Mark of the Wolves/ Ranma 1/2

4 Months ago...

"We have much to do and get you in association with," argued the regally dressed blond man, holding his agitation in check before his new partner. It had been yet a week since Rock Howard parted ways from his former mentor and enemy of the boy's father, Terry Bogard. So even to Kain Heinlan, the adjustment would take time; just he had hoped he could push things faster.

"I'm pretty sure it can wait until I get back, but I need some time for myself to think things through," stated Rock in a calm yet somber tone.

"It's not as if there is much time, do you or do you not want to see your mother soon?" Kain fought back a smirk from forming on his stone cold face, it was a bargaining chip that he could wield over the 16-year-old boy without fear of retaliation, and it always bore results...

"I presume that our search would take time," asked the young man as he turned his back to his uncle, to hide the contempt upon his face for his older blood relative.

"My sister, your mother that is, became reclusive after that day your father..." Heinlan's voice tapered off before continuing, "she will be difficult to track down for the..."

"Then my absence will give you plenty of time to get started," Rock cut him off, turning a hard stare back to his 'partner'. With that, Rock turned to leave the large office.

"Young Howard..." Rock turned just in time to catch something spinning towards his face between his middle and ring finger, "What's this?"

"I had a Checking and savings account established for you. You are now the master of your father's Legacy." Rock couldn't tell if that was a taunt or if his Uncle was sincere in the warning. Rock looked at the Platinum debit/credit card and his mind thought of all the possible reasons his Uncle would give him this.

"I guess this would make it easier for you to keep track of me, is that it... Uncle?"

"Though I would enjoy to know your whereabouts from time to time, that was not the intention. I am your uncle, brother to your mother. It is only right that I have.... some concerns for you, if not an obligation to my older sibling. And know that I am a man who would not lie, especially to you or my sister."

Rock knew he was truthful in that regard. If anything he knew that Kain was a man of his word. Rock nodded in farewell as he opened the white door and exited. Kain Heinlan walked back to his desk and sat softly down in the plush chair furnished with it. The blond maned man's stone face melted in grievance and slight remorse. The boy didn't trust his motives, but at least he knew he could trust his word. Yes the boy's hiatus would be an.... irritable setback, but it was something nonetheless that he couldn't avoid. Kain could wait longer; he had plenty of time to wait. True he lost some of his power when bequeathing what Kain new was rightfully Rock's back to it's true owner, but he could still run matters in preparation, for the time when the Great Geese Howard's Empire would rise even past it's former glory.

Kain pressed a button to his left that activated his intercom to his first personal assistant, "what have you uncovered so far...."

"We have leads on your sister, sir," reported the auburn haired man with a heavy Austrian accent, "but it's becoming painfully apparent that she does not want to be found."

"I'm sure my dear sister took her Husband's death to heart," replied Kain sardonically. Although despite the tone of his voice, he did not know if his sister loved her husband, since he did not know the relationship she had with him.

"We will inform you if our endeavors become more fruitful..."

"Hold, one other task I wish for you to commit resources to, my nephew, I'm almost certain he will refrain from using the card I issued him, so from the time he leaves this estate, I want to know his location at all times. He may not have the best of love for me, but I do concern for his welfare," Kain was already reaching for the button to turn off the phone as the man on the other end replied he understood, when Kain's martial trained senses felt something about his office. He focused his awareness about the room until he felt a slight draft from the other end. Kain had requested that the caretakers of his office leave the window open for circulation, but for some reason he was more than suspicious about it....

"Yup! Just as you said, Obasan gonna try to keep tacks on you," stated Hokutamaru with a big smile plastered across his face while scratching the back of his head.

"That's 'tabs', but thanks, so all that is needed to be done is a diversion from my trail..." Rock thought for a second before inspiration struck him, "here..." "Eh, nani?" asked the young Ninja boy.

"Here's a copy of my signature, get it down thoroughly, and here's a license with my name on it and your picture in case they ask for identification, knock yourself out." "Nan? Oh, I get it!" whispered the Japanese boy with an impish grin on his face.

"Go out and spend as much as you want, just be sure to stay out sight of anyone suspicious."

"This you really do? Mean you could need it at sometime..."

"I'll manage," interrupted Rock with a dismissive wave of his hand, "after all you need newer clothes than I do, defiantly."

"Oh, so you a committeeman, huh?" charged Hokutomaru with mock exasperation.

"That's 'comedian', your English I swear gets worse the longer Andy's been a way from tutoring you, now go get to being a wild Goose, willya?"

The Ninja boy turned around ready to crawl through the tunnel he had dug under the wall, "Just remember, I'll be up training in my usual spot in Japan after gatsu no ni."

"Then I'll meet you there when I make the time," replied Rock. The two boys clasped each other's arms in a warrior's salute before the young shinobi in training departed Rock's presence. All that was left to do was sit back and wait for a day or so while Hokutomaru leads them down a different trail from where he'll be heading.

Not far off in the distance, stood hidden in the shadows a man the size of a bull, dressed in a gray business suit instead of his fighting garments of red cape and mask. He wouldn't alert Kain to this, just yet, but it would be best for him if he took some leave in order to look over the lad.


Two and a half months later...

"Leaving already?" asked Hokutomaru as he came down from his hiding space in the trees. Rock had known he was there, that is the reason he walked his Honda in that direction.

"Yes," Replied Rock in American accented Japanese, "I have a little more to do now, besides I am probably distracting you from your training."

"Nonsense, probably stronger with you sparring against me," proclaimed the ninja.

"Nonetheless, there are other things I gotta do, I will see you around."

"One moment," Hokutomaru cautioned as he tossed a card back to Rock. "I don't want this back," stated Rock with a frown.

"It is yours, know how you have been living, kept track of you from time to time," replied the shinobi dryly in disapproval. Rock thought about the cheaper motels and camping out, the music gigs he got at R&B and Jazz clubs, occasionally working at a fast food restaurant.

"Well, it was honest money, this card is something I can do without."

"Just keep it, it's not like you have to use it unless it's an emergency anyhow."

"True enough, take care."

"Until next time, Blondie." Rock Howard revved up the motor of his Honda and rode down the beat down path back to civilization.



"Where am I now?" asked Ryoga as he stepped onto the cleared path, "Well, at least I'm back on the path again, was I heading this way, or...." The Lost boy heard the rumbling of an engine nearby, and decided it may be a good idea to ask for directions. Ryoga turned around and awaited the approaching motorcycle and started to yell out as the motorcycle sound was almost upon him, "EXCUSE ME, CAN YOU TELL ME WHERE.. URK!"

Rock's hind wheel of his motorcycle collided with the back of Ryoga's head, knocking the lost boy face first into the dirt road. Rock fought for control of his motorcycle before he landed and brought it to a stop, concerned for whom he had just run down deciding to jump that hill.

"Careless," he thought to himself, he wasn't paying attention and now someone's hurting for it, though he couldn't understand why the guy hadn't turned around in time to see him and moved out of the way. Perhaps he's deaf. Checking the back of the boy's head, Rock was amazed that there were no contusions, maybe an egg sized bump that looked almost comical if not for it's seriousness, boy probably had a concussion in the least from as hard as he would have hit him.
'CURSE YOU RANMA!!!!" The boy shot up in an unholy yell and turned to swing at the nearest fighting aura he felt, automatically assuming it was his rival who had caused him harm. Rock immediately parried the hit, and flipped backwards out of reach.

"YAMETTE!!! STOP!!!!" Rock yelled, switching between Japanese and English frantically since he wasn't in the mood to be in a fight. He could tell now that this guy before him was a fighter, a powerful one at that though he was confident he would win if it came to blows.

"Huh? You're not Ranma," stated Ryoga of the obvious.

"I am sorry, I did not know you were there when I came over the hill," apologized Rock, bowing humbly before the boy and straightened up.

"Eh, it wasn't anything serious, it just caught me by surprise, that's all," Said Ryoga. His anger faded as he looked upon the guy before him, deciding it wasn't all that much of a problem,

"You have an American accent, would it be better if I spoke English?"

Rock was slightly taken aback by the sudden shift in language, and relaxed more now that he could speak in a tongue he was more comfortable with, "You're English is pretty good! Where'd you learn to speak it?"

"Uh, America, ended up there a few times, I couldn't tell you how though," the lost boy said with a slight bit of confusion on his face.

"Um, excuse me, but I hit you kinda hard there, are you positive you're okay?" despite his casualness, Rock was still rather concerned for the other's health, nobody just takes a blow like that to the back of the head and shrugs it off so non-chilantly.

"Oh, yeah I'm fine, I'm a lot tougher than I look, won't give me any problems if that's what you're wondering."

"A lot tougher than you look to be sure," thought Rock. "Anyhow, where you headed to, can I give you a ride back into town, least I can do," asked Rock, gesturing to his parked motorcycle a few paces from them. "Ah, I'm heading to Nerima, I wouldn't want to put you out of your way, if you can just give me directions I'll be more than grateful.."

"I have nothing better to do with my time, and getting you there will just give me one more place to visit, so you're not putting me out of my way."

"Really, I don't want to be a bother."

"Heh, I ran over you and you worry about being a bother to me? You Japanese are too damn polite," stated Rock smugly. "Hurry up and hop on already, we're just wasting time arguing over this. We gotta stop in town first and get directions as our main priority."