Subject: [FFML] [fanfic][r.5] Family Honor Ch.3: Things to Do in Nerima When You're Dead
From: Zorknot
Date: 2/7/2004, 4:26 AM
To: ffml

 
 

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Family Honor
Ch3: Things to Do in Nerima When You're Dead

You can find previous chapters at
http://www.geocities.com/zorukonotsu/familyhonor.htm
(preferred) 
or at fanfiction.net 
http://www.fanfiction.net/read.php?storyid=1322874

DISCLAIMER: 
Ranma and so on
They are not my characters
They are Rumiko's

PREVIOUSLY: Ranma and Genma have arrived at the Tendo's. 
Ranma has an invisible dog that's an out growth of his superego 
named Family Honor. Kasumi is an eight-armed human-sized pink 
and purple polka-dotted sasquatch. An enchanted ring has made all 
the animals around the koi pond intelligent. Nabiki has recruited a 
communist squirrel for her cause, enticing it with potato chips. 
Finally Soun's wife is not really dead. She's just been faking it the 
last ten years. 

~~~~~[BEGIN]~~~~~

Shampoo perched atop the middle of the giant 'w' of the Whammy 
Burger, her long, violet hair billowing in the wind. From this 
vantage she could observe a good portion of Nerima's business 
district, but there was no panda or pigtail to be seen. 

Shampoo gritted her teeth. She was a proud warrior, and an 
excellent tracker. She had the culmination of three thousand years 
of Amazonian teachings in her brain, and she could kill with barely 
a movement if it weren't for her pesky morality getting in the way.  
Still, the fact remained that at the moment the only lead she had to 
go on was that Ranma and his father would be staying at a place 
called the Tendo Dojo, and Shampoo had no idea where that was. 
There was simply no avoiding it...

She would have to ask somebody for directions.

She stayed for a moment, taking in the bustle and hustle of this city, 
so different from her village. She liked watching the people go to 
and fro, thinking their private thoughts without realizing they were 
being watched. From this angle, the Japanese people seemed 
almost normal and not the backwards, lecherous, condescending 
bastards they really were.

Ranma was different of course. Ranma had been her friend for 
several months back in her village. Shampoo had always been 
something of a loner, but she showed Ranma all of the secret caves 
in the mountains that she went to, the waterfall, the place in the 
green valley where you can see the sun rise between two peaks 
only twice in a year. At first, she had been quiet, but something 
about Ranma...it just made her want to talk. It wasn't until the 
elders agreed to annul the kiss of death and Ranma left with his 
father that she had realized she loved him. 

And so Shampoo petitioned the Elders to allow her to take a 
sabbatical to Japan, nominally to expand her horizons and learn 
about the culture, but really only to find some way to get Ranma to 
stay with her forever. She had already gotten much of the language 
from Ranma, and before leaving, she learned more from her 
great-grandmother, as well as some pertinent culture differences. 
One in particular that had been driven home since was that, in 
Japan, women were barely looked at as equals, hardly ever as the 
superior sex.

Shampoo took a breath and steeled herself for another bout with 
foreign ignorance before launching into the air, completing a 
double somersault and twisting to land in front of the entrance to 
the Whammy Burger in a three point crouch.


She tried to walk inside, but was impeded by that strange form of 
force field that the natives were in the habit of using. Opening the 
door seemed like such a waste of time, and the force field annoyed 
Shampoo...so she just retrieved her bonbori from null-space and smashed
through it. She was beginning to wonder if she should bother with doors 
at all.

Inside was a curious sight. Every table and booth was occupied by blond-
haired oriental girls of various ages all wearing long, ankle length 
skirts, heavy boots and doctor's face masks. Several of them stood 
up and looked rather angry about something. This was...different.

Shampoo permitted one of them to grab her by the collar of her 
cheongsam and slam her against the wall. This girl seemed about 
Shampoo's age and build but was a little taller with the black of 
her roots showing in her otherwise blond hair. Shampoo was a little 
curious.

"You stupid chinky bitchlet! That our window, seen?" 

"Excuse me? I'm afraid I don't understand your manner of 
speech." Shampoo said frowning. 

The girl smiled smugly and looked around at her compatriots. "Are 
you chuggin this, yanklets? Chinky here don't ken me! Mayhap we 
oughtta pipe chinpoko-jin back where she from ne?"

There were several murmurs of assent and a few girls yelled 
"SEEN!" 

Shampoo had studied Japanese very diligently. She didn't know 
why she wasn't able to understand these people. "Please, I'm just 
trying to find someone. If you wish to fight me please challenge 
me in a respectable manner or else I may have to hurt you."

"Oooh, Chinky panty twistin ne? She sparks a bit, mayhap. You 
best chug me though, bitchlet, we Yankii the ~fire~." And with 
that, the girl threw Shampoo toward one of the tables.

Shampoo twisted in the air and made a perfect landing on the 
table's surface. "So be it. You will find yourselves in pieces 
shortly!" Shampoo yelled. 

A girl swung a lead pipe at Shampoo's legs. Shampoo hopped over 
this and spun low across the table, sending the heel of her foot into 
the girl's temple, knocking her out. Another girl turned her back 
toward Shampoo, jumped into the air and flipped, her two steeltoe-
booted feet now heading straight for Shampoo's head. Shampoo 
was so amazed she almost didn't roll away from the attack. 

Another girl tried to club her, but Shampoo stepped inside the 
attack, grabbed the girl's arms, shoved a knee hard into her solar 
plexus, picked her up and swung her into another girl that was 
charging her. 

Shampoo had cleared a small space for herself and now stood in an 
easy ready stance waiting for the girls' next move. 

"Stop!" a woman said, entering from the kitchen area and holding 
her arms up to garner attention. She was dressed in more or less 
the same style as the other girls, but her clothes were of better 
quality and she was much older. Everything she wore was black, 
from her dress with its red, spider web pattern to her face mask 
which seemed made of satin and had a red hourglass decorating it. 
The most striking difference was that unlike the other girls, her 
hair was long, dark and had a lustrous sheen that seemed to glint 
blue in the light. "Girl's sparky, seen? You yanklets gonna doze 
the demesne!"

The girls started to back off warily. Shampoo glanced at them and 
then addressed the woman. "Are you the leader?"

The woman nodded "I am Missus Vicious. What do you want?"

Shampoo did not get out of her ready position. "I'm looking for 
Saotome Ranma. I was told he would be staying here, in Nerima, 
at the Tendo dojo. Would you happen to know where that is?"

Shampoo saw "Vicious" tighten her lips underneath the red 
hourglass on the face mask. The woman's fist clenched. "Yes. I 
know where that is. Would you like me to take you there?"

Shampoo thinned her eyes. Vicious's body language didn't match 
her words. "If you could... that would be ni-" and a blunt 
instrument came crashing into the back of Shampoo's skull. 

To sneak up on her like that...the girls had some skill...

~~~~~*~~~~~

Missus Vicious sat smoking a cigar in the driver's seat of the black 
minivan with her elbow out of the open window as Masaki Chihiro 
finished putting the cooler of lunch bags into the minivan. Many of 
the girls were looking through the back window and snickering.

Chihiro came around to Vicious's window. She wore black slacks 
and a pin-stripped blouse and her hair was put up in a bun, long 
strands of it falling on her face as bangs. She was the owner of the 
Whammy Burger. "You don't ever think you're getting too old for 
this?"

Vicious snorted, tossing the stub of her cigar to the ground and 
reattaching her face mask. "You never grow out of the Yankii. You 
don't leave unless you're beaten out."

"But, you're thirty-seven! You should be settling down, or at least 
getting a good job! You'll break your back, doing that construction 
work."

"Look, Chichi, I've told you this before. Even if I wanted to stop, I 
can't. The girls need me. The Yankii are all they've got. They're 
going to turn to the streets anyway, at least now they have some 
self respect. As if you'd have lasted a day without our help. You 
used to be one of us, remember."

"I took my beating long ago, Vicious," Chihiro said, crossing her 
arms in front of her, "And the only reason I need your money is 
because you keep scaring away my customers and breaking 
things!" She looked toward the ground and sighed, collecting 
herself. She looked up again brushing a strand of hair from her 
face. "You're my friend, and I hope that will never change, but 
you've got to let this go. It's not healthy. Not for you and not for 
the Yankii."

"What do you mean?"

"You're in a minivan! You take them to school! What kind of gang 
leader does that!"

"Well we do have a girl tied to the back bumper on roller-skates..."

"You see!" Chihiro pointed, "You gave her roller-skates! You're 
going soft!"

"But she's naked..."

"Right and you're liable to get arrested for child exploitation or 
worse if the cops see you."

"We've paid off the cops. There won't be any problem. Besides 
the girl's a martial artist. She'll be fine."

"Look," Chihiro closed her eyes and shook her head, holding her 
hand to her temple. when she looked up again, her gaze was 
intense. "I know you aren't going to listen to me, but please, listen 
to your heart. You miss them. I know you do. I see it in your 
eyes..." For a moment Vicious was caught by her friend's intensity. 
She could almost believe Chihiro ~was~ reading something that was 
inside her, imprinted on her soul...

Vicious shook her head and turned the key in the ignition. "I don't 
want to hear it. That was another life. That wasn't me, and that was 
ten years ago. Goodbye." 

And with that, Missus Vicious, aka Tendo Kirika pulled out of the 
parking lot of the Whammy Burger in her minivan full of gang 
members and with a naked Amazon in tow.

~~~~~*~~~~~

The Ring was not very old. It existed only a century at most, and 
so it was still learning the ropes of how to use its magic. The girl 
Akane didn't want to be a nice person...didn't want to be a dainty 
maiden, but she kept the Ring on her finger all the same, and as 
long as she didn't take it off, it could communicate with her after a 
fashion through thoughts and images. 

The girl wanted to know about her mother. Not the gracious 
housekeeper that had birthed her and raised her for four years, but 
the woman before Tendo Soun offered the Ring, and the woman 
that was her mother for those two years after the Ring was thrown 
into the pond. The Ring didn't know how to help Akane at first. It 
had thought that it would only be able to show the times the Tendo 
matron had worn it. But then it realized that it could access 
memories and dreams and these were often beyond its influence.

The Ring was incredibly lonely. It wanted to stay with Akane as 
much as possible. So to keep Akane from taking it off, it showed 
Akane everything she wanted to know. It showed the memories of 
Akane's mother. Of how Tendo Kirika had been a member of a 
motorcycle gang, of how she used to dye her hair blond and speak 
in gutter language in emulation of the Americans she saw on the 
screen, even though her father was American and was nothing like 
all that. The Ring showed Akane about how before Kirika's 
mother died she used to sneak around the army base, learning 
about all the weaponry, wanting to be a soldier like her 
father...about how her mother's death caused a rift in her 
relationship with her father that was filled by the gang. By 
belonging to something. The Ring showed how Kirika rose in the 
ranks of the gang swiftly with her incredible ability to deal with 
people and her considerable prowess with martial arts. 

Finally the Ring showed Akane how Kirika had met Soun, beating 
him up after he had stolen some underwear from her and her gang 
members. He kept coming back afterwards, wanting to spend time 
with her, and even though she consistently pounded him into the 
stratosphere, he was relentless and the two of them developed a 
strange sort of relationship. He saved her life. She saved his. 
Maybe something would have happened anyway... 

But Soun had bought an engagement ring.

All the Ring had wanted was for Kirika to be happy. The Ring 
knew that in order for a woman to be happy she had to have a man 
to love her and children to care for. When the Ring changed 
Kirika's personality the girl had ~seemed~ happy enough, and it 
really was a glorious wedding, but even the Ring realized on some 
level that a part of Kirika, a good part, was dying inside her.

The gang had actually left her alone pretty much. Soun had 
become a rather prominent figure in the ward and Kirika helped 
out the gang financially and legally without provocation even 
while under the Ring's influence. She could have been happy 
forever like that, after a fashion. But Kirika's dreams grew 
increasingly restless. 

In the moment between waking and sleeping, in the twilight of 
consciousness, Kirika was herself completely. And one night, 
during this twilight, Soun came to bed drunk, babbling about some 
contract he had made with his old friend Genma that one his 
daughters would marry Ranma, Genma's son and thereby combine 
the schools. 

Kirika pulled off the engagement ring then. She pulled it off, got 
out of bed, and threw it into the koi pond.

The Ring hadn't understood. Didn't Kirika love Soun? Didn't she 
love her daughters? Wasn't she happier as a homemaker? But 
when the Ring hesitantly showed Akane the images, Akane 
seemed to get excited. She seemed to empathize with her mother to 
such an extent that the Ring was afraid it might get thrown into the 
pond ~again~.

Then the Ring thought about how happy it was to be out of the 
pond. But hadn't it been happy in the pond? Didn't it have friends? 
Fish and squirrels that loved it? But the Ring wasn't supposed to be an 
enchanted rock in a fish pond. The Ring was meant to be around 
someone's finger. The ring was supposed to shine and be beautiful 
and loved and make others feel beautiful and loved. It had been 
denied its destiny. 

Just as it had denied Kirika's destiny. 

The Ring would have wept had it the biology necessary to do so. 
Instead, all it could do was vow that it would never make the 
mistake again. It could not bear to be without a wearer again. It 
would help Akane out as much as possible, but only with her 
permission.

So it had asked first before telling Akane where her mother was. 
Although the Ring did not know the exact location, it could feel 
the woman's particular personality pattern in a certain direction. 
The Ring hadn't expected Akane to get so excited after asking her 
if she wanted to see her mother. It thought the family knew she 
was gone already, but apparently Kirika had gone through great 
pains to fake her death. 

At the moment, the Tendos and Ranma were all gathered around 
the table sipping tea. Nabiki and Akane were in pajamas, Ritsuko 
and Kasumi in housedresses, Ranma in her red Chinese shirt and 
black pants, and Soun in his typical brown gi. A toothbrush stuck 
out of the corner of his mouth as he listened to Akane's account of 
what the Ring had told her. He hadn't really blinked since she had 
started and he seemed to be in an advanced state of catatonia, but 
otherwise he seemed to be taking it well. 

Nabiki, being the polar opposite of a morning person, looked 
particularly disheveled and was trying desperately to keep from 
drifting into insurmountable confusion. Just yesterday, her mother 
had been a decade dead, communist squirrels and invisible dogs 
did not exist, and her elder sister's personality had been the result 
of quirky genetics and upbringing and not the direct effect of 
contact with a magical artifact. All that changed now.  The only 
thing that kept her from going over the edge was the thought that 
Kasumi ~had~ been a human-sized bigfoot with pink and purple 
polka-dotted fur for a good ten years now, and by comparison, the 
other things weren't really all that strange.

When Akane was finished, Soun finally blinked and took the tooth 
brush out of his mouth, placing it absently into his tea cup. "I...I 
had no idea..." he muttered, "I thought she loved me and that she 
just changed for my sake. I mean to tell you the truth, I was glad 

when her friends from the gang started coming by to pick her up. I 
thought she was more herself then, more the woman I fell in love 
with...and of course Kasumi came by to help with the housework 
around that time...and then..."

"But Daddy, we all saw the body. We ~touched~ the body. She 
couldn't have faked that. That was real." Nabiki protested. Her 
voice was measured and calm, but her eyes held great emotion.

"I don't know," Ranma began before turning her cup of tea three 
times and sipping from it. After swallowing and smiling her 
approval to Kasumi, she continued. "There was this medicine over 
in China that could simulate death. Made the body cold to the 
touch and everything. It is risky...I mean you're actually dead for 
awhile after you take it and you might not get up again afterwards, 
but as long as you get the dose right, after a few hours you come 
back to life, climb out of your coffin or whatever and everything's 
hunky dorey."

Soun nodded sagely. "Yes...she could have slipped out before the 
incinerator..."

"No, Daddy she couldn't have." Nabiki shook her head. "We had a 
viewing remember? there wasn't a single moment when Mom 
wasn't supervised." 

"You're right..." Soun's eyes widened. "Gods! What if she was 
still alive when they put her in the oven?"

Akane, Nabiki, Ranma, Kasumi, and Ritsuko, the squirrel on 
Nabiki's shoulder, all looked at Soun with confusion for a moment.

There was creaking on the stairs as Genma descended. 

In his martial arts gi he walked to refrigerator, opened it, took out 
some juice, and drank it direct from the carton. 

There was a growling noise from Ranma's general direction and 
Genma hurriedly put the carton back in the fridge and bolted out 
the front entrance, the sound of heavy paws skittering after him.

"Oh wait...she's alive ~now~. She couldn't have been in the 
incinerator!" Soun announced.

Everyone around the table, including Kasumi, nearly fell over in 
amazement at Soun's apparent stupidity. 

"Really, Daddy, try to keep up, this is about Mom!"

"I know, Nabiki, I'm sorry. Must be getting old heh heh." Soun 
scratched the back of his head.

"Wait a minute. You're not surprised at this at all..." Nabiki 
frowned. Slowly she raised her hand, pointing at her father. "You 
know something!"

Outside there was a cry of pain and a splash of water. There were a 
few barks and weird annoyed-sounding growfing noises. 

"Well?" Nabiki crossed her arms. "Out with it, Daddy."

"Okay, okay! I guess you girls are old enough to know now. Your 
mother's not really dead."

"That's what I was just ~telling~ you!" Akane protested.

"Yes, well your mother and I...we didn't want to go through a long 
messy divorce. We thought it would be easier on all of you in the 
long run if we just...faked her death."

"So...you and Mom staged the whole funeral?"

"Yes!" Soun sobbed. 

Ritsuko's rodent eyes were brimmed with tears, "How romantic!" 
she chittered.

"Just how is that romantic?" Nabiki asked of the creature on her 
shoulder.

"It's like Romeo and Juliet! Star-crossed lovers, thrown together 
by fate, but destined to live in separate worlds. So Juliet fakes her 
death so she can later elope with Romeo without their families 
knowing about it. Romeo finds her in the crypt, she wakes up and 
they run off to a far off town and live happily ever after!"

"Hey!" Akane pointed at the squirrel accusingly, "That's not how 
it goes at all!" 

"Yes it is! I should know; I've heard the story told the same way 
verbatim at least twenty times." Ritsuko smoothed the front of her 
house dress and rubbed the fur of her ears matter-of-factly. She 
turned to Nabiki, "Are there any more potato chips?"

Akane looked strange for a moment. "Oh," she said finally, 
"Ringu-chan says that she never liked how the original version 
ended..." The Ring had of course been the one who first told the 
story to the first sentient squirrel.

"Pretty well read for a piece of jewelry," Nabiki commented, "And, 
no, Ritsuko, there aren't any more potato chips. No payment 
without service." Nabiki closed her eyes, swallowed and slowly 
opened them again. "Now, Daddy, you were saying about faking 
Mom's death?"

"It really wasn't hard at all, physically. Just as Ranma said, she 
took a pill, it appeared as if she were dead for a while, and then she 
woke up. But the funeral was so real! And that last night when she 
stepped out of her coffin so gracefully, like an angel...I begged her 
to stay, but of course the matter was already decided...I miss her so 
much!"

A harried looking panda limped into the living room and collapsed, 
doing a passable, if somewhat lumpy, impression of a bear skin rug. 

"Baka," Ranma muttered.

"Do you mind explaining to me, Daddy," Nabiki's voice was 
startlingly loud as she advanced on her father. "What convoluted 
string of illogic led you to believe that letting me think my mother 
was DEAD...was somehow better than just getting a divorce? Just 
how is it that you thought making me live through a traumatic 
experience, giving me nightmares that stayed with me for YEARS, 
and making me keep us from being bankrupt while you 'grieved' 
was going to be BETTER for me in the long run?"

Ranma couldn't help a snicker, "I see now why Pops and you are 
such good friends, Tendo-san." Family Honor barked loudly beside 
her and she sobered, bowing. "So sorry for being disrespectful 
father-in-law."

Speaking to Nabiki, Soun put tried to explain "It was your 
mother's idea...I..."

Akane was too busy lifting a transdimensional mallet high into the 
air to hear. "Daddy no BAKA!"

A loud thud and a collective wince later, the discussion concerning 
Soun's involvement in his wife's escape was effectively over.

"Hey," Ranma said over Soun's and Genma's unconscious bodies, 
"Shouldn't we be getting ready for school?"
 
~~~~~*~~~~~

"She ~bitchin~ sparkified yo! Check it!" Hanako pointed through 
the back window of the minivan at the naked Chinese girl on 
roller-skates. Hanako had a very slight frame and wasn't as strong 
as some of the other girls, but she made up for it by being both the 
foulest and most charismatic member of the gang. 

Glancing in the rearview, Vicious saw what Hanako meant. The 
girl was not only keeping her balance on the skates, she was 
actually ~catching up~ to the van! Granted, Vicious was only 
going fast enough so that the girl would only suffer a few broken 
bones along with massive scarring if she were to fall, but 
still...who would have thought that purple was her natural hair 
color?

"Go faster, Vicious!" one of the girls called out. 

"Seen, be speedificicious, Missus Vicious!" nodded Hanako.

Smiling, Vicious slowly let the speedometer crawl upward well 
into the danger zone. If the girl made a mistake now she could die, 
but Vicious doubted that that would happen. This was the most fun 
she'd had in a long time. The best part was coming up though. 
"Red light's by-droppin , Yankers," She told the girls. who now 
looked  ahead at the stopped traffic with glee. 

"Seen!" some of them said. "How the Chinkster gonna chug that?"

"Specs like we're gonna chug in a tic..." Vicious muttered as she 
came to a sudden stop behind a red Daewoo. Almost instantly there 
was a loud BANG and a crash sound as the back windshield 
impacted with the wheels of the girl's skates and fell inside...along 
with the girl.

The girl had landed in the small space in the floorboard just in 
front of the rolling door, having passed over two and a half rows of 
seats. Everyone stared at her in amazement. She got up from the 
floorboard, stooping a little because of the limited height of the van. 
She was bleeding from several places but she didn't appear at all 
conscious of her injuries or that she was naked. In fact, that was at 
best a secondary issue for everyone else at the moment as well. 
The primary issue was that the girl had just done something that 
none of them would have even attempted to do in their wildest 
dreams, and that this girl now seemed to be pissed.

"I do not wish to demean your customs," she growled, her eyes 
seeming to burn in their sockets, "but if you do not release me now, 
I will murder all of you very painfully." She jiggled the chain still 

connected to her wrist manacles for emphasis. "Is this clear?"

"Eriko, unlock her." Vicious commanded. Eriko was the youngest 
member of the gang and was a little too haughty for her own good. 
She needed to be knocked down a few pegs. 

"I ain't chuggin why I gotta do the shit work. I may be shiny but I 
ain't tiny." Eriko was referring to her fighting prowess as opposed 
to her actual height. She was indeed one of the best fighters in the 
gang. Still, she took off her seatbelt, fished in her voluminous skirt 
for the keys and unlocked the naked girl's wrists. She got a hard 
right into her left eye for her trouble.

"I apologize," the naked girl said, cracking her knuckles, 
"Reflexes."

Eriko in severe pain, reeled into the lap of Mariko, who was the 
largest and oldest of the gang excluding Vicious and had a scar 
running from her temple to the middle of her left cheek Partially 
covered by the white mask. "Shove off, Tit-suck," Mariko threatened 
evenly and pushed Eriko into the floor board.

The light turned green and Vicious started forward, causing the 
purple-headed girl to grab the top of the shotgun seat to keep her 
balance in the Minivan on her skates. Eriko crawled back to her own 
seat muttering a string of curses.

Vicious drove in silence for a moment or two before the Chinese 
girl spoke again in a barely restrained, menacing tone. "As much 
as I appreciate your hospitality, I would very much like to have my 
clothing returned to me." 

"Your clothes are back at the Whammy Burger," Vicious 
explained, looking into the girl's eyes in the rearview, "I really 
wasn't expecting you to be so talented. One of the girls will lend 
you a school uniform, we like to keep them for torturing the boys 
that cross us, but first, what is your name?"

The girl seemed to relax just a little, like a snake concealing its 
fangs, but still prepared to strike. "My name is Shan Pu, Amazon 
warrior and great grand daughter of Ku Lon." 

"Amazon?" Hanako asked as she started rummaging through the 
uniforms in the back "But don't China got a ditch-the-bitch 
policy?"

Flicking on the turn signal, Vicious turned into the Furinkan High 
School parking lot. "It wouldn't be the only chauvinistic country 
with a pocket or two of fatal femmes, seen?" Stopping in front of 
the school building, Vicious waited for Eriko to pull herself 
together and get out of the van while Hanako gave Shampoo the 
clothes. After Shampoo had everything, Hanako exited the van, 
waving goodbye. 

"I'll have to let you off here," Vicious told the Amazon. You just 
go down Furinkan Street and then turn right a block from Tofu's 
clinic." 

By the time Vicious was done with the directions, Shampoo was 
dressed. It was strange how normal she looked in the uniform. She 
even had glue socks and regulation shoes. It was hard to believe 
the same outfit had last been worn by a freshman boy who had 
"forgotten" to pay Hanako back on a loan. 

"This is satisfactory," Shampoo nodded, and slid the side door 
open.

"Sorry about...all that," Vicious waved at the broken rear 
windshield, "but you did break our window."

"I understand," Shampoo actually smiled, "I worried before that all 
Japanese women were weak. I am glad to have been proven 
wrong." With that she stepped onto the asphalt. She paused for a 
moment, seeming to stare intently at a young red-headed girl in a 
pig-tail and Chinese clothes. "Ranma!" She started waving and 
running toward the girl.

But the black-haired girl in the uniform that walked with her, the 
one with the sour expression on her face, she looked straight at 
Vicious through the windshield, and her expression changed to one 
of excitement. Vicious felt a wave of vertigo, it was almost as if 
she was looking into a mirror of herself some twenty years ago. 
She couldn't hear what the girl was saying but it looked an awful 
lot like "Mom!"

"Mariko, close the door!" Vicious commanded and, putting the van 
into gear, she squealed out of the parking lot and into the street.

There was no denying that girl was Akane, her youngest daughter.

~~~~~*~~~~~

Ranma couldn't believe her eyes. Her friend from China, whom 
she'd thought she'd never see ever again, was here, in Japan, at 
Furinkan. It was like she had risen from the grave or something...

"Mom!" Akane called out beside her, staring at the woman driving 
the black minivan that Shampoo got out of who appeared to be 
wearing some sort of face mask. Ranma did a double take: Akane's 
mom...Shampoo. A triple take: Shampoo... Akane's mom. Akane's 
Mom was driving ~Shampoo~ to school? 

Ranma was interrupted from her brief confusion by Shampoo's 
exuberant embrace. It was a glomp really, but Ranma returned it 
heartily, laughing. "It's been so long, Shampoo! How did you get 
here? Are you going to school at Furinkan too? This is so cool! I 
missed you, you know. I thought I'd never see you again. Gods!"

Shampoo's strong arms continued to squeeze Ranma, her long 
silken hair brushing against her cheek. Ranma heard a small sound, 
a wet intake of breath, barely perceptible really, but she pushed 
Shampoo gently away by her shoulders, "What's wrong, 
Shampoo?"

Ranma could tell she was trying not to cry. "It...it's nothing," 
Shampoo said. "I just so happy am here! I mean...I'm...so glad to 
see you!"  

Just then there was a loud screeching as the minivan sped 
recklessly out of the parking lot and into traffic, narrowly avoiding 
a collision with a white Cresta sedan, the bald headed man in glasses who 
drove it raising his fist and yelling ineffectually. Akane chased 
after the van. "Mom!" She yelled. "Mom! I'm here! We know 
you're not dead, come back!"

Shampoo raised an eyebrow. "Missus Vicious is her mother?"

Ranma raised an eyebrow of her own, "Her name is Missus 
Vicious?"

~~~~~*~~~~~~

Eriko was at the gate when Nabiki, Ranma and Akane walked in. 
Eriko was one of Nabiki's muscle for those special cases when it 
was needed. She was a little kooky, always wearing long dresses 
over military fatigues and combat boots, bleaching her hair blond, 
and wearing face masks. She and Hanako were both part of some 
silly gang of violent girls. Unlike Hanako, Eriko's bleach job never 
reached her roots and the light and dark contrast in her hair made 
her seem much earthier than her fellow gang member. Eriko also 
had more bulk, having the wiry strength and poise of an athlete, 
while Hanako was almost frail and smaller despite being a year 
older. Both of them could be really weird at times, but Nabiki 

didn't 
care, just as long as they did their job. 

Eriko was one of those people who were so reckless it was 
impressive. Like today she had a massive black eye that was so 
swollen Nabiki was sure she couldn't see out of it. To get in a fight 
so early in the day...maybe it was a little ~too~ reckless... 

"I can't use you today, Eriko." Nabiki said simply in place of any 
sort of greeting. 

"What you mean, Biki? You got a spare b-guard hidden in your 
uniform?"

"I have other ~assistants~, Eriko. And my ~assistants~ cannot 
help me if people think they can't hold their own in a fight."

"You talking bout this?" Eriko pointed to her eye, "But this ain't 
fight make-up! Some huge ass Amazonion Chinky bitchlet from 
Hell got pissed and just wailed without warning!"

"Honestly, I don't care ~how~ you got that black eye. It's bad for 
business. Come back when it's healed." Nabiki walked past the 
Yankii girl.

"Come ~on~, I ain't even ~feelin~ it!" Eriko protested to Nabiki's 
back. 

Ahead of Nabiki Hanako approached, yelling out casually, "Oh 
don't be panty-twistin, 'Riko. She's just givin ya a fuck-me-up is 
all." Hanako could have passed for a Junior high student. A good 
four or five centimeters shorter than Ranma's girl side, she looked 
like the sweetest little girl you could care to meet...until she opened 
her mouth that is. Unlike Eriko, she took her face mask off in 
school, and did find occasion to speak normally from time to time. 
"Everyone knows a black eye is more impressive. Means you're 
not afraid to get in a tussle. Ain't that right, Bikikins?"

Nabiki nodded slowly. She had to keep an eye on Hanako even 
more than her gang buddy. The girl was sharp...Nabiki often used 
her on the more complicated blackmailing schemes...but she had 
her own agenda and it was a little like playing with fire... while 
sitting next to a gas station.  

"Hey there's a squirrel on your shoulder, wearing a house dress," 
Hanako pointed out, "Let me get it off for ya." She picked up a 
stone.

"That won't be necessary," Nabiki said, "Hanako, Eriko, this is my 
newest espionage expert, Ritsuko. Go easy on her, okay?"

"Hi there!" Ritsuko waved in a large circular motion. "I would just 
like to say that I sympathize with the frustrations of the proletariat 
and I fully support your rebellion."

"On second thought," Nabiki said, "Go ahead and hit her."

Hanako grinned and let loose with the stone, thwacking Ritsuko in 
the head. "Ow!" Ritsuko exclaimed. "That wasn't very nice!"

The three of them walked for a time, Nabiki filling the two gang 
members in on the pertinent information: new student that changes 
sexes, talking squirrel, Akane more on edge than usual, on account 
of her recently having to deal with a piece of jewelry that had a 
nasty habit of controlling people's minds... the usual thing really. 
When they approached the parking lot on the way to the assistant 
principal's office, where Ranma would be registering for classes, 
they ran into Akane, Ranma and another girl talking animatedly 
about something.

"That's the bitchlet, thereways!" Eriko pointed.

"You mean the huge Chinese Amazon you were talking about?" 
Nabiki asked.

"Seen!"

"Is she hiding behind the bubbly, purple-haired schoolgirl?"

"She is the bubbly, purple-haired schoolgirl," Hanako explained, 
"Only she ain't bubbly...or a schoolgirl. We gave her some spare 
clothes after she owned us righteously."

"Never chugged her for a lesbo," Eriko mused. "Shoulda sussed it 

mayhap." She was referring to the way the girl was fawning over 
Ranma, staring at the pigtailed girl with eyes all googly and taking 
advantage of any excuses to touch her.

"The red-head is Saotome, the one I was telling you about. The one 
who changes sexes." Nabiki explained.

"Ohhhh." Eriko and Hanako enthused. 

They were close enough to hear what the group was saying now. 
Akane had just finished insisting vehemently that "There's no way 
my mother would call herself something as stupid as 'Missus 
Vicious!'"

All three of them stopped dead in their tracks. "Shit cakes on high 
heat, Biki! Missus Vicious is your ~mother~?" Hanako exclaimed.

"I certainly hope not," Nabiki sighed.

"Now that I chug on it, ya do smack of the Missus..."

Nabiki purposefully ignored Eriko and rushed toward Ranma, 
hoping for a distraction. "Hey, Saotome, who's your friend?"

"Oh hey, Nabs, this is Shampoo, my friend from China. She's an 
Amazon. Go easy on her. Shampoo, this is Tendo Nabiki, and the 
angry girl with the long black hair is Tendo Akane, her younger 
sister."

Akane glanced briefly down at Shampoo's breasts and sniffed. 
"They aren't that big."

Hanako gasped. "Fuck me Amadeus! If you spec her face, Akane 
looks almost exactly like her!" 

Nabiki closed her eyes and took a breath. "Okay, time out, people. 
Let me get this straight. Ranma's friend from China is the same 
person who beat up the gang of the people who work for me and 
they dropped her off here, where Ranma just happened to be going 
to register. Furthermore the leader of this gang, the gang my two 
associates have belonged to for the past five years, is actually my 
mother, who's been dead for a decade?"

Ranma nodded, "Seems like that sums it up..."

Nabiki pulled out a calculator from her bookbag and started 
punching buttons, a somewhat crazed look in her eyes. "Let's 
see...faked death...unlikely chance meeting...cosmic irony...yes, 
this should be the odds of all this occurring at once."

Looking over Nabiki's shoulder Hanako pointed at the calculator's 
display. "Hey, isn't that your telephone number?"

Ranma giggled and started singing. "Ohhh! It's a small world after 
all! Iiiit's a small world after all! Iiiit's a small world after all; it's 
a small, small world!" Without any potato chips on her person, 
Nabiki did what any sensible person would do in her situation...

 She passed out.

~~~~~*~~~~~

Vicious drove the minivan into the construction yard. She was 
alone with Mariko, as she had just finished dropping off the two 
other girls, Toko and Hoko, at the homeless shelter, where they 
were doing their community service. If you asked Vicious, she'd 
say the law took aggravated assault way too seriously. Still the 
community service was probably good for the girls. They weren't 
that far away from being homeless themselves after all, and it 
might inspire them to do better in school.

Mariko and Vicious both worked at the construction yard. There 
were three main reasons for this. First, women weren't supposed to 
work in construction and the Yankii always did what they weren't 
supposed to. Secondly, Vicious and Mariko both had extremely 
good upper body strength. Vicious got her strength from her 
father's side of the family, Mariko from the steroids she took in 
Junior High. Finally, without college degrees, what else were they 
going to do? Work as office ladies? That would be even worse than 
being married!

Mariko was silent throughout the trip from the shelter. She was 
some twelve years younger than Vicious, though with her harsh, 
almost masculine features and her somber expression, she seemed 
about the same age. She never really talked much, and most the 
time that didn't bother Vicious, but on the way to the yard, 
Mariko's reticence was more oppressive. It was the silence of 
someone being silent because they have something to say.

When Vicious parked and was getting out of the van, Mariko 
spoke. "I'm quitting the Yankii," she said. 

Vicious paused, swallowed and leaned into the van to see Mariko's 
face, her own face suddenly drained of color. 

Mariko took her mask off, fully exposing the scar that ran along 
her cheek and revealing her startlingly full lips. "I'm sick of all this 
shit. I want out."

Vicious wanted to hear what Mariko said again, to be sure what she was 
hearing was real. But she had always found it inane for people to ask 
"what" or "what do you mean?" or "you're joking right?" and any number 
of variations thereof when they already knew perfectly well what the 
other person said and what they meant. They were cop out expressions. 
Autonomous responses to stimuli. So instead, Vicious closed her eyes, 
breathed, and accepted what she heard. One of her best friends was going 
to leave her.

She sat back in the driver's seat, because she didn't feel up to 
standing. After a few moments filled with the sound of rivets and 
banging and yelling of the world outside the minivan and nothing 
else, Vicious asked simply. "Why?"

"I was sixteen when I joined. I used to look up to you. All the rest 
of the world was shit, but when the Yankii were at your 
house...you didn't judge us or nothing. You just took care of us. 
When you left your kids...dammit I thought that was the stupidest 
thing I heard. We all did. But we didn't say nothing. We didn't 
want to lose you. We didn't want you to leave us like you left them. 

"I know you got mind fucked. I know you didn't ask for none of 
that, but whatever happened, you became a mom. First to your kids, 
and then to all of us." Mariko turned her face away from Vicious 
and looked out of the window. 

"I'm twenty-five now. I ain't into stupid shit like torturing tourists 
no more. I keep thinking bout you and your kids...I keep thinking 
how you got something really precious and you're letting it slip 
away. And I look at myself... at what the Yankii done for me, and 
all I really got to show for it is this scar. That and maybe knowing 
you." Mariko rolled the side door back and stepped out onto the 
sunny dust-covered asphalt. 

"I'm just sick of all the shit, like I said. You can have the girls beat 
my ass tomorrow. Just one thing..." She turned to face Vicious 
directly through the doorway. "I want you to deal the first blow. 
I'm asking that as a friend." 

The sound of riveting filled the silence as Kirika nodded. She 
wasn't feeling very vicious at all at the moment. With a slam of the 
door, Mariko was gone, and she was alone in the van. Just her and 
the reflection in the rear view mirror of the gaping hole that was 
once the rear windshield.

She couldn't help but think about Akane, Nabiki, even Kasumi 
whom she only knew for a year or two before she left. She couldn't 
help but think of Soun and how devoted he was to her.

She would have to go to Jiro's Garage tomorrow and get a 
replacement for the rear windshield, maybe for the whole back 
door. It might take several days and in that time there wouldn't be 
any easy way to transport the girls. Still it would be fixed. What 
Kirika didn't know was how to fix the gaping hole in her soul.

She shook her head free of the silly thought and got out of the van. 
That was just leftovers from the mind control talking. She was 
Missus Vicious, and she had work to do.

~~~~~*~~~~~

"Stop calling her that! Her name is Kirika!" Akane yelled at 
Hanako, who had just for the fifth time remarked on how similar 
she looked to her mother. Akane, Hanako, Eriko, the unconscious 
Nabiki and Ritsuko were all outside in the school courtyard while 
Ranma and Shampoo were getting registered. It was strange, but as 
far as Akane could tell, as soon as Shampoo had seen Ranma, the 
Amazon realized she had always wanted to be part of the Japanese 
public school system.

Akane hadn't realized how early she had gotten to school. She 
usually avoided it until the last minute and then tried to blame 
being late on Nabiki or some unforeseen circumstance that she 
knew about ahead of time. Usually, the stupid boys were already 
there, waiting for her to pound them into the dirt, but now she had 
to wait for them. Uncaring perverted bastards the lot of them. They 
were really going to get it now!

"Righto, I getcha, truly. No need to go all fire-engine red on me." 
Hanako held her thin hands up in a placating gesture. "I just can't 
believe I never sussed it before. I mean, shitpickles, I was just 
telling Eriko here the other day that you'd be a perfect yankii..."

"She ain't joshin ya. Just t'other day she spurted that very thing." 
Eriko nodded.

"Just shut up! Both of you! I am not now, nor will I ever be, part of 
your stupid gang. And why can't you just talk normally? Honestly!"

Eriko thinned her eyes, "Hey the yankii ain't stupid, and if you 
spurt that chum again, Vicious' daughter or no, I'll glove you. No 
diff to me."

"What did she say?" Akane asked Hanako, confused.

"Oh, she was just saying that if you called us stupid again she was 
going to stick her fist so far up your ass she'd be able to move your 
arms and legs with her fingers," Hanako offered, helpfully, 
beaming up at Akane. She made a hole with her right thumb and 
forefinger and shoved her left hand upward through it, waggling 
the digits. "You know, like a glove."

"Oh that's just sick!" Ritsuko said. Up until now she had been 
alternating between fanning Nabiki with a piece of notebook paper 
and looking surreptitiously around for potato chip crumbs. "You're 
such a cute girl, why must you be so crude? Besides that's 
physically impossible anyway."

In a flash, Hanako had Ritsuko by the tail, the squirrel dangling in 
the air from her fingers, her dress up-turned, almost covering her 
small head. "I suppose you'd like a demonstration?"

Akane's estimation of the smaller girl's skill had risen greatly. 
Hanako didn't look like much... not near as strong as 
Akane, but ~damn~ she was fast.

"Put me down, Hanako-chan! Hurting me won't do anything to 
ease your feelings of inferiority."

Hanako's thin, unbleached black eyebrow twitched. "Mayhap it 
won't, mayhap it will."

Ritsuko looked panicked for a moment as Hanako glared 
menacingly at her. Finally, as if shaking herself from a trance, 
Hanako lightly tossed the squirrel back onto Nabiki's blouse.

That was when they started to show. 

First was the Karate club, followed closely by Judo with one or 
two Sumo waddling behind. Then some of the more violent groups 
showed. 

The Chemistry club looked suspiciously smug today, their glasses 
gleaming with evil intent. 

The male members of the Furinkan dance club, all two of them, 
pirouetted menacingly in the shadow of a laughing statue. 

A cadre of tennis enthusiasts unsheathed their rackets from their 
zippered cases, resolute that this day they would spill the blood of 
tomboy. 

The Jazz band, led by a saxophone player in a tweed jacket, 
polished and fine-tuned their instruments of torture, preparing to 
blare their supersonic notes of death until their quarry crumpled in 
submission at their feet. 

>From almost every facet of school life they came. Different as they 
were from one another, they were united by a common goal, and 
all were sure that today they would not be thwarted, today they 
would stand victorious and all others would bow before them in 
deference to their greatness. Almost as one, they ceased their 
sounds of preparation and stared stonily at their destiny. 

The minute hand on the clock tower jittered as if in anticipation, 
and then finally clicked into place. At exactly 8:25 AM the armies 
sang out their battle cries.

"AKANE, I LOVE YOU!"

"I HATE BOYS!" 

And the multitudes slammed against Akane with all the power of 
an island village against a hurricane.

The boys were, of course, prepared for some level of violence. In 
point of fact, many, if not most of them went through the ritual so 
that after receiving whatever debilitating blow the young Tendo 
dished out, they would be coddled by their girlfriends and maybe 
have their first sexual experience. Sure this was pretty dumb and 
yes, many girls were not in the least bit impressed. On the other 
hand, hardly any of these girls had boyfriends. It was a self-
propagating system for which Akane was merely the catalyst. 

Unfortunately the boys had picked a bad time to engage in their 
bizarre mating ritual, because this time there were two other card 
carrying tomboys at Akane's side, and both were itching for a fight.

It wasn't pretty.

Bodies flew, blood spilled, teeth launched out of mouths...Several 
of the boys found themselves twisted into positions they could not 
get out of. The sound of cracking bones, of exploding concrete, of 
ear-splitting high C's, of the screams with flesh pounding 
accompaniment, filled the air like marijuana at a rock concert.

By 8:27, the battle ground had already become a wasteland 
peppered with groaning half-dead participants. The dust settled and 
three girls remained standing, breathing heavily and smiling.

"Cunnilingus crabcakes!" Hanako said, "That was the best fight 
I've had in months!"

"Seen," Eriko nodded. "Gonna hafta head schoolwards more often, 
ere this keeps up."

"I didn't need your help." Akane grimaced.

"Help? What help?" Hanako asked, "We saw a fight starting and 
joined in to kick some ass. 'Sides you can't keep this to yourself 
anymore now that we know you're Vicious' daughter. You're a 
yankii by default, you ken?"

"No...I'm Akane..." Akane said, confused as she made her way 
over the unconscious bodies toward the school. The two yankii 
girls followed alongside her.

Hanako laughed, "Nah I knew that. I was asking if you kenned me. 
You know as in understand?"

"Gods! What happened here?" Ranma said as he and Shampoo 
entered the scene. Ranma had changed into male form for the 
edification of the assistant principal, who did not know of 
Jusenkyo curses. The assistant principal, Washi-san was his name, 
agreed that it was best that Ranma be registered as a girl despite 
what it said on his birth certificate. Genma would have screwed up 
the registration somehow if Ranma had let him do it, but as it was 
it went relatively smoothly for him.

Shampoo, on the other hand, had a few problems. She had snuck 
on board a cargo ship from Peking to get to Japan. She had no 
passport, no ID. She essentially did not exist. It took a lot of 
convincing both on her part and on Ranma's to get Washi-san to 
agree to enroll Shampoo, and only then on the condition that she 
get the necessary paperwork by the time the current term was over, 
which was in three months. 
 
When they left the office, they heard the sounds of fighting and ran 
out to see what was going on. Ranma had completely forgotten to 
change back into his girl form.

"We took care of it," Akane said tersely. 

Ranma surveyed the damage. He went to one of the fallen, a jazz 
band member, and winced in sympathy as the boy attempted to 
remove a trumpet from a private place. Ranma couldn't really tell 
if it was a trumpet for sure...he could just about make out the 
mouth piece... "You don't think you went a bit too far?"

"Measure once, cut twice, that's our motto, hot boy." Hanako 
replied. "You really that red-head from before?"

Ranma nodded. He looked back at Akane, "You know just because 
your mother's the leader of their gang, you don't have to join 
them."

Akane's eyes narrowed in anger. "I can do whatever I want, you 
freak!"

Ranma shook his head, "These are just kids, Akane! Most of them 
probably haven't practiced the Art once in their entire lives! Even 
if they were all attacking you, you didn't have to be this brutal."

A low growling emanated from Ranma's side.

Shampoo placed a hand on Ranma's shoulder. "The girl is 
unskilled. No doubt she knows nothing of pressure points or 
simple knock out blows. It is likely this is the only way she saw to 
defeat her attackers."

"~She knows better,~" Ranma contested in Mandarin. "~She did 
this out of pride~."

"~Then nothing will come of lowering her self esteem~," Shampoo 
replied.

Ranma nodded slowly, "You're right. I wasn't seeing the big 
picture." Turning to Akane he put his hands together and bowed. "I 
apologize. I judged you without knowing the whole situation. If 
you could just explain to me what happened, maybe I could 
understand."

"You don't need to understand," Akane shot back. "You're just an 
unwanted house guest. I hardly know you. You're just as bad as 
Kuno, you think you're so much better than everyone else, so 
much more honorable. I've heard it all before, you pervert. And 
I'm not taking it anymore, you hear me?"

Ranma frowned. "Who's Kuno?"

"He's a royal stick in the ass," Hanako said.

Nabiki joined the group, rubbing her forehead. "Are you talking 
about Kuno-chan?" She looked around at the aftermath of today's 
battle and grimaced. Looking to Ranma she explained, "Yes, this is 
all more or less his fault. He thought Akane was too much of a 
tomboy and challenged her to get her to stop fighting people. 
When Akane won, he went off the deep end. During a speech 
competition he declared that if anyone wanted to date Akane, 
they'd have to defeat her in combat. He claimed this was to get her 
to stop fighting, but of course it didn't work. No one was able to 
defeat her. Kuno sort of developed a crush on her since then, or 
maybe he always had it, but now he fights her just so she'll go out 
with him. Kind of sad really." Nabiki stretched her arms over her 
head and let them fall to her sides. "Understand that I would have 
charged you for that if I wasn't afraid your friend Fido was going 
to use my little sister as a chew toy."

"Her name's Family Honor," Ranma corrected.

"Yeah...I know. It's a...never mind" Nabiki waved it off. "Anyway 
it's nothing to worry about. We just have a lot of masochists at our 
school."

"Masochism, huh?" Ranma said. "I never understood that. I mean 
why would someone willingly subject themselves to a beating just 
because they like a girl?"

"There are many boys like that in my village," Shampoo nodded, 
"I find them completely devoid of intelligence."

Ranma suspected Shampoo was thinking of one boy in particular, 
but he knew better than to mention the name.

"Maybe if you'd ever been in love, you'd understand!" Akane 
snapped.

"Akane, you know I love your older sister very much..." Ranma 
said crossing his arms.

"No you don't! You can't! You've only known her for what, a 
day? You're just using her so you and your stupid panda father and 
your rabid dog can freeload off us!"

Before Ranma could say anything, there was a blur of motion and 
Akane snatched something out of the air. A Rose. She threw it to 
the ground. "Kuno," She seethed.

Dark clouds came in from behind the clock tower of the school 
"The toll of the bell at the temple of Gion shows us the transience 
of it all." A figure walked toward them, dressed in hakama, an 
unsheathed sword in its right hand. "And the color of the blossoms 
on the trees demonstrates that all which prospers must someday 
decline."  The figure resolved itself in front of Akane into that of a 
tall, teenage boy, his hair thick and black over his blue eyes, he 
seemed at once more mature than his age, and by virtue of his 
costume, more childish. He closed his eyes and laughed. "Such a 
boorish lot, truly. Evidently each of them thought to date with you. 
On the dawn of the day they finally defeated you that is." Thunder 
rolled overhead.

Nabiki snuck away toward the school were she wouldn't be as 
likely to get rained on or accidentally cleaved in two by a stray hit 
of Kuno's bokken. 

"They should learn their limitations," Kuno continued.

"Get out of my way, Kuno," Akane said, "I'm not in the mood 
right now." She attempted to pass him, but he blocked the way 
with his wooden sword.

"Well then, Tendo Akane," He swung the sword gracefully into a 
ready position. "Will you spar with me?" Kuno apparently couldn't 
hear too well with his eyes closed as they were.

"Hey! Let her pass, Dickweed!" Hanako yelled.

"Seen. Else we gonna do some gardening." Eriko nodded.

"This is my fight, okay? Stay out of it." Akane got into a ready 
stance.

"This is the guy who made the challenge huh?" Ranma nodded to 
Kuno, his arms still crossed. His invisible dog began to growl 
again beside him.

"Leave Family Honor out of this!" Akane yelled. "He wants a 
spar," She leveled her gaze at the would-be samurai, "he'll get 
one."

Kuno opened his eyes, he pointed his bokken at Ranma. "You 
there! Aren't you being awfully familiar with Akane-kun?"

"My apologies for not introducing myself," Ranma bowed. "My 
name's Saotome Ranma of the Anything Goes School of Martial 
Arts. I'm engaged to Akane's sister, which is how I know Akane. I 
would like to make a formal challenge to you, but not just yet. 
Family Honor would not be satisfied if I attacked under the current 
circumstances. If you will permit me, I and my colleague here," 
Ranma gestured to Shampoo, "will continue on to our classes."

"Very well, you may pass, but know that I, the rising star of the 
world of fencing, captain of the Furinkan Kendo club, Junior in 
class E, with strength beyond measure, and a voice that can silence 
a crying child, whose peers call him the Blue Thunder!" A flash of 
lightening arced behind the boy as he held his sword pointed 
toward the heavens. "...I, Kuno Tatewaki, age seventeen will be 
awaiting your challenge, and when we next meet you shall taste 
defeat."

"Hey, that rhymed!" Ranma said.

"Of course," replied Kuno. "Every word I speak is poetry."

"Um...right..." Ranma turned to Eriko and Hanako, "You'll take 
care of Akane if she gets hurt?"

"Yeah, we ain't gonna babysit her or nothing but we'll haul her off 
if she needs hauling," Hanako nodded.

"Fine," Ranma turned back to Kuno and Akane. Bowing to both of 
them he said, "I wish you both glory in the coming battle," and left.

"~I wonder how long it will be before they're dating~." Shampoo 
said in Mandarin.

"~Akane and that boy with the stick? Never would be my guess~," 
Ranma replied.

"~I just know how easily hate can turn into love~."

"Heh. I suppose you're right. I mean you used to hate me and now 
we're best friends!"

Shampoo smiled slightly, trying not to look too wistful. "Yes," she 
said. "Friends."

The first patters of rain began to fall and Ranma stood in front of 
the doorway long enough for the curse to activate. A girl once, 
more Ranma looked up at Shampoo and smiled. "I'm glad you're 
here, Shampoo. I missed you."

And with that, they both went inside.

~~~~~[END]~~~~~

I borrowed a bit from other series with this one. The yankii I got 
from Fruits Basket though I don't plan on making an official cross 
in this fic. I'm almost positive that the real Yankii, (if there is such 
a thing and it isn't just a name for a kind of person on the same level 
as "goth" in the US would be) are completely different from how I 
depict them here. If this fic reflects reality in any way I'll be 
shocked:-) 

When Shampoo first meets the Yankii Eriko calls her "chinpoko-
jin." Now, I really try to keep my Japanese use to a minimum but 
sometimes I can't help myself. "Chinpoko" is, as any student of 
South Park knows, Japanese for penis. Literally Chinpoko-jin 
would mean "penis person" but it sounds a lot like Chugoku-jin, 
which means "Chinese person." Initially the Yankii have just as 
much prejudice against the Chinese as Shampoo does against the 
Japanese in this fic.

A good bit of the Yankii accent I lifted from Tad Williams's 
Otherland series, and Mr Williams deserves credit for making 
some truly awesome characters there. I altered the accent a bit, and 
I might have gone over board, but it was fun.
 
Finally, there was an obscure reference to GTO, which is of course 
one of the greatest anime in the universe and it's creators also 
deserve credit; so I'm giving it here.

At the moment, this chapter is unreviewed. It would warm the 
cockles of my heart, whatever those are, to get some feed back on 
this. In other words...

C&C would be greatly appreciated.



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