The disclaimer. Blah, blah... Ranma 1/2... blah, blah... not mine...
blah, blah, blah... Rumiko Takahashi and Viz Entertainment... blah, blah...
We all done then? Okay. On to the fic!

" " is when someone is speaking in Japanese
"[ ]" is when someone is speaking in Chinese
/ / is when someone is thinking
* * are sound effects

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Wolf In The Snow
A Ranma 1/2 fanfic
Written by Nathan Huss
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Gradually, the news spread around Nerima. In a few weeks, the Best
of Nerima Martial Arts Tournament would begin. Plans were made, hotels
were furnished, and betting odds were researched.

"So, do you think you're in good shape for the tournament?" Nabiki
asked. She was currently at Furinkan High's gate, a few minutes before the
bell rang.

"But of course, Nabiki Tendo," Kuno replied. "I shall smite mine
enemies, and secure the championship in the name of the Blue Thunder!"

"Then you're not worried about other fighters like Ranma or Kage?"

"Bah! They are no match for the might of Kuno! I shall defeat them,
and free those they have enslaved!"

Nabiki smirked. "Do tell. Have you considered what you will do if
you have to fight against my sister or the 'pig-tailed girl'?"

Kuno paused. "Indeed, that is a dilemma. Would it be nobler to allow
them to defeat me, and show my love in that manner, or exhibit my prowess
before them? A quandary indeed."

Nabiki went on to her next question quickly. "Do you have any new
tactics to use?"

"Nay. I need not for such. By my own unmatched skill with the blade
shall they fall!"

"Glad to hear it, Kuno-baby. See you in class." She put her notepad
in her schoolbag and walked off.

"Farewell, Nabiki Tendo," Kuno said. He spent the next few minutes
trying to remove his head from the wall outside of Furinkan High, having
been planted there earlier by Akane.

^^^^^^^^^^

Akane sat with Ukyo and Otome during lunch.

"How do you like it here at Furinkan High so far?" she asked Otome.

"It's very nice," Otome replied. "It's bigger than my last school,
but other than that it's not much different. The boys don't even bother me
that much. That's almost weird compared to back home."

"They know better by now," Ukyo said. "They probably think you're
a martial artist since you hang around with us."

"Why would that make them leave me alone?" Otome asked.

Akane and Ukyo avoided her eyes.

"Well, what happened to Kinzoku?" Akane asked, changing the subject.

"He's transferred to a private school nearby," said Otome. "His
father wouldn't let him enroll here, thank god."

Ukyo nodded. "He tried coming by Ucchan's the other day, but I got rid
of him."

"Ukyo-san has been taking care of me," Otome added. "She's been very
kind to give me a room and a job. I wouldn't even know what to do otherwise."

"It's nothing," Ukyo said, a bit embarrassed.

"Oh, have you seen those posters set up around town?" asked Otome.

"You mean the ones about that tournament that's coming up?" Akane asked.
"That's all Ranma has been talking about the last few days."

"It looks fairly interesting," Otome said. "I might want to go watch.
How about you two?"

"I'm going to sign up to be in it," Ukyo said. "What about you,
Akane?"

"Me too," Akane said. "After all, I don't practice martial arts for
nothing."

"I hope you both do well in it," Otome said. "I'll be rooting for
you."

"Thanks," Akane and Ukyo said.

^^^^^^^^^^

Nabiki sat down at the counter at the Nekohaten. "So, do you think
you're ready for the tournament?"

Perfume nodded. "Still in training, but will be ready in time. Here
is you ramen."

Nabiki took the bowl of noodles and let it cool off a bit. "Thanks.
Have you been in other tournaments?"

"Only those in amazon village," Perfume said. "Have not won, but did
very well."

Nabiki took a sip of the soup. "Will you be fighting with or without
weapons?"

"Will use trident, but can fight without it. In village, Perfume
taught is bad to be limited by having to rely on weapon."

"A wise lesson. Which are you better with?"

"Perfume better with trident, but Kage is helping Perfume get better
at fighting unarmed."

"Speaking of whom, where is he? I want to ask him a few things,"
said Nabiki.

"He out making deliveries," Perfume said. "Airen is very busy doing
work for Elder Cologne."

"I'll catch up with him later, then. Nabiki finished off her ramen.
"Thanks for your time. Is Shampoo or Mousse around?"

^^^^^^^^^^

Kage whistled a light tune as he jogged through the streets of Nerima.
He had a couple more houses to make deliveries to, and then was going to head
back to the Nekohaten.

As he turned a corner, he heard a slight scuffling sound about half
a dozen meters behind him.

"What do you want?" he asked.

Sasuke jumped over a wall and started jogging beside Kage.

"Good afternoon, Kage," the ninja said. "Erm... nice weather, isn't it?"

Kage sighed. "Who's keeping tabs on me today?"

"At the moment, Mistress Kodaichi has ordered me to keep track of you,"
Sasuke said, "though I expect Master Kuno to give me similar orders later."

"Great."

"Oh, and the mistress would like to know if you would care to have
dinner at the Kuno mansion tonight."

"No. Thank you, but no."

Sasuke nodded. "I understand. I will tell her that you are busy, then.
I suppose I'll see you again tomorrow."

"Probably," Kage said.

"Tomorrow, then." Sasuke broke off and headed down another street.
Kage continued to the next house on the list.

Unseen by either of them, a figure watched from a distance. He
fingered one of his throwing knives.

"I finally found him."

A light breeze blew from behind him. "Finally found who?" asked a soft voice.

The figure spun around, readying the knife. When he saw who it was,
he relaxed slightly. "Oh, you."

"Is that any way to greet your sister, Tonbo-chan?"

"What are you doing here?" he asked sharply. He sheathed the knife.
"Have you been sent to keep an eye on me?"

His sister stood next to him and shrugged. "Why Tonbo-chan, what
makes you think that I would do a thing like that? Besides, I am part of
a different school, so it wouldn't be appropriate for me to be keeping track
of you. I'm just here to see how my little brother has been doing, since you
haven't been back in a while."

"Really?" His tone showed he didn't believe her.

She shrugged again. "Actually, I'm here to compete in the upcoming
tournament, and happened to see you following that boy. He wouldn't be
Bear's disciple, would he?"

Tonbo nodded.

"Ah. Are you sure this is the one you are looking for? He doesn't
look like someone Bear would train."

"Yes, I'm sure of it," he said impatiently.

"Just asking." She turned and started walking away.

"Where are you going?" Tonbo asked.

"I have to prepare for the tournament. Anyway, I know how you hate
having family watch you when you are studying your prey. Just let me know
how it turns out, though."

^^^^^^^^^^

"So, Ryoga. How do you feel about the tournament?"

"What tournament?"

Nabiki sighed. "Just got back in town, eh?"

^^^^^^^^^^

Ranma and Akane walked home from school. Ranma was more energetic
than usual, hopping all over and shadowboxing.

"You're in a good mood," Akane said.

"I'm looking forward to the tournament," he said. "I wonder if
there's gonna be a trophy or something."

"Aren't you getting ahead of yourself?" asked Akane. "You should
concentrate more on winning than what the prize is."

"Don't worry, I'll win for sure. No one can beat me."

Akane smiled. "What about Happosai, or Kage?"

Ranma stumbled, but caught himself. "I know how to deal with the
old freak."

"And Kage?"

"Well, it won't be that fun if there wasn't any challenge to winning,"
Ranma said.

"You sound a little worried," Akane teased.

"I am not!"

"Besides," she said, "I'm going to be in it too. Don't you think that
I might win?"

"You?" snickered Ranma. "That'd be rich."

"Ranma!" Akane growled.

"You're good, sure," Ranma said hurriedly. "In a regular competition,
you'd be sure to win, but there's people like me, Ryoga, and Kage in this.
Your not even in our class."

This, of course, turned out to be the totally wrong thing to say.

"Ranma no baka!" Akane swung her jumbo mallet at him.

"Excuse me."

Akane jerked to a halt, missing Ranma by mere inches. "Yes?"

The person who had spoken was a woman wearing a fairly plain dress.
She was a bit tall, and had brown hair cut at medium length.

"Sorry to bother you," she said. "Can either of you tell if there are
any restaurants nearby? I'm afraid I just arrived in town, and..."

"Oh, sure," Akane said, putting away her mallet (don't ask me _where_
she put it. I'm just the writer). "Um... I think the Nekohaten is near here."

"Yeah, just a block or two," Ranma said. "We can show you, if you want."

The woman nodded. "If it wouldn't be too much trouble."

"No problem," said Ranma.

As they led the woman to the Nekohaten, Akane whispered to Ranma, "I'm
still going to get you for that."

"What? C'mon!" he said. "I hadn't meant it like that, anyway."

"Oh? So just what _did_ you mean by it?"

"I just meant that you might get hurt or something."

Akane glowered at him. "I have just as much a right to be in
the tournament as any of you!"

"Oh, the two of you are going to be in the Best of Nerima Tournament?"
the woman asked.

"Yes," Akane answered. "Why do you ask?"

"That's actually why I'm here as well. I'll be in it myself."

"Really?" Akane asked.

The woman nodded. "I even met my husband at one of the previous
tournaments." She sighed happily at a memory.

"See?" Akane said to Ranma. "I bet her husband isn't worried about
her getting hurt."

"Yeah, well..."

They arrived in front of the Nekohaten. "Here it is," Akane said.

"Thank you." The woman stepped forward to open the door to the
restaurant, only to have it open up right before she got to it. Kage
walked out, stopping short to avoid bumping into her.

"Oh, hi Kage," Ranma said. "How's it going?"

"Kage?" the woman asked.

Kage's eyes widened. "Mom?"

Ranma and Akane blinked. "'Mom'?"

Kage and his mother rushed toward each other and gave each other a
bear hug.

^^^^^^^^^^

"The Best of Nerima Tournament? Sure, I'm going to be in it. I just
haven't thought it that much, though," Ukyo said. "I've been pretty busy
with the restaurant."

"I can see," Nabiki said, looking around the interior of Ucchan's
Okonomiyaki. "It's more crowded than usual in here."

Otome ran up to the grill. "Two deluxe okonomiyaki for table 3, Ukyo-san."

"Got it."

As Otome moved to another table, Nabiki leaned in. "She the reason
for the increase in business?"

"Yeah. It's just because she's a new waitress, but since it brings
in more customers, I'm not really complaining. As long as that Kinzoku
doesn't come by, we're all happy."

"Otome!"

Ukyo grimaced. "'Scuse me for a sec."

"Sure."

Ukyo hopped over the counter, and calmly walked over to Otome, who
was running from Kinzoku.

"Get out!"

*Wham!*

After batting him out the door, Ukyo walked back to where she had
been cooking.

"Happens a lot?" Nabiki asked.

"Not really. He gets the hint fairly quickly, but comes back a day or
two later."

"Hm."

"Are you gonna actually order something, or did you just want to
talk?"

"Just talk," Nabiki said, standing. "See you."

^^^^^^^^^^

Nichiro leaned against a wall and watched people walk by.

/That one? Nah. Him, then?/

He had arrived in Nerima earlier that day, and at the moment was
killing time.

/Damn. Don't seem to be that many good targets here./

He took off his shades for a moment and rubbed his eyes. "If I had
known it was going to be this dull I would have come closer to the tournament
date."

Putting the shades back on, he glanced one more time at the crowd.

/No... No... Hello./

He noticed someone wearing a kendo uniform striding through the mass
of people. The boy was holding a bokken as well, and seemed to be rambling
to himself.

/Interesting./ Nichiro pushed off from the wall and slid toward him.
When he reached the person, he tapped him on the shoulder.

"What? Who disturbs the meditations of the great Tatewaki Kuno?"

Nichiro smiled. "Sorry. You wouldn't happen to know what the time
is, would you?"

"Pah! For this you pester me? Look upon the timepiece in that
nearby establishment for the hour." He walked off purposely. "Where was
I? Ah, yes. If I _did_ indeed forfeit to the pig-tailed girl or Akane
Tendo, how _would_ they..."

Nichiro shrugged, and pulled a wallet out of his jacket pocket once
Kuno was out of sight. "That was easy. Lemme see..." He pulled a wad of
bills out of the wallet. "Not bad. This'll pay for dinner."

He walked away, happy in the knowledge that the School of Martial
Arts Pick Pocketing had successfully struck once again.

^^^^^^^^^^

"Akane, Ranma," said Kage, "this is my mom, Yumi Tsuyosa."

"We were starting to get worried about you," said Kage's mother.
She, Kage, Ranma, and Akane were sitting at one of the tables in the Nekohaten.
"We hadn't received a letter from you for a while."

"I've been a bit busy," apologized Kage. "A lot has been happening."

"Really? You'll have to tell me about it later."

Kage nodded. "How has everyone been doing?"

"Oh, things are pretty much as they usually are. Your father is
still teaching a self-defense class, though he's planning to start an
actual dojo."

"Oh?" asked Akane. "What style does he teach?"

"It's a bit of a family art," said Yumi. "My husband has been trying
to think of a name for it that will attract students. It's based off of
kenpo, though."

"My family has a dojo here in Nerima," Akane said. "The Tendo Dojo."

"How nice. It must certainly give you an advantage in the tournament,
then."

"How are Usagi and Saru?" asked Kage.

His mother sighed. "The usual."

"That bad, huh?"

"Who are they?" asked Ranma.

Kage smiled weakly. "My kid sister and brother. They have a tendency
for causing trouble."

"It's Kage's fault, in a way," Yumi said. "They look up to him and
want to be martial artists just like him."

"I don't see what's so bad about that," said Ranma.

"It is when strength like mine runs in the family," said Kage.

"Oh."

Perfume walked out of the kitchen, and saw them grouped at the table.

"Kage? Who is woman?" she asked, walking over.

"Perfume, meet my mother."

"You...? Aiyaa! Is honor to meet you at last."

Yumi blinked. "Thank you. And you are?"

"Perfume is Kage fiancée."

Yumi turned to Kage, who nodded sheepishly. "You weren't kidding when
you said a lot has happened. How did this happen?"

"It's a bit of a long story."

"Kage," Perfume said. "Should also tell you mother about..."

"Good point. The alley in back would be best."

"What are you talking about?" Yumi asked.

Ranma began to look a bit nervous. "Well, I'll see you later, Kage."
He stood up. "C'mom Akane."

Kage got up as well, and led his mother toward the back. "Bye, Ranma.
Now mom, this is going to be a bit disturbing."

Akane and Perfume watched Ranma exit hastily.

"Airen should tell Ranma that he no mad about curse," said Perfume.

"He's not?"

Perfume shook her head. "Kage just let Ranma think so as small joke."

Akane smiled. "Ranma deserves it, anyway. Bye."

"Bye."

After Akane left, Perfume headed to the back, and heard a soft thud
from the alley. She peeked out the door, and saw Kage-wolf prodding his
mother, who was lying unconscious on the ground. He looked up at Perfume
and whined.

"Aiyaa. Perfume get water."

^^^^^^^^^^

Akane caught up with Ranma and walked beside him.

"Why are you in such a hurry?" she asked.

He glared at her for a moment. "That's not funny."

"It's your fault he got cursed. You're just lucky he isn't trying to
kill you."

"Maybe, but I'm not sure about his mom if he tells her about that."

"Do you really think she'd try to kill you? She seems like a nice lady."

"And the freak seems like a weak old man, until it's too late."

A boy walking past tripped and brushed into Ranma. "Oh, sorry."

"S'alright," Ranma said. "You okay?"

The boy readjusted a pair of shades he was wearing and nodded. "Yeah.
Bye." He walked off.

Akane looked at the darkening sky, and then at the boy. "Why is
he wearing sunglasses at this time of day?"

"Who knows?" Ranma said. "Maybe he has sensitive eyes or something.
Let's just go home."

Nichiro sighed as he turned a corner. "Drat, he didn't have anything
good on him. Oh well, you can't expect to win every time."

^^^^^^^^^^

Nabiki flipped through her notes as she walked home. While she
wouldn't be able to accurately figure out betting odds at this point, it
had still been good enough as a preliminary survey. She had interviewed most
of the major martial artists in the area, except for...

"Hey."

She turned, and saw Kage leaning against a lamppost.

"Perfume said you wanted to talk to me," he said.

"Oh, yes. I did. What are your thoughts-"

"-on the Best of Nerima Tournament?" he finished for her. "From what
I've heard about you, I was expecting that."

"Really? And just what have you heard?" she asked.

"Not that much," he admitted. "Most of it revolves around you and
money. Has betting actually begun, or are you just getting ready for it?"

"Merely preparing. Why? Are you against betting?"

"No," Kage said. "I don't care what people do with their own money.
It's just that some rumors from students eating at the Nekohaten say that
you fix things like this."

Nabiki frowned. "Do believe them?"

Kage shrugged noncommittally. "To be honest, I don't really know.
Since Perfume and I arrived about a week ago, I don't really know that many
people. You don't strike me as a person who would resort to cheating like
that, but you never can know for sure."

"I don't suppose you would trust me if I said that I don't?" she asked.

"It doesn't really matter. After all, rumors are just rumors. At
the moment, I'll believe they aren't true. If it turns out they are..."

"Then I suppose that if they are true I'll have to watch out for you."

"Okay." He smiled suddenly. "Now, just what in particular do you want
to know?"

Nabiki blinked, and then smiled as well. "Surprised me with that."

"I don't really mind answering questions about the tournament. It
doesn't really seem like doing so would hurt me, so why not?"

"If you say so," said Nabiki. "First off, are you doing anything
special to prepare for it?"

"Not particularly: just my regular training."

"Which would be?"

"Basic things. Practice in the morning a bit, spar with Perfume..."

"Oh? Do you actually attack each other?"

Kage nodded. "Of course. We try not to seriously hurt each other,
but- what's so funny?"

Nabiki waved a hand dismissively and stopped chuckling. "It's nothing.
Just thinking about when Ranma and Akane spar with each other. Do you have
any reservations about what to do if you get matched up against Perfume,
you being engaged and all?"

Kage scratched the side of his head and thought for a moment. "Yeah,"
he said finally. "I figure we'd both try our best to win, but yeah, I would
have some."

Nabiki nodded, and jotted down some notes. "Okay, who do you think
you ought to worry about fighting?"

"Ranma, definitely. He's fast, skilled, and from what Shampoo
has mentioned, stubborn as hell."

"That's a good way to put it," said Nabiki. "Anyone else?"

"Well, like I said earlier, I'm new in town so I don't know a lot of
the other martial artists. If pressed I'd have to say Ryoga. I haven't
actually seen him fight, but again, I've heard stuff."

"Reasonable. That's pretty much all I wanted to ask," Nabiki said.
"Thanks."

"Sure. One thing, though," Kage said. "Your questions seemed more
suited toward a reporter than to figuring betting odds."

Nabiki shrugged. "Actually, I've been hired by the school newspaper
to get them some information on the local martial artists, since two of
them live in the same house as I do. It's not that much, but I was going to
do it anyway, so why not turn a small profit?"

Kage laughed, and walked off after saying goodbye.

^^^^^^^^^^

Nichiro walked around for a bit, deciding whether or not to give up
for the day. He had had only one really good catch earlier, which would
have been enough for the day, but he had to find a way to pass the time.

"One more, then find a place to stay for the night," he said to himself.

"Die, Ranma!" a voice shouted.

"What the-?" Nichiro saw a guy wearing glasses and a Chinese robe
rushing toward him with a sword drawn. The pickpocket grabbed his dagger
from its hidden sheath, and parried. "Who the hell is Ranma?"

The person stopped, readjusted the glasses, and peered at Nichiro.
"Hey, you're not Ranma!"

"Damn right I'm not!"

"Oh, sorry, then." He slipped the sword somewhere into his robe
and jogged back the way he had come.

"Strange," Nichiro muttered. He reached into his jacket pocket where
he had put the item he had lifted off the person. "What did I get off of him?"
He pulled out a small bomb, of which the fuse was lit.

"Oh shi-!"

*KABOOM!*

Mousse paused at the sound, and then checked inside his robe. "Must
have dropped a bomb somewhere back there. Hope no one got hurt."

^^^^^^^^^^

Notes:
And thus yet another chapter of Wolf in the Snow is completed. Send
any comments, questions, suggestions, criticism, etc... to Wakoid2@aol.com.
You can find this and other fics of mine on my site at
I have received a few fighters for the tournament from some people, but
I am still hoping for more. If you want to send one in, just see what I have
in the endnotes for Wolf in the Snow 4. Once I finish part 6, I won't accept
any more.
That's it then. So long.