Disclaimer- I do not own Ranma or Naruto.
Where? Chapter 1 - Strange Forest
Ranma had to admit it, he was lost. He looked around him at unfamiliar tree after unfamiliar tree. He had gone on a short training trip to let things cool down back in Nerima after his near marriage to Akane. Not only that, but the whole mess with Saffron had him doubting his abilities. But now he couldn't for the life of him figure out where he was.
It started out easily enough, hop a train to Hakone outside of Tokyo and walk into the mountains to find a nice secluded area to train. And train he did, for several grueling months he pushed his body to the limit, and perfecting all of the skills he had acquired in such a short time since he had come to Nerima.
He knew it, as had his father, that while his fighting prowess had increased, he didn't have the time to incorporate the new techniques fully into his own style. That was the reason that he had so much difficulty fighting Saffron.
While he was training, he figured out a few neat tricks, and he couldn't wait to use them on his dad the next time they sparred. Though, to do that, he needed to get home, which seemed to be more elusive than a stationary massive city had business being.
He scratched his head in confusion and looked at his compass, then at the sky again. They agreed in the direction he was heading, but he still couldn't even find train tracks. He had been traveling for a day now, when before it had only taken him about four hours of walking to get to where he had trained.
"Damnit," Ranma swore, punching a tree to his left, severely mangling the hapless plant. He pulled his hand out of the mashed tree and looked at it a little sad. "Geeze, I guess I know how pig boy feels right now, lost and angry." He adjusted the straps of his pack and continued onward, looking for anything that might be even remotely familiar to him.
Ranma sat at a small campfire later that night. It was summer out, so the temperature was warm, but the light still gave him a small modicum of comfort. He pulled the rabbit he caught out of the fire and bit into it tenderly. Within a moment it was gone, no one would have even been able to see him move.
He tossed the makeshift spit into the fire to add a little more fuel, and leaned back against a tree and looked up to the night sky.
It doesn't make any sense, he thought to himself, the stars are all wrong. He studied them for a long while. Not even the north star could be seen. He sighed to himself, just another thing I can say happened to me, I guess. Managed to end up on the other side of the world, at the very least. Worst case, I'm in a different world. He knew it was a distinct possibility, what with the things he had been able to get used to over the last year.
He reached over to pour some water from a nearby bucket onto the dying fire and putting the bucket back in its place, set it on a rock. The resulting imbalance tipped the bucket over, spilling the water over his side.
She looked at the bucket, irritated. It was a curse for a reason. She had gotten used to it over the time she had it, causing the attraction to water to lessen somewhat, but it was still there. At least now it was with normal stuff, like accidentally spilling a bucket on herself, rather than a door to door goldfish salesman whose cart had a wheel that broke causing the cart to dip quickly on one side, launching a bowl on the opposite side which sailed neatly through the air, spilling no water, only to land squarely on her head.
She peeled the wet clothing off and slipped into her sleeping bag, deciding to get some sleep before heading out the next day.
Ranma was once again male, having changed gender when he woke up. He was traveling once more in a northeasterly direction, and the day was clear and blue. He was getting used to the forest a little bit now, what with the large, healthy trees and abundant wildlife.
He also knew that trees like this didn't grow anywhere in Japan. He knew trees got this large in America, but they were supposed to be a sort of pine, and these looked more like impossibly massive oaks to him.
It was nearing three in the afternoon, if he was reading the sun correctly each time he rose to the top of the trees, which also provided another clue that he was not in Japan. He couldn't see Mt. Fuji anywhere. The day before he had left to return home, he had seen it, clear as day in the distance, but now it was nowhere.
He really hoped he wasn't in a different world, because he really didn't know any means to get back if he was. He lost himself in thought, trying to think of ways to tell for sure if he was still on Earth, to at least put some worries to rest. The most logical thing he could think of was to ask some locals for a world map. He just had to find said locals first.
His musings were cut short when he heard several thunks from a branch above him followed by a very light whistle. He knew what both sounds meant. Ducking his head back, he looked up while avoiding what looked to be a thrown kunai. He saw three figures making their way through the trees at a high rate of speed. That ruled them out as the originators of the thrown weapon.
A few more loud thunks ahead of him showed five men, dressed in black in hot pursuit. Ninjas, Ranma thought to himself, but I thought I wasn't in Japan. He reached over ad grabbed the weapon that nearly found itself in his head and pulled it from the tree before making a mighty leap that carried him up to the branches.
Ranma took off, easily matching the pace of the ninjas, his footfalls quieter than an insect's landing. He stayed back just far enough to see what was happening without bringing attention to himself.
The five pursuers would occasionally throw either a few shuriken or a few kunai at the people they were chasing. I need to find out what's going on, Ranma thought, one of these groups can help me, now I just have to figure out who's friendlier. He sped up and went around the pursuers in a wide arc to the left, taking care to move faster between the trees and stop behind each one to stay out of sight.
One of the three people fleeing, a girl, if the long hair was any indication, reached a hand out and caught a kunai that was thrown in their direction, stopping it from hitting her ally who was atop a massive white dog. She threw the offending object behind her with unerring accuracy and struck one of the followers hard in the chest. He fell a good distance, probably never to get back up.
Well, Ranma thought to himself, she doesn't have a problem killing to get away, but at least she is attempting to protect her friends, those other guys don't seem all that friendly with each oth- ack! His internal squawk was cause by the girl looking over her shoulder directly at him. He reacted on instinct when her moment of inattention nearly caused her to miss a shuriken aimed directly at her. He didn't even notice the kunai leave his hand when he registered not even a split second later its contact with the other airborne projectile. So much for waiting to choose sides, I guess.
He knew what he had done when he intercepted the attack. Even if it was unwitting, he had thrown in his lot with the fleeing ninjas, might as well make it easier on them, he shrugged to himself. With another inhuman leap he carried himself over three shuriken, through the treetops and over to a branch directly between the retreating ninjas and the attackers.
They didn't even try to slow down, not knowing what they were getting themselves into. The leading man pulled back an arm, a kunai in hand ready to strike. As his hand was sailing in a practiced and perfected arc, a foot met his chin, altering his direction skyward.
Ranma's leg whipped around, sending him spinning while it lashed out once more to send another ninja into the tree of the branch he had just landed on. He landed on the same foot, using all of the kinetic force from both his jump and subsequent kicks to drive his other foot into the stomach of one of the remaining two ninjas, knocking him senseless.
The last ninja came up a little short of the unexpected resistance and dropped into a fighting stance, watching Ranma closely. Anyone who could take out three chuunin with so little effort was a great threat, indeed.
They stood staring at each other for only ten seconds, but in such a lighting quick battle, it was an eternity. Ranma waited on guard as the man took a jump back, moving his hands quickly in various formations before throwing them back out at Ranma. Ranma threw his arms up to block, only to be thrown back by a massive jet of water, sending her crashing down through the trees. His foe finished, the ninja helped his one conscious comrade to his feet and they retreated with the unconscious one who was sent into the tree but did not fall the great distance before retreating.
Ranma hit the ground hard, though her toughened body wasn't really damaged by the impact. She was hit harder by Ryoga under the Ultimate Weakness Moxibustion. She rolled with impact and sprang back up to her feet, watching the ninjas in black flee.
"And don't come back, you jerks!" She yelled at their shrinking forms. Ranma slumped back against the nearest tree, wringing the water out of her shirt.
She smiled at her performance against the ninjas. Back when she first arrived in Nerima with her father she wouldn't have stood a chance. Now, however, there was no one who could match her speed, and few who possessed her strength, supernatural techniques aside. Had she known the one had been able to produce such an amount of water in the form of an attack, he wouldn't have had the chance to strike. She learned something new everyday, it seemed.
Her musings were cut short as she felt the presence of three people behind her as well as what felt like a massive beast. It seemed she was about to find out if the people she rescued were indeed friendly.
Ranma turned around, a friendly smile on her face. She looked at the central figure, a girl with long hair. What took him aback, though, were her eyes. They held no pupils, and the irises were a pale purple bordering on white.
"Sorry about that," she said, "it was sort of my fault that you got distracted, so I took those guys out before they could do any harm." Ranma was put at ease when the girl relaxed her stance slightly. She was obviously the moral leader of the group, judging by the relaxing of her two companions, and the snarl being removed from the white dog's face.
One of her companions, a boy dressed, strangely enough, in two coats, one with its hood up and the other with a high collar, moved over to the motionless body of one of their former pursuers. He kneeled, inspecting the body.
"No need to apologize," the girl said, "we were patrolling when they ambushed us, we were pulling back to find some reinforcements when you came across us. Its good that you aren't hurt from your fall. Thank you for your help."
Ranma recognized the speech patterns of a personal raised to be a traditional woman anywhere, having been around his mother recently. She was definitely part of an upper-class family, or at least a samurai family, though why she was armed as a ninja was beyond him. She held her smile.
"No prob," she replied, "they were trying to hit you while you were running, that wasn't really fair, wasn't it?" The girl smiled back at Ranma, seemingly happy at Ranma's attitude. Yeah, Ranma thought, she's a good person.
"Sound," came a report from the boy in two coats, "likely on a reconnaissance mission." This served to remove the smile from the girl's face. Her pale eyes seemed to wilt slightly, the prospect of conflict dampening her spirits.
"We'll have to report to the fifth, then," she said, "Lady Tsunade will want to know." She turned to leave, her companions following suit.
"Hey," Ranma called after them, "you mind if I tag along? You never know if they have friends coming back for you, ya know?" The two boys looked at the girl for a moment, before she nodded to the both of them.
"Yes," she answered, "I think we would like that." Ranma smiled at her, seeing her smile return.
"Cool," Ranma said, her speech becoming more casual as the ice was broken," my name's Ranma, by the way."
"Its very nice to meet you Ranma," the girl responded, "I am Hinata."
End Chapter the First.
Author's note post script:
I know, I'm in the middle of two fics already, and I'm busy enough here as it is. But I wanted to have another fic ready for when writer's block rears its ugly head. This way I have three fics I can bounce between based on my mood. This will inevitably mean that I may have interest in one fic for a period of time, though I inted to write as often as I can, even though I will shortly have a home stay and an internship here in the land of the rising sun. Rest assured though, that the next chapters for both The Qi of the World and Harry Potter and the Dragon's Breath are underway, and should see a release within the next two weeks if not sooner. Damn, where did all of my free time go?