after a few moments. "I know that you'd usually go to Kasumi, but I guess that's out now, huh?" she continued and glanced over at Akane again, nearly flinching at the suspicious expression on her face. "No charge. I promise." she finished.

"Thanks, Nabiki. I'll think about it." Akane replied and looked curiously at Nabiki for a few moments, before she voiced what was on her mind. "And how are you holding up, Nabiki?"

"Me? What about me?" Nabiki asked with an utterly baffled expression on her face at the unexpected inquiry.

"I've been watching the two of you over this last month, Nabiki. Do you realize that you've spent more time around Ranma in the last month then you have spent with any man other then father over the course of your entire life? The only one that even comes close, is Kuno." Akane replied.

"So?" Nabiki inquired, still not quite getting it, even if she was starting to suspect where this was going.

"I... Uh... Accidentally... Overheard Ranma and Kasumi speaking in her room, well, mostly Kasumi. She was talking about us and our family and it got me thinking. ... She talked about how I somewhere deep inside of me hate father, but can't bring myself to truly hurt him because I love him at the same time. How I transferred that hate to boys in general instead of father in particular. ... The thing is... The thing is..." she hesitated, before she took a deep calming breath and pressed on. "The thing is, I don't think I'm the only one who does that. I think you do that too, older sister."

"Oh, really?" Nabiki asked with a raised eyebrow. "Let me ask you this. When was the last time you saw me punching a guy through a wall, hm?"

"Well, there was this once in kindergarten you were sent home, I believe. Wasn't a wall, I think you threw Kuno out of a window or something, right?" Akane asked.

"All right, my mistake. Since I reached the age of reason, can you recall me ever punching a guy?" Nabiki altered her question.

"No." Akane admitted. "But see, there's a lot of ways to hate someone. You may not go around punching people, at least not since father stopped training us. But you lash out in other ways, don't you? Think back, Nabiki. If you think about your 'business' and first how you acted with women, then think back upon you acted with men and tell me if you can see a difference between the two."

"So I was being a bit more lenient with girls, what does that prove?" Nabiki replied after a few moments to think back on past actions.

"For someone who's supposedly so into boys, can you name even one boy you've been seriously involved with or even had intentions of being seriously involved with them? I know you've been on plenty of dates, but can you name even one guy that you went out with because you honestly and truly liked him?" Akane asked as the two of them came to a stop outside Nabiki's room.

"No..." Nabiki whispered after nearly three minutes of complete silence.

"Is there anyone you would like to go out with, not to rip them off, but to just have a good time?" Akane asked while Nabiki was still distracted by her unexpected discovery.

"Ranm..." Nabiki started, but trailed off with a horrified expression. "Oh, god no! Not him!" she exclaimed.

"See? The first guy you've ever met that you actually want to hang out with, not because you can get money off him, but because you actually enjoy being with him." Akane declared and put her left hand on Nabiki's shoulder. "And now he's going to marry your older sister." she continued and took another deep breath. "That's why I asked how you were holding up." she finished.

"I was doing just fine until you brought this crap up." Nabiki muttered with a disgruntled expression. "Oh, Kami. Why him? Off all people, why would I enjoy being with him?" she asked herself and shook her head in dismay, before she gasped and looked over at Akane with a supremely horrified expression. "D-d-d-d-do you think I'm in... In... In..." she stuttered.

"In love with him?" Akane asked and got a mute forceful nod in response from Nabiki. "Dunno. I've got problems enough figuring out what I'm feeling myself. The fact that you do like him is pretty much obvious, at least. But if you merely like him as a friend or something deeper, is a question you'll have to find the answer to on your own, older sister. I can't much help you out there."

"Yeah..." Nabiki replied with a stunned expression. "Thanks... I think."

"No problem, 'Biki." Akane replied with a friendly smile.

"Ugh, not that old nickname again. Though I guess its better then your old drooled 'Nacchan's from when you were a baby." Nabiki commented with a mock shudder. "Remember what I said, if you want to talk..." she offered again.

"Likewise, older sister. If you need to talk, I'm here for you." Akane countered.

"I don't know if I dare to take you up on that. You've disturbed me more in the last five minutes then anyone else ever has. Good night, Akane." Nabiki said with a faint smile, as she opened her door and strolled into her room.

"Good night, older sister." Akane responded and looked at the door closing behind Nabiki, before she kept on walking to her own room, deep in thought.

The End! ( For now... )