The Adventures of Chibi Ranma (And Chibi Ryouga) Chapter 4: Sin Vergüenza

Last Time, on the Adventures of Chibi Ranma (And Chibi Ryouga)

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"Who's your daddy?" she asked, shaking him.

***

"Ow! Gonna get in the hot tub! Gonna get all wet now!" he said, dipping his toe in a few times.

***

"Third time's the charm," it clicked

***

"Hello, Mr..." Kasumi left the words hanging.

"Oh, please. You can just call me KT," he said, his bangs falling over his eyes. "This is a very tasty biscuit, by the way."

***

"Oh, my God! You smashed Lenny!"

"You bastard!"

***

And now, the continuation

"Wow, what a week," remarked Nabiki, sipping some tea.

"Yes, it has been rather busy, hasn't it?" said Kasumi.

"I'm just amazed that it seems we didn't really go anywhere," Akane said. The three sisters were in the kitchen, drinking some tea. These little gatherings were becoming almost a ritual for them lately, a chance to talk away from the chaos that surrounded them in normal life. "It's as if things went on a merry-go-round, and we are just right back where we were a week ago."

"Let's see... Auntie Saotome found Chibi Ranma, thought he was Ranma and Kasumi's son," Nabiki started, counting on her fingers, "totally freaked out when she did the math... wanted to kill Ranma, thought better of it... decided on killing Mr. Saotome and daddy instead... Kasumi talked her out of it..." Nabiki took a breath, "and now, she's pretty much living with us." Nabiki stopped, and looked at her sisters. "And that's just one."

"Ranma and Ryouga managed to get back to normal," Akane added, Nabiki extending two fingers, still keeping count.

"Then returned to being kids," Kasumi said.

"The undead giant killer coachroaches went out looking for a queen..." Nabiki added to her growing count.

Akane shivered. "It's the third time already. Don't they understand no means no?"

"Ranma's teacher hit on Kasumi," Nabiki continued.

"He did?" Kasumi asked, perplexed.

"'Mmmm, you bring new meaning to the word "edible"'?" Nabiki said, exasperated, "Why do you think Auntie Saotome ran after him with the katana unsheathed? Exercise?"

"Oh, I'm sure he didn't mean anything by that," Kasumi said, reassuring.

Nabiki shook a bit in anger, then took a deep breath, and let it go.

"There was that anime convention, a few guys got too carried away, hilarity ensued," Nabiki continued on the other hand.

"And, of course, the sheep," Akane said, nodding.

"That goes without saying, Akane," Kasumi agreed.

Nabiki frowned a bit, looking at her fingers.

"That's it? It wasn't such a busy week after all. And how did I ever get my fingers so dirty?"

"I guess those sheep really took their toll, huh?"

The three girls stood there in silence, thinking back on the week, drinking tea.

"Kasumi, honey, where are the children?" said Nodoka, entering the kitchen slowly, Checkers following closely.

"Oh, they're off at a friend's house. Don't worry, they're fine," Kasumi replied, and smiled.

"Just look at me," Nodoka said, blushing, "worrying like an old woman. I'm sure they fine, it's just... I've missed on my child's upbringing... I don't want to miss out on my grandchildren's."

Kasumi just smiled sympathetically, and Nodoka left, Checkers staying for the promise of a future morsel of food.

"That reminds me, where are they?" Nabiki said.

"I think Ryouga is trying to find where he got the mushrooms from again," Akane replied.

"And Ranma?" asked Nabiki, standing up from the table.

Akane sighed, and answered, "Looking for Ryouga."

~~~\/~~~

"This is ridiculous," thought Ryouga, "There is no way this can be happening. It didn't use to be so bad. I was able to follow Ranma through a strange continent, can't I go around town without losing myself?"

He was standing on a strange street corner, surrounded by the usual evening crowd going about their usual business. He thought about life, Akane, and the unfairness of the world.

"No sex, no drugs, no wine, no women, no fun, no sin, no you, no wonder it's dark," he said, depressed.

"Everyone around me is a total stranger," he said, looking around, noticing a few people staring at him "Everyone avoids me like a psyched lone ranger. Everyone.... "

Ryouga looked up, squinting a bit at the sun, "I think I'm tu--"

"Ryo! Hey!

"Ran--", Ryouga caught himself. Lately, there had been an annoying trend of someone they knew popping up suddenly, and they had to be careful not to give out their names.

"Man, we went through this already. You wont find those mushrooms just walking around, just give it up," Chibi-Ran said, his shoulders slumped.

"Give up? Give UP? Did I give up when you ran away to China? Did I give up when you pushed me into that damned spring? Did I give up when I spent over three hours holding it in because no one apparently cared enough to let me use their bathroom? No! I wallowed in self-pity and moved on!"

"Now, aren't you a cute little thing?" a feminine voice said.

Ryouga turned around to see Ukyou scratching the top of Ranma's head, a smile on both their faces.

"How old are you, by the way?" she asked Chibi-Ran.

"Well, uh..." Ran's smiled faded a bit, and he became a bit uncomfortable.

Ukyou's face became one of mock seriousness, and she said, sternly, "Well, do you know how to count?"

"Sure I do, it's just, well," he began to tap his foot.

"You remember me, I gave you a hug a few weeks ago, remember?"

"Yeah," he said, still looking embarassed.

"You must be, what," Ukyou said, her smile returning, "three?"

"I'm five!" he said, then realized he'd been tricked.

"That's nice. Just look at you," she said, gently stabbing him in the belly, forcing a giggle out of him, "you're so cute I could just eat you up!"

"He-hey! I'm cute too! How come he's the only one that ever gets attention?" Chibi-Ryo finally let out.

"That's how it's going to be our entire lives, isn't it? You will always get the girls, no matter what!" Ryo's voice became louder, "I can be strong, I can be polite, I can be as cute as Pikachu, but they will always flock to you!"

Chibi-Ran and Ukyou stood there, uncertain of what to do with the child that was apparently throwing a fit. There was a certain uncomfortable familiarity to this situation that troubled Ukyou. Something about the cute kid and his brother... or friend.

"Well," Chibi-Ran began, "the girls chose to dress *you* up, didn't they?"

For some reason that Ran couldn't quite figure out, that didn't really give Ryo any peace of mind. Ryo launched himself at him, shouting "Damn you! Prepare to die!"

Ukyou quickly pried the two kids away from each other, holding each one in one hand.

"OK, enough of that. You two shouldn't be fighting like that. And why? Because a girl you like," she looked at Ryo, "is more interested in this cute little fella?" she made a cute bunny face at Ran, "That is no reason to fight. You shouldn't get in between two people that love one another. Look at you," she shook Ryo, "Short, black hair. Typical." She frowned at the little boy, gripping his shirt even more tightly. "Aren't you a bit young to be interested in girls anyway?"

"He's got cooties!" Chibi-Ran said, a wicked smile on his face.

Ryo, roaring, reached over and managed to rip Ran out of Ukyou's grip. A startled Ukyou let go of Ryo, and the two kids disappeared into the crowd. Ukyou tried following, but lost sight of them quickly.

She only wondered about how two little kids could disappear so fast for a moment. In her mind, she was more preoccupied with this incredible sense of deja vu. Something very familiar about those two kids, she couldn't quite place her finger on it, but she was sure it was something important. She shrugged, and resumed her walk home from the market. She hadn't seen Ranma in about a week, and was hoping he'd drop by again. Even then, it had been for only a few brief minutes, he said something about a training trip, and having to go back "for the stupid pig." She'd begged him to stay for a while longer, he'd already been gone for almost a week, she could bake him a pork okonomyaki if he wanted, and he promised he'd be back soon.

She was going to clobber that moron the next time she saw him.

~~~\/~~~

"OK, children, enough coloring for today," the kindergarden teacher said. "Do you kids know what time it is?" he asked, his face lighting up with a smile.

The teacher looked around to see if any enterprising student would take the initiative and offer a suggestion. Most of the kids were just staring back at him, their cadaveric faces accentuated by their hollow eyes. A few were still clutching their crayons, and there was one laying on the ground, muttering something that sounded like "dood? good?" Something like that.

"Tsk. Bunch of unenthusiastic kids," he said, his smile fading just for a second. "Well, it's lunch time!" he said. Most of the kids managed to sit up straight at this, and the one on the floor had already started rolling to the door. Chibi-Ran was so hungry by this time he didn't care what he got, as long as he got something, anything. He, along with the rest of the class, sped to the door, only to be intercepted by an umbrella wielding Chibi-Ryo. He swung his umbrella like a baseball bat, launching Chibi-Ran through the open window. Ryo held the pose for a moment, a grin plastered on his face.

"Uh, Ryo?" the teacher asked, "why did you just do that?"

"Nobody's touching my buns again!" he declared with pride, and ran out of the room, leading the charge to the food, rolling kid following suit.

~~~\/~~~

Inside the Cat Cafe, things had slowed down, lunch hour long gone. In it were only a couple that arrived late, Cologne tending to things in the back, and Shampoo, slowly cleaning the tables. She went through the usual circular motions, and without any fanfarre, any of the usual bounce, she went on with her duties. Her gait was slow, her shoulders hunched, her feet dragged.

The door opened, and she turned expectantly at the sound, a smile on her face, her eyes wide open and shining.

"Ra-- oh," she said, and noticed that it was only Mousse coming back from making deliveries. Ranma had been gone for a long time now, and she missed him. Sure, she saw him with that pig-boy fighting the sheep, but it was only for a fletching moment. He seemed a bit older, his chest bare, wearing a torn loin cloth instead of pants; she paid good money for a few pictures that the mercenary girl took of him in that state. She had called to him, and that was the last she saw of him, just as Ryouga shouted "Watch out for that--" and the sheep headbutted him. The two of them were then dragged into the distance by the raging stampede. She had faith in her airen, and she was too busy handling a few sheep of her own to help. Now she wished she had just jumped in after him.

Mousse watched as Shampoo went back to cleaning the tables, her attitude similar to that usually reserved to those six feet under. He swore that he could hear her sniffle.

"Curse you Ranma, I'll make--" he was cut short when a small boy-sized projectile (about five years old or so) impacted against the side of his head, being the cause of his subsequent unconsciousness.

"Uh? Where... " Chibi-Ranma mumbled, looking around.

"Aiya! You again!" Shampoo said, picking up the still-dazed Ran. "You too too cute! Strong, too. Look. You knock out silly boy." Mousse showed some signs of life by groaning a bit and shuffling, and Shampoo promptly kicked him in the head.

Ranma tried turning in Shampoo's grasp to take a look at Mousse and felt a sharp pain in his left temple, where he hit Mousse's head.

"You have boo boo?" she said, checking his skull, "Shampoo fix that," and proceeded to give the sore spot a little kiss, in the process glomping him close to her chest. Looking down at him, glued to her chest, she said "Cute kid hungry? Shampoo go make some noodle, special for you," and went on to the kitchen, leaving him at the counter.

Ranma touched the tender spot on his head, groaning. Damn, that Mousse was thick-headed. He took a look at the unconscious body on the floor and accidentaly dropped the cash register on him.

Attracted by the noise, a shriveled up old monkey came into the main area of the restaurant, perched atop a stick. Cologne came in close on its heels, took back her cane, and shoved the monkey into the back area of the restaurant once more. Muttering, she turned to see Chibi-Ranma atop the counter, nursing his noggin.

"Ah, hello son-in-law. Long time no see," she said, and went into the back. A few seconds later, she returned, pale as a ghost, which was actually an improvement.

"Fuckin' A."

"Hi Cologne. Nice to see you again."

~~~\/~~~

"So, you don't know where I can find these mushrooms?" Ranma said, crestfallen.

"No, child," she snickered a bit, "I do have knowledge of a few herbs, but those turn a person extremely old, or a few roots, which turn a person extremely young, none of which would really be of your interest. Why, if I knew where to find such shooms," she said, a glint in her eye, "do you think I'd look like this?"

"Then... then there is nothing you can do?" he said, distraught.

"Well," she clapped her hands, "I can offer to adopt you, take you back to China with us," she smiled.

"Uh, no, thanks. Plus, why would you want me now? I'm weak as a puppy, I could barely smash Mousse's head," he said, depressed. As the words sunk in, along with realization, he looked up at Cologne, who was smiling wickedly back at him.

"You-- you won't get away with this!"

Cologne hopped closer.

"They'll come looking for me!"

Cologne pogo-jumped closer.

"Happosai will miss my girl form, come looking after me and a cure, and follow us to your village."

Cologne paused in mid-jump, forgetting to hit the floor. She stood there, thinking.

"Well?" Ranma asked, still not feeling in the clear.

"Shush, boy. Can't you see me standing here, thinking?"

Ranma remained quiet for a few more seconds, examining Cologne's expression. When his stomach couldn't handle it anymore, he decided to examine the smell of noodles. Hey, he felt better already.

Shampoo bounced into the front of the restaurant, a big platter of ramen on her hands.

"Ah, great grandmother met too too cute kid. What you think? Cute or too too cute?" she said, tickling Ran's nose.

"Yes, just delightful," Cologne said, after a pause. "Well, *Ran*, I hope to see you again ... soon. Hey, are you listening to my ominous warning?"

Ranma was already halfway through the ramen.

~~~\/~~~

The panda opened the door to the dojo, tiptoeing in as much as a panda can tiptoe. Sitting inside was Chibi-Ran, practicing a few of the katas he'd taught him when he was a little boy. Just like now.

"Hello pop," Ranma said curtly.

"Son," he signed, "when will you just let it go? Nothing should keep a father and his son apart."

"You smashed them," Ranma said, his voice rising. "They were our only hope!"

"I didn't look where I was sitting, I'm sorry!"

"Then you threw the remains in the fire!"

"I tripped," Genma signed. "It was a very chaotic time, with your mother around all the time now, the crisis... Son, do you really think that I would have destroyed the mushrooms that Akane had kept secret on purpose? That I would have kept you as a child? What for?"

Ranma stayed silent, going through his katas. A backpack landed near him. Ranma turned to see his father with a backpack already strapped on.

"Come on, boy," his sign said, "nothing to do now but to go on a training trip."

"Why, you..." Ranma said, in an angry whisper, "No, no way in hell. Get Ryouga if you want, 'cause I'm not gonna!"

"That kid bites. You're coming with me boy," he signed, "I am your father!"

"NOoOoooOOoooOo!"

The dojo door slammed open, revealing an angry Nodoka wielding her family katana.

"Get away from my grandson!" she roared.

"Oh, poop," read the sign.

~~~\/~~~

"I still say it might be a good idea to neuter him," Nodoka said, cradling Ran in her arms.

"Now, Auntie, we shouldn't do anything drastic," Akane said, a nervous twinge to her voice. Behind her, a panda was crawling around at an uneven pace. "I'm sure that Ran wasn't in any danger, now were you Ran?" She looked at Chibi-Ran, held in his mother's arms.

"Bad panda," he said, and sniffled.

Akane couldn't believe her eyes. Ranma was just going to let this happen to his father?

"Are you sure you couldn't forgive him?" a sign over Akane read.

Ranma almost let a smile through, and said "Well, I'm hungry..."

Almost immediately Genma was back with some appetizers for the kid.

"Thirsty, too..."

Akane felt something tug at her skirt, and turned around to see what it was.

"Chu!" said Ryo, two red circles painted on his cheeks, his arms raised high.

"Ryo, not now, I have to talk to Ran first," she said, and turned back to try to put some sense into the pampered brat. Before saying anything, though, she realized something and turned around to face Ryo.

"Chibi-Ryo, is that my makeup?" she said to nothing but empty air, Chibi- Ryo nowhere to be found.

"This drink is hot!" Ran said, throwing it back at the panda.

~~~\/~~~

"Dammit," Ryouga cursed, head downcast.

He was sitting on the steps of the Tendo residence, alone in his melancholy. He felt the nip in the air, but didn't really feel cold. A bird chirped away on a tree, oblivious to Ryouga's depression.

"Why couldn't I be more like that bird? Free, happy, without any troubles..."

The bird then dropped dead on the ground.

"... and he's still better off than me." Ryouga felt his eyes growing warm, and he shook his head, trying to escape that familiar sensation.

"Not here. They'll just find me, I know they will," he thought. If he left, though, Ranma would just go looking for him again. He had to stay close by this time, not lose himself. Looking around with rapidly blurring eyes, he figured there was only one place he could go to hide and not lose himself. Someplace very fitting, in his mind.

Quickly, he scurried under the foundations of the house, and there, in the dark, he wept.

"Dammit," he cursed again, his tears smudging his makeup. His eyes were becoming used to the dark, and the flow of tears had been short. Looking around, he ...

"Well, damn."

~~~\/~~~

"Ryo, just come out of there," Ran shouted.

"No! Just go away!" Ryo screamed from down under.

Ran came a bit closer to the entrance, and said, in a lower voice, "Listen, if it's about the pig thing--"

"Will you shut up!" he shrieked, "what if she hears you?"

"Oh, come on, there's nobody else here. Plus, I call you P-chan all the time, anyway."

"Still," Ryo said, appeased somewhat, "just leave. Leave me alone!"

"Hey, if I gotta blast you out of there--"

"NO!" he screamed, "Anything but that!"

"What?" Ran asked, almost to himself. That didn't sound like Ryouga he knew. The silence following Ryouga's shout showed that he had realized his slip as well.

"OK, what are you doing down there?" Ran asked, starting to crawl in.

"Nothing! Go away!"

"Where the heck-- there you are," he said, finally spotting Ryouga. "Ok, spill it," he said, crawling closer.

Ryo tried to intercept Ran, but the other one was just too fast for him.

"What the-- HEY! These are those mushrooms!" Ran said, when he saw what Ryouga was trying to hide.

"Just don't touch them! You'll end up killing them like all the others," Ryouga said, panicked.

"Oh, stop being a baby," Ran said, "Let's pick them up and take them somewhere safe," and so saying, he procedded to pick one of the smallest ones up, only for it to snap at the stem.

Ryouga whimpered, his eyes wide open.

"Oops. Heh," Ran said, apologetically. "Maybe it is best to leave them here for a while, we can get Kasumi to put them somewhere else."

Ryouga nodded vigorously.

"Wonder how they got here..." Ran wondered, thinking about how those mushrooms could have gotten there...

"One of the little ones must have fallen through this crack here. Ryo pointed at at a small crack above them, where a sliver of light was coming from.

"What is this, the dining area?" Ran said, taking a peek through it. "Oh, Akane's wearing green panties today-- HEY!"

Ran punched Ryo. "You pervert! That's what you were doing here!"

"What? Akane's there? I don't believe you, let me see!" he said, scrambling to the crack.

"Where are those voices coming from?" Akane said, twirling about, her skirt lifting up.

Ryouga let out a cry of joy, muffled by Ranma's hand.

"Listen," he whispered, "we either get out of here quietly right now, or we're both in trouble."

Ryouga bobbed his head up and down lazily, a dreamy look in his eyes. Ranma had to drag him out of there.

~~~\/~~~

The children were drawing quietly, the teacher reading a book at his desk. While a few of them were concentrating in their drawrings, most of them were eyeing the teacher oddly. A few were concentrating very hard on drawring so that they didn't have to look up.

"Uh... uhm," Chibi-Usa lifted her hand high in the air. The teacher seemed oblivious to this, and kept on reading his book.

"Ahh..." Chibi-Usa kept trying to get his attention.

Finally, the teacher noticed something was amiss, and put the book down, a first edition of the Necronomicon. "Yes, Chibi-Usa?"

"Are you OK?" she asked, putting her hand down.

"Well, yes, thanks for asking," he said, with a faint smile. "Is that all?" He reached for his book.

"Uhm, well..." Chibi-Usa didn't quite know how to proceed.

"Oh, come on, be a man and ask whatever it is you want to ask already."

"Did you... did you know there's a giant spider on you?"

"Where?" he said, looking himself over.

"On... on your face?"

He looked forward, and there was indeed a giant spider attached to his face, almost as big as his head. "Well, what do you know," he said as best he could with the spider blocking his mouth, "there *is* a giant spider attached to my face. Now what are the odds of that happening, huh?"

He picked his book back up, "Well, don't worry children, the poisonous animals are usually very colorful, as a warning. Like peacocks, for instance."

"It's... it's red, yellow, blue, and green, sir, teacher, sir," one of the other kids said, nervously.

"Well, fuck," he said, annoyed, "somebody get a gun and shoot this blasted thing off me, then!"

Some of the children were off already to go fulfill their teacher's wishes when he said, "Oh, forget it, I'll just do it myself," and took a desert eagle from his desk drawer.

Oh, don't worry. He had very good aim.

~~~\/~~~

"And that, kids, is why guns save lives," the teacher said, bandaging the arm of the kid the bullet ended up hitting. "Animals, like cute little piggies or giant colored spiders, are dumb, and irrational." He tightened the bandage a bit more, "The loud noise was enough to scare it out of my face and within reach of you guys, and did you see how easy it was for you to kill it when you were motivated enough? Why, Kurosota-san, for instance, throwing Kimiko-chan in the path of the spider to save his own self, gave everyone time to grab some kind of hitting instrument. Good job Kurosota!"

He stood up, looking around the classroom. "Well, anyway, I'm pretty sure that spider must have been endangered, if not presumed extinct. Whomever delivered the final blow is gonna have to fess up. Now, who was it?"

One of the kids raised his hand.

"You did it? Good."

"N-no, sir. It's just that... you did it. Remember?" he said, worried.

"Yes, indeed, because if I hadn't, I'd be extinct instead of it, and that makes it alright," he smiled at the class, then looked at his watch. "Oh, hey, it's lunch time already!"

That classroom was empty by the time he finished that sentence.

~~~\End of Chapter 4/~~~

Chapter 5 isn't really coming along, I wish I could say the opposite, though. I just can't come up with enough stuff to put there, might even write chapter 3 before 5.

-mccrowe