Subject: [PMFFML] [FFML-R] [DRAFT]Martial Artists and Mayhem: Third Edition [9] It Looks Cute On You
From: Thryth
Date: 2/12/2001, 3:33 AM
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It Looks Cute On You   [DRAFT, C&C appreciated]

       "I'm heading for home, Ranma," Nabiki said,
standing up and stretching.  "Are you coming?"
       "I'll get there," Ranma muttered.  Nabiki
shrugged and strode away.  As soon as Ranma was
certain she was gone, all trace of her on all his
senses, he glanced down into the water again and
traced the crisscrossed cuts on her cheek.  "JERK!!"
Ranma yelled tossing a rock into the water.  She
splashed the water into her face and cleaned the cuts
before standing up.

*******

       Nabiki glided into the Tendo estate almost
unseen, plopping back on the loung seat in front of
the fire place.  In another few minutes or so she
would go to her room and cast a simple spell to catch
the local theatre performance.  It was so much more
comfortable to "attend" in that manner, cheaper also. 
But she had some time to kill before that.
       "Where'd you vanish to?" Akane asked as she
leaned over the couch.  Nabiki glanced up at Akane and
smirked.
       "Nice hair cut, sis," she said with a smile. 
"Just which side of Ranma are you trying for?"
       "W..what do you mean by THAT?!" Akane demanded.
       "Let's see, haircut just boyish enough without
actually making you look like a boy," Nabiki noted
humming.  Akane sputtered angrily and impotently.
       "I'm not trying to attract his girl side,"
Akane snapped finally.
       "Well, I'm certain a practical girl appeals to
someone like Ranma," Nabiki continued.  "And that
looks so much easier to take care of than you're
previous style."  Akane sputtered some more.
       "Nabiki," Kasumi chided as she walked in on the
scene.  "Try not to tease your sister."
       "Okay, Kasumi," Nabiki gave a long suffering
sigh and shook her head.
       "Hey Kasumi, do you need help with dinner?"
Akane asked hopefully.  Nabiki winced and Kasumi
turned to look at her, smiling.
       "No, thank you," Kasumi said.  "I am almost
finished anyway."
       "If you say so," Akane said reluctantly.  She
glanced at the door Nabiki had entered and growled. 
"Where is that idiot?"
       "He's over at the river," Nabiki said.  "Was a
little upset too."
       "What, he's worried about those cuts?" Akane
said in disbelief.  "I can't believe that jerk.  As if
a couple small scars would make him any less handsome
or beautiful or whatever."
       "Actually, I'd say he was a little more upset
about some things that were said to him," Nabiki said,
yawning.  "Almost time for my show.  I'll be in my
room if you need me."  The Metallium stood up and
stretched walking towards the living quarters.
       "Wait a minute," Akane snapped.  "What things
that were said?"  She paused a moment and thought
about their conversations the past day.  She sweated a
little when she realized that while Ranma had
apologized, she hadn't.  ~Great
, now I have to apologize to him again.~

*******

       Ranma glanced around from under the hood she
had "acquired" from somewhere.  The red-head moved
cautiously and warily, in an exaggerated manner.  She
was virtually screaming innocent little waif with her
attitude.  She skittered, apparently nervously, up to
one of the tables in a dark corner, sat down and let
her senses free.
       The situation became uncomfortably nostalgic of
the days before certain scars had finally been healed.
 It seemed like every guy was skipping her table and
hanging about some sorceress, another red-head, closer
to the center of the tavern.  To make matters worse
she was a somewhat scrawny looking girl.  
       Ranma wondered if the patrons could see her
cuts through the cloak and the shadows she was hiding
in.  She didn't stop to consider that it was the fact
that she was skulking that was causing people to avoid
her.
       ~The shy one in the corner,~ Ranma's ears
perked as the thought came to her over the crowd of
others.  Listening to a conversation as a series of
surface thoughts always made her feel funny, but it
was a useful ability anyway.  ~When she leaves let's
snag her.~
       ~That little ragamuffin?~ another voice added. 
Ranma bridled at the uncomplimentary reference, but
otherwise she smirked.  The evening wasn't going to be
a total loss.  With one exaggerated sigh she glanced
at the sorceress's table once and worked her way out
of the tavern.  Walking down the darkening street, she
smirked as a pair of footsteps sounded behind her. 
Perhaps she could be done with this in time to make it
back to the Tendo compound for Kasumi's dinner.
       As Ranma was passing an alley the footsteps
behind her grew suddenly loud.  She whirled around
feigning surprise as two men nearly tackled her and
carried her into the alleyway.  They slammed her into
the wall and one of them brought a sap down over her
head.  Internally, Ranma smirked as she faked
unconsciousness.
       "Ah she's marked up!" one of them whined. 
Ranma almost growled.  "That'll reduce the price."
       "We can get a cleric to heal those," the other
said.  "They'll barely be noticeable, and everything
else seems to be in working order."
       "Think we should try her out first?" the first
one asked in a leering tone.  Ranma released an
invisible weave of suggestion and started to drop her
human disguise as one of them men started to grab at
her shirt.  Then there was a flash of heat and a pair
of screams.
       "That'll teach you to show a lady some
respect!" a voice snapped.  Ranma snapped to her feet
and took in the scene, noting the sorceress from
earlier.  The woman looked at Ranma and the wings
growing from her back and blinked.  "What the...a
demon!"
       "You had plenty of guys hanging on in that
tavern!" Ranma snapped.  "You think you could at least
spare a couple of morsels for me!"  The sorceress
blinked and then scowled back.
       "Hey, I thought I was saving some poor girl
from slavery and rape," she snapped.  "How was I to
know you were playing with them?"
       "Do you know how hard it is to get a meal when
I look like this?" Ranma snapped, pulling her hood up
over her face again.
       "It looked like you were hiding in the corner
to me," the sorceress retorted.  "Besides, you can
always just eat a lot more to make up for it."
       "Wait a minute," Ranma snapped.  "How would you
know that?"
       "Stupid bit..." a grumbling voice said, cut off
by a kick from Ranma.
       "Shut up!" Ranma snapped.  "This isn't your
business."
       "I don't have time for this," the sorceress
snapped.  "Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go
collect whatever bounty there is on these pukes. 
Sorry if I ruined your dinner, but you should know
better than to operate without some sign to other
hunters."
       "Whatever," Ranma growled, the wings formed
into her back.  Then she shifted into her male form,
tired of being humiliated for the day.
       "You, you you're a GUY!!" the other bandit
started.  Ranma kicked him as the sorceress cast a
spell that caused the ground beneath to erupt.
       "SHUT UP!!" They yelled in unison.
       "Oh, Ranma, your aunt is planning on paying a
visit," the sorceress said as she started to collect
the unconscious thugs.  Ranma turned around to look at
her curiously as the sorceress winced and turned
around waving her hands.  "Wait! Wait!  I didn't just
say that!"  Ranma took a closer look at the sorceress
and blinked. 
       "Inverse!" he snapped.
       "Errr....no," the revealed goddess said,
scratching her head.
       "What are you doing hunting bounties and
stealing food out of my mouth down here on the
prime!?" Ranma demanded.
       "Hey, I'm not Lina Inverse," she said
stubbornly.  "I'm just a random bandit killer that
goes insane from time to time."
       "Whatever," Ranma said.  "Not my business, I'm
going home now.  So you can have all the fun you want
without me in your way."
       "When I get better I'm gonna..."  Ranma and
Lina collectively rolled their eyes and turned to face
the muttering criminal.
       "SHUT UP!!"

*******

       "Why are you following me!?"
       "Noting better to do," some woman's voice said.
 "I'm on vacation after all."
       "Ahh, sounds like Ranma's made it in time for
dinner," Nabiki said dryly.
       "Oh, it seems we have company," Kasumi said. 
"I suppose I have to make more food."  Akane strode to
the gates and glared as Ranma came in followed by a
beautiful woman, she seethed.
       "RANMA!!" she growled.  Ranma whirled to face
her.
       "What!?" he asked.  "Want to dump me in another
river?"
       "Here I am feeling guilty and YOU'RE out
picking up tramps!" Akane snapped.
       "Excuse me," the woman crossed her arms. 
"Ranma did not 'pick me up' and I am not a 'tramp.'" 
Akane and Ranma ignored her.
       "She FOLLOWED me!" Ranma snapped.  "After she
ruined my meal."
       "So you went out to eat with her?!" Akane
growled.  "And NOW you come running her for Kasumi's
food."
       "What do you care!" Ranma snapped.  "Its not
like you actually like me or anything!"
       The woman scratched her head in annoyance and
walked past the arguing pair.
       "Are they always like this?" she asked Nabiki.
       "Mostly yes," Nabiki said.  "But this is worse
than normal."
       "That girl needs to learn to recognize
competition," the woman said shaking her head.
       "Yes she does," Nabiki agreed, thinking of
Ryouga.  "Now, who are you?"
       "Ummmm....I'm just a random bandit killer
enjoying a little vacation," she said.
       "Lina Inverse?" Nabiki asked after a moment.
       "How did you..." she stopped herself.  
       "That..." Nabiki said, waggling a finger.  "Is
a secret."  Lina growled at her quietly
       "I hate that phrase, and no," she insisted. 
"I'm not the beautiful, intelligent, unbeatable and
brilliant Goddess of Magic and Fire."
       "You do realize that this is the tenth time
you've been to Nerima in my lifetime," Nabiki added.
       "I don't know what you're talking about...I'm
just here out of...." she stopped.  "Is that a
VERDANDI's cooking I smell?"  Nabiki regarded the line
of drool descending from the goddesses mouth with a
little trepidation.  "Hey Red!  I think dinner's
ready!"  The goddess vanished into the house, an
anxious Nabiki following her.
       "Who invited you!?" Ranma snapped as she and
Akane reluctantly cut off their argument to head for
dinner.  Ranma stopped and realized just who was
heading for dinner.  "Damn it!  Hurry up or she'll eat
it all!"
       "What, is she a relative of yours?" Akane
asked, hurrying along with Ranma.
       "Not this one, no, she does know my..." Ranma's
answer cut short as they entered the feast hall and
stopped, stunned, next to Nabiki and a rapt Lina. 
Soun and Genma came up behind the "younger" set and
gazed in equal awe at the sheer amount of food that
Kasumi had prepared.  They hadn't even thought the
larders had that much food.
       "Well, I think everything is ready," Kasumi
said sweetly.  "Shall we all get started?"  Everybody
nodded mutely, whether their voice was stolen by shock
or rapture.

*******

       "Mmmmm," Lina sighed, rubbing her stomach. 
Everybody was staring at her in shock, aside from
Kasumi who smiling sweetly as she finished her food. 
Lina had eaten fully twice as much as Ranma and Genma
put together, and those two had eaten nearly four
times as much as everybody else put together.  "That
was good, thank's Kasumi-san.  Now, I'd better be
going, I can't stay on vacation too long you know. 
And....I did say you're aunt is going to be visiting,
right Ranma?"
       "Yes," Ranma said, wincing.  How in the world
was he going to hide himself if Celestials and dieties
kept popping out of nowhere to visit him.
       "Okay, good," she stood up and sauntered
towards the exit.  "Well I was curious about this
place, maybe I'll come back for another visit later." 
She stopped and turned back towards the stunned
family.  "Oh yeah, your uncle is passing out some
interesting illusions of you in a red dress..."
       "Oh no," Ranma said staring a suddenly innocent
seeming Nabiki.  "Did Mom see that?"
       "I don't know, but you're aunt got a laugh out
of it," she said.  Ranma paled considerably.  "Well
see later maybe!"  Then she was gone out the door and
away from the compound.
       "Your family has interesting friends," Kasumi
said politely.  Ranma coughed in embarrassment.

*******

       "Ranma," Akane started as she found him
practicing forms in the training hall later that
night.
       "Look she invited herself," Ranma said.  "She's
like that."
       "What?" Akane blinked.  "Look I don't care
about that freeloader you dragged home with you."
       "I already apologized to you about the hair
didn't I?" Ranma asked irritably.
       "I'm here to apologize to you, IDIOT!!" Akane
yelled in frustration.
       "Ehh, oh," he smiled then  "Than..."
       "I mean a curse doesn't make you a freak," she
said.  "If you'd been born that way it would have been
different, but I shouldn't have called you a freak for
some stupid spell you have on you."  Akane didn't
notice Ranma wincing as she continued, but when she
finished she did notice that he seemed a lot more
depressed.  "Hey, are you okay?"
       "Yeah," Ranma said quietly.  "I'm just fine. 
So I'm not a freak because its just a curse."
       "Right," Akane said nervously.
       "Well, thanks for the apology," Ranma said
morosely, he turned away from her and walked out of
the training hall.  
       "What's with him?" Akane asked in confusion,
she shrugged and looked about the empty training hall.
 "Well, I might as well practice if he's not."

*******

       Kasumi stared up at the night sky in relief. 
It had been a long day, but now it was over.  Perhaps
tomorrow would be better.  She was about to turn back
into the building when the sound of a soft crying
reached her ears.  She followed the sound until she
found Ranma-chan curled up in the bushes about the
cultivated landscape.  Ranma looked up as the bushes
russled with Kasumi's passage.
       "Hey Kasumi," Ranma said, drying her eyes and
trying to pretend like she hadn't been crying.  "Its
not what it looks like."
       "Ranma," Kasumi shook her head exasperatedly. 
"Could you follow me for a moment."  She looked around
and found a fair-sized rock that could fit them both. 
She strode over and sat down patting the rock next to
her.  "Now come over and sit down for a moment."
       "Why?" Ranma asked cautiously.  Kasumi smiled
and patted the rock again.  Ranma narrowed her eyes
and warily complied.
       "No need to be afraid of me," Kasumi said as
Ranma settled down next to her.
       "I ain't afraid," Ranma said defiantly, almost
standing up again before Kasumi wrapped an arm around
her shoulder and gently directed her to sit back down.
       "Now first things first," Kasumi said.  "I do
know what you are, Ranma."  Ranma tensed again.  "You
gave yourself away casting that spell the first day." 
Ranma stared at her in surprise.  "You didn't think I
used so much magic making that meal merely on a whim,
did you?"
       "Then why didn't..." Ranma started to ask.
       "Well," Kasumi said.  "It isn't very often that
a fiend uses magic to fix something someone else did."
       "You know, Nabiki knows," Ranma sighed.  "Kuno
knows, sort of, who DOESN'T know about me?"
       "Quite a few people, Ranma," Kasumi said.  "And
I shall have to talk to Nabiki, unless you don't mind
her selling images of you to Sir Kuno."
       "I made a deal," Ranma said firmly.  Kasumi
sighed but left the matter alone.
       "And why are you crying out here by yourself,"
Kasumi asked softly.  Ranma muttered a something under
her breath.  "I did not understand that Ranma."
       "You couldn't possibly understand," Ranma said.
 "You're normal.  YOU fit in.  I'm just a half-breed
freak."
       "Try to tell me anyway," Kasumi said sweetly
hugging Ranma.  The red-head stared at her for a
moment, it had been years since he had last seen his
mother and been held like this.
       "Nobody wants me," Ranma said quietly.
       "That's not true," Kasumi said.  "You have
family."  Ranma laughed bitterly.
       "Pop wants me to be the best fighter ever," she
said.  "Never mind the price."  She touched the
crisscrossed cuts on her face.  Some of the fingers
seemed to trace lines that Kasumi couldn't see, and
she wondered if perhaps Ranma always had such
uncommonly clean skin.  "Mom can't hang around cause
we'd be fighting demons everyday.  Auntie and my uncle
can't be down here all the time either."
       "That doesn't mean they doesn't want you,"
Kasumi said comfortingly.
       "Akane hates me, Ryouga hates me," Ranma said,
ignoring that.  "And they were nice, before they found
out about me.  Akane still doesn't know about me.  She
thinks I'm a freak..." The red-head continued before
Kasumi could say anything, starting to sniffle again. 
"When she learns...she's going to want to kill me too,
just like Ryouga...I'll have to fight her
too...and...and....I'm going to scar, like last
time...and he won't heal it this time...just cut me
more...even if I win...I'll...I'll be
ugly...a..gn.....like aftr the c.c..cats...and
LITTLE-GIRL LINA looks better than me...stupid things
keep happnin...I..I ain't...right...I...don't
belong..anywhere!!  Except..there."
       Kasumi held the now sobbing girl tightly and
rocked her gently.  She sang a soft soothing song,
covering one hand over Ranma's small injury a brief
white light suffusing and closing the cuts.  She
glanced at the cheek and noted that it would leave a
faint scar, like all but the most powerful magical
healings did, but it was only a small scar.  Ranma
didn't even notice the spell as she continued crying
into Kasumi's shoulder.  As the red-head started to
calm down Kasumi started to speak again.
       "Now you listen to me," Kasumi said
comfortingly, but firmly.  "You do belong here,  
understand?"
       "I ain't natural," Ranma muttered.
       "All things are natural, little sister," Kasumi
said, Ranma looked up at her in surprise.  "Some
things are beneficient to us, and some are not, but
they are all natural.  They all have a purpose.  Even
and especially the unique."
       "Little sister?" Ranma repeated.
       "Or little brother," Kasumi said.  "Whichever
you prefer.  I said you had family, Ranma.  Now, it is
getting late, and I think you should get some rest
after today."
       "Yeah, sleep helps when I can't hunt," Ranma
said quietly as Kasumi stood up.  "Umm...Kasumi?"
       "I shall not tell anybody about this, Ranma,"
she said.  "Oh, and Ranma."  The red-head glanced at
Kasumi as she too reached her feet.  "Don't compare
yourself to goddesses, it is not a healthy thing to
do."
       "Yeah, Lina can get a little vindictive," Ranma
muttered.
       "One other thing," Kasumi said.  "Who's your
aunt?"
       "Umm..." Ranma sweated a little nervously. 
"Ryoko."
       "Oh my," Kasumi said.
       "Eh heh," Ranma scratched the back of his head
nervously.  "Definitely don't tell Akane."

*******

       "Damn it," Ranma snapped the next morning.  He
was looking in the small mirror the Tendo's kept in
with the hot water springs.  "I knew it would scar." 
He noticed a motion in the background of the mirror
just before someone spoke.
       "You're worried about that little thing?" Akane
asked.  She walked forward and grabbed his chin to
turn him to face her.
       "What are you doing?" Ranma asked irritably.
       "Oh please," Akane snapped.  "You can barely
tell its there unless you're in fighting range."
       "What does a berserk like you know anyway?"
Ranma demanded turning away from her and looking
through some of the powders on the stone counter.
       "Hey, if its any consolation," Akane said.  "I
think it looks cute on you."  Ranma stopped and turned
to face her confused.
       "You think this is cute?" he asked pointing at
the faded white "x" on his cheek.
       "Yeah," Akane said nervously.  "You don't look
so much like a fake any more."
       "I actually look BETTER with it?" he asked
again.  "Even as a girl?"
       "What!?  Why the hell would you care about
that?"  Akane asked, she sighed irritably.  She had
woken up still feeling guilty for some reason, she
didn't know why, but she still felt like she owed
Ranma a little consideration for some reason.  "You're
a handsome guy, and a beautiful girl.  No little scar
is going to change that."
       "Really?" Ranma asked again watching her
intently.
       "Yes, really," Akane said tightly.  "Are you
happy now?"
       "A little I guess," Ranma said.
       "Good, now can you get out of here so I can
have a bath?" Akane demanded.
       "Uh sure," Ranma said before skipping out of
the carved out cavern.  Akane watched him go.
       "Sometimes he's a macho jerk," Akane said in
confusion.  "And sometimes he's more effeminate than I
am.  Weird."

=====
"Caffeinated Kender?  What's that, a berserk spell?" - 
Tribble, Kender Warrior of the Celestial Kingdom
"God has to have a sense of humor, it's the only explanation for sex." - my father
"I have to write a how-to paper for class, so I'm writing a paper on how to be psuedo-evil." - my brother

http://members.aol.com/thrythlind/snake.html

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