Ranma ½ was created by Rumiko Takahashi and distributed by Shounen Sunday Comics, Shogakukan, Kitty Animation, & Viz Media LLC.

Sekirei is created by Sakurako Gokurakuin and distributed by Young Gangan, Square Enix, Seven Arcs & Funimation Entertainment

No permission has been obtained from any of the copyright holders for the use of the characters and situations from these series. This work of fiction is not for profit and not intended to infringe on copyrighted intellectual property in any significant or harmful way. Should they, or any of their affiliates, request it this non-profit story will be taken off line as quickly as possible. Please support the official release.

Any original characters, however, are owned by me. If you steal them, I shall hunt you down and skewer your nuts. You want to use them? Just ask me first as I'll probably say yes.

Feedback is encouraged. That's why I write. Also for the cookies. And The Root Beer. The sweet, nectar-of-the-gods root beer.

Flames are pointless, as the author is a flaming retard.

...hold up, that's not what I meant. Uh, let's just start the story.


Somewhere in Japan, a few days ago...

"And that's the last one."

With a sigh, the young construction worker sat with a flop on the ground. Wiping his brow, he idly cranked his neck and gave off a satisfied hiss at the sound of popping tendons and muscles. He was sore, but it was the soreness of a good hard day's work. Letting out another sigh, he got back onto his feet, ready to leave and get good and liquored up before heading home for the weekend.

"Excuse me sir?"

The nondescript man blinked and turned to find a young man giving him a sheepish grin. He was roughly his own age, probably a bit younger though. His clothing was rather faded looking and rough, with black singed pants, simple shoes, a yellow tunic and yellow bandanna with black spots. He hesitated a second before he got closer and asker, "Can you tell me how to get to Furinkan High School?"

"Huh?" the man replied as he was still recovering from this young man's sudden arrival.

"I need to get to Furinkan High School," the boy repeated, "It's very important. I have to meet someone there, so can you tell me where it is?"

The construction man pointed behind him as he stared at the boy warily, "It's like... five hours that way man. Why do you want to get to Furinkan?"

"It's...personal," the boy balled his fists and his expression was briefly less human, more bestial as his eyes focused on something else besides him and he revealed very pronounced canines in his futile attempt to fight his anger down, "I need to find someone...it's a matter of honor."

"You some sort of samurai or somethin' guy?" The man snarked before he shrugged. "Look ya might as well take the..."

He trailed off as the boy had mysteriously vanished without a trace. "The hell did he go?"

Meanwhile, the boy continued to walk in the opposite direction the man had pointed. A low growl escaped his lips as he continued to walk away from his destination, a burning determination in his eyes.

"Saotome Ranma," Ryouga Hibiki growled. "When I find you... I'm gonna kill you..."


Ghostface211 presents...

A Ranma ½ - Sekirei Cross...

Random Act Of Love

Feather 3: Holy Rival-mony! A.K.A. The chapter where Ghostface211 screws everything up.


Today...

The birds outside the Tendo compound chirped softly in the mild dusk that was between the dwindling end of the night and the coming dawn of the new day. As if to prepare for their daily ritual to greet the warm sun as its rays streamed down upon the home to invigorate its inhabitants to greet the day. After a while, the chirping started to grow in volume; making Ranma stir. He sniffed for a moment; groaning as consciousness slowly came to him.

"Guuh..." he moaned intelligently, looking down at an odd weight on his chest. Blinking, he found his sekirei/wife/whatever Musubi sleeping soundly on his chest, and feeling one of her arms wrapped across his waist. She seemed to be dressed in something more conservative than what she was wearing the night before, but it still did little to conceal the swell of her impressive breasts. He frowned softly as a light blush graced the bridge of his nose. Looking to his left, he noted his pop asleep in his panda form. Sleeping as if he was dead to the world; Ranma sighed and quietly freed himself from Musubi's grasp.

"Ranma-san..." she muttered softly in her sleep as he stood up from his futon. She frowned softly, finding nothing but air as Ranma continued to look at her looking for his body. Ranma looked down at her and frowned, his actions just before bedtime returning. Blinking, he looked at Musubi's face before traveling down to her breasts and stared at them. His frown turned to a scowl as he brought a finger under his nose and grumbled irritably.


She stared into the mirror at herself, completely nude and fresh from the bath; ready to jump into the furo. She posed in the mirror, looking at her reflection and down to her breasts and frowned. It had been a few days since he had arrived in Nerima and had that incident with Musubi. And what had happened that night still bothered her immensely.

'What the hell happened ta me that night?' She thought as she looked at her scowling reflection. Her scowl turned thoughtful as her mind replayed back what happened that night as well as what happened a little earlier before looking down to her chest again, staring intently at her two mounds and the nipples that topped them.

''S not like I ain't seen a naked girl before,' she thought, a bit more used to this body. 'Why'd I react like that?' She held her arms out and twisted to the left and to the right, watching her breasts jiggle in the mirror and frowning as she could feel their weight moving her slightly more than she wanted; idly grumbling at how they'd interfere in a fight before bringing her mind back to the question at hand. ''S not like she's bigger than me,' she concluded.

Right...

She relaxed her arms and drew her hands to her breasts, gently handling them. 'And even though this feels kinda weird - Good, but weird, it still ain't causin' me ta spaz out like I did last night or almost did a second ago... So why the hell am-'

"Having fun there Ranma-kun?"

Ranma shrieked and nearly jumped as she snapped to her right; finding Nabiki giving her an amused smirk. "I.. I.. Waitaminit here! This ain't-"

"What it looks like?" Nabiki finished, smiling mirthly at her as she noted the other girls hands were... full. "Funny Saotome. 'Cuz the way I see it you were playing with your tits." She then shrugged and turned around, ignoring Ranma's face flushing beet red. "Not that I care or anything," she remarked as she made her way to the door. "Boys will be boys, no matter what body I guess."

"I SAID I WASN-!"

"I'll just wait outside 'til you're done," Nabiki continued as she left the bath before turning around with her right hand up, her index finger pointed upward. "This is on the house. Don't get too pinch happy, those are more sensitive than you think."

"Wait!" Ranma cried out as Nabiki turned around and went through the door, leaving her alone in the bathroom. The silence hung for another long moment before she grit her teeth and clenched her fists as she continued to flush. "Perfect start to th' day already," she mumbled.


"What?" Ranma sighed as he turned to Akane who was giving him a slight disapproving look.

Akane shook her head and continued to move forward, "Nothin'."

"No it's somehtin'." Ranma grunted as he folded his arms under his chest. "Ya don't give someone that look and it's nothin... This about Musubi?"

"A little," Akane admitted. "It's just... I agree that she can't go to school but...," she trailed off in thought.

"But what?" Ranma asked when she didn't continue.

"But can't you... I dunno... let her walk to school with us at least?" Akane frowned softly. "She just looked... she looked like a kicked puppy when we left."

"I know, I know," Ranma sighed as he unfolded his arms. "But what'cha want me to do? Ya saw how bad it was when we left. How ya think it's gonna be when she's gotta walk all th' way back home by herself? I bet she was like that yesterday, but worse."

"But she still went home," Akane pointed out.

Ranma sighed again, raking a hand through his hair, "I just... I don't wanna be th' bad guy here but I'm just thinkin' it'll be hard on her no matter what."

"You mean dealing with guys like Kuno-sempai?" Akane asked.

Ranma did not fail to notice the contempt that oozed out her voice as she spoke his name. "Eesh, is he really that bad? I mean he's an idiot with what you told me, but is he really that sleazy?"

"Did you forget how he was when Musubi followed us yesterday?" Akane asked.

"Clearly I've tried to wipe it from my mind," Ranma muttered before he tipped his head up in thought. "So he's the type that thinks all women belong ta him eh?"

"Yep," Akane nodded. "In all honesty we should probably give Musubi a soak in a waterfall just to make sure his perversions didn't contaminate her."

"Yech," Ranma sighed, shoving his hands in his pockets. "Think I'll just be keepin' an eye on that dope after all."

KER-SPLASH!

"Not like that you will," Akane replied as the now female and red-haired Saotome heir simply turned to give her an irritated stare. "C'mon, let's make a side trip."

"Yep... today's gonna be a reaaaaaal good day," the redhead grumbled irritably as she followed behind the Tendo heir.


Ranma's eyes narrowed into steel-blue slits and she stopped for a moment, eyeing the building before her. To many, the clinic before her would look as uninteresting as any small clinic in the greater Tokyo wards around her. Maybe a hair larger than many, but nothing to brag about. Then again, Ranma Saotome wasn't exactly a normal person.

Something was wrong.

There was something out of place here. She couldn't see it, hear it, smell it, or even feel the air of it moving. But she could feel it, inside, on the borders of her heightened senses. The Tofu clinic was home to something... unnatural. Something decidedly foreign to Ranma's senses. Almost... 'alien' if Ranma had to describe it. And he had no idea how to deal with it.

"Ranma?" Came Akane's voice as it pierced her thoughts. "Something wrong?"

Ranma frowned, "I dunno... It's just..."

"You don't want them finding out about your curse?" Akane finished.

"Something like that..." Ranma sighed as the two walked forward.

"Well don't worry," Akane replied in a slightly soothing tone. "We'll be in and out. I don't wanna be here any longer than we gotta be ok?"

"I figured," Ranma nodded, idly remembering Akane's own issues with the clinic's residents. "Th' sooner we're gone, the better right?"

"Right," Akane sighed out as she rang the doorbell. After a moment, the door opened to a smiling Miya Ono.

"Well hello Akane-san," Miya greeted as the two teenagers stood in the doorway of the clinic. "Is there something wrong with your ankle?"

"N-nothing's the matter Miya-san," Akane replied. "I just need to get something for my friend here before we go to school."

"I see," Miya nodded and greeted the redhead with a friendly smile. "And might I ask your name, dear?"

"Ran...ko." Ranma muttered, giving Misses Ono a wary gaze as the two girls entered the clinic.

Miya blinked at this, "Is something the matter, Ranko-san?"

"N-no," Ranma replied. "Just... just not a mornin' person is all."

"I see..." Miya muttered as Akane made her way towards the kitchen area gingerly.

"I'll be right back Ranko," She called out, causing Ranma to blink as her and Miya stood there.

"Are you new, Ranko-san?"

Ranma frowned, giving Miya a wary gaze, "...Kinda."

"Have you known Akane-san very long?"

"...Kinda."

Miya blinked. "Is something the matter, Ranko-san?"

Ranma folded her arms under her breasts, "...Nope."

Miya blinked again and the room settled into an awkward silence.

"...Can I ask ya somethin'?" Ranma asked suddenly.

Miya brightened. "Yes, Ranko-san."

"What are ya?"

Miya's blinked and her head then tilted and studied her guest anew.

"I mean... You're some kinda martial artist right?"

"Why yes, Ranko-san, I am," Miya said, her eyes only slightly now losing their intensity but still remaining sharp.

"Yer husband... Tofu's one too right?"

"Yes, my husband is most skilled."

"Yea... but not like you are..." Ranma replied softly.

Miya held eye contact with Ranma for a moment before replying. "Not quite, no."

"He a student of yours?"

"No, he is not, though I am a student of his in this profession."

"Is that right?" Ranma replied softly.

"Uh... should we come back later?" Akane asked, startling Ranma a bit as she turned to see her accompanied with Dr. Tofu behind her.

"Hello there!" Tofu greeted with a polite smile. "Might I ask who you are, we haven't met a lot of Akane-chan's friends around here."

"...Ranko," Ranma replied, still eyeing Miya warily.

"A pleasure Ranko-san," Tofu greeted with a nod. "I see you're being friendly with my wife, Miya here."

"Yeah... interestin' wife ya got there doc..."

"Isn't she just?" Tofu asked, a wide grin crossing his face. "Would you believe that when we met she could barely tell a bedpan from a skillet? Now she's one of the top nursemaids in all of Nerima! Far better than I probably deserve!"

"You... you mentioned that last night, doc." Ranma supplied.

Tofu blinked, eyeing the redhead before him curiously. "I did?"

Ranma wanted to slap herself, "Ah... what I mean... ya see-"

"You mentioned that to Ranma, Tofu-sensei," Akane cut in suddenly. "Ranko-chan is Ranma's little sister. Right Ranko-chan?" she turned and gave Ranma a hard stare, and Ranma quickly followed suit.

"Yeah that's right, I'm Saotome Ranko. Ranma's lil' sister."

"Oh, I see," Tofu nodded. "So what else did Ranma-kun tell you about me and my lovely wife?"

"Not much... kinda distracted by 'Kane an' Musubi..." Ranma replied. "Look, uh... can I get that cup from ya? I kinda need it."

"Oh right," Tofu nodded and handed the glass to Ranma.

"Thanks doc," Ranma nodded in thanks then turned to the door. "Let's get goin' Akane."

"Yeah," she muttered under her breath, her eyes lowered as she quickly made her way from Tofu. "See ya Tofu-sensei."

"Oh wait, Akane," Tofu called out. "You don't need to-"

Tofu's words were cut off as Akane's lowered head hid her eyes to the fact that she had quickly caught up to Ranma. A little too fast for her to notice as she crashed into the redhead's back, sending the girls into the floor and the glass into the air...

Landing right atop the young man's head.

"Oh... wow..." Tofu muttered as his wife made her way to his side, her hand covering her mouth in surprise.

Ranma simply gave a defeated sigh, raking a hand through his hair as Akane tried to quickly get back to her feet. "Somehow... I'm not surprised."


Later...

"Well now," Tofu sighed as he idly scratched his head. "Confirming a legend is real is one interesting way to start the morning."

"I will admit I would have never imagined to see a girl turn into a boy with the switch of water temperature." Miya said as she handed her husband a cup of coffee. "But what do you mean by legend, dear?"

Tofu gave a light chuckle at that. "I think I'll have to ask Ranma-kun for more about Jusenkyo since he's been there. All I've heard is old stories and rumors from books. One of my more eccentric masters always wanted to see if it was real. Always said he'd try to make a wife out of some animal if he got the chance."

At Miya's raised eyebrow, Tofu shrugged. "Eh, he was a great teacher, but he had his moments of craziness."

"Craziness that might have been certified." Miya countered.

"Touché," Tofu nodded as he took a sip from his mug. He allowed himself to savor the flavor for a moment before he continued. "So Miya... did something happen between you and Ranma-kun before I arrived?"

"Eh?" Miya blinked. "Why do you ask?"

"Well... you seemed a bit pensive when Akane and I got downstairs," Tofu began as he set his mug down. "Not to mention, you've been flexing your knuckles for a while."

"And?"

"And... you only do that when you're thinking about those unpleasant parts of your past," Tofu finished. "So as your beloved husband I have to ask; what would make the mother of my son think about those days?"

Miya sighed and leaned into her husband, taking comfort as he instinctively wrapped his arms around her. After a moment of silence, she responded. "After Akane-san left... he asked me what I was."

"I see..."

"That boy... he's quite perceptive." Miya got out with a shake of her head.

Tofu nodded, "Well... I suppose when you're at the level of martial artist he is, your strength is something you can't really hide is it?"

"His level?" Miya asked.

"Oh yes... when a martial artist advances far enough to get in touch with their surroundings they can sense things that are a danger to them."

"So he-"

"He sensed your power," Tofu surmised as he cut Miya off before she could respond. "But he has yet to get to know you. To understand why you're how you are my darling." Tofu gave his wife a warm smile, and she smiled back in turn. "Just give the boy some time, ok? He'll understand that your power is a part of you, but it doesn't define you."

"Right," Miya replied. Her smile grew as she leaned up and gave her husband a kiss on his cheek. "Thank you Tofu."

"Just doing my job as your doting husband," Tofu replied with a slight chuckle. A slight wail reached the Ono couple's ears, and Tofu sighed slightly. "Now it's time for us to do our job as doting parents it seems."

"I suppose it is at that," Miya replied as her smile reached her ears. A slight thump caught her ears and she gave Tofu a small giggle. "I suggest we hurry before Mother has all the fun."

"I do believe you're right," Tofu nodded in agreement as the wrapped and arm around his wife's waist; leading them to their son's bedroom.


Later that night…

The moon hung low and full overhead, partially obscured by wisps of silvery clouds. A cool, spring breeze stirred as the moon gently bathed the city of Teito in its white light that managed to escape the clouds. Such a sight was favorable to the woman who stood atop the roof of one of Teiro's towering buildings, looking down upon the city like it's silent guardian.

Even if it wasn't the case.

The figure perched atop the roof was a classically beautiful western looking woman, looking to be in her late teens to early twenties, her long blonde hair fluttering freely in the breeze. She wore a large black overcoat that flared out like an ankle length dress, wrapped at the chest but no chest covering. And underneath the coat she wore a dress that was a white one piece ending high at the thigh. Beige thigh high boots that were held by a thigh belt tied just a bit below where her skirt ends completed her outfit. Her wide, blue eyes sharply focused on the bustling gem below her as her arms crossed under her generous yet perfectly proportioned cleavage that was proudly displayed.

'Infuriating,' the woman thought, bringing her thumb to her striking, full lips and biting on a nail. 'Absolutely infuriating. Just where in the world have you gone, my rival?!'

It had been almost a month since Tsukiumi had last seen her destined rival in Teito, and the proud Sekirei had almost literally searched the entire city with nary a trace of her silver haired rival. While it was true that she was accustomed to not seeing the man for a time. And it was refreshing to not have to hear him go on about her finding some wretched ashikabi or peeking under her skirt, his absence was hindering her growth to become the strongest sekirei there was in the game.

After all, there was no better way to prove one didn't need a human to bring out a sekirei's true potential if that sekirei was able to achieve it on their own now was there?

"Excuse me..."

Even so, there was still the issue of her... potential ashikabi. While a part of her hoped it would never be an issue, she would kill anyone who attempted to wing her with no mercy. The problem was that now she was starting to have dreams of the person. Nothing she could really solidify yet, but it was a sign that such an issue would most likely be coming to a head soon.

"Excuse me, miss?"

Tsukiumi blinked as a male voice pierced through her thoughts. She turned to find a young man who looked to be no older than sixteen giving her a shy smile, idly scratching the back of his head. "What the devil?! How did you get up here?" Tsukiumi squawked.

"I got lost..." Ryouga mumbled.

"You got lost?" Tsukiumi growled, her porcelain blue eyes narrowing in anger. "Do you take me for a fool?"

"Not at all miss... it's kind of what I-"

"Silence!" Tsukiumi cried out as a ball of water formed around her clenched fist. "Filthy Ashikabi... you dare to believe that you can lay claim to the proud sekirei of water, Number Nine Tsukiumi?! Never! I'll never let some low grade human defile me just for a miniscule boost in strength!"

"...The heck are you talking about?!" Ryouga asked, confusion etched on his face.

"Do not play the fool with me, filthy dog!" Tsukiumi barked as she extended her fist at the lost boy. "Mizu Iwai!"

"Whoa!" Ryouga cried out as he barely managed to dodge the stream of water rocketed towards him. "What the heck?! I just wanted some directions!"

"So you continue to spew your vile lies?" She asked as a blade of water formed around her arm up to her elbow. "Then you can die choking on them, worm!"

"But I'm not lying!" Ryouga protested as he grabbed his umbrella from behind him. Tsukiumi slashed at his chest in a descending angle, but could only blink in surprise as Ryouga managed to slide out of the path of exotic beauty's cut, and countering with a powerful downward slice. Tsukiumi, to her credit, actually got the water blade to impede the lost boy's attacks path.

Tsukiumi's eyes gained clarity and focus as she felt her power swell up inside her, the anger and bloodlust that burned in her blood at the thought of being winged caught fire and exploded. She became a blur of motion, launching herself at Ryouga with a barrage of slices and knicks, but to her surprise her opponent managed to parry or dodge all of her attacks. 'How is it possible that he's reading my attacks? He's just a disgusting ashikabi!'

Suddenly, the lost boy lashed out with his left hand and Tsukiumi's shoulder. Before she could gasp out an insult, Ryouga drove his umbrella into the proud sekirei's stomach, causing the blonde bombshell to gasp for air at the force of the blow. She collapsed to the ground, clutching her belly as Ryouga looked down on her apologetically.

"I'm sorry about that," He sighed out. "But I really am lost. I got no idea what an ashikabi is or what they did to you, but I ain't one of 'em. I ain't here to wing ya or whatever those guys wanna do to you. I just need to get to Nerima."

"-kaff-...And..." Tsukiumi gasped out, glaring up at the lost boy. "... and just... -gasp- what... pray tell... is there?"

"My rival."

"...what?" Tsukiumi gasped, looking up at Ryouga with wide eyes.

Ryouga nodded, "Yeah. Not that I expect you to care but... I have things to settle with the guy."

"A rival you say..." the blonde muttered as she regained her footing. Ryouga gave her a curt nod, and she felt herself frowning as she continued. "Is he... strong?"

"His strength is irrelevant," Ryouga growled as he clutched his fists tightly. Tsukiumi was surprised again as Ryouga's face twisted into a mask of pure rage. "It's a matter of honor that I deal with him. I have to defeat him... that's... that all I can say..."

"I see..." Tsukiumi replied. A small grimace marred her lovely features before she gave a soft nod and crossed her arms under her breasts. "It seems you have a very interesting rivalry... very well then. This Tsukiumi will help direct you in your quest!"

Ryouga's anger vanished as he gave Tsukiumi a stunned look. "What? Really?"

"Indeed," Tsukiumi nodded. "I am a great many things, but a liar I am not. This Sekirei, Tsukiumi, will give you aide in your noble quest to defeat your rival!"

"Sekirei?" Ryouga muttered, but quickly shook his head and gave Tsukiumi a bright smile. "So you know the way to Nerima?"

Tsukiumi turned to look at the moon, giving a soft sigh. "Sadly, I do not. However it should be a simple thing to do, all I need to do is check on my cellular phone and it should tell us where to go." Closing her eyes, she gave a confident smile before opening them to concentrate on her phone and began to type.

A minute passed.

Then ten.

She then looked up at Ryouga with a frown. "I cannot seem to find this... 'Nermia'."

"Nerima! It's Nerima!" Ryouga shouted back from the floor after he facefaulted.

"Ah. So it is," Tsukiumi replied and soon got the results from her query. "You are in luck, young warrior, for Nerima is...," she hesitated, blinked and looked at her phone before turning to point towards the horizon, "That way!"

Ryouga looked elated and bowed... "Thank you for your kindness!" he stated and turned to run, jumping off the building...

In the opposite direction.

Tsukiumi blinked and attempted to call out to him but paused as he was now long gone. "How strange in a human," she muttered before looking back at her phone and paused. She coughed into her hand and blushed. "It would appear that I had pointed in the wrong direction."

Down below and several miles away Ryouga charged forward, leaping over traffic and snarled out his rival's name.

And amazingly enough for once he was going in the right direction.

...Ok, who the hell queued the flying pigs?


Two left jabs short and fast, and then high a right round snap-kick. Swing the body low to avoid the first two and slam forearms into the thigh of the kicking legs. Counter with a right back fist and an uppercut with the left. Take the impact on the left forearm, tighten up the body and spin with the force of the punch. Drop down and keep spinning, sweep the right leg out to the calves of the opponent.

Dodge the sweep by hopping over it-

-or not.

Musubi yelped in surprise as Ranma's sweep connected with her leg and toppled the Sekirei. She landed square on her butt, her face screwed in minor pain and humiliation as Ranma looked down on her. He regarded her with a neutral expression as she rose up once more, the Saotome heir growing more adapt at maintaining a sensei mode. "Mmn... a little better."

"Really?" Musubi asked

Ranma nodded, "A little better... but still a long way to go." Having said that, he made a small come hither gesture with his hand. "Now come at me again."

"Right!" Musubi nodded firmly as she retook her stance. After a moment, she shot at Ranma like a rocket. Ranma frowned slightly as he sidestepped her fist and tripped her once more, his sekirei landing almost face first onto the dojo floor.

"owie," she mewled.

"An' just like that," Ranma sighed. "Ya go right back ta square one." He shook his head softly as he offered Musubi a hand, "Ya gotta learn there's a time an' place ta use that speed of yours."

"But when will I know, Ranma-san?"

"It'll become instinct... as easy as breathing ta ya," Ranma answered as Musubi took his offered hand.

"Instinct?"

"That's right," Ranma nodded as he pulled Musubi to her feet. "Ya know what instinct is don't ya?"

Musubi nodded. "That's like knowing when it's time to eat, right Ranma-san?"

"In a matter of speaking, I guess..." Ranma shrugged. "It's more... when ya get into a fight you'll be able ta read what your opponent's gonna do by readin' her body language. Be able ta figure out what they're gonna do before they do it so you'll have an advantage."

"And I'll be able to do that too, Ranma-san?" She asked hopefully.

"Not only that," Ranma continued. "You'll be able ta sense when an attack is commin' before it does. Not ta mention all the secret moves I'll teach ya!"

Musubi made a determined expression and brought her hands up, her eyes shining with excitement. "I'm ready to train more, Ranma-san!"

"Atta girl!" Ranma nodded in approval. "Now come at me again. We'll beat some martial arts into ya yet!"

"Right!" She shouted and resumed her stance.

Ranma smiled in spite of himself at his disciple's enthusiasm. Hot damn, but was it infectious. At this rate, she'd be ready for the next step in her training sooner than he would've expected.

Maybe it was time to get her a rival lined up soon after all…


A week later…

"You're upset."

Ranma turned to Akane, giving the girl a frown. "No I'm not."

"Yeah ya are," Akane shrugged as the pair walked onto the school grounds. "Really, though you're just punishing yourself doing this."

Ranma snorted, "'S not my fault she's got an obsession with goin' ta school."

"It's not that she wants to go to school, she just wants to be with you," Akane retorted. "You think it'd really be that bad if she just walked to school with us at least?"

Ranma groaned, palming his face. "C'mon 'Kane..."

"All I'm saying is you're making this much harder than you need to Ranma," Akane shrugged. "Or do you like making your 'wife' suffer alone?"

"Don't be uncute 'Kane," Ranma sighed. "I just..."

"Just?"

"It's for her own good..." Ranma sighed. "It really is... but those eyes..."

"Oh jeeze," Akane sighed. "You do know if you just give in you can avoid the puppy dog eyes right?"

"But 'Kane, it's for her own good!" Ranma protested.

"Now you're just being stubborn," the young Tendo heir sighed out.

"So're you," Ranma pointed out.

"You're also being-" Akane hesitated, as her eyes narrowed slightly at the young man before them. "Kuno-sempai."

"Good morrow to you, fairest Tendo Akane," Kuno replied, bowing deeply towards the Tendo heir. "I do hope your injury is healing well. I know it pains you that you cannot challenge me to win this one's heart."

"And here's reason #1 why Musubi is banned from school," Ranma muttered.

The kendoka frowned deeply as he turned to the Saotome heir, pointing his bokken towards the martial artist chest. "Keep thine tongue still, vile dog. Lest you force your betters to remove it from your disgusting lips."

"I'll be sure to do that when my betters show up," Ranma replied with a smirk. "Although that'll be a while, y'know."

Kuno snorted at Ranma's words, "It vexes me how such an enemy of women like you managed to entangle such a pure maiden as your... wife."

Ranma's eyes narrowed at the mention of his sekirei, "Pretty sure ya got who's th' enemy of women confused here ya pretty perv."

"Nay, I say!" Kuno cried, clutching his bokken tightly, taking up a basic kendo stance. "A villainous dog such as you doesn't deserve the pure elegance that such a vision of elegance deserves!"

"Elegance..." Ranma muttered, giving an amused snort as he remembered his training sessions with Musubi. "Yeah, sure, whatever ya say bokken brain."

"Be silent vile beast!" Kuno cried. "Hear this and tremble in far villain! I, Kuno Tatewaki, the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High, will not rest until I free Musubi from your disgusting, ill-bread, unworthy grasp!"

"...'Kane..." Ranma muttered as he turned towards the injured Tendo Heiress. "Is it just me or did he say he was gonna break up a marriage?"

"He did." Akane nodded.

"And I'm the bad guy for wanting to keep Musubi at home?" Ranma asked.

"You say that like Musubi-chan would listen to this doof." Akane retorted.

"You would dare to imprison the beauteous shrine maiden in the honorable Akane's home?" Kuno gasped, looking aghast at what the two friends had said. "Unforgivable! Utterly unforgivable! Your treacherous actions have forced me to go all out...such a wretch as you is unfit for the company of civilized mortals...you are to be dispatched with alacrity as befits a dog of your lowly station!"

"Heh, keep talkin' stick boy," Ranma replied as he tossed his book bag to the ground and cracked his knuckles. "It's your funeral after all, man."

"Your insolence will not be tolerated any longer!" Kuno cried as he charged, "Defend yourself, Churl!"

Kuno charged with a solid thrust, only for Ranma to casually side-step it and coolly level an open palm chop at the back of his head; causing the boy to fall face-first into the pavement.

"Sheesh, you're sure not a light one on ya feet," Ranma dryly noted.

"I do not accept surrender," Kuno softly growled as he used his bokken to pry himself back onto this feet.

"Jeeze man, can't ya take th' hint?" Ranma frowned, "What I gotta do, knock you inta coma?"

"Wouldn't work anyway," Akane dryly noted, "You need a brain to be knocked unconscious after all."

"Yeah, but it'll be a decent warm-up ta try," Ranma countered as Kuno charged him again.

"I'm startin' to think you don't want Musubi around to steal any fights," Akane muttered.

"Can't argue that," Ranma replied as he charged the kendo-ka again, symbolizing the new start of the day for Furinkan High.


"Haaau..."

Once again, the mid-morning sun found one Musubi sitting on the engawa, looking up at the sky with her head resting in her hands. Looking utterly bored and lonely for all to witness.

"Musubi-chan?" came Kasumi's concerned voice behind her. "Are you all right dear?"

"Eh?" the sekirei turned to the eldest Tendo daughter, seeing her looking on with concern and sighed once more. "No..." she admitted in a soft voice.

"You miss Ranma-kun that much eh?" Kasumi sighed, a pitying look crossing her features.

Musubi nodded, "It's just... why does he go to that school place when he says he doesn't want to? Why can't he just stay and train with me?"

Kasumi gave the sekirei a soft smile as she walked to where she sat. "Musubi-chan... do you know why Ranma-kun goes to school?"

Musubi put a finger to her chin quizzically as she thought about it, "To get away from his pops?"

Kasumi giggled at the answer, "I'm sure that's one of his biggest reasons, but what do you think the other reason is?"

"That he wants to fight!" Musubi replied enthusiastically, clenching her fists tightly.

"No that's-" Kasumi sighed and gave a soft laugh at Musubi's confused expression. "No, never mind. I'm sure you'll understand someday soon."

Musubi blinked in confusion as Kasumi stood up again, "Say, Musubi-chan... I think I have an idea that can help make the wait for Ranma's return go by a bit smoother if you're willing to hear it."

"You do?"

Kasumi nodded as Musubi stood up and followed the eldest Tendo daughter to the front door, "I think you'll find it just what you needed."


"I don't understand how this is supposed to help me Kasumi-san," Musubi mumbled as the two girls made their way through the shopping district.

"Well," Kasumi began as she put a pair of apples in her basket. "I think all you need is to be busy for a little while as Ranma-kun and Akane-chan are busy in school. Besides, it's a good opportunity to get to know your new neighbors since I think you and Ranma-kun are going to be here for a while."

"Ah," Musubi nodded at the explanation.

"Besides... Ranma-kun may tell you what his favorite dish is someday soon, and now that you know where to get the ingredients for it you'll be able to surprise him at dinner one day."

"Oh?" Musubi's eyes lit up at the thought. "You think so Kasumi-san?"

"Of course!" Kasumi chirped. "Is there anything you can cook Musubi? I think we can gather up the ingredients and give Ranma a nice surprise."

"Curry!" Musubi cried, clenching her fists enthusiastically.

"All right," Kasumi nodded. "I think I only need a few things for you to make that, so how about it Musubi-chan?"

"Let's do it Kasumi-san!" Musubi nodded.

"Excuse me," came an unfamiliar male voice behind them. The women turned to find a young man who looked to be about as tall as Ranma himself but for the oddly careworn yellow shirt and baggy green pants that he was wearing, a tiger-striped bandana around his forehead adding to the differences. The boy gave them a shy, embarrassed grin that showed off a pair of his enlarged canines, highlighting the differences even further.

"Yes can I help you?" Kasumi asked.

"I was wondering if you could help point me in the direction of Furinkan High School?" he asked as he sheepishly scratched the back of his head.

"Oh my, that's simple enough." Kasumi turned and pointed to her left. "It's three blocks in that direction."

"Thank you!" The young man bowed politely as he turned in the opposite direction.

The boy halted as Musubi tugged at his shirt. "Um... mister you're going the wrong way..." Musubi supplied.

The boy gave an embarrassed laugh, "Ahahahhaa! Whoops... ah... thanks for the catch..."

"No problem!" Musubi chirped as Kasumi nodded to her. "I hope you find whatever you're looking for!" Musubi replied as the young man walked slowly in his intended direction.

"Ehehe... you and I both miss..." The boy replied as all turned away. "Soon Ranma Saotome... I'll make you see hell for what you've done!"

Musubi's ear twitched at the muttered words from the young man she helped. "Ranma-san?"

"Did you say something Musubi-chan?" Kasumi asked, to blink in surprise as Musubi suddenly shoot off like a rocket. "Musubi-chan?!"

Musubi hunted the streets for the bandana-clad man who was looking for her ashikabi. She searched the streets and alleys as best she could, and even managed to make her way to the school in question, but the mystery man was nowhere to be seen. She sighed as after a while she managed to make her way back to the market and where Kasumi was, the eldest Tendo daughter fretting for a bit over her surprising disappearance. The two resumed their shopping trip but one question kept gnawing at the sekirei as it related to her ashikabi.

Just who was that guy and what did he want with her ashikabi?


"So how was your day Ranma-san?" Musubi asked as she smiled up at her Ashikabi walking along the wall directly above her.

"I'd rather not say Musubi," Ranma said as he easily kept pace with the girls walking on the sidewalk, a deep frown on his face.

Jeez… how did this happen?

Musubi gave her ashikabi a confused blink, "Did something bad happen?"

"Dun wanna talk about it," Ranma grumbled as he continued onward.

"Oh come on Ranma," Akane cut in with a teasing tone. "I would've thought you'd be flattered that Kuno-sempai would give you such attention."

All at once Ranma vaulted down directly in her path, compelling her to halt her forward momentum and look right up at him, seeing a hint of his irritated expression on his handsome features, "As flattered as you'd be tomboy?" He replied.

"Oh there's no need to be shy Ranma," Akane continued. "After all, it's not every day Kuno-sempai shows us how big of a pervert he is. You should feel honored that he decided to grace you with his presence!"

"That ain't funny 'Kane," Ranma growled. "An' you know it."

"Ok, ok, I'm sorry," Akane apologized. "Truth be told, no one deserves Kuno-sempai. Not even a jerk like you."

"Who's Kuno-sempai?" Musubi asked.

"That guy who fought Ranma on his first day at school," Akane answered. "You remember him don't you?"

"Mmmmmn..." Musubi scrunched up her brow in concentration.

"If ya don't remember th' jerk, don't worry 'bout it Musubi." Ranma turned to her, a neutral expression on his face. "Matter o' fact, why don't you just forgot ya heard that name, ok?"

"Ok Ranma-san!" Musubi chirped as she took her Ashikabi's hand. "So are we gonna train tonight?"

Ranma nodded at his Sekirei, "Yep, but probably not for a while. I gotta forget that Kuno jerk for a while like I told you to do."

"Well look at it this way," Akane chirped in. "At least he didn't see you pants less. Just think how he'd be if I didn't help you out on that first day, hmm?"

"Don't remind me," he replied and shuddered.

"Did Kuno-san take your pants before Ranma-san?" Musubi asked.

"What? No!" Ranma cried out. "And didn't I tell ya to forget that name Musubi?"

"Oh right you did!" Musubi replied before bopping herself on the head. "Sorry."

"It's ok Musubi," Ranma sighed. "Just be thankin' yer lucky stars you ain't ever met th' jerk."

Akane nodded, "Especially in you clothes." She frowned as she finished her sentence. "That reminds me... is that all you have to wear Musubi-chan?"

Musubi gave Akane a confused look, and the Tendo heir simply sighed. "I mean... you've been borrowing clothes from Kasumi-neechan and wearing my old gi when you and Ranma train. Didn't MBI send you any other clothes?"

"Other clothes?" Musubi asked, confusion clear in her tone.

Her answer and tone brought about two different reactions toward the pair of teenaged martial artists.

Ranma looked down at the alien woman clutching his hand with a raised eyebrow before he shrugged and looked ahead, his interest already dissipated.

Akane on the other hand, stood in stunned silence as she gawked at the innocent girl standing before her. "...what?" she muttered in disbelief. "You... you mean all MBI gave you were those clothes and some card? That's it?!"

"MBI does send me extras if my clothes are destroyed in a fight," Musubi responded. "Why do you ask Akane-san?"

"Why do I ask?" Akane replied in shock. "Why do I ask? Why are you ok with just that for an outfit?!" She turned to Ranma, a glare in her eye. "And you? You're ok with this?!"

"If she's fine with it and can fight in it I don't see what the problem is," Ranma muttered. "It's just clothes."

"Just clothes? Just clothes?!" Akane rounded up on Ranma, causing the aqua-transsexual to back up slightly at the fire in her eyes. "The very fact that you said that speaks volumes about who you are you pervert."

"I ain't no pervert ya uncute tomboy," Ranma replied. "'sides even if I cares it ain't like I got th' cash ta go on a shopping spree fer her, y'kno?"

"Even so... you'd be fine if Musubi-chan was wearing this and someone like Kuno caught a look at her?" Akane countered.

For a brief moment Ranma felt his temper flare at the thought, "Do ya really gotta go there Akane?"

"Made my point didn't it?" Akane countered. "Look, all I'm saying is we hit up a shop or two before we go home and just... see if we can get something decent for Musubi to wear around town or something. At least something that don't make her stand out as much."

Ranma gave Akane a flat look, "Is this really gonna be just one store? Ya ain't plannin ta take us out shoppin' all night is ya?"

"Not unless you got ten million yen in that backpack of yours back home," Akane retorted. "Just one shop and we're done. Ok Ranma? Musubi-chan?"

Ranma sighed and looked at his sekirei, "You feel like taking a detour Musubi?"

"I feel like anything you want to do, Ranma-sama!" Musubi chirped.

"Ok then," Ranma sighed. "One store detour and we're home for dinner."


Two hours later...

"One detour and we're home for dinner," Ranma grumbled under his breath. "I said that right? I know I did. So how th' hell did this happen?"

He sat alone on a bench in the store with a nice little stack of boxes of varying sizes next to him as he leaned back and switched the leg he had on one knee with the other and placed his hand back under his chin and leaned forward. He looked around again and sighed again though at least he stopped grimacing each time he did it. You could only grimace and blush so much with all the bras and panties on display around him for so long.

Oh yeah, and he was in a lingerie shop.

He now switched arms that he used to prop his chin up and now rested this arm on the stack of boxes that Akane purchased for Musubi. Naturally, it would all lead here in the end.

Or so he hoped...

Akane, for all her talk about the MBI card awhile ago being Musubi's soon fell under its spell too as she soon got bit by the shopping bug and hauled him and Musubi around, having her try this and that on, glowing with each possible combination and gushing how well it looked on Musubi. It was a credit to her; at least; that none of what was purchased was for her.

He sighed again, missing the glares of a few patrons and some staff who were getting irritated at hearing him yet again.

'Never pegged Akane t'be the type ta play dress up... Or for Musubi to end up being the doll without complaining...' he thought.

It also didn't help that the bench he was sitting on was next to the changing rooms where he could hear both talking to each other. Or at least he did before managing to tune them out. And tune them out-

"I should've known finding a decent bra for your cup size would be hard..."

-he had...

"Dammit all," he grunted out as he leaned back on the bench; putting both arms behind his head and looked at the ceiling.

"Wait, what's this?" he heard Akane say.

"It looks nice, right Akane-san?" Musubi said hopefully.

"We gotta work on your fashion sense, Musubi. I mean, yellow with black polka dots?"

His eye twitched. 'God, please let this be over soon...'

"I know you're not used to this Musubi-chan," he heard Akane sigh. "But you just can't pick anything because no one's gonna see it."

"I thought it was nice..." Ranma groaned again as he could feel Musubi's pout on the other side. "And anyway, there was something about it that was just..."

"Just...?"

There was silence for a moment and Ranma leaned back into his seat, folding his arms across his chest. A part of him was curious but was quickly beaten down by the more overwhelming hope that this would be over soon.

He had no idea how right he was.

"That's right!" Musubi cried out, and without warning the Saotome heir found his vision filled with the generous bosom of his sekirei. "I just remembered! We've got a problem Ranma-san!"

"Waagh," Ranma cried out, falling over in his seat. "M-M-Musubi?!"

"There was this boy Kasumi-san and I met when we went shopping, 'cuz you were at school! He looked nice and said he was lost and looking for your school so Kasumi-san helped him but then he said your name and that you were doomed and-"

"Okokokokokok!" Ranma cried, his blush back in full force. "You can tell me all about him just put some clothes on!"

"Musubi-chan!" Akane shrieked, feeling her face grow rosy at the growing attention the trio was receiving. "Get back in here!"

Musubi blinked and looked up at Akane curiously "Is this that modesty thing you two are talking about?"

"YES!" the martial artists cried out, drawing more stares towards the trio.

"Can it wait? Ranma-san's life might be in danger!"

"NO!" they cried, "Put some clothes on now!"

Musubi gave a confused look again, but quickly rose from her ashikabi and returned to the dressing room; leaving an embarrassed aqua-transsexual martial artist lying on the ground. The boy sighed and palmed his face. "Man, I miss China all of a sudden."


"I can't believe that actually happened," Ranma muttered as he walked down the street, his cheeks still a slight red from embarrassment and several boxes and bags in hand.

"Did I do something wrong Ranma-san?" Musubi asked as she trailed slightly behind him.

"Musubi-chan," Akane sighed, her own cheeks a slight rosy color. "Don't you have any female modesty?"

Musubi turned to the Tendo heir, blinking in confusion. "Modesty?"

Akane gave the sekirei a flat look, "Ooooh boy."

"We'll teach you that later," Ranma sighed as he stopped and turned to his sekirei. "Just what the heck was so important ya had ta run out like that anyway?"

"That's right!" Musubi chirped. "Ranma-san, there was someone looking for you! Someone dangerous!"

"Dangerous?" Ranma raised an eyebrow at that.

"Yeah!" Musubi nodded vigorously. "Me and Kasumi-san ran into him when we were getting food for dinner tonight when this guy asked us for directions! He looked a little like you, but he had this biiiiiiiiiiiiig backpack and umbrella!" She gestured with her arms for emphasis as she continued.

"Umbrella?" Ranma frowned as Musubi nodded again. "This guy have a bandanna?

"Yeah!" she chirped again. "And fangs! Big ones!"

"Hnnn..." Ranma's frown deepened at Musubi's words.

"Sound familiar?" Akane asked, folding her arms over her chest.

"Yeah... yeah it does..." Ranma blinked and then he nodded as he spoke once more, "Hibiki Ryouga...yeah...I know who ya ran into ...it's been a while, but..."

"We have to find him Ranma-san!" Musubi interrupted. "He wants to kill you! We have to beat him up!"

Ranma snorted, "Don't bother. I'd be surprised if one of us sees him again by next week."

Musubi and Akane blinked at his words. "Huh?" They asked in an echo.

"Lemmie give ya the quick version," Ranma began. "I met him at my last school... An all boy's school at lunchtime. We used ta get into it over the bread rolls they'd serve at lunch but after a while we got to know each other pretty well and I started helping 'im out by helpin' him ta to school and everythin'."

"Wait..." Akane cut in. "Why... why would you have to help him get to school?"

"It's the reason why we ain't gotta worry 'bout seein him for a while," The Saotome heir answered. "Dude gets lost easily."

"But he can find his own way home right?" Akane asked; confusion clear on her face.

Ranma chuckled, "Lemmie put it ta ya like this. We were supposed ta have this big fight in the vacant lot behind his house right? I waited there for three days for him ta show up. Hell if it weren't fer pops I'd have been there for as long as it'd take for him ta show up."

"You can't' be serious." Akane replied in a deadpan tone.

"Do I look like I'm lyin'?" Ranma asked. "It's just somethin' you'd have to see to believe I guess."

"Uh huh..." Akane sighed and shrugged.

"So Ranma-san..." Musubi spoke up again. "You're safe?"

Ranma nodded, "I'm totally fine Musubi. It's just talk between rivals."

"Rivals?" Musubi blinked.

"Yep," Ranma nodded. "It's another thing you'll have ta deal with as ya get ta be a better martial artist."

"It is?" Musubi asked as her eyes began to shine slightly.

"Yep," Ranma nodded. "As ya get better, you'll get all sorts of other martial artists wantin' ta test their skills against ya. Eventually you'll find someone who'll bring out th' best in ya an' constantly grows as ya'll fight. 'Course my rivals can't hold a candle ta me anymore, but when I was still becomin' the best it helped me grow a lot."

"Wow!" Musubi chirped as she clenched her fists in excitement. "That sounds so cool! Hey Ranma-san... when do I get my own rival?"

Ranma chuckled at his sekirei's enthusiasm. "Dont' worry, they'll come to you as you get stronger. It's another thing to look forward to right?"

"Right!"

"Fascinating as all this is," Akane cut in. "We still got the issue with Musubi's clothes."

"You still on that?" Ranma sighed as he and his sekirei turned to their friend. "Did ya forget what happened already?"

"No, of course not!" Akane replied. "But Musubi-chan can't parade around in just that all the time! I'm not giving up!"

"Akane-san..."

Akane sighed as she allowed some of her bite to die down, "Look, you told Ranma what you had to tell him right? So let's try again. I'll even let you chose the place. Just... just one more shop ok?"

"Ok Akane-san," Musubi nodded as she saw how much this meant to the youngest Tendo daughter. "Do you mind Ranma-san?"

Ranma shrugged, "So long as ya don't go runnin' around naked again and we get back in time for dinner I'll live. Just don't take forever this time ok?"

"Right," Musubi nodded as Akane took the lead to the next shop.


One hour later…

"Oh dear..." Kasumi sighed as she began setting the table. "They're still not back yet."

"Hnnn?" Nabiki muttered as she looked up from her notebook laptop.

Kasumi sighed again at her younger sister's disinterest. "Akane called after school and told me that she was taking Ranma-kun and Musubi-chan out to look for clothes for Musubi-chan. I hope they're back soon. Dinner's almost done."

"Ah," Nabiki nodded at she went back to looking at her computer.

"Don't worry Kasumi," Soun replied in a gentle tone as he took his seat, Genma in tow behind him. "I'm sure Ranma-kun and Akane will be here soon. They probably lost track of time getting to know one another."

"Quite right Tendo-kun," Genma nodded as he took his seat. "If the boy's anything like I was at his age we're already half way to the alter!"

"Somehow I doubt it," Nabiki muttered to herself.

"So long as they wait until they're at the altar to make me a grandfather, I can live with it Saotome-kun!" Soun grinned. "I remember how you were before you met Nodoka after all!"

"I have no idea what you mean my old friend," Genma smirked.

"I'm so sure Saotome-kun." Soun winked and gave Genma a good natured slug to his shoulder.

Kasumi smiled at the elder men's good natured talk when she heard the door open.

"We're back..." Akane called out in a tired tone.

"Welcome ba... Oh my..." Kasumi's greeting caught in her throat as she spotted Musubi in tow with Ranma, in clothing she definitely didn't leave with. She was dressed in a white cheongsam with red trim lace and pink rose embroidery. She wore white silk slacks and carried a pair of black slippers like Ranma's in her hands.

Soun and Genma stared at Ranma's sekirei slack jawed, as Nabiki chuckled slightly behind them. "Halfway to the alter huh?"

Soun and Genma coffed slightly as they regained their composure. "And just where've you been boy?" Genma grunted.

"Shopping with his wife apparently," Nabiki snarked.

"Aw keep quiet will ya pops?" Ranma grunted as he took his seat next to Akane. "Akane wanted ta get Musubi some new threads so we went an' got her some."

"How do I look Kasumi-san?" Musubi asked.

Kasumi gave the sekirei a warm smile, "You look lovely Musubi-chan."

"Ehhehe..." Musubi turned to Ranma and beamed at her ashikabi. "Didja hear that Ranma-san?"

"'Course I did," Ranma grinned. "Y'see? Ya got good taste in clothes just like me!"

"Four hours..." Akane muttered. "We went looking for better clothes for Musubi-chan for four hours and this is all we got."

"An' it's all we need to," Ranma nodded to himself as Musubi took her seat next to him. "She looks good and can fight in it so we don't need ta go shoppin' any more right?"

"Right!" Musubi nodded vigorously.

"Uh... whatever..." Akane muttered. "Still can't believe we bought out two stores... I thought that only happened in shows..."

"Told ya that card was big time didn't I sis?" Nabiki asked as she put her notebook down.

"Sounds like you all had an eventful day Musubi-chan," Kasumi said as she went to get dinner.

"Yeah!" The sekirei chirped. "Ranma-san taught me alot today!"

"Like I told ya," Ranma cut in with a confident grin on his face. "Just stick with me and you'll win that game of yours no sweat."

"I'm so lucky to have an ashikabi as awesome as you," Musubi said in a grateful tone while Akane mock gagged at the ego stroking.

"Not to derail this love fest..." Nabiki cut in suddenly. "But do you have any idea as to how this sekirei game is supposed to work?"

Ranma turned to Nabiki and gave her an odd look, "Huh?"

"I mean," Nabiki sighed as Kasumi began placing dinner plates around the table. "All we've heard about this game is what Minaka told us. And that's basically keep your mouth shut and that's it. Isn't that strange to you?"

"He said that he ain't got all th' details worked out Nabiki," Ranma shrugged. "When it starts it starts."

"Even so, you'll need help to gather info on this thing and I'd be willing to help you... for a small nominal fee."

"Yeah thanks but no thanks," he growled sourly. "The best way ta get ready for this thing is ta train."

"That's right!" Musubi nodded in agreement. "I just need to be stronger than everyone to win! And Ranma-san can make sure that I'm the strongest sekirei in the game!"

"Damn straight," Ranma nodded in agreement. Nabiki rolled her eyes towards the ceiling, but said nothing as the family meal began in earnest.


Several Days Later…

The sounds of the final bell of the school day rang out, allowing the Saotome heir a relived sigh as he stood and gave a small stretch to get whatever kinks out of him. "Finally!"

Akane sighed beside him as she began the process of getting her crutches underneath her, "There's no need to be so dramatical Ranma."

"Whatever," he shrugged. "I'm just ready to get home."

"Missin' your wife that much?" Akane asked in a teasing tone.

The Saotome heir gave her a flat look, "Ha ha, 'Kane. Very cute."

"Very right too I bet," she replied. "Or are you worried about that letter?"

Ranma snorted at that question. "Ya mean Ryouga's letter yesterday? I told ya ain't no need to worry 'bout Lost Boy yet. It just means that he figured out where I am now. When he actually gets here to finish our fights another story."

"Musubi was really excited about it," Akane acknowledged. "A little too excited if you ask me."

"Just a sign of how serious a student she is," Ranma grinned. "She just wants to learn all about how to handle a rival once she gets one."

"And what makes you so sure she'll get a rival anyway?"

"'Cause that's how it is at this level." Ranma replied as if it was a matter of fact. "You train, you get learn techniques, you get rivals. Simple."

"But I don't have any rivals," Akane countered as they left the classroom. "Hell, no one I know that's a martial artist has one."

Ranma turned to the Tendo heir and gave her a flat look, "What."

Akane nodded, "Yeah, I ain't got a rival. Maybe you're just a special case."

"Y... you can't be serious," Ranma replied. "You ain't got a rival?"

"Nope," Akane confirmed.

"But... but havin' a rival's how ya get good an' stuff." Ranma replied in a stunned tone. "I mean... how're ya gonna get any better if ya ain't got a rival?"

"Maybe I'm doomed to be stuck in mediocrity," Akane snarked. "Or maybe you're just not the standard."

"Yeah that's not it," Ranma snorted. "You just ain't found yours yet."

Akane sighed, "At least you're not assigning Kuno as my rival."

"Oh that's just sick and wrong on so many levels," Ranma replied. "Hummm... I wonder if you'd be a good rival for Musubi after all..."

Akane blinked, "Huh?"

"I can drill her to not go all out in sparin' don't worry," he reassured her. "You could just be like a friendly rival y'know? And it'll help ya to right?"

Akane gave Ranma a wary glance, "Hey wait a sec-"

"Hey Saotome!" came a panicked male voice cutting off Akane's response.

"Eh?" Ranma blinked and turned to see a non-descript student heaving in big gulps of air. "What is it?"

"It's your wife," he got out in-between gasps. "She's... she at the front gate... fightin' with some guy!"

"What?!" Ranma and Akane managed to blurt out.


"I'm sorry," Ryouga began, confusion clear on his face. "But what is this all about really?"

In front of him Musubi stood in her fighting stance, eyes shining with determination. "You said you were here for Ranma-san right?"

"That's right," Ryouga growled. "But I dont' see why you're challenging me to a fight. Much less what you mean about rivals."

"As Ranma-san's rival you must be really strong! I gotta see how far I can go before I get one myself!" she replied cheerfully.

"...I'm so lost," Ryouga muttered a familiar phrase that, for once, had nothing to do with his directional sense.

Ryouga was unable to elaborate further as Musubi suddenly ran towards the Lost Boy, her fist cocked back. Ryouga blinked and blocked the fist with his forearm only for Musubi to press the attack with a barrage of punches. The lost boy blocked and dodged all her attacks with relative ease, forcing the Sekirei to bounce back a bit before she launched a powerful haymaker at him...

Only for Ryouga to catch the fist and stop it dead in its tracks. The girl was strong... far, far, far stronger than she looked. But she was severely raw, to the point that Ryouga knew that if worse came to worse that he could handle her; like with that blonde woman from awhile ago, though she wasn't quite as unrefined as this one... Not that he wanted to mind you.

Damn, but was this girl strong!

"If you're quite finished... do you know where Ranma Saotome is?" He growled out as he continued to hold her in his grasp.

"Finished?" Musubi replied, pausing to blink at him with wide eyes. "But we've barely started Ryouga-san!"

"How do you-?" Ryouga began to ask but was cut off as Musubi suddenly yanked back, pulling the lost boy towards her and launching a sharp jab at him with her free hand. The blow landed true due to the surprise, and he released his hold on her hand as he landed on the ground. He quicky got up, rubbing his jaw tenderly.

Damn... this girl is strong.

Then she was on top of him, both hands moving in lethally fast lines. Ryouga wove to the side of a left back fist, barely got his arms in the way of a right reverse punch, then grunted slightly in pain as she landed a hard left punch that threatened to leave imprints on his stomach. Working through the pain the Eternal Lost Boy jumped back and launched heavy right elbow aimed at his opponent's head. The brunette ducked that blow, got her left arm in the way of a left roundhouse punch, then felt her breath explode out of her as Ryouga slammed a right kick into her midsection harder most people take to land ten.

With that, Musubi leapt back, a happy grin on her face as she eyed her opponent. Ryouga gave her a hard glance as she rubbed her mid-section tenderly. Girl was faster than she looked too. Even as raw as she was, she was proving to be someone to keep an eye on in the future. If nothing else she was proving a good warm-up for when that bastard Saotome arrived.

"Ehehehe..." Musubi giggled softly. "You're strong. Is this the strength that Ranma-san gives you as his rival?"

"I don't have time to keep playing with you like this," Ryouga growled. "Where Is Ranma Saotome damnit!"

"Musubi!" Cried out a new male voice.

Ryouga and Musubi turned to see Ranma charging forward. Ryouga gave the pigtailed martial artist a heated glare, "Saotome Ranma...at last I've finally found you!"

"I'll get ta you in a sec 'k?" Ranma muttered, causing the lost boy to blink in confusion as Ranma focused on his sekirei. "Musubi what're ya doin?"

Musubi turned to him to gush with her hands under her chin and stars in her eyes. "Musubi wanted to see how strong Ranma-san's rival was! And its ssoooo great! When do I get one!?"

"I told ya you'll get one when you're ready!" Ranma answered with a tired sigh. "Besides, you're not ready for someone like Hibiki yet Musubi. Your rival will come, ya just gotta give'em some time." He then gave her a hard stare, "An' what did I tell ya 'bout buttin' into my fights?"

"To never do it," Musubi replied. "But it wasn't your fight yet."

"First lesson of rivalries Musubi," Ranma began in his sensei tone. "If it's your rival, it's always your fight."

Musubi paused and blinked. "Is that how it works?"

"Of course that's how it works," Ranma replied. "A fight between rivals is a sacred fight. You can't let others interfere with such a fight until a winner is decided. It'd bring shame to your pride as a martial artist!"

Musubi took a step back in shock and her head dipped, her hair antenna bouncing at the motion. "Aaauuuu... I'm sorry Ranma-san."

"It's all right Musubi, ya have to learn these things sooner or later," Ranma nodded solemnly. "So now that you know, you won't fight Ryouga anymore right?"

"Right!" Musubi nodded firmly before wiping her eyes with her padded forearm.

To the side Akane gave them a open mouthed half-lidded look in disbelief. "The hell is this?" she whispered in awe. "And how strong is that Ryouga guy? He took her best shots and he barely flinched!"

"In any case," Ranma continued. "You mind takin' a seat with Akane? I gotta beat Ryouga up now."

"Okay!" Musubi cried cheerfully while raising an arm.

"Good girl," Ranma grinned. "You make sure ta take notes on how a rival fight goes ok? Ya might be getting one sooner than ya think." Musubi nodded eagerly before quickly making her way over to Akane. Her face scrunching up as she focused on both of them.

"Ahhhh... I got such a great student," Ranma muttered softly.

"You finished?" Ryouga growled.

"Yeah, sorry 'bout that," Ranma sighed as he turned to face Ryouga. "It's just I got my first disciple and she's a bit too enthusiastic. Maybe you'll get one yourself someday."

"Hey Ranma?"

"Hnnn?" Ranma blinked as he turned to the lost boy.

"Ya mind doin' me a favor?" He asked as he shrugged off his backpack.

"Uh... sure." Ranma blinked. "What is it?"

"SHUT UP AND FIGHT!" Ryouga snarled, hurling dozens of bandanas that sliced the air where Ranma had been standing.

"Whoah!" Ranma said as dodged the attacks, the bandannas implanting themselves deeply into the ground. "The hell're you doin'? You're gonna hurt somebody doin' that!"

"Yeah! Someone like you Ranma!" the other boy cried as he leaped towards his intended target, "Stop hiding behind a girl and fight me like a man!"

Ranma dodged a powerful kick as Ryouga leaped to the attack without further warning. The other boy recovered and whirled about before launching a series of punches and kicks in his direction, each blow missing Ranma by mere inches as the latter dodged away, taking his measure of his angry opponent. Each thrust kicked up a furious wind that seemed to whip past Ranma's elusive form as they dodged along the periphery of the crater, one movement followed by another in rapid order as they darted around the schoolyard, Ryouga on the offensive, Ranma avoiding him by inches.

"Ain't no one hidin' behind no girl Hibiki," Ranma snorted. "Gettin' lazy with the insults lost boy?"

"Stand still and let me break you, Ranma!" Ryouga was snarling.

Ranma gave Ryouga a flat look then suddenly blurred forward. Hibiki's left hand was at his waist and never even came close to blocking Ranma's shin as it slammed into his jaw. The Saotome heir followed through and then pulled the leg back and snapped it out into Ryouga's thigh just above his left knee. Ranma dropped his leg and placed his hands into his pockets, taunting his rival further.

"Like that's gonna happen," Ranma snorted. "C'mon... Whassa matter, Ryouga? Why're you so pissed? You're ain't still mad 'bout that bread thing, are ya?"

"Bread?" Ryouga's nostrils flared, "You think this is about BREAD? DIIIIEEE!"

"Well," Akane remarked, "I gotta admit, they're both awfully good. Don't you think Musubi-chan?"

"OOoooooooohhh! OooHHhhhhhhhh!" Musubi gushed as she watched the two fight.

"Musubi-chan?" Akane called to her and rolled her eyes as the Sekirei took a fighting pose and tried to mimic some of the attacks that were taking place before her. "Aaaand she's gone..."

Meanwhile, The Eternal Lost Boy pulled back his right arm, revealing a large umbrella that he thrust forward with a volley of viscous stabs to his hated pigtailed enemy. There was a red and black blur as Ranma's left heel stabbed into Ryouga's elbow. Ryouga grunted but ignored the pain as he tried to launch his free hand onto Ranma's stomach; only to feel nothing but air as the martial artist prodigy dodged the attack; managing to hook his leg around catch him in the cheek.

"You coward!" Ryouga growled as Ranma took a loose defensive stance away from him. "You're running away, just like you did from our man-to-man fight! This is just like when you broke your word to me two years ago-!"

"I ain't break my word to you, Ryouga!" Ranma snapped, "You're the idiot who got himself lost and missed our fight!"

"Ok, I'll admit, I got a little sidetracked," Ryouga countered as he tried to sweep the legs of his opponent out from under him, only to see Ranma vault back out of his reach, "You still should have waited damnit!"

"I did wait for you, ya moron!" Ranma snapped, "I stood in that damn lot for three whole days! Three days waiting for your dumb ass ta show up!"

"And by the fourth day, when I showed up, you're long gone, you coward!" Ryouga scoffed.

"I ain't no coward damnit!" Ranma shouted back.

Musubi turned to Akane. "Rivals looks so fun! I can't wait to get one!"

"Lemmie know how that goes for ya," Akane muttered as she continued to watch the fight.

"Considerin' all the dodging you've been doing and having your little girlfriend attack me to try and wear me down, what else can I call you but a coward!" Ryouga retorted.

"I ain't sic Musubi ta do nuttin to ya," Ranma shouted back. "She did that on her own! So you better take that coward remark back damnit! Nobody calls me a coward, Ryouga!"

"I'm just callin' it how I see it!" Ryouga replied as he threw his umbrella at Ranma. The pigtailed martial artist dodged it, surprising all who watched the fight as it landed with a heavy thud; kicking up a considerably amount of dust with it. "I chased after you, I followed you everywhere you went, but you kept running away so that I never could catch up and find you!"

"Hey, you got lost, that's all," Ranma countered, "Besides I ain't run away! Pops came and dragged me home; and the next day we left town for China; so it wasn't like I was avoiding you or nothin'!"

"I KNOW!" Ryouga snarled, "I followed you there, but you still avoided me! Don't tell me you weren't running the whole time..."

"Not from you!" Ranma snarled back, only to pause as he added, "Wait... China? Ryouga...don't tell me you followed us all the way to Jusenkyo?"

Ryouga broke the stalemate by butting his head forward, driving Ranma back and almost to his knees at it had been an unexpected maneuver. "That's right, Jusenkyo!" Ryouga snarled, "I even followed you to that damned Amazon village and you still kept runnin' away from me! And to think all this time you've been avoiding me while you go and seduce an innocent girl t' be your bodyguard with your charms!"

Ryouga snarled in a more bestial voice, "You don't deserve someone like her after what you've put me through, Saotome Ranma! It's all 'cause of you I've seen HELL!"

"What the heck are you talking about-HEY!" Ranma cried out as he sensed a renewed attack coming.

The other boy launched into an attack that was powerfully delivered with perfectly executed timing, and the only reason the blow did not connect was that Ranma flowed away from the punch and caught it with both legs, pinning Ryouga by the arm as he fell onto his back and catapulted him over both hedge and nearby fence, causing the angry boy to tumble out of sight with a resounding splash that informed everyone of where exactly he had landed.

"Oh great," Akane huffed, "You threw him into the pool."

Ranma gave a soft snort as he straightened up once again, "A little dip like that ought ta cool him off a bit, and what're you defendin' him for, anyway?"

"I'm not," Akane retorted. "Or did you already forget when you asked if he'd followed you all the way to China?"

"Oh crap." Ranma muttered as the crowd of school kids dispersed as the fight was presumably over. "You don't think...?"

Akane sighed as Musubi helped her up, getting her crutches underneath her. "Only one way to find out right?"

"Right..." Ranma sighed as the trio headed for the school pool area to check up on Ryouga.


"This is a waste of time," Ranma grunted as he and Musubi followed Akane. The Tendo heir sighed to herself as she walked to where she assumed Ryouga had landed. There was some lighting here provided by an overhead lamp, but most of the power had been shut off to save on electricity.

"Why do you say that Ranma-san?" Musubi asked. "Aren't you worried about your rival?"

"Not much to worry 'bout really," Ranma shrugged, "He'll probably wander off and get lost again, so my guess is we ain't seein' him 'round here for a while."

"And what if he hasn't?" Akane asked. "What if he fell in the pool?"

"Then we see if he's got a curse; and if he does we'll see what it is and deal with it then," Ranma replied. "I can kick his ass 'till he sees reason enough."

"Is that how you show your concern for your rival, Ranma-san?" Musubi asked, her fists opening and closing, as if she had a notebook she'd be taking notes down.

"It can be," Ranma nodded as he brought up his right hand to rub his chin and brought his other arm to his waist to support his right elbow. "It depends on the situation an' how much of a dip your rival's bein' at the time. Ya gotta read th' mood y'know."

"Right!" Musubi chirped. "I'll learn how to read the mood better so that I know when it's ok to fight my rival to help my rival!"

"That's th' sprit!" Ranma replied with a matching grin. "I'm so lucky to have such a disciple like you Musubi."

Akane groaned as Musubi again gushed over Ranma and suppressed a gag reflex as he began to loudly soak up the praise. She could practically feel his ego being stroked. "Can you tone that down for a sec? Or do you not want to know if Hibiki-san has a curse like you do Ranma?"

"Right," Ranma muttered as he and Musubi got in line behind Akane. Akane frowned as they neared the pool, wondering exactly what they would find if Ryouga had been cursed. There was a light on inside the pool that allowed her to stare down into the water, so if Ryouga had gone under it wouldn't exactly be hard to spot him, no matter his form.

So she was quite surprised to find nothing but a pair of pants and a yellow tunic floating in the pool. "Ryouga-san?" she blinked.

"Told ya he'd be gone," Ranma muttered.

"Oh shush," Akane replied. "I just wanted to understand why he's so angry with you. Is that so wrong? Maybe he got a curse that gives him endless suffering."

"Well that is the path of a martial artist," Ranma replied, with Musubi nodding behind him in agreement. "But still, I do wanna know if he got cursed."

"Feeling responsible?"

"No... yes... I dunno," Ranma shrugged. "I gotta talk ta him ta find out first."

"And then fight him right?" Musubi asked.

"Well that depends on him remember," Ranma replied. "Anyway, let's get on back. Musubi, you go back to where me an' Ryouga fought. I bet he left his stuff there so take it with ya."

"Why Ranma-san?"

"So we can give it ta him when he shows up again," Ranma answered. "I'll get his clothes. Is th' least I can do."

"Is this more showing your concern for your rival Ranma-san?" Musubi asked.

"Somewhat," Ranma nodded. "That blockhead better appreciate this..."

Akane found it hard to stifle the grin that kept tugging at her face, "You're a good friend Ranma."

Ranma rolled his eyes as he shrugged off his shirt, leaving him in his wife-beater tee shirt. "Whatever."

"Of course I promise not to tell anyone," Akane smiled as she led Musubi out of the pool area, "Honestly, boys can be so sensitive about the silliest things..."

Ranma rolled his eyes again as he dived into the pool, ignoring her curse as it activated. With the trio pre-occupied, no one noticed a dark figure that was no more than a foot long moving underneath Ranma's disregarded shirt. Nor the softly bestial sounds similar to laughter underneath said shirt.

How ominous...


?!

"No..." whispered the young man in shock as he witness the end of the fight before him. The man's shaggy unkempt hair hid a handsome face that was streaked with tears, tears that stained the black leather waist coat, white t-shirt, and blue jeans he was dressed in. In his arms, he tenderly stroked the face of a young woman, her eyes closed.

It wasn't supposed to be this bad. She wasn't supposed to... to lose like this. So easily... so coldly...

She wasn't supposed to leave him like this.

Snarling, he turned to look at the figure that had terminated his sekirei. Dressed in a pink Chinese cotton shirt and matching pants with black slippers. Her long lavender hair flowing freely in the wind as she leaned on her ridiculous looking weapons. Sensing his stare, the purple haired young woman turned and locked eyes with him for a mere instant. Long enough for him to realize he meant slightly less to her than the dust on a plastic plant in a hotel she wasn't staying at.

"Too weak." She muttered. "She truly weak."

"Too weak?" he growled. "Too weak?! What the hell kind of sekirei are ya?"

"Se...ki...rei?" The woman blinked. "What that? That your word for warrior?"

"What?" The man blinked in confusion before The purple haired woman leaned in close to him. "W-w-what now you-?!"

"This one looking for someone," She cut him off. "Warrior girl with red hair, ponytail. Have pet panda. You see?"

"Hah?" The man blinked before he growled at her. "If I did I sure as shit wouldn't tell you ya bitch! Not after what ya did ta my girl!"

"Humph," With narrowed eyes, the mysterious woman rose to her feet again. "She challenge me. Is her fault she lose. Now loser have nerve to act like this. Is pathetic."

"Just go away!" he shouted.

"Fine, this one can do that much." She shrugged as she leapt off the rooftop. Missing the sounds of approaching helicopters as she vanished into the night.

"Shampoo think Japan too, too strange."


End Ch. 3

Author's Notes:

Been a while huh?

Blame real life for taking my muse away for a long time, as well as a promotion at my job that really screwed up my free time schedule. My apologies for basically turning into a lurker, but now I'm hoping to get back into writing shape now that my real life stuff is starting to settle down. That said, I do worry that I might be a bit rusty at this whole writing thing, so I'm hoping you folks here will be kind enough to look over this work and give your thoughts.

I fear that I'm missing some things, but am unsure. So whatever CC you have is appreciated. Thanks in advance. Also, for all five of you who still care, yes Ch. 7 of Veiled Moon is being worked on. Slowly, but surely it's being operated on. A bit's been posted on The Fanfiction Forum if you guys want to check it out.

As always, I appreciate your support,

Ghostface 211