I am Become...


Disclaimer: As always the paints are the property of
Takahashi Rumiko, Viz video, and this time, also Nobuhiro Watsuki,
who owns Ruroni Kenshin. The easel is mine, but that is all.

Notes: Please _please_ be certain to read the first part of
this story, "I am Become..." before you read this fic. Otherwise, it
will make little-to-no sense. You can find it here:


She sighed, drumming her fingers against the table, and
watching her sisters closely. Something had happened, though what it
was, was beyond her...

Ranma too had been touched, dancing through a kata
effortlessly over the koi pond, gracefully avoiding the water, all
the while wearing a... a... relaxed look.

A peaceful expression.

She shook her head, glancing at her younger sister, who was
staring raptly at her pigtailed fiancee.

Shaking her head again, she turned back, watching as Ranma
landed from a series of tight flips, and swept a bow towards the
house -- only to slip and fall in.

Frowning, Nabiki turned away, ignoring his now higher-
pitched peals of laughter at himself as he struggled out of the
pond, echoed quickly by her sisters.

"Hey, sis?"

The older sister looked over, a bemused smile playing across
her face as Ranma set about drying himself off before entering.
"Yes, Nabiki?"

"What's going on?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, what happened? How did Ranma's father get hurt, and
why is Dad acting so weird lately, and... where the heck did the old
pervert go?"

Kasumi turned somber instantly, regarding her sister
frankly. "There was a fight. Saotome-no-Ojisan was injured, and...
Grandfather Happosai moved along." Shaking her head, she rose,
softness slowly seeping back into her eyes. "Now if you'll excuse
me, I'm afraid I have to help a friend with something." She turned
towards the pair of girls -- towards Ranma and Akane, speaking in
low tones on the back porch. "Ranma? Akane? Would you care to join

A light in Ranma's eyes flickered briefly, one that she had
not seen in the pigtailed martial artist's face before. A light that
spoke of confidence, strength... of... tranquility. She blinked,
thinking for a moment that it was mirrored in her sisters' eyes, but
then vanished.

Ranma nodded, pulling his shirt on while Akane whispered
something that caused him to glower at her sharply, and stick his
tongue out.

She turned away, already knowing what happened next, and
pushing the image from her mind. "So," she addressed her father,
somehow not catching the lack of ensuing violence that she had
expected, "Can you tell me what's going on?"

The man shook his head, his eyes seeming distant. "I
suppose, Nabiki, that they've grown up a bit." He amended a moment
later, smiling at her, "I suppose we all did. Come, Nabiki, let's
say hello to your mother."

She sighed, hanging her head. He would be insistent, and
fall apart, and weep and wail, and... "Sure, Daddy. Let's go." Maybe
if they were to hurry, he would finish weeping before dinner.


He poked at the okonomiyaki in front of him, his schoolmate
in the seat at his side, poking at his own.

"So," the other said in a low tone, trying not to be heard,
"I guess the rumors are true."

He nodded, taking a bite of his okonomiyaki, and momentarily
stunning himself with the flavor. "Good stuff," he managed,
blinking, and reeling.

The other grinned knowingly, and nodded. "Oh yeah... you
think all three of them girls go at it together?"

He hung his head, sighing. "Why must you always be such an
idiot?" he hissed.

Before the other could respond, a voice cut through the air,
silencing both of them.

"That, my friends, is not a question I think you'll find an
answer for."

He turned to look at the speaker, and the other with him,
taking in for a moment the assembled trio. A pair of trios,
actually. Ranma, in his girl form, Akane, and Kasumi in one. And in
the other, Ukyou, Shampoo, and Konatsu.

A part of him wanted to lurk, to decide which of them was
cuter... and he had no doubt his companion would feel the same way.
But something in Kasumi's voice had said, beyond any possible doubt,
that he should leave. He grabbed at his food, muttering, "Yeah,
yeah, you're right..."

She nodded good in a good natured manner, eyes sparkling
with mirth, and announced, "Now be off, and let us speak in

He shrugged, already halfway to the street. "Sure thing.
Girl talk is boring anyway."

There was a snort, and one of the voices -- he wasn't sure
which one -- responded, "We need to speak of things that matter to
warriors and women." He glanced back over his shoulder, confused,
but all six of them were too busy giggling, a giggle that built into
a much deeper laughter.

Rolling his eyes, he walked away again, mumbling, "Whichever
one, I ain't gonna understand it."

Another friend saw him and the other in the street, calling
out, "Hey! Hiroshi, Daisuke! I got a copy of Final Oxymoron 12! Come
on over and let's check it out."

He grinned slowly. Maybe he wouldn't understand it, but
then, _he_ at least, would never have to.


Scattered pebbles flung,
Sweep wide across the pond, and
Come home far apart.

Author's Notes:
That haiku, I believe, summarized things quite well.


I can only hope that this lives up to Durry's original
ideal, but it's a horribly difficult thing for me to work on... It's
really his more than it was ever mine. :\

Right. This is the point where you all look at me like the
moron I am, and say, "What on earth was that supposed to be!?"

And I reply, "Well, you see..."

So what _is_ it about?

That's one I have to mull over.

It's going to mean one thing for me -- that's certain. But
for everyone who reads it, it will mean something else. There's
different ways for it to be interpreted... I also hear a lot of
complaints that it doesn't make a lot of sense. But then, it's not
meant to. Rather, not at the most base level. If you want to look at
it that way...

It's not a story of, "Cologne uses another evil amazon
seekrit (tm) and Kasumi reveals herself as the closet-super-power."
Well. Actually, it is. But it's also more than that. It's a story
about the search for self, and the best answer to a bad situation in
a world of extremes.

Though... I suppose if you wanted to you could take it as a
story of just people doing things, where Cologne is the ultimate
evil, etc... but if you look at it that way, you're missing a lot.
Cologne's no more evil than Happosai is good, really.

The biggest complaint that I get is that the action scenes
in the second chapter were unclear.

I have an answer to that issue.

I know. I like it that way. If you're focusing on the
combat, you're missing the point. It's there, but it's far from the
central issue of this story. It's just a backdrop for what's
happening internally.

I'm dodging the question?

Well -- imagine that, out of time...


Well, the fight may seem important, and I guess to some
people, it might be... but the actual combat feels like a backdrop
to _me_.

I apologize, because this story is both a good and a bad
thing. Because of this story, my friend, Durandall... is gone.

Studying the yin and the yang within this story has allowed
me to finally lay one of my own ghosts to rest, and I suppose that
I'm as complete as someone with disassociative identity disorder
_can_ be now, but... I'll miss Durry.

So thanks to everyone who helped me along this road, as
confusing as it is, and to Durandall, my friend... goodbye.

Any questions or comments can be directed to me.