Getting Back What matters
By Ryouga's Best Friend
AN- Another New story down the pike for me. I really Can't help myself. I actually started writing this one some time ago. It's a first of it's kind, which is always a nice feeling… keep swinging till I hit something right? The Crossover will begin into the second chapter. I upped the reaction of some of the cast to the point they may be OOC, but it's essential for the story. I hope you enjoy J
It had been a hard battle. After weeks of trailing the three Musk warriors Ranma, Ryoga and Mousse had found themselves in a mountain top battle over a magic kettle. Though the battle was pretty even for the beginning the Musk prince Herb managed to negate Ranma's Hiru shoten ha and that was the turning point. While Mousse and Ryoga were busy with Mint and Lime Herb began pounding the young Saotome. After the last assault he lay, barely conscious, on the cold ground. He slowly started to pull herself up, much to the surprise of Herb. "You don't know when to quit do you?" he said haughtily. The pigtailed warrior level a glare toward her opponent.
"There must be something…Some Technique that can defeat you…" Ranma said wincing at the throbbing pain of her body. Herb gave a dramatic sigh.
"I see you mouth won't quit either." He pointed his arm forward and energy gathered into a ball and slowly grew. Ranma's eyes went wide as the ball grew to be bigger then her. "This has gone on long enough!" the prince shouted as he launched the ball of Ki. She tried to move aside but her legs decided to give instead. Ranma grit her teeth as the ball closed in on her.
Damnit, I can't block this one… she thought doing what little she could to brace for impact. The energy ball slowly filled her vision, the powerful chi burning her skin as it engulfed her. This can't be it… her thoughts echoed as she felt herself leave the ground, This can't be the end… her vision went white and the pain was unbearable. Over the roar of the explosion she could her distant voices.
"Ranma!" came Mousse.
"Ranma No!" it was strange to hear Ryoga's voice filled with such worry. Maybe we really are friends, figures it doesn't come up until I'm dead… The light faded to darkness and there she floated in nothingness. For the first time in his short life he felt truly at peace, all the chaos that had surrounded her had come to an end. No more fiancee's, no more rivals, no meddling parents the many ferocious battles she fought over stupid meaningless squabbles and challenges looked so pointless in reflection. And Akane… we spent so much time fighting. If I had only been more open…or nicer…maybe. She felt a few hot tears escape at the thoughts. "Akane…I…" even in her last moments she couldn't admit it aloud. In the long silence she could hear someone…calling to her.
"Wake up Saotome!"
"Don't you dare die on me Ranma." Her friends. She could still hear them…does that mean. She could feel the ground under her and a hand behind her head. Though with the feeling the pain also returned, but that was little consequence. She slowly opened her eyes blinded by the light. "Ranma!" Ryoga came into vision, the lost boy looked a little ruffed up but he had a great smile on his face. A little off to her other side was the amazon warrior, glasses on his forehead also looking quite relieved.
"I must say Saotome you had me worried there for a moment." He said cheerfully. Ranma coughed and mustered up a smirk.
"Guess I'm just too stubborn to die." She croaked gaining a small chuckle from her companions. She slowly sat up with their help "So I take it you to won seeing as were all alive." The laughter died down and they fell into a long silence. Both Mousse and Ryoga gained a sour expression and didn't meet the fallen warrior's eyes. "Come on guys. What's with the faces?" she asked realizing a moment later she was still a girl. Taking a moment to confirm before looking back up she was confused. "But Why am I-?"
"Herb…" Mousse finally spoke. "He was too strong for us, I mean We held him best we could but." He trailed off and Ryoga took over.
"Are best wasn't enough. Before we could even use the kettle on you he was on us." His fist began to shake as he reflected on the battle. "He was too fast, he was using chi in ways I've never seen. Well I was distracted that damn wolf boy swooped by and grabbed it. Right from my hands." Ranma could tell by the shame in his face that this was no lie.
"Shortly after Herb kettle back he ordered his men off." Mousse took over again. "I guess he figured you for dead and didn't figure we were any threat to him." He look to the ground, his glasses falling over his face. "To be beaten so soundly by a musk warrior. Oh I do not know if I can face the elder." He said mostly to himself. Ranma was stunned.
"So that's it then. Herb wins and takes the damn kettle." She said looking down. She went to stand, trying to ignore the pain. "We have to follow, they can't have gone far yet." She winced before she could get far and fell back to her sitting position. Ryoga held her in place to keep her from injuring herself anymore.
"Stupid, you can hardly move." He grumbled. "You have to let I go for now. Best thing you can do is rest."
"Saotome, to try and fight now would be suicide. Even after you heal up Herb will be back in the musk kingdom…The best thing we can do is rest up and head back to Nerima, I'm sure Elder Cologne will have some sort of plan." Mousse silenced the former boy's protest. With great reluctance Ranma complied and did her best to relax while the other two made camp around her. The long fight's exhaustion finally took hold and brought her to a dreamless sleep.
Back in Nerima Akane and Nabiki sat in front of the TV watching an interesting news cast. "There was a shining light seen at the top of mount Horaisan, which was subsequently followed by a massive landslide. There were no reported injuries but-" the news reporter droned on as Nabiki turned to her younger sister.
"Say! Isn't Horaisan the mountain that Ranma and the others went to, Akane….?"
"I wonder if anything happened to Ranma or the others…? How many weeks has it been without contact?" the middle Tendo's neutral tone hinted at worry. Akane forced a smile.
"Everything's ok…Ranma will surely come back soon…" she said trying her best to keep positive. Nabiki looked down with a sigh.
"…I hope so, but…" There was a crash from the kitchen followed by a shocked yell of Kasumi as a cup fell and broke. Before the two could even glance that way their father's voice came from across the room.
"Ughh! The shrine!" he shouted as the family shrine toppled for seemingly no reason. Genma entered from the courtyard to see what all the commotion was about. Only to stumble, looking down to find.
"Oh, the strap on the sandals I just bought!" Genma, Soun, and Kasumi shared a glance.
"Hey…" Nabiki began but was quickly squelched by a slightly panicked Akane.
"I said everything's okay." She got up and went to the door, gathering her scarf and donning her shoes. She made her way out the door to the front gate. Looking down the long empty roads in both directions she left out a sigh, visible in the cold fall weather. Soon…He'll come home soon… She rubbed her arms letting out another cloud of breath Ranma…
"Akane, please come inside…" Asked Kasumi shuffling out to where her younger sister was waiting. "Don't worry…Ranma is ok and will return soon." After watching her fidgeting sister for a moment she gave in.
"Yeah…" Akane said quietly. Kasumi started to lead her back to the house.
"It is very cold. Why not warm up in a hot bath?" she suggested but was met with silence. Just as they reached the door Akane stiffened up. Worried Kasumi spoke up "What's wrong?" Still silent the young Tendo broke away and ran back to the gate, "Akane?" she asked confused at her behavior. She followed Akane to the gate and tried to lead her back…but then she saw them. Three figures trudging down the street. A tall boy with worn tan clothes and a large backpack, a long hared boy in robes, and a short girl in Chinese clothes. "oh my"
"Ranma…" Akane whispered taking off down the road, eyes focused straight ahead toward the diminutive redhead. The three travelers looked up to the approaching figure, glad to see a familiar face. Ryoga stepped forward. With a big smile.
"A-Akane long time no see…" he greeted though she gave no notice and ran right by him to a very surprised and slightly shamed Ranma. The lost boy was left frozen, baring a heartbroken expression. The young Tendo pulled no punches and all but tackled the small redhead to the ground in a move that would make Shampoo proud. Ranma's gained a healthy blush as Akane held her down with a monstrous hug.
"Akane…" she managed but was cut off by her fiancee's muffled voice.
"Don't say word Ranma…Just don't say anything." She whispered tearing up a little bit. Mousse snorted and pulled his glasses up.
"Honestly. You see that. Being so forward in public, it's shameless." He said seriously though Ryoga looked steadfast in the other direction, refusing to look.
"I don't see anything!" He tried to convince himself. Akane manage to get back to her knees after calming herself down again. Ranma slowly sat up himself, not looking very cheery. She slowly seperated Akane from herself and tried to look her in the eyes but broke contact quickly. The youngest Tendo lightly wacked Ranma's shoulder wiping her tears and smiling slightly.
"Honestly Ranma you had me worried you were away so long." She said happilly. "All that just to get cured you really didn't hav-" she was going to go on but Ranma raised a hand.
"Look Akane I need to tell everyone something…could we please head inside…" She said in a low voice that made Akane worried, though she nodded and allowed Ranma to get up. She lead him back to the house by hand, mousse and Ryoga exchanged a worried glance and followed behind. This day wasn't going to be the cheerful return everyone expected…
Ranma swallowed a bit as he entered the room seeing the Tendo clan and his parents waiting with happy faces, even Nabiki's usual neutral expression was replaced with a small smile. "Hi everyone…" she greeted reluctently which the others took as free regin to speak.
"I knew you could succeed Ranma, truly this is a great day for our schools right Saotome?" Soun said throwing an arm over his friend.
"You know it Tendo. All my hard training has finally shown results eh boy?" Genma took the oppertunity to toot his own horn.
"Actually I-" she tried to reply but was cut off.
"Oh my manly son, beating that Chinese prince I'm so proud!" Nodaka gushed hands clasp in front of her.
"I'll admit the jerk had me worried, I don't know why?" Akane said laughing still holding the frustrated girl's hand
"But I didn't-" she attempted but it seemed futile.
"Humble? That's not like you Ranma. Thought you'd be bragging by now." Nabiki joshed from against the wall. Ranma brought her free hand to her temple and tried to calm down. Only Kasumi, Ryoga, and Mousse had remained quiet out of politeness or curiousity.
"Could you just shut up and let me talk!" she shouted suddenly quieting the rabble for a moment, though she shrank under the glare from her mother.
"Now son that is no way to talk to your elders." She scolded firmly.
"Sorry mom…." She replied looking down looking chastised, to her left she heard Ryoga snicker and she casually kicked out turning the snicker into a hiss of pain. "Look I got to tell you what happened…" she started but was interupted by Kasumi, though not so abruptly as the others.
"Ranma wouldn't you like to change back first?" she asked, "You probably been stuck like that for some time now…" she watched confused as she gave a small sad smile.
"Nah, that wouldn't be much help…." She said calmly, she glanced up noticing the mood had dropped. Now they want to listen she thought with a sigh. "Ya see I couldn't beat herb…..I lost…" she said with much reluctance, she'd had a week for reality to set in and had mostly accepted she'd be stuck like this a while. "He took the kettle and left."
"Oh kami…." Akane whispered paling slightly.
"You let him take the kettle? You call yourself a martial artist!" Her father said standing up at the table, Ranma glared at him.
"LET him! I'd like to see you fight him he had chi moves I'd never seen before! You say that like I didn't even try!" she shouted fist clenched. Genma stepped over the table.
"Men don't make excuses…" Nodaka said in a cool voice fingering the bundle on her lap.
"Your a disgrace, I taught you to be adaptable to any style a few little moves should have been nothing! Guess it's only proper your stuck like a weak little girl!" he shouted back, his anger far overcoming his sense at the time. Ranma's face went red, she couldn't even speak How dare he! He wouldn't have lasted ten seconds against herb!
"Those musk warriors were monsters!" Ryoga spoke up suddenly. "Herb nearly blew up half the mountain top!" Ranma was admittedly surprised at the words.
"It's true. Ranma almost died facing him." Mousse chimed in from his other side. Ranma couldn't help but smile slightly that her rivals were coming to her defense.
"D-died…" Akane nearly choked.
"Oh my. Are you okay Ranma?" Kasumi asked worried, slightly lightening the red heads mood.
"Yeah…I'm still pretty banged up but I'm live…." She said without much enthusiasm as her parents were still eyeing her with contempt…a disheartening sight. Nabiki narrowed her eyes.
"This isn't some sort of trick is it Saotome?" she asked suspiciously.
"Trick? What the hell are you talking about? Why the hell would I lie?" Ranma shot back insulted.
"It just seems so convient…" Nabiki said with a shrug walking toward her. "If you get 'stuck' as a girl you can't fulfill any of the marriage purposals. You get an easy way out…" she said reaching down and grabbing the tea kettle on the table from earlier and chucked it at the unprepared martial artist. It clanged off her head and cover her in hot water, steam billowing about her form. "Ha, just like I th-…" the steam cleared revealing Ranma unchanged and slightly burned.
"Ow…." She wined a bit holding a tender spot on her shoulder. "Ya happy now?" she asked grumpy, the middle Tendo frozen for a moment.
"Y-You mean it's true?" she said fairly surprised getting a nod from the three travelers. She placed a hand over her face to collect herself. "Well I look like an idiot now….Sorry bout that" she said her face slightly flushed from embarrassment. There was a long silence in the room before Genma finally spoke up.
"well I guess that means there's only on thing to do…Tendo." He said looking to his friend who nodded and stood. He looked down to Ranma who was one of many confused at the sudden mod change.
"Ranma as it stands you can no longer fulfill the promise between our families by marrying Akane…" That talk was enough to shake everyone from their stupors.
"What!" came several voices at once, but they didn't faze the strangely stoic Soun.
"So instead…You'll have to marry me." he said calmly. This was met by an even louder response.
"Y-You can't be serious dad!" Akane stuttered.
"Are you nuts!" Ranma said much more straight forward.
"Making Ranma our mother…That's just sick." Nabiki said trying not to think about it too much.
"But father she's younger then me…" Kasumi argued trying desperately to sound polite but it was very strained. Ryoga and Mousse gagged but didn't say anything, Nodaka slowly stood.
"It seems like a fair Idea."
"Mom!" Ranma screeched feeling betrayed, though was met with cold eyes.
"As you have failed to honor your clan as a male it's only right you redeem yourself as a women." She said calmly. "Isn't that right daughter?"
"Daughter? I'm your son damn it! You can't make me marry him!" she shot back but was dealt no quarter.
"Is that how you feel? There are other ways to regain your honor…" she said revealing the clan katana. Ranma almost fell backing away. Genma shared his wife's look.
"Do the right thing girl. No reason to shead blood…"
"I'm not a girl damn it!" she screamed, knuckles white as she clenched her fists. Tears brimmed in her eyes, "I'm a boy…I am…." She said softly looking down. The Tendo sisters were in shock at this turn, this was so surreal. "I'll find a way!" the red head screamed and pushed past Ryoga and Mousse heading outside.
"Ranma!" It only took a second before Akane was to her feet and running out as well. Ryoga and Mousse soon followed, the lost boy almost turning the wrong way but was dragged in the other direction by the amazon. Nabiki and Kasumi were still in shock at this turn of events and by the strange behavior of their father and the Saotomes. The three adults though kept a neutral expression taking theirs seats again.
"She'll come to her senses soon enough." Said Nodaka calmly. Genma and Soun nodded heading over for a game of go.
"This all seems so wrong…" Kasumi whispered and looking to Nabiki who was looking out the window.
"This is big Sis…I'm not sure how this'll turn out but it won't be going back to normal. That's for sure…" the middle Tendo said calmly. Her older sister reluctantly nodded and joined her gaze.
It was getting dark when several figures returned to the dojo. The living room was empty, the Saotomes and Soun had left for the Saotome's home assuming the girl would go there. Kasumi waited at the door wringing her hands out of nerves and paranoia. Nabiki sat outside the gate her normal mask of neutrality shattered. The middle Tendo looked up as they people approached. A ragged Akane was being carried by a serious faced Ryoga and Mousse seemed fairly roughed up himself. "Couldn't find him?" she asked softly. She could hear her sister sobbing histericly in the lost boys arms as he sighed.
"No…" he said softly. "and I don't think he'll be back anytime soon…" he admitted softly, causing the girl in his arms to rock with sobs.
"Y-You don' mean…"
"No, Saotomes still alive." Mousse groaned taking a seat next to Nabiki. Up close you could tell that he was at the recieving end of quite a beating.
"Hey what happened to you?" she asked confused, he wasn't like that before.
"The old ghoul happened to him…" Ryoga grumbled.
"But what?" the amazon said bitterly. "I not only lost to Musk warriors…and badly at that. But I managed lose a… 'prime marrige canidate'…" he said with a grim smile. "Appartently she'd offered Ranma a place in their village as a warrior, still trying to get children out of the deal, but he turned it down…Since all of her plans fell through is probably part of the reason she kicked me out of the tribe…" Nabiki was silent, she didn't know where to begin. Everything was all falling apart.
"Ukyo also turned him away…" Ryoga added after the long pause. "She seemed pretty torn up about it though so I'm guessing she didn't mean to…" he said with a sigh as Akane started to calm.
"Oh Ranma…." Nabiki whispered, she couldn't even fathom what trama the pigtailed boy was feeling after being rejected by everyone. Akane motioned to Ryoga who helped her to the ground. She slowly got to her feet, but held onto the lost boy for stability.
"Akane!" came Kasumi's worried voice as she ran up to the group. "Are you okay?"
"Did cologne do this too?" Nabiki managed trying to piece the events together. Akane shook her head.
"No, Well they were checking with Shampoo I ran into Kodachi…" she said softly. "I don't know how she heard about it but she had lost it….we fought…" she trailed off a holding her clenched fist close to her.
"And you managed to get away?" Nabiki persisted. Noting Akane's behavior something big happened. Her sister shook her head but remained quiet. The oldest of the sisters exchanged a glance with her, they both had a bad feeling about this topic.
"Akane?" tears began to form in her eyes, and then she rushed forward nearly toppling Kasumi as she started sobbing again. "Akane, what happened?"
"I hurt her…I hurt her bad…." She managed as she sobbed heavily into her sisters shoulder. "I tried not to I really did! But she kept coming at me." she continued to spill her emotions. "She called me horrible things. She said I killed him. She said I killed Ranma!" while Kasumi tried to comfort her Nabiki looked to the boys whose faces were stoic, the middle Tendo swallowed a bit and turned back to her sister's jarbiled confession. "I-I got so mad…so mad. I started hitting her….I couldn't stop…so mad…" she finally trailed off into sobs, but the atmosphere left behind was grim.
"She…she didnt'…" Nabiki didn't dare ask louder than a whisper. Ryoga looked down, speaking softly enough that the cry Akane couldn't hear.
"She was in a real bad shape…we gave an anonymous call to the hospital but I'm not sure." He sighed "If she manages to survive there not much left of her that works…" Nabiki paled as Mousse nodded in agreement. "The police will be by soon, no doubt." The lost boy continued looking to the broken girl as the kind Kasumi tried to calm her. "I'll go…"
"What?" Nabiki asked confused, Akane's sobbing starting to trail off.
"I'll take the blame, just hide Akane until then and I turn myself in." he said firmly.
"R-Ryoga? You can't!" Akane protested, both Nabiki and Kasumi lowered their eyes slightly guilty at wanting desperetely to go along with the suggestion. The lost boy narrowed her eyes, his stubborn streak kicking in.
"There's no way I'm letting you go to jail Akane." He said firmly.
"But why? I'm the one who-"
"Because I love you!" he blurted out, further throwing the young Tendo off her equilibrium. After a year of hints and plans he finally said it, with no reluctence and total conviction.
"W-What?" she managed a whisper in response.
"I..I love you…" he said softer looking away. "I have for the longest time….that's why I have to go." He turned his back with much difficulty. Akane was struck speechless as she looked to her sisters and mousse, they had all known. All this time and no one said anything…but it was making so much sense. The presents, how he always fueded with Ranma, always standing up for her…how could I be so dense? She thought struggling out of Kasumi's arms.
"You can't leave me! I won't let you!" she shouted, her thoughts completely mussed at this point. She couldn't think straight but she knew she couldn't let this happen.
"Akane be reasonable…" Kasumi whispered touching her sisters shoulder only to get shrugged off.
"How can you tell me to let an honest man go to jail!" she snapped. "Your no better then them!" she screamed causing her elder sister to flinch back.. The argument was cut off as the sound of sirens approached. Ryoga and Akane locked eyes both to stubborn to let down.
"Get back in the house, it's for the better if I go." He said firmly.
"No. You can't…I'm not losing you too." She shot back. The sirens started to close in, obviously something had tipped them off to this area.
"Damn, not much time." The lost boy cursed. "Look Akane I'm not letting you go to jail, so stop being stupid and get inside." He turned and started to head to the street but was stopped when she tightly grabbed him about the midsection. "What the?" she held tightly to him, her hot tears staining his shirt.
"Please…please don't go…"
"Akane…" he whispered, he was happy that she cared so much but it figured it would be during such a trying time. The lights were seen now as they turned onto the block and slowed on approaching the dojo. There was a groan as Mousse got to his feet.
"Damn you two are making me sick." He said both amused and frustrated. The others looked confused to the former amazon as he made his way over to the pair. "I have a better idea…"
"huh?" Akane and Ryoga got no answer, he merely walked past them and waited as the policemen exited their cars.
"We've come for Akane Tendo, suspected for the murder of Kodachi Kuno." Said the middle aged man as they showed their badges. Mousse lowered his cracked glasses.
"How nice for you?" he said pleasantly swinging his arms in a wide arch, from his torn sleeves several eggs flew out exploding on impact with the ground knocking the officers back and sending up a large cloud of smoke. He turned to Ryoga.
"Now grab Akane and run!" he commanded jumping and barely making it onto a nearby roof. The lost boy nodded shifting the clinging girl onto his back. Surprised she clasp herself around his neck unconsciously.
"Can't believe I didn't think of this…" he whispered starting off. "We'll try and get in touch with you" he said quickly to the middle Tendo before taking off. She nodded dumbly to the retreating figure. It only took a minute before the three were long gone. The police ran back to their cars and left in pursuit, sirens blazing. Nabiki turned to her sister who appeared to be in shock. Everything had happened so fast it was so surreal, she kneeled next to Kasumi and held her. Their reality had fallen apart, exploding in a chaotic climax only fitting for the insanity that was always present.
It would never be the same…
End Chapter 1