Wow, I can't believe that it's been so long since I updated this, but with it being so long, and my writing fingers itching, I decided to put this out. It's not been looked at for a while by anybody but me, as it sat there, mocking me with it's…mockiness, so here we are. If anybody who reads this would like to beta this, or any of my other fics, then take a looksee, and tell me what you like, don't like, and OMG the horribleness! Have a fun read, and let's see if this is the jumpstart I've been needing.
Leela blinked her eye a few times before she turned and
glanced at Bender.
The robot rolled his eyes and shrugged before returning to
chugging the barrel of Sake he'd been working on for the last 22.3 seconds.
Turning back to Ranma, Leela asked the
question that immediately came to
mind, considering that even though Ranma didn't look that old, he really was.
She's your wife?" Leela asked incredulously. "But, I
thought you were
still single, or maybe engaged, but not married."
Ranma looked at her for a moment, before
turning back to the screen. The
image of Kasumi was in an almost waiting pose, as though she knew somehow Ranma
would be either asked or answering questions at this moment.
Leela also turned to look at the women on the television screen. She blinked
again, and resisted the urge to rub her eye.
The lady -- Leela still
found it hard to believe this was the image of
Ranma's wife -- was dressed in a simple housedress, light blue in color, with a
yellow apron adorned with an orange cartoon chick roosting squarely in the
upper slope of the woman's rather impressive chest.
Leela shook her head
and watched in silence. Ranma simply sat
and stared at the young woman on the screen. She seemed to stare back at
him, as though time was no barrier to their thoughts and emotions. Leela felt as
though she could see the bond between the two, despite the fact the woman
was nothing more than a memory now.
top of the apron, the words "Piyo" appeared on either side
cartoon chick. "I wonder what that means," Leela thought.
The woman appeared to have very few wrinkles, so she
was still relatively
young at the time of the recording. Leela smirked. She'd learned appearance
of youth was no real indicator if this girl was like so many of the Japanese
girls she'd met while living in New Neo Tokyo.
She probably looked very young
for a large part of her life Leela thought.
At least that was how it always appeared to her. She'd seen ladies in their
sixties and seventies who looked as though they were still in their twenties
The girl's chestnut brown hair was done up in a
simple ponytail that hung
over her right shoulder, reaching down almost to her elbow. She was
sitting in the sieza position, knees on the floor, with her head tilted
slightly to the side and her right hand on her cheek.
For just a moment, Leela could have
sworn on a stack of Bibles, the woman
was truly looking out of the screen at her lost love...
"Lost love..." thought Leela to herself, now where did that come from?
Ranma," Leela said quietly, "So, how did you meet her? Was
childhood friend, or did you just meet one another and hit it off at the right
Ranma continued to
stare at the image of Kasumi. He blinked a few times,
before he spoke up.
"It, it was an arranged marriage," the
martial artist said quietly.
"Originally, I was engaged to her younger sister, Akane, but, well,
something happened that turned things sour between us."
"I was engaged to
the middle sister, Nabiki for a little while, but while we
sort of got along okay, the way we were, we'd have been almost as bad a
match as me and Akane. That left the oldest sister, Kasumi, and well, she
and I made it work out."
said Leela. "So you two got married, and it was sort of just
getting along with each other huh?"
said Ranma, "it started out sort of like that, but, the more
spent with her, the more I came to realize the two of us had a lot more in
common than I thought we did at first."
"Ranma sweetie," Kasumi's voice interrupted, causing
his head to jerk away from Leela, and riveting his attention to the
screen once more His head jerked
away from Leela, his attention riveted on the screen once more.
"I hope this message
finds you well. I realize it's already been a few years
since I last spoke to you ... I guess I've changed quite a bit, and you,
well; I guess you're just the same as you were when you ... " her voice caught for
just a second, "were frozen."
Kasumi stopped, looking down at the floor of the
training hall for a moment. Bender, who'd taken a break from
hitting on the Nodoka-bots and the two liter jug of Sake,
could see she was trying to keep her emotions in check. Ranma's heart
threatened to break as he watched her image struggle for composure.
image looked up and smiled out of the screen after gaining control
of herself. Again Leela felt she was witnessing a link between the two. It
was as though Ranma and this long dead woman were sitting across the room
from each other as Leela watched. It shouldn't be, no, it couldn't be possible, Leela
Leela, Ranma seemed entranced by the sparkle of the image's eyes. The
scene of the two eternally separated lovers staring helplessly into each
other's eyes sparked a disquieting sensation for Leela Turanga. For a
moment, she felt a tightening in her chest she hadn't felt since her days
with Shawn. It was the same burning feeling she used to get when another girl spoke to him at a restaurant or on the
Leela crushed the feeling with ruthless efficiency.
Still, the pang forced her to turn
away for a moment. She took a calming
breath before turning back to the semi-conversation.
She failed to notice the Nodoka-bot
slap Bender down with a spiked mace that
appeared out of nowhere. Nor did she notice when it turned its attention
fully upon her and Ranma. Not even the lurching dance, complete with paper fans the fem-robot began to perform, pulled Lela's gaze from the mysterious man before her.
"Kasumi," Ranma whispered almost to
himself and the screen, "I wanted so
much to give you your New Year's present. If there was some way for me to do
it now; then I'd fight anything or anyone, if only I could hold you again."
"Oh Ranma," Kasumi's words seemed to respond to his
spoken thoughts. "I know
you'd do anything for me, and I would for you too, but this is one opponent that you can't just beat in a fight, or come back for a rematch with. You can't beat time, dear. It's the one thing no one can out run, out fight or outlast, on this world anyway."
"Stop," Ranma said
quietly, tears leaking from his eyes. He turned and
looked at both Leela and Bender. "Um, would you both excuse me for a little bit? I, I
just want to -- to have a little time alone with my, my wife and family, just for
a little while, you know?"
"Nah, I think I'd just like to set here and get me another
chance at some of
these cute fem-bots," said an increasingly leering Bender. The robot's
reaction made Ranma wince. He suddenly thought of the robot as a mechanical version of Happosai at his
About two blocks away from the home and
training hall, a diminutive figure
sneezed, stumbled and fell hard on his face, leaving a good sized and rather
faithful impression of it in the worn down sidewalk.
Leela took another moment to stare at Ranma, before she nodded
headed out of the room after "convincing" Bender it would be in his best
interest to leave with her. The duo set out to explore the grounds, leaving
Ranma in the living room. They didn't hear him tell the recording to start up
The pair toured the property escorted by the Nodoka-bot. Bender's
were met with increasingly violence rebuffs, but he refused to take the not
so subtle hint. The group finally found themselves in a smallish room. It
appeared to be a new addition to the ancient home. Its construction was the
most up to date one they'd seen, though not modern by any means.
this place?" Leela asked the Nodoka-bot who had been their guide
the last thirty minutes.
"This is the virtual
dojo," the fem-bot replied, "It was designed to act as
a training ground for times when the Master of the school wanted to go on a
training trip, but might have been unable due to any kind of complications.
Instead, this room was constructed, allowing you to go to anyplace on Earth.
It will allow you to recreate any of the opponents who the Master has faced
over the years."
"Good night!" blinked Leela, "This is. Well, it's
amazing! Why, with this
kind of technology, it's, it's just."
"There are a few reasons why this technology has become
'lost' over the
years,' the Nodoka-bot interrupted, "One, because the technology's creators,
Nabiki Tendo, Kodachi Kuno, and Kasumi Saotome felt it would be in Ranma's
best interest to have something no one else had. Secondly, as it is right
now, his school of martial arts, the Anything Goes, has been banned since
2015, and no one else has ever even heard of this lone training hall out
here in Old Tokyo."
Leela gaped for a
moment, before she stuttered out, "His school of martial
arts has been banned? What could have happened for that to have occurred?"
"The previous grandmaster of the school
decided he was in need of some fun,
or, 'wanted to raise hell' if my memory banks recall correctly," Nodoka-bot
stated dryly. "So he decided to go on what he considered a "training
expedition." It consisted of panty-raids throughout the land. However, since
Ranma was not there to control him, he ended up raiding the Imperial palace,
involving him with not only the Empress's panties, but in him touching the
Empress herself, in inappropriate ways. She, to say the least, was not
Leela gulped. No wonder she'd never heard of the Anything Goes
today. It explained why there was no mention of it in Ranma's file. It
seemed likely the Imperial family, after banning the school, probably purged
any mention of it, or anything connected with it, from the old records. With
the death of the last official masters, well, that meant there was no legacy
remaining of it, at least until Ranma awoke.
does that mean if Ranma is caught practicing the Anything Goes,"
squinted for a moment, "Then he'd be officially punished?"
"Yes," the fem-bot stated simply,
while she swatted away Bender's roving hands
with a sheathed sword that seemed to be pulled from nowhere. "However, unless he
actually admits to it, he should be safe for the time being. Anything Goes
is such an amalgamation of styles, it should be difficult for anyone to
prove he's actually practicing it."
Leela sighed in relief, before blinking again. When had she
gotten so caught
up in Ranma's problems that she found herself worrying about him? Hell, he'd
just woken up today, and here she was, actually considering going along with
hiding a potential criminal. Still, it was one of the few things he had left
that was his own, and it felt bad to just turn him in.
since Ranma might be awhile," she asked her hostess, "Would
it be all
right if I got a sparring partner made for me, and tried this place out?"
"Of course,' replied the
Nodoka-bot, "However, I would ask you to please
remove your boots as is custom. Place them in the corner over there."
Leela dithered for a moment, before she removed her boots and
placed them to
the area the robot indicated, choosing to ignore Bender's comments about the
air suddenly smelled like boot-feet. She started to stretch.
While Leela continued her stretching,
Bender continued on his ongoing, but
fruitless attempts to hit on the Nodoka-bot, still, he was surprised when
she beckoned him to follow her outside the virtual training hall. Once
there, Bender rubbed his hands in glee at what he supposed he was going to
receive from her.
"Okay pretty lady, the man-bot grinned, "Now
how about letting old Bender
why he's known as the love machine in seven different star-systems?"
However, before he could
make another move, Bender suddenly felt something
very sharp held against the edge of the antennae on top of his head, one of
the most important parts of a man-bots body, (aside from the mouth, where
you could consume mass quantities of alcohol), but before he could even
start to ask what was up, the Nodoka-bot spoke up.
"Mr. Bender," she started in a much more serious tone than
she had spoken in
earlier, "You are a boorish example of a man-bot. However, you have also
managed to become a friend with Master Ranma, which is exactly why I'll
forgive it for the time being. It is my hope that, unlike others did in the
past that you will learn not to push your luck more than is absolutely
As Nodoka-bot finished her last statement,
and started to step back into the
virtual trainer, she found that her path was blocked by Bender.
"Just what is Ranma to you
anyway?" he asked with a sarcastic tint to the
words, "Why's a fem-bot so concerned with a human? I mean I can see you
being programmed for that, but this, this is going way beyond any kind of
program that I'm aware of."
"Let's just say Mr.
Bender," the Nodoka-bot stated while eyeing him warily,
"That there's more to me than meets the eye as well, and that's all that you
need to know…for the time being."
last statement, the fem-bot turned back to where Leela had now
taken up a stance, though not without taking a wistful look back to where
Ranma was sitting in the family room, turning up her audio sensors so that
she could hear whatever questions he was asking, though she knew that some
of the answers that he received were probably going to be painful.
In the family room, Ranma
continued to sit and listen to all of his family
and friends, as they continued to explain and tell him about things that had
happened since he'd been frozen. The thing was, it seemed like they wanted
to tell him everything…
all that happened in 2005," Kasumi said, as she sat down a
large notebook with 2005 written on it, "Now, 2006, there was some
interesting things that happened that year, first off…"
"Stop, just hold up a minute," Ranma said, putting his hands
up in the
time-out signal, "Could we just…I mean skip through to the highlights? It's
hard for me to…"
you jerk!" bellowed a very familiar shriek from off of Kasumi's
right side, before a younger woman with medium-length blue/black hair popped
into view. The expression on her face had Ranma sweating bullets.
"Ranma Saotome! My big sister has gone to
all the trouble of doing this for
you," she snarled from the screen, "And you have the…the absolute gall to
ask her to hurry up?! DIE RANMA!"
With that last word, the girl picked
up a mallet that looked bigger than
her, and charged the screen. Ranma had put his hands over his head, and was
waiting for the impact, when after a few moments; he realized it had never
come. After sitting, with his eyes closed for a few seconds more and no
mallet impact, Ranma warily cracked opened his eyes. The girl that had been
standing there screeching at him just seconds ago, was now so close to the
screen that her face filled it completely, and was now giving him the
Ranma!" she smirked, before she pulled back to see some of the
people onscreen convulsing in laughter, while even Kasumi was holding her
hand over her mouth, with her face cherry-red from controlling her giggles.
"Saotome," stated a voice from
off to Kasumi's left, and another woman came
into Ranma's view, this one with medium length light-brown hair, cut into
what Ranma assumed was the current fashion of the day, "You don't know how
long Akane has been planning to do that. Now have you gotten it out of your
system, baby sister?"
shouted Akane, her own face flush now, "I just wanted to make
sure that Ranma…that he…damn it Ranma, just try to stay out of trouble!"
Right after saying that, everyone in the room,
including Ranma, started
chuckling or giggling, before bursting out into full blown laughter. A few
minutes of this passed, before Ranma rubbed at his eyes, and said deadpan,
"Okay Akane and maybe I'll run for Prime Minister too."
This set off
a fresh round of laughter, and Ranma, for the first time since
he awoken, felt better than he had that day. The hilarity continued for a
few moments longer, until all involved got themselves back under control, and
Ranma used that time to really take a look at everyone in the room.
Kasumi was sitting in the middle of
course, while his sister-in-laws, Nabiki
and Akane sat on either side of her. Next to Akane was his oldest friend,
Ukyo Kuonji, still wearing the white ribbon that she habitually wore in her
hair. She'd gained a few pounds, and a few lines, but her hair was still
the dark-chestnut that it had always been. Next to her sat Kodachi and
Tatewaki Kuno, the siblings looking much the same, with Tatewaki dressed in a
stylish suit, and Kodachi in a beautiful purple kimono, with her hair done
up in a bun similar to his…his mother's.
Off of Nabiki's side, sat her
father Soun Tendo, his hair just as long, with
a touch of grey on the temples, though he no longer had his mustache, which
actually made him look a bit younger and next to him sat a beautiful younger
woman that Ranma recognized was his old English teacher, Hinako Ninomiya, in
her adult form, wearing a kimono as well, done in light pink with flowers.
Next to them sat…his father, Genma
Saotome, still wearing his martial arts
uniform, though this one was cleaner than usual, and next to him sat…his
mother, Nodoka Saotome, wearing a dark red kimono that matched her own hair
"Hello my manly son and womanly daughter" which caused Ranma to almost lose his balance, "Heh, I bet that almost caused you to fall over didn't it? Oh Ranma, You may have an idea, but it's hard to describe how difficult it was to wait for you for all those years, and then when we do meet, that things went so wrong. I just wish that…well, that is the distant past for you now. You must listen to me my son, for there are things appearing on the horizon."
Ranma sat up straighter then, while Nodoka paused to smooth her kimono.
"Master Happosai has done something most terrible," she said while she started fiddling a bit with her long sword, before setting it off to the side, "He has managed to infuriate the Empress herself. It seems that she was wearing a specialized set of unmentionables that were ordered from France, and Happosai decided that he wanted them, along with the chance to grope a royal personage."
Ranma covered his eyes with his left hand and started to clench his right. Trust Happi to mess things up for the family.
"Unfortunately," Nodoka paused before taking another deep breath "With what he did, it caused a disaster concerning our families. The Empress has banned all practice of the Any Thing Goes style as long as there is a divine ruler of the country of Japan."
"WHAT!!" Ranma fairly screeched, "That…that…uninhibited idiot! Couldn't he just once, once, have left things alone, instead of…?"
"Instead of doing the right thing for once boy?"
Ranma whirled at the intruder, only to fall onto his butt, since he knew that this couldn't be. It was not possible that the small shriveled up gnome standing in front of him was the same dreaded Master Happosai from a thousand years ago.
"Not only possible, but most probable lad," the little man chuckled as he hopped into the room, "Yes, with the power of Anything Goes…ouch, ouch, ouch! Okay, that was a small lie…Ouch, ouch! Okay, okay, I actually made a deal with the ruler of Crystal Tokyo."
Waiting a moment to see if there was any pain, Happosai relaxed when nothing hit before he turned back to Ranma and pulled out a pipe, worrying on the tip for a second before he put it away again.
"Yes Ranma, I don't smoke anymore, but it helps me to get my thoughts in order," Happosai chuckled again, "Well Ranma m'boy, let me say that I did make a right mess of things with the Empress and Royal family. Sometimes I curse the day that I ever figured out how to steal ki from the pretty ladies, as it just made me into as much an addict as some of my contemporaries who were addicted to opium."
"Yeah, well, I can see that you're sorry, but…"Ranma struggled for a moment, trying not to yell, "Did you have to just wreck the Art for me and the rest of the family? Without the Art, what do I have? That's all I had going for me, you know?"
"RANMA SAOTOME," a shouted voice that not only surprised Ranma by the volume, but because it was Kasumi who shouted, "The man I married would never quit, never give up! Just because the Anything Goes is banned, doesn't mean that you couldn't start a new school of the Art. In fact, it why Grandfather Happi came here to see you, isn't that right Grandfather?"
"Thank you m'dear," Happosai said before he turned back towards Ranma, "That's right boy, I'm going to train you to learn a new form of the Art, one that will have some similarities to Anything Goes, but will also be different enough to be considered new. I figure with your learning curve, you should have the basics down in three years or so, depending on how serious you are about it."
Ranma looked ready to happily agree before another voice broke in, "Three years?! That's impossible, since he has to report to work today, or he gets fired into the sun!"
Both men turned to look over at a sweaty Leela, who was sporting quite a few bruises, including a blacked eye, while Bender was walked behind her, his arms folded behind his head leering at the Nodoka-bot. She came over and sat down heavily on the couch in the main room, and leaned back to catch her breath for a moment, before sitting up straight.
"Ranma, I know you want to do this, but even as superior an artist that you are, you can't take on the planetary police force," she said with a grimace, not paying any attention to the little troll that looked ready to pounce on her heaving chest, but was fighting the attraction.
The group of them all sat quietly for a minute, before Ranma's head snapped up, and he pulled out the readout on his many times grandniece, "Hey, Leela, it said on here my niece had a company of her own, right? Well, what if I could apply for a job there, and then maybe be able to practice the new version of the Art after quitting time, and during my days off."
Leela sat for a moment, before standing up abruptly.
"We can try Ranma!" She stated, with a decisive look on her face, "In fact, why don't we both apply there, as I'm damn well fed up with working for the freezer shop too! She has her own fleet of starships, and I've got a pilot's license. You're strong enough to handle things as well as most robots. Now come on, so we can get hired today before the standard work shift's finished."
Leela held out her hand, giving an expectant look towards Ranma, who stood clueless for a second, before figuring out what she wanted, and helped her to her feet. Turning back to the screen, he walked over to it, and put his hand on it, while the Kasumi there reciprocated.
"Bye honey," Ranma started as he stepped back and over to the mud room to put his outside shoes on, "Considering this wacky world here, I've got to go see about getting hired, before I give 'em another reason to come after me, aside from the Anything Goes ban. I promise, now that I know that the house and dojo are standing, I'll be by as much as I can, so we can talk more, okay? I…I love you so much Kasumi, and the rest of you too. Well, except for Pops, he was just a pain in the…"
"Oh to have son who's so disrespectful and lazy!" wailed the part-time panda, before he found himself knocked winding by a mallet, sword, frying pan and a large roll of change in a sock.
Ranma and the others started out for his niece's business, with the Nodoka-bot waving merrily, only to stop as her sensitive receptor's picked up a small question from Ranma, "Hey Leela, how was it that the playback thingy seemed to be able to respond to me and the rest of us like it did?"
Closing the gate, and activating the defense grid, the Nodoka-bot went back into the house, nodding to the others on the screen, even as they nodded back to her, before the screen itself shut off . Moving around, it hummed lightly to itself, as it cleaned up the small mess that Happosai and Leela had made, before finally settling into a wall niche and shutting itself down.
*One hundred meters beneath the dojo*
The room was relatively small, only enough for three or four people to move about in, and with all the machinery inside it, probably a chore for one or two people. Sitting on the floor, the rectangular desk-sized object had a steady rising and falling humming noise, while various lights blinked and flashed on and around it. Nothing else could be heard but that for another few moments, before the distinctive voice of Nodoka Saotome echoed around the room.
"Do not worry my manly son; Mummy will be here for you, always"