Greetings, and welcome to my attempt at story number two. Hopefully this works as well as my last attempt, because honestly, I'm flattered that you all enjoyed it. I feel like celebrating, but I have no cash. I guess you can also use this as my disclaimer: I OWN NOTHING!
All was quiet in Nerima. It was over a month since the Saotome-Tendo wedding fiasco, and about as long since Saotome Ranma, local aqua-transsexual and martial artist, went on a long term training trip. Nobody could blame him, not even Tendo Akane, his tomboy fiancé. This could be due to how he treated his father, Saotome Genma, when he tried to stop him. He was still laid low with a broken leg.
Since then, chaos had reigned supreme. Shampoo (his Chinese Amazon wife by Amazon law), Kuonji Ukyo (his other legal fiancé), and Kuno Kodachi (local nutcase and insane Ranma stalker) stormed the Tendo Dojo looking for directions to where Ranma had gone, not even a day after he left. When Tendo Nabiki (resident information dealer) refused to give out information due to a feeling that Ranma REALLY didn't want company, Shampoo and Kodachi reacted violently, and Akane and Ukyo were forced to fight them off. Kodachi was knocked into orbit rather easily, but Shampoo easily got a nasty hit into Akane's gut, and Ukyo was forced to fend her off until Tendo Soun (the patriarch and father of the clan) snapped and kicked her out. He then stopped and wept over Akane.
Akane, on the other hand, managed to stagger to her feet as her oldest sister, Kasumi, broke out the first aid kit and fussed over her. After her broken ribs were wrapped up, Akane stumbled up into her room. She then broke out into tears. She had always prided herself over her skills as a martial artist, but to be taken out of a fight so easily freaked her out. Then P-chan showed up . . .
After weeping her troubles into the apparent pig, she calmed down and decided to take a bath. Unfortunately for P-chan, he didn't notice anything, as he plotted his vengeance on Ranma for making Akane cry, until she was naked and carrying him into the furo.
The resulting blow up was nasty and violent, and Hibiki Ryouga (who had fallen into the Spring of Drowned Pig and was masquerading as Akane's pet pig) soon learned how it felt to be on Akane's bad side.
She had yet to come out of her room since then, other than to use the bathroom and grab some food.
Since then, several whacked out martial artists showed up, followed by Pantyhose Taro. The martial artists left after a bit, but Taro had to be knocked out by the Cologne, local Chinese Amazon elder and Shampoo's great-grandmother, as Happosai, master of Anything Goes Martial Arts and local super pervert, was out. Even so, he probably wouldn't have done anything, much less change the poor idiot's name (he had given Taro his name when he stumbled upon his naming ceremony in a village when Taro was born; he's also the only one that can change it by Taro's village laws). It was bad enough the guy changed into a Minotaur with tentacles when splashed with cold water.
The waning moon rose in the night, and all was silent. Then, a ringing sound came from an alley a few blocks from the dojo. In Japan, nobody would have recognized what it was that materialized there, but if a British person was around, the object would have been identified as a British Police Box.
When it became solid, the door open, and a blinding light shone out of it. A bulky shadow appeared in the door, and as it exited and turned around, it stretched an arm out and waved. The door then closed, and the box started ringing and phasing out.
When the shadow stepped out of the now dark alley, it was shown to be a short, red haired woman in a kimono. A large backpack was strapped to her back, and she carried it as if it weighed nothing. If it was daytime, and the heavy pack wasn't on the girl's back, one could easily assume that this was Saotome Nodoka, Ranma's mother. She had stopped by the dojo every two or three days to check out whether her son had stopped in yet.
However, this wasn't her. As the figure walked up to the dojo, she stopped and looked up at the house. A smile appeared on her face, and Saotome Ranma sighed and exclaimed "It's great to be home!"
Dawn came, and Kasumi woke up and went to the kitchen to cook breakfast. She wasn't really awake yet, so she couldn't be blamed for not noticing the girl on the couch. Nor could Nabiki be blamed. It usually took her three cups of coffee to become aware of her surroundings, and five to completely wake up.
However, Akane did notice, and when she shrieked, the other two Tendo sisters came running. They stood there, staring at the redhead on the couch. The face was obviously Ranma's but the kimono was a feminine style yukata; it was red with golden flowers. Also, the braid the hair was in was definitely not Ranma's trademark pigtail.
However, when the girl stirred, and her eyelids fluttered open, nobody could deny that those were Ranma's bright blue eyes. She stretched, showcasing the large breasts on her chest. The girls, despite claiming to be straight, couldn't help but stare at the cleavage that was showcased by the kimono.
After stretching, Ranma blinked a few times, and then seemed to notice that she had company. "What are you guys staring at? Is there something on my face?" The boy-turned-girl quipped.
The three sisters shook themselves, and Nabiki narrowed her eyes. "Where the hell have you been, and what is up with the kimono?"
Normally, Ranma would have become flustered at the nosy girl, but she just smirked. "The yukata was payment for a job. I got roped into some undercover work from some government people." The aqua-transsexual then noticed that Akane looked like she hadn't slept or bathed in a while. He narrowed his eyes. "What the hell happened while I was gone? No offense, 'Kane, but you look like shit!"
The blue haired girl flinched and looked away, as Nabiki replied "A certain pig got a nice hot bath, and the Amazons have been on the warpath since you left. If you want any more than that, it's going to cost you."
The Saotome gave a grim smirk. "It's 'bout time that bastard got what he deserves."
At this remark, Akane whipped her head back around, and her eyes held flames of barely contained rage. "You KNEW about that PERVERT?"
Ranma's smirk disappeared, and for a moment, Nabiki thought that she was about to panic and cause a nasty 'accident' to happen to herself, but instead, she softly murmured "I accidentally pushed him into the Spring of Drowned Pig when he followed me to Jusenkyo. Because it can be considered a glaring weakness, I swore an oath that I wouldn't tell another soul that he was cursed. This was before he became your pet." She then grimaced. "And kami knows how many times I hinted to you about that . . . "
Akane held her pose for a moment, and then seemed to deflate into herself. "Sorry. I . . . I guess it's not your fault this time . . ."
The redhead smirked again. "Damn right, though if you want to hit someone, you can go after our fathers." As the girl looked up, he scoffed, "They weren't bound by any vows of silence, but they saw him go back and forth enough times to know."
As the Tendo girls gaped at this revelation, Ranma turned to Nabiki. "Am I to assume that you didn't know about the porker?" She shook her head no, and her brown, Paige-boy haircut waved in front of her face.
Ranma nodded her head thoughtfully. She then got up from the couch. "I need to change out of this thing; odds are this place will become a combat zone after all the other idiots out there realize where I am. We can talk about gifts and current events later."
Nabiki snapped her head around. "Gifts? What do you mean . . . ?"
Ranma smirked yet again as she climbed the stairs. "Like I'm going to go on a trip, work a few highly classified jobs for some government agencies, and not bring something back? Meet me in the kitchen in five minutes, and I'll show you what I've got. Just don't go digging in my bag; it doesn't smell right in there . . . "
Ranma walked into the kitchen wearing his usual black pants and red Chinese shirt. He had splashed himself with hot water, but he had kept the braid, which gave him more of an older look. In his hands were several packages that he had dug out of his bag. Remarkably, they didn't smell all that bad for being in his bag.
The Tendo sisters stood around the room. Kasumi was tending to the stove, which had breakfast cooking on it. Nabiki was sitting on the counter, arms folded under her chest. Akane had taken up the spot by the sink. She still looked like a mess, but it was obviously that some of the light had returned to her eyes.
"Alright, gather round, ladies. Let's see what I got here . . . " He set the packages next to Nabiki, and started to dig into them. He came out with a large book in his hand, and he handed it to Kasumi. She opened it up and gaped at the contents.
"Oh my!" She brought it around to reveal a series of European recipes that had been translated into Japanese. Later on, she would find selections from Germany, Italy, France, and the British Isles. She looked up to see Ranma holding up another package in front of her. She opened, and her exclamation, if possible was even louder. She held up a magnificently violet kimono. It was furisode-styled, and had a black obi.
"Thought you might like that" he said with a grin. He turned around to the packages again. He turned back around and handed Nabiki a small velvet bag and two rectangular packages. The bottom one was definitely solid.
She opened the small velvet bag curiously, and froze. Her eyes opened wide, and her mouth was left gaping. Akane and Kasumi peaked over her shoulders, and immediately copied her expression. Ranma grinned.
"Most of them aren't high quality, but you should get enough to pay for the repairs to the house, the mortgage for the next few years, and may have enough to pay for college expenses for the three of you. I also have some recommendations on where you can sell them; a friend of mine has a contact here that can find us a decent market for them," he told the flabbergasted girl.
The girl nodded dimly, stashed the bag of gems down her shirt, and then opened the next package, which revealed a green komon-style kimono with a red obi. It was cut a bit differently than Kasumi's, as the neckline was noticeably lower. She stared for a moment, and then turned her attention to the last package. In it, she found a laptop.
"I told a friend of mine in one of the agencies that I had a friend interested in business and finance. She gave me that for you, and told me that she had outfitted it with the latest business and accounting software. I have the cord in another part of my bag somewhere."
As the girl sat there, gaping at the treasures she had been blessed with, Ranma grabbed the rest of the package and handed it to Akane. "I can't promise a bag of diamonds or a laptop, but I should have a few things that might interest you."
Again, there were three packages. As she opened her first gift, she found two Chinese-style, decorated steel fans. Closed, they were about half of the length of her forearms. When she opened them up, she found a blue background decorated with red flowers. "How . . . why . . . I don't even know how to use these . . ."
"No problem; I can show you how to use them later." Akane blinked and gaped at the boy. They may have sparred every now and then, but for Ranma to actually offer to teach Akane anything . . .
He noticed her stare. "Hey, I'm not qualified to teach Anything Goes, but the fans are a different style." He looked her up and down. "We could also step your training up for a bit; it looks like you haven't done much training lately."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Akane demanded.
The boy grimaced. "It just looks that way; I don't mean anything by it. And besides, I've learned a few more tricks that you might find useful."
Akane calmed down. He was right; she hadn't done anything other than sit in her room and sulk. A decent martial arts training session would help get her back on track . . . and if Ranma was leading it . . .
"How . . . how good do you think I could get . . . " she asked.
Ranma made a show of thinking. "Well . . . if we work all this week whenever we have free time; I ought to be able to get you to a decent defensive level. I guess it's partly my fault, but your ability to block or evade blows sucks. Once we improve that, we can work on proper ki manipulation, and that should get you about where Shampoo is. We'll have to go on a training trip to get you any further than that though." He then snorted. "Honestly, you could have been roof hopping a couple of months ago at the level of growth you were at, but nobody really took the time to show you how to do so."
"Really?" Akane had a distant look in her eyes, as she imagined herself bouncing from roof to roof with the ease Ranma seemed to display.
Ranma couldn't help but smirk. "Are you going to just stand there, or are you going to open the rest of your gifts?"
The youngest Tendo girl started and set the fans aside. Her next package held a dark blue yukata with a red obi. The material was silk, and it seemed to reflect the light as she held it up.
"I thought you would look really . . . uncute . . . in that" Ranma said. Akane jerked her head up, pain and fury in her eyes, to find herself looking into his eyes. There was a glint of humor in those eyes, as well as something else. Something . . . primal.
She broke the stare, aware that her face was heating up in a blush, as Ranma continued in a low voice "Then again, if I said you looked like anything else, the idiot duo would drag another priest into the mix, and I had enough of that fiasco the first time it happened. Last thing we need is a repeat of the fiancé and rival wars."
Kasumi and Nabiki couldn't help but stare at the two of them. Sure, Ranma calling Akane uncute was something of a daily event, but only a deaf man would miss the tone of voice that Ranma had said the word in.
Nabiki shivered for a moment, as she imagined the amount of damage the dojo would take if word got out of this. She had made a slight miscalculation when she had sold the news of the wedding a month and a half ago, and though she managed to bleed the rest of the money needed for repairs from the responsible parties, the damage caused afterwards (to the dojo and to Akane's emotional well-being) was not as easily repaired. She knew for a fact that this scene was not available to anyone outside the four of them.
Akane, after breaking eye contact with her fiancé, dug into her third and final package to find a silk blue, Chinese styled martial arts outfit. The pants were femininely cut, with an elaborate netting design leading up each pants leg. A Chinese dragon was stitched on the back, mouth open and looking fierce. On the front, the Japanese kanji for the word 'horse' was stitched on the left chest area. A scarlet sash belt completed the outfit.
When Akane noticed the kanji, Ranma twitched and looked away. "I uh . . . my traveling companion helped me order this . . . he knew what I had in mind, but he was the one who added the uh . . . "he trailed off.
Akane sat up and smiled at him. "I love it. . . . The kanji is kind of presumptuous, and I won't be able to wear it outside without causing a lot of talk . . . but I love it." Her smile was large, and Ranma couldn't help but smile back, before a mischievous glint came into his eyes.
"Oh yeah, almost forgot!" he exclaimed. He reached his hand into a pocket in his shirt, and brought out a brown book. It was old, but looked to be in good condition. He then turned to Kasumi. "I got this from Doctor Tofu's aunt. Apparently, their family has a rather . . . unusual curse attached to them, and she told me to give this to you." He smirked, before saying "You may want to read this in private."
Kasumi nodded, and then walked out of the kitchen. Nabiki, on the other hand, gave Ranma a curious look. "I didn't know that Doctor Tofu had an aunt . . ."
Ranma's flinch was barely noticeable, but he replied "Well . . . she's kind of a long lost relative, you could say. Apparently, the Doc had an ancestor that was involved in sealing a demon, who cursed him and his male descendants at the last moment. That's why he would freak out whenever Kasumi was around." When both Nabiki and Akane gave him a weird look, he waved his hands in front of him. "I'm serious; his aunt says that the demon hoped that this would keep him and his sons from having any kids, so that he could escape later. Unfortunately for the demon, one of the son's wives found a way to cure it."
Before Nabiki could ask what this cure was, they heard a strangled "Oh my!" from the living room. The three teens ran out to find Kasumi staring at the book, with a bright red blush on her face. As they entered, she looked up and the blush deepened even further. She then turned around and scuttled upstairs heading up to her room.
Her two sisters, on the other hand, blinked twice, and then looked curiously to the lone boy in their midst. Ranma blushed slightly, before saying. "The cure . . . is slightly perverted, and was discovered when the son's wife got tired of waiting on him to get over it. Since then, she made a point to pass the secret of the cure on to her son's true love, when she noticed how he'd react around her. It has been passed down from wife to daughter in law ever since. Every new generation made a point to add something as well, so that book I gave her . . . is a bit more than slightly perverted."
Akane got a suspicious look in her eyes, as she asked "And you know this, why?
Ranma gave her a shaky grin. "Well, when I met her, she kind of assumed I was Kasumi . . . I had been splashed a bit before meeting her . . . and she decided to sit down and try to talk me through it . . . by the time I got her to realize that I wasn't interested in the Doc, and the feeling was mutual, she had already given me the basics!" By this point, Ranma had developed a rather green hue on his face. "She gave me the book for Kasumi after we straightened things out."
Akane cooled down at this. Over Ranma's disappearance, she had realized that she had a habit of jumping to conclusions, which was almost as bad as Ranma's ability to attract the wrong attention. Nabiki on the other hand, had a smirk of her own on her lips. "So Ranma-kun, what exactly did Tofu's aunt talk to you about when she told you this cure?"
Ranma's scowled and looked away. "If you really want to know, go ask to borrow the book from Kasumi, 'cause I am NOT about to repeat that conversation." He let out an involuntary shudder. "I had nightmares for a week after that event. I am not repeating it!"
Nabiki would have pried a bit, but a strong stink of alcohol suddenly entered the room, as two men stumbled in the front door. The first was tall and had black hair and a beard. This was Tendo Soun, the girl's father. The second man was bald and fat. Ranma couldn't help but raise an eye at the fact that his father, Genma, had somehow managed to stumble home without becoming a panda.
He turned to Nabiki and Akane. "My advice: take your stuff up to your rooms and hide it quick. The last thing anyone needs is for those two idiots to pawn it off for drinking money."
This snapped the two girls into action. They both knew that, while their father would never do it on his own, he wouldn't question where Genma, who'd pawn it all at the drop of a hat, got the money for their bar hopping."
As the two girls walked up to their rooms, arms laden with their stuff, Akane looked over to her elder sister. "Nabiki-nee-san, do you think . . . "
"So you think we should look into what Ranma was doing while he was gone too?" Nabiki interrupted.
Akane flinched a bit. "I mean . . . he's acting so different! Don't get me wrong, I kind of like how he acted, but . . . "
"He normally has the tact of a charging rhino, and he's yet to stick his foot into his mouth since he woke up this morning." Nabiki finished for her. At Akane's blush, she continued. "Personally, I'd like to find out what kind of government agency he worked with. Normally, they'd pay with money or something, not in-kind payment like that kimono she was wearing."Both girls nodded, and then split off into their separate rooms.
When they returned to the kitchen, they found the two fathers sitting at the table, as Ranma came in carrying some black coffee for the hung over idiots. Neither had noticed that Ranma had switched to his/her girl form for this, and she looked up at the two sisters. "Can somebody go knock on Kasumi's door? Her food is just about ready!"
She walked back into the kitchen, and Akane rushed back upstairs to get her eldest sister. When she came back with her, Kasumi had a dazed look on her face, and she let out a very odd giggle. Even the fathers, who had just drained their first cup of coffee, had to look up at that. Ranma-chan walked back in, and noticed their stares. She looked at Kasumi, who had a bit of a blush, and then turned back around, muttering "I don't want to know . . . "
She returned a minute later, carrying several bowls filled with rice and miso soup. She set them down on the table, and then brought out a coffee pot from behind her. "Remind me to thank Mousse for showing me his hidden weapons technique so many times." After filling the two idiots' cups, she brought out a third cup out of the same place she brought out the coffee pot from. She then sat down next to her father, and poured herself a cup.
Genma's eyes turned towards Ranma. "Why are you in that form, boy?" he growled.
Ranma shrugged. "I got splashed while I was in the kitchen, and I thought that it would be easier to change after breakfast. On instinct, her hand flashed out, slapping Genma's hand away from the food, making him yelp in pain. "Wait until it's on your plate, old man."
After everyone had served themselves some breakfast, Genma tried again to raid his 'son's ' food. This time, his yelp was louder, and it left a nasty welt on his hand. Ranma looked over to him, and said in a childish, sing-song voice "Now father, I think it's time for you to go on a diet! First step: eat the food on your own plate, or I will stab my chop sticks through your hand!" All of this was said with a very Kasumi-like smile.
He didn't try a third time, and everyone watched in wordless wonder as Ranma quickly, yet neatly ate her food. She then got up, and walked toward the kitchen to get some hot water.
Nabiki narrowed her eyes. Now she definitely wanted to know what the aqua-transsexual martial artist had been up to while he was out.
Tell me how you like this. There may not be much in the way of updates for a while; I'm going to be out of town for a bit.
Also, I wouldn't mind a more reviews for chapter two of "The Martial Artist and the Detective". I have no idea how well I did with that, so some feedback would be appreciated.