Disclaimer: The characters of Ranma 1/2, of course, belong to Rumiko Takahashi (and lots of others). Sati Li, and any other strays that may appear, belong to me, unless otherwise noted.
A Werewolf in Nerima
By: USA Tiger
Author note: Thanks to my beta Silver-Tiamat from DeviantART.
Kodachi walked toward the Tendo Dojo, dressed in her prettiest black dress with little red roses stitched along the hem, a letter clutched in her delicate hands. Since the night she had spoken with Jasper, Kodachi had thought over a lot of things. Mostly about how Ranma and the pig tailed girl was the same person and how she treated her Ranma-sama when in his female form. She was honestly ashamed that she never figured the curse out and how she acted.
She had also been thinking about Ranma and his new engagement to Nabiki Tendo. Sasuke had reported to her that Ranma and Nabiki seemed to get along very well, a huge turnaround from when the middle Tendo daughter had scammed and used Ranma all the time. What had perked her interest was that Ranma was also taking his other fiancées on dates and Kodachi wanted her chance with Ranma.
Kodachi knew to do that she was going to have to set things right with Ranma. She had a very good idea what Ranma thought of her as that werewolf girl Jasper pointed out that Ranma as well as most of Nerima thought Kodachi was insane. Her plan to act insane to keep herself safe from her father worked a little too well it seemed. So her plan now was to start patching up with her Ranma-sama, by apologizing to the boy. Kodachi had written it all down in a letter, hoping that he would accept her apology.
Soon enough she was standing outside of the gate at the dojo, taking a deep breath before reaching up to ring the bell.
Inside the house, Kasumi looked up from her stirring the curry rice on the stove.
"Jasper-chan, could you please go answer that for me?" She asked the werewolf sitting at the counter. Jasper had arrived that morning, changed back into human so Kasumi could rewrap her ribs. They were mostly healed but still a bit tender so they needed to stay wrapped a bit longer. Jasper had been in the kitchen with Kasumi to keep her away from Taro, the two of them rubbed each other the wrong way so to keep them from fighting they had been separated.
"Yeah sure," Jasper said as she slid off the stool and headed to the front door. "Yeah, welcome to the Tendo Dojo... oh hey it's you," she said as she recognized Kodachi.
"I'm here to see Ranma-sama," Kodachi said.
"He's upstairs somewhere," Jasper said as she moved so Kodachi could come in. "Not sure which room."
"I will find him," Kodachi said. Jasper shrugged her shoulders as she watched Kodachi head through the living room to get to the stairs. At the low table Taro glanced up briefly as Kodachi passed, having no idea who the girl was and didn't care enough to find out.
Kodachi headed up the stairs and glanced at the different doors trying to figure out which one was Ranma's room. She passed Kasumi, Nabiki and Akane's rooms; each door had one of the Tendo sister's names on them and didn't figure Ranma would be in any of those. She glanced into the guest room and frowned slightly.
'Where is he?' Kodachi thought to herself with a frown, all that was in the room was a rumbled bed roll. Heading back toward the stairs, Kodachi paused outside of the room with Nabiki's name on the door. She thought she heard a sleepy voice speaking from inside the room, one that sounded male. Biting her lip, Kodachi opened the door and looked inside.
Tears sprung to her gray eyes, her Ranma-sama was lying in the bed with Nabiki. The teenage boy was spooned up behind Nabiki, his arm wrapped around the older girl's waist. Kodachi's hand clenched around the letter in her hand, it broke her heart to see Ranma look so peaceful laying there with Nabiki. She turned and closed the door, quietly walking down the stairs.
"Hey did you find Ran... what's the matter?" Jasper asked when she saw Kodachi in the hallway. Kodachi looked down at the letter in her hand, a few tears falling from her eyes and landing on the paper in her hand. Shaking her head, she walked up to Jasper and grabbing the other girl's hand, placing the letter in it then quickly left the Tendo house hold.
"Oh my, is she alright?" Kasumi asked as she walked over.
"Doesn't look like it," Jasper said she held up the letter. "Something upset her, she left this behind."
"It has Ranma-san's name on it," Kasumi said. "Well, just give it to him at breakfast."
Ranma and Nabiki walked downstairs roughly half an hour later, Nabiki looking bleary eye as she headed straight for her place at the table.
"Here you are Nabiki," Kasumi said with a smile as she placed her sister's cup of coffee in front of her. "More Sati?"
"No thank you cub, I'm fine," Sati said as she nursed her own mug of coffee.
"What is he still doing here?" Ranma asked, point at Taro who was sitting at one end of the table. He was trading glares with Jasper who was sitting at the other end.
"Ranma, he's a guest," Kasumi said. "Sit down and I'll bring you a plate of breakfast."
"Fine," Ranma said as he sat down.
"I don't have time to hang around here," Taro said with a huff. "When will Happosai return?"
"If we're lucky, he won't return at all," Sati said. "He and I do not get along and he decided to relocate to somewhere else for a while." Taro flushed slightly, he couldn't believe the slip of a girl next to him had been able to defeat him so easily.
"Ok, why is he looking for that Happy guy anyway?" Jasper asked she hadn't had the 'pleasure' of meeting Happosai, luckily for her.
"The old freak is the one who named him Pantyhose," Ranma said with a snicker.
"Ah... ok so why don't you just get a name change then? Pantyhose is something an anime character is named," Jasper asked.
"I can't, only Happosai can change my name," Taro said harshly.
"... Ok I'm confused," Jasper said.
"One of the villages around Jusenkyo has a tradition where the first person to bath a new born baby is allowed to name the child, as such they are the only one who can change the child's name," Sati explained. "Happosai... well he is the type of person who believes 'Pantyhose' is a perfectly fine name."
"That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard," Jasper said dryly. "What if he chooses a worse name than Pantyhose?"
"What could possibility be worse than Pantyhose?" Taro asked.
"Jockstrap?" Jasper asked. Ranma laughed and Nabiki snorted into her coffee. Taro growled and threw down his chop sticks, getting up and leaving the house quickly.
"Well I guess you have a good point," Sati said with her own grin. "Happosai would do something like that in revenge if somehow that boy did defeat his godfather."
"That guy just has all sort of problems," Jasper said with a snort. "Oh, here Kodachi Kuno was here and left this for you," she said as she dug out the letter the other girl left earlier. Ranma's powerful nose caught a whiff of roses, no doubt from either the roses Kodachi spent so much time around or from scented perfume. But he caught another scent as well; it smelt like water and salt. Looking at the note, he saw dried spots on the outside where something wet had landed on it. He started a bit as he realized that they were tears, Kodachi Kuno had been crying and her tears had landed on the note.
"Well, what does it say?" Nabiki asked, scooting over to sit next to Ranma and leaned over to rest her chin on Ranma's shoulder to read over it. Ranma opened the letter, breaking the black wax seal on the back that had an imprint of a rose.
'My dear Ranma-sama,
I have wronged you in such a way that I am ashamed of myself and I feel I must apologize to you. I love you but at the same time I have hated you, all because I was blind to the truth. Growing up as I did and going to an all-girls school did nothing for my confidence in the ways of love nor did I ever dream I would find a man such as you to sweep me off my feet. Because of this, I allowed myself to be blinded to how much you and the pig-tailed girl were alike.
I know now, my Ranma-sama, that you and she are one and the same. You have tried to tell me before, as you have told my foolish brother, but I refused to see. Now my eyes have been opened and I see you. Please accept my apologies and let us begin again. I swear I will love and care for you no matter the form, just give me the chance to prove myself.
All my love,
"Wow... I'm not sure what to say," Nabiki said a bit shocked.
"I'm not either," Ranma said as he sat the letter down. He wasn't sure what to make of it; it could be a trick he figured. "She's crazy; couldn't this be some sorta trick of hers?"
"Oh Kodachi isn't crazy," Jasper said. Ranma and Nabiki looked over at the third teen.
"What do you mean?" Nabiki asked. "Everyone around here knows the Kuno's are nuts."
"Well, I'm not saying she's completely sane, but then again who is?" Jasper said with a shrug. "But she's not as nuts as she acts. I mean, how much do you really know about her?"
Nabiki frowned a bit as she thought it over; she didn't really know all that much about Kodachi now that she thought about it. She knew Kodachi was an accomplished gymnast and gymnastic martial artist and the girl made her own poisons and powders to use on people. Before the competition between St, Hebereke's School for Girls and Furinkan High School, Nabiki had only known Kodachi was Kuno's younger sister and that she had gone to a different school. Nabiki had no contacts in the school itself and what she was able to find out, Kodachi and her team where fierce competitors both in and out of the ring.
She also knew Kodachi was a pretty good cook but had a habit of lacing her food with poisons. Beyond that, there wasn't much she knew about Kodachi other than what she had seen of the younger girl. That she was a bit insane and that she was in love, or at least in lust, with Ranma. She wasn't seen nowhere near as much as her brother Tatewaki as she didn't go the same school. It could be possible that Kodachi wasn't as crazy as she acted, Nabiki wouldn't have known as she had never seen the girl any other way.
Ranma on the other hand was skeptical of the idea. To be honest Kodachi kinda scared him, she was able to knock a person out, or worse, paralyze someone with one of her powders. There was nothing like having your whole body freeze up and you could do nothing to stop what came next, awake the whole time. And of course there was that creepy laugh she did...
"How do you know anyway?" Nabiki asked. Jasper shrugged her shoulders again as she answered.
"I followed her around for a couple of days. I did it to everyone in that house. Takeo was pretty easy; I know some stuff about him anyway. The guy with the sword yall just call Kuno is pretty much like he acts, kinda creepy the way he moons over your girl form and your sister," Jasper looked at both teens in turn as she said that. "Don't know much about the short guy that lives there, he's pretty good at hiding. But I did see a lot of the dad guy and Kodachi. When she's not around here, she acts like a normal teen. At her house she practices her gymnastics or she's playing with those roses of hers unless she's picking on her brother.
"And I've followed her to different little dance schools in the other districts. She spends at least a couple of her afternoons, if not more, teaching little girls how to do gymnastics." Ranma remembered Jasper mentioning something like that before, when they had been at the cabin during the last full moon. He had brushed it off as it being someone else but now a small part of his was wondering if it was true. "I think today is one of the days that she goes in fact, though she was crying when she left so I don't know if she'll still go."
"Hmmm... maybe we should follow her, see this for ourselves," Nabiki said. Her curiosity was now piped and being the type of person that just had to know everything, Nabiki wanted to really find out more about Kodachi. Obviously she was slipping a bit if she couldn't see Kodachi for how she really was. Ranma wasn't as convinced about this idea and turned to Sati at the end of the table.
"What do you think Auntie?" Sati pondered for a moment how to respond as she sipped her coffee. She wanted Ranma to come to his own decision on what to do and not learn to depend on her for every little thing.
"What I know about Miss Kuno is what you told me cub," She said at last. "I can't force you one way or the other on what to do about her but I will give you this little bit of advice. Sometimes not everything is as it seems. You've come across that plenty of times in the last year."
Ranma scratched his cheek as he thought about it; he had thought things were one way only to be another. Ukyo, Konatsu and Tsubasa Kurenai were all perfect examples of this, he had always thought Ukyo was a boy until she had shown up in Nerima and revealed that they were engaged thanks to Genma. Konatsu and Tsubasa on the other hand he thought were girls only to find out both of them were really boys like him. And that was only the tip of the iceberg.
"I guess you're right," He said. "I guess it wouldn't hurt to watch Kodachi for a while, to see what's up," He decided. Part of him now wanted to know if Kodachi really was crazy... plus he want to know what made her cry.
That afternoon, the three teens waited in the shadows a couple of streets over from the Kuno estate. Nabiki had concluded any business she had that day while Ranma had quickly fed and took care of his kittens so they would be free to follow and spy on Kodachi.
"She usually comes this way to the train station," Jasper said lowly as they waited. And sure enough, a few minutes later Kodachi rounded the corner headed their way. Her head was bowed slightly as she walked and they could all see how sad and depressed she was. Ranma could smell the lingering scent of tears, she had been crying recently. The 'Black Rose' never looked up as she passed their hiding spot and never noticed as they followed her to the train station.
Ranma, Nabiki, and Jasper rode in the train car behind the one Kodachi entered. The ride was quite, the two Japanese teens lost in their own thoughts while Jasper gazed out the window. At their stop, they follow Kodachi again to a small dance school near the edge of a small town. Ranma gathered Nabiki up in his arms and jumped to the roof with Jasper, sneaking in through a window so they could watch from a room above.
"Kodachi!" Little girls dressed in colorful dance leotards ran up to Kodachi as she exited the dressing rooms in the back, dressed in her favorite green leotard.
"Hello my little flowers," Kodachi said with a sweet smile. She leaned down and let the little girls hug her, patting a few on the head.
"We were starting to think you wouldn't come this week," one girl said.
"Dachi? Why do you look so sad?" Another girl asked her head tilted to the side. Kodachi smiled sadly and patted the girl on the head.
"It's nothing to worry about my little rose," she said softly. "My heart took a beating today but I shall overcome it in time. Teaching all of you shall help me a great bit." The girls around her giggled and pulled her toward the practice mats.
Ranma and Nabiki couldn't help but be amazed as they watched Kodachi. She acted so differently than how they knew her. The black hair girl took the time to teach each little girl how to use the equipment like the hoops and ribbons and for the slightly older girls, she taught them different routines. And it was normal gymnastics, not the martial arts kind that she was a master of. Kodachi treated all of the girls kindly, like a big sister almost. She showed a great deal of patience, showering each of her students with praise when they got something right.
It was so completely out of character from the way Ranma and Nabiki knew her. After a while both of them turned from watching Kodachi and the girls, sitting back against the wall under the window that looked out over the lower room.
"Wow..." Ranma said in disbelief.
"I told you didn't I?" Jasper said as she sat cross-legged on the floor in front of them.
"You did," Nabiki said. "It was completely out of character for her from how we know her."
"I could never imagine Kodachi doing anything like that, I always thought she was too busy making poisons and terrorizing people," Ranma said.
"Do you regularly spend time around Kodachi like that?" Jasper asked.
"Well... no..." Ranma admitted.
"We don't see Kodachi as much as everyone else since she goes to a different school," Nabiki explained. "But when she does show up it makes an impact."
"So the act she does works pretty well on you guys," Jasper said.
"How did you see through it?" Nabiki asked curious. Jasper gave a short bark-like laugh and leaned back on her hands.
"I'm from New York baby, my city is filled with con men and actors," Jasper said. "And I've traveled all around the world first with my Dad then by myself; I've seen people trying to trick me all the time. So seeing how that Kodachi chick acts differently from what that little packet you gave me on her told me, not that there was much in there, I could tell she's just acting crazy."
"But why does she act like that?" Ranma asked he just didn't get it. If Kodachi wasn't as insane as she made everyone thinks she is why even do it? Jasper shrugged her shoulders.
"I can't tell you that," she said. "I just know that she's acting, not why."
"I'm really curious myself," Nabiki said. She wondered what resources she could use to find out more about Kodachi, this changed everything she knew about the younger girl.
"Why don't yall just ask her?" Jasper asked. Both of the other teens looked at her in surprise. "What? It never occurred to you just to ask?"
"Well... no," Ranma said with a shake of his head. He was used to having to find out on his own, having to pay Nabiki or having to do something for anyone else in exchange.
"Do you really think she would tell us if we asked?" Nabiki asked Jasper. She was used to gathering and selling information, usually through black mail or using her minions to get the information.
"You never know unless you try," Jasper said. "She might tell ya but then again she might not. I have no idea really." Her friends mused this over and turned back to watch Kodachi, both lost in their own thoughts.
Kodachi sighed as she left the little dance school, she was still heart broken by what she saw that morning but teaching her eager little flowers made her feel a little bit better.
'I've already lost him to Tendo Nabiki and I didn't even get a chance to say I'm sorry,' Kodachi thought, looking down at her feet as she walked. She was sure in time she would get over this heart break, it was only her first love after all, but right now all Kodachi wanted to do was curl up on a couch, watch sappy chick flicks and eat a tub of ice cream. Maybe cry a little more while she was at it. She wondered if that Jasper girl had given the letter to Ranma and if Ranma had even bothered to read it. 'I wouldn't blame him if he didn't, I treated him so badly and I know he thinks I am crazy.'
Another sigh escaped Kodachi; she wished her mother, Miyu, was here. She was sure her mother would have been able to comfort her as she went through her first heart break. Kodachi was so lost in her thoughts she nearly ran into the body that stepped out in front of her, calling her name softly.
"Kodachi," She looked up surprised. In front of her stood her Ranma-sama, as well as Nabiki and Jasper.
"Ranma-sa... Ranma," Kodachi stopped herself from calling him by the honorific she had always called him by. "What- What are you doing here?"
"I... um... I got your letter this morning," Ranma said, reaching up to rub the back of his head. "Did you really mean any of that?" Kodachi looked down at her feet, still ashamed by her actions.
"Yes, I meant it," She said softly.
"Kodachi... I want to believe you but you confuse me," Ranma said in a tiny bit of frustration, what he learned and saw today went against everything he knew about the younger Kuno sibling. "Why? Why do you act like you do?" Kodachi flinched slightly, she didn't want to tell, it still hurt her to know how messed up everything in her life currently was, but at the same time she did. Kodachi had no one to sit down with and tell all of her own frustrations and hurts to. Sasuke did try to stop and listen when he could but he had other duties he had to attend to and he was always doing as her brother commanded.
"Do you really want to know?" Kodachi finally asked, lifted her head again. She was iffy about telling her story to Nabiki, the older girl was known for selling information to anyone, but after what she seen that morning Kodachi had a feeling that she and Ranma were a packaged deal. Ranma nodded his head slowly, he did want to know. He wanted to know why Kodachi, if she was sane, acted like she wasn't. "Fine, but not here. I'm not about to air all my secrets out on the street. Follow me." She turned and walked down the street into the town. The three other teens were quick to follow.
"It all has to do with my father," Kodachi said. They were in a nice restaurant that had rooms for private parties and meetings, something Kodachi was easily able to pay for. All four of the teens were sitting around a low table, tea and snacks spread out across the surface for them to enjoy. "I do not know if my father, Kaitou, wooed and tricked my mother, Miyu, into marring him or if it was an arranged marriage but I do know Father married Mother so he would have access to the Kuno fortune."
"So it all has to do with money," Nabiki guessed, Kodachi nodding sadly.
"I remember that Mother had control of our family's fortune when I was little," she said. "Mother was a very kind and beautiful woman. She used to tell Tachi all the stories of our ancestors who were samurais and taught me how to garden. She had a lovely garden of red and pink roses. Father on the other hand spent very little time with us if he could get away with it. I think even then he was out sleeping with other women behind Mother's back. I think she knew of it as well. I assume you know what happen? Roughly ten years ago?" She asked Nabiki.
"Yeah, I remember reading that your mother was murdered," Nabiki said. Ranma sucked in a breath; he had wondered why he never saw or heard of Kuno's mother. "There was a big investigation in it, it was never solved."
"That is correct," Kodachi said, sighing as she stirred her tea slowly. "It happen when I was 5, nearly 6, years of age. Two men broke into our home, knocked out Sasuke and somehow got past our other servants. I remember Mother yelling for us to hide and Tachi pushing me into a closet. He then went off to help Mother but he was too late."
"Kuno saw your mom die?" Ranma asked.
"My brother witnessed the murder, he was never the same afterward," Kodachi said sadly. "Tachi use to be very nice, he never acted the way he does now. But seeing those men kill our Mother changed him. He had always been convinced that if he had been faster and stronger he would have been able to stop those men and save our mother."
"Where was your dad during all this?" Jasper asked. Kodachi scowled angrily as she remembered.
"Father was conveniently away at the time. I cannot prove it but I am sure he was the one who paid those men to kill Mother," the dark hair beauty said. "As you already guessed Tendo, all Father wants is the Kuno fortune. He does not care for us at all; if he could I'm sure he would have had us killed as well. But if that was to happen then control of all the money reverts to my Great Uncle and Father will get none of it.
"As it is, when Brother becomes of age, he is to assume the head of our family."
"I bet your dad wouldn't like that," Jasper said. She had followed Kaitou Kuno around a couple of times; the man had been ruthless and cold from what she had seen.
"No, and Father has done everything he could to make sure Tatewaki is unable to assume control," Kodachi agreed.
"How?" Ranma asked.
"Since Mother's death, Father refused to let Tachi get the therapy that he needed. He wouldn't let either of us go in fact. Then there is also the fact that Father had more or less tortured Tachi, giving him those horrible haircuts among other things," Kodachi said.
"But how does that do anything?" Ranma asked confused. Nabiki snapped her fingers as she thought it over.
"I get it, if Kuno-baby is seen as insane he can be declared incompetent and your dad can petition to control the family assets in his son's place," she said. Kodachi nodded in agreement, she was sure that was what her father was up to.
"Wait, Principal Kuno is pretty insane himself, how would that work?" Ranma asked confused. Kodachi shorted and griped her tea cup tightly.
"Like Me, Father only acts like he is out of his mind," Kodachi said darkly. "He makes it seem like an eccentric but harmless sort of crazy. Father has also greased a fair amount of palms over the years. Once Father is home and out of sight of the school, he reverts to his normal self."
"I've seen that," Jasper said. "He takes off that stupid looking palm tree on his head and goes out for the night in the company of some really racy looking ladies."
"The palm tree on his head comes off?" Ranma said surprised.
"Really Ranma, you didn't think that thing was really growing out of his head did you?" Nabiki asked.
"No, I figured it was fake but I thought it was surgically attached or something," Ranma said in his defense.
"Nah, he's got that thing on with spirit glue or latex," Jasper said then turned to Kodachi. "So we know what happen to your brother, but why do you act like your madder than a hatter?"
"I act as though I am insane to protect myself," Kodachi said. "If Father believes I am already out of my mind, he will leave me be. He luckily does not pay that much attention to me, as long as everyone thinks I am as crazy as the rest of my family I can get away with other things. I am lucky I go to a different school than my brother does, so I will not be under Father's watchful eye all the time like Tachi is."
"So that's why he became our principal?" Nabiki asked. "I wondered, I know Kasumi had a different principal when she started school there then Principal Kuno started the year me and Kuno did. But he didn't stick around long; he headed to Hawaii at the end of last year."
"Father was convinced that Brother-dear was far gone enough that he could finally enjoy himself away from us," Kodachi said. "We were relieved when he left us on our own. But then Tachi started to look into the finances to prepare him to take over when he's of age."
"And he came back, making everyone in the school go through hell," Ranma said, shaking his head. "You're right, he is a bastard. He almost makes Pops look like a saint. Pops might be a greedy bastard but he did go out of the way to teach me during our training trip."
"That doesn't excuse Mr. Saotome what he did to you," Nabiki said coolly.
"No, it doesn't but at least Pops didn't try to drive me insane," Ranma said. "Not even with the Neko-ken training, he was just too stupid to stop and think that it would be a bad idea." Nabiki hummed but didn't comment further.
"So now you know, I act the way I do to protect myself from my Father," Kodachi said, her head bowed and her hands folded in her lap. "Since Mother died I had to do what I could to keep myself safe." Nabiki's heart went out for the younger girl as she heard the sorrowful note in her voice. Nabiki knew what it was like to lose a mother, her own died from cancer when she was little herself, and couldn't help herself on what she did next. She scooted around and wrapped her arms around Kodachi in a hug.
"Hey, it's ok," Nabiki said as Kodachi stiffened at the contact. "My mom died too, she wasn't killed but she did have cancer and passed away when I was a kid."
"My mom is dead too," Jasper said with a sigh. "Mom was from Transylvania and got sick when I was a baby, she didn't get the vaccinations she needed against certain sicknesses after she came to America and died from it." Ranma didn't say anything, he didn't know if his birth mother was dead or alive but his adopted mother Nodoka was alive and well.
Kodachi sat there stunned for just a moment, she had forgotten that the Tendo sister's had lost their mother as well and hadn't know about Jasper's, the file Sasuke had found on the American only mentioned her father. Kodachi turned slightly in Nabiki's embrace and lifted shaking hands to cling to Nabiki's top. Her dark eyes started to fill with tears and once they started fall she couldn't stop from sobbing.
They understood, they believed her, and Kodachi let out the years of pent up sorrow, shame and frustrations, crying for the first time in years since her mother died and her brother lost himself.
After a while Kodachi's sobs died off and she pulled away from Nabiki with a slight blush. Nabiki didn't say anything, grabbing a napkin off the table to hand to Kodachi whose eyeliner had run a bit.
"Thank you," Kodachi said softly as she dabbed at her eyes.
"So what now?" Ranma asked his and Nabiki's world had been rocked. Everything they thought they knew about the Kuno family was a lot more complicated than they thought. "I mean, you gotta act nuts to keep safe from your own Pops but you said you wanted the same chance as the other girls." Kodachi blinked in surprise at Ranma.
"I saw you and Tendo this morning," Kodachi said. "How would I still have any chance after seeing the two of you so... close."
"Ranma-baby and I aren't in love," Nabiki said. "We're more friends with benefits right now. I had Daddy switch the engagement to me because of my baby sister but I told Ranma he could date anyone he wishes until he decides on who he wants to marry."
"I have been curious, why have you taken the betrothal away from that foul-mouth, uncouth sister of yours?" Kodachi asked, she had been wondering about this since Jasper told her that Nabiki was Ranma's fiancée instead of Akane.
"Hey now, pull back on the insults a little bit, I do have to protect my sister's rep just a little," Nabiki said. "But to answer your question, Akane will be even more angry with Ranma when she finds out... well something is different about him," she tried to explain without giving away Ranma's furry secret.
"Like that he'll become lupine and furry at least once a month?" Kodachi hinted as she picked up her tea. She wrinkled her nose slightly as she discovered that it was cold.
"Wha... how did you find out about that!?" Ranma asked in shock.
"Sasuke is a much better ninja than people give him credit," Kodachi said. "He heavily tones down his abilities so Father will not fire him."
"Why would he do that?" Nabiki asked.
"Mother and Sasuke were friends growing up and Sasuke's family has always been loyal to the Kuno's," Kodachi explained. "Uncle Sasuke plays the fool otherwise Father would fire him and we would lose our only real ally within our home. If not for him, I may have truly fallen into insanity. He uncovered that you were a werewolf after that woman Sati and Jasper appeared, he overheard your conversation with her."
"He got his information wrong," Ranma said with a sigh. "But I can't blame him for that, Auntie didn't know at the time either."
"Know what?" Kodachi asked. Ranma sighed again and went for broke, transforming on the spot into his hybrid from. "Oh my! How is that even possible?"
"Lycanthropes, or were-whatevers, can crossbreed with any other race out there," Jasper explained. "Humans are the most common choice if they don't take a mate from their own race. And sometimes weres will mate with someone who's a different type of animal. Something about our genes allows us to have hybrid children when it's not even possible with normal animals."
"I see..." Kodachi said. "Your father, what little I've seen of him, does not strike me as either a werewolf or weretiger."
"Well that's cause he's not," Ranma said. "I'm adopted, both of my real parents were werewolves and tigers but I don't know anything else about them. Mom and Pops raised me from a baby."
"I see," Kodachi said again. She took a good long look at Ranma, she thought he was very handsome like this as she had always secretly harbored a fetish for liking furries, and wanted to run her fingers through that thick fur.
"A-hem," Nabiki faked cough, smirking as Kodachi flushed and quickly adverted her eyes. "Well I don't see why couldn't go on at least one date to see if you two click."
"Huh?" Ranma asked.
"You've been taking all of us on dates outside of Nerima to hide it from Daddy and Mister Saotome," Nabiki explained. "So do the same for Kodachi, no one knows who she is outside of home right?"
"No, while the Kuno family name is well known, our family reputation is not known outside of Nerima," Kodachi confirmed. "It is how I've been able to volunteer at the dance schools, no one knows who I am or that I am supposedly insane."
"See!" Nabiki said.
"How does your dad keep everyone from knowing what goes on?" Jasper asked. "Rumors do get around."
"Money talks," Kodachi said. "Father has paid a lot of money to keep those 'rumors' just that, rumors. I just take advantage of that. As long as I don't draw too much attention to myself, Father doesn't know or care about what I do."
"See, problem solved," Nabiki said with a smirk. Ranma sighed and rubbed the bridge of his muzzle, he now had four girls he had to try to date and get to know. Still... it was better than all of them fighting all the time and getting him in the middle of it.
Akane sighed as she pushed to the side the book she had been reading. As soon as Akane had woken up, she had headed straight out to the library. She wanted to research werewolves more so she could figure out how to get rid of Sati and Jasper and was trying to figure out what spell or potion Shampoo used on Nabiki to make her sister act so weird.
All the books on werewolves couldn't agree on information on werewolves except that silver bullets could kill them. She didn't think she could afford bullets made out of silver and she didn't even know how to shoot a gun anyway. On the subject of magic, there were surprisingly a lot of books. With a huff Akane pulled another book out, if she could get Nabiki back to normal maybe her big sister could help her get rid of the two monsters.
The bluenette perked up slightly, in the book she found a potion that could get rid of any spells cast on a person.
'Hmmm, this shouldn't be too hard to make,' Akane thought with a smile. 'After all, how hard can it be to make a potion? It's just like cooking after all.' She also found a potion that could make a person stronger, not unlike those Super Soba noodles she ate one time that really made her strong. Once she fixed Nabiki, she would use this other potion so she could knock the stuffing out of Ranma and all those boys at school.
"Yeah, I can do this," Akane said to herself softly as she put the book to the side. The rest of the books was useless she decided, maybe she should try a bookstore instead. She placed them on a cart for the librarian to return to the shelves.
"Fun reading dear?" The head librarian said with a smile as she checked the potion book out. She didn't really believe that Akane could make a real potion; after all it was just all fantasy.
"Yeah... err just looking stuff up for a play," Akane said with a nervous laugh, rubbing the back of her head. The librarian gave her another smile as she handed the book over to Akane.
"Well good luck on your play then dear," She said.
"Yeah, thanks," Akane said as she tucked the book into her bag. She wondered where she could find all the things to make the potions with.
"Hey there guys," Ranma whispered as he sat down next to the box where his kittens were kept. He smiled as they mewled excitedly as they saw their caretaker. Sati was right, once he pushed down his fear and got use to the little guys, Ranma had no problems with picking up and cuddling the little kittens as they grew into cats.
He was quite proud to say that he could now look at and be around cats without flinching in fear as long as they didn't jump out at him. He was never so glad to be rid of his fear of cats. It was crippling and frankly really embarrassing to cower whenever he had seen even a hint of a cat.
"You won't believe the day I've hand," Ranma said as he picked up the kitten that had become his favorite out of the bunch, the little calico, and cuddled her against his chest. He told her and her two siblings what he learned about Kodachi earlier that day and what he felt about the dark hair girl. Ranma had felt really silly the first time he spoke to the kittens but soon found that it made him feel a lot better. He got whatever was on his chest off and the kittens didn't judge him.
"I don't know what to think," Ranma said as he rubbed the kitten behind her ears. The calico wrapped a little paw around Ranma's fingers and started to gnaw on his fingertips. "Stop that," Ranma laughed as he wiggled his fingers. "I feel bad for her; even Pops was never that bad. Yeah he's greedy and used me, but he never tried to drive me insane like Kuno's pop did. But at the same time it's hard to get around how Kodachi always treated me... man her act was really good."
"mew mew," The gray and tux kittens tried to climbed out of their box making Ranma smile as he picked them up and placed him in his lap, wincing a little as claws dug into his leg then smiling as he didn't panic at the pain.
"I did sorta promise I would try to give Kodachi the same chance as the rest of the girls," Ranma said as he placed the calico with her litter mates.
"Meeewww," The kitten said.
"Ok yeah, Nabiki promised for me," Ranma said with a small laugh. "Heh, with you guys help I'll be able to learn the real Neko-ken in no time, then I'll really be the best."
The kittens mewled as if they were agreeing with him.
"Nee-chan, I'm going to... ummm... cook something up right quick," Akane said as she leaned out of the kitchen door.
"Oh... do you need any help?" Kasumi said as she stopped by the door with a laundry basket full of damp clothing in her arms.
"Ahhhh, no no that's ok Kasumi," Akane said with a nervous laugh. She did not want Kasumi to know she was trying to make a potion not lunch.
"Alright, just don't make a big mess," Kasumi said.
"I won't," Akane said with a smile then ducked back into the kitchen. Kasumi sighed and shook her head.
'Guess I'll have to clean my kitchen again before I start dinner,' Kasumi thought to herself as she headed out into the yard to hang up the laundry. 'I do hope this one doesn't come to life like her last attempt did.'
Akane breathed a sigh of relief as she heard Kasumi walk away. She knew her sister would not approve of what she was about to do but Akane was so sure that this was going to cure Nabiki of whatever spell or potion Shampoo used on her. Then Kasumi would be happy she made this potion.
"ok, let's do this," Akane said as she clapped her hands in front of her and looked at the ingredients on the countertop that she gathered. For the most part she had been able to find everything in the book though there had been a couple of things she hadn't been sure on but Akane was confident that she had figured it out.
Akane turned on the stove and took one of Kasumi's pots, glancing only once or twice at the book as she tossed in the ingredients into the pot without properly measuring them. Akane imagined what would happen to Shampoo once Nabiki was back to normal. Her sister wouldn't let anyone get away with controlling her, it just wasn't in Nabiki's nature, and Akane knew the older girl would get her revenge.
A gleeful smile lit up Akane's face as she stirred the potion she was making, tossing in a handful of mustard seeds. Akane's attention was quickly drawn back to her potion as it made a rumbling, violent noise.
"Oh that doesn't sound good," Akane said stepped back in alarm as the potion rolled in the pot and started to bubble over. She was quite sure that the potion she was making wasn't supposed to do that.
"Akane? What are you doing at my house?" A voice said from behind Akane. She quickly turned to see Ryoga standing in the doorway of the kitchen with a confused look on his face. Ryoga was quite sure he was just in the living room of his house with his dogs and wondered when Akane came over. At the same time the pot seem to expand then spew forth a geyser of mis-made potion, splashing the whole kitchen and covering the two teens completely.
"Oh my!" Kasumi said as she dropped the shirt she was hanging up on the line as something exploded in the house.
"Kasumi, what was that?!" Soun said as he ran out of the dojo where he had been meditating.
"I think it might have been Akane, she was trying to make something for lunch," Kasumi as she hurried toward the door with her father right on her heels.
"What the hell?" Nabiki said as she ran down the stairs from her room while Sati exited from under the stairs.
"It came from the kitchen," Sati said.
"Akane is in there," Kasumi said.
"She was cooking again?" Nabiki said with a groan, that explosion meant Akane made quite a bit of damage this time and she would have to shell out money to repair the kitchen.
"Whatever she's cooking it smells disgusting," Sati said as her nose wrinkled. Kasumi ignored them and headed toward the door to check on her youngest sister.
"Kami-sama!" They heard her said in alarm.
"Kasumi!" Soun said as he ran after his eldest child. Sati and Nabiki looked at each other then followed the man.
"Well... this is new," Nabiki said.
"What happen to my baby girl!?" Soun cried as he fell to his knees. Kasumi carefully navigated through the kitchen, careful not step in any of the left over goop on the floor, over to Akane. She gently turned Akane over so they could see the girl.
"She kinda looks like a cave man... or cave women in her case," Nabiki said. "What the hell was she doing in here?"
A groan caught their attention on the other side of the kitchen.
"Akane wasn't the only one caught in this stuff," Sati said as she stepped into the kitchen and over to the crumpled figure by the wall. It was easy to tell who it was with the yellow top and black hair as Sati knelt down next to Ryoga. "Ryoga, are you alright?"
"What happen?" Ryoga said as he sat up, reaching up to press a hand to his head. The room seemed too bright, too noisy and his nose was working in overtime causing his head to ache. Sati gasped and leaned back in surprise. "What?"
"Ryoga... I don't know how but... I think your demon blood has been drawn to the front," Sati said. Nabiki walked over to look, blinking in surprise. Ryoga's ears were now pointed, his nails looked to be thicker and sharper than before and coming from his backside appeared to be a bushy wolf tail.
"Wait, Akane looked like she could fit in with the Flintstones and you turn into a demon?" Nabiki said. "What the hell is going on?"
"I don't know, but we need to get these cubs out of this room and somebody needs to contact Cologne," Sati said. "Don't touch them if you can help it; use a towel to move Akane and Kasumi go wash your hands now." Kasumi hurried from the kitchen to go wash her hands in the bathroom while Soun grabbed a blanket off the couch and wrapped his daughter in it gently. He lifted her up and carried her into the living room. Nabiki meanwhile rushed out into the hallway to call the Nekohanten.
"Come on cub," Sati said, careful not to touch Ryoga until they were sure what they were dealing with but did guide him out of the kitchen into the living room.
"I'm back!" Ranma's voice called a few minutes later as he entered the Tendo home. He blinked as he walked into the living room, seeing his ex-fiancée Akane knocked out on the floor looking a bit strange and his pack brother Ryoga was sitting at the table sporting a new tail. "What the hell is going on?"
Author note: Ok, just a quick notice, this will be the last chapter for a short while. I'm going on a short hiatus but don't worry it won't be as long as the years old writer's block I had. I am going back over the previous chapters of this and my other stories to give them a tune up. As soon as I'm done, I'll be back to writing.
Edit 5-9-14: And with this, AWIN's editing is complete. Nothing much has changed in any of the chapters and I think I caught all the mistakes to be found. As you can see, I've also changed over to another format in writing. Thank you everyone for putting up with me as I fix all these chapters and for waiting a little longer as I work on the next story. I hope to be done with this hopefully soon and I'll be back to writing like normal again.