Disclaimer: I do not own Ranma ½, or W-Juliet. I also do not own any other characters or stories mentioned within this story. This story is made for the sole purpose of having fun, unless for you having fun is making money, cause no money can or will be made from this story.
Flashy Title, By Lioconvoy
Chapter One: Closing Doors
Almost three years ago:
Nabiki finished reading the second book to the "Legends of a Wild Horse" series. She frowned; the writer always ended the books on a sour note. This time Kikyo and her father had to leave Ukyo to further their training. Most of the book was about the time Kikyo and Ukyo spent together; it just seemed wrong that they had to split up. Maybe the next volume would have a happy ending.
Nabiki put down the book and went down stairs thinking about the story and Mizuno Ami, the writer. It was a year ago the first "Legend of a Wild Horse came" out, it was called "Beginnings"; although it seemed to end a lot for the main character. At five years old she was taken from her mother. The family had no sons, so the stupid father, Ganryu decided Kikyo must be trained as the heir to the family style.
What gave Mizuno the idea for the story, it seemed so sad. Just as sad as some of the things Kikyo's father did as training, such taking food from his daughter's mouth. Nabiki then berated herself, why did she keep reading a book that disgusted her? It had such poorly named characters, and had nothing to do with wild horses.
Arriving in the kitchen she saw her older sister returning home with some groceries. "Need help sis?"
"No thank you Nabiki, there's not much." Kasumi said ever smiling.
Nabiki grabbed a corndog from the freezer and microwaved it. Then she headed back up to her room, there was a manga she hadn't read yet.
Nabiki entered the Tendo home sighing, this year was a lot harder on her then she thought it be. The College she had chosen although known for its excellent business curriculum didn't appreciate her little enterprises. Once she almost got expelled for selling Kuno pictures of Akane. If she ever found out who had rat her out, they'd pay dearly; it was none of their concern.
Without being able to make money the way she did in high school she had to get an actual job. Fortunately she was able to get a nice job at a local book store instead of fast food. It didn't hurt she got a discount on her purchases as well. Still her job only paid for herself, back home Akane and Ranma had to get jobs to keep the house and dojo in working order. Akane lucked out and Ukyo was willing to give her work waiting tables. However what it was that Ranma did it was between him and Kasumi.
Silently making her way up to her room Nabiki wondered. If Ranma and Akane had gotten married would things still be this way. After all they were both still in high school and Ranma wouldn't be able to take over the dojo until after graduation. Even then, these days the Government wanted Martial Arts instructors to have some sort of college degree; which would add even more time before they'd be able to make money from the combined schools. Obviously her father and Genma had put no thought into these things what so ever, just merge the schools and things would go on happily ever after.
Well the merging never happened and would never happen now that Ranma was no longer a Saotome. After the failed wedding attempted, he was disowned. Of course nether the Panda or Nodoka would ever do such a thing, but Genma's father, who was still the head of the clan, did. Both Ranma's parent tried to overturn this decision, but his Grandfather would not hear of it.
Nabiki put her bags down and then stretched out on her bed. Since Ranma was no longer a Saotome he was no longer bound by either Akane's or Ukyo's claims on him, not that Genma didn't try to still force the issue, but Kasumi put her foot down and the fat man hadn't stepped in the house again. Instead her own lazy father often hung out at the Saotome house.
Getting up Nabiki sighed again, some how things had been going pretty well for Ranma. First he lost Akane and Ukyo, then after an encounter with Herb he was no longer Shampoo's Husband either. Apparently Herb heard about Ranma's battle with Saffron and offered him a place among the Musk. Ranma accepted and doing so ended things with Shampoo, Musk are immune to both the kiss of death and kiss of marriage. It had to do with some treaty that even Cologne wouldn't dare break. Not that Ukyo and Shampoo still didn't try for Ranma heart though.
The house was a little too quiet. Nabiki walked down to the kitchen, finding it too empty she wondered where Kasumi was. Her father as expected was probably at Genma's, Ranma and Akane would be on their way to work, but Kasumi rarely left the house. On a table was today's mail, flipping though the bills Nabiki found something rather interesting. Ranma had a letter from his grandfather; she'd have to find out what was in it. It had been a while since she had any means of blackmailing Ranma, this could be fun.
After dodging both Shampoo and Akane, Ranma headed to the post office. When he and his father first came to the Tendo dojo he set up a PO Box so he could keep his own mail private. Or at least try to, every once in a while Genma had gotten a hold of one of his letters from Makochan. The fat fool would always tear them up stating that he already had a fiancé. If the panda ever let him explain he would have known Narita Makoto was a guy.
Aside from mail Makochan's letters Ranma received other important letters in this PO Box. The letters normally included money that allowed Ranma to help keep the Tendo's a float. He sort of felt sorry for Akane and Kasumi, when he left for college, they would be in for some real trouble.
The more Ranma thought on the matter the more he was amazed just how much Nabiki's stupid schemes had done for her family. Not to say he'd ever forgive her for the troubles she put him though, some of them were his own fault though. Like barrowing money from her, when he had his own, just to appear broke. He was as much hiding the fact from her as he was his father at the time.
Arriving at the post office he was sad to see Cologne waiting for him. "What do you want old ghoul?"
"You may no longer be my son in law, but I still suggest you show a little respect for your elders." The ancient Amazon frowned.
"I show respect to those that respect me. All your plans and tricks to get me to marry Shampoo show me you don't. You get what you give." Ranma frowned as well. He also hoped Cologne didn't know why he was here.
"I guess I haven't, have I? Well Ranma after this last year I have much respect for you. Finding a way to escape from your marriage to Shampoo, proving yourself to be more then just a dumb male, and turning your enemies into friends. I'm not surprised you and Mousse got along once your marriage to Shampoo was voided, but Ryoga, how is it all his hatred for you is now gone?" The matriarch turned her back on the Ranma. She then started looking at the post office, seemingly looking for something.
"Herb gave me a cure for my curse, I gave it to Ryoga. Then I helped him catch up on his school work. He'll be graduating with me and Akane. It's not that he's stopped hating my guts, he just isn't out to kill me anymore." As Ranma recollected this he remembered the many hours he spent with Ryoga and Akari studying. When Ryoga was actually focused he didn't learn too slowly. The days when Akari wasn't there were always problems though; since his mind wandered onto thoughts of her.
"I see. You're very resourceful boy, too much so. I doubt very much now Shampoo could ever tame you. Tell me, why is it you played dumb for so long?" Still she stared at the post office.
"I had my reasons. However my Grandfather found out about them and that is why I'm no longer a Saotome. Why are you asking all of a sudden?" He didn't like where this was going.
"Shampoo and I are returning to Joketsuzoku, I wanted these questions answered before we left." As she said this she turned to face Ranma. "It is now clear to me you would have never made a good husband for Shampoo. You are too strong willed to live in our village without causing strife. While you were deceiving us all, I thought you may one day adapt. I know now that is not possible. The council and I have decided that you may keep the techniques you have learned from me. So long as you remain in Japan you may teach them to your descendants, but you are not to teach them to others, and most definitely not to any of the Musk."
"What about Mousse?" Ranma so far liked what he was hearing; to finally be rid of Shampoo was definitely going to be a plus.
"Where he goes is of no concern of mine. He left the village unescorted, he has harassed Shampoo, and his time here in Japan has made him also too strong spirited. He has been exiled from Joketsuzoku." With those words she started to hop away, but stopped one last time. "I have given the Neko Hanten to Kasumi, she has proven to be an Amazon at heart, and you will not need to worry about the Tendo's financial situation any longer."
Ranma watched as Cologne hopped off. Kasumi proved to be an Amazon at heart? That comment left him a little confused, but he knew she'd be more then able to carry on the Neko Hanten.
Kasumi returned home with a smile on her face, she hadn't truly been this happy since Ranma was disowned by the Saotome's. She always saw him as a little brother, but she knew things would never work out between him and Akane.
After a talk with Mousse her own future would finally be taking a step in the right direction. She had delayed taking her life into her own hands for far too long, but thanks to both Cologne and Mousse, her dream would be getting a jump start.
As she entered the house she saw Nabiki sitting in front of the TV. "Welcome home Nabiki, how is school?"
"It's definitely a challenge; high school was a cake walk in comparison. I'm sorry I haven't visited, or written you back. With school and my job I've been busy." Nabiki stood up and hugged her sister. "It looks like you've been too, it not often your not home."
Kasumi hugged Nabiki back for a minute before releasing her. This was a side of Nabiki that wasn't shown often and she wanted to savor it. "Cologne invited me to the Neko Hanten and said she had a gift for me."
Nabiki tilted her head a bit in confusion; Cologne gave a gift to Kasumi? "What did she give you?"
"The Neko Hanten." Kasumi beamed brightly.
"She gave you the Neko Hanten?"
Kasumi was glad Nabiki wasn't drinking anything; she had a habit of spitting in people's faces when she was shocked. "Yes. She and Shampoo are returning to China and she didn't want to sell the restaurant so she gave it to me. She included whatever was in the stock room, and the profits from the last six months."
"Are you going to keep it open? I'm sure I could get a good price for it." Never had she heard of Cologne being so generous; but this could definitely help the family. Nabiki started thinking of realtors she knew.
"As a matter of fact I am. Cologne has promised to teach me some of the Amazon recipes. Also Mousse, since he can't return to Joketsuzoku, has agreed to stay on as help." The eldest Tendo watched as the middle daughter's eyes grew wide.
"You're going to run it? But……."
Kasumi cut her off and the smile faded from her face. The calm cheerful mask she always wore just melted away. "Nabiki, remember when we were little father taught us all the art. I know you were never crazy about it but I enjoyed it as much as Akane, and I was almost as disciplined as Ranma. When mother died I gave it up. I also put on hold my dream."
Taking a breath she paused. "Do you know why I asked mother to teach me how to cook, it wasn't because I wanted to be a good wife, I wanted to be a chef. When father still taught in the Dojo, and when we had money, we occasionally would go out to eat. I always enjoyed how the chefs could put their heart into their food and shared it with their customers; I wanted to do that."
"I I …didn't know…" Nabiki stammered.
"Of course not. When mother died you were to busy being the bread winner because father was so depressed, I took on the role of house keeper, and Akane just tried to cheer farther up by continuing the art. We were all too busy living lives that supported each other then to live for ourselves. Well you and Akane are adults now and father rather spend time with his lazy friend than care about what we do. I'm not putting my dream on hold anymore." She wanted to hit her father, he had finally recovered from their mother's death, but what does he do? He wastes his life away playing Shogi with his criminal friend.
"Do you need any help with the books?" Without and mischief or ulterior motive the middle Tendo smiled.
Mousse sat at an empty table. It was apparent he had been crying, but his tears now ran dry. A little ray of sunshine was still in his life. He could never again go home, but this place that had been his home with Shampoo for so long would still be here for him.
Shampoo came into the empty dining room frowning knowing what he had been doing. "Stupid duck boy disgrace to Amazon men. You deserve to be exiled."
"If I'm so stupid why is it you can not speak Japanese after living here for three years?" It wasn't like him to snap at the one he loved so dearly, but now that he knew their love never could be, he didn't bother to stop himself.
"You calling Shampoo stupid!"
"Yes he is. And I agree." Although the sign on the door had said closed Ranma had no problem walking right in since it was unlocked. Mousse was a friend and he'd be there for him. "Think about it. Mousse fell in love with you even though you hated him, then you did the same thing yourself. You fell in love with me even though I couldn't stand you. I told you to leave me alone over and over again. I was actually trying to make things work with Akane, but you felt you needed to stand in the way. If you couldn't have me no one could. Now use that brick in your head you call a brain. How is what you did any smarter then what Mousse did? In fact what you did was dumber because you didn't learn from a mistake already being made right in front of your eyes."
Mousse smiled slightly. "Ranma you really need to work on your skills in cheering people up."
Ranma rubbed the base of his pigtail. "Yeah, Makochan mentions that all the time."
While the two stood their talking Shampoo walked out. She could say nothing to Ranma, angering him further could cause troubles for her tribe. The last thing she wanted was to be responsible for a war between the Amazons and the Musk. It hurt her to hear those words from Ranma though.
Cologne was waiting for her in the kitchen. "I am sorry child, Ranma's words may very well be true, but I too am to blame for forcing you on him"
"Great Grandmother, I love Ranma, why he no love me." Shampoo said in a sad tone.
"It is as he said, you cannot force love on someone. That is why your grandmother was an only child. I had force my husband to merry me by our laws and after she was born he left and he was too strong for anyone to stop him. I loved him dearly, but I never saw him again." The ancient Amazon hopped nearer to her granddaughter to wipe her tears from her eyes.
-When I started planning this chapter I had planned to go a bit further into the story, but as I wrote it things started popping into my head, ways to end things for some characters and begin things for others.
-If the story keeps writing itself it may be a bit before "Legends of a Wild Horse" is explained, but I assure you it's a key part of the story.
-There will be no Sailor Moon characters in this story; Mizuno Ami is a pen name.
-Updated with corrected mistakes from Lerris's review. I ask that in the future if you see problems with my grammar, please email me the corrections. I don't mind people saying they like or hate the story, but I don't think grammar corrections belong in the reviews.
-For those that haven't read the manga, the "Almost three years ago" Happened right before Ranma arrived. When you first see Nabiki she is laying on her bed reading something with pictures and eating what looks like a corndog.
-28/10/05: Revised chapter again.
-05/08/07: Revised once more with help from Euphemism.