Disclaimer: I do not own Ranma ½ or any of the characters. This is simply a what-if situation. What if this had happened? Also, I would like to apologize to those that are waiting on me to work on "Evil Kasumi Returns" or "Ranma and the Outers" and "Primal Ranma." I am working on them, though progress is slow. Between work, friends demanding I leave the house occasionally, and a multitude of unfinished works things just keep proceeding slowly.
Also, if anyone is interested, I post my stories to Zorch's Blog-o-Rama as well as to the yahoo groups Fan Fics R Us and Anime-Fiction-ML to be pre-read and such before they are released.
To the Heavens, Chapter 8: Repercussions
Looking up at the clouds in the sky his eyes met the concerned brown eyes of what he thought was an angel. "Cute…" he said softly as he looked at the angel, though when she blushed and he heard someone else laughing he realized he had said that aloud. "Um…"
"Shhh…" Nabiki said with a grin as she looked down on him. "Let's call it even, you saved my life, and I saved yours."
"Anytime…" Ranma said in a daze as he looked at her smiling face. Slowly he lifted his hand and caressed her cheek.
"Shhh…" he said and pulled her towards him, which allowed their lips to meet for the second time.
When she finally pulled away, both of their faces were flushed as well as bearing nervous smiles. "So… what was that for?"
Ranma just chuckled nervously. "Um… well, it just seemed… ya know… right."
She gave him a wry look. "It did?"
"Next time, you had better have a better reason," she told him and pulled away from him, which was when he noticed his mother was watching them.
Amazed, Ranma turned his eyes towards Nabiki before slowly saying, "Um… sure?" He replied a bit unsteadily then asked, "Can we skip the almost bein' buried alive next time tho…" he cut off what he was going to say when he noticed Nabiki had closed her eyes and started to tremble. "Ah… sorry…" he told her lamely which she waved off when her trembling subsided.
Though she was concerned about Nabiki, Nodoka was happy that the two of them were very much alive. Yet even her concern was overwhelmed by having seen her son kissing a girl, leaving the Saotome matriarch beyond giddy. Nevertheless, she did have one question. "What happened?" Nodoka asked as he stood up; yet, he kept his eyes on Nabiki.
"Ah well… after I found the place, I started lookin' around and finally found her…"
"Her?" the two asked, interrupting him.
"Yeah, her," he said pointing to the black egg that Nabiki had not realized that she had been holding.
Looking at it, she could not help but ask, "Huh, when did you…?"
"Right before the cave collapsed and…" Ranma cut off what he was going to say as he caught the egg in one hand and his other arm wrapped around Nabiki. The girl had not only suddenly closed her eyes and started trembling at the mention of the cave in, but she had begun to fall when her legs buckled under her.
Watching Ranma move, Nodoka was not sure if her son had really moved that fast, or had he really just disappeared from one place, and appeared next to Nabiki. "Ah… Ranma… son… what's so important about this egg?" she asked hoping to put the trembling girl's mind on something else.
"She's not just an egg; she's my ship, Kaida."
Forcing her thoughts on the egg and what Ranma was saying, Nabiki kept memories of the cave away from her mind. "S-s-so…" she stuttered then calmed herself. "So how can this egg be a spaceship?"
"Naw, the egg's not the ship, Kaida is."
"But son, I thought you said the egg was…"
He shook his head and was about to explain things better when his stomach rumbled loudly. "Ah…" he said and chuckled nervously, "I don't suppose lunch is ready?"
"I can't wait for you to come back!" a voice exclaimed over Ukyo's phone.
"Yeah, thanks Dad… I… I'll be heading back in a few days. I… I have to take care of some things around here first." With that said, the Okonomiyaki chef hung up her phone and sighed heavily. "DAMN IT ALL!" she suddenly screamed.
"I take it your conversation wasn't what you expected?" Kodachi asked.
"No it wasn't… I told him what you found out and the jerk wants to call it all off."
"Call it off?"
"The engagement… dad wants to find Genma and take back my dowry through the fat hide of his!"
Kodachi nodded, as she could understand that. "So what now?"
"I… I don't know," Ukyo said softly as she fell into a chair trying to hold back her tears.
Earlier, when Akane had left, Shampoo hadn't seen a reason to stay since this didn't affect her claim on Ranma; regardless of whether or not he was a Saotome, he was still her Airen.
This had left Ukyo and Kodachi at the café for several moments wondering what to do.
Having no answers on their own, Ukyo had called her father, and told him everything that they had found out since she'd talked to him after returning from Ranma's grave. "All I ever wanted was to be with Ranma… but the fat jerk left me on the side of the road! I spent ten years hiding who I was because of him! Ten years! And now… and now… now… my life has been wasted… thrown away…"
"I… I'm sorry," the gymnast said softly placing her hand on Ukyo's shoulder. She could also relate to having lost a lot of time, having thrown away a good portion of her life. When she was younger, her father had informed her that their mother had left, and was not coming back. From then on, her father paid her no mind, unless she was in trouble. Having been too young to understand it, she thought that since he only noticed her when she was bad, then she would be truly terrible. But that had not helped, as soon afterward her father left her and her brother alone to take a vacation. One that was, "away from them and Japan," he had yelled loudly. Desperate to get some sort of attention, she had spent the next several years in her gymnastics to get as much prestige and recognition as possible. Even if it was bad recognition, as she still kept doing things, hoping that he would one day come back. Yet not just him, but she hoped that one day her mother would return as well.
Yet now, even with her father's return, there was no family, there was no happy home that she remembered. Most importantly of all, there was no mother. It was when she saw Ranma's tombstone that she realized an awful truth. Perhaps the reason her mom left and would not be coming back, was because she was not alive. She had been sorely tempted to have Sasuke look up information on her mother, but had been reluctant to do so. Yet if Ranma died and was still walking around, then perhaps her mother could be too. 'Rubbish!' she reflected, and continued to think. There had to be an explanation, but so far, there wasn't.
"This is very ominous," Cologne said softly as she looked at a cup that until a few minutes ago had been sitting on the shelf.
"What great-grandmother say?" Shampoo happily asked as she walked into the cafe.
Picking up the cup fragments, the aged Amazon looked between the pieces and her great-granddaughter and sighed. "I fear something has happened to son-in-law."
Not realizing what cup this was, the girl did not understand how a broken cup could mean something happened to Ranma. "Oh? Why great-grandmother think that?"
Holding up the handle of the cup, Cologne showed Shampoo a strand of hair wrapped around the handle. "I used son-in-law's hair to tune this cup to his ki… now that it has broken I fear that something must have happened to him, again." She signed then and wondered how many times the boy was going to get himself nearly killed. However, had she known that the cup shattered when Ranma had been nearly crushed by a mountain, she might have been more concerned. As it was she could easily recall this happening twice before, and each time she had to reacquire a strand of his hair. Thankfully, with him coming to get free food it has been easy enough to obtain more strands of hair from him. It was just annoying to have to keep repeating to process.
Seeing the cup and hearing what her great-grandmother had said, Shampoo became nervous. "Oh no!"
"I wonder what it could have been?" The aged woman mused.
"Great-grandmother think Airen hurt?"
She contemplated it then shook her head. "No, the times this has happened before was when his ki surged and he became stronger like when he faced the phoenix." Seeing Shampoo nod her head Cologne began throwing the pieces away including the hair she had.
"What we do now?"
"We will have to wait for now," Cologne said sadly.
"Son-in-law is missing, we do not have any clues as to his whereabouts, and since his ki has changed, this is useless. You said before you left that Mrs. Saotome is not at her home as well, which cuts down on our options." Seeing her great-granddaughter's depressed look Cologne smiled. "Do not fear child, Ranma will be ours. Nabiki does not wish a repeat of the last time she made herself a fiancée. All we have to do is wait for Ranma to return. And when he does he will surely be stronger than before."
"Aiya! Great-grandmother, is you sure Airen return stronger?"
"He has in the past, and I see no reason for this to be different as he has had no new challengers. Now come Shampoo, we must prepare for his return, I fear the boy is getting too hard to control, we may have to change tactics."
"Shampoo no can wait till Airen come back for Shampoo!" The girl bubbly replied ignoring everything else her great-grandmother had said.
"In the meantime, what of the others? It is… unusual… to get a call from the Kuno girl. Especially one asking you to go to the chef's place."
Shampoo shrugged her shoulders. "Violent girl, spatula girl and ribbon girl upset that Ranma is not Ranma, but Shampoo no care. Ranma is Shampoo Airen even if Ranma is not Ranma."
Annoyed at her granddaughters bad Japanese, Cologne switched to their own language. "Child, these are not warriors, they do not see Ranma as we do."
"I know," Shampoo countered relieved that they stopped speaking Japanese. "But why would it matter if Ranma is the stupid panda's son or not?" She laughed then and told her grandmother, "Hearing that he's not makes me happier!"
"You are not the only one child…" Cologne shuddered at the thought of Genma returning to their village as well. "I am much happier knowing that we can leave his worthless carcass behind." Switching back to Japanese, she told her great-granddaughter, "Now, we need to get ready for our lunch customers."
"Do have to?" the girl whined, as she hated sounding like an airhead when she spoke Japanese.
"Yes, and it will help make the time pass and hasten his return."
Shampoo smiled happily, "Then Shampoo get busy!"
"I'm telling you that she's fine!" Akane tried desperately not to shout at her sister, though she wouldn't mind yelling at her father at times. However, this was not the time to yell at him, as he was still crying and holding on to Kasumi.
"H-How…" the older girl asked as she tried to stop crying.
"I just talked to her on the phone, she sounded sleepy, that's all. I probably woke her up when I called." Inwardly she was thinking her sister was lucky being able to sleep in this late.
"But… I…" Kasumi started to say as she tried to get herself under control.
"She's fine!" Akane said through gritted teeth as that prevented her from yelling.
"And Ranma?" Genma asked form the door. "Any word from that ungrateful boy?"
Akane whirled on him and thankfully, for her, Kasumi was nowhere near the bald martial artist. "You! Just what's the big idea bringing him into our home anyway?"
"What do you mean?" he asked indignantly, "Your father and I made a promise before you were even born girl that the schools would be joined and…"
"Oh shut up!" Akane broke in causing the large man to become agitated. "I am sick and tired of hearing this!" She took a few quick breaths and just before he was about to respond to her outburst she started again. "How could you grab some random kid and make him think you were his father and then come here and expect some kid you found to fulfill your stupid pledge?"
"What are you talking about? Ranma is my son and it's a matter of honor that you two get married and…"
"You are NOT his father!"
"Yes I am!"
"No you're not!"
"Yes I am!"
"No you're not!"
"Stop this!" Kasumi cried out causing Genma and Akane to look at her for a moment before glaring at each other.
"Ranma is my son, and that's all there is to it," Genma said in a huff and was about to turn away but was stopped by Akane.
"How can Ranma be your son when your son died the day he was born?"
"Akane!" Soun yelped in dismay. He's heard all sorts of things form her, but this was a little too far fetched.
"It's true!" The girl replied. "Yesterday I saw his tombstone and Kodachi showed me his death certificate!"
"Bah, that girl will say or do anything to get my son," Genma scoffed causing Akane to grit her teeth.
"Then why…" she said slowly as she toyed with the idea of wringing his neck. "Why would she show me the marriage certificates you and father forged in our names that were rejected?"
Genma waved it off, "Bah, they weren't forgeries; I just got Ranma to sign his when I told him they needed them for school and your father…" He stopped suddenly and then grinned sheepishly, "Oops…"
"You told him… you told him… You IDIOT! How dare you try to do this behind our backs you lying disgusting sack of…"
"AKANE!" Kasumi and Soun cried out.
"It's true!" the girl said in her defense. "This jerk is trying to make me marry some nobody he found off the road and has duped everyone into believing that it's his son!"
"Girl," Genma said menacingly, "Ranma is my boy and…"
"No he's not! Why was that certificate declined then? Tell me? You tricked him into signing it, and daddy put my name on there, so why was it declined?"
"Um…" Genma stopped, he hadn't thought of a reason, other than there wasn't a ceremony.
"It was declined because Saotome Ranma is dead!" The girl cried out loudly shocking those in the room. "I was there, I saw his tombstone… Ranma died… he died the day he was born!" Some say that one will have a nervous breakdown after crossing the threshold of what they can bear. However, Akane had crossed that line many times and had not fallen apart before. Yet that was before and this is now, which was why the youngest Tendo slowly slumped to her knees. "He's dead… he's always been dead…"
"But Akane… maybe it was some other Ranma?" Kasumi said softly as she moved to stand beside her sister.
Akane just shook her head. "I saw it… I saw his grave… I saw his death certificate… Ranma's gone… he…"
Genma and Soun looked at her as she began to cry and babble incoherently when Kasumi quickly pulled her little sister into a comforting hug.
With neither of them was sure of what was going on, Soun turned towards his best friend. "Saotome?"
"What is she talking about?"
"I have no idea," The portly man replied.
"Saotome… he is your son… right?"
Genma looked at his friend with an annoyed expression. "Of course he's my son."
"Ok, good…" Soun replied and looked at his daughters and tried to find a way to fix this… if it even could be fixed.
Indignantly, Genma stomped out of the kitchen to return to the game board mumbling his complaints about how no one believed him on his way. "Stupid girl…. Thinking my boy died at birth, rubbish!"
While the elder Saotome was thinking about the so-called rubbish she was yelling, her father however was trying to figure out what had happened. "Akane…" he started and watched as Kasumi did her best to push her own worries aside and take care of her little sister. 'She's grown so much…' he thought of his eldest daughter.
Wiping tears from her cheeks, Akane looked at her father defiantly. "You think I'm crazy don't you?"
"What? No, never… it's just that…"
"Just what daddy?"
He recoiled from the venom in her tone, though he tried to stand fast. "What… where did… ah…"
Pulling out a couple pieces of paper from her pocket, Akane handed one to her father. "Nabiki has this on her desk, it's Ranma's birth certificate."
"Ok… but this doesn't…"
Akane quickly interrupted him by handing him another piece of paper. "This is the marriage license that you forged." The fact that she could have killed with the venom in her voice was not missed by her father or Kasumi.
"Ah… well…" he hedged when she pushed another piece of paper in his hands.
"It was rejected. Why daddy? Why would they reject it? Was he already married? Was he too young to get married?" She asked callously and then thrust another piece of paper into his hands. "This was filed the same day he was born. This is why. This is why… why… why…" tears welled up in her eyes. "They lied to us!" she suddenly cried out.
Soun for his part looked at the death certificate. It was official, or at least it looked that way to him. "But this is impossible… I… I know Saotome would never lie to me about this."
"All he's ever done is lie to us! How can you not believe me over him?"
Soun winced, but he did not meet his daughters accusing eyes. "N-now I know Saotome has lied about several things… but he wouldn't lie to me about this…"
"You… you are taking his word over mine?"
Akane pushed her way out of Kasumi's arms much to her sister's surprise. "I can't believe you!"
"No listen to me father," she said causing Soun to wince from the sudden change from daddy to father in her voice.
"Daddy," Kasumi said suddenly interrupting them.
"Yes?" he asked meekly and as glad at least one of his daughters still called him daddy.
"I… I think Akane is telling the truth." Kasumi said softly which caused both of them to look at her.
"You… you didn't believe me?"
"I… I was not sure what to believe. But I am sure now," she said with a firm nod of her head.
"Wha… why?" Both father and daughter asked.
"It was not all that long ago that I was talking to Nabiki in her room, and I noticed something."
"What?" the two asked then looked at each other then turned their attention back to Kasumi.
Pulling the birth certificate out of her father's hands, she pointed at what she mentioned to Nabiki. "Here…"
"His blood type?" Akane asked.
"Yes… and then here…" she pointed to another piece of paper.
Her father looked at it, then the first one. "It's different? Maybe that was because of the curse?"
Kasumi shook her head, "I do not believe so."
Akane just looked stunned. "She… she knew," Akane stammered out. "Nabiki knew?"
"Yes," Kasumi said sadly.
"When? When'd she find out?"
"I noticed this the night before his went on a trip with his mother. She had been going though all the information she had about Ranma." Kasumi did not want to think of why Nabiki had been doing that.
Soun just looked at her, and one thing was plaguing his mind much to his daughter's disappointment at not wanting to think about it. "Why was Nabiki looking into this?"
"Ah Ranma… he… he asked her to find a way to get out of his engagements…"
"What?" Akane and Soun bellowed, though she continued her rant. "The jerk was trying to find a way to dump me? After all I've been though and finally deciding I liked the jerk and he was trying to…"
"Akane?" her father said softly as hope blossomed in his eyes.
"Akane… daddy… it's… it's not what you're thinking… Ranma… he… Nabiki said that he…"
"That he what?" Akane asked and then recalled how sleepy her sister sounded on the phone. 'Oh no… they wanted to run away together…'
"Ranma has always been concerned about his honor…"
"Right," Akane scoffed as she realized that all of this could have been set up by her sister so that she could get all of Ranma's fiancés away from him and then run away with him. 'It's all too perfect…'
"What happened?" Soun asked though there was a pit of fear growing inside him.
"Ranma showed her… he…"
'That pervert… he was making moves on my sister behind our backs and forced Kasumi to help him hide it!'
"He told Nabiki that if she could not help him find an honorable way out of his engagements… he… he would do it…"
"Do what?" Soun asked.
'Do it! Oh no… Ranma and Nabiki did it already! I've never get that two timing jerk away from her now.'
"Haw I new it! I knew he'd…" her anger suddenly melted away. "What?"
"He showed Nabiki the family blade… he was planning to do it… he could not see any other honorable way to fix his problems.
"What?" Akane asked as her eyes opened wide and the color drained from her face. "No… he's not supposed to do that… how can he think that? How can that jerk think I'd live if he killed himself? If he was that serious I would have done anything to keep him alive…"
"Even if that meant marrying him, and Ukyo and Shampoo?"
"WHAT?" father and daughter yelled again.
"Nabiki didn't think you would go for it, but… but if it meant keeping him alive she said she would marry him and the others as well."
"She would do that?" Soun asked thinking his eyes were going to any moment pop out of his head as much as she was staring at his daughter.
"She… she told me that there were only three ways out of this honorably…"
"What are they?" demanded Akane, 'Like hell I am going to give him up so Nabiki can take advantage of him.'
"Either we get Ukyo's family and the Amazons to drop their engagement to him… they all marry him… or…"
"Or?" Soun asked allowing a lump to form in his throat.
"Or he… he… kill…ki…" Kasumi began to cry then at the thought of Ranma dying or leaving them.
"That baka… if he thinks he can just kill himself and fix everything… I'll kill him myself!"
"Kasumi… how… how do you know all this?" Soun asked softly.
Kasumi did not say a word… instead she went over to one of her cupboards and pulled out a piece of paper and something else that was wrapped up in some cloth. Taking them over to the table, she opened up the small bundle of cloth allowing them to see the tanto bearing the Saotome crest. Then picking up the piece of paper she read, "Kasumi, I snuck this away from Ranma while he was asleep and I would appreciate you hiding it so he cannot find it or else he may use it." The girl looked at her father and sister as they stared at the tanto. "I found this the day they left, in one of my cabinets… I am not sure how long it had been there before then. I don't want Ranma to find this either."
Akane looked at the tanto in fear as she contemplated Ranma actually going through with it. 'But why… why not talk to me? How come he talked to her and not me?' Looking at her sister, she closed her eyes tightly for a moment to hold back her tears before opening them again. "I… I'm going to my room… I… I think I'll skip lunch today."
"Ok… I'll bring something up later," Kasumi said and re-wrapped the tanto. 'Yes. Making lunch is good. Routine is good. It'll help me calm down.' Kasumi added to herself, almost setting herself off again when she automatically thought of how much she would need to make for Ranma.
Soun watched as Akane just nodded and walked slowly out of the room. "Kasumi…"
"Yes father?" Kasumi replied softly.
"I… I've never known Saotome to lie like this before… he… we… we've been though a lot together… but this… I…"
"I'm sorry…" Kasumi said with her head bowed.
"No…" he told her gently and then pulled his daughter into a hug. It did not occur to him that it had been a long time since he had last hugged her. "It's not your fault… this is… it's a lot to take in."
"I'm still sorry."
"You shouldn't be, but thanks…" he replied and kissed her forehead. 'I'm sorry my daughters… for all the pain you've had to go through.'
To be Continued…