Disclaimer: I do not own Ranma ½, W-Juliet, or Love Hina. 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 Six: Learning the Secret
Where the older girl pulled the strange divining rod from, Tomoe didn't know; what she did know was it had to work. Without Ranma she had no place to stay and her funds were far too limited to go to a hotel. The last thing she wanted to do was return home; sure she had the support of both her sister and grandmother, but her mother would only continue to make things unbearable for her. After she saw the nose at the end of the divining rod sniff the book, the youngest Miura cringed.
Kaora smiled deviously, in twenty minutes time they had traveled quite the distance. As far as they had gone, and still not run into Shinobu's male friend, he must have been traveling at super speeds. She was looking for a new test subject and this Ranma could be it; Keitaro just wasn't around enough to play with anymore, and the results from playing with Motoko were predictable these days. Finally the divining rod exploded telling her the target was close, and also reminding her to change how it reacted to finding its target. "He's close."
"Hey Shinobu, who's your friend?" Well he finally found Shinobu and Tomoe, and they were joined by a young woman who looked a little charred. Ranma smirked, since there was still smoke coming off of her it must have happened just before he and Makochan turned the corner.
"This is Kaora Suu, she's a Princess studying abroad; her major is engineering." Shinobu noticed Ranma wasn't by himself anymore. He was joined a young man with short blond hair.
"Makoto!" Tomoe quickly hugged her cousin's fiancé. She really liked Makoto because he spent his last two years of high school as a girl. He was her inspiration and the reason she had left home. She too would attend an all girls' high school.
"Hey it's good to see you too, but could you stop hugging me." So it seemed Tomoe had run away from home. The youngest Narita wondered what sort of horrible things little Tomoe's mother tried to do to him to make him run away. Maybe it was his sisters coaching; Kozue seemed keen on having her brother go to high school as a girl.
"I'm sorry." Letting go she rejoined Shinobu and Kaora standing opposite Ranma and Makoto. After rejoining the two girls she noticed a very beautiful dark haired woman crossing the street, and it looked as if she was going to join them.
"Suu, Shinobu, what are you two up to?" Motoko walked onto the sidewalk and stood beside two young men who were opposite her housemates. She hadn't noticed the smaller girl…boy in between them at first. Was he really a boy? Examining the child with her eyes and with her senses she was sure despite appearances the younger one was a boy. Her senses also caught a feel for the two besides her; the blonde was possibly her equal and the pigtailed one was without a doubt far stronger than herself. She tried not to cringe but the blue eyed boy was possibly as strong as Tsuruko, if not stronger.
"We're just making new friends. I met Ranma at school, and Tomoe will be staying with him, and we just met Makoto now." Shinobu still didn't know why Kitsune told Tomoe the Hinata House was full, but she was sure the older girl had her reasons.
"Ranma?" Motoko looked at the two boys next to her again, the one with the pigtail did resemble the boy Nabiki had talked about a few times. He also resembled the redhead she knew when she was younger, although that Ranma dyed her hair black, she was pretty sure she was a girl.
"Have we met?" Ranma scratched the base of his pigtail; he couldn't place the older girl. Then it hit him, she was either Motoko or Tsuruko Aoyama. Shinobu had mentioned a Motoko that wrote cheesy romance novels…. "Wow it's been a long time Motoko, I barely recognized you. Does Tsuruko-sensei know you write cheesy romance novels?"
Shinobu imagined a giant bead of sweat on her forehead and then made a run for it. The swordswoman was going to start swinging soon.
"SHINOBU!" Pulling out her bokken, the younger Aoyama sister started chasing after the youngest member of the Hinata house. "You're not going to escape me!"
"Bye now." Suu bowed and then chased after her fellow Hinata residents. "Go Mecha-Tamago Zeo!"
Makoto looked at Ranma and his friend just shrugged his shoulders. The cursed boy was probably used to unexplained weirdness, but not him. Sure, he had encountered one or two spirits, but those were serious situations rather than odd. "Ito's probably wondering where I am. I'll see you later Ranma, take care Tomoe."
"Tell Nee-san, Tomoe says hello." Tomoe waved goodbye to her cousin's fiancé and then turned to Ranma. The older boy seemed fixated on the chaos that Shinobu's running away seemed to cause. Down the street buildings were getting sliced by Motoko, or blown up by the princess's robot turtle.
"I guess my life is going to remain interesting." The former Saotome shrugged his shoulder and then started to head home.
After losing Shinobu, Motoko returned to Starbooks just in time to see Nabiki leaving. Nabiki's Ranma calling her sister Tsuruko-sensei puzzled her. She was certain the five year old redhead she knew when she was younger was a girl, but why would the boy Nabiki knew know her sister as a teacher. "Nabiki, do you mind if I walk home with you?"
"Motoko?" It wasn't that the middle Tendo daughter didn't hang out with Motoko outside of the book store, but this was the first time the swordswoman met her this late.
"I have some questions about your Ranma. I met him today and he acted familiar with me."
"He did?" Starting her walk home with Motoko besides her, Nabiki was just as puzzled as her friend. Ranma wasn't all that common of a name, when they found out they each knew a person by that name, they compared the two. When Motoko was little a five year old girl stayed with her and her sister to learn their style. The girl had red hair that she wore in a ponytail. Now Tsubaki mentioned Ranma used to be confused for a girl when he was younger, but his hair was black not red. Ranma's cursed form had red hair, but he didn't get cursed until he was fifteen. "There's no way he's the same Ranma you knew."
"That's what I was thinking, but then again, it's not like I ever saw the Ranma I knew naked. Maybe she wasn't a girl; she did seem a little tomboyish." It didn't seem too far fetched that she had her childhood friend's gender wrong. She didn't have the trained senses she had now.
"But the one you knew was a redhead. The one I know has black hair."
"The one I knew dyed her hair black. Her father made her; he said the red hair was disgraceful." After finishing her sentence something came to the forefront of her mind. In the first 'Legends of a Wild Horse' book, Kikyo's father forced her to dye her hair for the same reason. After spending time with two sisters, Motoko and Tsuruko Yama… the older sister, Motoko forced Kikyo's father to stop. Was Ranma Mizuno Ami?
"My Ranma doesn't dye his hair. I told you my little sister walked in on him in the bath once; I think she would have mentioned him having two different hair colors." The short haired girls shook her head. She was a hundred percent sure Ranma didn't dye his hair; his hair was black when he was a guy and only red when he was a girl.
"Nabiki, they're the same person, I'm sure of it now." All this time she thought Ranma was a girl. If she thought Ranma had been a girl, maybe others did too, that was probably the reason why he had the main character of his books female. Motoko then stopped… she just figured out who Nobunagi was based on. "That's why you stopped talking bad about him."
Also stopping Nabiki turned around. "What do you mean?"
"Um, Nobunagi, not Ranma. Really you've stopped talking about him all together, but it's because he's based on you isn't it?" Her shorter friend would eventually start talking bad about Nobunagi whenever they talked about 'Legends of a Wild Horse', but lately she hadn't.
"I didn't find out he was based on me till this morning. I stopped talking about him, because Ranma pointed out I wasn't much better than him." Frowning, the middle Tendo daughter didn't like being reminded of how stupid she had been. She hated what the elder Tenju brother did to his family, but continued to do the same things to her own.
Now she was sure Ranma was Mizuno Ami, Motoko felt she needed to get back in touch with her old friend.
As the sun started to climb the morning sky Ranma got out of bed and got ready for his morning practice. Changing from his pajamas into his gi, he started to think about what he would be doing that day. He needed to get books for class and talk to Mitsune about what would be a fair rent for Tomoe. He wanted to see Shinobu again, but whether that would happen or not, he didn't know.
After getting dressed he climbed out the window to the roof. It was bigger than the yard, and be a better place to practice even if it wasn't a flat surface.
Nabiki was tired. She didn't want to be up this early, but after they arrived at her apartment last night, she and Motoko decided to pay Ranma a visit. The only time they would be sure he was at home was this early in the morning. Looking in the direction her friend should have been arriving from she saw two figures making their way to her. As they got closer she recognized the shorter girl as Motoko's housemate Shinobu. This was her first time meeting Shinobu, as the younger girl always seemed to visit Starbooks while she wasn't working. After they arrived she decided to voice the first question on her mind. "Why is she here?"
"I'm sorry, I said I was going to see Ranma, and she wouldn't let me leave without her." Motoko sighed. The youngest Hinata House resident already seemed attached to Ranma. Well she wasn't going to be competition; she only had feelings for Keitaro. It wasn't that she hadn't tried to meet other guys, but none of them compared to Naru's fiancé.
"I suggest you be careful Shinobu, the girls that gather around Ranma tend to be violent." The middle Tendo frowned; the pigtailed boy was already starting to gather a new collection of girls. It wasn't any of her business anymore, but she didn't like it.
"He warned me himself." Shinobu rolled her eyes, it not like she was in love with Ranma, she just wanted to get to know him better. Yes, she liked him, but that was as deep as her emotions for the pigtailed boy went for now.
"So did you find out where Ranma lives?" The tallest of their current trio hoped she hadn't woken up so early for nothing. She stopped doing early morning practices long ago.
"Of course. I may not be as connected as I was in Nerima, but I didn't have too much trouble finding his place." His home supposedly looked like her family home. Her classmate asked if her family had moved and taken their house with them, Naomi was kind of a ditz. Still what the bleached blonde mentioned about the pigtailed boy told her what she needed to know. "We should at least have a half hour to get there; Ranma's morning practice, shower, and breakfast takes an hour in total according to Kasumi."
"Kasumi?" As she and Motoko started to follow Nabiki, Shinobu pulled out one of her sketch books from the shoulder bag she carried.
"That the name of Nabiki's older sister." When she finished saying that, the youngest Hinata resident started flipping through her sketch book faster. The swordswoman wondered what she was looking for then Shinobu stopped and help the sketch book up to Nabiki.
"Is this your sister?" Shinobu had the book open to the picture of Natsumi Tenju. Yesterday Ranma mentioned it looked like Kasumi Tendo, and wasn't Nabiki's family name Tendo? Although she and the short haired girl had never met face to face, when she first saw her working in Starbooks she made it a point to avoid her because she looked like a female version of Nobunagi Tenju. One person Ranma knew looking like a character 'Legend of a Wild Horse' was coincidence, but four? Motoko knowing Ranma and the Motoko and Tsuruko Yama of the books….
"Yes, have you met Kasumi?"
"No, like I told Ranma yesterday it's Natsumi Tenju from 'Legend of a Wild Horse'. He joked that Mizuno Ami knew Kasumi Tendo." She may not have been a genius, but all the pieces were coming together. Even though it was early and there weren't many people out she lowered her voice. "Ranma is Mizuno Ami."
Nabiki wasn't feeling very good. So many things from 'Legend of a Wild Horse' were based after her and her family and she never figured out the truth. Motoko had a few chapters in the first book and Shinobu had her drawing, they both seemed to have no problems putting two and two together and no problems believing the four that they came up with. She was told, and she found it very hard to believe.
Tomoe came down stairs amazed by the smells coming from the kitchen. She hoped Ranma was making enough for two. Her own talents lay in sewing more than cooking, but if needed she could make an edible breakfast for herself. As she reached the dining room Ranma came out of the kitchen with two plates.
"Good morning Tomoe." Ranma smiled and placed the younger girl's plate at the table. Then he put down his own and started to eat. He was actually happy to have the little Miura here; it was a big house for just himself.
"Good morning." Scrambled eggs, sausage, and stack of pancakes, such a big breakfast, the young girl wondered if she'd be able to finish it all. Although there was silverware set at the table, as well as syrup, butter, and strawberries; Tomoe didn't see any beverages. "Um, do you have anything to drink?"
"Oops, sorry about that, I normally wolf down my food, I forget normal people need something to wash it down with." Getting up the pigtailed boy walked back into the kitchen then grabbed two cups and a pitcher of orange juice. After making his way back into the dining room he placed one cup at his seat, one in front of Tomoe and, then poured some juice into the younger girl's cup.
"Thank you." Starting at her meal, Tomoe could hardly believe how good it tasted, she had had scrambled eggs before, but older boy had put stuff in it to make it taste even better. "You're a really good cook."
"Thanks, I guess I get it from my mother, she's a good cook too, although the recipe for the eggs I learned while training with my Pop." As the pigtailed boy lifted another whole pancake to put in his mouth the door bell rang. Who'd be visiting him this early in the morning?
Nabiki finished off her last pancake. She knew Ranma could cook, but this meal was almost as good as Kasumi's. Since she skipped breakfast to meet up with Motoko she was more than happy to accept the pigtailed boy's offer of food. "Thank you for the meal."
"You're an amazing cook." Shinobu was starting to like Ranma even more. They bothered him while he was eating his breakfast, and instead of asking them to come back or eating in front of them, he went back into the kitchen and made more for them.
"That's a high compliment coming from Shinobu, she's the one that feed all of us at the Hinata House usually." Remembering back to when they were little, Ranma was curious about learning just about everything, he had even spent some time in the kitchen with Tsuruko. Motoko frowned, all this time she had thought Ranma was a girl, was it because of a stereotype?
Sitting at the end of the table Ranma was a little confused. Motoko praised him and then frowned. "Is something wrong Motoko?"
"Well I thought you were a girl up until I saw you again yesterday and I'm kind of feeling guilty about the reasons I did."
"Don't worry about it. People thought I was a girl all the time when I was younger, mostly because of the ponytail. My mother's family believes long hair is a sign of manliness for some reason. Supposedly my mom almost got disowned for marrying my Pop just because he had short hair; over a hundred of other reasons for my dad not to marry my mom and the reason that my maternal grandfather cares about is short hair." The former Saotome honestly wondered where he got his personality from. His pride was definitely from his old man, but where did his love of writing come from? He didn't know much about his mother's side of the family, but his mother's definition of a man came from her father.
"So you are the same Ranma that Motoko knew when she was younger?" Nabiki didn't understand that, what about the red hair? Ever since she knew Akane's ex-fiancé he had black hair, it was his cursed form that had red hair.
"I'm naturally a redhead. My maternal grandmother is an American; I get my red hair from her. Like having long hair, having black hair is a sign of manliness to my mother's family; so my old man dyed my hair, or made me dye it myself until I was about eight. Then he found some sort of Chinese herbal tea that once drunk caused my hair to grow black." The tea only worked on males and that was the reason his hair turned colors when he changed genders. Before he heard more about the tea from Mousse he always wondered why his hair returned to its original color when he was a she.
"So because you were confused for a girl you made the main character of your stories a girl?" Shinobu didn't know if Ranma had let Tomoe know, but the younger girl left while they were eating so it was only those who were aware were present now.
Ranma fell back in his chair. He had done a fairly decent job keeping his secret so far, only half a dozen people knew, now that number seemed to increase by half. "You all know?"
"Makoto let it slip after I told him I recognized myself in Nobunagi?"
"Nabiki and I used to think the Ranma's we knew were two different people, after figuring out you weren't, I also figured out you wrote 'Legend of a Wild Horse'"
"I've always thought Nabiki looked like a male Nobunagi, and after yesterday's conversation and Nabiki mentioning she had a sister named Kasumi…"
"I'm going to have to talk to Makoto." Getting up from the ground the writer worried how the middle Tendo might blackmail him. He made quite a bit of money from the books and with the Manga coming out soon. "Nabiki, you haven't told anyone have you?"
"Ranma, do you have any idea how much people hate Nobunagi. If people find out he's based on me, I'd be dead in less than an hour. Your secret is not only safe with me, but I'll do my best to keep others from figuring it out." Before Ranma pointed it out how much she was like the character, she had been president of the Nobunagi Must Die club at her college. She was pretty sure her campus wasn't the only one to have an NMD and she now feared for her life if any of them ever found out the truth.
"I don't plan on telling anyone, but I am kind of curious, I really thought Mizuno Ami was a girl." From the first two books she could see why her professor believed Mizuno Ami was a boy, but the latter ones had a female touch in her opinion. Motoko couldn't entirely accept the fact that it was a boy who wrote the later books; even if she did believe Ranma was the writer.
"That's kind of a long story, and I'm not sure if I should tell it, even to you Motoko." Since he had control of his curse for the most part, he didn't want to share its existence with anyone who didn't already know. Shinobu might be the exception, because if they did somehow end up a couple she had the right to know. As if Kami answered his unspoken prayer the door bell rang giving him an excuse to get up from the table. "Nabiki can you take the dishes to the kitchen?"
"Sure, I take it you don't want to cook another meal?" The middle Tendo daughter got up and started to gather hers, Motoko's and Shinobu's dishes. Thanks to 'Mizuno Ami', she was becoming a little self conscious about her behavior. She helped her family out with money, but never really anything else.
"Well you guys are done, and I'm done, so not really." Leaving the girls at the table Ranma went to the door as the bell rang a second time.
-gort420: I'll do what I can, but I make no promises.
-Dumbledork: I think I'll mostly stick to those three.
-Lerris: I'm not very good at summaries.
-dana-san: They never explain why he thinks he's a girl really. Just that he's adamant about living as one.
- Euphemism: I thank you for the PM, and made the corrections, you email address was deleted by FFdotnet. They don't allow address of any kind for some reason in stories or private messages. To get around that you have to type things as : blankatblahdotwhatever. Or something like that.
The Kasumi for this story won't be like the one from Twin Trouble, have no worries there.