DISCLAIMER: "Ranma 1/2" is the registered trademark and copyright of VIZ Video, Kitty Film, Fuji TV, and Rumiko Takahashi. "Star Wars: is the registered trademark and copyright of 20th Century Fox, Lucasfilm Ltd., and George Lucas. All rights reserved. Any and all other characters belong to their respective copyright and trademark holders.
Notes follow this chapter.
THE WAY OF THE FORCE
by Michael "TheZorch" Haney
Part 3 – Chronicles of the Lost Boy Part 1
Nabiki furrowed her brow as she concentrated. Concentrating was something she was good at, it was necessary to concentrate hard when she was working on her ledger. One tiny mistake and she'd have a real mess on her hands. This was a bit different, this was a lot harder than balancing a check book. Working with numbers, she could do, but this was totally way out in left field. She squinted her eyes and squared up her jaw as she focused all of her thought on the object in front of her. An empty box of Pocky.
She felt ... something. It was indescribable yet also exhilarating at the same time. It was like a wave of cool water was swashing over her and through her. It was just a trickle at first but soon it became a torrent. She jumped back with a start when the box shot into the air. There was a loud smack before it fell back to the table ... crumpled from the force of the impact with the ceiling. With a sigh she picked it up and tossed it into a nearby trashcan where it joined several other similarly mangled objects. She could feel his eyes on her, when she looked into those beautiful, crystal blue orbs she didn't see frustration or consternation, but something a kin to humor.
"Maybe I'm not cut out for this Jedi stuff." she said.
Ranma sighed and replied, "I can't remember how many times I asked myself that when I was just beginning to learn how to use the Force."
He leaned forward towards her and took her hands in his. If she had been surprised by this action Nabiki didn't show it so she just looked into his eyes again. "The Force is strong with you, and like anything it takes practice. In time you will have precise control. Don't expect instant results ... shortcuts lead to the Dark Side." He added that last part in a deeper tone. It had been three weeks since the incident with Kuno. The bokuto wielding baka had been absent from school ever since then. Nobody complained. Besides, she was making a killing selling info to all the girls, and a few boys, about the new kid at school. The new kid who defeated Kuno and obviously sent him packing. Another good thing that came out of it was an end to the morning attacks. The Hentai Horde had officially disbanded. Akane wasn't Ranma's iinazuke, she made that perfectly clear to everyone who asked, but the boys figured it was better to be on Ranma's good side by leaving her alone.
The middle Tendo sister blushed realizing that Ranma hadn't let go of her hands yet. He had such soft hands., she said to herself. Sensing her embarrassment Ranma let her go and sat back. He placed an empty soda can on the table. "Lets do this again. This time don't force it, concentrate on the can and let the Force do the work." he told her.
With a nod Nabiki focused on the can and concentrated. This time she didn't push too hard and felt the trickle of power flow through her. She pushed just a little more until she felt a strong flow, and to her surprise the can lifted. She had to catch herself from loosing her focus to keep the can airborne. Slowly she imagined the can floating back down to the table and that is what it did.
"Now, do you understand, ne?" Ranma asked her.
Nabiki nodded while still a bit stunned. "Hai, sensei."
I see where he's coming from, Akane would never have had the patience for this., she told herself. Over the next hour Nabiki levitated more objects. Ranma slowly increased the weight of the items she lifted. The heaviest was a full, unopened soda can. By the end of the second hour she was stacking the cans up with almost casual ease. She didn't have to push too hard to get the Force to do what she wanted. It was as if it "knew" what she wanted it to do. That was both amazing and scary at the same time, but only slightly.
"Now, lets try something completely different." Ranma told her and beckoned for her to follow him out of the dinning room. They went out onto the back porch overlooking the koi pond. A carp broke the surface of the water. Ranma stepped down and walked over to one of the stones ringing the pond.
"Now, I want you to lift this." he said pointing to one of the rocks.
Nabiki looked at him wide-eyed. "I couldn't lift that with my hands let alone with my mind." she said.
"Why?" he asked her nonchalantly.
Nabiki rolled her eyes and replied, "Well, duh, its too heavy. And its been embedded there in the ground for years." She couldn't believe he wanted her to do this. It took her a week just to get moving cans around right now this.
"Moving this is no different than moving the cans." he told her.
"But, its too heavy." she repeated.
"Only in your mind." Ranma replied pointing a finger to his forehead. "Its different only ... in ... your ... mind."
With a shrug Nabiki said, "Ok, I'll try."
"No," he told her putting up his hand. "Do or do not, there is no try." Tarin-sensei had told him that was one of Yoda-sensei's favorite sayings. He hoped that one day it might be possible for him to somehow meet this Yoda.
She stuck her tongue out and flashed him the red-eye before focusing on the task. Nabiki concentrated on one of the smaller stones. It was the size of a basketball and didn't look like it was lodged too tightly in the ground. Like with the cans she let the power flow through her without forcing it. This time she felt resistance to that flow and she had to push harder than normal. The stone budged just slightly before she let out her breath and sat down exhausted.
"Its ... too ... heavy." she said between pants.
"Only in your mind." Ranma told her pointing to her forehead this time.
She caught his hand and replied, "Faku! Then if its so easy lets see you do it." She let him go and threw up her hands in resignation of the whole thing. Ranma could understand her frustration. In learning to use the Force one had to unlearn what they had been taught most of their lives. This was why the very young were taught how to use the Force so they did not have to be deprogrammed from thinking a certain way which hindered them from achieving mastery over their Jedi powers.
Ok, you asked for it., he replied to himself. Instead of looking towards the koi pond like she thought he would the pigtailed Padawan turned towards the big stone sitting near the dojo. Ranma stretched out with his hand and closed his eyes in concentration. For a moment nothing happened and Nabiki just looked at him funny. Then she heard a groaning sound and slowly the stone began to move. She imagined the stone might weight nearly a ton or more from the sheer size. Most of it was underground, and right before her eyes it was extracting itself out of the ground. In moments the massive boulder, which that is what it was, hung in the air above where it had been sitting. Ranma took in a deep breath and stretched towards the koi pond with his other hand. Nabiki jumped up and gasped as several of the big stones ringing the pond began to move. Before long they were up in the air suspended in place. Then, one by one the stones returned to their resting places. Ranma let out a breath as he let his hands fall.
Stunned, Nabiki walked up to him and looked into his eyes. "I ... I ... I can't believe it." she said.
"That's why you failed." he replied.
She didn't have anything to say in response to that. She just looked at the rocks Ranma just lifted in utter surprise. Another hour later Akane came home from visiting a friend's house. She stopped before going in the door when she saw her sister sitting by the pond in a lotus position. Floating around her were stones. They were the smaller stones from around the pond.
"Tadaima ... huh ... Nabiki?"
The middle Tendo sister lost her concentration in that instant and the rocks fell back into place. "Shimatta!" she blurted putting a hand to her head. Ranma had been tossing pebbles into the pond trying to break her concentration without much luck, then here comes Akane and her focus goes to hell in a hand basket.
"Okaeri-nessai." she said with a sigh. Nabiki got up, stretching her legs some and walked over to her youngest sibling.
"What were you doing? How were you doing that?" Akane asked her.
Nabiki gestured towards Ranma who was still sitting on the porch. "Ranma-kun is teaching me how to use the Force." she said. A brief wistful look appeared on Akane's face but it just as quickly vanished.
"Wow, well you were doing pretty good." said Akane. She showed a genuine smile of happiness for her sister.
"I think we'll stop here for today," said Ranma when his stomach gave a sudden, and very loud cry for attention. "It's about lunch time anyway." He smiled sheepishly.
Nabiki sniffed, the aroma of one of Kasumi's delicious lunches wafted in the air. Her own stomach growled angrily causing her to blush furiously. "Uh, this Force stuff is hungry work." she said with a smile. A sudden feeling coursed through her unlike anything he'd felt that day. It was a tingling that ran up her spine and actually seemed to reverberate through her very mind. She whirled around and looked out into the yard but could see nothing. Ranma was beside her with a look of heavy concentration on his face.
"You felt it too?" she asked and he nodded.
Abaru-sensei emerged from the dojo and walked out into the yard. "Sensei, we felt a disturbance in the Force." Ranma told him.
Tarin leapt up onto the privacy wall surrounding the Tendo compound and looked around at the neighboring streets. That disturbance in the force felt strangely and disturbingly familiar., he told himself. It had been brief but he'd felt it none the less. He hoped that what they felt wasn't what he suspected. Only time would tell.
"Sensei?" he heard Ranma call to him from the porch.
Abaru-sensei alighted to the yard and join his Padawan and Nabiki on the back porch. "Be mindful of the living Force, my Padawan. Something is afoot, I am not certain what but it would be wise for us to keep our eyes open for now on." he explained.
"Hai, sensei." Ranma and Nabiki both replied quickly.
"Can you tell me where to find Furinken High School?"
The farmer look up from his work to see a young man wearing a green traveler's outfit which resembled something out of a long by gone period in Japanese history. The backpack on the kid's back look impossibly heavy. Strapped to the top of the backpack was a huge bamboo umbrella. The young man was holding up a small map up for him to see. He looked it over but didn't recognize the street names. The caption at the bottom of the map gave away the location.
"Son, y'all is in northern Hokkaido, that there map's is of Tokyo. That's about a thousand miles south down yander." he said with a thick Hokkaido drawl.
A look of anger and annoyance crossed the young man's face for a brief moment and he clinched his fist. He put the map away and walked away. "Arigato." he said as he left.
"What a strange kid?" the farmer commented out loud as he went back to work.
Why, why can't I get to where I'm going?, the young man asked himself. He had this problem for as long as he could remember. Because of it he lost out on a lot of things, he barely had a childhood, and had few friends because most people saw him as weird. Only one person in his entire life had been nice to him, a true friend. Though they only knew each other for a short time it was long enough for Habiki Ryoga to realize that he had feelings for this person that went beyond friendship.
At first these feelings shocked and appalled him, but when the time came for his friend to move on the feeling of desperation in his heart made him see the truth. He had to find his friend and confess his true feelings no matter what. So when that friend left he followed, it had been a journey of hardships and horrors. He really didn't want to think about "that" place, no not that place.
"Saotome Ranma, I will find you." said the lost boy as he broke into a sprint into a grove of trees and right past a sign pointing in another direction pointing the way to the main islands.
Ranma and Nabiki walked through the main gates of Furinken High with Akane in tow. Over the past few days the two of them had been becoming rather close while he taught Nabiki how to use the Force. Shampoo hadn't liked it very much and voiced her opinion of the middle Tendo sister rather often. That was a tense situation Ranma decided had to be defused as soon as possible. He cared for both of them and didn't want them fighting each other. Nabiki was only just new beginning to get the hang of calling upon the Force. She wasn't ready to begin the more advanced training though, that would probably take more than a year or so, but the girl was progressing quickly.
The two of them felt a brief disturbance in the force and looked up. An irate looking young Kuno Tatawaki dressed in his samurai homika stalked towards them. All of the student out in the school yard and up on the second floor balcony turned to watch the coming confrontation. Kuno had been away from school for over a week. Now he was bad and there was no telling what saw going to happen.
"Saotome." Kuno said, almost spitting the word.
"Sempai." Ranma replied without malice.
"I know not what darkness has clouded my mind, but now I see clearly. More clearly than I have ever seen in all of my days." said Tatawaki.
He looked at how the pigtailed boy and Nabiki stood close together. He sneered, "I see thou hast aligned thyself with the Tendo mercenary. It disturbs me that any man should find this viper in feminine garb attractive." Nabiki frowned. The look on Akane's face could have melted lead. Ranma remained neutral. Kuno was now powerless, but his martial arts prowess still made him dangerous ... a little.
"We have no quarrel with you sempai, why start one?" Ranma asked him. His hand inched slowly towards the bokuto he kept hidden in his shirt just in case.
The wannabe samurai reached into his homika and withdrew a single red rose. He threw it like a dart towards Akane who caught it without much effort. "A memento to remind you of me until such time as we can meet without these ... peasants hanging about." he said as he turned and walked towards the school.
Akane crushed the rose in the hand she caught it with. "Why that ..."
"Arrogant bastard." Nabiki finished for her.
She turned to Ranma. "He hasn't changed a bit." she said to him.
Ranma sighed and said, "The influence of the Dark Side is gone, but his mind is still poisoned. It will be some time before he finally returns to reality."
"There goes my dreams of a quiet semester." muttered Akane as the three headed into the school.
The school day went by quickly to Akane's surprise. There were no random attacks by Kuno in their classroom nor any of the usual insanity that otherwise happened there. She waited for Ranma and Nabiki at the door and then they all three left together. They had not left the school grounds when Ranma felt a disturbance in the Force. Danger! He looked around for the source and saw a form falling out of the sky right towards him. Nabiki gasped and looked skyward, she too had felt it.
"Akane! Nabiki! Get back!" he shouted and gently pushed them away with the Force as he jumped back and away from his attacker. Akane made a loud protest which was sudden stopped when the sidewalk where they'd been standing exploded.
"Saotome Ranma," said the figure who stood in a crater where they'd been standing a few seconds before. "I've found you at last." He was a boy about Ranma's age with short, bushy hair held up with a yellow tiger striped bandanna, he wore green traveling clothes which looked out of place in this modern era, and in his hands was a huge bamboo umbrella. On his back he carried a backpack that looked like it weighed a ton.
"Ryoga? Ryoga-kun?" Ranma asked. The boy smirked, raised the umbrella and attacked. Ranma's bokuto was out and in his hands instantly. The two began to exchange blows like sword fighters. The battle waged on for what seemed like hours but it really only been mere minutes. Akane and Nabiki watch this exchange and were entranced by it. The fight was like a dance, the two combatants were the dancers, and each move was graceful as precise like some carefully choreographed ballet.
"Wow," Akane whispered in awe.
The battle intensified in its speed and ferocity becoming something deeply primal, something that was frightening but at the same time emotionally moving. It came to an end when the two warriors came together for one finally strike, they parried each other's attack with incredible precision just like before but this time they followed up the parry by launching at each other. The girls and on lookers all expected an all-out brawl to ensue but what happened next caused the entire are to go dead silent.
Ranma was having the time of his life. He knew Ryoga meant him no harm at all. He felt it in the Force. This was a game they used to play ever since they met long ago in school. Ryoga was a great sparring partner. He was one of the few people beside Abaru-sensei that he could spar with at almost full strength. The boy was built like a brick house, he could take almost anything that Ranma was able to dish out. He even taught Ryoga a few fencing moves he could use with his trademark umbrella. Yet, for all of his new abilities and his strong ties to the Force he hadn't been able to foresee this.
"Uh, is it me or is that guy kissing Ranma?" Nabiki asked her sister.
To be continued...
Notes: MMMMWWWWWAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! You weren't expecting this little twist on things did you?
Everything has proceeded according to my design.
Oh, I'm afraid this fan fic will only get more twisted when the next chapter arrives.
And now reader, you will die ... of anticipation until the next chapter comes.
Japanese to English Translations
"Shimatta" means Dammit.
"Tadaima" means I'm Home or I'm Back
"Okaeri-nessai" is the usual response to "Tadaima", means Welcome Back or Welcome Home
"Sensei" means Teacher (if you didn't know that shame on you)
"Faku" means Fuck (not the act of fucking, that's another word)
I'm trying to use more Japanese words and expressions in my fics because they fit better than their English counterparts and make the fic better. I guess its because sometimes I prefer to watch an Anime subbed rather than dubbed most of the time.