InuRanma part 2
Once again, I'm not Rumiko Takahashi, stop calling, she isn't here.
If you asked Ranma how he did all of the things he could, he would almost surely say that it was all about the timing. For example, it was 12:43, which meant Ukyo was late to bring him lunch, no surprise since Shampoo showed up early today and he had to rush back to school due to a cross-country punt of Akane sized proportions. At 12:45, he was going to accept the food, dodge the next hammer to mess with Akane, and launch into a fight with Mousse, who was hiding in the bushes after Ranma refused Shampoo's obviously spiced food, Kuno, standing behind a tree reciting loud French poetry, and Ryouga, who was heading vaguely in the direction of the school while putting out enough depression ki to make anyone with the sensitivity of a chipmunk feel a bit down. It was with this precision that Ranma predicted the seemingly random events of Nerima. Applying what he'd learned from monks during his traveling days. Ranma used a combination of martial arts, speed writing, and his somewhat lacking organizational skills to create a martial artist's almanac for the next few months. So far it had been eighty five percent accurate and even Nabiki had stopped trying to read it when she realized that Ranma's writing really was that terrible. She still teased him about keeping a "diary" though. Now other than forcing his brain to squeeze out this useful guide to his everyday life, Ranma had things to do. So when Mousse slammed into Kuno, Ranma angled into Akane's next hammer strike, not letting go of Ryouga's arm until they were over a duck pond in the park. Akane's anger guttered out, only for her to find a note attached to her hammer's head, reading "Akane, tell Kasumi I'll be at moms tonight, she had something she wanted to tell me. Ranma. PS You hit like a girl."
Ranma tsked as he made a note in his book; Akane was 3 seconds behind… "RANMA NO BAKAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!..." well that was close enough anyway. After his third revolution of the earth, 'must've dodged a bit too much, she put a lot of power into that last one.' Ranma finally descended from LEO and touched ground (Reads: smashed a crater into an abandoned lot) he looked around, recognizing the shop across the street and, shifting from his previous floored position to start heading out and whistling a merry tune.
'Juuban, right on schedule, good aim, Akane's always had good aim' then Ranma blanched as he remembered all the times that good aim had landed him in an onsen, particularly that all nympho meeting, now that was a tough one to escape.
Now most people wouldn't whistle into what they expected to be their almost certain doom, but Ranma's alamanac was unique in the fact that it predicted not only what was going to happen, but also exactly when those predictions would turn out to be false. So while he fully expected to be gutting himself by the end of this meeting, he was also prepared to be wrong.
Ranma hit the doorstep a bit early, so he stopped for a few seconds of reflection. In the last few months he'd defeated a phoenix god, had been drugged into an eventually ruined wedding, and been malleted roughly one hundred and seventy four times. Ranma sighed at the last one, thinking back to when Kasumi had so aptly said, "Akane's a nice girl, just a bit of a violent psychopath." She was completely right of course, while underneath all of her faults Akane was very sweet, likeable even, the constant beatings and accusations swiftly put a gap between them. Now all he had to do was figure out a peaceful way out of the engagement that didn't involve his untimely death.
'Oops, retrospect aside it's time to knock.' Ranma raised his hand and sharply rapped on the door. He didn't have to wait long before it opened slightly and the surprised face of his mother appeared on the other side, "Ranma? You're early; come inside dinner is just about done."
Ranma slipped in after her, shutting the door silently and slipping on his indoor shoes. Taking a seat he centered himself and counted to thirteen silently. At two he new the table was set, by four she had performed her final check on the miso soup. Ranma kept ticking off little two second events until she was halfway through her seventh and he took his opportunity to interrupt her. He'd spent weeks intermittently pondering, preparing, and even studying for this encounter. To survive it without getting roped into another wedding he would have to keep his mother on her toes and avoid the honor card he knew would be played.
"Anything I can help you with mom?" he said casually from over her shoulder.
"No thank you dear, have a seat." His mother replied unflinchingly as she whirled away from him. 'Damn she's too calm.'
Ranma started to sweat on the inside as his mother ladled out the meal. She had something big to tell him, that much was clear. He hated treating his daily relations with his friends and family like they were combat situations that required advanced planning and tactics, but they often evolved into physical conflicts so the habit had already been formed. His nervousness grew apparent as Nodoka took an envelope from her kimono sleeve and placed it firmly on the table, then sat and motioned for him to eat. It was a relief that discussion could wait until after the meal.
He ate slowly, not out of respect and manners but simply to stall for time. He still had another thirteen minutes before he could tell her what he'd found. His sense of honor screamed at him from the back of his mind trying to make him accept what his parents had forced him into. The streak of rebelliousness that his father's bad parenting had instilled in him was the only thing that kept him from a life of near constant beatings.
"You seem tense son, what's the matter?" Ranma jolted in his seat as he was addressed. While he knew he wasn't particularly smart outside of a straight fight, he also could see the signs that the drama surrounding Nerima was more than getting to him. Dr Tofu called it 'combat fatigue' and had cautioned him against staying battle ready all the time.
"Your senses have begun to trick you into seeing attacks that aren't there. If I thought it was possible, I'd ask you to just get some rest Ranma, spend some time away from the city." Tofu's words echoed hollowly in Ranma's mind as he thought of something to say. Only five minutes to go.
He took another spoonful of miso, "This is delicious, is this the same recipe you tried to teach Akane?" he winced internally as he realized the implication he'd made. That one would result in some tears if it ever got back to the family.
Nodoka just smiled lightly at the praise, "Why yes it is. Must be nice to have your mother prepare you a home cooked meal after so long away. I feel like I've only known you for months son… it's been so long." She stood slowly, walked around the table and pressed her arms around him in the most loving hug Ranma had ever remembered receiving. Naturally, and against all his mental commands to do otherwise, he froze in place. Nodoka let go and held him out at arms reach. "I knew something was wrong. Please tell me why you're so tense Ranma; I've been worried about you."
Ranma just sighed, he was thirty seconds early, but he could launch into it and get to the right sentence at the right time, "Well I was doing a genealogy project for school where we had to trace our clan's heritage back to the feudal era and find out what the clan's standing and responsibilities were five hundred years ago. When I was looking through the registries I found something odd." Ranma looked up briefly from his monologue. His mother seemed strangely pale, "My birth certificate said I was still born. I went through a few other files and found out that you had gotten a written promise to be buried along with me on the day of my birth. But the next day you had shown up back at home with me when your lawyers arrived to divide your effects amongst family. I… I don't think I'm a Saotome, am I mother." He said this all in the most deferential way possible. At the end he looked up into her now watery eyes and held his gaze firm.
She blinked away the coming tears and sat back down before beginning, "No son, you aren't. That's exactly what I had brought you here to tell you. You might not remember it, but today is your eighteenth birthday, and you're a man now. The truth of it is, I did lose my son that day, but as I sat there wallowing in grief over you. I asked the kami for a second chance at motherhood. In a blinding flash your corpse was replaced with a baby with the same features, except he had the cutest little dog ears." Ranms bigsweated as his mother squealed and ran a hand through his hair, presumably where the ears had been, "I know it's unbelievable, but afterwards I had a Shinto manipulator seal away your demonic characteristics so you would be look at as normal by your peers. We found a note regarding your origins, and I had it copied from memory for you." She handed him the envelope, "I love you son, you were my second chance and I'm sorry I wasted it by letting Genma take you away. No matter which kami or demon gave you to me, I've always loved you as my son."
She stood quickly and went over to a cupboard, withdrawing a small bottle with a cork stopper firmly planted in its neck, "This is what I had prepared so you could regain your heritage. It will unsuppress your true nature if you want to."
Ranma sat in complete shock. Then slowly he removed his almanac from its pouch on his belt and held it up in front of him. With a flash of ki it disintegrated into so many tiny burning bits of paper. He began to shake silently as they fluttered to the ground, then his mood did a back flip as he slammed down the soul of ice over his emotions. In a toneless voice he said, "Stupid rassafrassen book. Stupid pops for dragging someone WHO WASN'T EVEN HIS OWN SON across Asia. Stupid soul of ice for not workin right."
His mother sweat-dropped and edged out of the room, deciding that this might take awhile, and that her son might need some not frozen soup afterwards.
She had no such luck as Ranma ended his mumbled tirade shortly and glanced back up around him. He saw the burns on his chair and around where he sat and the flash freezing that'd taken over everything else and quickly reigned in his emotions.
"Wait… mom?" the pleading in his voice washed over Nodoka and she leapt forwards to comfort her son, "So what am I?" Ranma stated confusedly.
"You are the son of the great dog demon, the Inu no Taisho. You were born over five hundred years ago to him, and sent forward to me to protect you. My son was your destined reincarnation and when you came forward you took your soul back from him and caused him to die. I took you as my own, for in spirit you are." Nodoka hugged him closer to her.
"Well… my god, this is perfect!" Ranma jump up in obvious jubilation, "Finally, thank you mom, for giving me the chance I need to sort this whole mess out. I mean, who wants a demon as a fiancé anyway, and since I'm not an official Saotome, but some kind of time traveling dog demon, I can break these engagements and get the hell away from pops. No more crazy training experiments. No more fights at every hour of every day. I could be normal again… wait, did you say dog ears?" Ranma's head dropped as he stopped his 'happy dance' and sighed, "It's always something…"
"Ah yes my son, dog ears, and fangs. But were you really that dissatisfied with your life in Nerima? It couldn't be that horrible being waited on by three beautiful young ladies." Nodoka looked seriously at her son, wondering whether or not Genma had raised him properly yet again.
"No, if it were that easy it might not be, but I have to deal with attacks from their suitors and even from them day in and day out. And all the kidnappings and infighting has gotten me wired to the point where I can't sleep at night. It's just as well, most of the attacks happen at night. Doc calls it combat fatigue, and this is my chance to get out of it once and for all." Ranma started plotting his 'ending speech' even as he spoke. He needed Nodoka to be there, and maybe that Shinto guy she spoke about if he was still alive.
Nodoka just steepled her hands in front of her mouth, tears forming in the corners of her eyes. She saw his calculating expression and knew she should offer her help now before he went off without her and made it worse, "How can I help you, I know I haven't been the best mother actually after what I've heard I might just be the worst, but I want to make it up to you by helping you out of this horrible mess Genma seems to have gotten you in." She practically snarled the name.
Ranma's eyes focused on her as he worked out his plan to finally get some peace and quiet. While Nerima was his home for longer than anything else he can remember, the time he spent there wasn't exactly happy. He had been beaten, ridiculed, tricked, embarrassed, beaten more, and somehow came out of the experience with just a bit of nervousness so far. But that was all going to change, "I need to go talk to everyone, then I think it's time for another training trip."
Nodoka swallowed at that, she knew that it meant she wouldn't be seeing her son again for a very long time, but if it meant he would be happy, she would do everything in her power to see it happen, "Very well son, let me gather my things and we will contact my old friend. We can get him to help with this, and talk about it on the way to the dojo from there."
Bah, this is long overdue, but the writing gene leaves me when it will, so I had to give up on everything in favor of burying myself in work. Hope this makes up for it a bit, will be another stint before I can continue this, I lost all of my original copy so I have to do it from memory