Gold, Power, and Black Trousers
Based on the creation of Rumiko Takahashi, Ranma 1/2
written by Riverburn
Gold, Power and black trousers ... and a bit of coincidence. Ranma and Nabiki recall events that led them to their controversial, unlikely and quite uncommon bond that is not quite fluffy, but a wild clash of wills
Short Story from Ranma's point of view. Not a real story, but more a summary of one that leads to a certain situation, namely one where Ranma and Nabiki, contrary to logic end up together, both as in character as possible.
though using a couple that would faster kill each other then share a bathroom, this story is not genious, renewing or any of that. In fact it uses quite a few cliche's, but the result might be a bit different.
Version 1.4: reworked some other problems and now actively included Ranma's curse. maybe a reread is not a bad idea. it's a good story anyway.
Idly I thumbed through the stack of papers lying in front of me. Afterwards I spun around with the chair before my eye fell on her stapler. It was simple and black claiming it could staple 86 papers. I contemplated the ingenious device for a second before putting it back.
I leaned over the desk resting my head in my arms and observed the office. I shivered slightly at the cold touch my bare torso made with the wooden desk. I got out of bed in the middle of the night, and only wore black trousers.
It was a tasteful office, with brown hard-wooden furniture decorating the walls. The whole radiated warmth and cosiness. I wasn't exactly keen on cosiness – not the thing men kept himself busy with –, but here I made an exception. I could easily understand why she felt comfortable working here. The paintings and leather sofa added a nice touch.
Still, I would've expected something different from her, more modern, smoother and sharper. Not that it looked old fashioned, but it wasn't exactly modern as well.
She tried to explain me once, or more accurately, tried to give an excuse, but I didn't really understand her. Then again, she didn't really try hard, she just said she liked it, and if I didn't I could shove my opinion where the sun don't shine.
Recalling the argument, I chuckled lightly. That was more or less how she always finished arguments whenever I gave my opinion. And of course telling me that no one asked my opinion, which was technically true, but then I never shut my mouth.
I spun the chair 180 degrees, got myself comfortable in a lotus position, and softly pushed myself away from the desk towards the large modern window behind the desk. It showed a small concrete garden with plants and bushes in it. Not bad, but too little space, certainly with those eight skyscrapers in the direct vicinity. There was hardly any breathing space, not only the concrete environment, but also the community as well as the government. All were so competitive here in Singapore, so set on achieving. Coming from me, Japanese, that sounded absurd, but it was true. However, I guess being a city-state; it doesn't give people many choices.
I rotated the chair another 180 degrees, again facing the desk. I saw a biro lying on the desk, decided to play with that a bit, and in the meantime wondering what I was doing in this concrete forest.
It all began when I had to decide what I would do with my life. Many people expected me to marry a Tendo and take over the dojo and teach kids the Anything Goes. That was for a long while also the image I had, well if I bothered to form an image. Usually I just didn't had a clue what I'd do.
What I eventually ended up doing sort of happened on its own accord. At a certain point I was studying at university, really not liking it. It was too boring, too repetitive and the chaos inherent in my life was painfully absent. I once even purposely changed into female, but without any effect, they only cared for their boring courses.
I'd think I'd be happy that people for once left me alone, still one fine day after another excruciatingly boring day I got a visit from none other than Kiima. I could almost sense trouble and warmly welcomed her, offering a soda, asking with what I could do to help her today. And without really thinking it through, I went and helped as I usually do. I know I had responsibilities but hey, I'm supposed to help those weaker than me, which more or less means everyone. They had some problems with a clan I never really heard from, but also resident in Bayankala Range, the LinLan.
Since I destroyed Saffron, the Phoenix's morale dropped, and the LinLan took this opportunity to invade them. Those guys were strange, obsessed with living on the ground. Their whole fighting style was incredibly limited, so it wasn't that difficult to convince them to stop pestering the Phoenix, me being the aerial expert in combat. Whenever things got to tight I'd go up, and attack again.
One might guess that after that umpteenth adventure in China I'd simply return to Japan, one would guess wrong. Having the choice between staying with the phoenix for the time being, or going back to university, I choose the Phoenix. Was that a smart? Was it responsible? I don't really think a lot about that, but even if it wasn't, I didn't have so much going for me in Japan anyway. My relationship with Akane wasn't going too well, I didn't like university, and missed trekking through China and trekking in general.
Comfort of civilization might feel great at first, but having travelled all my life, my living space was as big as the world. At university, I started feeling the effect of living in such a small place. I felt suffocated, I needed more space, just Tokyo wasn't enough for me anymore.
By that time, I was 21, so I had a bit more spine, and if my indecisive mind actually made up its mind, I was going for it. I was still very impulsive, and in a certain way immature to just up and leave everything behind like that. Also of course arrogant to believe I'd be able to overcome everything, nonetheless I did. As I always tell myself and people around me, I've got a good reason to be arrogant, because simply put, I can be.
By far the greatest barrier for me was my honour. I'd be leaving Akane, someone I was honour bound to marry, someone I was even in a way in love with. Being a 21-year-old guy living in modern Japan Tokyo and having had to deal with years of university, makes you think about things - revalidate them - certainly when the person you are supposed to be bound to herself says it isn't working out.
Looking back, it amazes me I tried to keep my honour so long intact. Only a year after Akane had proposed a breakup did I decide to put my honour in the fridge. It wasn't an easy decision, but one I made nonetheless.
Since University didn't interest me, and friends weren't a good-enough reason to keep me in Japan I took off. And seeing where I landed the best decisions I ever made (but then I only make good ones).
At first, it was going from one weird town to the next, meeting people, and other artist, both Martial Artists like myself, as artists in other fields. It was a revelation because I soon discovered that magic is not all that uncommon as some people believe. I've seen people paint paintings that literally suck you in. I've tasted food that didn't look special but sure tasted magical – and it wasn't always good.
From China I travelled west to Tibet, then south to India. I've met monks from all sorts of religions and convictions, Martial Artists who had the most bizarre techniques that I happily, readily and as always easily learned. Of course here and there I was bound to change into female. This once happened when I stayed at a temple with only females. Who would know there was something like a female specific martial art, and that females had their own specialised ki-atack.
Usually I just travelled from town to temple to whatever came on my path, but sometimes I helped out. The people I helped like that were from every station and function. From poor peasants in a Himalaya mountain range to a group of soul searching balloons. Helping people doesn't sound that different from what I've been doing most of my life, but it did began to change when people started offering me stuff for what I'd done for them. Apparently helping out of the goodness of one's heart – like I do of course – isn't everywhere ingrained in society.
At first, I tried to refuse, but eventually I began to notice they felt offended, and hence I started accepting their gifts. Peasants usually gave me a big town meal; the more magical experiences resulted in diamonds, gold, silver and the occasional magical item.
In short, the more I travelled, the richer I got. It was absolutely not my intention, and most of what I had I gave to the poor mountain people. It can be an adventure on itself to force a Tibetan mountain townsman to accept a generous contribution to his village.
But no matter how much I gave, I ended up with more. Travelling with all that stuff was hardly possible, and regardless of how good I had become, I couldn't do what Mousse could. At one point I decided to just drop it somewhere, but eventually decided that with all those things I could do some good on a bigger scale. Thing was that although I'm pretty good at about everything, I knew very well I had no idea how I should do something like that, so I just dropped all the things off at mount Phoenix.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, however they made the wrong assumption that I was interested in gold and stuff. Actually, at first I had a mind of giving my stuff to them, but quickly realised – as they began doubling my hoard – that they weren't interested.
And so for a couple of years I went around the world, wherever I'd land, helping people out, solving problems and enjoying their hospitality. And as I said, I met all sorts of people, all sorts of creature, normal or magical, sometimes returning to Mount Phoenix to add stuff to my already extensive hoard.
Coincidentally one of these travels led me to Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, many caves, many mountains sticking out of the sea... and lots of tourism. No one knew however what was living under those mountains. I didn't at first either, but of course I had to fall out of one of those numerous touristic boats and some weird fish creature saw me change genders. It didn't take long before I made contact with them, and heard about their problem. And maybe for the first time I couldn't help them on my own.
I tried, I really did but for all of my social skills and graces I couldn't convince the local organisation to stop polluting Ha Long Bay (apparently me asking isn't good enough). I even went so far to change into female, and use all my big cute guns – big watery eyes, dainty fists – but without luck (It was weird really, the older I got, the less my cute act seemed to work, but the more I got hit on). They told me I should take it up with custom officials in Hanoi who send me to Hong Kong, China, north of Ha Long Bay.
And their came probably the biggest change. Imagine my surprise...
I suddenly straightened myself when I heard someone walking around. For a fraction of a second I extended my senses through Ki, and relaxed when I realised who was walking around. I was pretty sure I knew who, but you can never be sure enough. For all Singapore's insane laws and relatively low crime rate, it's not crime free, and it only takes a little effort to check who's walking around.
I wasn't surprised when I noticed the person walking around was bee lining for her office.
I leaned back in her comfortable office chair, and put my feet on her desk. I don't know why but she somehow got a kick out of that. I'd presume she'd hate it since I was placing my feet on furniture she constantly used, but then I was wrong. And Akane always called me the pervert.
I played a bit with the biro, waiting until she arrived.
It didn't take long, and when she entered, I couldn't help but grin.
She apparently had woken from a deep sleep, and still had drowsy eyes, a dozy expression, and a sort of dazed look. It was kinda cute. The thing that made it even cuter was that she hadn't put on a robe. Usually she uses an expensive silk robe when she gets out of bed – admitted leaving it open frequently – but I guess her sleepiness made her forget to put it on.
"Whaz are you doing here?" Nabiki asked still lingering in dreamland. She was rubbing her eyes with her delicate loose fist, and trying to get her eyes adjusted to the light.
"Come back to bed," she continued, slurring a bit and probably not completely aware of her surroundings.
"Hmm, actually, I was just recalling the time when we met," I answered softly, smiling a bit at her dazedness, her blinking, and trying to concentrate on me.
"Why would you do that?" she asked, her sleepy face showing hints of frustration at both the light and that she got out of bed because I felt like reminiscing.
"I dunno," I answered truthfully. "Perhaps because I see it as a fortunate event, perhaps I sometimes just like to think of old times," I finished looking at her bleary eyes, that still weren't adjusted to the light, and probably encountered troubles from the brain that really wanted to go back to bed.
"Hmm, okay," she said fuzzily. She looked behind her, probably weighting if she should go back to bed since I wasn't doing anything stupid and bad for business. Then she turned back to me and saw me sitting in HER chair with my bare feet on HER desk, playing with HER biro only wearing black trousers.
Her groggy eyes began to focus as she observed me. At first, it was kind of weird how something so rudimentary could have such an effect on her, but I'm used to it.
She slowly walked over to me, her eyes losing sleepiness with every step she took. When she stood next to me, she made herself comfortable leaning against her desk with her naked derriere.
"So where were you?" she asked, suddenly a lot more alert. I looked up and grinned at her.
"Actually, I was just about to meet you," I said, spinning my chair so I was looking at her. I had to put my feet back on the carpet, but that wasn't a problem, they were starting to tingle anyway.
"Ah yes, the thirty dice, all six," she said with a smile, also remembering the event. I don't know if it was her business nature that made her refer to it as a chance statistic or that she used to work a lot with chance statistics at school. She told me that calculating the likelihood of a certain situation is vital in business so probably the former. She actually called it 22 E 22 at first but since I didn't quite get it, she simplified it a bit for me.
Basically it means that the chance that she and I would've met is roughly as big as throwing thirty sixes in one throw. Nabiki is all for chances and exceptional uncalculated business prospects, which she says is the reason why she's so good. She sees when the dice is going to land on a particular number, or in her own words, she has a nose for opportunities and business.
"Mr. Hero got degraded from rescuing complete towns to lobbying for preserving the magical wildlife in Ha Long Bay," she said with a wide grin. "Wildlife that people don't even know about," she finished, helping me remember our first encounter after years. Coming from her it sounds really stupid, but that was indeed basically what I did and of course it wasn't stupid, just a different sort of challenge.
It wasn't the first time I'd visited a big concrete city like Hong Kong. I'd been to Shanghai and Peking as well, and of course living for such a long time in Tokyo also helped. So being in a city like that wasn't that surprising, and I could adapt myself easy to city life. As always I adjust as easily as water, and hence decided to wear sunglasses whenever in the city.
Anyway, the company that owned all those small touristic boats was situated somewhere in a big office flat on the 30th floor. So up I went, and was welcomed by a cranky woman sitting behind a desk supposedly welcoming people but doing a shitty job. I told her my problem, she sighed deep, looked at me – I had this distinct feeling she wanted me to go away – and sighed again before calling someone on the phone. She pointed to some seats and said that I had to wait a bit.
To make a long story short, I met the man but he couldn't do anything about it, saying that he had no control over what those people did, but he'd be sure to say something about it. I couldn't shake the feeling back then that I was played for a fool. Anyway back down I was about to exit the building when...
"22 E 22," Nabiki said again, smiling down at me. Instead of leaning, she sat now on her desk, wiggling a bit to get more comfortable on the dark cold wood of her desk. "Thirty dices all sixes, that are the odds I'd place on meeting you there. I wouldn't have bet on it, I even didn't bother thinking about it. but I guess it worked out alright," she said nonchalantly, a simple sharp smile on her face. For those who knew her, a brilliant radiating smile. I was one of those people, and heck maybe one of the only, and hence returned it one of my own smiles.
"Imagine my shock when you bumped into me at one of the more prestigious commercial centres of Hong Kong," she continued, recalling how we met. "A lot of business is done by many mathematical formula, but however you look at it, you can never completely predict how the customer will react. Luckily, many algorithms have been made to border the possible reactions of the people. Of course, you must defy common logic again, and do the thing that is absolutely not possible."
I thought about that for a second. I agree that us meeting was as unlikely as a pigeon discussing Porter's Five Forces – another one her theories. I smiled and looked up at her.
She stopped, and gave me one of her smug looks. She skipped over to the middle of her desk, and with her legs wheeled the chair so that it facing the desk, hence she was able to put her feet on the armrests. My view improved considerable.
"Regardless of chances, you bumped into me," she then continued, smiling her characteristically calculated smug smile. "it was quite an eventful day. I had made one of my first major blunders, investing in something that didn't work, and I was more than a little frustrated. Bumping into someone really didn't help my mood. I wanted to scream at you, to bloody watch out where you were going."
"But then you saw my face, and you stopped shoving and insulting," I finished with gleefully. "Guess I still only need my face to stop women dead in their tracks."
She actually didn't know I was outside Japan. For all she knew I was still a university student in Tokyo. Oh, she heard stories from Akane about me not returning, but she didn't pay them much heed. At that moment, she was trying to make career, which wasn't too simple, and requested a lot of moving around.
After the bump she quickly composed herself. I was surprised to find her in Hong Kong, but didn't let it bother me too much. I didn't know a thing about chances, save that there was little chance of meeting here there. Still I met her, and that was that. We decided to drink something in a local pub.
She asked me what I was doing here, and I answered truthfully that I was looking for a way to get people not to throw all their trash in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. I told her in one breath about the mythical sea folk that lived in the bay. Nabiki had stared at me for a second, then took a measured sip from her red port and eventually sighed. She eventually asked me if it was any use of not believing what I just told her. I didn't really get what she was referring to, and just shrugged.
She had then just sat back, and shook her head. She told me that if I hadn't had money I wouldn't be able to achieve anything. Then I had told her smiling and grinning that if money was the only problem there really wasn't any.
That got her interested of course. I explained about all the gold, silver and diamonds I had. Not surprisingly, she didn't believe a word I was saying.
So, I went back to the Phoenix people, took a gold statue with me, went back to Hong Kong, and showed it to Nabiki. Since she worked in the same building as the one where I tried to get people to take care of Ha Long Bay, her office wasn't hard to find.
"The second time we met, you just strolled in my office and placed the bloody golden statue on my desk as if it was a coffee I'd ordered, carrying that ever present nonchalant smile of yours, as if doing the impossible was an everyday occurrence for you," Nabiki said with a pensive smile, remembering the event.
"At first I didn't know what to believe. You don't just make a golden statue magically appear, but then you don't seem to know what impossible is. Anyway, I was almost afraid to touch it. Here you were, Saotome Ranma loser number one in my book, with a golden statue. At your insistence, I picked it up and began contemplating it. Obviously, I had to make sure this was real gold. So as soon as I had my break we went over to an expert"
"19.467 karate," she continued, recalling the event with businesslike precision. "Mixed with copper for sturdiness as per usual, but mixed on a too low temperature. Regardless, it was enough to rescue Ha Long Bay. I was in the middle of trying to recover from a crisis, so at that time I hadn't time to sell it for you," she said before I took over.
"You were really fickle," I reflected. "On one hand you hardly wanted to touch it, on the other hand you didn't allow me to sell it myself, afraid my assumed," and I emphasized 'assumed'. "Incompetence might lose me a few yen. So you send me over to your flat where I had to stay while you tried to convince your boss not to fire you." I clicked my tongue, and looked at her speculatively before continuing
"I remember that week pretty good. You always got yourself stressed somehow, woke up at impossibly early hours in the morning, even for me, and came back around 10 pm," I remarked, subtly smiling. I knew she had hated that week, not only because she had some problems at work.
"Yeah, and I remember someone always butting his nose in business that were not his," she bit back with hints of frustration, but before continuing in her usual contained frustrated way, she stopped and considered her answer for a second. "Well, 'weren't his' at that moment. I remember that after three days you couldn't stand it and you started making my meals, and almost physically forced me to eat them." she tried to sound indignant, and being Nabiki, she'd succeed if I didn't know better.
"Yea, eating junk food really is not the way to go about this, and I learned some pretty 'magical' recipes on my travels. But you admitted, eventually, that it did you a world of good."
"So it did, but chaining me to my chair is a bit excessive to make me eat no? Anyway, after a week or so, when most damage control was done, we went to get you some money," she said with a smile, her previous frustration gone with the wind.
"Yeah, first apparently we needed to get me a bank account. But I still have no idea why we needed to go to Quam Limited as a bank? It looked really creepy, cold, the people were unfriendly, and wasn't even really near your place" as I said that Nabiki shook her head.
"I'm not going to explain you why we needed to go to that particular Bank, safe to say I had my account already there, so might as well open an account for you. One giant plus is that you can deposit gold there, without in fact depositing in," I was about to interrupt, even though I knew I wouldn't understand it even if she tried to explain. "I'm not going to try explain again. Anyway, we went to a broker, got you around 700.000 HKD (90.000USD – 1 pound gold is 8070USD) and..." Nabiki stopped and looked at me curiously.
"You know, I never asked a contribution for my efforts. I guess with all what was going on I forgot," she eventually said speculating about possibly venues to make extra money.
"Right, you ain't got any right to complain, you got enough money from me later when we got the rest exchanged," I said indignantly.
"Don't you worry your handsome head about that. You already got me that money in more than one way," her mysterious smile reminded me of certain things. It was creepy how she could just adjust the tiniest nuance in her smile and make you consider whatever she wanted you to consider. As a result, I took a quick look at what was at my eye level, gulped, got a little hotter, and looked back up at a smug looking Nabiki.
I composed myself, and considered what happened next. I thought we'd simply go back to the same man and offer him the money to keep the bay clean, but instead Nabiki had a better idea. We went to a professional river cleaning company, and with the government of Vietnam agreeing they went about to clean the river. And so another mission successfully accomplished.
Things however would never be the same. Nabiki knew about my treasure, and she wouldn't relent until I agreed to invest it. I told her I needed to a car or something to get all the stuff because it was simply too much for me to carry it all. True, I'm out of this world strong, but large awkward unworkable stuff is, regardless of strength, large awkward unworkable stuff.
The fact that I couldn't carry it must've meant that I had an insane amount, so with that in mind Nabiki wanted to see my hoard for herself. So she and I travelled to the Phoenix people. I'd think she'd be most amazed about all the magic around here. But that only made her breathless and stare in awe. The gold, silver and gems however made her swoon.
For safety reasons, she told me, it might be best to exchange these items one load at a time. So together we went back, plus a bit of gold.
For reasons I am totally unaware off, I couldn't just exchange it all at the same time. Again Nabiki had tried to explain it to me, in that same 'I'm talking to a five year old who isn't going to understand it no matter how simple I make it' kind of voice, and I again had nodded and acted as if I understood all, and eventually asked the same questions again. At that point Nabiki took the stuff out of my hands, placed them in the guestroom and told me not to touch it till "the flux has gone low again", or in words I could understand, till she said I could sell it, using a lot of expressive hand movements to make sure she got her point across.
This required me to stay a lot in her flat. Not that I minded, it was a pretty decent flat, but a little smaller then, for example, a nice old fashioned temple. I tried filling my days with seeing the city, making her food, and I even got so awfully bored I started cleaning her flat.
"Keeping you in my flat was probably not a bad idea at all," Nabiki said with that lopsided mysterious smile of hers that told you she had a secret. I got to know that smile pretty well, and knew what it meant, most of the time. "I mean, at first it was just nice to have some company, even if it was one of the idiots from back home. But as soon as you started cooking regularly and cleaning the place up, it really got better."
She linked her feet under the armrests and rolled the office chair towards her, incidentally giving me a close up. I could help but look down for a fraction of a second. "But what really made me cheer my decision to keep you was when I came home looking like a wreck," she said, a sensual smile on her lips. I couldn't tell if it was because she caught me glancing or what was about to be told.
Together with her smile came burning eyes. Years ago I'd stammer, falter, and jump out of a forty-floor building. Then she moved to a higher floor and I couldn't jump out of her flat anymore. So instead of fleeing, I met that challenge head on. As a result, I was now far calmer, could casually link my hands, and return her smile with one of my own lopsided ones – very much unlike hers.
"You know, you actually are lucky I can so easily read ki levels and stuff like that, otherwise I'd never 've done something like that, certainly not with you," I said, continuing her story.
"Because..." she asked, frowning slightly, but still with fire in her eyes.
"Because you were scary back then, well, you're still scary, but then I didn't know how to handle that. But your Ki paths were so screwed up that it amazed me you could still walk. Since it's been my job to help those weaker than me, I sighed and helped ya out a bit" I finished, leaving my story open for her to continue.
"And how!" she exclaimed, breathing deeply. "My goodness I still can't get over it how good you were," her amazement was clear, but as always contained. Nabiki had a tight reign on her emotions. "You didn't even touch me. I was lying on my sofa belly down, happy to die with stress and strain when you suddenly sat next to me. At first, I got annoyed – I wanted to have some alone time dying – and irritably asked what the fuck you were doing. Then seeing you frowning while checking me all over like some steak gone bad, I was about to hit you even though I'd probably break my hand in the process. I was lashing out, when suddenly I felt a puncturing pain in my back. At first I thought that my back strain had caught up with me, but then I knew that pain to be continuous, contrary to the sharp repeating punctures I felt then. I wanted to scream out in pain, but instead grabbed the sofa's arm rest, bit on it, and clutched it tightly between my fists. And you kept on looking at me back, sometimes shaking your head, clicking your tongue and sighing."
Remembering all that, Nabiki regarded me with a frown. It was some time ago, and time probably healed the wounds, but she probably did remember that it had hurt a lot.
"Then you started massaging my back," she continued losing the frown, setting for a simple smile. "That hurt even worse. You hardly touched me, but the pain was immense, a bit as if you were putting arrow points directly in my back. And that lasted for an hour before you left me alone to die in absolute misery," she stopped and pensively looked at me.
"The next morning though," she went on, ticking her delicate finger against her chin. "I felt rejuvenated, and amazingly better. I had no back strain whatsoever, no pain in my arse, no pain anywhere and I felt great. Also I was incredibly hungry since I hadn't eaten the night before, but then you had to come out with some weird looking stuff that glowed."
I chuckled remembering that scene, it was a combat of wills, and since she was still under the effect of a rather crude ki massage – or in my own words a tedious job of untying completely bad placed ki-streams – I had won, and she ate my version of the "Wind in the Heart" technique.
"It had no taste, that's what I remembered about it, but it was like a soft version of coffee. I felt even better, was not hungry anymore, my grogginess was completely gone, my mind felt razor sharp. The fact that I could calmly eat it since I had more than enough time to get ready added to the fact that I knew this was going to be a good day," her grin widened, remembering how those first days went.
"And it was a great day," she emphasized, laughing a bit at the memory of how good it actually went that day. "My heart was doing that weird 'I'm feeling well' thing and it was grand. I convinced my boss to give me another contract, and had some real progress with that, phoned people, met some even it was super. I was elated when I came home, even though you had chosen to destroy half my flat in search for some money because you fancied an ice cream. Then you came up to me, and said I had screwed up my streams again and that I had to lie down again. At first I had no idea what you were talking about, said that I was absolutely perfect, but of course you just had to put me on my sofa, and started – as you call it – untangling my streams. It hurt less than the day before. However the whole touchy touchy thing was completely different. Instead of pain, I felt a sort of warm soothing feeling," her grin was wide. She knew this soothing feeling all too well; nowadays she got it practically every day, contrary to the pain which hopefully is only some bad memory.
"And of course, I felt better, sharper, infinitely better than before you started. So we went out to buy you some ice-cream, that you still, even today, have to do as a girl."
"uhuh," I shook my head. "You ain't gonna catch me as guy buying ice-cream."
"It is weird really," she suddenly began again pensively looking at me. "When you first came to Nerima, I'd thought of you as a gender changing complete idiot without a future. Now here you are, still practically the same man as in Nerima. You've hardly matured, you're still as naive as the average kid, you're still obsessed with manly things mainly martial arts, you're irresponsible, you're arrogant, as stubborn as a stone and..."
Suddenly I felt the cold sensation of cold water. Sighing I combed my now red hair out of my eyes, contemplated my naked wet breasts and looked balefully at Nabiki, who found my surprised expression very funny indeed. She was laughing loudly.
"What was that for?" I asked indignantly.
"To proof a point," she said, still snickering. "You haven't changed at all, those are the exact words you use whenever someone splashes you." she waited a while, looking at my naked breasts, a strange smile on her face. "and...," eventually, she continued "and you still change into a girl, and still aren't hot about it." she changed tone going from explaining to wonder. "Every normal person would assume we couldn't live together without one of us going insane, but in some way your persistent arrogance and your stubborn but contagious optimism made me let you stay."
"Of course," I continued for her. "All that gold and the free massages probably helped," I smiled kind of posh, but the situation called for it. The fact that I was a wet, half naked girl at the moment ruined it a bit.
She frowned and looked at me indignantly. "That's not why you're still here and you know it," she said as if she didn't realise I was joking. She realised it well enough.
"When I think about it, I guess your constant defiance of my opinion and actually on anything I said intrigued me. In one way, you were twice as easy to coerce as other men I dated, but then you just coerced me as badly, not using the same subtlety as me. No, you just put spoonfuls of some magical brew in my mouth while I was telling you I wouldn't eat it. and you continued doing exactly that as I continued saying I I'd be damned if I'd eat another bite, completely ignoring me, just waiting until I'd open my mouth for another lovely spoonful," she shook her head remembering one of our clashes.
"I'd think you'd settle if I kept my mouth shut, but of course you had to make conversation, and the moment I'd open my mouth, another bloody spoonful. Then you smiled and told me I could eat it myself or you'd simply find some other way to feed me, as if you were telling me you had a wonderful night sleep," she stopped, and got thoughtful about something.
I regarded her silently, waiting for her to make her conclusion, still with the Biro in my hand – luckily not wet.
"You know what changed in you? You're not intimidated anymore. That's it," she suddenly exclaimed loudly. "Years ago in Nerima you'd always get all squirmy in social situations, and couldn't for the life of you persuade people to do something you for once liked."
At that point, I had to interrupt for some serious damage control. "Hey, I'm never intimidated by anyone, by nothing, okay?" I mean, my honour as a self respecting martial artist was on stake here.
"Oh no?" she suddenly slurred, looking at me with those burning eyes. Shiite, I knew what she was referring to.
"You remember that day when you came back from one of those daft adventures of yours? Around 9 months after we've bumped into each other. You were gone for a week or so, and you decided to come by just to see me," at this point she decided to get off the desk and make herself comfortable in my lap, and didn't let the fact that I was female bother her one bit. This more than anything made me realise how right she was. Years ago I'd flip if a woman climbed in my lap, I'd flip if I myself was female, I'd die if she was naked like Nabiki was now. Now I just moved around so that she could make herself more comfortable, smiled a fake naive smile and told her I had no idea what she was referring to.
"One single peck on your cheek and you were of the charts hysteric, you even named Akane at one point. If that isn't intimidated, what is?" I raised a sceptic eyebrow at her assumption that I was intimidated, even though I knew perfectly well I was scared shitless at that moment.
"Who says I wasn't just trying to play 'hard to get'," I said trying to sound as neutral as I could.
"Ranma," she breathed with a smile. "Another thing that hasn't changed is your total lack of acting skills. People usually don't jump 67 floors down just to maintain some serious overrated dignity," I had to concede at this point.
"You sure couldn't get me could you?" I said smiling wide at my own joke "But okay, so I was a little intimidated back then, that's all over now," I deftly said.
"Well Yeah," she answered, musingly "I guess so. Although it's still fun to talk you into stuff because you simply don't know how to say no," she finished with a cute smile.
"Then I think it's fun to force you into stuff because you're simply not strong enough... and," I said in one breath "that sounded really wrong, and I didn't mean it like that."
The most horrendous thing of all was that I felt that familiar feeling creeping up on me that if she was going to act all annoyed, I had a perfect one way ticket to being intimidated once again.
"You see," she said with a real smile of amusement. "You're brilliant, I don't even have to say anything and you're starting to get uncomfortable on your own accord and I can say anything absolutely anything and you'll feel intimidated," she was almost laughing now, a heartfelt laugh, and I couldn't help but smile.
"Ranma," she eventually said "Don't ever change," and with that leaned further down to plant a soft lingering subtle kiss on my female lips.
"Don't worry," I replied. "I'm perfectly fine as I am; I'm not going to change," I said, and afterwards coerced the conversation in a different direction "What made you actually kiss me?" I was actually curious now, since from that moment, it all went insanely fast.
She scratched her scalp, trying to remember all what had happened back then.
"Well, since we had to transfer all that gold into money for you project 'Save Earth, start by magic', you stayed with me quite a while. Like I told you, I hoped you wouldn't be too long with me since I remembered the destruction you attracted, but then you began taking care of me, and I actually quite liked that. The cooking, the cleaning, the massages and the conversation.
Talking with you was really unlike other conversation I had, but it was in a way a liberating to talk about the absurdity of a bored dragon claiming he invented solitaire because who else would invent such a thing then an eternal, and eternally bored dragon, instead of finances, stock ratings, brokers and whatnot.
Then you surprised me by being actually cultivated. You knew how a stereo installation worked, a TV, you ate fast but still quite decent, you even wore some fashionable clothes at times. I always thought of you as a barbarian, but I guess I never took the opportunity to look a bit closer. You might not know how economics work and stuff, you're English is at best flawed, you couldn't tell what or who Yves Saint Laurent, Emporia Armani or Prada is, you don't know anything about popular music or movies... and still, you have an opinion about art, you can tell me what you like as music, and you adore theatre and even saw some sort of opera in a backward mountain town.
Then you surprised me by actually having an opinion, and being adamant about it. Not only did you discuss things with me and debated your arguments, but you sometimes outright told me what to do because you simply knew better. You'd think I'd throw you out the first chance I got seeing how you forced some thing on me, but I didn't.
Instead, I just sat silent letting you feed me your weird stuff while wondering about you.
I guess six factors made me take action. The first one was when I invited that friend of mine after a month or two who also had some serious stress and I proposed you'd give her a massage. Of course she came back for more. I didn't mind until she began seriously hitting on you. I had told her before you were a friend and hardly that, so she considered you free. I stopped inviting her and never let people presume you were free ever again.
The second factor was when I realised I just got on the sofa all-naked safe a towel, and asked if you could give me a serious massage. It didn't work because you suddenly felt like another adventure and was out of the window faster than I could utter 'What the...'. both the fact that I didn't mind showing my body to you and that it really bothered me that you had taken off like that again heighted my rising suspicion
The third factor was when I moved to a higher floor to keep you from always jumping out of the bloody window. Then the fourth factor was when you did actually, after four months, gave me a skin on skin massage and I felt more than just rejuvenated.
The fifth factor was after a month or five of having met you, your frequent absence in search for the world began to bother me. I wanted your food, even if I didn't like it, I wanted your massages, I wanted your intriguing conversations and wonderful stories. Hell, I didn't even need all those things, I just wanted you in my flat.
The thing was that you were clearly not ready, and every time I tried to move a little closer you took two steps back. However, I have to say, that didn't take so long. I guess you were trying to be more comfortable with me."
"Well, I wasn't really trying," I answered. "I guess I just gradually got more comfortable, without really realising it. At first it was really weird when you'd suddenly jumped in my arms when I'd come back, or just suddenly lean on me interested in what I was reading. But I guess realising it actually felt pretty good helped me not to be so awkward in situations like that. Seeing as there wasn't anyone ready to chop my head off also helped," she smiled, nodded and continued.
"Well, there you go. After 6 or 7 months, I was pretty sure there was something more than a lingering sense of friendship. However, with you always adventuring, it took some time before I got closer to you. But then when you told me you came back because you missed me... well, I guess that was the sixth and final factor, and I kissed you, fast and demure, because I knew you were going to freak."
"Okay, I freaked alright, but I did immediately did take the elevator back up, and apologized," I said my hand caressing her professionally cut hair.
"You did, and I was really happy you did, because we had the most cosy and brilliant evening afterwards," she finished, and looked at me as if trying to find answers in my eyes.
"Mind you, it took some serious time before you actually agreed to tear the clothes of my body," she said eventually with a frown.
"What?" I exclaimed shocked "It took only eight days after that peck. I wouldn't call eight days a long time."
She shook her head dismissively. "I was incredibly hot for you. Then, eight days is an eternity. I could've been playing solitaire with your friend the dragon."
I grinned a bit. "Dunno, I think he'd probably play somewhere else complaining about the temperature being too high near you, he's whiny like that."
I looked away from her for a second, and then looked at her again. "You don't have to work tomorrow, do you?" she nodded a slow affirmative, a smile already creeping on her face.
"Because, you know, speaking about being hot, you being all naked on my lap like this, there are a certain few things I want to do before we go back to bed."
I slowly straightened myself, holding Nabiki close to me. She locked her legs behind and rose with me. I gently placed her on the desk, gave her a small kiss, and grinned. She didn't mind if I was male or female, but if she could choose she'd have me male, but the kitchen was too far, I guess we'd have to slowly advance towards said room.
1 HKD (Hong Kong Dollar) is 7.8 USD (United States Dollar).
1 pound gold is 8070 USD
The reason why Ranma couldn't just exchange all his gold in one go is because his gold isn't indexed. I don't understand it completely, but indexed gold is more or less just common money (albeit a lot). His gold statue isn't indexed and doesn't even have an easy way to index. the flux then is the inpact of the gold statue on the local gold price (but then I also read that gold prices don't fluactuate that much), it going down (since there is a larger quantity), but quickly stabilises. if he'd exchange his gold all in one go, he'd get less money per divisable object. I just added it for realism and something I think Nabiki would know, but in the end I really don't know anything about gold and stuff like that.
Porter's five powers are a way to evaluate costs and chances to succesfully sell.
Hope you liked it, and if you did, maybe there might be more in store for you. This particular story is finished, but I might ad snapshots here and there, trying to get the most out of Nabiki's and Ranma's complete contradictory character, letting Nabiki meet Hector, the whiny bored eternal dragon claiming he invented solitair, and Ranma having a business meeting.