A Kiss To The Victor

A Ranma 1/2 Fanfic by Hound & Cabbit Productions-
(David "Fido" Lindquist and June "KaraOhki" Geraci )

Revised October 11, 2004

Ranma 1/2 was created by Rumiko Takahashi. We're just borrowing

her chracters for a little while.

Authors' notes: It's been almost two years but this chapter is done.
It's been a particularly hard road both of us have traveled to get

it here. Real Life has been throwing obstacles in our way since we

started. Due to our troubles, we have decided to shorten our original

outline and break it into 'books'. We make no promises the other

'books' will ever be written by us but this one will be concluded in

the next chapter. We only hope that chapter 8 doesn't take as long

to write...:)

Enjoy!.. Or not. We don't care cause it's done! DONE YOU HEAR!
DONE! DONE! DONE! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

(Kara pulls the keyboard away from Fido and swats him with it)

There's something to be said about being in the same room with your

writing partner. Too bad we live so far apart - this is a first.

-----------------------

Chapter Seven

"See you tomorrow, Akane!" called the girls on the team as they

left. Akane waved goodbye, then she closed the gate.

"Let's hurry up and get the mats put away, Ranma,"
she said, as the two of them returned to the dojo.
"I need a bath!"

"I think you got some time to kill," he replied.
"Pop just went in there."

"Oh? In that case I'll sweep. Would you please pick up the

gymnastics tools and put them away for me?"

When Ranma was finished, he sat down on the floor by the

dojo doors and watched his fiancee sweep. She was rather

disheveled after her practice, and appeared totally focused on

what she was doing. Ranma didn't mind her absorption in her

task, since this gave him the chance to enjoy watching her. The

peaceful scene was shattered by a scream from the house.

"What the--?" Ranma was cut off when Akane ran over him

and out the door.

---------------

Kodachi gazed vacantly at the panda-turned-man sitting in the

bath. How--how could this-- the rest of her thought vanished as

her grip slipped.Before Kodachi could catch herself, she fell

into the bath, on top of him. She flailed around wildly in an

attempt to get out, but was hampered by his efforts to also leave

the bath.

Suddenly, the sound of the door sliding open stopped them

cold. Kodachi turned to see the entire Tendo family plus a tiny,

wrinkled old man staring at the scene.

"Hotcha!" said the old man. "I never thought you had it in

you!"

The others just stared, their mouths wide open.

"Hey!" She heard Ranma-sama's voice call out,"what's going--" She

was devastated at the shocked expression on his face when he

peeked in to see what was going on.

"NOOOOOOO!" Kodachi screamed as she burst out of the bath

and raced through the witnesses of her ultimate humiliation. As

Kodachi fled, she looked down to see that the little old man was

firmly attached to her bosom.

"How about taking a bath with me, sweetcakes?"

"AAAH!!! A DEMON!" She grabbed the creature, drove him

through a nearby wall, and fled out of the house and into the

night.

The Tendo family was still in shock at the scene they had just

witnessed. They looked at the door Kodachi had just exited through

and then at Genma,who had wrapped a towel around himself in an

effort to preserve what little dignity he had left.

"Ummmm," he said. "This isn't my fault."

"I don't even want to know," replied Ranma as he walked

out.

---------------

Kodachi tried to hold back the tears as she ran home. How could

her plan have gone so awry? What was causing all these humiliating

setbacks? Once home, she quickly grabbed her bathing things and

locked herself in the bathroom. After making sure no one or nothing

was hiding in the room waiting to pounce, she stripped off her wet

leotard and began to scrub herself thoroughly, trying to make certain

that the creature that had grabbed her had left no traces behind.

After she used up the third bottle of her homemade rose-scented

bath gel, she rinsed off, placed her towel on the edge of the tub, and

sank into the steaming water.

"I must think logically," she said aloud. "I am a Kuno, and we are

intelligent and logical. There has to be an explanation for this."

She thought for a moment, and then began counting on her

fingers, speaking aloud as she listed each instance.

"One. Akane Tendo hit me when I confronted her in the home

economics room. She should not have been able to lay a finger

on me.

"Two. I was hit with that ball while I was waiting for the girl to

come out of that pathetic little dojo of hers.

"Three. I was hit with a broom and pushed out of Akane's

classroom window."

"Then," she shuddered, "tonight."

Kodachi forced herself to calm down, and once again tried to

think. There must be something that connects all of these

incidents. Something that I don't see.

The gymnast closed her eyes and let the information tumble

around in her mind, until she was interrupted by the sounds of

her brother returning home.

"Curse you, foul sorcerer!" she heard him shout. " I will free

my dear Akane and the pigtailed girl from your evil clutches yet!"

The rest of Tatewaki's raving went unheard as Kodachi sat up, her

eyes widening in response to the words. All of the pieces had

finally fallen into place.

"Oh brother," she whispered. "You are so wrong. I fear that you

have fallen under her influence as well. Slowly, Kodachi sank back

into the tub, her expression grim and serious. The upcoming battle

had just taken on new proportions. This was no longer a fight for a

kiss, but for Ranma's soul. And her opponent was not some

ordinary peasant schoolgirl. No, not at all.

I must be careful. I can't afford any more feeble attempts at victory

now. I must wail 'til the match and prepare for her evil magicks, then

I will expose her and free my precious Ranma from her clutches

once and for all! Her dark laughter echoed throughout the house.

---------------

As night fell in Nerima, Soun and Genma began another game of

Go. The only manmade sound was the clatter of pots and pans

coming from the kitchen, a sign that Kasumi was still up and

around. Ranma, Akane, and Nabiki were already in bed, somewhat

worn out by the day's events, and Master Happosai had gone on

his raids, so a relative calm had settled over the house.

"Old friend?" Soun said, as he moved his first piece. "You realize

that the Kuno woman wasn't there to see you, don't you?"

Genma's eyes widened, then quickly changed to an inscrutable

expression. "Of course, Tendo! I'm not stupid," he replied, trying

to hide the sweat drop behind his head.

"So what do you think she was here for?"

Genma puffed out his chest. "To see my son! He is a man

amongst men, after all!"

"Yes, he is," Soun said, in a voice that left no doubt he wasn't

thrilled with the response.
"However, I don't think that was the reason for her visit. I believe

she meant harm to Akane."

"It is possible, but not a problem! As a matter of fact, it could be

a blessing in disguise!"

"What do you mean?" Soun asked, as he raised an eyebrow.

"We can get the boy to watch her night and day! It will bring them

much closer!"

Soun's somber mood brightened considerably. "Of course!

Brilliant, Saotome! You go tell him right now!" As Genma left, Soun

quickly changed some of the pieces to ones in his favor.

---------------

As Genma climbed the stairs, he congratulated himself on the brilliance

of his plan. The more time the boy spends with his fiancee, the closer

the two will become. After the match, they should be so attached to

each other that they will practically BEG us to let them get married.

"Boy," he said, as he opened the door to their room, "you need to

get...up?" The room was empty. Genma ran back downstairs and

rushed up to Soun.

"Tendo, Ranma's gone!"

Soun jumped to his feet. "Where?"

"I don't know, but we've got to find him. If he's not here, he's not

protecting Akane."

Soun straightened up and looked Genma right in the eye. "Go on

without me, Saotome. I must remain here to protect my little girl!" As

if to reinforce his words, Soun tightened the belt on his gi, and began

to roll up his sleeves.

Genma gave him a short nod, then ran out of the house, cursing his

son all the way.

---------------

Ranma shifted slightly on the branch in an effort to get comfortable. He

could have chosen the roof for his vigil, but decided against it. Kodachi

knew he liked to sit up there, and while the martial artist had no doubts

that he could beat Kodachi in a fair fight, or not so fair one, he'd been

tricked before and this was way too important to mess up now.Taking

a quick look around and realizing that everything was okay, Ranma

turned his attention to Akane's window. He wondered what or even if

she was holding anything as she slept. Maybe I should get her

something, he mused, now that P-chan's not around.

Before his thoughts could turn to the whereabouts of his rival, he

heard his father leaving the house.

"That ungrateful, lazy boy!"

The words irritated the martial artist. What does that fool want

now? he thought.

"How dare he run out on his fiancee!"

For a moment, Ranma considered calling out to his father. Then he

changed his mind. Let the old man go looking for me. If I'm not

sleeping tonight, neither should he.

---------------

The next few days seemed to fly by for Akane. She went running

early, attended school, practiced with the girls, did her homework,

and collapsed. Literally. Kodachi seemed to be laying low. No one

had even seen her. The only things that disturbed her were Ranma's

irritability and tiredness, and the intensity of his and Genma's morning

battles.

They seemed to have increased in seriousness and, in Akane's

opinion, viciousness. Every time Genma would dump Ranma in the

pond he'd return the favor in spades. It had finally gotten to the point

where after Ranma would toss his father in, he would repeatedly jump

up and down on him for good measure.

His behavior was beginning to worry her. She looked over at Ranma's

desk, where the martial artist was now sleeping, and frowned. He must

be really worried if he's losing sleep at night over this, she thought. She

would have liked to put his fears to rest, but she couldn't, because her

own thoughts were the same. She had yet to beat Mayuri in a match,

and while everyone was saying that she was getting better, the looks

on their faces said it wouldn't be enough.

---------------

The day before the match, as Akane left her classroom, Ms. Kitami

confronted her. She was carrying a glass containing an evil-looking

green liquid.

"I made this nutritional drink for you! It contains all of your daily

vitamin requirements, plus antioxidants, protein, and calcium!" She

held out the glass with both hands, smiling. "Come, now. Drink up!"

For one brief moment, Akane had an inkling of how Ranma felt when

she approached him with her cooking. Unfortunately, there was no way

for her to refuse the drink.

"Thank you," she murmured, as she took the glass and raised it to her

lips. To her surprise, despite the drink's appearance, it didn't taste as

awful as she'd anticipated. It was a little bit on the spicy side, with a

touch of citrus.

Ms. Kitami smiled happily, retrieved the glass, and walked away. Just

before she turned the corner she looked back at Akane.

"I'll make you another just before the match tomorrow!"

The full effect of the drink hit Akane just as her teacher

vanished.

"HOT!" she shouted, amazed that flames were not shooting from

her open mouth. Akane ran to the water fountain, running over

Ranma, who was between her and it.

"Somethin' wrong?" asked her fiance as he picked himself off the

floor.

It took another minute for Akane to be able to take her face out of the

water fountain and speak.

"Ask Ms. Kitami to take it easy on the wasabi next time."

---------------

Nabiki observed as Akane and the rest of the team practiced in the

dojo. Her searches so far had proved totally useless. Ranma's room,

Akane's and Ranma's lockers--she'd even tried to search Kasumi's

room, but the negatives never turned up. Her sister had to be hiding

them somewhere, but short of Akane telling her where they were, she

hadn't a clue where to find them.

Growing bored with watching Akane jump around, Nabiki turned her

attention to the other girls and Ranma. The looks

they gave Akane when she wasn't watching spoke volumes.

They don't think she can win. Nabiki's fingers gripped the window

frame tightly. I think I can use this.

---------------

Ranma watched Akane go through her routine again.She had

improved--her moves were crisper and more precise, and she had

much more control over the weapons. As he glanced at the other

girls, he could see the support they had for her, but the slight frown

on Mayuri's face confirmed what he had already figured out.

It's not going to be enough, he said to himself. It would take her at

least another month before she could match Kodachi in skill, and

that doesn't include dealing with Kodachi's view of 'fair play'. He

watched her do a flip, then lash out with her ribbon. Kodachi's

had a streak of bad luck, but she's still more than capable of

winning. Unless Kodachi underestimates her or messes up again,

Akane's gonna lose. She's gonna lose, and then I'm gonna have

to kiss...ugh...Kodachi. The thought of having to fulfill the wager

made him sick. There has to be a way to give her an edge, the

thought. Ranma scratched his head, then smiled. Yeah! It would

work! If she can pull it off, the fight will be over in no time!

Ranma heard the applause as Akane finished her routine. I'll talk

to her after she takes her bath.

---------------

Akane found Ranma waiting for her when she left the bathroom.

"You got a minute, Akane?"

"It's late, Ranma. I want to go to bed."

"This won't take long. I need to teach you a special technique for

tomorrow."

"A special technique?" Before Ranma could say another word,

Akane grabbed him and dragged him to the dojo.

As the door slid closed, Ranma stammered out "I--I guess you

want to learn it?"

---------------

Soun smiled as he watched the koi pond. It was a symbol of

tranquility, something his household had lacked since the arrival

of his best friend and Ranma. From that moment on, his life had

been turned upside-down. There was always something going on,

whether it was from an outside source or between Ranma and his

little girl. It was always strange, dangerous, or both.

The outer threats were easy to handle. Find the problem. Figure out

how to beat it. Beat it in a duel. End of problem.

What disturbed him the most were the battles between Ranma and

his baby. Every insult by Ranma directed towards her hurt him. However,

the insults and angry blows by Akane made him feel as though someone

had driven hot knives into his heart.

It was at those times that Akane reminded him of her mother before

they married. Akane's mother was always quick to anger, especially

when it came to him, but she was also the first to help out if things got

bad. They couldn't even admit to themselves that they cared for each

other. It took a major earthquake to make them realize it. Soun bit back

a sob as he remembered holding what he thought was her lifeless body

in his arms. Telling her that he loved her, and to his surprise, her telling

him the same thing.

He sighed softly, then turned to the dojo. Despite the "difficulties"

between then, Ranma and his daughter had seemed to form strong

bonds. Lately,it seemed that those bonds were forming into

something more. The sight of Ranma up in the tree outside Akane's

window, guarding her, reinforced that belief. This was a delicate

situation. Soun knew that, from personal experience. That was why

he hadn't told his closest friend where his son had been for the past

few nights. Ranma didn't need any more pressure put upon him.

At least not now. Akane needed Ranma to train and protect her until

the match was over. Then he and Genma could concentrate on getting

the two of them together. Once they were married, the arguments

would stop, and everything would be fine.

"You sex-changing, arrogant, perverted blowhard!"

The shout shook Soun from his reminiscing, and he sighed again

at the sound of Akane's voice. "It won't be a moment too soon."

---------------

Some time in the middle of the night, Ranma tried to find another

position in the tree for his tired body. He couldn't understand it. No

one had seen Kodachi since she ran out of the Tendo

bathroom.
Ranma hoped that she was okay.

"I guess seeing Pop in the buff scared her off," he mused

aloud.

---------------

"Miss, the library is about to close. You'll have to return those books

to the reference department."

"Just a moment! I need to make a few more notes!"

The librarian looked at Kodachi and attempted to be patient. "I'll give

you five minutes."

For the next five minutes, the only sound in the room was the scratching

of Kodachi's pen as she furiously took notes. She closed the book and

gathered her notes together just as the librarian returned to her

table. "Thank you, I believe this is what I've been looking for. You

may return these books to their proper place."

The librarian glanced at the titles of the books as she carried them back

to the reference department.

"What on earth is that girl up to?" she wondered aloud, as she returned

them to the occult/supernatural section.

---------------

Kodachi ran as fast as she could. The market she needed would be

closing soon, and it was imperative that she pick up the items she

needed before it did.

"With these in my arsenal, nothing Akane Tendo can do will affect

me! I will be invincible!" Her laughter scared the few shoppers in

the store onto the street.