Down The Rabbit Hole
(Love Hina Arc)
The Disclaimer: This story assumes a basic knowledge of both the Ranma and the Love Hina series, neither of which I claim ownership of; nor do I claim ownership any other characters from any other series that may be introduced in this story. Also, if I touch upon things that other authors have previously written in their stories it is hope that they will consider it a form of homage to their creativity.
Warning: This story may contain excessive violence, sexual situations, adult language, and what some might consider anti-NWC or anti-Naru sentiments.
Additionally I would also like to warn those who are die-hard fans of the various characters from any series that appear in this story that I will be adapting them to fit this story as needed for although my intention is to try to keep them as close to their original personalities as I see them there will undoubtedly be some sacrifices made in order for the story to flow in the direction I intend. This means that some characters will likely be OOC than not. So, for those who are heavily into canon, I point out that this may not be the story for you and that you might want to discontinue reading.
Opening Note: This is my second attempt at a Fanfiction story. My intentions are for this to be a long story that will follow most of the original work of Love Hina. There will be obvious changes from the start, ones I hope will this story entertaining and not simply a rehashing of the Love Hina.
Ranma Time Frame: The story takes place well after the wedding; not that this matters. Why? Well, Ranma has been sent upon a journey of discovery by an unknown entity as a means to prepare him for some future event that has yet to be explained.
Love Hina Time Frame: The story starts at the beginning of the Love Hina series. I am basing it on the Manga over the videos as I have the mangas and only some of the videos. I have hopes to be able to keep the Love Hina gang in character and not let my personal bias about some of the characters show through. *Cough*Naru*Cough* I make no promises.
Author's Notes: I hope you'll keep in mind that this story is first and foremost meant to be entertaining and though it may be categorized as a drama it may end containing more romance, action, humor, or horror as the story builds. My hope is that those who read this will find at least as much enjoyment in doing so as I hope to have writing it.
Updates for this story will come as I managed to get around to completing a chapter as my primary focus is my Ranma/Gold Digger crossover named Vicissitude. Also, chapters for this story will likely be on the short side and I make no excuses for that.
This story is a work in progress and I while I have things in mind for where I want it to go this story will be subject more to my whims than any real outline and thus is subject to constant change. My hopes are to use this story to help sharpen my skills at writing humor (Which I personally feel I suck at).
My Ranma knowledge comes from the DVD's and various online resources and may be spotty on certain issues. My Love Hina information comes directly from the manga, which I read a few months back. (And probably should re-read again and again.)
Character Ages For This Story Are As Follows:
Amalla Su – 23
Genma Saotome – 41
Haruka Urashima – 27
Kanako Urashima – 17
Kaolla Su – 14
Mitsune Konno – 18
Motoko Aoyama – 16
Mutsumi Otohime – 20
Naru Narusegawa – 17
Nodoka Urashima – 38
Ranma Urashima – 20 (Previous Reality – 27)
Shinobu Maehara – 14
Tsuruko Aoyama – 23
Oh, and in my universe you can buy alcohol at age 18!
'Italics' = Thoughts
Bold Words = Stressed thoughts or words; loud sounds
#Words# = Panda signs
:-:Words:-: = Sounds
^Words^ = Chinese
ooOOoo = Perspective/Scene/Time change within a scene or location
*-*-*-* = Letter or other pertinent information that does not fit into the above categories.
– The Prologue –
– Or –
– Through The Mirror –
Ranma didn't much care why his head was ringing; he wanted it to stop, which thankfully it did just before he sat up and opened his eyes.
Considering all the things he'd been through in his life the Anything Goes Martial Artist found it to be of little surprise he was no longer where he had been but rather in what looked like someone's study. A very posh European one at that as it had large bookcases filled with tomes, a fancy globe, even a large opulent wooden desk behind which was an equally impressive cloth cushioning. One thing the room seemed to lack was a door.
Getting to his feet Ranma looked around noting that that he felt weak, like he'd been drained of energy by Miss Ninomiya. He also noted that there appeared to be no way out of the room; at least none at first glance. Spotting a rather large cheval mirror the displaced Anything Goes Student took note of his current attire, which was not his typical style being that it was one piece body suit of some sort, black and red in color. The suit showed off nearly every curve of his body to a degree that caused him to blush. Figuring that this was easily changed he reached for his backpack in his stuff-space only to find that he couldn't seem to pull anything out from it despite still being able to sense that it was there, as if he was being prevented somehow from doing so. Another oddity was that he could also feel that there was a great deal more in there than what he had originally stored, but he could not tell what they were. One thing he did know for sure was that his capacity to hold things was far greater than what his memory told him he should be allowed to do.
"Where in the name of the kami am I now?" Ranma muttered aloud to himself as he once again surveyed the chamber in hopes of seeing a way out.
"Why you're someplace you weren't before, isn't that obvious?" Came a deep throated reply in a voice not unlike the one he'd heard used by Darth Vader character from Star Wars save for the fact this one carried a more humorous tone rather than the foreboding one used by that fictional character.
Snapping his head in the direction of the voice Ranma beheld a short man standing before the mirror he'd been looking into only a moment ago. The clearly male individual stood there hunched over, putting most of his weight upon an ornate wooden cane with a silver head and tip. From his chin a long ash-grey beard stretched nearly to his feet – it was matched by the long flow of hair hanging down his back to the man's knees. At quick glance the man's overall appearance showed him to be both neat disheveled for his clothing had clearly seen better days yet his hair, fingernails, and shoes were immaculately groomed and cleaned.
Ranma watched as the man walked away from the mirror in front of which he had appeared to the desk where he flopped into the chair causing it to creak under his weight.
"You can stand there and gape at me all you wish but it might be a tad bit more comfortable for you if you were to take a seat." The old man asked, pointing to a chair on the other side of the desk from him.
"How 'bout you tell me what's going on first?"
"I don't see a problem with that." The unnamed man plopped his feet upon the desk showing his left shoe was not in as good of a condition for Ranma could see his big toe through a hole in its bottom. How much detail do you want and how much do you actually expect to get? Rarely in life do we get what is it we want when we want it. And when we do, it's often now what we originally asked for as we do not truly know what it is we want so we ask for the wrong thing."
"You tryin' to say I'm asking the wrong question?"
"And put words in your mouth? Hardly." The man seemed aghast at the very suggestion only to smirk a second later "Ok, maybe not never. But it's much more fun to let people do their own thing and enjoy the outcome of their choices. Much more fun!" The smirk changed to a very unfriendly grin. "Ok, maybe not so much for them but for me that's for sure."
"Look you old nu..." Ranma was cut off by a marshmallow landing in his open mouth requiring him to chew and swallow it in order to speak. It was a pretty big marshmallow, which briefly had Ranma wondering how the heck it actually got past his lips.
"A little manners can go a long way young man." The man then waved dismissively, a bored look settling upon his face. "But then again, I suppose I am to blame for you having lost what few you'd gained. For that I suppose I should forgive you for your short comings instead of taking you to task for them."
"Loo…" Another marshmallow appeared in Ranma's mouth forcing him to chew.
"I got a whole bowl of them, and I doubt my arm will get tired before your jaw." The man motioned to the bowl of them sitting upon his stomach. "And if you think holding your hand over your mouth will do you any good I warn you I am not averse to tossing the smaller marshmallows so they land either in your ears or up your nose."
Motioning towards the chair again the man added, "Now, show you have some manners and join me."
Using the time chewing to calm down Ranma decided that it wouldn't hurt him to show the man a little consideration, at least for the moment. Especially if it would get him the answers he was after. He found the chair to be surprisingly comfortable.
"Now, that's better. Thank you Ranma."
"You're welcome." The now seated Anything Goes martial artist responded with obvious forced politeness.
"Care for some tea?" The man offered him some from a kettle he produced from below the line of the desk.
"Suit yourself; it's an excellent mint tea. I find it helps wash down the marshmallows." The man said as he poured two cups sliding one to within Ranma's reach should he change his mind.
Taking a sip the man smiled widely, "Ah… yes. Just like my little fire-sprite used to make me when she visited."
Ranma simply glared briefly at the man before accepting the tea and taking a sip. Despite not wishing to he found it quite good and it showed on his face.
"I told you it was good." The man set his cup down. "Now then, since you've chosen to be a respectable guest I suppose I should be a respectable host and not prevaricate further."
"That is unless you would rather play a game of backgammon? I do so love the game." The strange man asked, pulling a small version of the game out from behind the desk to place atop the desk between them.
"NO…" he shouted out. Seeing the man's hand go towards the bowl of marshmallows Ranma lowered his voice, his hands waving rapidly in front of him. "Er… I mean no thanks. I'd um… much rather find out where I am and who you are." There was a long pause before Ranma ground out the last words he wanted to say to the strange man. "Sir"
"No one ever wants to play anymore." The small hunchbacked man responded with a sigh as he tossed the bowl off his stomach sending it clattering to the floor scattering marshmallows across the floor beside the desk after which he slammed his feet back on the floor to sit forward with his arms resting on the desk.
"My name young man? Well. For now just call me Grandfather." The old man smiled brightly "Yes, that will do nicely. Though given what I know of your personality I think you would rather call me gramps in an effort to insult me. Well, don't worry, I won't be insulted so feel free. But I warn you old man or any other derogatory name will earn you nothing from me."
"O…k… gramps." Ranma responded, not really liking the way the old man's smile showed off his crooked yellowing teeth.
"As to why you're here, well, it's because I wanted to help you my boy. Your life is frankly a mess; a multitude of unwanted fiancée's, an equal amount if not more in number of impossible to keep debts of honor, bad karma, several curses – man y of which you are not even aware afflict you, and lest I forget appallingly poor manners. Frankly it's little wonder that you have led a rather eventful if unhappy existence."
"Sure you'd started to fix much of that with many of the things that were happening prior to my plucking you out of your life to bring you here but even with that progress you never would have managed to have a happy life before you'd reached Happosai's age!"
"And before you ask why I'm messing with your life or even why I should care about you I will simply say it's because I see you like family my boy." Gramps paused. "If not family in fact and if there is one thing I hate it is to see family fail to reach their full potential."
Ranma shivered at the idea of being related to this crazy old fart, least the old man hadn't tried to feel his girl side up yet.
"Now, as I said earlier I must apologize for a few things that I've done to facilitate my goals."
"Right, an education is on the must list." The old man wrote this down on a piece of paper that suddenly appeared floating vertically in the air between them.
"Moving on." The paper vanished "The chief of thing I feel I must offer you an apology for is the removal of a large part of your memory concerning the last few years of your life."
"YOU REMOVED MY MEMORIES!" Ranma jumped to his feet slamming his hands upon the desk.
The young martial artist didn't even have time to register the man's movements when he felt himself catapulted across the room to slam back first into a bookshelf where he fell to the floor under a large pile of books trying to catch his breath from the force of the blow. He heard the old man get up and cross the room, the cane in his hand making a tapping noise as he did.
"Manners my boy. Manners." The old man's voice sounded as cold as winter and as harsh as the wind over snowy ground to Ranma's ears.
Still winded from the blow Ranma felt himself being lifted up by the collar and planted firmly back in the chair after which the man retook his own seat. Once he had regained his breath he gave the man an icy stare only to flinch as the man's ice-blue eyes reflected nothing of the world around him, only a coldness that chilled Ranma to the soul.
"I do like you Ranma. It's why I am trying to help you even if you don't want or even think you need it. Still, unwanted or not I won't stand for such outbursts in my home. Now, be a good lad. Take a sip of that tea to help calm yourself down, and I also suggest you be silent while I explain."
Ranma nodded and did as the man suggested.
"As I was saying, I've removed a large section of your memories more specifically all your memories concerning events which have taken place since that disastrous wedding between you and that dreadful Akane Tendo child."
"I have also taken the liberty to place a temporary block on a large portion of your abilities and skills that you developed during the time since then as I feel you will not need them right away as you learn the lessons I wish you to."
"My one regret at having to do this is that it means I have set you back with a few of the lessons you had in fact already managed to learn on your own but we can't have everything now can we?"
Ranma easily saw the truth of the old man's sorrow in his eyes just as he could hear it in his voice.
"Now, you're probably wondering how you're going to learn these lessons so that you may return to your previous life. Well, you're going to learn them by not being yourself!"
"Um… how can I not be myself…" Ranma's voice petered off as the thought about how the old man could accomplish this. "You're not gonna do something to my mind and make me learn them are you!"
Waving a hand placatingly 'Gramps' smiled, "Of course not, I'm simply going to drop you into someone else's life at a moment they would have otherwise passed away and let you learn things by being them. In this way I will be exposing you to things you would have never been had you continued to follow the path you were on. Sort of a 'Walk in another man's shoes' approach if you will."
Ranma went to open his mouth only to be cut off as 'Gramps' continued, "Oh you needn't worry about back history as you will have access to all that information. Well, mostly. At the very least you'll have all you need to pass as this other Ranma while still retaining all that makes you, the Ranma I like, who you are!"
When he heard the older man mutter "Of course I'm not sure if the process will cause a bleed over effect and alter your view on some things... but it is something I'm willing to chance." under his breath.
Ranma called him on it. "I heard that."
"Really? Well, no worries. And before you ask don't worry about the poor schlub you'll be replacing. You could only make their life better, even if only more interesting. After all, they would have been dead anyway!"
"How will I know if I learned your so called lesson?" Ranma asked, having accepted the inevitability that he'd have to bow to this man's whims as he'd gotten a good sense of the man's skill and power while they'd been talking and if his aura was any indication it would be a cold day in hell before he'd ever be able to work on this lunatics level. That and if this guy could take away his memories it wouldn't do to get him to decide to take even more of them away.
"That information will be provided to you each time you jump…"
Ranma received yet another marshmallow in the mouth. "Don't interrupt. It's rude. Now where was I? Oh yes, each time you jump you will be provided with a few clues as to what lesson you need to learn. These clues will not always be clear as you might like but that too is a part of the lesson! As to why more than one? Well, I imagine it will take you many leaps to learn everything I want you to, such as moving beyond the short coming of your innate rudeness. That alone I think will take several jumps to accomplish."
The old man clapped his hands together to rub them against each other gleefully. "Now, first I think we should do something about your education as well as teach you how to better interact with people who tend to jump to conclusions. Even more so than your fiery fiancée."
Ranma watched as the old man got up to move before the mirror to rap upon it with the back of his knuckles. To his amazement the man's reflection shimmered and vanished as the glass seemed to turn liquid reacting the way one would expect a pool of water to do after a stone had been tossed in.
"Come, it's time for you to begin your first trip. No dawdling now. Up up."
Ranma set down his cup of tea before moving over to where his host stood. Looking into the mirror's rippling surface he could make out nothing, not even his own reflection. "So, where's my hint about this lesson Gramps?"
"I suppose I can do that for you personally this time." His tone then became so sarcastic even Ranma got it. "After all you asked so nicely."
"Your mission this time around is simple but three-fold. First, like I said already, you need to smarten yourself up by getting a real education or at least a good jump on one. To this end you must, without cheating" Ranma's glare at the suggestion he would was ignored "manage to enter Tokyo University and actually pass one full semester courses with a GPA of no less than three point five. Another stipulation to this is that it might be done while holding a steady residence within your family's inn."
"An Inn? So that means I'll have to deal with others living there?"
"Quite. That's the second thing I want you to do. I want you to sharpen your people skills! Now, as to how you deal with them, that is up to you. But! You are not to avoid contact with them nor is it permissible for you to compel, coerce, trick, or even offer any of them the chance to move out as a way to avoid learning this lesson. If they leave for reasons all their own that's fine but you are not allowed to actively seek any means to get them to leave unless it is to protect any of the others living there."
Gramps dropped an arm around Ranma's shoulder forcing him to square off looking into the mirror. "Bits of your memory and skills will return to you over time, both from your original life as well as the one you are replacing so you will not be without some help in keeping you on the right path."
Ranma snorted, "Right path. Don't you mean your path Gramps?"
"Ranma Ranma Ranma. You fail to understand that I am doing all of this for your benefit not my own and though I will no doubt receive some amusement out of what happens to you it really is for the best."
"Am I giving you a choice? In a sense yes and no. No in that I am sending you and yes in that you could disregard my request. But if you do, I promise you that the next place you end up will be less pleasant and increasingly set against you while having the same goal so I suggest you make the best of your first choice."
"Great." Ranma groaned out.
The old man just smiled at him. "Oh, and don't try to ignore that little voice in the back of your head too much, it'll be some of the personality of the person your replacing trying to creep through. I'm not saying embrace it, but see if you can learn something from that inner voice as it might just help you get through things faster. Then again, maybe it won't! Isn't that just fun?"
Biting back his desire to respond in anger or frustration Ranma instead asked, "You said that the lesson was three-fold. What's the other part?"
"Tut tut my boy. I gave you all the clues you need. Now git!"
Before Ranma could react the old man stepped back and kicked him in the rear sending him flying through the mirror and into what lay beyond.
Gramps smirked at his own reflection in the now normal mirror before hobbling his way over to his desk to plop back down just in time for the door, which hadn't been there a moment before, to open allowing a young freckled red-head to run over and clamp onto his arm.
"And how is my little Fiona eh? That rapscallion brother of yours hasn't been teasing you too much I hope?"
Well, that's it for the prologue. Not sure when I will get around to more but I will try between working on Vicissitude.
Feel free to leave a review, its appreciated.
– Modified July 7th, 2011
– Modified August 23rd, 2011