Two Days Later

Ukyou sat in the bedroom of the flat she and her husband shared above their shop. Around her were tear-stained tissues and ripped pillowcases and sheets, from crying and anger respectfully. Two days had passed since she'd succumbed to the Neko-Ken, and still she cried. She cried in anger at herself for causing so much trouble to her friends, in pity for causing them worry and fear and in hatred towards her father-in-law. The stupid panda had tried teaching Ranma the technique, but Ranma refused, saying that he didn't think it would work for him. Ukyou had stepped up, saying she would learn it instead, always looking for a way of getting the upper hand on Ranma during their spars.

And so, Genma Saotome, the fat idiot he was, agreed.

Ukyou learnt the technique, and developed the fear of cats that was detailed in the next page of the instruction booklet. The page Genma never read.

That was ten years ago. Ten years of quivering in pure fear whenever she saw a cat. At this thought, a fresh wave of tears came.

On the other side of the door, someone knocked. Quickly drying her eyes, Ukyou stood up and opened the door.

"Hey, Ucchan." Ranma said with a smile on his face. "I thought you might be hungry, so I made you some food. Where do you want to eat?"

"Oh, umm…" Ukyou stammered. "I think I'll eat it in here."

"Ukyou, you haven't left that room for two days, since I bought you out of the Cat-Fist. It's not healthy. All the customers are asking for your Okonomiyaki. There's only so much I can do to sate their hunger. You haven't showered, you haven't gone outside, you just sit in there and cry!"

Ukyou looked at her toes, ashamed. "But…Ranchan…"

"Look, I know yer upset, but we need to pull through. You can't just sit there and bawl your eyes out! You need to get out! You need to wash! Do you realise how much you stink!?"

The moment he said it, Ranma knew that he should have stayed quiet. If there's one thing Genma had told him that was true, it was not to insult a woman on their clothing, hygiene or looks.

"Oh, I stink, do I!?" Ukyou screamed in her sudden anger. "How do you think you'd smell if you'd been rolling around in the trash when not in your right mind!? Jerk!"

As the chef slammed the door in Ranma's face, he sighed before collecting the food and putting it outside the door, before getting some pen and paper and writing a note, folding and leaving it on the tray. "Your food's outside the door, Ucchan. Don't forget to eat it."

As Ranma went down the stairs to prepare for the lunch rush, Ukyou opened the door and took the tray inside. Sitting down to eat her meal, she noticed the piece of paper. Unfolding the note, she read the words written on it in Ranma's sloppy handwriting.

"If not for yourself, then for me. Please start feeling like yourself soon. Love, Ranma." Ukyou read aloud.

As she cracked the first smile in two days, she placed the tray in her lap and started to eat.

:::::::::::::::::::

In an empty room of the Tendo household sat a travelling pack. The pack contained clothes, food, a tent and some money. On top of the pack sat a neon orange bamboo umbrella.

However, people with experience of Ki would notice that the umbrella was glowing and emitting a high-pitched whistle. Since different people noticed Ki in different ways, the umbrella glowed to those who saw Ki, whistled to those who heard it and had the distinct smell of fire to those who smelt it.

The umbrella was doing all this to get someone to pick it up. For inside the umbrella was a being. A being that liked to call itself Kodama.

Kodama had been separated from the person who owned the umbrella for a week, and he was getting restless. He still owed wishes to that lost boy, Ryouga. He couldn't do anything until he'd given those wishes. And he REALLY wanted to get them done, so he could go back to his realm.

Kodama kept trying to attract attention. But nobody was watching, or listening, even though the patriarch of the home had gone on many a hunt for the smell of fire.

:::::::::::::::::::

Deep in the dark recesses of a basement, laid a bed, with a desk illuminated with a single candle next to it. Sitting at the desk was a figure. The scratching of a quill on paper interrupted the silence, only stopped when the writer dipped the tip into a pot of ink. While calligraphy was all well and good, there was nothing better than a different writing tool to throw people off the scent.

A few minutes later, the scratching stopped, and the paper was placed inside an envelope. The person stood, retreating from the warmth of the candlelight, before heading up the stairs towards the rest of the home.

As the person headed up the stairs, they spoke so softly that anybody listening would be hard pressed to make out the words. "Soon, you shall know my pain."

:::::::::::::::::::

Xian Pu sat at a table in Saonji's, head nestled in the crook of her arms, desperately fighting off the urge to sleep. The restaurant had closed for the evening, and Xian had been waitressing all day, quickly heading back and forth to the kitchen to make some extra food during the brief lapses in orders. "Mmm, Xian Pu so so tired…"

"I know how you feel, Xian." Said Ranma, who was currently standing behind the counter making a quick meal for the both of them. "You did good today, you know," he said. "If you weren't here, I'd probably be having a nervous breakdown right now. You helped a lot today."

Xian looked up at her employer and smiled wearily. "Thank you Ranma-san. Too-too kind."

"Xian, please, just call me Ranma. We're friends. Enough of the formality." Ranma said, briefly looking up from the cooking Okonomiyaki. "Ukyou feels the same. You've helped us a lot, and it's only fair that we at least treat you like a friend."

"Ranma too too kind," Xian said, slumping down onto the table again. "How the Okonomiyaki coming?"

"It's nearly ready." Ranma said, adding the toppings before dealing it onto a plate and going round to Xian. "Hey, you said Okonomiyaki right! Your Japanese is really improving, Xian. Now, let's dig in!"

Ranma sliced the food in half, nudging half to Xian. As Xian picked up a pair of chopsticks to start eating, she spared a glance at Ranma, and blinked when she saw the pigtailed fighter seemingly breathe his food in before sitting back and burping. "Heh, oops. Sorry 'bout that."

Xian giggled before taking her first bite. "It okay Ranma," she said after swallowing. "It happen to all people. It make me laugh too."

Ranma smiled. "Eat up, Xian. You've had a long day and need to eat before heading home to rest." As he stood up, he went to get a glass of water. "Drink?" he called from the tap.

"Mm." Xian replied in the affirmative. As Ranma came back carrying the two glasses, he was careful to avoid tripping and spilling the water, which, the two friends knew, would find them at the most awkward times. However, Fate wanted to play a game.

One accidental trip-up later and there was a red headed girl and a black haired man staring at each other, dripping wet.

"Ranma no baka!" Xian-kun said suddenly, shaking the excess water out of his hair.

"Oh, Kami, I'm so sorry Xian!" Ranma-chan said, panicking. "I'll get you a towel from upstairs!"

"Ranma, no," Xian-kun interrupted. "It ok. I manage walk home as wet man. I change when get home. Thank you for food. See tomorrow, yes?"

"Uhh, yeah, I'll see you tomorrow, Xian." Ranma-chan replied, walking the taller man to the exit. "Get home safe."

Xian-kun nodded and left towards the street she lived on.

Five minutes later, Xian-kun was hiding in an alley as she stared in fear at the Chinese man walking up and down the street.

Straining her ears, she heard him say: "I could have sworn I saw her up here earlier today…"

As the man kept looking, he looked down the alley, causing Xian-kun to stop breathing lest he give himself away.

Mu Tze looked down the alley. He could have sworn he heard a noise from down there. Ah, probably just a stray cat, he told himself.

As he left to continue his search, Xian-kun left the alley and ran as fast he could without making sound towards home. As he turned the corner he stopped to catch his breath. "Stupid Mu Tze! Why you look for Xian Pu! I no want you here!"


Notes:

I'm BACK!

Sorry for leaving people who give a damn with a cliffhanger over the summer, but I was constantly drunk. One thing I've learnt is that drunken writing is not good for you.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this. I'm just setting up future plotlines and developing characters more so. There should be some more action in a few chapters. I write this as I go, so, who knows when it'll finish. When I want to focus on other things, I guess.

Anyway, to reviews. All two of them.

chm01: Yes, indeed. The excrement has collided with the air distributor. And expect vats of it to collide with wind-tunnels in the future.

TheLordOfPages1692: Again, sorry for leaving you on a cliffhanger. Did you squeal with exitement when you saw that I've finally updated? I do, for some reason. Meh.

The plotline of the canon you're referring to is when Nabiki and Ranma pretend to be engaged. Akane got upset because Ranma caught Nabiki instead of Akane, arguing that Akane's martial arts training should make it easier to cope with falls, compared to Nabiki's training, which in canon is non-existent. It was a good plotline. I need to dig it up.

Well, that's that. I'm going to be at my computer with MS Word on it more now (I lost it at home, somehow...) so updates to Ranchan and Ucchan will be more frequent, as well as Saotome Siblings. If you haven't read it, click my name at the top of the page and have a gander. I'd greatly appreciate it.

Much Love, SOTG.