Summary: Nabiki knows what they think.

Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 is the property of Rumiko Takahashi and various companies, not me. This work is not intended for official publication, nor am I making any profit from it.

Author's Note: This ficlet was inspired by word #38 at the 15minuteficlets livejournal community.

Adrenaline Rush

Nabiki knows what they think. "Her mother died when she was young, poor thing," they whisper, "and she locked herself up behind a mask. She needs to be in control so that nothing can hurt her again. That's why she blackmails people, why she manipulates everyone around her."


Then there are the few compassionate ones. "Look at how her father collapsed after his wife's death," they say. "The poor children would have starved if Nabiki hadn't found ways to make money. She does it all for her family."

Bullshit to them too.

She knows perfectly well she isn't in control -- how anyone could hope to control the chaos of Nerima, let alone all the madness Ranma drags with him, is beyond her. She supports her family, yes, but there are easier, safer ways than blackmail and extortion.

So why become the Ice Queen of Furinkan?

Honestly, she can't see why nobody has figured it out. Look at her sisters, for goodness' sake! Kasumi wraps her life into the wa of the Tendo household, into being the perfect mother figure. Akane throws herself headfirst into martial arts, into all her relationships and adventures.

So why is it so surprising that Nabiki also has something to invest herself in?

Money isn't the object. Control isn't the object. She rides the chaos like a wave, rousing a temper here, pouring out misinformation there. Control is simply a useful illusion. Money is a way to keep track of the game.

Nabiki needs to see what happens next. She needs to see where the chaos wave will crash and what will wash up this time. She needs to meddle, to stir up trouble, to poke at sleeping tigers and watch the mayhem spill over.

Akane's the one who wants a normal life, who resents the insanity Ranma brings and screams at the tide to stop coming in. Kasumi's the one who hides behind masks, who soothes the tsunami.

They're the ones who locked themselves up when Mother died. They're the ones who need control. Nabiki accepted her loss long ago and moved on.

Nabiki is riding the chaos, skating the leading edge of the storm. She has never felt more alive in her life.


AN: Thanks for reading, and please review!