Disclaimer. None of the characters or series appearing/ referred to in this short piece of fiction belong to me, and I don't make any money with this. This was written solely for entertainment purposes.
It was a Friday afternoon and the classes at Furinkan High had come to an end. Nabiki Tendo picked up her bag, waved her associates goodbye and left the school property. Ranma and Akane hadn't waited for her and had gone already on their own, so she set out after them on a sedate pace. If the week was of any indication, she'd see Ranma flying across the sky right about... now. Nabiki stopped walking, took the small binoculars she now carried in her schoolbag and took a look at the ascending figure. As the figure had reached the apex of his flight, she eagerly awaited for Ranma to take his parachute from his stuff space with Nekohanten's advertisement banner.
The day before yesterday Ranma had once again surprised her by pulling out a makeshift parachute, made out of nearby grocery store's plastic bags. Of course, Nabiki felt slightly frustrated - Ranma was doing free advertising and she wasn't getting a single yen out of it. This situation was quickly remedied with a short and to the point 'discussion' after Ranma had landed. Now she had already sold the ad space for the next five flights.
This line of thought brought Nabiki back to the present. She took another look at Ranma through the binoculars, but even though he had already begun to fall down, the parachute was still undeployed. Nor had he pulled out the ad banner, which could mean a breach of contract and minor trouble for her, which directly translated into major trouble for Ranma.
Nabiki frowned as she resumed walking towards the Tendo household. Then she blinked. Twice. She saw that Ranma was no longer falling. No, now he was FLYING. She raised the binoculars back to her eyes, took a look at Ranma and then let her jaw hang open for a split second. 'A hang glider. Where did he get the materials to build THAT?' With a sigh, she put the binoculars back to her school bag and picked up her pace a bit, reminiscing how things had come to this.
The weekend two weeks ago Ranma had gone out to buy some new clothing for himself. This meant a new red shirt and a pair of black pants to replace clothing torn in fights. Ranma hadn't returned until Sunday evening - without the new clothing. Instead he had a roll of duct tape that he held like a scroll describing high-level ki techniques. Now that Nabiki thought about it, that comparison struck awfully close to the truth. Judging by what she had gathered, Ranma met on his shopping trip an American, who apparently in the end was to Ranma some kind of martial arts teacher with a serious knack for improvising in emergency situations, just like Ranma. The main difference was that while Ranma invented and applied new ki techniques on the spot, the American built impromptu contraptions in an equally creative way. The American couldn't have had the time to teach Ranma much, but he had given Ranma the incentive to apply the available materials in his fight. Unfortunately, obtaining these materials often meant disassembling other devices such as rice cookers, toilet plumbing and so on. Ranma's habit of making everything training had been relatively cheap before, but not any longer.
Returning back to the present, Nabiki remembered the hang glider and its recent maiden flight. She voiced a muted growl. Where did he get the materials for it? If they had to call the plumber yet again to replace the somehow missing pipework, she'd give Ranma and his wallet a solid beating. Picking up the pace yet again, she uncharacteristically stormed off for the Tendo home.
Upon her arrival, Nabiki saw that Ranma was already back at the dojo front yard and was gathering some clothing off the ground. Clothing that looked suspiciously like something she had in her wardrobe. Something that was supposed to be in her wardrobe.
"Saotome... what is this?" she asked with narrowed eyes.
"Eh... my hang glider?"
"Funny, because it looks like it was made of the shirt and skirt I wore yesterday. Care to explain, Saotome?" Nabiki inquired with a tone that demanded a good answer and soon.
"Well, ya see, I still have no clothing to spare, so I went and took some clothes from the laundry basket. And I was gonna return them there real soon, it's not like I was going to a fight with them on or anything," Ranma replied slightly defensively.
'I see no support structure of any kind. He must've used Ryoga's Iron Cloth technique or something like that...' Nabiki mused as she inspected the pile of clothes Ranma had used to build the hang glider of. Then she noticed one particular piece of clothing in the pile and picked it up.
She fixed a steel gaze at Ranma. "These panties, too?" she asked as she raised them in front of Ranma's face, which was quickly turning fire engine red.
"I-it was an accident, I swear! I didn't mean to take them!" Ranma quickly replied a bit too loudly, as this prompted Akane to come see the situation for herself.
"Now what is... Ranma, what are you doing with my panties!" Akane's question ended with a loud and high yell. Once she realized the neighbors most likely heard the last two words, she blushed.
"It was an accident, an accident I -"
With this admission, Akane's temper had again reached the boiling point. "Ranma, you pervert!" she screamed and punched Ranma up, up and away. After taking a deep breath, she then looked at the rest of the clothes on the ground.
"What are my clothes doing here, anyway?" she wondered aloud.
As Akane was going through the clothing Nabiki had 'borrowed' earlier, she had again her binoculars at hand. 'So the makeshift parachute is the fallback plan...' she mused after she saw Ranma coming down slowly with the parachute, another ad banner trailing him.
She put away her binoculars and stepped inside. "I'm home!" she announced and headed towards her room.
"Welcome back, Nabiki. I'm just going out to see the doctor," Kasumi's voice came from the backyard. The fathers were again playing shogi. Nabiki smirked at the panda sitting across her daddy. A panda that was now mostly furless after cutting approximately half a roll's worth of duct tape out of its fur the last time he had tried to spar with Ranma.
Once in her room, Nabiki took out a small black book she had bought earlier this week to keep up with the new sources of income. The change in Ranma had decidedly a number of pros. The flying banner ads were only one of them. 'And that takes care of the gym downtown," Nabiki thought to herself as she crossed off the next item on the list of advertisers.
The next section in her book was dedicated for the new betting pool. After Thursday last week she decided to put up a new pool, focused on Ranma's makeshift apparatus and chemistry lab explosions. The pool was an instant success. Even the science club had shown great interest in her betting pool for how long does it take for Ranma to blow something up during the chemistry lesson. The main push for this begun last week on Wednesday, when Ranma had actually asked Akane to cook him something for lunch to school the next day.
'Poor Akane... she was so happy that someone asked for her to cook...'
The following day Nabiki had told Kuno, for a small fee, that Akane was feeling rather upbeat because she had made a bento for Ranma that day. In his great wisdom, Kuno had bursted into Ranma and Akane's chemistry class. Nabiki hadn't been present, but her moles on the class told that Ranma had taken out his love-fiance bento and put a sample of it in a test tube. Before Akane had the time to say anything, Kuno had appeared, loudly proclaiming his right to "sample the divine cuisine of the fair Akane Tendo." Ranma had obliged - but not without first adding something to the test tube. Kuno had stared at the tube for a second before it blew up on his face. As the rest of the class had stared at the smoking, soot-covered kendoist in silent awe, Akane, who understood just what Ranma had done with her food and why he had asked her to prepare it in the first place, had malleted him for embarrassing her.
The day after that Kuno had come to school drawing quite a few long gazes from the student populace. He had thick eyebrows drawn with eyeliner, no doubt about that. Purple just didn't become him as well as it did his sister.
But Ranma had no chemistry class on Fridays, so no bets were placed on that today. 'Hmmm.. today's contraption was a hang glider made out of clothes... some actually got the materials right.' Nabiki checked the odds and wrote down how much she'd have to pay out the following day.
The next item on her check list were the video tape sales of the fights. She had recorded Ranma's fight with Ryoga last Sunday and 'convinced' the school computer club to put together a small web site for the fight tapes, as well as a small trailer of the tape for a meager compensation. Both tasks were completed already on Tuesday. It turned out the club members were well-connected, as the video gained fame overnight mouth-by-mouth on the Net. Nabiki had to admit the club had made an excellent job with the trailer. Not that the fight itself was a bad one by any measure.
The fight on the tape had begun with Ryoga announcing himself as usual, Ranma's cocky grin and some property damage. After the usual insults had run out on both sides, Ranma stepped up to finish the fight.
The finishing attack was composed of three parts. First, Ranma threw a "Duct Tape Ribbon Rush" at Ryoga, taping his back into a street lamp. This didn't hold Ryoga down, as he simply ripped the street lamp off the ground, still taped to his back. Second step had been the Saotome School Secret Attack Revised: run away and lure your opponent after you - under a low bridge.
Ryoga had blindly charged after Ranma, and when the top of the street lamp hit the bridge, the sudden yank sent Ryoga on his back, letting Ranma finish the fight with a quick ki blast, which sent the unprepared Ryoga into the canal.
At times, Nabiki had to wonder if Ranma's training caused him to inhale too much glue fumes. How else could he have come up with a name like "duct tape ribbon rush" - he most likely wasn't a Tokyo Mew Mew closet fanboy. 'Maybe that "Red Green" the people on the guestbook constantly compare Ranma to might have an explanation... whoever he might be.'
Nabiki closed her book and hid it again inside her desk. She didn't know what would happen if Ranma happened to come across another foreigner like this MacGyver person. For once, she wasn't certain she wanted to know.
"Yaaaarrggh! Raanmaaa!" Akane's loud roar from the kitchen downstairs interrupted Nabiki's train of thought. 'Another jack-in-the-box in the pesticide can, Saotome?' Nabiki sounded an exasperated sigh and made a mental note to wipe off a thousand yen from Ranma's tab. This early warning system for Akane cooking was rather useful. With that, Nabiki reached for her mobile. 'Now, where's the takeout menu...'
Not too far away, a young woman had bought the video tape of the fight between Ranma and Ryoga. Now that she had finished watching the end of the fight for the seventeenth time, she was laughing with insane glee. "Ohohohooo!! My darling Ranma-sama must have seen and understood the grace of me and the ribbon twirl - and then as a gift to me polished the technique even further!"
Needless to say, the martial arts gymnastics competitions were never going to be the same.
Author's notes: This happens to be my very first piece of fiction... Without the fukufics forum, the IRC channel and the people therein I would've never written this.