Happi's Redemption

A Ranma One Half Fan Fiction

By Michael A. Ivins

Ranma along with all of his friends, enemies and acquaintances are the property of Takahashi Rumiko. I'm just borrowing them for my own amusement and hopefully that of my readers. Sailor Moon and the Senshi aren't mine either. Please don't sue me.

This story takes place after the end of the manga.

Chapter 21

Ukyo and Konatsu

At school, the atmosphere between Ranma and Akane remained frigid. Akane opened her mouth a few times as if she want to say something, but Ranma turned away to look at one of his schoolbooks whenever she did. As to how Akane reacted to the cold shoulder treatment, Ranma didn't know and didn't care.

That afternoon, the lesson with Watanabe-san was more basic magic and practice of the teleportation techniques that Ranma had already learned. Ranma had the clothing swap mastered almost well enough to do it at the same time as a gender change. Ranma wished Watanabe-San would let her advance to teleporting herself. The train ride was tedious as well as being more costly now that she was riding inside instead of on the roof.

When she got back to Nerima, Ranma stopped by the apartment for a quick bite to eat before she headed to Ucchan's. While Ukyo usually served Rannma okonomiyaki for free, the chef might not be in the best mood. She took a little time to work on her studies and then sat with Noriko, who was watching TV. In accordance with her stated plan to get Ranma used to being touched, she had her arm around the smaller girl's shoulders.

When Ranma judged that it was late enough for the dinner rush at the restaurant to have subsided, she headed out. She was dreading this confrontation.

At the Tendo home, Nabiki approached her father. He and Genma had just finished a game and Nabiki chose that moment to speak up. "Daddy, could I talk to you for a moment?"

The mustachioed martial artist looked at his daughter and inwardly groaned. He hoped she wasn't going to get on his case about starting up teaching again. "Yes, Nabiki-Chan? What did you want to talk about?"

The girl said, "When I was doing genealogy research, I found out something interesting. I didn't want to tell you about it until I could confirm it."

Soun nodded. This sounded safe enough. Long distant ancestry didn't seem like something that could come back to bite him on the butt. He asked, "What did you learn in your research, dear?"

The brunette grinned. "I found out that Noriko is related to our family."

The Tendo patriarch reeled back as if struck. "Are you saying that the Master is one of our ancestors?"

Genma reached over the game table and patted his friend on the shoulder. "You have my sympathy, Tendo. I'd hate to have him... uh, her in my family."

Shaking his head, Soun demanded, "Explain how such a thing is possible."

With a smile Nabiki replied, "You know the ancestor you and Mom named our Akane after?"

Soun nodded. He remembered the story.

"Noriko confirmed it," Nabiki said. "Multi-time great grandmother Akane was Noriko's sister."

Thinking back to Happosai's tale of his past, Soun saw a flaw in that argument. He pointed out, "Master Hap... I mean Noriko said that she was thrown out of the family. That makes her a ronin. It would also mean she has no family and hasn't for centuries."

Nabiki now looked angry. "Just because her father was an idiot who ruined her life, doesn't mean you have to be an idiot too. Noriko was kicked out of the family through no fault of her own and for no good reason."

She had prepared her arguments ahead of time because she had expected this. Nabiki said, "If Noriko's father was normal, he would have just waited after his first child was a girl. He would have gotten the son he wanted with no need to cast any spells on his daughter. Instead he did something terrible to his firstborn child. Then, when the boy didn't turn out like he wanted, the idiot cast him out of the family like he was some kind of trash. He made a terrible mistake."

The brunette shook her head. "Part of that mistake has been corrected. Noriko is finally a woman like she was meant to be. From the panty-thieving pervert he was, she has become a nice woman. I like her and I know Ranma likes her too. She's helping Ranma, she's helped me and is offering to help Kasumi and Akane. I think it's time we paid her back and correct the rest of the mistake her father made."

"'Pay her back?'" Soun was clearly confused. "What do you mean, by 'correct the rest of the mistake?" I can't undo her father making her a ronin. It would be impossible to reverse something that was done nearly three hundred years ago."

"Oh really?" The young girl challenged. "I've read of cases in history when a current family would reinstate a former ronin back into the family. Of course in all of those cases it was posthumous, but it was done to remove a stain on the family honor. The major difference is that Noriko is still alive because of the magic spells used on her."

Trying to be reasonable, Soun pointed out, "Even if that has been done in the past, Noriko wasn't a Tendo. As I remember the family of Ancestor Akane, she was a Takayama. I don't have the authority to have Noriko reinstated back to that family."

Nabiki wasn't going to be deterred. She had known about this. She said, "That doesn't mean you can't contact the Takayama family and ask them if they would be willing to reinstate Noriko. But even if you can't convince the Takayama's to restore Noriko to her old family, you can bring her into ours. You even brought it up yourself. You could adopt her as your daughter."

"What!" Soun wasn't quite sure he could believe what he was hearing. "Why would you want that person in our family?"

Nabiki's tone was pleading now, "Because she's changed. She's trying to make up for what she did and they way she was when she was a man. If she was still like she was as Happosai, I wouldn't want anything to do with her. The way she is now, I'd be proud to have her as a sister."

Kasumi came up to join the conversation. "I have to agree. I know I haven't spent much time with her since she became a woman, but I can still tell. Noriko has changed for the better. I would be glad to have her as another sister."

The youngest of the Tendo children had been listening and now walked up to the group. Hoping that Akane would reject the idea asked, "Akane, what do you think of the idea of adopting Noriko into the Tendo family?

The black haired girl looked thoughtful. After a moment she responded, "I can't say I don't still have reservations about Noriko, but she did offer to train me when you won't anymore. I can't say that I'm happy with the idea of having a female Happosai as a sister. Still, if Kasumi and Nabiki are in favor of it, I won't fight it. At least they aren't asking me to live in the same house with her." Perhaps this would also be a way to gain some small revenge on her father for his neglect since the death of her mother.

Soun looked at Genma but decided not to ask. He already knew what Saotome would say and could guess what Nodoka would say. If even Akane wasn't going to fight it, it didn't look like he was going to catch a break on this. Hoping to delay the issue, Soun said, "Could I take some time to think about it?"

In a soothing tone, Nabiki said, "Of course you can. Just don't get the idea that we will forget about this. We'll talk of this again." The middle daughter resolved that she would use her contacts to have the adoption papers drawn up and made ready. By the time she was done, all that would be needed was a signature or stamp with a hanko. She left to make preparations.

When Ranma entered through the door of the Ucchan restaurant, Konatsu was there. He was in his usual waitress outfit of a kimono with an apron and looked like a pretty girl. He came to the redhead and said, "Greetings Ranma-Sama! Would you like your usual?"

The girlish young man was smiling. In fact Ranma didn't think she'd ever seen him this cheerful before. Still unsure of her reception, the girl said, "Sure. Just one this time because I did eat at home before I came here."

"Very good. I'll go put in the order. I'm sure Ucchan will want to talk to you."

Ranma sat down at a table then something penetrated her mind. Since when did Konatsu call Ukyo by the pet name Ranma had been using for her? Before, he had always called her Ukyo-Sama or something else ultra-respectful. What was going on?

Ranma glanced toward the kitchen just in time to see Konatsu put his arms around Ukyo's waist and kiss her on the neck. The chef not only tolerated the embrace, but she also leaned back into the ninja with her eye closed and a goofy smile on her face.

Oho! So that was it. Ukyo had finally discovered the love Konatsu held for her and apparently returned it. It was about time! It explained why Konatsu was so happy.

The red haired girl felt a momentary pang of jealousy but she suppressed it. She should be happy for her friend. Ukyo was moving on, just as Ranma had hoped she would.

It was not long after that the chef herself brought Ranma's order to the table. As she moved there seemed to be an extra little sway to her hips and a spring to her step. Konatsu seemed to be watching the chef's movements very closely. Ukyo greeted, "Hi, Ranchan. Why didn't you sit at the counter?"

The redhead shrugged and said, "I wasn't sure what kind of mood you'd be in, and thought maybe you'd want to talk in private."

"Nah, I'm Ok anywhere you want to talk." She got a sort of dreamy expression as she glanced over at her waitress.

"So Ucchan, Noriko told me what she talked about with you on Saturday," Ranma reported. She asked, "Are we still friends?"

It seemed to be an effort for the chef to bring her mind back into focus. She finally said, "Yeah, Ranchan, we're still friends. I'm sorry I made such a pain of myself over the whole fiancé and marriage issue."

Ranma looked over to where Konatsu was cleaning tables. She turned back to her friend and said, "So I guess you finally noticed how Konatsu feels about you."

Ukyo blushed cutely. "Is it that obvious?"

"Obvious?" The pigtailed girl grinned. "Kissing in the kitchen and looking over at him every few minutes with that silly expression on your face? Yeah, I'd say it's obvious. I knew he had been in love with you for a long time, but when did you figure out you're in love with him?"

Ukyo looked over at Konatsu again with the same silly expression. After a moment she turned back to Ranma and explained, "It was Saturday night. You could say Hap… I mean Noriko dropped quite a few bombshells on me. After she left I guess you could say I was sort of on autopilot for the rest of the night. After we closed up and the last of the customers left that night I broke down crying."

Hearing this, Ranma could guess what was going to come next. Ukyo said, "Konatsu came to me and tried to cheer me up. It started with him just putting a hand on my shoulder but then I hugged him and kept crying. Somewhere in there I started to kiss him and he… kissed back. It got more intense and… well, I think the expression is that we, 'did what comes naturally.'"

She blushed again. "That was when I realized that I love him too. I don't know when it started, but I guess I sort of ignored it, concentrating on you. We've… been going at it like newlyweds every spare moment we get outside work or school."

Laughing, Ranma held up her hands to forestall further details, "Ok Ucchan, that's more information than I really needed. So, are the two of you going to get married?"

Ukyo smiled and replied, "We've talked about it. Ko-Chan was saying he might like to do a Western ceremony with him in the pretty gown and me in the tux. As good as he looks in a dress, I think we could actually pull it off."

The redhead tried to picture it in her mind and found she could do so easily. "You'd be really handsome in a tux, Ucchan. I don't know if beautiful is the right word to use for a guy, but I think Konatsu would look really good in a wedding dress."

The chef giggled. "He would, wouldn't he? I should feel jealous that my groom looks better in a wedding dress than I do, but I don't really care."

"This girl's got it bad," Ranma thought with a smile. Wanting matters back to a practical level, she asked, "Did you look at that catalog?"

Ukyo looked confused for a moment before she said, "Oh, for the yattai. Well, like I said, we've both been kind of… busy. I haven't really had time to look at the catalog. I don't suppose we could just agree to end the engagement. I don't think my father would settle for that. Could I have some more time to think about it?"

Reaching across the table, Ranma patted the back of his friend's hand. "I'm sure Noriko won't mind when she hears the reason why you haven't picked a yattai yet."

The chef looked thoughtful. She said, "At school I heard that you've broken things off with Akane. The rumor is that you told her off and threatened to bash her with her own mallet. Is that true?"

With a shrug, the redhead said, "I'm surprised the rumor mill got even that close to the truth. I did tell her off and told her that if she pulled the mallet on me ever again I'd take it away from her, then I'd bash her with it."

The girl with the long brunette hair nodded. "How did things work out with the Amazons?"

"I'm released from the Kisses of Marriage and Death and they're moving back to China. Shampoo wasn't too happy, but Mousse was delighted."

Ukyo laughed. "He would be. I heard that Kuno finally knows that the 'pigtailed girl' and Ranma are the same person. What's up with Kodachi?"

With a frown, Ranma said, "I don't know yet. Noriko and I used Instant Nyanuiichuan water on Kuno to temporarily turn him into a girl. That was what it took for him to believe that I change back and forth. He said he went home as a girl and transformed back to male in front of his sister. He said she believes now, but doesn't know if she's going to give up on me. She has to 'think' about it."

The chef shook her head. "Kami-sama only knows what that crazy chick will decide."

Still frowning, Ranma said, "Personally I'm hoping she'll decide she can't be romantically involved with a sex changing freak. Why are you asking about all the other fiancés?"

"Something Noriko said." Ukyo responded. "She was talking about the pressure the whole fiancé mess was putting on you. I wanted to ask if your parents have eased up off you about the whole honor debt and 'joining the schools' thing?"

The redhead nodded. "Noriko pointed out that the agreement between the families actually specified that if I had been born the wrong gender, that one of my kids could marry one of the Tendo girls' kids. Well… not just the wrong gender but other stuff could do it too. They weren't too happy but they couldn't fight it. They did kick me out of the house. Noriko and I are sharing an apartment."

Ukyo thought furiously for a moment before she decided to take s chance. "I think you should hang onto Noriko. She looks like a keeper."

"Huh?" Ranma was confused by the apparent change of subject. "What do you mean."

"I noticed something about the way Noriko was acting when she talked about you," Ukyo explained. "There was something about the tone of her voice and the way she smiled when she talked about you."

Ranma had a suspicion where this was going; however, she still waited for Ucchan to finish.

The chef continued, "I put everything together and accused her. She admitted that she's in love you. She hasn't said anything to you because she wants to wait for you to make up your own mind. She doesn't want to add to the pressure you were under."

The redhead nodded. "I suspected it. I didn't know for sure. I know I'm not always the most observant when it comes to stuff like that, but even I could see it. I don't think I love her as strongly as she feels about me, but I'm getting there. I haven't said anything to her because the way I was raised and the abuse I got left me almost incapable of expressing emotions like that. I can tell you about it, but telling her would be incredibly hard."

Ukyo's heart ached for her friend. Now that she had found the true love of her life, she wanted to help as a friend would. "What are you going to do?"

Ranma told her about the touch training. Noriko was also helping the boy by encouraging him to talk about his feelings. It had been tough at first, but he was learning to loosen up.

The girl said, "When I can hug Noriko without bracing myself for being hit, when I can tell her my feelings without stumbling over the words then maybe we can really get somewhere."

She paused and laughed, "I wonder if marrying the Grand Master of Anything Goes would count as 'joining the schools.'"

Ukyo joined in the laugh. Before she could say anything, Ranma snapped her fingers. "Nabiki came by our apartment yesterday to tell us that she found that Noriko is the sister of one of the Tendo ancestors. Since she was kicked out of the family, she was a ronin but Nabiki is going to try and get Mr. Tendo to adopt her as a daughter. If he did that, me marrying Noriko would count as satisfying the honor agreement between the families without having to wait for the next generation."

The chef laughed harder. "That would be great. It would still be defying your folks while living up to the letter of the agreement." She paused then asked, "Are you really thinking about becoming a doctor?"

The smaller girl nodded. "Yep. There's a doctor in China that thinks I have a talent for it. I helped out in her clinic for a while and I liked the work. I'm going to have to work really hard at school now to make up for time I missed and for sleeping through classes."

"Wow," Ukyo was amazed. "It seems strange to think of you doing something other than martial arts."

"I know, but it's what I want to do," Ranma said. She stood up. "Well, I came by to find out how you felt about the stuff Noriko told you. I guess you bounced back pretty good. I need to get back to the apartment to do homework. I'm still catching up."

"Right!" The chef confirmed. "I won't keep you."

As Ranma walked out, she noticed Konatsu walk up to Ukyo and the two of them went into a tight hug and a kiss. Like newlyweds indeed.

The redhead had gone about a block when a familiar voice asked, "Excuse me Miss, could you tell me how to get to the Tendo dojo?"

Ranma realized she was wearing a skirt and a sweater this evening and looked fairly different from her normal appearance. Still, how many redheads did one usually see in Japan? She couldn't understand why Ryoga still had a problem with this.

The pigtailed girl said, "Hello, Ryoga. I'm not a 'Miss,' I'm Ranma."

The Lost Boy looked confused, "Ranma? I'm not in China again, am I?"

She shook her head. "No, you're in Japan, Nerima to be exact. I'd take you to the Tendos but I don't live there anymore and it's kind of out of my way."

"Huh?" The wanderer's confusion deepened. "Not living with the Tendos? Why not?"

Mentally bracing herself for the boy's reaction, Ranma said, "I broke up with Akane and her dad kicked me out."

The bandana wearing boy's expression darkened with anger. "Broke up? What happened?"

Ranma stood with shoulders slumped. "I tried, but the two of us just couldn't get along. I couldn't take all the yelling, the insults, the lack of trust and the malletings. The engagement is off and neither of the other sisters wants to take it over."

"So you just tossed her aside!" The muscular youth was almost shouting.

The red haired girl countered, "Why do you even care? But since you asked, no, I didn't just 'toss her aside.' You have to remember that I've killed to save Akane. You should know, you were there. But it just wasn't working out. You've seen how we fight. Besides that, you have Akari now."

Almost roaring now, Ryoga said, "Akane is still a friend at least. I care about my friends!"

Ranma shook her head. "I thought I was supposed to be your friend. As for Akane being a friend, you might want to approach with caution if you don't want to end up on the dinner table as the main course. Happosai told her that you're P-Chan."

"Damn that little pervert!" Ryoga's ire was momentarily re-directed. It didn't last long as he asked, "Why didn't you stop him?"

"Have you ever tried stopping the Old Freak from doing what he wanted?" Ranma demanded. "It's not easy."

The Lost boy looked confused now. "Why would he do something like that anyway?"

The girl shrugged and said, "Who knows why he does anything?"

Ryoga's expression shifted from anger to worry as he asked, "Uh… how... how did Akane take the news?"

Ranma resisted the urge to smirk with an effort. She said, "Her first words were, 'I'll kill him!' and she was shouting when she said it. The word 'castrate' was also mentioned. She was much quieter when she said that last part. I think she's calmed down some, but I can't really say how she's feeling right now. Akane and I are not exactly on speaking terms right now."

"What? Why not?"

Scowling now, Ranma said, "I still don't understand why you care. But if you must know, we didn't get along all that well when we were engaged. Now we don't even have that excuse. So now I mostly don't talk to her, 'cause if I don't talk, I won't yell."

The Lost Boy stood there and seemed to digest that for a time. When it looked like he couldn't think of something appropriate to say, Ranma pointed and said, "If you want to go see Akari, the Unryu farm is in that direction. I'm sorry I can't give more precise directions but you could stop to ask directions again when you get closer."

Before Ryoga could reply, Ranma had a parting shot, "Since Akane and I aren't engaged anymore and not even living in the same house, you no longer have any more reason to attack me over Akane's feelings. If you want to spar, then look me up, but call or write first. I'm starting to take my schooling seriously and getting time in for fighting isn't as easy as it used to be."

Ryoga was thinking he might ask to spend the night at Ranma's place but before he could, Ranma repeated, "Akari – that way. I've got to go now." She turned and hurried off.

The Lost Boy stood for a moment weighing what he had been told. If Akane knew about his curse now, it would likely be a bad idea for him to show up Tendo Dojo. He idly thought to himself that if he did end up as the main course of dinner there, he hoped it wasn't Akane that cooked him.

After a moment of consideration to regain his bearings, Ryoga tried to remember the direction Ranma had indicated. He headed off in a direction almost at a right angle to the way Ranma had pointed.

Shortly Ranma arrived at the apartment. When she took a seat in the living room, Noriko asked, "Did she pick a yattai?"

The redhead laughed. "She was too busy to look at the catalog."

"Busy?"

At that, the younger girl told of the conversation at the Ucchan's restaurant. Noriko summed it up by saying, "So she was too busy making out and having sex with her boyfriend to look at the catalog?"

When Ranma nodded, Noriko said musingly, "I didn't know the girly ninja boy had it in him. 'Every spare moment,' eh? I would think they would stop at times for food and sleep." Even as she said it, the blonde pictured in her mind the two lovers taking turns feeding each other. The probably would have snuggled up to each other in their sleep. She almost got lost in a fantasy of doing that sort of thing with Ranma, but brought herself back to the present with an effort.

Ranma sat on the couch and put an arm around Noriko's shoulders. It was an effort to keep from cringing when she did that. She didn't think she was ready to try to move to greater levels of intimacy yet. Before she could declare her own feelings, she needed more time. She only hoped that Noriko would be willing to wait.

The redhead reported, "I ran into Ryoga on the way back from Ucchan's. I told him Akane knows about P-Chan."

"How'd he take that?" Noriko asked.

"He looked worried," was her reply. "I told him 'Happosai' told Akane."

The blonde nodded. "He'll eventually find out that I used to be Happosai."

"Yeah," Ranma agreed with a grin. "But learning that the little old man is now a pretty girl will mess with his head pretty good."

The older girl couldn't resist a chuckle at that. "Yes, it will do that."

She thought for a moment before saying. "Well, of all the fiancés, I'd say Ukyo's situation is the best of the lot. From what you tell me it sounds like she's truly happy. I wish there were someone we could get Shampoo or Akane together with (or both)."

Ranma shook her head. "Akane needs to grow up before she can be anyone's girlfriend. The way she is now, I wouldn't wish that violent tomboy on any guy. She'd likely put a boyfriend in the hospital before the end of their first date."

Noriko shook her head sadly. "There's a great deal of truth in what you said. I'm afraid Soun failed badly when it came to that girl. Still, unless she agrees to train as my student, there isn't much I can do for her. Even then, I'm limited."

The redhead looked down at the floor. "It would be so easy to say that it's not my problem anymore. Part of me wants to do just that. A different part of me says there has to be something I can do to help her."

The blonde girl leaned over and kissed Ranma lightly on the cheek. "That's because you're a good person. If you are going to become a doctor you will need to learn that you can't cure all of the world's ills. You must help those you can and leave the rest to others. It is also especially true that you can't help people who don't want to be helped. I don't know that Akane even recognizes the problems she has."

Ranma blushed a little over the kiss but sighed. "I know I can't fix everything. I guess I'm just going to have to get as good as I can to fix as much as I can."

Noriko smiled at the wisdom of what Ranma had said. She had the feeling that he was accepting her. She hoped that meant that she would be able to stay by his side to help him in that quest to be the best he could be.

They went to their separate rooms and to bed shortly after that. As she settled in under her blankets, Noriko wondered if Ranma had fantasies about her the way she did about him. Well, in truth, the blonde had fantasies about both of Ranma's forms. Although Noriko didn't know it, Ranma was wondering about her as well.

Author's Note: So it appears that Ukyo has found true love. It seems a safe bet that Konatsu will enjoy working in a restaurant more than Ranma would have. What will Ranma do with what Ukyo has told him? Wait to find out. Ryoga now knows that Akane knows about him. He'd be wise to make himself scarce for a while. Of course Ryoga isn't exactly famous for being wise.