Author's notes: Yet another story rattling around in my head that demanded to be typed out. Despite the title this is not an Akane/Ranma fic. Thanks goes to Shinji the good sharer's website for ideas regarding the future of this story. The story, however, has not been proof-read so may contain a few errors despite my best efforts to eliminate them. Anyone interested in proof-reading just send a message to brindani2000(at symbol)yahoo(dot)com.
Disclamer: I do not own Ranma ½ or any characters used within the storyline. I'm not that lucky
For the Love of Akane's Cooking
Chapter 1: Here's Ranko!
"Come on, Kasumi, just let me cook dinner one more time," Akane pleaded next to her sister as she hung the wash in the back yard.
"Akane, what did I tell you last time?"
"That I couldn't cook ever again. I know, I know, but I really want to."
"Why do you want to cook, Akane? Is it because you need Ranma to acknowledge you as a good cook?"
"NO! I… just want everyone in the family to recognize I can cook too."
Pinning up the last of the cloths, Kasumi sighed before turning back to Akane with a strained smile. She stopped when she found herself facing a large eyed Akane staring at her pleadingly. Closing her eyes, Kasumi offered a prayer to any god that still might be listening to them that she was not about to make a large mistake. "Akane, I'll give you one last chance…"
"You won't regret it Kasumi…" Akane gushed before being interrupted.
"…on the condition that you make it with love. I've watched you cook before and you always do it with conviction and determination, but not care and tenderness. If you want to show Ranma that you care for him, you need to show him through the love and patience you put into preparing the food you make for him."
Akane frowned that Kasumi thought the food was for Ranma, but put it aside as her sister had allowed her to make dinner. "I promise, Kasumi." She said with a bright smile before turning around.
Kasumi smiled as she watched her little sister run back into the house. She was growing up so fast. She even wanted to make meals for her future husband. Such a mature purpose unfortunately joined by misguided cooking. "Good, I'll make sure that everyone else is preoccupied." Kasumi said to herself, knowing that if Akane did heed her words it would mean nothing unless the family was there to appreciate it. If Akane didn't, it would be the last time that they would have to deal with it.
Akane stood in the kitchen with a thoughtful expression on her face. 'What should I make that will finally shut that annoying boy up about my cooking?' Snapping her fingers, Akane started in. She took out a large pot and filled it with water setting it to boil.
'I'll make udon. I can't mess up anything that simple.' Akane thought as she put the full pot on top of the stove.
'Now for ingredients.' Akane thought to herself as she turned around to look on the opposite counter. There she found that Kasumi was in the middle of some spring cleaning and had left several items out. Akane looked closer at the various objects, letting the memories sweep through her. Recognizing one, she brought a broad brim hat close to her face taking a deep breath of the carefully stitched roses on the side of the hat. 'Mom's old hat. She used to wear it ever time we went to the playground. I still remember her smiling face as she pushed me on the swing set.' Akane thought with a small smile.
Reluctantly setting the hat down, Akane began to sort through what else was arrayed on the table before her. There were several herbs left over from some of Shampoo's more interesting visits, and... Oh my, her fifth grade science project. She lifted the ribbon that lay on top of it.
"Award for most unusual project." Akane read aloud. She frowned after looking into the plain cardboard canister to find several black globs with several things that looked like they may have been walnuts. 'This isn't my science project. These were some cookies I made for the other children that I happened to place in easy reach on the table with the other projects. Why would the teachers think this was my science project?' Shrugging to herself, Akane continued to search through the various items.
So deep in thought, Akane failed to notice the first signs of water boiling over its pot. When she did, her eyes went wide as she dashed back and franticly tried to blow on the boiling water.
"Something has to make the water stop boiling. What is it! Oh yeah salt!" Reaching back, Akane grabbed a bottle on the counter labeled ancient Chinese herbs and dumped them in.
Sigh, "That came close." Akane exclaimed as the water stopped boiling and turned a lovely shade of violet. "Now, for the seasoning." Opening several cupboards, Akane pulled out some seasonings she had seen Kasumi use for several of her best dishes. "Dash of sugar, some cinnamon should blend in well with that. Maybe some pepper." Akane appeared to arbitrarily grab behind her and accidentally threw in several globs from her fifth grade project along with a large assortment of other things.
Akane stopped briefly as she felt she was forgetting something. "Oh, yeah, Kasumi said to make this with love." She briefly thought to herself, a frown marring her expression. "How do you make something with love? Maybe I could just talk to it?" Akane thought it was weird, but if Kasumi said it would work, who was she to argue?
Dumping in a large box of udon noodles, Akane began to stir. 'What should I say to help mix in love? I guess thinking out loud will work. Let's see, I want Ranma to like this so I should talk about him. Ranma or Ranko depending on the weather' Akane giggled to herself. "Ranko is a good name for you" Akane said out-loud while thinking about several occasions where Ranma in his girl form would have all sorts of adventures with wild abandon.
Briefly, Akane frowned as she remembered their earlier argument. 'Ranma called me uncute again today. I didn't like that. I wonder why he says those things to me? I'm not uncute; at least I don't think so. Still, compared to all those other girls chasing him…' Akane frowned a tear crossing her cheek. 'What would it take to capture Ranma's heart?' "You would definitely have to be an excellent cook to get Ranma's attention."
Akane's eyes glazed as she imagined an image of herself on national TV with a stylish chef's hat smiling at a half dozen cameras while playfully pushing Ranma back as he begged on hands and knees to have the privilege of tasting her cooking one more time.
"Yeah, being a world famous cook would help, but all the other girls can do that too. There would have to be something else you would have to do to get his attention. If you got rid of his curse…"
Akane envisioned herself with glasses and a lab coat critically measuring chemicals in a test tube, Ranma nervously watching the results from over her shoulder. With a flourish, dream Akane handed the vile to Ranma who took a large swallow of the concoction. With a small poof Ranma laughed with joy as he dumped a bucket of cold water over himself and didn't change. Running up to Akane, he twirled her around as she demurely accepted his praise.
"That would really help, but you would have to be really good looking to compete against all the other girls after his heart." Akane mumbled to herself as she took a glace at herself. "Maybe if you had Ranma's cursed side's figure…"
Akane saw herself still being twirled around by an uncursed Ranma as she drank the other half of the vial's contents. Another small poof and Akane's hips shrank as her bust enlarged dramatically forming a perfect hourglass figure. Dream Ranma bringing her down for a deep passionate kiss before telling her how beautiful she is.
Akane giggled as the fantasy dissipated. "With all that, surly Ranma couldn't help to fall in love with you." Akane continued to fantasize as she stirred the pot, it happily burbling along with the voice above it.
Ranma drowsily sat on the roof, gazing out into the city. It had been a very good day. First, it was a Sunday so he didn't have to go to that boring old school. Second, Pops had gone drinking last night and remained in a drunken stupor that morning. That meant Ranma was able to sleep in until 9:00 AM an almost unheard of event. Third Kasumi had saved his food from breakfast. Fourth not one person had dropped by to disturb him so he was able to just layback and relax. And fifth, Akane and he had only had a brief verbal tussle which hadn't even resulted in him getting hit.
Overall, this had to be the best day Ranma had ever had since coming. If Ranma had been anything more then half asleep, he would have realized that karma would not allow such travesty.
"Ranma, are you up there?" Ranma shook his head several times to rid himself of the lazy sleepiness before answering.
"Yes, Kasumi? Did you need something?"
"Oh no, I just wanted to call you down for dinner."
"Thanks Kasumi." Ranma smiled, 'One of Kasumi's glorious feasts, I guess the day can get better.'
Rolling off the roof, Ranma landed lightly on his feet before walking into the house to sit at the table.
Eventually, all the other residents of the household assembled, including the fathers who looked like they might still have a hangover, probably from some additional drinking during the day if their breath was any indication.
Ranma continued to smile as he sat there, his stomach in happy expectation for the meal to come. Still, something in the back of his minds was tripping off warning lights. Finding it a little annoying, Ranma took a closer look at his surroundings to find the cause.
'There's pops, and Tendo just getting over the hangover. There's Nabiki with her nose in a ledger, nothing wrong there. Kasumi is sitting angelically in her usual spot. Nope nothing wrong with the picture at all… Wait, what is Kasumi sitting for when there is no food on the table? The only time Kasumi does not bring out the food is when she doesn't cook. Mom isn't here to cook so who is cooking? WAIT A MINUTE! WHERE IS AKANE!'
Ranma's eyes widened as they began a frantic search of the kitchen entrance. There was no smoke billowing out, but the smells that permeated the room weren't exactly good either.
Without warning, a nightmare walking wallaced into the dinning room, or rather Akane in an apron came in with a rather large pot.
If Ranma had been paying attention to anything other then the horror before him, he would have noticed everyone else was also riveted on the only standing member of the house, their eyes wide with fear, several of the smarter ones already inching away from the table, ready to bolt at the first signs of indigestion.
Victoriously, Akane placed the pot onto the center of the table and opened it with a flourish. She gazed at each person expectantly with her excited smile. "Well, what do you think?"
Gingerly, afraid for his life, Ranma lifted himself from his seat to look into the pot. He blinked once. "Wow Akane, that actually looks like jello."
"It's udon, you idiot!"
Ranma blinked several times before taking a closer look. "Isn't udon supposed to have noodles in it?"
"Of course it does, you idiot. I put plenty of noodles in, they just dissolved is all."
"The noodles… dissolved?"
"Yes, now try some." Akane demanded her temper starting to go off the scale. She had put a lot of work into making this meal and Ranma wasn't showing any gratitude at all.
"Yes, boy, it's a fiancé's duty to try their fiancée's cooking first after all." Genma exclaimed as he nearly pushed Ranma into the pot.
"Oh hell no! I ain't trying it." Ranma proclaimed as he tried to get away as fast as possible. Unfortunately, he didn't get too far.
"RANMA YOU IDIOT!" Akane growled with fury as she hefted her trusted shinai and brought it down with a mighty thump sending Ranma straight into the pot.
The reaction was immediate, what was once an apparent brown jello boiled up and wrapped itself around Ranma's head. Dazed by the blow, Ranma didn't notice that he was being enveloped until it was far too late. He tried to breathe and found no air. That was before something slid into his mouth, moments later his world went black.
Everyone else either sat or stood shocked as the once calm jello engulfed Ranma whole making his stiff body drop to the ground. This lasted all of two minutes before pandemonium erupted.
Every one ran around talking all at once before Nabiki screamed at the top of her lungs "STOP" Everyone quieted looking expectantly at the middle Tendo. "Kasumi, check Ranma and get that stuff off him if you can. Akane, call Tofu and get him here on the double. You two, get some hot water and soap to help Kasumi." Nabiki ordered as she ran to get some towels to help with the process.
When she returned she found Kasumi trying to get close to Ranma, but staying a fair distance away.
"What's happening Kasumi?" Nabiki asked as she came beside her.
"I can't get near it, it keeps spitting and hissing."
"Damn, could you at least tell anything about Ranma?"
"He seems to be alive, but I can't get close enough to find a pulse."
Akane ran into the room just before the two fathers with soap, water, mop, and a tennis racket.
"Doctor Tofu is on his way." Akane exclaimed, trying to get around Nabiki to take a look at Ranma.
"Is the boy alright?" Genma asked as he set the soap and water he carried down.
"I don't know," Nabiki answered as she tried to step to Ranma's prone form only to hop away as splatters of whatever enveloped Ranma splashed itself at her, burning a nice two inch hole through the floor.
"It's acidic!" Nabiki proclaimed as she hastily stepped further away.
"If that is true then how is Ranma alive in there?" Akane asked.
"I have no idea Akane. We'll have to wait for Tofu to get here to find out."
"Did someone call? What's the emergency?" Turning around everyone saw a bent over and wheezing form of Dr. Tofu squatting in the front entrance of the house.
"Dr. Tofu, are you alright?" Kasumi asked, walking forward to check on their guest.
"Oh, Kasumi, What a wonder meeting you here of all places." Dr. Tofu said standing straight up with a large goofy smile spread across his face.
"We don't have time for this." Nabiki proclaimed before running up to the doctor and releasing a harsh slap across his left cheek.
"What? Where am I?" Tofu asked as he dazedly looked around.
"Doctor, get over it, Ranma is covered by some kind of goop." Nabiki stated, pointing towards said boy.
"Oh my gosh. How did this happen?" Tofu asked as he rushed forward to look at the boy.
"Doctor, don't get close!" Akane exclaimed, reaching out to stop him from an acid bath.
"What do you mean, Akane?" He replied while closely examining Ranma without a trace of acid splattering anywhere.
"Ahhh, it was shooting acid at everyone else when we tried to get the stuff off."
"It's a good thing you didn't. It appears to be the only thing keeping him alive."
"What do you mean Doctor Tofu?" Genma asked.
"Ranma isn't breathing, yet he is maintaining a steady pulse. Whatever this stuff is, it is feeding him oxygen."
"Well, if we get rid of the stuff then the boy will be able to breath for himself." Genma exclaimed holding his mop up in a combat stance.
"NO! He could go into shock, besides, his lugs are not working. We have no way of knowing if he will start breathing again. He could suffocate to death."
"But that stuff could be doing all sorts of stuff to him." Akane exclaimed pointing to enwrapped pigtail martial artist.
"Maybe so, but for the moment it is also the only thing keeping him alive." Dr. Tofu said as he gently lifted Ranma by the rug that he had fallen on, carrying him upstairs into the guestroom and gently placing him on the boy's futon.
Everyone followed standing hesitantly outside the door, watching with mixed emotions.
"So, what do we do now?" Akane asked, breaking everyone's attention away from Ranma.
Tofu shook his head. "There isn't much we can do. I would like to know a few things however. For starters, where did this ooze come from?"
"Well, it's the udon I made for dinner."
Doctor Tofu blinked twice. "Doesn't udon have noodles?" He asked in a confused voice.
"I know that! It just came out that way." Akane said her voice increasing in tempo as anger overrode fear.
"Ok, ok, I was just wondering. Now, what exactly went into making it? If we have that, maybe we can find out what we are dealing with."
"Um, I'm not sure…?"
Crickets suddenly became audioable in the background.
"Ok… could you show me which bottles you used?" Dr. Tofu asked as he shook his head several times.
"I guess." Akane answered before turning around to walk downstairs.
"In the meantime, will someone keep watch over Ranma to see if anything changes in his status?" Tofu asked turning to the rest of the people crowded in the small room.
"I will." Kasumi offered with a small smile. A large grin started to spread over the good doctor's face before Nabiki sighed and moved to block his vision of Kasumi with an arm outstretched, ready for another good slap. Almost instantly, Tofu shook himself and turned to follow Akane lightly tracing the bright red mark from the girl's earlier attempt to keep him practical.
"The girl packs almost as much power as Akane." He mumbled under his breath.
Nabiki paid him no mind, instead turning back to Kasumi. "Is there anything you need, sis?"
"Oh no Nabiki, I should be fine for the moment."
"In that case, lets see if we can find out how Akane made whatever that stuff is." She indicated vaguely at Ranma's comatose form.
The fathers and Nabiki headed down stairs into the kitchen to find Akane looking quizzically around at the various items scattered haphazardly around the kitchen in what could only be described as post Akane cooking.
"I think I also put some white wine in to add to the flavor," Akane mentioned as she held a bottle of vinegar. "I also put a dash of salt to offset the extra sugar I put in," Akane indicated two containers one with bold letters, 'Extra potent Chinese Herbs' and another with large text 'Danger, do not consume, keep away from small children'. "And of course I added the noodles," Akane said indicating the garbage can full of udon noodles.
"I didn't see any noodles in what ate Ranma." Nabiki spoke up.
Akane grumbled that everyone kept bringing that sore point back up. "I know, every time I put more noodles in, it just dissolved, I figured that they would come back later."
Another long silence ensued.
"What? What was I suppose to think when they disappeared?" Akane asked, starting to get annoyed that no one understood.
"Never mind, was there anything else that you added to the noodles?" Tofu asked a little hesitant considering the answers he had received so far.
"Um… no I think that was about it." She said to the relief of every one present.
"Ok, I'll take these back to the lab and see if I can find out what they are made of. If anything happens to Ranma, give me a call and I'll be right over." Tofu said holding up a large bag with everything that Akane had indicated was used in her recipe.
"What do you mean, made of? Didn't I just tell you?" Akane asked making everyone stare at her again. "Why does everyone keep looking at me like that?" Akane's temper was starting to boil over again.
Tofu took a deep breath before replying to the youngest Tendo. "I just want to see if there is anything else that might be in those containers that could have caused such a reaction."
"Oh, ok, why didn't you just say so?"
Dr. Tofu didn't bother to answer as he took the bag with all the items that Akane had pointed out before leaving.
"Well, until Dr. Tofu gets back with the results there isn't much more we can do, so why don't we all try to get some rest while we can." Nabiki said before turning to go up to her room.
The remaining three figures in the kitchen all looked at each other before shrugging and following Nabiki's example.
All was quite in the Tendo compound. Not even a mouse was stirring. Everyone was comfortably asleep in their beds. All except one; Kasumi kept her constant vigil over Ranma, determined to make sure that he was alright.
Slowly the minutes began to drag out and Kasumi's eyes began to droop. Near 2:00 AM Kasumi drifted off to sleep. It was unfortunate that she did so as she never saw the neon green light flash through the room, waking more then one neighbor with the light coming from the window. No, Kasumi was definitely a heavy sleeper.
Covered comfortably in her nice warm blanket, Kasumi stirred from rest the next day. She cracked open her dream filled eyes only to shut them quickly from the intense sun pouring through the window. Slowly they adjusted until she was able to open them once more. When she did, she stood up in shock.
'I'm late starting breakfast!' She exclaimed, standing up. At the door, she hesitated. There was something that she was supposed to do. Wait, she hadn't woken up in her own bed. Why was she in a strange room? In a blur of images all the events of yesterday came pouring back into her mind.
Turning sharply, Kasumi gasped at what she beheld. "Oh my!" She exclaimed
It isn't often that Kasumi yells, when she does everyone comes running.
"What's wrong Kasumi?" Nabiki asked having been the first to reach her sister's frozen form.
Unable to speak, Kasumi hesitantly pointed in front of her.
Nabiki's only recently awoken eyes attempted to focus on what she was pointing at. There was a futon and Ranma asleep. Nabiki blinked and rubbed her eyes. "Damn I'm seeing double." Opening her eyes once more they widened dramatically. "Wait a minute, there are two Ranmas!" She asked now clearly seeing Ranma on his futon with a girl type Ranma laying on top of him in a very intimate kiss. "I think this warrants the 'something' that Tofu mentioned last night," Nabiki finished as she shook herself out of her stupor to get by all the people now crowding around the room.
As she raced downstairs a sudden red aura sprang into existence outside Ranma's room.
"OUCH!" Genma cried as he got caught by the flaring, burning the arm of his typical kempo outfit.
Turning he came face to face with mount Saint Akane, ready for its daily eruption as it spotted the two laying on Ranma's futon.
"That… That pervert!" Akane yelled as she hefted her infamous shinai; slowly stalking towards the target of her ire.
"No Akane, we don't know what is going on." Kasumi stated, standing in Akane's path.
Still furious, Akane slowed her advance staring straight into Kasumi's eyes. "What more is there to know? He is sleeping with a naked woman in a deep kiss," exclaimed Akane, pointing at the two.
"And if you would have looked closer, you would have noticed that Ranma still has his cloths on and that whatever or whoever that girl is, she is breathing for him." Nabiki commented as she walked back up the stairs. "Doctor Tofu should be here any time now."
Struggling to reign in her anger, Akane let her shinai slide out of her hands before turning and stomping away.
Everyone was so distracted by all the noise that they didn't notice that the girl type Ranma was starting to shift her eyes scrunched at all the ruckus interrupting her sleep.
"What?" A drowsy voice asked causing everyone to turn around again. Immediately the fathers turned away from a naked female Ranma curiously looking around the room.
"Oh my." Kasumi uttered before zipping across the room, wrapping the girl in the blanket she had once slept under.
Turning towards the new sensation across its skin, the female Ranma froze at all the people in the room. Lowering herself she grabbed onto Ranma, shivering.
Kasumi turned to everyone who was gawking in the background. "You're scaring her. Please leave for a few minutes so that I may speak with her.
Reluctantly, everyone moved out of the room, taking positions just outside to hear anything that was said.
Kasumi only sighed. "I guess that is the best I can expect." Turning back to the girl that desperately clung onto Ranma, Kasumi knelt down beside her.
"Hello, who are you?" Kasumi asked fairly certain that if this was Ranma stuck in his cursed form he would not be acting this way.
"My name?" The girl asked calming down with the close contact to Ranma and the soothing tone that Kasumi used. "My name is…Ranko!" Ranko said happily as she snuggled closer to Ranma.
"Ranko, that's a nice name."
Ranko nodded her head still snuggling up to Ranma.
"And where did you come from?"
Ranko's brow creased before widening, "Mother! I come from mother."
"Mother? Who is your mother, Ranko?"
"I spotted Dr. Tofu down the street, he should be here soon," Akane mentioned as she walked back into the room.
"Mommy!" Ranko cried as she glomped onto Akane.
Everyone stood stunned as they looked at the two in the middle of hall, glad that the blanket had kept with the young woman.
"M..M..mommy?" Akane asked in a hushed voice.
"Yes, you talked to me when I was young and taught me everything that I know." Ranko gushed.
"What's happening here?" a drowsy voice asked back in the room.
Everyone turned to see Ranma bleary eyes looking around.
"RANMA!" Ranko exclaimed with double her previous enthusiasm as she shifted glomping targets to the young pigtailed boy.
"AHH!" Not expecting the sudden contact as well as still feeling woozy from whatever happened the night before, Ranma slumped back down on the futon with Ranko on top of him.
"What's goin' on here? What's my girl side doing out?" Ranma exclaimed as he looked up to find a mess of very familiar red hair and a figure he was more accustomed to wearing rather then feeling against him.
"I'm Ranko, mommy made me just for you and I love you Ranma."
Author's post notes:
This will end up being a Ranma/Ranko fic.
I've taken to updating fics based off of two criteria; interest and number of reviews. If twenty or more people review I know that others would like to see more and I'm happy to oblige by making the story a priority. If not, the stories will be updated based off of my interest in writing them which can shift from story to story.