Standard Disclaimer: I don't own anything
AN: Warning this chapter of the story starts off a bit dark. It's a story line that has been haunting my brain for several years so to get it out of there I've finally written it down. I have the next chapter somewhat mapped out in my brain though I haven't started any of it yet. I just finished this chapter so now sure the time frame for more of it. All reviews are welcomed good and bad. This is crossover though this chapter's crossover only happens in this one.
Evening is just beginning as Kasumi is just finishing up the family's dinner and placing the last of the rice in a bowl. She places the bowl on a tray with the rest of the meal, leaves the kitchen and begins placing all the bowls on the table where all the Tendos and Saotomes are sitting eagerly. Soun is sitting at the head of the table like normal; Kasumi's spot next to him is open. Nabiki is sitting on the other spot next to Kasumi's and Akane sits next to her. Next are Ranma and his father. No sooner then everyone has filled their bowl then Genma begins trying to steal food from Ranma forcing him to slow his eating to defend his food and counter attacks by stealing some choice pieces of fish from his father. The Tendos have long since learned to just ignore this while making sure their food is not within arm's reach of the Saotomes and continue eating the delicious meal Kasumi has cooked for them.
Ranma makes a strike for more fish but one of his chopsticks snaps. "Stupid old man, looka what you done this time! Now I need a new pair," Ranma says while both Genma and Soun have stopped eating with stunned looks on their faces. "Hey Pops are you ok? You look like you just ate some of Akane's cooking." Akane elbows him in the ribs causing him to wince in pain briefly as she continues her eating.
Shaking his head, Genma pulls himself out of shock and replies, "Ranma, that's a bad omen. You best be on guard, the spirits are warning you."
"Bad omens, pops you're getting more like an old woman everyday," Ranma says as he puts down his broken chopsticks and picks up his bowl. "I'm gonna get a new pair, just make sure you don't eat it all before I get back. And I'm taking my bowl to make sure you don't eat that too."
Ranma stands up and Genma makes a quick attempt at snagging some off of Ranma's bowl. Ranma sees the attempt and pulls it higher to prevent it. Genma's sticks hit the side of the bowl however; the bowl breaks scattering pieces of broken bowl and food all over the edge of the table and floor. Furiously Ranma shouts at his greedy father, "Now you've done it, you've broken my chopsticks and now my bowl!" Ranma goes to kick his father out of the room and into the yard when Soun's words stop him momentarily.
"Ranma stop! This is bad, very, very bad. You need to go to the nearest temple and plead to the Kamis for your safety."
Ranma looks at Soun then his father then back to Soun. Both older martial artists are glancing around looking like they are expecting an attack at any moment. He looks disbelieving at them before looking at the Tendo sisters. As he looks at Akane he asks, "Do ya believe any of this nonsense?"
Akane looks up at Ranma and pauses, "Well, not really but knowing your luck, maybe you should be careful. You never know with everything that happens around you."
Considering her words he looks to the other two older sisters and asks them the same. "I'm with Akane, I don't believe in omens but you, Ranma, have a way of making the impossible possible. Both good and bad. I know where the nearest shrine is and it'll only cost you 10,000 yen," Nabiki holds out her hand expectantly.
Ignoring her Ranma looks lastly at Kasumi and is worried when he sees concern on her face. "Ranma, please be careful. I don't want anything to happen to you," a quiet plea showing in her eyes that unsettle him.
He tries to discount the growing sense of unease that is causing a knot in his lower stomach. Silently slapping himself mentally he thinks, "Ah man, now they're all getting me nervous. Come on yer the best, nothing is gonna hurt you. Besides a fight might be fun right about now." Looking at all of their worried faces, Ranma smirks, "Don't ya'll worry about it. I can handle anything that comes my way. I'm getting a new bowl and chopsticks; I'll be right back," saying that, he heads to the kitchen.
A worried Kasumi almost jumps when she hears a knock at the front door. She nervously walks to the door and opens it expecting something here to try to destroy Ranma's life once again. As the door opens she gasps in shock for a minute before smiling and saying, "Oh Auntie Saotome, please come in. We just started eating dinner and you're welcome to join us. I made plenty for us all."
Nodoka returns the smile as she enters and removes her shoes and puts on a pair she had left there before. "Thank you very much Kasumi dear, I'd be happy to join you. I hope Ranma and Genma are here too?" she asks.
"Yes, they both are. Have a sit at the table with everyone and I'll get you a bowl."
As they enter the room everyone is showing a little strain on them; they all smile at Ranma's mother as she comes in with Kasumi. "Good evening everyone," as she sits down by Genma Ranma enters the room and sees his mother. He smiles as he sits down beside her in his spot after he quickly brushes to the side the spilt dinner and bowl.
"What happened?" she asks as she watches him clean up a little.
"Pops broke my bowl. I had to get a new one."
Nodoka looks over to her husband but sees an overweight balding martial artist on his back with a large beach ball holding up a sign reading, "Just a cute panda."
"Umm, pops, you forgot to change."
"Oops, so I did, hehe, hi No-chan, it's wonderful to see you tonight," he says as he moves back to the table beside his wife a little further down from his previous spot.
She just sighs and shakes her head at her husband's antics. As a bowl is placed in front of her she looks up to Kasumi and thanks her. Just as she and the rest of the family begin to eat again she asks, "And how is my manly son doing?"
"I'm fine mom. Everyone's trying to scare me with a silly omen, but I don't scare easy," Ranma replies with a smirk after clearing his mouth of food.
"Foolish boy, haven't I taught you to respect the Kamis and to beware of Onis and omens?!" Genma growls out at his son. "You'd best heed my warning before it's too late."
Ranma is about to reply when out from the darkness in the yard, "Maybe you better listen to them," a deep voice whispers but is easily heard by everyone as they search the apparent empty yard.
Ranma stands up by the table and searches the dark but is able to see no one. He extends his senses but still is unable to detect anyone out there. He's surprised by Genma pushing him back as he steps in front of Ranma.
"Hahahaha, so you haven't forgotten our agreement I see old friend. I'm here to collect my payment you've been refusing to pay after all I did for you."
Genma looks panic stricken as he gets into a fighting stance, "I won't let you have him!"
The voice laughs a bit more. "You can't prevent it. After all that running you did with him to keep him out of my grasp, I'm finally able to catch up with you here. I was expecting you to carry on this chase for at least ten more years." A dark figure can barely be seen by the outer wall of the yard.
"What did you sell me for this time pops?" Ranma asks as he steps to the side of his father while getting into a similar stance as his father. "You better not have sold my female side off to marry him or I'll pound you after pounding him."
Genma is about to snap back at Ranma, but the voice answers instead, "Oh yes, he sold you all to me, all of you, body and soul. I've come to collect on that."
"I don't think so, I'm a guy! I don't like guys so if you just leave now I don't need to hurt you," Ranma says as he moves to open door to the yard.
Genma grabs Ranma and pulls him back again putting himself between Ranma and the mysterious figure. "Run Ranma, run as far and as fast as you can and never stop. You can't beat him and you are too important to die yet! If you die now the schools die with you."
Ranma is shaken by this new behavior in his father. Genma looks at him pleading with his eyes to obey him just this once.
"It's too late for that, old friend. He has no where to run any more and it is past time to collect the payment for the task of 17 years ago. You know, the task that gave you a son?" The voice says while moving a little further out into the light, but still remains hidden by the same dark shadows.
Looking up to her husband Nodoka asks, "What did you do Genma? What did you do to Ranma?" She has a look of fear on her face as if she already knows the answer or at least suspects most of it but wishes she didn't.
Genma looks at his son then down to his wife. He takes a deep breath and holds it for a long time before bowing his head, "I… I… well, you know, I just had to have a son. Soun had two daughters already. I needed a son to train to carry on the schools." His voice trails off as he is afraid to continue on.
"Yes, you wanted a son, you wanted a son so bad you came to me," the voice chuckles. Everyone again looks to the figure except for Nodoka who is staring at Genma in alarm. Genma is staring at the floor in shame and Ranma is looking back and forth from his mother to his father.
"So that is why. My god Genma, what have you done to us all?!" Nodoka whispers but is heard by all including the figure.
"So you figured it out. Go ahead and let everyone else know. I can wait just to see the reaction. It'll be so delightful to see all the surprise and disbelief especially the boy's," the figure says with pleasure. He appears to be truly enjoying what is happening.
"Please No-chan, please, you've got to understand. You got to know it was for the best, I had to do it," Genma pleads with his wife as he bends down to his knees grabbing her hands together with his own. "I just couldn't risk not having another child just to hope for a boy. When the doctor told us that day, I was troubled. I wandered all over the district lost in thought."
She yanks her hands back with revulsion. As she backs away from the closeness of Genma she backs up into Ranma. She swivels her head and looks up to Ranma with regret and sadness. "Oh Ranma, my son," she quickly launches herself into him and hugs him tight to her while she is shaking.
"Mom, what's wrong? What's the matter?" he asks while becoming extremely unnerved by what has happened so far. It all seems to somehow involve him, but he doesn't know in what way. As he holds his shaking mother he looks at the Tendos and sees the same confused but nervous look on each of their faces. He's afraid to hear any more of it sensing it will change his life and not to the better but refuses to let it show.
Slowly Nodoka calms down some and straightens up. She looks into the handsome face of her son and draws a long breath. She turns around and looks again at Genma as he stands up. "You went to the shrine didn't you?" she says more than asks.
Under the direct gaze of his wife, Genma slowly nods his head. He can not find the words to say it. He feels the words would bring even more shame.
"Saotome old friend, what shrine does she mean? What are you talking about?" Soun asks. He believes he might already know the answer from the hints from the conversations but prays he is wrong. He fears his friend has done something incredibly stupid.
"Out with it Genma," the figure says, "or I will tell them. I'm beginning to weary of this."
Genma looks to his son. With apprehension that he might lose the love of his son and his wife he says, "Ranma, I was upset and confused. When the doctor told us that your mother was going to give birth to a daughter I didn't know what I was going to do." His eyes fall from Ranma's face to the floor again. He body slumps in defeat. "I found myself outside the gates of this cursed shrine. I don't know how I got there but when I saw the gates I knew what I had to do."
"I have a sister?" Ranma asks trying to make sense of everything. He never heard either of them talk of a sister but if she died before him and so close to his own birth he thinks maybe it was too painful for them to talk about it.
"No Ranma, you never had a sister," his mother answers as Genma silently stands there trying to figure out how to tell him.
Nabiki takes this pause to state, "No Ranma, what they are trying to say is you are, or was a girl. Or at least was supposed to be."
Everyone looks in disbelief at Nabiki as she keeps a neutral face. She begins to suspect the full story but decides she doesn't want to voice her guess.
"A girl? I'm a guy, I was born a guy. If I was born a guy then how could I be a girl?" Ranma sputters in disbelief.
"And what happens to you now when you touch cold water?" Nabiki smirks at him.
Ranma opens his mouth to respond but closes it quickly confusion growing on his face. He looks back to his mother, "Mom, I was born a guy right? Please tell me I was born a guy," he desperately asks his mother.
"Yes honey, you were born a boy. The doctor took a sonogram and gave us the pictures of you as a girl but I thought it was just a mistake with the picture when you were born. I was surprised but I was ready to love you whether you were a boy or girl," his mother tells him as she tries to reassure him.
He gladly accepts her assurance but still suspects she is not being completely truthful with her words. "Yes, you were born a boy after your father made a deal with me," the stranger says. Everyone looks back to him to continue the story. "Genma came to my shrine and prayed to whoever would answer his pray to make his child a boy. So I accepted the pray and told him I would make you a boy."
"WHAT?!" everyone yells looking at Genma in shock. He slumps down to the floor.
"I knew I shouldn't have gone into the cursed shrine. I knew the stories about it. I was desperate though. So I went inside and prayed to any Kami or Oni that would hear me to give me the son I knew I was supposed to have. And he came to answer my wish. He told me he could do it if I was willing to pay him. At that point I just didn't care what the price was. I just had to have my son." Genma looks up to Ranma, "I thought I was doing the best for you. I did it for you. I did it for you," Genma breaks down sobbing into the floor in despair.
Ranma looks down at his father in disbelief. He feels betrayal, worry, anger, but mostly he feels dread. He knows now what the payment was. He was the payment his father agreed to before his birth. Genma had always treated him as a bargaining chip. He had sold him so many times but this; this feels like his life was over. It feels like the ultimate conclusion to the many examples of Genma's stupidity.
"Did it for him? Oh please, you never did anything for anyone but yourself," the figure laughs. "That's why I granted your wish. Your soul was so black and shallow I couldn't wait to get it," he continued with pleasure in his voice.
"You mean he is your payment, not me?" Ranma grasps at hope.
"Oh, no girl, you are my payment. He's mine already and I intend to collect both of you now," he says as he begins to grow in size, both height and width.
"Who are you," Ranma demands settling into a battle stance at the edge of the yard. Everyone else gathers behind him at the door Genma still crouching on the floor weeping in shame.
"Me? I'm Long Fang and you'll be calling me Master soon," and the shadows around the figure finally vanishes as the figure finishes growing at about twice the height of Ranma.
Ranma stares blankly at Long Fang. He tries not to let it show but he is scared for only the third time in his life. Using the Soul of Ice technique he hides it but he suspects no one is fooled by it.
Nodoka stares in horror at the ogre in front of them, and an ogre he is. There standing before them is a huge nightmare come to life here to take the lives of her son and her husband. The pale red ogre has powerful muscles rippling down the length of the extremely long arms that reach his knees. At the end of the powerful hands are sharp claws that look to be able to slice an elephant to shreds without effort.
The Tendos, father and daughters, look on in horror at the ogre in their yard. The sisters crowd around their father in fright. The face of the horror has a large mouth that stretches from one ear to the other in a grotesque smile with sharp teeth pointing slightly out of the mouth keeping the lips from ever touching. Each tooth is large, round, and capable of piercing a four inch thick branch. Orange eyes glow with malice and perverse mirth in anticipation of all of their deaths. He has large ears sticking out on each side of his huge head. Topping his head is shaggy, unwashed hair sticking up and running down in a one foot stripe down his back. Sticking out of his forehead just above the hairline is a long horn marking him as a true ogre.
Ranma takes in the ease at which this monster moves and the thick tree like legs. The monster has muscles running down his legs that look more like steel cables. His large feet are bare with claws only a little smaller then his hands. This is a creature that looks like he can devour both Saffron and Pantyhose Taro's cursed form at the same time with little effort. Ranma wishes he is more proficient with weapons then unarmed combat if only to keep out of easy range of those hands and feet. He knows he can hold his own with almost anyone with most weapons but he excels at unarmed combat. This is the first time he has ever wished it was the opposite though.
The ogre laughing viciously beckons to Ranma, "Come on girl, a good fight always gives me a bigger appetite."
"I don't think you're going to be eating anything but dirt tonight ugly. And I'm a guy dammit," Ranma brashly response hoping his bravado fires up his confidence again. He is going to need every trick he knows to just survive this fight. Ranma suddenly blurs forward slamming five quick punches into the right ribs of the monster hearing a satisfying crack of ribs before he has to roll backwards just to avoid the deceptively fast left claws as Long Fang roars in pain.
As Ranma rolls backwards he pushes against the ground with his hands to flip to his feet and smirks, "Come on now, with the way you were yakking I thought you'd be more of a challenge. I'm not sure I'll even break a sweat at this pace." Ranma tries to taunt his opponent into rage and into making mistakes. He sees the effect it has on Long Fang has the desired effect as he lets go of his right side and roars in anger dashing forward. Ranma has to duck backwards again and rolls up to his feet as Long Fang surprises him again with just how fast he is for his size.
"Ok," thinks Ranma, "he's extremely fast, almost as fast as me. If I'm going to avoid his attacks I need all the speed I can get." Finishing his thoughts he leaps to his left as Long Fang slashes with his left hand at where Ranma was just standing a split second before. Ranma gets tagged slightly with a quick backhand from Long Fang's right hand. His leap takes him where he wanted to go though as he lands in the koi pond a little sore from the slight blow of the backhand. Ranma now in female form has to dodge again weaving left and right while moving backwards towards the middle of the yard and away from the house.
She decides it is time for some offense again and rushes forward even faster this time as she calls out, "Kachū Tenshin Amaguriken." Almost one hundred blows hammers the ribs of his left side and the left elbow of Long Fang's arm causing the sound of several ribs cracking and ending with a large crack of the elbow and a howl of pain. Not letting up on her advantage she grabs the left forearm and yanks back on it then jumping back away from him as his right claws slash at her but ends up only cutting off his left arm just below the elbow. Black blood begins to pour out of the stub for a minute then slows to a tickle. Long Fang snarls at Ranma as he rages at how this puny human has even inflicted pain to the ogre much less cut off his left arm. "Well, caused me to cut off my left arm," he corrects himself mentally.
"Damn you girl, you're forcing my hand in this but I guess I have no other option," Long Fang snarls out. "Saotome Genma, it's time to conclude our bargain, I claim my right!" he shouts. Genma's sobbing suddenly stops as he slowly stands up with his head still bowed. Soun, the sisters and Nodoka turn around to look at him. Slowly black and white fur grows on his body until he looks like a Genma/panda cross. His arms lengthen and sharp claws extend out from the fingers. As more muscular bulk grows his gi rips apart and falls to the floor. His body no longer looks a little overweight and thankfully the pants do not fall off but they strain from more powerful legs. His glasses and handkerchief drop to the floor. As his mouth stretches wider the others back away from him and into the yard. When the transformation ends a stream of black energy wafts off him and enters Long Fang.
As they realize how much closer to the ogre they are now, they flee to the safety of the house underneath the kitchen's window to give themselves some distance from the ogre and what was once Genma. As Genma strolls out to the yard Ranma backs up a little keeping both in her view. "Pops snap out of it," she implores with her father.
"Hahahaha," laughs Long Fang, "his soul was forfeited to me the moment I answered his wish. I decided not to collect it until now though."
"Undo whatever you did to him," Ranma demands. "He may be an idiot but he is still my pops."
"Since you injured me I'll need a minute to recover. Genma take care of her while I take care of my arm," Long Fang orders. Genma starts moving to face Ranma with promise of pain in his eyes.
"I owe you a lot of pain stupid girl. It's because of you that I'm now an ogre like my master," finishing that statement he launches a flying kick at Ranma with height and speed he never possessed before. Ranma realizing she needs time to determine Genma's increase in strength and fighting speed rolls out of the way to the right and rolls to her feet but as she spins around she feels pain across her right leg as Genma's claws graze her in the thigh after he leapt after her as he touched the ground.
Ranma staggers back to open some distance between herself and Genma. "Mom," she yells back to her mother. "I need your honor blade or this fight is ending very soon and not in a good way."
Nodoka hearing her son… err daughter… err her child she corrects herself she unwraps the sword and says, "Here it is Ranma." She then tosses the blade to Ranma who grabs it in her left hand while pulling the blade out with her right from its scabbard. Quickly raising the scabbard up by the middle she deflects a slash of claws from her father. Ranma takes a ready stance with the both hands on the grip of the sword and the scabbard tucked inside her belt.
As Ranma looks up seeing both Genma and Long Fang, she sees the left arm on Long Fang pulsates with black and red glow as ever so slowly inch by inch each few seconds his arm is growing back. Dismayed seeing Long Fang healing himself she strikes quickly with the blade in multiple strikes pushing Genma back. She twists to her right as Genma ducks the blade as it sweeps right. He does not see Ranma's left hand grab the scabbard at the start of her swing so as he rises back up to strike at her unguarded back because of her overextending herself Genma drops to the ground out cold from the solid thwack of the scabbard to his right temple.
Ranma wastes no time as she rushes Long Fang and cleaves his almost regenerated left arm off. Long Fang howls in pain again and lashes out with his right hand forcing her to leap back out of range again.
He looks down at his missing left arm again and sees the pool of black blood at his feet as the blood again slows to a trickle but taking a longer time than before. "Damn you girl, I'm going to make you suffer so much after I collect you."
"I don't think you'll be collectin' anything after I slice off your other arm," she retorts as she adjusts her stance to prepare for another attack.
"Let's see how you like this little girl," he taunts as he stretches his lone hand towards her. She hops back making sure she is well out of range of his claws only to be taken by surprise as a ball of black, crackling energy slams into her chest. The force of it causes her to land on her back, sword on the ground near her.
Ranma feels pain as if she was being torn in half. Her body spasms and occasionally she arches her back with a painful screech erupting from her lips. To her it feels like the pain she is going through is lasting hours but it eventually ends. She gasps for breath trying to take inventory of her body and except for the shallow cuts on her leg and the bruise on the right hip she feels fine. She feels a little tired but as she grips the sword she feels another hand close over hers. Yanking her hand and the sword away she looks at the hand's owner and freezes.
"What… but…," is all she can sputter out as she looks on in shock at her face staring back at her in shock too. "His face," she corrects herself. There standing before her with the same image of shock is her male form. Thinking this another ogre she retreats slowly towards the house to keep her three opponents in sight. "I don't know what trick this is but if I hafta defeat three of you then so be it cause I'm the best."
"What do you mean you're the best?" her male form argues back. "I'm the best; I'm Ranma not you."
"Like hell you are," she snaps back, raising the blade in a defensive stance.
"Both of you are," comes Nabiki's voice. "While you were screaming in pain and flopping around you split into both of your forms."
"She's right, that one is intelligent. It will almost be a shame to have to eat her after I am done," Long Fang replies with a hint of mirth. "I get to claim your male body but also with the luck of your curse, I get to devour your female form," he grins literally from ear to ear.
She shivers slightly as she looks at her male form as he looks back at her. Each wondering the same thing, "is he/she really me"
"Are you actually me?" they ask each other. Relaxing a bit each smile at the other, "I guess so," both say at the same time. They are interrupted by a groan from the recovering Genma.
"Right," male Ranma says. "You have the sword, you take Long Fang and I'll take pops."
Nodding her head she faces Long Fang but calls back, "just don't kill him please. Maybe the old ghoul can undo him."
"Of course I wasn't planning to kill him, he's my pops too."
Each turn full attention to their opponent and take up a ready stance. Without seeing the other both Ranmas launch into attacks simultaneously. Female Ranma leaps across the distance slashing downwards across her body but is blocked by his claws of his right hand. Ranma steps back with sword at the ready. Long Fang lunges with his claws forcing Ranma to back up. She feels a slight tingle in her hands occasionally almost like an electrical charge. As he lunges at her again she slides to his left while trying to ignore the tingle and slashes at his unprotected left ribs delivering a slice between two of them. Another swipe of Long Fang's claws is avoided with a slash of her blade while leaping backwards towards the Dojo. The fight continues with the female Ranma avoiding each strike and claiming a new gash on him each time, his left side gets the majority of the damage.
The male Ranma is weaving through Genma's attacks though not as easily as he was while female but his extra strength allows him to block or turn away the ones that he cannot dodge. Genma still suffering from the concussing blow from earlier; finds his form is not as sharp as earlier. Ranma is easily wearing down the human/panda ogre. Genma launches into a leap to land a kick from above but Ranma ducks below it and from a crouching position lands a kick to Genma's left leg causing him to twist in air. He tries to control his tumble but he is too close to the ground and he slams the back of his head into a large rock by the koi pond. Ranma hears a sickening snap as the force of rotation and large body breaks his neck with the body collapsing awkwardly. Shocked at possibly killing his father he kneels by the body looking for any signs of life.
The female Ranma plans to make her final strike when she hears the crack of bone and glances over to the other Ranma kneeling by their father's body with the head twisted beyond what is possible. Long Fang seeing the distraction forces his slowly growing arm into a long spear with his remaining energy. Knowing he needs fresh energy to continue the fight he spots a delightfully pure spirit and lunges with his arm spear towards Kasumi. She is surprised at seeing the ogre attack her and freezes to the spot. Ranma seeing the attempt on Kasumi leaps towards her pushing her to safety and whirls around making sure she is between them. She feels pain along her right side as the act of saving Kasumi left her open. She hears a cry of pain. Feeling her side in pain she wonders how serious it really is to cause her to cry in pain. The blow must have cut a lot of nerves since she feels pain just a little more intense than the cuts on her thigh.
Long Fang grins madly as he steps back with his left arm now whole again and brings his claws to his mouth and licks all the blood off them. "Wonderful, such purity of spirit makes this blood so rich," the rest of his wounds all start to heal up faster then before.
Ranma takes the moment to open her shirt and inspects the wound. She is surprised to see a deeper cut below her ribs then the ones on her thigh but not too serious. "That wouldn't cause me to cry out like that," she tells herself. She turns around to see Kasumi right behind her laying on the ground. Her dress is stained with a large spot of blood growing at her stomach. Akane is kneeling on her knees and hands behind where Kasumi lies in shock seeing her sister injured.
"Make sure she is ok, I owe him a painful death now," male Ranma tells the other Ranma. She spares him a quick glance and nods her head. She gently checks on Kasumi's wound. Kasumi grimaces in pain and grabs Ranma's hand with surprising strength.
Ranma sees that the two inch hole in the dress leads to a deep hole in the area just below her ribcage then travels upwards into her chest. Ranma rips off both of her sleeves and warning Kasumi, "Hold onto my hand tightly Kasumi, this is going to hurt but I need to try to stop the blood." Nodding her head Kasumi holds on while Ranma places the sleeves into the wound carefully and places direct pressure with her free hand.
As Ranma looks up to the Tendos and her mom she looks at Nabiki, "Nabiki, I'm trying to stop the blood. Go call for an ambulance and call Doctor Tofu; he's close enough to get here before the paramedics."
Nabiki looks like she is about to object but glancing at Kasumi stops that. She turns and runs into the house. The rest of the family kneels around her. Soun kneels opposite of Ranma holding Kasumi's other hand. Akane sits next to her father's left at Kasumi's hip and looks to Ranma, "What can I do?"
"Help me keep pressure on the wound to lessen the blood flow," she responds without taking her eyes off of the wound.
Gingerly Akane reaches over with both hands and lays them with Ranma's. Nodoka kneels by Kasumi's head placing one of her hands under her head and lifting it slightly while brushing the hair from her face. She continues to stroke her hair trying to comfort her.
"Just hang in there Kasumi, help will be here soon and they'll make you all better," Ranma assures her.
"Ranma," she chocks out with a few droplets of blood. "Promise me you will try to get along with Akane. And Ranma promise me you will do what is good for you, not for what is good for someone else at the expense of yourself."
"Kasumi?" Ranma asks quickly. "You can ask me later. I just need to make sure you are fine before I kill Long Fang for doing this to you," she states trying to reassure Kasumi.
"Don't talk like that Kasumi," Soun raises his voice. "Help will be here soon."
"I'm sorry father but I've read all those medical books of Doctor Tofu's. I know this is fatal," Kasumi calmly tells him. Soun has tears at the edges of his eyes but remarkably holds the tears from flowing. He tries to put up a brave face for his daughter.
Akane starts crying looking at Kasumi. She makes no attempt to stop the tears. Kasumi looks over to her little sister, "Akane promise me you will stop blaming Ranma and hear him out first."
Akane slowly nods her head, "I will Kasumi, I will."
The male Ranma is slowly retreating under the barrage of attacks from Long Fang. His clothes show multiple tears and many gashes on his body. He can't spare the time to glance at the others and hopes his female half gets back here soon. It worries him that it's taking this long for her to take care of Kasumi.
Ranma has to leap backwards again and flips in the air as Long Fang makes a vicious strike at his legs. "Damn," thinks Ranma, "I can't keep this up. Guess it's time to break out the specials."
As Ranma lands he quickly gathers his ki calling out, "Mōko Takabisha." A blast of confidence slams into Long Fang throwing him back and across the yard into the outer wall. Taking a minute to recover his strength Ranma looks over to Kasumi and is dismayed to see how serious the others are.
Kasumi coughs up blood as she moans in pain. "Please Kasumi dear, don't give up. I can't lose you too, not after losing your dear mother. Please Kasumi, please," Soun begs with her. He is unable to hold back his tears any longer and begins to weep while holding onto her hand.
"Please don't cry father," Kasumi says with a brief smile on her face. "I get to see mother now and we both will be waiting for the rest of you."
"You can't leave us Kasumi! We need you, we love you," Soun implores his daughter.
"Father, you need to be strong now, for Akane and Nabiki. The three of you need to help each other. I have plenty of stories to tell mother now while we wait for you. Promise me you will make it a long wait," she says while smiling at her father. "Tell Nabiki I love her too and I know if she just trusts her heart more that she will find the happiness she never can find through money," her eyes too have tears forming and running down the sides of her face.
"I.. I…. I promise Kasumi, anything you want," Soun replies with a hitch in his voice.
"I love all of you, father, Akane, Nabiki, Ranma, Auntie Saotome and Uncle Saotome. I will miss you all," she then turns to Ranma again smiling. "Thank you Ranma, thank you for bringing life to our family again," saying that she draws a final breath then falls still with a smile still gracing her lips.
Soun and Akane wail together as he puts one arm around her and pulls her in close each crying on the other's shoulder for support. Nodoka looking sadly at the serene face of Kasumi reaches down, closes her eyes, and wipes away the small amount of blood on her lips to leave her looking as if she is only in a peaceful slumber.
Ranma still holding one of Kasumi's hands lets a single tear streak down her face before laying Kasumi's hand on her chest, "Goodbye Kasumi, I will miss you." Ranma picks up her sword and it seems to react with her anguish of Kasumi's death as a stronger tingle courses from the sword up her arm. It isn't painful but she has no idea what it is. "I don't have time to worry about it," she tells herself.
She turns around and looks for the ogre. She sees him pulling himself up from a crash into the wall. Ranma roars with uncontrolled rage as she literally flies at Long Fang. He can only partially block the wildly slashing sword feeling cut after cut on his body. He howls with new pain as not only do the cuts hurt but he feels small levels of holy energy with he slash of the sword. In desperation he backhands the girl hard flinging her back near the house.
The male Ranma not sure what caused the rage of his female form can only suspect it involves Kasumi's injury but puts it aside as he takes advantage of the distraction of Long Fang and rushes in to deliver powerful punches to keep him from recovering.
Long Fang senses the attack and whips the right hand out grabbing Ranma by the throat, "Not so fast boy. I think it's finally time to collect my payment, your soul." His hand begins to glow red and soon both he and Ranma pulsate with the red light. Ranma screams out in pain as his body jerks in pain. Slowly his body starts to grow in height and in bulk. His shirt and pants strain but remain clothing him. His arms elongate, claws grow and Ranma's skin becomes slightly reddish. As Long Fang releases Ranma all his wounds except the fresh ones from the sword heal completely.
"Now little girl, time for us to finish you off so we can enjoy our meal," Long Fang says as his eyes promise a painful death for her. Both Long Fang and the newly ogred male Ranma, saunters towards her.
Ranma stands back up from being flung across the yard and falls into a ready position with both hands on the sword. She sees the scabbard from earlier laying by her left foot and cautiously bends down and picks up the scabbard with her left hand. Holding the scabbard as a make shift blunt sword she regains her ready stance.
Her attackers rush her on both sides and she meets each attack by blocking it with the sword on her right side and scabbard on her left. She is slowly giving up ground towards the others, she lashes out with a flurry of ferocious attacks driving both of them back. When her energy runs out, she disengages from the attack and retreats a few steps trying to regain her breath without signaling how tired she is now. The ogre Ranma picks up on it though and presses the attack on her driving her back towards the house once more.
Long Fang tries to skulk around her view to finish her when a new voice is heard, "I thought I sensed an ogre nearby. It seems I have two more ogres to rid the world of."
A young black hair man looking around twenty years walks into view from the front gates of the Tendo property. He has a sword strapped to his back and wearing black clothes.
Long Fang snarls at the new intruder and asks, "How did you get in here? I still have a barrier up so how did you get in?"
Shrugging his shoulders the young man says, "No mere barrier is going to keep me out, and I have so many more ogres to slay including both of you." He then reaches over his shoulder and pulls out the sword.
Sensing this young man is not human his interest is piqued, "Who are, no, what are you? I can tell you aren't human. So just what are you?"
"Can you not tell? Maybe it's that I wasn't born with my horn."
Surprise and a slight amount of fear are reflected in his eyes, "What is your name?" Long Fang hopes he has a name; he almost prays that he has a name.
"I have no name but everyone refers to me by my horn, my blade, Ogre Slayer," and with that he gets into a stance. "You there, girl, you think you can handle the boy while I take on the ugly one?"
"Sure, not sure whose side you're on but as long as you want to kill him then you're fine by me for now," Ranma states as she squares up for a one on one fight with her former male self. Both Ranma and Ogre Slayer commence their attacks and both ogres are forced to dodge and block the vicious attacks. The Ranma ogre takes more and more slashes from the sword. He notices that not only do the cuts hurt but there is an increasing painful tingle from the sword strikes. A low growl escapes his twisted lips as he gets upset with the pain and wildly swings his left claws at Ranma forcing her to back flip away to get some distance.
Ranma can't help but to start panting from the exertion and wonders how much she has left for this fight. Her legs and arms are beginning to feel heavy and her ki reserves feel depleted. She feels a slow stream of energy trying to renew her strength from the sword but it is only a trickle of the amount she needs to keep this fight up. Realizing she has enough for just one more round of engagement she tries to think of any tricks that would work. She immediately discards any ki based attack with not enough energy to power a blast strong enough to kill a fly. She thinks quickly through her training on sword forms but her muscles are too weak to make any of the more powerful ones work.
Long Fang slashes wildly with his claws trying to keep the traitorous Ogre Slayer from using his sword. He knows of the stories of Ogre Slayer and he knows roughly how many of their kind he has slain. He feels a growing sense of confidence though as he notices the girl is all but drained from her long fighting. Soon she will fall and then they will have the advantage of numbers on him. He grins as he briefly thinks of the power he will attain with that horn in his possession. The young man over extends a slash and Long Fang grabs him with both hands pinning his arms to his side. He starts lifting him up and opens his mouth readying to bite Ogre Slayer's head off.
Ranma is slowly panicking inside, she can't come up with any technique to help her and her time is running out fast. She suddenly remembers the teachings of one of her sword sensei, but she has to stop her remembrance as ogre Ranma attacks again knowing he can just overpower her now.
She weaves and dodges as best as she can. She is retreating slowly, sparing the briefest of looks around her looking for the one thing she needs. She steps back and her foot steps on the discarded scabbard and causes her stumbles to the ground on her left knee.
Ogre Ranma seeing her finally stumbling knows this is the time to finish it. He lunges forward slashing at her neck. He is shocked when she rolls to her right while whipping her left hand up with the scabbard blocking his strike and forcing his defense open on his left side. She takes the opportunity to drive her sword up through his ribs into his chest and through the heart with a faint but ever increasing white glow on the sword. He gasps in shock then collapses as not only does his heart explode from the steel of the blade but also the white glow instantly burns the insides.
Ranma pulls her sword out from the corpse of her former male self and can't help but to wonder what that means for her in the not so distant future. Shaking those thoughts away for now she looks over to Long Fang and the young man to see that Long Fang has him in his grips and is about to bite into his head. Not wasting any time to think she instinctually draws strength from the sword and leaps towards them.
Long Fang opens his mouth in triumph and starts to bite when suddenly an incredibly searing pain slices through his arms. Black blood erupts from the ends of both stumps where his arms were. The pain will not stop though as his regenerative magic refuses to work on the wound. He feels holy energy fighting his magic from working on his arms. He roars in pain and rage as he glares at the girl with a sword glowing white reeking of tremendous holy energy.
"You BITCH, where did you get that sword?" he snarls at her. He is about the pursue it further when out of the corner of his eye he sees Ogre Slayer descending towards his head then nothing as he is cleaved in two by the blade.
Ogre Slayer looks at the three ogre corpses in the yard and wipes his blade clean on the remnants of Long Fang's clothes then sheaths his blade. "Excuse me," he hears the girl say to him as she grabs his arm stopping him from walking away. She continues," Are you really an ogre too?"
He looks down at her battle scarred state with many slashes and cuts. Her clothes are in tatters as her shirt has no sleeves and many rips and barely holding together to protect her modesty. Her pants fair no better as they are ripped in many spots. Her blood and the blood of others stain her clothes too. "Yes, I am. Why do you want to know?"
She lowers her eyes and asks in a voice barely over a whisper, "Can you," then takes a deep breath, "can you bring Kasumi back? She doesn't deserve to die like that. I'll do whatever you want."
She is shocked when a slap strikes her cheek painfully. "Don't ever ask that. NEVER!" he yells at her. She looks up to him with fear in her eyes. He takes a deep breath, "No, I can't bring her back maybe a Kami could but I don't see one here. Also, never ask an ogre for anything. Look around you, what do you see?"
Ranma looks to see the dead bodies and his point dawns on her, "Only pain and death comes from dealings with an ogre?"
He simply nods and turns to walk away then stops before he takes a step. He looks back at her and says, "The magical barrier is about to come down and there are others ready to come in here. Is there another way to leave?"
"Yeah, you can use the gate behind the Dojo," she says as she nods and points the direction.
His only answer is a nod and he walks away to quickly vanish from sight. Ranma walks over to the others picking up the scabbard on the way marveling at how pristine it still is after all the blows she blocked with it. She looks at the sword which is a simple but beautiful steel blade without any nicks or blood on it. She shrugs her shoulder and sheaths the Saotome honor blade where it belongs. "Here's the blade mom, thanks for the use of it," she says as she walks up to her mother.
Suddenly everyone notices a flash of unnoticed energy around the yard and lights and sounds from the evening makes them all aware that they were absent until now. Doctor Tofu and an ambulance crew come running into the yard. Seeing the horrors of the yard his stomach drops when he sees Soun and Akane crying over the prone figure of Kasumi.
Nabiki comes running out of the house and says," I just got off the home and Doctor Tofu is on his…." She stops when she sees a frozen Doctor Tofu she had just got off the phone with no more then five seconds before. She looks back at Kasumi and gets a mule kick to body. She cries out in disbelief as she runs over to kneel by her still sister. "How? How? How?" she keeps repeating over again and again. Hearing his other daughter Soun reaches over and pulls her into a tight hug with him and Akane. All three clinging to each other as they cry.
Ranma turns to look at the wall as Cologne and Shampoo jump over the wall. She sees the look of horror as Cologne takes in the scene of death in front of her. Cologne meets Ranma's eyes and just nods to her then turns. Cologne hops up to Mrs. Saotome and asks, "Would you mind explaining to me what happened as we make some special tea to calm everyone's nerves?"
Nodoka nods and turns to enter the house when Ranma says, "Mom, your honor blade." She offers it to her mother.
Nodoka shakes her head and with a tiny smile on her lips in spite of the terrible sadness apparent in her eyes she replies back, "It's your blade now dear. I will explain later but it's passed onto you now." Nodoka then continues into the house with Cologne, their soft voices talking with each other and finally fades away as they move out of ear shot.
"Is you Ranma?" Shampoo asks with trepidation.
Ranma looks at a wary Shampoo. She takes a deep breath, "Honestly? I'm not sure. I guess I am but so was he." Ranma gestures in direction of her male form still transformed into an ogre. Sensing the despair in the girl Shampoo pulls her into a hug. Not a glomp but a comforting hug. Ranma tenses for a second as Shampoo hugs her but quickly realizes she is only trying to comfort her and she gives into the embrace. Ranma slowly feels the weight of all that has happened tonight and releases her tears while Shampoo just holds her stroking the back of her hair.
Doctor Tofu and the emergency personnel walk up to the Tendos asking if they were injured. Soun looks up to him and sadly shakes his head. Doctor Tofu bends down to one knee next to Kasumi and sadly strokes a cheek while trying to hold back the tears. He is stuck by her serene beauty that is still present in her face. The emergency personnel brings him back to present when one of tells him, "Looks like just the girl with the sword needs attention doctor. I'll contact the police and let them know we have four fatalities here."
Doctor Tofu stands up and nods to the man. He walks over to Ranma and kneels by her as she is clutching Shampoo crying with her body just slumped against the other girl. "Ranma, you need to let go of Shampoo for a bit so I can treat your wounds," he tells Ranma. She nods her head and with barely any strength she leans back on the grass for Tofu to check her over. Shampoo sits by her and grabs Ranma's left hand to show her support. Smiling briefly at Shampoo, Doctor Tofu begins to clean and dress a large number of cuts over her body. By the time he completes bandaging the last of her wounds he is almost out of supplies. "Ok Ranma that should do it. I expect you to be tender for a few weeks so I want you to rest until they heal. I don't want to have to redress your wounds again because you pushed yourself before you were healed. Do I make myself clear?" he asks.
Ranma sits up gingerly with Shampoo's help and nods. "I promise Doc, no martial arts until I am better. Well, if I can help it. You know how loons keep challenging me," she says in a quiet voice.
"Good, well try your hardest to avoid it if you can. If you need to talk with anyone come see me ok? I will make time no matter what," he says as he stands up knowing from the looks of things, she would be struggling with everything that happened that night. "I'm going back to check on the Tendos and say a final goodbye to Kasumi," he said with a slight catch in his voice as he turns and walks away.
Several police officers walk through the gate along with several men in suits and they begin to examine the scene in the yard. Ranma slowly stands up but only with Shampoo's assistance and they both walk into the house to the table with the remains of the earlier dinner still there. Shampoo sits Ranma down and sits next to Ranma's left. She had seen warriors in the village have a dead look in their eyes after a tragic battle and from the evidence of the yard she can see it is tearing at Ranma's self-esteem. The only thing she can do for her now is just give her support and comfort. She knows her Airen is strong but she can only guess at the pain of apparently killing yourself, your father, an ogre and witnessing the kind and caring Kasumi's death. Shampoo doesn't know if this means the end of her chase to win Ranma's heart but even if it is she will try to be her friend. She respects the warrior that is Ranma, whether it is male or female Ranma.
Cologne and Nodoka come out of the kitchen carrying a fresh setting of tea and Cologne takes a cup and offers it to Ranma. "Here child, drink this. This is a special herbal blend from our village. It will soothe your emotions and your body. I gave some extra to your mother for the days ahead," she says gripping Ranma's right shoulder with a firm and comforting pat.
"Thanks, Honored Elder," Ranma says as she accepts the cup and slowly drinks from it. They look up to see the Tendos and Tofu enter the room and all silently sit at the table. Cologne and Nodoka passes the tea to everyone. After everyone has drank some of the tea Cologne speaks up, "I spoke with Ranma's mother to learn what has happened tonight. I expect you all have some unanswered questions and I might be able to handle some of them."
Everyone looks at her but dare not to speak with each of them showing great emotional pain. "First, Nabiki, you're probably confused by how fast the good doctor got here?"
Nabiki's face actually shows surprise and she makes no effort to hide it. "Yeah, I know I was away from Kasumi..," she starts but briefly stops to compose herself again, "I was only away for 30 seconds. There's no way either he could get here that fast or the battle out there finished that fast."
Cologne nods her head then looks to Doctor Tofu, "And I imagine you good doctor are confused by this as well?"
Doctor Tofu looks far off for a minute before saying, "Among other questions but I guess you'll probably let us all know as much as you can."
Cologne nods at this, "Yes, I will try to piece together as much as I have worked out. Amazon histories tell of creatures such as the ogres and the terrible events that are left in their dealings with humans. As to the answer for Nabiki, I came here when I felt a casting of a large magical spell that continued to radiate. I came here as fast as I could but even I could not pierce the barrier."
"The barrier," Ranma speaks up, "Long Fang spoke of a barrier when that guy… err ogre… well whatever you want to call him, when Ogre Slayer came in. He was shocked when he came in and mentioned a barrier."
"Yes, it was an extremely strong barrier and that young ogre must be extremely strong to have walked through it. The barrier though if you walked into it stopped time from passing for you," seeing confused looks on some faces Cologne decides to try explaining it again. "When you walked into it, you froze in place and it seemed to you that it was the same time as when you froze."
She sees little confusion on their faces so continues on. "Nabiki, when you called and came back it seemed only as if 30 seconds later, but it was probably more than 10 minutes for the others. When the doctor walked into it he was alone but when the barrier came down by that time the ambulance was there and in the barrier too," she sees Tofu nodding to her explanation. "The ogre used it to keep all of you from escaping and others from coming to help."
"Now to the biggest question, what happened tonight? When you make a pact with an ogre you damn yourself so when the ogre decided it was time he converted Genma. It seems also at one point in the battle when Ranma's strength of will and skill scared the ogre he used his magic to rip the part of Ranma out that he was promised. In a way Ranma you are lucky you went to Jusenkyo, if you hadn't then the ogre would have claimed your sole form, your male form. Jusenkyo allowed you to escape his grasp since he only had claim on your male side."
Ranma sighs a little, "Not sure how lucky it is I survived."
Cologne decides she needs to impress on Ranma just how important it was, "Ranma, not only was it lucky for you but for you mother and the Tendos. If you were dead they would be dead too. It was your girl form that saved everyone's life." Cologne immediately regretted the last part as she sees the hint of failure in Ranma's eyes.
Nodoka grabs Ranma's chin and directs her gaze at her. "Ranma, you fought to protect us all. You showed your heritage out there tonight and I refuse to let you blame yourself for Kasumi. You tried to save her, you even threw yourself in between willing to take a death blow to save her," she hugs her daughter tightly, "you're a very brave soul Ranma. You make me proud even in our sorrow of tonight."
"Well I blame you," a voice says as Ranma looks up in pain at Akane. "If we never seen you then Kasumi would be still alive. It's your fault she died tonight, if you hadn't tried to push her I would have saved her." Akane is growing angrier by the second and stands up.
Ranma looks stunned and could only gape at Akane. "Get out of here! Now! All of you! Get out," Akane rages in her pain. Ranma looks sadly to her mother and both stand. Cologne and Shampoo also stand up and they bow to the Tendos, "We humbly offer our condolences at your loss tonight." Once they stand up straight again they walk out of the room.
Ranma turns to go upstairs but Akane's fury stops her, "I said get out now!" Ranma just sighs, turns and then walks out of the house with her mother by her side.
Doctor Tofu stands too but Akane says, "Not you Doctor Tofu, you're always welcomed here. You understand all of this is Ranma's fault and we'll be better off without him here to endanger all of us."
He shakes his head and looks at the three Tendos, Soun looking angrier as the seconds pass like Akane while Nabiki looks sadden and a little surprised. "I'm sorry Miss Tendo but I don't feel I can stay here with that attitude. I know Kasumi would have disapproved of your blaming Ranma and I intend to honor the memory of her gentleness."
Akane looks briefly chastised but that is quickly replaced with anger. "If siding with the one responsible for her death is your idea of honoring her then I don't believe we can offer you our hospitality. Good night Doctor," Akane says and Soun stands close behind his youngest daughter in support.
Doctor Tofu turns without further words and leaves the house. Nabiki just stares at her father and sister. She recalls Kasumi's parting words for each of them her father and Akane told her of before coming back inside. She wonders how both of them have already forgotten their promises. She slowly stands up but as she turns to leave, she notices the table. She realizes that no one is here to clean it up any more. She sighs to herself and silently prays to her sister, "Oh Kasumi, we took you far too much for granted." She bends down and starts picking up the table.
Soun and Akane look at Nabiki in surprise then without looking back step back out into the yard seeing the police finishing up. A detective walks up to them introducing his self, "I'm Detective Shioma Ito. I want to let you know we're finished here and we'll leave soon. I don't want to drag you down tonight to talk about these horrible accounts. I got a brief description earlier from Doctor Tofu and again on his way out. I'd like to talk with you tomorrow if that isn't too soon after your terrible loss."
Soun shakes his head, "No Detective, tomorrow is fine." He looks around and sees the bodies have already been taken away including Kasumi's. "Uhhh, when will I get my daughter back for burial?"
"I'll see if they can't be finished by tomorrow and ready to release her to you. I'm sorry for this. Good night," the detective says then turns and walks out as the last uniformed officer walks with him and they close the gate on their way out.
Soun looks to the spot where he last saw his oldest daughter then raises his eyes to the stars. He wonders what he had done to have warranted the taking of both his wonderful wife and innocence daughter. With the last of the anger slipping from him for now he hugs Akane then walks back inside. He passes without a glance at Nabiki trying to clean up the earlier dinner and the later tea. Nabiki fumes at his thoughtlessness as she sees him go to his room and closes the door.
Akane soon comes in too. She looks to Nabiki as if she is going to offer to help but then just walks off and up the stairs to her room. Nabiki is mad enough now at her father and sister to just leave the house but she feels as if Kasumi would frown at her if she just abandoned her family right now. "How did you do it, Kasumi, how did you do it all these years?" she asks herself. "Kasumi, I'm sorry. If I knew this is how we treated you I would've helped." Nabiki then sighs again, "Who am I kidding; we both know I wouldn't have. Kasumi please forgive me for treating you like a mother and a maid," she whispers out loud and finishes the table and carries the dishes to the kitchen to finish the cleaning. It is another full hour before Nabiki leaves the kitchen and wearily climbs the stairs to her room. "God I never knew it was that tiring to clean up," she grumbles as she closes her door and within a minute is fast asleep in her bed still in her clothes.
Ranma and her mother are silently walking down the street only a few blocks from the recently rebuilt Saotome home. Neither spoke during the walk. They each feel deep pain and regret from this evening. Finally Ranma speaks up without looking at her mother, "Mom, umm… were you happier I was born a boy?" she asks a question that has been nagging at her on and off all night since she learned the true.
Nodoka looks up in surprise and stops walking. Ranma notices her stop and turns to look at her mother. She can't read her mother's expression which causes her to worry. Nodoka collects herself and finally answers her child, "Ranma, I love you no matter what. I expected a girl for several reasons but I loved you just the same when I was told you were a boy. I love you just the same now that you have returned to being my daughter." She walks up to Ranma and hugs her tight. "You're my child, boy or girl, you are always my child. I want you to never forget that," then she lightly kisses her forehead. She smiles and tells Ranma, "Now let's get home, it's late, and it's never safe for two beautiful young ladies to be out alone on the streets."
"Mom, you're with me remember? I'm the best. That means there's no danger here I can't handle," Ranma says with a little life coming back to her as she smirks to her mother. Nodoka laughs and they hook arms while walking the rest of the way home.
It has been a rough four days for Ranma and her mother. It hadn't been rough living with each other. It had been rough getting Ranma to stop blaming herself for Kasumi's death. Ranma knew logically it wasn't her fault and that she was willing to die to have saved her. She even felt like an idiot for asking Ogre Slayer to bring Kasumi back after just having barely survived with as few losses as they had without starting the whole thing over again. She understood she wasn't to blame but her heart, her emotions told her otherwise. She careened in and out of depression and sadness to guilty and self-deprecation to acceptance and near normality. Her mother continues to care for her with the Amazon's tea and checking her wounds Doctor Tofu had treated. He had stopped by the first day after to check up on his patient. While he was there he showed Ranma's mother how to check and redress the bandages. He also told them that Kasumi's ceremony was in three days which makes it today.
"Do I really have to wear this mom, I thought we agreed not to push me into girly clothes till I am ready if I ever am," Ranma whines. She is holding up bra and panties in one hand and an elaborate kimono in the other hand.
"Normally I'd say you're right dear but not for today. You want to pay your respects to Kasumi and you need to dress respectful for it. So yes dear, hurry up and put them on and if you need help ask me. That's what a mother is here for," she tells Ranma. With a look of defeat Ranma walks back into her room to dress in the dreaded outfit.
An hour later Ranma and her mother leaves the house. It took Ranma thirty minutes then another ten minutes of her mother's help undoing what Ranma tried before she was properly dressed. Walking down the busy street the mother and daughter enter the nearest train station glad it was too early for the trains to be crowded with office workers. It was a short train trip in relative comfort to get to their stop.
Soon Ranma and her mother enter the cemetery where Mrs. Tendo was laid to rest and now her daughter Kasumi interned by her. They walk up to the small group there and notice Doctor Tofu, Cologne, Shampoo and Mousse a fair distance from the Tendos and a few of their close neighbors that considered Kasumi as close as a daughter by the Tendos. The two Saotomes stop by the doctor as he and the amazons wordlessly greet them. Ranma was getting ready to pay her respects when Akane walks over to her.
"What do you think you are doing here," she hisses. "Didn't I make myself clear that night? You're not welcomed here. Now leave," she says as she grits her teeth and promises of pain or even death shine in her eyes.
Ranma sputters in shock, "I, I, just… wanted..., " is all she gets out before Akane is in her face. "Kasumi doesn't want your disrespect! Haven't you done enough to her without tainting her ceremony with your presence?" Akane looks ready to make a much larger scene when Nabiki grabs Akane's shoulders and turns her away from Ranma.
"Akane, go back over to daddy, I'll take care of this quietly," she says. Akane looks ready to argue with Nabiki but then backs off. She glares one last time at Ranma then she walks off to stand by her father as he too glares at Ranma and her mother.
"Come with me please, both of you, we need to talk," Nabiki pleads with them. Seeing Nabiki start to walk away from the ceremony, Ranma and her mother follow Nabiki well out of earshot and just barely in visual contact. Nabiki sighs with a heavy heart and genuine worry as she smiles softly at Ranma. "How are you holding up Ranma? Doctor Tofu seems worried about you and the Amazons too," she asks.
Ranma is surprised by the actual concern of Nabiki and offers a small smile for her. "It's a roller coast mom tells me. I think I'm giving her gray hairs," she confides with a bit of true happiness. Ranma's mother looks displeased with her daughter.
"I am NOT getting gray hairs," she retorts back causing a small chuckle from Ranma and a giggle from Nabiki.
Sighing happily Nabiki says, "God I've missed that lack of tact of yours. Ranma Saotome never realizes when he… err when she can so easily make you laugh at the oddest of times." Nabiki losses her smile though and looks at Ranma with a serious face. "I packed all of yours and your father's stuff and will have Shampoo take them to you. Daddy and Akane have come to an agreement of sorts to blame you for Kasumi's death and won't listen to anyone. She even threw Doctor Tofu out that night. I had to do some quick intervening with the police the next day. Daddy had the police almost convinced you pushed Kasumi into the ogre on purpose," hearing this Ranma and her mother both gasp.
"But, why?" is all Ranma can say in her dismay.
"Daddy blames Genma and by extension you. I think I can eventually get him to understand and see the truth. Akane on the other hand is more of a problem."
"Why would Akane blame me?"
"You didn't see it did you?" Nabiki asks Ranma.
"See what Nabiki?"
"I only caught a glimpse of it as I was looking at your male side at the time, but I think your mother saw it all. She seemed more concerned with your fight then your male side," Nabiki tells her then looks at Nodoka.
"I didn't say anything because it was an accident and I didn't know Akane was acting like this," Nodoka says. Ranma gives her a questioning look, "Dear if I knew I would have said it earlier, but when you pushed Kasumi to safety, Akane bumped into her trying to save her too and pushed her back towards you."
Ranma gasps in shock. Nabiki nods her head, "I think little sis is blaming you to avoid admitting it was her fault. That's why it will take a while to get her not blame you. She'll keep blaming you until she actually admits her part in it." Nabiki pats Ranma on the arm. "I know you want to pay your respects to Kasumi and I think it's safe to say just coming here already is enough for her. You should know Ranma that Kasumi enjoyed the spark of life you brought to her home. She would be so excited each time you and the others were due back from your adventures. She considered you a part of her family even without marrying Akane. So please Ranma, don't let this destroy the spirit of life she so loved in you, ok?"
Ranma just looks dumbly at Nabiki and nods her head. Nabiki smiles then at her and glancing over her shoulder seeing both her father and Akane looking elsewhere she gives Ranma a quick hug. "I'll call you when it is safe to come over. I'll keep working on them but I don't know how long it'll take. I'll get in touch with you, maybe we can get together for lunch," as Ranma hears that she gets a worried expression on her face. Nabiki seeing the look giggles again for the second time and surprisingly to Ranma only the second time she has ever heard Nabiki giggle in all the time she knew her. "Haha, don't worry I won't make you pay for mine. I might even pay for yours," she smiles at the redhead. "I better get back or Akane might come over again and make a scene. Take care of yourself Ranma. Take care of yourself too Auntie Saotome," and with that she turns around and walks back to her family.
"Well what now mom? I still feel like I should pay my respects to Kasumi," Ranma says as both women walk away.
"Well dear, if you want to I know of a shrine near where our new home will be. We can stop and pay our respects there if you want. We can even stop by the house to see how close to finishing it is," she says as they walk towards the train station they arrived at not too long ago.
"Sure mom, that sounds good," Ranma replies, "But mom, why didn't you mention our moving to Nabiki especially if she is going to send Shampoo over with my stuff?"
Nodoka laughs a little, "I already told Elder Cologne about it so I'm sure she won't let Shampoo to go to the wrong house. She can also pass the information along to Nabiki."
"So mom, how come you never shrunk down the honor blade like you showed me yesterday?" Ranma asks changing the topic. Thinking of the hidden blade she has inside the folds of her kimono. She pats it making sure it is still there.
Seeing Ranma checking the blade she gently laughs," You don't need to check if it's still there. A part of its magic prevents it leaving your possession unless you consciously set it down. As to why I never used that trick, it is because I can't. It didn't need me nor did I need it so we never bonded." Ranma looks at her mother. Her mother smiles at her and continues, "Its part of our heritage Ranma. I'll tell you more about it later but until that terrible night, I thought I failed our blood line and our sacred duty. During that fight the blade accepted you, that was why I was watching you that night instead of your male self. I was stunned it chose to bond with you and as the fight went on the bond grew stronger and stronger until when you chopped the ogre's arms off the blade had come to full life in your hands. It has been five generations since the last time the sword was awaken. Here is our train, I'll explain further when we aren't so close to prying ears after we get off," and with that she and Ranma got on the train to take them to the Minato Ward.
AN: This will be the only chapter with an Ogre Slayer Crossover with Ranma 1/2. I can't recall off the top of my head any before but who knows, maybe there are thousands of old ones out there. I think everyone can get where the crossover next chapter is going to be. I will warn you though, you will not see Ranma in a Fuku but you will need to read to see what happens to Ranma.