Subject: [FFML] [C&C, MST-style][fanfic][draft][Ranma/MKR] Fire in the Water, chapter one
From: "S. 'Zoogz' Jamison" <zoogz22@yahoo.com>
Date: 2/13/2007, 10:35 PM
To: ffml@anifics.com
CC: lurkerdrome@sbcglobal.net
Reply-to:
ssjamis@yahoo.com


Major thanks, Lurker, for not only giving me a good read but also a
good MSTing opportunity, all for my birthday to boot.  In this case, I
MST because I love... this first chapter was pretty good, but I
couldn't quite resist with all the possibilities.

Apologies myself for the formatting; I bet I broke a paragraph or two
in here.

======================================================

The thin, cool mist he'd encountered at every step of his journey so
far thickened as he descended further down the trail.

Ahh, entering Los Angeles...

He had to tread more carefully as visibility was reduced to
practically nothing. Ahead of him, he heard the sound of water
dripping. He continued onward.

Continuing and continuing, more and more onward, as he continued.

A little farther down the trail, he heard faint voices. Straining to
hear, he could make out two: one was laughing cruelly. The other
was...a girl crying?

Ahh, the sweet sounds of Simon Cowell berating another contestant.
New season, on FOX!

*Tasukete...*

A green and yellow basket, you say?

Gritting his teeth, he strode down the trail, unmindful of the
blinding fog.

Santa Monica *had* to be nearby.  It couldn't have gotten lost, could
 it?

The mist began to part, and a spectacle from hell unfolded before him.

Van Nuys!

The valley was filled with small, shallow pools, their surfaces
pristine, unperturbed by the atrocities being committed only meters
away.

At the opposite end of the valley, tied with double sets of bonds to a
splintered, uneven bamboo crucifix, was a young girl,

Britney Spears doing another music video?

perhaps fifteen at most, with matted, tangled red hair. She was
filthy, naked, covered with welts and bruises, and crying.

Finally, "America's Most Wanted: After Dark" premieres.

Dark rings circled her watery sienna eyes.

She resolved to grab the fire flower next time.

One set of the bonds lashing her slim wrists to the rough bamboo were
dull copper, and looked to be somewhat frayed, strands straying from
the braiding.

Uh-oh, Grissom's gonna find some of it...

A somewhat burnt ribbon was tied to the red braid.

A Pepsi commercial was seen lurking in the bushes.

*Tasukete...*

Her tormentor stood before her, his posture arrogant and his laughter
cold and mocking. 

When Willard Scott finally snaps.

Beside the man lay a pile of sundry torture implements; 

Fingernail picks, tongue looseners, and Barney DVDs.
<guard> Where is your king?
<Cary Elwes>  King Richard?  King Kong?  Larry King?

if the rust-coloured stains on them were any indication,
all had seen recent use.

While I understand rust would make the torture worse, abusing
 her poor skin, does the guy clean them and just not dry them?
Yeah, usually "rusty" means unused, like my MSTing skills.

Suddenly, he found himself no longer able to move. Rooted to his
spot on the trail, he could only watch in horror as the cruel man
violated his young prisoner.

Until he was brushed aside by the Crack Suicide Squad of the Judean
 People's Front!

Her screams rent deep gashes in his soul. He struggled to no avail
against the paralysis which forced him to stand by helplessly.

Darn those roving bands of naughty Pikachus.

Angry tears streamed from his eyes in tandem with the fluids trickling
down her bruised thighs,

Synchronized emissions!
The Olympics are getting desperate...
o/~ The inquisiiition, let's be-gin... the inquisiiition, look out
sin...

mirrored by the agonised, shame-filled tears rolling down the abused
girl's dry, cracked cheeks.

You fiend!  Torturing her is bad enough, but at least MOISTURIZE her!

*TASUKETE!!*

Her tormentor then turned to face him. An arrogant sneer darkened the
all too familiar features...the ones he saw in the mirror every day.

Though that crossed circle he wore on his chest was a new twist...

Saotome Ranma awoke screaming.

<Ranma> YAAAHH!  I'm dominating me!!

"*TASUKETE...!!*"

====================================

And here we have the interrupted train of thought...


FIRE IN THE WATER

The graphic story of the Cuyahoga River.

Ranma 1/2 X Magic Knight Rayearth

a Studio ELL fanfiction production

A cruci-fanfiction?

Disclaimers:

No bamboo was harmed in the making of this fanfic.

Ranma 1/2 property of Takahashi Rumiko, Shogakukan, VIZ
Communications.

Magic Knight RayEarth property of CLAMP, Kodansha, Media Blasters.

Characters and situations borrowed from or mirroring other series
copyright the respective owners and used without permission.

The torture instruments must be native to the fanfic.

====================================

-1-


Ranma barely noticed the sign which bounced off the back of his head;

Though the next thing he knew, he was being presented to the Tendo
 girls.
<Ranma> Sorry about this.

he paid no heed to the disgruntled panda which rolled over on the
futon beside him, soon emitting loud snores.

Nor did he worry about the rabid aardvark, the constipated beaver, or
 the irritable muskrat... though soon he would.

His pulse was racing; sweat ran in cold rivulets down his face, neck, 
and spine.

How can he practice his synchronized emissions without anyone else
 around?
Yet his "Old Spice High Endurance" worked better than ever!

The door opened, and the bleary, sleep-worn face of Tendou Akane
peeked into the room. "Ranma?" she asked drowsily. "What is it?"

<Ranma> My room, but that's not important right now.

*Crap!* 

Otherwise known as "the last time Ranma goes to the Nekohanten on
 Mexican day."

"Ah...nothin', Akane. I just had a bad dream. Sorry."

The youngest Tendou sister frowned uncertainly at him. "Are you sure?"
The black piglet nestled in her arms afforded Ranma a baleful glare.

Though P-chan found that he had enough left over for a disdainful
snort.
Smiles /= free, that's for sure.

"Yeah, I said it was nothin'! Go on back to sleep."

<Akane> Sure thing, Screech.  Mind telling me when the air raid is
 over then?

"Well...okay, if you're sure you're alright," Akane replied
hesitantly.  "Goodnight, Ranma." With that, she slid the door closed
again and headed back to bed.

Issuing a course correction for the head halfway to port.

Ranma sighed, shoulders slumping. "Man, what the hell's wrong with
me...wakin' up screamin' from a damn dream..."

Deciding he wasn't going to be getting back to sleep soon, and
figuring it was probably close enough to morning that it didn't really
matter anyway,

Ranma couldn't quite dismiss the call of a fresh pack of Timbits.

Ranma disentangled himself from his futon, grabbed some clothes to
work out in, 

...and wondered when Soun decided to be a lumberjack.
<Ranma> He's not okay anymore.

and headed down the hall.

Where his training consisted of crushing people's heads.

In the bathroom, he stripped off his sweaty tank top and filled a 
bucket with cold water.

He then proceeded to stand on his head and sing "The Mikado".

He stared into it apprehensively, the images of the nightmare which
had woken him still burning through his consciousness.

Though it was a darned sight better than the "Yanni" concert Kasumi
 watched last night.
 
With a deep breath, he dumped the water over his head, and stared 
into the mirror.

Tormented red-brown eyes stared back at her from a grimy, tear-stained
face.

Oh, wait!  Wasn't this a puzzle in 7th Guest or something?

She let out a gasp and stepped backward involuntarily--and the
reflection in the mirror returned to the usual sapphire-eyed visage of
Ranma's female self; the grime and tear tracks were no more than
bleary shadows of lack of sleep and sweat marks.

The narrator was just as sweat-soaked from croaking that sentence out.

Shuddering, the cursed martial artist took a deep, shaky breath, and
laughed softly.

First about mittens, then about the piece of string she found.

"Stupid curse," she muttered. "I'm startin' t' crack up."

Following up with a cupful of hot water and towelling off, Ranma
dressed and headed out through the window, landing silently in the
garden.

Which, by major coincidence, happened to be where Mr. Boddy's remains
 were found.

Standing on one foot and taking a deep, calming breath,

...he prepared to rub his tummy and pat his head.

he began a complicated kata, moving swiftly and silently through 
the night, barely discernable from the shadows cast by the
streetlights.

Lord Godha was a strict and demanding lord, and Ranma's training
 was paramount.

The familiar and repetitive motions allowed him to attempt to clear
his mind of the disturbing images from the dream, a difficult task;

Almost like when Ranma took that wine-making course and forgot how to
 drive.

the horrifying and graphic events from the nightmare were livid, like
a fresh, raw wound.

The events were a dullish-blue discoloration?
(Real-life nitpicking: adjective "livid" is modifying noun "events",
 and the adjective livid carries a connotation of physical damage,
 whereas the adjective "vivid" may imply that the events (and the
 images of the events, the sentence above) were unforgettable rather
 than physically damaging)

It disturbed him profoundly that the girl in the dream had looked
so much like himself--

...though it enchanted him to see that mole he always wondered about
 from the outside.

and even more that it had been he himself who had raped her.

<Ranma> Was I asking for it?

No, that couldn't be right. Saotome Ranma was not that kind of person.

Though if someone offered him a Klondike bar...
 
He certainly would never...

But the memory of the nightmare refused to be denied, and Ranma's form
began to falter slightly as he shook from the raw emotions that the
dream had stirred.

Or was that Tokyo's bi-monthly 6.0 quake?

Caught up in his inner turmoil, he failed to notice the dew-slicked
grass his toes were angling for as he landed from an aerial kick...

<Gregory Hines> Oh man, some Roman Red!  Get me the rolling papyrus!

She pulled her sodden body from the pond, shivering from the chill,
and stood at the edge, wringing her shirt out into the water before
trudging wearily back to the house.

The pond raised another four inches.

She ignored the spectres of the nightmare girl's eyes in her
reflection on the water as best she could.

Her bladder was another story.

* * * * * * *

"Father? I have found something strange in the mountain pass near the
springs."

Some dad-blamed fool toting an Alpine horn?
Riiiiiii-cola!

The Guide of Jusenkyou turned to see his young daughter, Plum, remove
a worn knapsack from over her shoulder. "What is it, daughter?" he
asked.

A pathway between two hills, but that's not important right now.
Okay, enough of the "Airplane!" schtick.

Plum removed a dirty white object from the knapsack and laid it on the
table. 

<Plum> We've got smoochers.
<Guide> Please don't pick any more of those up off the ground.

"It looks almost like some sort of glove," she replied. "See, here?

You can almost tell where it was inflated like a balloon.

It looks meant to be worn on the hand."

Huh?  Wha??  Oh, she's Chinese.

"You're right, it does resemble a warrior's glove," the Guide replied,
nodding.

<Guide> It says... "Raw-lings".  The warrior must've carried a big
club.
<Plum> Maybe even 32 ounces.

"It is very small, though...as though for a child, or..."

"For a woman," Plum replied.

Or a doll, or an effeminate scarecrow.

The grimy white glove lay on the table, the dusty red stone on the
back gleaming dully in the soft lantern light of the hut. Suddenly, a
bright crimson flare illuminated the gem, pulsing three times, like a
heartbeat.

o/~ The heart of rock n' roll is still beat-in'... in Cleveland!

Then it was gone, and once more the glove looked simply old and
dirty.

The Guide and his daughter looked at one another.

<Guide> More of that pink mold in the water barrel again?
<Plum> Whoooaaaa...

"Joketsuzoku?" Plum asked.

"It has to be," her father replied, nodding. Sighing, he added, "Pack
for a hike...we'll leave in half an hour."

* * * * * * *

Three days later, they meandered to a halt next to a tree trunk.

Ranma sighed as he dodged another water balloon thrown by a pack of 
rowdy elementary school kids scampering up the street ahead of them.

The Youth of Japan - always on guard against... dry highschoolers.
 
"Annoying brats," he muttered.

"If you weren't on top of the fence, you wouldn't be such a tempting
target, Ranma," Akane said, giggling slightly.

Nor was the "hit me" sign P-chan managed to get on Ranma's back.
Is that why everyone straddles the fence nowadays?

"You got a point," Ranma admitted, jumping down to land beside her.
Cheering at their small victory, and giving the pair several rude
gestures, the pack of small children ran off, laughing and yelling.

Dennis the Menace, Calvin, and Ashton Kutcher cheer their victory!
<Ranma> Dammit, if only they were in season right now...

Once they were well gone, Akane turned to Ranma. "You've been kind of
out of it all morning. What's wrong?"

"Eh, it's nothin'."

Only when they were well and truly gone would Ranma open up.

"It's that dream you had last night, isn't it?"

"Ah, what d'you know about it?"

<Akane> Did it involve Ed McMahon and Yul Brynner?
<Ranma> Naw, that was last week.

"Fine," Akane snapped, turning away in a huff. They continued on in
tense silence for almost a full minute.

As they continued on, onwardly continuing in an onward fashion.

Ranma sighed. "I...did somethin' horrible," he said.

<Ranma> I forgot to disclaim my fanfic!  An-an-an... I've been
indicted!

Akane blinked. "Huh?"

"Th' dream. I saw myself--or at least it looked like me--doin' awful
things t' some girl who looks...who looks just like me. When I'm a
girl, I mean.

She dreamed she was in an Ed Wood film.

Except she didn't have th' same eyes as me. An' it...it was at
Jusenkyou."

"What kind of awful things?"

<Ranma> She... she... EXFOLIATED me!  And then she did my hair!!

Ranma shook his head. "You don't wanna know that, Akane. You really
really don't."

The short-haired girl frowned. "Maybe it's part of the curse? Maybe it
has something to do with something that happened to the girl who
drowned in the spring? 

<Akane> Either that or Egypt will have seven years of plenty followed
 by seven years of famine.

I mean, could the curse work that way?"

"Man...I hope not," Ranma replied, shuddering. "Anyway, it's been damn
near a year since I fell in that stupid spring...don'tcha think
somethin' like that woulda happened before now?"

Huh, the webbed feet must still be a coincidence to Ranma.

"How should I know? I don't know a thing about Chinese curses!"

"Well excuse me!"

<canned studio laughter>

Another tense silence engulfed the two. Nearly two minutes had
passed when Akane said, softly, "Ranma...thank you."

"Huh?"

"For opening up to me. I know...how hard it must be for you to tell
someone something like that."

And as Nabiki pulls off the Akane mask...

Ranma shrugged. "Eh, Pop'd bitch me out for sayin' anything about it,
cuz it's probably not very manly or nothin'." He paused. "But that
dream...really bothered me, Akane. An'...I guess I hadda tell someone,
an' maybe, I dunno, I guess I just trust you more than I trust anybody
else."

<Ranma> Wot's wrong wif de way I tolk?
<Stewie Griffin> Heavens, you don't so much speak the language as chew
 on it and spit it out.

Akane's face grew warm. "Ranma..." Unconsciously, her hand stole
closer to his...

<Akane> Honk honk!

*SPLASH*

"SHIT!" Ranma yelled, wiping cold, sticky soda out of her eyes with
her sleeve. "YOU LITTLE BRATS! GET BACK HERE!"

<Ranma> Cor blimey, you got me shirt all soppin'!

Akane watched the feisty redhead chase after two straggling elementary
school students, worry, affection, and amusement in her eyes.

There was barely enough room left for the iris.
Ranma as Ron Artest in "They Got Her Soppin' "
 
"Ranma..."

* * * * * * *

Beating little kids to within an inch of their lives leaves Akane all
 wistful.

Ten minutes later, the two girls were dashing madly through the
streets.

Cool, it's the Dirty Pair!

What sympathy Akane had earlier felt for Ranma's plight was erased by
irritation with the redhead.

<Akane> Your dreams?  What about my tardies!!

"Honestly, Ranma, we're gonna be so late we're dead! And all because
you had to chase that kid halfway to Suginami for spraying you!"

"With soda! Sticky soda! Water's one thing, but..."

Ranma's not Ranma unless she's fresh all over.

"And did you HAVE to kancho that poor kid?"

<Ranma> I'll have you know, I performed the "1000 Years of Pain"
 routine on him, thankyew.

"HE HAD IT COMIN'!"

Shouldn't that be " 'e 'ad it comin' "?
<Ranma> Bang!  Zop!  To the moon, Akane!

Akane rolled her eyes. "Whatever. We'd better hurry..."

They barely made it to Fuurinkan High School before the gates closed.

Phew, they almost had to pay the toll.

Panting and puffing, the two girls took a moment to rest before
heading into the school proper. However, they had failed to notice the
figure lurking behind a tree they had passed on the way in...

Jerry Seinfeld hits the dating scene again.

Ranma suddenly tensed up as a pair of strong arms encircled her from
behind, hands clamping firmly on a very personal area. "Pigtailed
girl! Tendou Akane! I had feared this day a waste for not seeing my
loves among the throngs entering yon edifice of learning, and yet lo,
here you are!  Come, let us retire to a less noisome locale, that we
may--"

Shakespeare in the Park meets... well, less desirable park elements.

Whatever Kunou wished to do with them was not heard, for he was cut
short by a shrill, piercing scream from Ranma.

<Kuno> If you didn't want this, you could have just said so.
I bet it's just Ranma trying to get as many words out as possible.

Akane stared in worry at the redhead, who was struggling to break
free-- and should be able to do so easily. Yet her eyes had glazed
over, and she was standing there screaming her head off.

And that's Ranma's impression of an air raid siren.  Care to hear her
 do a horny wildebeest?

The youngest Tendou frowned. "Kunou-senpai, let her go."

<Akane> You know you can.  Just remember your mantras...

"My love appears to suffer from some distress. I must comfort her--"

"COMFORT THIS!" Akane broke a limb off the tree behind her and hit
Kunou about the head and shoulders with it until he released his grip
on the screaming redhead. Ranma collapsed bonelessly to the ground,
hugging herself tightly and shivering.

She's preparing for re-entry.

A pitiful whimper occasionally escaped her lips.

Every third Sunday, and twice on Arbor Day.

Sending Kunou off to dreamland with a final kick to the face, Akane
knelt beside Ranma, wrapping her arms comfortingly around her
shoulders. "Shh...it's okay...it'll be alright..."

Sing her Disney songs, Akane, she'll calm down after a few choruses of
 "Beauty and the Beast".

She cast an annoyed glance at the heads which were popping out of
windows all over the school building, but her annoyance was
overshadowed by worry.

Don't the kids inside *need* those heads in order to learn?

*Ranma, what's going on with you?* The sight of the smaller girl
collapsed on the ground sobbing, rather than being her usual brash,
energetic self, troubled Akane deeply.

He's changed and you're looking for loopholes.  What do you chicks WANT
 from us??

What could possibly have happened to have such a terrifying effect on
Ranma literally overnight?

"The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course"

And were her eyes playing tricks on her, or had Ranma's eyes turned
red for a few moments?

If so, it was time to call Ben Stein, Action Moisture Man!

* * * * * * *

Ranma kept his head low to his desk for the duration of the day. 

Which made a really funny beret.

Whispering and occasional glances from his classmates were quelled by
sharp, pointedly hostile glares.

Because the pleading whimpers didn't quite cut it.

He had no idea why he'd suddenly spazzed out that morning and had that
screaming fit instead of pounding Kunou like he normally did,

It must've been the New Year's resolution.

(no, that's not true...it has to do with that damn dream)

but the shame he felt from the incident--which he barely remembered;

...was enough to label him "burakumin" and sentence him to a life of
 pachinko parlor gambling.
 
his mind had become very hazy and unfocused at the time--burned
through him and ate away at his very core.

A dream or a fifth of sulfuric acid?  You make the call!

He prayed his mother and father didn't learn of the incident. He could
ignore the old man's rantings about acting like a girl, but his mother
was sure to give him a stern, disappointed look, and he didn't think
he could stomach that.

o/~  Fail-ure, fail-ure, failure failure failure!
He'll cover it up by not taking out the garbage and by leaving the
 toilet seat up.  She'll be too busy worrying about the little things.

Worst of all, Akane and, once she'd learned the details, Ukyou kept
shooting him looks of concern. He knew they were only worried about
him, but it still got on his nerves. He was a man, dammit!

He wasn't meant to be glanced at!  He was meant to be drunk in and
 adored!

This kind of thing didn't happen to men!

Ranma should've checked Chapter 23 of John Wayne's memoirs.

...right?

During one of his afternoon classes, he dozed off, and had another
dream.  This one wasn't as horrific as the previous nightmare, but it
was definitely odd,

o/~ In the town, where I was born... lived a man, who sailed to sea...

full of images that simply didn't make sense.

o/~ We all live in a yellow submarine!  A yellow submarine!

He'd awoken from the dream shouting something about the ocean,

<Ranma> Gaah!  Damn you, Ringo!

which caused the sensei to hit him on the head with his book and make
a scathing remark,

<teacher> Okay, Captain Nemo, it's time to leave Slumberland.

and the class to snicker.

Class going on for a while?  Laugh at the layabout.

On the way home, Ranma said softly to Akane, "Listen...what happened
today...I'd appreciate if you not mention it t' my folks."

<Nodoka> Sleeping in class is so unmanly!  Wait...

Akane nodded. "I understand. But Ranma...seriously, what's going on
with you?"

"I wish I knew, Akane. It's...I just wish I knew."

<Ranma> Hey Author, some Cliffs Notes please?

Both teens sighed. After a moment, Akane asked hesitantly, "Ranma?
That dream you had...did the girl...was she, um..." She paused. "Did
something...perverted happen to her?"

"Huh? Why do you ask?"

Akane blushes, paws the ground nervously...

"Because of the way you reacted to Kunou this morning. I just thought
maybe..."

Ranma's lips pressed into a thin line. "Yeah. I really don't wanna go
into details."

If you won't, Ranma, Kitty Kelly will.

"That's fine, I'd rather you didn't. It's just...if what we were
talking about earlier..." Akane paused.

"Yeah, I've been thinkin' about that," Ranma admitted.

<Ranma> And even if I can find a diesel engine, it's still no guarantee
we can get the couch airborne.  Narf!

"If this IS part of th' curse..." He frowned. "If I'm livin' out some
shit that happened t' that girl in my dreams..."

<Ranma> ...then when am I getting to the ice cream?

"I wish Tofu-sensei was still in town. I'm sure you could talk to him
about it."

Ranma snorted. "He ain't no shrink, an' I'll be damned if I talk to
one. I can barely stand talkin' to you about it." At Akane's frown, he
added hastily,

<Ranma> At least give me an idea of what I should be wearing in my
dreams... a cami, demi-cup?

"I didn't mean that th' way it sounded, Akane. I just meant..."

Akane's expression softened. "I...I know, Ranma. I know..."

<Ranma> Good.  'Cause I'm not asking you again.
<Akane> Huh??

* * * * * * *

Things did not improve over the course of the week.

Ranma's shrieks broke most of Furinkan's windows and the yard became
 hip-deep in unconnected heads.

Ranma occasionally lapsed into periods of unresponsiveness,

...and also started developing a goiter.

or developed a glazed, faraway look in his eyes. It happened more
frequently when he was a girl, and one day, he'd just wandered off
while in girl form. Akane had found him an hour and a half later,

<Ranma, sobbing> Dairy Queen... we tr-treat you right... WAAAHH!

in Minato-ku, sitting on a bench about five blocks from Tokyo Tower.

Guard duty.

He didn't have any memory of how he got there, or why he'd gone
there in the first place, and that disturbed him almost more than
anything else from the previous days.

It had to be the grand slam from the Denny's two blocks down.
It's so good you can't remember it!

His parents, naturally, found out about everything within two days of
the initial nightmare. His father reacted as expected,

...though was intrigued with the methods until Nodoka clonked him.

with much loud bellowing and declamations of Ranma's lack of manhood,
while his mother was far more worried and concerned--she immediately
came to the same conclusion Akane had, and almost insisted Ranma seek
the advice of Cologne.

While a sizable minority of Nabiki and Soun preferred the advice of Dr.
 Phil.

Ranma had vetoed that idea; 

Where it then died in committee meetings.

while it was true the elderly Amazon knew more than anyone else he
knew about Jusenkyou, he didn't feel comfortable sharing this new
problem with anyone he didn't trust implicitly--and that definitely
did not include Cologne or Shampoo.

Besides, Cologne may just fall asleep, and then Ranma would fall
 asleep, and then... well, the consequences would be terrible.

He especially didn't want Mousse to know about it. Two of his lapses
had resulted in his development of some unexplainable injuries, and he
would rather not have it known he was periodically vulnerable, lest
one of his adversaries decide to take advantage of the situation.

There was NO way Ranma wanted to go to Stuckey's on a date.

Ryouga had found out--by virtue of being P-chan--but rather than using
it against Ranma, he seemed oddly thoughtful about it all.

Yet no one was pondering what Ryouga was pondering...

Ranma didn't confront him about it, but he assumed that the lost boy
was probably wondering whether or not a similar effect would happen to
him.

<Ryouga> I don't want to be screechy... like Mariah Saotome there.

Six days after the nightmares and periodic lapses began, Fuurinkan's
sports festival took place. It was during this event that the
situation finally came to a head--almost tragically so.

When Ranma screamed "Fire" in a crowded gymnasium.  Tragic...

* * * * * * *

Ranma grumbled as she adjusted the embarassingly short, tight bloomers

she'd been forced into wearing.

Crucifying, torturing, AND fetish outfits!  Oh noes!!

"This bites," she groused.

"It can't be helped, Ranma," Akane explained apologetically.

Yeah it can, with Ranma walking out of the door.
<Akane> I enjoy the view AND your embarrassment.  Face it.

"We were short one girl for the opposing-sexes kibasen, and as a girl,
you're light enough that you make a perfect rider."

And the perfect snack, too!  It's new Lite Ranma!

Ranma snorted. "Yeah, yeah. I just hate wearin' this crap. What kinda
pervert came up with this shit?"

Akane giggled. "Every Japanese girl that's ever attended high school
has asked that same question."

Japan as directed by the Weitz brothers.

While they were milling about waiting for an event to begin, a series
of shrill, female screams rang out from the direction of the water
fountains, and began moving closer. Akane and Ranma looked grimly at
one another.

<Akane> We have schoolgirls in the pipes again.
<Ranma> I'll go get the plunger.

"Only one thing I can think of," Ranma said.
"Happousai?" Akane guessed.
Their suspicion was confirmed a moment later, when the shriveled old
pervert appeared over the heads of a crowd of enraged, panicking
girls.

Until they just realized that it was a prank, they were just staring at

 a cleverly-disguised fluorescent light.

He cackled as he angled in towards his preferred target. "Ranma-chan!
How lovely you look in that outfit! Here I cooooome!"

The lost pick-up lines of Kevin Federline.

The ancient martial artist landed squarely between Ranma's breasts.

And that's when it happened.

<Ranma> *smooch* Hey, baby, I've been waiting for hours!

Akane saw the change in Ranma's eyes immediately. The normal blue orbs
changed into a snapping, reddish sienna.

So, red.
Let's not jump to conclusions.

Blood rushed to the redhead's face, and a look of pure, unbridled fury
wrote itself across her features. A hot wind began buffeting Akane and
the other girls nearby, who backed away cautiously,

For some reason, Ranma decided that styling her hair was of paramount
concern with her Clairol 9200.

not wanting to get caught in the crossfire.

Ranma shrieked inarticulately, voice full of rage and pain.

So, she screamed.
Let's not jump to conclusions.

Suddenly, an aura of fire--pure fire--exploded outward from her,
blasting Happousai into the air. Akane and the other girls ran,
frantically trying to avoid being burned by the blaze which radiated
>from the redhead.

...that swallowed the dog to catch the cat, that swallowed the cat to
catch the mouse, that swallowed the mouse to catch the spider...

The entire population of Fuurinkan stared in horror as the inferno
spread, towering into the sky.

<random person> It's "Towering Inferno"!  Run away!!

Happousai, singed and startled, let out an angry shout. "What the hell
was THAT?"

Akane responded by smashing a folding chair over his head until he
collapsed. 

And when that didn't work, she threw him through the Spanish
announcer's 
 table.

By the time the ancient pervert was unconscious, the flames had died
down; a ten-meter-wide circle of scorched ground marked its passing.

The Nazis could forage at Furinkan no longer.

Of Ranma, there was no trace.

So let's leave it up to Jennifer Love Hewitt, on "Ghost Whisperer"!
 Fridays on CBS!

"Ranma...?" Akane's eyes widened, brimming with horrified tears.
"RANMA!!"

There was no answer.

So Akane left a voicemail.

Without a word to anyone, Akane took off, ignoring the buzz of murmurs
behind her.

Umm... Akane, that's a bananaphone...

*Ranma...please be okay...PLEASE...*

* * * * * * *

The redhead walked for hours, unmindful of the stares she received.
She couldn't say for certain where she was going, but somehow she
instinctively knew where she belonged, and it wasn't in the place she
had been.

<Ranma, singing> Movin' right along... foot-loose and fancy-free...
 gettin' there is half the fun, come share it with me!

Not where that...horrible...*thing* had...had...

The fire hadn't burned her, hadn't hurt anyone save her tormentor;
while her mind was so clouded she couldn't even remember who she was,
she did at least know she didn't want to hurt anyone.

Until of course she found some hot water and a mirror.

She couldn't take a train where she was going, for she had no money.

Not even that cool Coors train which brings all that snow?
 
She couldn't ask for help, for her voice was virtually gone from
screaming. 

So she was reduced to rubbing her head on other people's legs.
<Ranma, writing> "Tasukete"... waitaminute, no one will understand
me... 
 "helf"... no, that's not quite it... "will beat you up for food",
 that's the ticket.

So, she walked.

If only she listened to Michael Stipe, and "Stand in the place that
you're in!"

It was nearing sundown when she finally began to feel a sense of
familiarity about her surroundings. Her mind was also beginning to
clear, and she was beginning to remember who she was.

He thinks he's Ethel Merman.
<Ranma> Gotta dance!  Gotta sing!

As her memories slowly reconstructed themselves, she knew that she
was in the district of Tokyo in which she lived, and that her home
was...that way!

<Ranma> Ziggy, Al, I'm comin'!

She picked up her pace, ignoring her sore, tired feet.

As she walked, further ahead, she saw two familiar figures--

<Ranma> Sam Neill and Mary Steenburgen!  Wow!

both girls--dressed in school uniforms, heads bowed somberly. The
direction they were coming from was the cemetery for her district.

<Ranma> Oh, great.  Druish princesses.

She wanted to call out to them, but her throat was still raw and
hoarse from her earlier screaming. She tried to run to them, but her
legs were far too tired, and she couldn't bring herself to more than a
fast walk without tripping.

She tried to hail them, but when she waved her arms she started flying.
She tried to knock down a streetlight, but it just knocked back.

By the time she made it to the corner where they'd turned, they were
long since out of sight.

Staring morosely at her feet, she turned and headed in the direction
the two girls had come from. Hesitantly, she entered the cemetery,

And almost immediately, a Great Dane leapt into her arms.
Roh no!

wondering whose grave they had been visiting. She scanned the rows,
and spotted incense smoke still drifting over a particular marker. 

Until she got a good whiff of it.
Meditation took a back seat to munchies then.

Heading slowly that way, she found the fresh offerings left at the
white stone, and scanned the name engraved there.

"Hillary Clinton's Sincerity"

Her eyes widened, a brand new and wholly unwelcome terror filling her
soul.  "No..." she whispered scratchily.

It couldn't be true. It couldn't.

<Ranma> Anna Nicole, how could you?  You were my inspiration!!

This...was HER grave...?

Though she had to admit, that new Ghost of Christmas Future's shoes
 were pretty kicky.

Unable to cope with this newest traumatic shock in what had been an
overwhelmingly trying day, she collapsed in a dead faint.

Smolken!  Clean-up on aisle 3!

Two minutes later, she rose to a sitting position, blinking bleary
sapphire eyes open and staring around. "Huh? Where am I--ugh!" Her
throat was far too raw for speech, so she settled for examining her
surroundings as she massaged it.

<Ranma> That's the last time I try singing "Walk Like a Man" even as a
 girl.  Oww....

Her eyes fell on the grave marker before her, and she frowned in
confusion. The name was unfamiliar, but something inside her felt
strangely uncomfortable about this memorial.

"Celebrating Random Traffic Accidents since 1973!"

Noticing the position of the sun, she cursed inwardly and stood,
dusting herself off and trying to get her bearings.

As she left the cemetery, a last curl of smoke rose above the stone 
marked "SHIDOU HIKARU", before dissipating into nothingness, leaving
the air still and silent.

Though Alice still had to decide which side of the caterpillar's
 mushroom to eat.



======================================================



Notes: For those who haven't figured it out, this is a total rewrite
of 
a fanfic I abandoned several years ago entitled "Onna: Red Side". The
prologue and the premise itself are basically all I'm keeping.
Everything else is being completely rewritten from scratch, using the
original as a loose outline. I'd like to think that over the years
I've
spent reading and writing, I've developed enough as a writer to do
this
story the justice it deserves, and I've recently become motivated to
take a shot at it.

Unfortunately, my knowledge of Rayearth has decayed somewhat over
time,
since it's been several years since I last watched the series, so I'm
going to need a lot of help on some aspects of future drafts. Please
feel free to contribute whatever comments and constructive criticism
you may have.

I can't promise frequent updates. I won't promise more than one
chapter
a month. What I will promise is that I'll AT LEAST have as much of
FitW
written, in the coming months, as I originally had of O:RS, and that
I'll endeavor to make it a far more enjoyable read.

Thank you for reading, and please feel free to comment and review.



================================
Did you hear about the impotent robot?
Turns out he had a missing fux capacitor.
             ~~*~~
The Eternal Lost Lurker
www.lurkerdrome.com

This was fun, in all honesty, and I can't even name the last time I
drafted a MSTing in only about six hours (and around a workday to
boot).  Hope the speed doesn't show too badly though.

As above, good luck writing this Lurker, I look forward to new chapters
myself.

  ---S. "Zoogz" Jamison



 
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