Yadda, yadda, yadda, I don't own Ranma 1/2.
In the Nekohanten, the chairs were stalked and the tables were clear. The normal patrons of the restaurant knew that on this day, they wouldn't get to eat at the popular Chinese restaurant this day. It was hardly condemnable, though, since on this particular day was always set aside by the old woman that owned the cafe'. Even though she was a spectacular martial artist, Cologne had her limits concerning what she could manage by herself without any help.
So, while the Amazon matriarch was still sound asleep the people below passed the barren building without much notice. The few that did normally eat there heaved the same sigh as they did every time this happened and went about their business. They should hardly be cross, some of them scolded themselves. After all, everyone deserved a break now and then. So, with this in mind, they continued on with their lives while looking forward to when the restaurant reopened the next day.
Of course, to those that didn't particularly keep up with the restaurant, these things went unnoticed...
"Ranma no baka!"
Satome Ranma stuck his tongue out at the fuming girl as he leapt over Akane's attempt to knock his feet out from under him with her book satchel. "What's with you, Akane?" the pigtailed boy asked, landing back on the fence as if he had mearly dodged a speed bump. "I'm only tellin' ya the truth!"
Akane obviously didn't share Ranma's love of honesty if the furious expression etched into her face was any indication. "The truth?! Saying my cooking is worse than toxic sludge is not the truth, Ranma!" she denied.
Ranma was about to tell her exactly what he thought of her little lunch but a distinct sound reached his ears before he even opened his mouth. It was a sound he had come to dread with unparalleled fear during the last year. It was enough to make Ranma cringe whenever he so much as heard a sound remotely like it. It was...
...a bicycle bell.
The pigtailed martial artist immediately went on the defensive and braced himself for the inevitable attack from the two-wheeled instrument of death and displeasure. What was even worse than the bicycle of doom was the payload it was carrying; already at strike two with Akane, the last thing he needed was the usual rider of the wheeled menace to glomp onto him. Still, all Ranma could do is wait for the inevitable to happen and pray it would be over quickly.
Akane, having not heard the bell, watched with growing anger as Ranma seemingly ignored her by throwing his hands over his head. Taking advantage of his laps in attention, the short haired girl plowed her bookcase into her innuzuki's head with enough force to send Ranma spiraling into the drainage ditch below the fence. Satisfied with the loud splash and yelp from the hapless boy, Akane stuck her nose up in the air and stomped off towards the dojo leaving Ranma to his devices.
"Crazy tomboy..." Ranma mumbled as she looked at her wet shirt in dismay. Well, at least she didn't get creamed by the bicycle of death; that would have hurt far more than Akane getting in a lucky shot.
Quickly getting out of the murky water, the redhead didn't even want to imagine exactly what was floating around in there, Ranma started her climb out of the ditch. When her face was level with the pavement, she seized up once again.
'Shampoo...' The martial artist flattened herself against the side of the drainage wall and searched for the purple-haired menace. Finally Ranma found spotted her query, but not in the way Ranma would have imagined.
Rounding a nearby corner, observing traffic laws, no less, was Shampoo on her bike. The Amazon was using her bell not as a badly-timed warning for a surprise attack, but as a means to shoo a pack of dogs out of her way.
Ranma's eyebrow rose several inches as he watched these proceedings. She knew that Shampoo had the time Furinkan let out memorized so she lie in wait for the perfect moment to spring. That Akane had walked with him today was even more of an incentive for Shampoo to latch onto her "Airen" and really grind in the dagger but the Amazon hadn't done either. Instead, here was a Shampoo completely oblivious to her "Ranma Radar" and seemingly uncaring about her proximity to Furinkan. Even more, it wasn't her usual 'hardly-there' dress she was wearing but a very conservative Chinese shirt and pants complete with cap. If Ranma didn't know better, it was almost like...
"...she's not looking for me?" the pigtailed martial artist whispered in quiet awe. The notion that Shampoo would actually not be trying to find him was an all-together new experience for him.
Actually, the more Ranma thought about it the happier she grew. It was
a liberating experience! No Akane pounding on him for something totally
out of his control, no creepy gnome woman beating him within an inch of
his life, no blind idiots popping up out of no where claiming he had
stolen their soul mates!
'So then why am I following her?' Ranma asked herself as she peeked her head over the side of the building she was perched on. It was too strange in Ranma's mind, Shampoo was definitely up to something.
With expert steps, Ranma followed Shampoo as she rode her bike through the busy streets of Nerima. It wasn't too difficult since the Amazon was obeying the traffic laws, however. Finally, Shampoo got off her bike at the busy Heiwadai Station. After chaining her trusty steed to a nearby lamppost, she took a large parcel out of the bike's basket and headed inside the station. Ranma only hesitated for a moment before following the girl in.
Shielded by the large crowd it wasn't difficult for Ranma to get closer to her target. Unfortunately, being in such a packed area caused numerous people to bump into the relatively small redhead. It was to Ranma's considerable consternation that one such bump happened right as she was trying to listen to where Shampoo was buying a ticket too.
Not daunted, Ranma walked up to the ticket counter once she was certain Shampoo was far enough away that she wouldn't be spotted. The ticket lady smiled through the window and pressed the little button inside that would allow her to talk.
"Hello and welcome to Heiwadai Station, would you like to buy a ticket?" she asked.
Ranma hesitated for a moment. If she went chasing after Shampoo on a train, she would probably miss lunch. Then again, as punishment for her earlier honesty in regards to iinazuke's cooking, Akane might decide to try her hand at the kitchen again.
"I'll take a ticket to wherever my friend was going!" Ranma chirped in as girlish a tone as she could manage. "We kinda got separated on the way in since this station is so big!"
"Oh? Who was your friend?" the ticket lady asked as she started to look over her previous sales records.
"A Chinese girl with purple hair. She was just here." Ranma responded.
The ticket lady scanned the display on her computer before punching several buttons. "That's one ticket to Shibuya then. Do you have a rail pass?"
Ranma almost growled as she remembered her father saying what a waste buying a rail pass was for martial artists. The cheap baka made him walk ever where. Still, it wasn't this woman's fault so the urge to curse the lazy panda was stamped out. "I think I left mine at home." she lied through her teeth. "I'll just take a standard ticket."
The price display flashed a total of 1,370 yen which was most of Ranma's lunch budget. Still, there was a mystery to be solved and toxic waste needed to be avoided so she shelled out the yen. It was a good thing for Ranma that she didn't hesitate that long because the train was about to leave with Shampoo inside.
It took a bit of effort to get inside the train car without being spotted by Shampoo but the redhead managed to hide behind a particularly fat otaku. From behind her wall of flesh, Ranma watched Shampoo look through the little bag she had brought with her. What was in it, Ranma asked herself. Could it be a new love potion? Maybe an old Chinese artifact to take out Ucchan or Akane. Of course, if it was one of those things then why would Shampoo be going to Shibuya to use it? Things just weren't adding up so Ranma resigned herself to waiting the trip out.
Several interesting minutes later, the 4:00pm train from Nerima rolled into Shibuya Station. The throng of people that had been cramped into the little car all tried to pile out at once and the resulting wave pushed the small redhead out into the large station.
The first thing Ranma noticed is that there were many more teenagers here than in Nerima. Some looked to simply be milling around at the station while others talked to unseen people on cell phones. Ranma snorted, she had never seen the need to carry one of the annoying things around. If Ranma did have one on her, it would be ringing constantly because of her many one-sided love interests. Speaking of them, where did the girl she had been following go? Ranma scanned the station until she spotted a flash of purple heading off the platform towards the street and headed after it.
The size of the station itself was making navigation confusing enough and it didn't help that Shampoo didn't seem to have this problem. The Amazon moved through the station like this was her second home, Ranma noticed.
It was with great relief to Ranma that Shampoo finally headed outside. The redhead quickly separated from the stifling crowd and followed the young girl outside. By now, Ranma's clothes were dry from her impromptu dip thanks to Akane so she felt no reason to change back into a guy. Remaining a girl would also help Ranma stay hidden from Shampoo since she wouldn't even think to look for a girl Ranma walking around Shibuya. With that in mind, Ranma sneaked ever closer to the Amazon...
Shampoo walked across the street from the station before coming to a stop in front of the famous statue of Hachiko the loyal Akita dog. The bronze monument elicited a shudder from Shampoo; darn the curse that turned her into a cat at the drop of a bucket, she would probably never be able to look at a dog the same way again.
The girl gave a happy sigh as she sat down at the base of the statue with her parcel sitting on her lap. Shampoo looked at the people milling around her. Some where just tourists looking at a landmark, some where people her own age looking for a small bit of shade, and the rest were couples that seemed to be buying into the whole loyalty motif that Hachiko was famous for. As if loyalty ever got her anything, she thought to herself.
'No, today is supposed to be a day away from all of that!' she scolded herself. No thoughts of Ranma to ruin her day. No, today would be 'Airen-free' Shampoo had decided.
The purple-haired girl turned with a smile as she was joined by two other girls. They were dressed in very short school uniforms with very baggy socks and looked very happy to see the Amazon. The girl who had called out to Shampoo was average height with short black hair and thick eyeliner. She was a bit more modest with her skirt length than the other girl, but it would still be enough to make even Shampoo blush if she had to wear it. The other girl had on the same color uniform but was even shorter than the first. She had longer hair that was a light brown coloring but with an odd white streak that was obviously bleached in.
"Ni hao." Shampoo greeted. "Is good to see Heiki and Neumi again! Where we go for day out?" she asked.
Heiki, the taller of the two girls, giggled at their friend. "You're getting a little better with Japanese, Shan Pu." she stated and Neumi nodded in agreement. "We were thinking of heading to Ichi-Maru-kyu for some shopping!" she all but squealed.
"Yeah, we got a early allowance so we can hit the shops!" Neumi chirped. The shorter girl then took stock of what Shampoo was wearing and obviously found fault with it since she sighed. "And we need to get you some new clothes. Shan Pu, you look like you just stepped off the boat from Shanghai."
"Neumi no need to say that." the Chinese girl pouted. Still, she allowed herself to be dragged off by the two laughing schoolgirls towards the famous teen hangout.
In the bushes behind the statue of Hachiko Ranma blinked in confusion. This day was getting stranger and stranger and it looked like the surreal ness wasn't going to let-up anytime soon. Shampoo talking to people without trying to kill them? People actually happy to see her? Insanity! Snapping out of her stupor, Ranma tried to act casual as she followed the girls into the crowded streets of Shibuya Ward.
Shibuya 109, or Ichi-Maru-kyu as some teens call it, is the premier shopping complex for local high school girls in Shibuya. The many shops it houses are the first footholds for many of the most popular fashions in Japan and the store owners always display their latest fashions themselves no matter how strange they were. Shampoo, being dragged along by Heiki and Neumi, was finding this out firsthand.
"Aiya! That one look like ruffled chicken!" Shampoo exclaimed while she pointed to a shop owner talking to another group of teens about her 'wonderful' new hat which, as Shampoo pointed out, looked like a gaggle of chickens sitting atop her head.
"I don't know, it might look good on some people." Heiki defended. She obviously didn't believe that anyone would want to wear a chicken hat, though.
Neumi seemed to disagree, however, as she was trotting over from the shop with a large hat box tucked under her shoulder. Shampoo and Heiki tried their level best to smile with some form of sincerity when the naive schoolgirl asked if the hat looked as good as she thought it was but it was obvious from their looks that they weren't all that taken with the garment.
Ranma, who was hiding behind a clothes rack, didn't even bother to try and hide her feelings about the hat as she almost fell over laughing at the look Neumi presented with a chicken hat sitting on top of her head. Passing shoppers looked at the redhead as if she were insane.
Shampoo stopped smiling immediately and turned towards the rack of clothes where Ranma was hiding and narrowed her eyes. Faster than either of her two friends could ask what was wrong, Shampoo was at the clothes wrack and lifting it up by it's metal bars. What she found there made her eyes narrow even further.
Up inside of the clothes wrack, Ranma was holding on for dear life. As long as Shampoo didn't look up everything would be fine...
"Shampoo thought she hear Ranma." the Amazon said to herself. Unfortunately for her, Heiki and Neumi had heard what she said and winked at each other.
"Ranma? Isn't that a guy's name, Heiki?" Neumi asked in as innocent a tone as she could muster.
Beside her, Heiki was trying to contain her amusement at act. "Why yes, Neumi, I think it is. Shan Pu, you didn't tell us you had a boyfriend."
Immediately, Shampoo dropped the metal display and wheeled on her friends. "It not like that! Ranma just...boy Shampoo know in Nerima."
Both schoolgirls rolled their eyes at the obvious lie. "Suuuuure Shan Pu, we...hey! Are you alright?" Heiki pushed past her confused friends and started digging around in the wrecked clothes wrack Shampoo had just inadvertently demolished and plucked out a very disoriented redhead.
"Uh...I think I am?" Ranma answered while she rubbed the growing lump on her head. Finally, the reality of her situation set in. "Oh crap! Shampoo, I was just...err...running an errand for Kasumi! Yeah, that's it! She needed some stuff from...uh...downtown and I just...stopped in here for some shopping? Heh...funny, really..." Ranma finished up with a slight laugh.
Shampoo's eye had developed a slight tick by this point and she felt the onset of a horrible headache. Still, her Airen was here and there was a way she was supposed to act; laws were laws.
With a sigh, she put on a fake smile and was about to embarrass herself in front of an already growing crowd by latching onto the smaller girl but Neumi cut her off. "You know Shan Pu? You must be from Nerima, huh?" she asked.
"Uh, yeah." Ranma answered, not at all knowing what to say to a friend of Shampoo's. Until today she didn't even know her self-declared wife had any friends in Japan. "I'm Saotome..." Ranma paused. The look on Shampoo's face was forced, even with her limited exposure to people Ranma could tell that. Obviously the Amazon wasn't happy her day got wrecked and probably didn't want her friends to know about him since Shampoo had denied him being her boyfriend earlier. Not even her best friend, Ukyo, would give up a chance like that. "I'm Saotome Ranko, sorry 'bout this."
Shampoo blinked in confusion. Ranko? Who was that? Still, Heiki and Neumi seemed to believe it without any problem and Ranma was the one that had mislead them so she might as well go along with it. At least it meant these people wouldn't get something new to gawk at. "Yes, Shampoo know Ranko from Nerima." the purple-haired teen lied effortlessly. It was really a lie, she told herself, since she did know Ranma.
"How lucky that you ran into a friend from home, right Shan Pu?" Neumi asked even as Shampoo was taking several deep breaths to calm herself.
The Amazon glanced at a very sheepish 'Ranko' and reluctantly nodded. "Too too...nice...to see Ranko again. Shampoo sure she very busy and no can talk, though." Shampoo stressed.
Ranma seemed to have taken the hint and started to make an excuse to leave when Heiki grabbed her arm and started to pull her along. "Oh no you don't! We probably ruined your shopping trip with Shan Pu's misunderstanding so we insist you come with us! It'll be fun, just a girls day out." she declared. Between the glare Shampoo was giving him and the girly atmosphere of the complex they were in, Ranma had a sinking feeling that this day was going to be far worse than suffering through one of Akane's lunches...
There you have it, the first chapter of a three-shot I'm doing to let off a little steam. Expect the rest of the chapters to be about as long as this one and carry the same lighthearted mood; I don't want to get too angst in this. Oh, and don't post reviews on this if you are only doing it to ask about the status of my other fictions. Doing that won't get them updated any faster. Forgive the spelling/grammar errors in this since I'm not bothering my pre-reader with this little drabble. Most of your questions about the characters will be answered next chapter so don't ask about that as I won't tell you. See yas.