Journey of Discovery Part 2
Disclaimer: I don't own this series or any other series. I am just floating an idea. I am making no money, nor plan to, off this venture. If you think of suing me over this, then grow up.
I would like to first personally thank all of those reviewing my stories. I enjoy reading your comments, and try to correct the grammatical errors I miss with my final read-through as well as my spell checkers. The suggestions you all make will help make this story better for everyone to enjoy, as well as allow my to fix some plot holes I may unintentionally leave. If you find any, let me know, and I will correct them and repost the chapters.
Ranma stared at the wall of the kitchen as the sun began to come up. It had been a short night, one that he thankfully had less to fear of looking drained from it, due to being used to odd sleeping times. After all, he didn't want to have bags under his eyes when he had his first male model shoot today since his return.
No, it was because of what he had learned the previous night from Shampoo, that sleep had been so elusive.
He had two more children.
Not that he hated them already, nor did he hate Nabiki and Shampoo for keeping such a secret from him.
No, the hate was directed towards the individual whom he felt deserved it: himself. They were two more children, aside from Makoto, that he had missed so much of their lives.
"Man, I've really screwed that promise to be a better father than my own," he muttered, as he rubbed his forehead.
Dropping his head on the table, he let out a tired sigh, even as the hellhounds began to enter the kitchen to receive their morning meal from their Master.
Growling, Ranma slowly stood up, his eyes slowly regaining their focus. Just because he had missed their lives to this point, didn't mean he needed to continue that track. Unlike the rest of his family, he would learn once more from his mistakes.
"I'll be their father," he murmured, as he prepared both himself and the hellhounds a meal.
"I promise," he whispered, as he continued to work.
She sat on the throne, the ruling seat of nearly the entire planet. For many, such was a desire they would move heaven and earth for, sacrifice all they had and ever would have to do so.
And for all its glory and prestige, she really couldn't give a damn.
"This is so boring," she sighed, propping her head up on the armrest. She was around six feet tall, with long red hair, red eyes, and a figure many women on Earth would die for ... including the strange wings that formed behind her.
"G'hot futyo verek!" yelled a large man-beast near her. He was nine feet tall, with yellow eyes, and resembled more of a cross between a man and hellhound than a man and a dog. The main differences were the spikes along his arms, and the heavy armor he wore.
"Like I give a damn how much of a fucking honor this is," she muttered. "This is worse than when I had to explain to Succubus Nation-State why Dad named me in Japanese," she muttered. "At least Mom made sure to get to pick my name."
"Hyu frox dwqi," said the guard, patting her on the shoulder.
"Thanks, Tanx," she smiled. "You always did know what to say to cheer me up.
"But really," she said, "how did Dad keep from being bored out of his skull. The way he tells it, someone would burst through that door, window, or a wall almost every day and try and kill him. I've been here since he returned to Earth, and not one damned soul has cried out 'Prepare to taste oblivion, Arainori Kino!' I mean, is it me, Tanx?"
Tanx shook his head.
"Think you're scaring them away?"
"Potri rwiq hutr frox."
"Right, Dad's a lot scarier than you," she sighed.
A knock on the throne room door broke the silence that had followed.
"Enter!" she commanded, hoping it was a challenger. She needed to vent some hormones. And a good battle did just as well as Option One. And sadly, there were no suitable partners nearby for Option One.
"Ma'am," said a bat-like demon, armored to the teeth, as he approached the throne from the open door. "We have received word from the South: The Brotherhood is active."
Arainori's smile grew. "Have they begun to attack our outposts near there?"
"Negative," said the bat guard, much to his Princess's disappointment. "From what we have gathered, they may have plans to attack your father directly."
"But Dad's on Earth," she said.
The bat guard nodded. "We believe they have shifted many of their resources to that goal."
"Hjiw ropr js huew wgye?" asked Tanx.
She nodded. "Prepare the First through Seven Battalions to invade their territory," said Arainori. "I want to know how many and what they have on Earth now! If they have already left for Earth, crush all resistance, and claim that land for our Nation!"
"Yes, my lady," said the guard, as he quickly departed.
"Gutwy ju?" asked Tanx.
"I'm going to warn Daddy-dearest," said Arainori.
"Lko phuti. Jkiey doue!"
"Please," said Arainori. "There are four others Father trusts to rules things if I needed to leave during his absence. Let them run things. He just gave it to me to keep me busy.
"I want to go have some time with ... Daddy," she said, as she left the room.
Tanx sighed. He really hated his job sometimes. If it wasn't the fact that he was guarding the Emperor's only daughter with the Queen Milu of the Succubus Nation-State, it was the fact that like her mother, she too saw her father as prime material for energy gathering.
Sometimes, it didn't pay to leave the swamps. Human-like creatures were so damn infuriating at times.
Ranma sighed as he looked over the skyline, a grand view offered by the restaurant he was currently waiting for his new family in.
A son? Another daughter?
It still shook him that things had been so different, even before he left. He had a whole other family that he knew nothing about. How long before Shampoo would have told him, if he had somehow managed to stay in this world? Would it have mattered?
Could he have forgiven Nabiki for breaking his trust like that? Could she have even told him the truth? If she had, if Shampoo had told him beforehand, would he have consented?
He stared back out into the city, trying to find some comfort. There was some good news so far that day, people who remembered his old life merely assumed that he had disappeared now to fight demons during his enforced vacation. It was the truth in a way; he had fought a lot of demons on Hyurn.
Sometime, he felt like there would be a shorter list of people on Hyurn that he didn't face in battle in one form or another.
Of course, the public could take a kernel of truth, and run it into a story unmatched by any other fiction. So now; they assumed he had returned from fighting the forces of the demon that had slew his wife and now decided to assist the Sailor Senshi in protecting the city.
He could have done without the instant polls that a few of the networks were doing to see which Senshi he was with or likely to date in the future. It took all his mental strength not to throw up when they placed Sailor Jupiter as third. The last thing he needed was to offer a reaction that might incriminate his daughter somehow into the public eye, either as a love interest, or wonder why the thought of such would make him ill.
"The public can be a pain at times," he muttered.
"You should visit the mountains of China then," said a female voice, close by. "We have our ways of dealing with Outsiders."
He paused, cursing himself for not noticing their arrival, as he turned to see ... them.
Shampoo had come in a slender pantsuit, her usual style, with more down-played colors. Time had been very good to her, and he found her beauty played well in her native outfits, more so than the dresses he received from his last shoot as Ranko.
The two behind her, Xenma and Xenko, if he was to guess, showed the same ability as their mother to look good in whatever they wore. Both were wearing clothing more in line with Japanese tastes than Chinese. Then again, Shampoo most likely had to buy them local fashions to fit in.
This wasn't Nerima. People tried to blend in the best that they could.
"So Old Man," growled the boy, "you gonna offer us a seat or what? Ow!" he cried, as Shampoo bopped him quickly on the head, fast enough not to be noticed by any nearby patrons. The staff had been gracious enough to offer them a booth with privacy.
"Forgive him, Airen," said Shampoo. "I'm afraid he takes a bit too much after his great-great-grandmother."
"He does look a little like a monkey," said Xenko, before she too was soon rubbing her head.
Ranma chuckled a bit, the scene itself reminding him of his youth. "Seems like my attitude was passed down as well."
"Better that then the attitude of a certain stupid panda," Shampoo smirked, as she motioned for them to sit and enjoy a meal. "How long do you have before you have to return to your shoot?"
"Done for the day," said Ranma. "The Agency is pretty good about getting a staff that can do the job under budget and at great quality."
Shampoo nodded. "And your little jaunt with the Senshi?"
"I expect I'll be labeled either an avenging angel, or a repenting demon," he said with a sad shake of his head.
"Why not tell them the truth?" asked Xenma.
"Hell, the Senshi are thought to be a rumor outside of Minato Ward," said Ranma. "The people will believe what they want, the media will show what they want, and the publications will print what they want.
"In the end, I could spout the truth all I want, and they won't listen until they want to," said Ranma.
"I see Nabiki taught you to read public opinion," said Shampoo.
He smirked. "That and what I've learned from where I've been for the last decade plus," he said.
"Can we start this whole family bonding crap now?" asked Xenko. "I'd rather not spend too much time listening to you two talk about the 'good old days' and stuff."
Ranma shook his head. And he thought this was going to be hard.
In the past...
Nabiki lay on the beach, enjoying the sun, as her husband and child continued to play in the surf. He'll probably have to go reapply the waterproof soap soon.
She did enjoy the occasional trips around the world. After all, it was all expenses paid, their daughter was not yet at the age where school was necessary, and she could take care of the pre-school education. It felt nice not to be tied down to an office, a degree, or even a homeland that memories often didn't make it feel welcoming.
It also helped that it was her job to do such things. Working for your model-husband did have some great benefits.
"Sometimes, I think I have truly found paradise."
She looked over her sunglasses, catching the giggling form of her daughter, as her father helped her enjoy learning to swim. Well, he wanted her to enjoy it. The way he had learned had left a lot to be desired.
"Paradise lost," she sighed, as that little thought led to an immediate recall of why they would once again not be spending the upcoming holiday season with either of their families.
For his, the reasons were still the same: Nodoka and Genma were both demanding that they rejoin the Saotome clan, despite the fact it would just reactivate all those promises that Genma had made. No, the baka panda had yet to even begin to untangle the knot he had made in the family honor. And there was no way either she or Ranma were going to expose their daughter so such a situation. Their private investigators had already found three promises Genma had made to engage Ranma's children to people.
It was probably best that Ranma never found out exactly what Genma had received for said promises.
Nodoka herself was sadly not bringing her husband to task, merely supporting him in his tirades to force them to rejoin the clan.
Whether it was Genma's greed or Nodoka's willingness to turn a blind eye, the Saotome family was not likely to be receiving the Kino family as guests anytime soon.
And then there was her own family.
Kasumi had married Tofu a few years back, shortly after Nabiki herself had been married. As such, while free of her father's stupidity and constant badgering, she was perhaps the only connection to their previous life that the couple had left. Kasumi tried to put everything into a positive light, but no matter how many times you polished a board, it would not change the fact that termites infested it. The woman was still halfway caught between a dream and a reality. And to be honest, it was something that Nabiki hoped her sister would grow out of soon. But at least they would meet over the holidays.
Her father was upset that she had left the clan. But to be honest, it was always hard not to upset the man in some way. The man was constantly bouncing from one extreme to another, blaming everyone and himself for what the couple had done. No, her father would not be inviting them over.
Akane? No, that was the main thorn in their path. She had been more than willing to let Akane have him in the beginning. For starters, the curse had put her off, his father was a sleaze, and his IQ was never likely to exceed 'fast food manager' in anything scholastic.
But he grew.
Sadly, Akane didn't. As time went on, the Tendo heir continued to spin her wheels, to stay in set patterns, set assumptions, and set denials. She may have loved Ranma, lover him more than Nabiki ever could. But the girl refused to change.
And what doesn't change will eventually die out.
But Akane had once again remained unchanged, refusing to see the signs. Well, that wasn't true; she just refused to change how she interpreted the signs.
For love to grow, things must have a constant theme, something that will survive all changes, yet change itself to grow as the love does.
Akane didn't see that. She didn't see Ranma distancing himself from the fiancées, didn't trust that his jobs were not 'dates with some tramp', did not try and see he was trying to swim in the Sea of Honor, with more baggage that would have drowned an iceberg.
But she did. She saw the changes, saw him grow, and saw him develop friends in the industry, learn, adapt, and grow up. He achieved the mental development to be an adult, instead of the constant kid who could no more relate to something than a preteen.
She saw it, Akane didn't.
She fell in love and adapted. Akane didn't.
She admitted her love to him first, instead of waiting for him to. Akane didn't; even when she had confided to her sisters what she had heard during the Saffron Incident. And even then, she didn't respond, wanting him to say it yet again before she'd even consider saying a response. And that was assuming it wouldn't be a retort about 'perverts'.
No, Akane had made her bed, and was finding it quite difficult. The last she had heard, the girl had married a fellow actor.
She always did put more fire into acting than she did the Art.
No, she had no doubt Akane still carried a grudge, despite her own marriage. The girl saw what had happened first as both Ranma taking advantage of Nabiki, and Nabiki scheming something on him. Then add to it them leaving the clan, and the Tendo seemed to let her bitterness and paranoia consume her.
"I'm just glad she didn't get anything near us," sighed Nabiki, as she saw her husband and child slowly make their way back to her. Even if the beach they were on was for the resort guests only, it was quickly starting to fill up.
"Enough swimming today?" asked Nabiki.
"Nah, little Mako-chan's getting sleepy," said Ranma.
"Am not," said the girl, before she yawned loudly. "I wanna swim some more, Daddy!"
"After lunch and a nap," he said, smiling.
She opened her mouth to protest, when her stomach let out a small growl. Said growl was then answered by Ranma's own stomach.
Nabiki giggled a bit at that. "Well, let's go get rinsed off and order some room service."
Ranma smiled, helping Nabiki up, as she began to pack their stuff. "Enjoy the sun?"
"Enjoyed the peace and quiet after the last few days," she replied, stuffing the towels into her bag. "When you tell some companies we will call them back in a few days, you'd think they'd wait more than one before trying to call back."
"Have Daddy bop 'em!" cheered Makoto, as she began to lean back onto her father, her eyes slowly starting to close.
"Looks like we might need the nap first," said Ranma, as he watched his daughter lose the fight against sleep.
"Fine with me," said Nabiki, yawning herself. "I think we could all use some cuddle-time."
Ranma chuckled a bit. "She'll probably be up as soon as we shower the surf off us. Besides, a nice nap after we eat'll do us all some good."
She nodded, as she took his free hand, and walked with him towards the hotel showers.
No, this was not the place to dwell on bad memories of family lost. This was a time to relax and enjoy a small vacation on the company yen.
Besides, they had all the time in the world to fix their family problems. Right?
Akane growled as she sat in the teacher's lounge during a free period, trying to decide what to do.
He was back.
HE was back.
HE WAS BACK!
It took all of her self-control not to crush the mug in her hands, let alone not tear up the planner in front of her.
She had always suspected he was still out there somewhere. She knew that her bitch of a sister was dead; they had seen the body at the funeral that Kasumi had dragged her to, before she was cremated.
Hell, the only good thing from her point of view was that the Old Pervert was dead as well. His ashes were currently in a sealed box deep within the Sea of Japan.
Nabiki's ashes, however, were with Kasumi. And no matter how much Akane begged, she just wouldn't dispose of them; saying 'family should let anger go at the grave, not follow into it with it as a guide.'
Akane sighed as she began to rub her forehead. Sometimes, her sister was just too forgiving.
But in their minds, they always suspected, that he was still alive somewhere. The best that Kasumi had ever gotten out of that piece of trash child of his was that Ranma had forced whatever the pervert had summoned, back into the portal, when it closed.
She had felt somewhat vindicated with that knowledge. He was in Hell, being punished for being the lying bastard he had been.
And yet he had somehow come back to their world. And what was the first thing he did. He went to fight again, and with Senshi of all people.
Kai had even started to ask her questions about what the guy had done to upset her. No, she wasn't about to drag her son into this stuff.
It didn't mean she couldn't drag Ranma into it. She had waited so long to have her peace, and he just shows up once again and ruins it.
No, not this time. Him and his little trash daughter were going to understand their positions as far as she was concerned. She was not going to have them 'contaminate' her son.
And nothing he could do would stop her from proving that to him.