AN: the characters and settings of Gundam Wing AC do not belong to me, I'm just borrowing them to play with. OOC, AU, future Yaoi, and X-over warnings.
She sipped her tea as she watched the boys dance in the dawning light.
She wasn't normally given to poetic thoughts, but watching her boys as they worked thier way through the series of movements that the elder of the two, Ranma, called kata, Helen found it hard not think of what they were doing as dancing. It was so graceful.
It didn't matter that the smaller of the two figures was a bit clumsy and a bit slower than the larger boy as they moved. Both seemed to be dancing to music heard only by them in the early hours before any of the other children were awake.
The boys danced and she continued to watch.
Meal times at Maxwell orphanage had always been 'interesting' and had only gotten more so with the introduction of chopsticks as well as what Ranma called speed training and Duo called 'stopping Ranma from stealing food off my plate'. The chopsticks had remained, but the so called 'speed training' had ended very quickly when Father Jim declared that if either boy tried that again at his table, both boys would be missing the next meal. That put an end to that nonsense.
Unfortunately, that was only the beginning.
In the course of the first three weeks of Ranma's residence at the orphanage, the boys had gotten into twice the amount of trouble that Duo got into on his own, which was a feat in and of itself. Apparently two minds were more fertile than one. The chaos the two boys could create in the space of five minutes was incredible. Especially if it involved the boy Duo called Slider. The practical jokes the pair played on the other boy and his followers among the kids in the orphanage were becoming more than a little disrubtive. The trouble the two caused at school led to the two being placed in seperate classes. Not that it helped all that much. Duo sulked, Ranma spent more time asleep at his desk than not without Duo to help keep him awake, and they continued to get into trouble.
Father Maxwell would have been much more upset than he was if the boys had been making trouble on purpose. The real problem was as pair of active, curious, self reliant kids who learned faster than their classmates, were bored to death at school, and who had a tendancy to ignore rules if it suited them. Though were they got thier ideas for some of the things they did to entertain themselves or for certain pranks he'd never figure out.
And so, now instead of one demon he had two to tame.
School was just as boring as ever as far as Ranma was concerned. The lessons and teachers hadn't improved at all since he'd last gone to school several centuries earlier, and he didn't even have daily fights with Ryouga or the rest of the Nerima Wrecking Crew to distract him from his boredom. There weren't even any crazy teachers or such around. He'd just about smacked himself when he realized he actually missed Principle Kuno and his pineapple bombs.
Part of the problem was that his written English was so bad the testers had put him in Duo's grade even though he already knew most of the stuff they went over. That meant that the only times he was actually learning anything were during history and science, after all he did have several centuries of both to catch up on. Things like World War II and the first nuclear bombs were ancient history now, and things that others had lived through or took for granted he'd never heard of. At least english was still a pain in the butt, even without Miss Hinako as a teacher. Sure he spoke decent English, mostly thanks to Duo, but he still had trouble reading it and his writing skills were abysmal. English spelling still made no sense and was annoying as hell, but still at least he had most of the grammer figured out now.
Still, compared to living in Nerima life was good if a little boring. Pulling pranks and getting trouble with Duo help keep things interesting. So what if he'd ended up wearing someone elses old clothes and had a broom closet as a bedroom. He'd slept in worse places and had spent most of his life with only one set of clothes. The food was good, even if it wasn't up to Kasumi's standards and best of all, he had someone who actually cared about him, not what he could do for them, and no-one was trying to kill or marry him.
With that in mind, he had to admit that while they kept life interesting it was a good thing that he didn't didn't have any enemies like Ryouga or even Mouusse or Kuno anymore. At the moment they'd have no trouble defeating him. He was still recovering from all the time he'd spent in the grey space that the Naban Mirror had sent him into, and while he had been able to maintain most of his speed and flexibility while floating in nothingness, his strength and stamina had suffered greatly. His skills, other than than the ki based ones, were pretty rusty too. It was hard to practice anything that required pushing against something, even if only the floor, when there was nothing to push against.
When he'd first awoken on the colony he'd been no stronger than the average eleven year old. Now he had regained enough so that he was stronger than most guys five or six years older than he was. His stamina also remained fairly low, by his standards anyway. He hadn't been this weak sisnnce he was ten. There was no way he'd be able to swim from China to Japan in his current state, or even between the main islands of Japan. He still had some serious work ahead of him before he could even think about matching his former physical prowess, and the worst part was that there was no where on the colony he could go to do the sort of serious training he needed to do with out endagering the lives of all the inhabitants.
On the colony. Heh, now that's something that had thrown him for a loop. He was currently living in a man-made structure IN SPACE. Sure Duo had talked about it when he was still a dream, but somehow it never really registered. It had still remained little more than a vauge idea to him until Father Maxwell had taken him to the docking area and he'd had a chance to look 'outside'. Soon as he'd absorbed the worst of his shock at that little detail he'd made a promise to himself.
No Ki Blasts.
No matter what kind of trouble he encountered, he couldn't risk punching a hole in the colony any killing everyone with an ill-judged blast.
Instead he worked on control. He'd summon the energy for a ki attack, hold it, and then reabsorb it. He also made up an excercise where he created several balls of ki too small to do any serious damage, juggled them, and practiced directing them where he wanted them to go and shaping them into various weapons. It was something he'd started doing out of shear boredom while hanging in limbo for all that time. There was only so long you could spend getting blasts as big as possible before you got bored out of your mind.
One other thing he'd managed to do was get the neko-ken under partial control. He was still scared of cats but he was no longer totally mindless when he was immersed in the neko-ken and he could summon the state at will with only a bit of concentration. No cats required. All he had to do was remember getting doused with cold water with Shampoo attached to him, his first couple of years hanging in limbo, or if he was in a hurry, the first time Pops had sold him as a fuck-toy.
Oh he still thought he was a cat when it happened, but now he could recognize friend from foe and stop himself from attacking anything or anyone who caught his attention. He'd proven this his third night sleeping in the ex-broom closet with Duo. Duo shook him awake in the middle of a nightmare and he had awoken already immersed in the Neko-ken. He'd stayed that way for most of the morning until the cat decided to take a nap and woke up as Ranma. That had taken some serious explaining. Hopefully he'd never have to explain it again to anyone.
AN: I'm sorry this is so short people. Hopefully the next chapter will be longer. I know exactly where I want this to go, I'm just having a bit of trouble getting it there.
Thanks to Innortal, ranma hibiki, Jerry Unipeg, ColdCipher, and Kuno-Baby for the reviews. The encouragement helps keep me writing...