I do not own anything written by Rumiko Takahashi or Kosuke Fujishima.
Naked and lying on her stomach on the blanket-covered floor of their bedroom, Nabiki groaned with pleasure as Ranma's broad, male hands worked over the sore, tense muscles of her upper back and shoulders, gently massaging away the tight knots left over from her afternoon training with Nodoka. "Oooohhhh," she moaned, "a world-class martial artist and a masseuse, too. Is there no end to your talents?"
Ranma chuckled. "Yeah, well, Pop may have done his best ta kill me from time ta time, but he did his best fer me when I failed ta die, an' that best wasn't too bad. That's why I wasn't too surprised when we found him workin' fer Dr. Tofu."
"Well, I was," Nabiki muttered, remembering how her shock had reduced her to stuttering when she and Ranma had walked into Dr. Tofu's clinic the morning after Gosunkugi's summoning to find a giant panda greeting the patients. Ranma had ended up being the one to pass on the message that they wouldn't be able to try to break the curse on Tofu and Kasumi that weekend, after all.
"At least Mom decided ta do yer kenjutsu trainin' in the afternoon instead a' the mornin'," Ranma continued, and Nabiki thought she could feel his grin in the amused affection caressing her as gently as his hands. "She muttered somethin' about a livin' zombie when I asked her why."
"Right, do you know how disgusting it is, the way you and your ... and Mother are so alert and cheerful that early?"
Ranma just laughed as he continued working his way down along her body until he reached her toes, then ordered her to roll over and worked his way back up her front. She was practically purring by the time his hands moved from her breasts to her shoulders, down along her arms, then cupped her cheeks as he leaned down to gently press his lips to hers — not exactly professional behavior, but she definitely had no complaints.
Okay, so it isn't sex, but I could definitely get used to this. It might actually make Mother's training worth it, she thought through her pleasure-haze as he carefully picked her up and laid her on their bed. Scooping the blanket from the floor, he spread it across her, turned off the light, then slipped beneath it and pulled her against him.
"My turn ta hold you, tonight," he whispered in her ear, and a happily much-loved Nabiki faded into sleep with his breath on her neck, a smile on her lips, and the sound of falling rain on the roof.
Ranma's eyes shot open, instantly alert. Normally, he was a sound sleeper, but he'd found sleep difficult to come by and uneasy when achieved this first night since Gosunkugi's summoning that he'd spent in his human form. Now he listened intently for some hint in the sound of the rain still falling for whatever had awoken him. Then it came again, the faint scuffle of careful footsteps of someone looming over the bed — someone male, by the slightly darker outline in the room's general darkness.
"Wake up, Ranma-kun, it's me — Ryoga," the dark form demanded.
Ranma's eyes widened. Ryoga, here? But the way he'd attacked him without warning at the school, and Nabiki in bed between him and the Lost Boy...
Without a word, Ranma's hands shot out, grabbing onto the front of Ryoga's shirt, yanking him forward even as Ranma's legs bunched to catch him in the gut, and with a twisting grunt Ranma threw the larger boy over the bed, through the closed window and out into the rain. Even as a groggy Nabiki was lifting her head from her pillow, the pigtailed boy rolled to his feet and dove through the broken window after him, dropping to land feet-first on the narrow strip of lawn that ran between the compound wall and the house under the Tendo sisters' ... and now his ... bedrooms. Even as a growling Ryoga climbed to his feet and shrugged his backpack into a more comfortable position on his back, Ranma felt her rain-soaked boxer shorts and T-shirt drop through her now-insubstantial body to the wet grass she was abruptly floating a few inches above. The night suddenly became lighter, and Ranma winced as the hatred and anger radiating from Ryoga rolled over her.
"Ryoga-kun, it's the middle of the night! What are you doing here?" the nature spirit demanded.
"Silence, does revenge know night or day?" Ryoga shouted, his eyes searching for the origin of the now-female voice.
Ranma rolled her eyes. "That, again? What did I ever do ta make ya hate me that much? It can't just be fer beatin' ya ta the bread at our old school."
Glaring at the empty space that as best he could tell the female voice was coming from, the fanged boy ground out, "I'll say one thing, before I send you to hell. When you ran out on our duel, I followed you ... all the way to China!"
"To China! How did you ... ?" Ranma broke off, staring at the naked boy in the hazily translucent clothes and thinking furiously. Considering the cool rain she could feel (she was finding it hard not to giggle at the sensation of scores of tickling fingers slashing through her) Ryoga couldn't have visited Jusenkyo, he must be soaked. But what else ... ? "You got Kissed, didn't you?" she hooted, instinctively clutching at her sides as she broke into gales of laughter.
"Silence!" Ryoga screamed, and Ramna's laughter cut off as she found herself squinting against the sickly-green glow of the ki the Lost Boy was suddenly radiating. "Because of you, I can never know peace! If I must know hell while alive, you will know it in death!" he shouted, and leaped straight toward the supposedly invisible succubus in a flying kick. Ranma spun up and over the boy as she instinctively tried to leap up out of the way and knock his forward-thrusting leg safely down and sent herself flying instead.
Nabiki stared helplessly through the broken window down into the yard, ignoring the rain on her face as she watched her lover bring her spin under control and whirl where she floated just in time to dodge another flying kick, her own foot slamming into Ryoga's stomach as she twisted out of the way and instinctively counterattacked. But instead of Ryoga folding over her foot, the redhead was sent flying backwards, carried by the boy's momentum until Ryoga grabbed the leg offered and threw her at — and through — the dojo compound wall.
Behind her, her bedroom door slammed open as Akane and Kasumi rushed in, Akane in her nighttime T-shirt and panties and Kasumi holding her nightgown closed with one hand and a dumbbell in the other. Akane snatched up the bokken leaning against the wall by the door, and was quickly followed through the door by Nodoka in a night gown with sheathed katana in hand. The middle Tendo glanced over her shoulder long enough to verify the identity of the newcomers, then turned back to the window just in time to see Ranma flash back through the wall, flying level with her fists thrust forward like a movie Superman. The succubus lost a bit of momentum to the need to adjust her direction as her opponent tried to dodge, but was still moving fast enough for her fists smashing into Ryoga's jaw to twist his head around and send him stumbling to the side, dropping his umbrella.
Nodoka and the other girls joined her at the window, her sisters on either side as Nodoka stood on tiptoe to look over their heads. "Oh, my!" Kasumi gasped, her free hand over her mouth in dismay at the sight of the part-time nature spirit swinging up wide into the air, then swooping back down toward the large boy only to get hammered to the side by a twisting kick.
"How is he doing that?" Nabiki all but yelled. "In the last fight he couldn't see or sense Ranma in nature spirit form, and now he's nailing her every time, how?"
"It's the ki," Akane said suddenly.
"What?" the other three chorused, looking at her.
"He's radiating ki ... he's making it stick to the rain, somehow. It must be like the way he was able to make his bandanas hard when he threw them at Ranma last time, when Ranma kicked one away from him ... her. I asked Ranma later how he did it when he can only touch living things, and he said Ryoga had put some of his ki in his bandanas to make them stiff and hard, it made them glow. I think Ryoga's doing the same thing with the rain, and —"
"And that's turning the rain into a detection system from the way Ranma pushes it out of the way when she flies through it, if it doesn't just outline her from sticking to her," Nabiki finished, turning back to the fight just in time to see Ranma charge in, wings now visible and pulled in tight for extra speed, only to plow face-first into the lawn as Ryoga whirled out of the way and smashed an elbow down into the small of her back. Ranma shook her head, then frantically rolled toward the wall as Ryoga's leap brought him smashing down where she'd been a moment before. The succubus shouted in pain as one of her wings didn't make it out of the way and was ground into the grass under the boy's feet, leaving her pinned in place, lying face up on the grass and staring up at Ryoga's fanged face.
"Okay, that's it," Nabiki snarled, "time for us to break this up."
Ranma tried to block Ryoga's follow-up punch only to have it hammer through to smash into her gut, and Akane winced as she watched the faint greenish glow-speckled female-shaped something that felt like Ranma curl around the strike with an involuntary mew of pain. "But ... it's a duel ..." she said reluctantly.
"Does my broken window look like it's a duel?" Nabiki demanded. "He crept into our room in the middle of the night! He's no different than Kuno and the Horde."
Nodoka nodded, dropping off her tiptoes and drawing her katana from its sheath. "You're right," she agreed, turning to stride toward the door.
Akane started to follow, bokken still in hand, only to stop as Kasumi grabbed her shoulder. "Wait, it's too dangerous," Kasumi asserted, and handed her youngest sister the dumbbell she'd brought with her. "Here, use this."
Akane stared at the dumbbell for a long moment, then grinned viciously. "Nabiki, out of the way!" she ordered. Nabiki watched yet another punch slam into Ranma's chest, glanced up at her younger sister, eyes widening as Akane held up the dumbbell, then hastily stepped out of the way as a grin to match her sister's spread across her face. Akane stepped into the space in the middle of the window, hefted the dumbbell as she watched another blow hammer home, then threw.
Ryoga snarled as he smashed another blow through Ranma's weakening defense, viciously twisting his feet on the trapped wing, exultation washing through him at the breathy shriek from the semi-amorphous female figure framed by softly green-glowing drops and rivulets of rain. It had worked! It had worked, and now he finally had the arrogant coward that had run out on their fight all the way to China where he could repay him for every moment of self-loathing, every sleepless night, every replay of the nightmare that had haunted him since China, every ...
Pinwheeling stars exploded across his vision, his chin smashing into his chest as the hurled dumbbell slammed into the back of his head. He stumbled forward, tripped over the succubus lying at his feet, and smashed head-first, backpack and all, into the compound wall and flopped at its base. Groaning as he rolled onto his side, he shook his head and instantly regretted it as pain exploded behind his eyes. He sat up and clutched his head, then looked toward his nemesis to see the glow-speckled and -streaked form rising, the wings vanishing into the humanoid torso ... and the glow was flickering. He realized with dawning horror that his ki was no longer radiating, and fading from where it had lodged. Time to go.
Forcing himself to his feet, the Lost Boy looked around for his umbrella ... it was behind and to the side of an increasingly invisible Ranma, he'd have to recover it later. Turning and leaping to the top of the wall (and suppressing a yell of his own at what the effort did to his throbbing head), he dropped to the sidewalk beyond (a not-so-suppressed groan) and started to run across the street, only to freeze as half a dozen women ghosted out of the night into the light of the streetlights, forming a half-circle in front of him.
A girl stepped forward, a chúi in each hand ... the same girl that had interfered with his last duel with that coward Ranma. She smiled broadly. "So, you have finally returned ... Husband."
Ranma gasped with relief as the grinding pressure on her wing vanished, along with the almost incapacitating, all-encompassing pain that came with it. Distantly, she felt an impact against her side, then heard the crunch of something slamming into the compound wall. Turning to focus pain-filled eyes, she watched as her nemesis flopped to the ground, leaving a small, barely-visible crater behind in the translucent wall. Ryoga slowly rolled to a sitting position as he clutched at his head even as the green ki he had been radiating vanished.
The nature spirit tried to roll to her hands and knees and found herself bobbing up into the air as she retracted her wings, leaving a red-hot bar of pain in a vertical strip along one shoulder blade that reduced the pain in her gut, chest, and the small of her back to faint aches. Note to self: never keep yer wings out in combat. I have never felt pain like that, she thought as she rotated her shoulder, then ran a hand along her chest between her breasts. Okay, so there's some good points ta bein' a ... how did Nabs put it? ... a bundle a' energy shaped like a human. If I'd been human instead a' just lookin' like one, I'd have cracked ribs at least, and probably ended up pissin' blood for awhile. Instead I ache, but nothin's stabbin' me when I move or hurtin' worse.
Abruptly the Lost Boy rose to his feet, one hand on the wall for support. Even as Ranma had been examining herself she'd been keeping an eye on him, along with her empathy, sensing the hatred, and ... was that guilt? ... and something else overpowering the rest the nature spirit didn't recognize that she'd been picking up from her father sometimes, and a few times from her mother... Whatever it was, as he stood up the mélange of emotions suddenly shifted into a mix of reluctance and determination, and the change instantly had Ranma's undivided attention even as she straightened and turned sideways, one arm cocked to grab any punch. This time, she was going to remember her practice, and ... and the Lost Boy leaped upward with a grunt of pain, almost seeming to hang for a moment in empty air where he balanced on top of the wall, then dropped to the outside sidewalk and started to run across the street.
Well, that was a surprise, Ranma thought as she stared at the back of her rapidly retreating opponent. Good riddance. Next time I'll be ready, and we'll see — And suddenly the Amazons that she'd gotten so used to seeing hanging around her that they'd become part of the background moved out of bushes, away from trees, around corners of barely visible houses, and stepped out into the street to intercept the fleeing martial artist.
Ryoga slammed to a stop, dropping into a defensive stance for a moment, before suddenly stepping to the side, hand knocking aside a chúi sweeping through the space he'd vacated. Ranma's eyes widened as the girl that had interrupted their last fight came into view beyond the large boy, spinning in place, second chúi swinging for the side of his head. Ryoga dropped into a crouch beneath the swing, beginning a leg sweep only to clutch at his head and sprawl to the side as his backpack overbalanced him.
Then the first chúi swept back, clipping the Lost Boy's temple and bouncing his head off the hard roadway. Ryoga went limp, and Ranma found herself in motion, flashing through the wall toward the women in her 'Superman' pose only to curve away and into a hover above them as the girl ... Shampoo? ... aborted her next strike.
As Ranma watched, four of the other women moved in and lifted the unconscious teenager to their shoulders, backpack and all, and started carrying him away, Shampoo taking the lead and the last Amazon falling in behind. Okay, looks like Ryoga did get Kissed in China, the hovering succubus thought. At least, maybe ... I mean, sure, it's embarrassing ta get chased outa China by a bunch a' girls, but he hates me that much fer just that? What if it's somethin' more serious? She watched them move away down the street for a long moment then flew to catch up, circling along above the little procession.
Turning around the outside corner of the house, Nodoka's bare feet skidded on the wet grass and for a moment she hung suspended, flinging out her hand holding the katana to avoid cutting herself in a highly embarrassing fall even as she cursed herself for her haste — she knew better, damn it!
Just as her center of balance was tilting past the point of no return, a hand flashed out to catch her upper arm and pull her upright. "Easy, No-chan, Akane has it handled. The girl ought to consider a career in baseball," Genma said absentmindedly from where he stood out of the rain under the narrow overhang around the house, his eyes fixed on the combatants on the narrow strip of lawn under the girls' and Ranma's bedroom windows.
Ignoring the unwelcome familiarity for more important concerns, the former Saotome focused on the lawn beneath the broken window. She caught sight of the large teenage boy her son ... daughter, at the moment ... had been fighting leaping to the top of the compound wall in spite of the large pack on his back, but ignored him as he dropped down out of sight on the opposite side to focus on her daughter. The naked redhead was floating upright, relaxing from one of the new stances that Nodoka had watched her practice, staring at ... no, staring through the wall. Even as Nodoka stepped toward her daughter, Ranma was suddenly in motion, flashing through the wall.
Nodoka bit back a shout — she didn't know what was on the other side of the wall. Striding over underneath the broken window, she called up softly, "Nabiki, can you see what's going on out there?"
"It's the Amazons," Nabiki called back. "They took down that stalker and now they're carrying him off, I figure back to their camp. For some reason that completely escapes me, Ranma's following them."
"Where from what you said there's at least one Awakened that can see her, of unknown but substantial power," Nodoka added with a sigh, and turned. "Saotome-san —" she started, only to find herself alone.
Ryoga groaned as he slowly became aware of the world around him. He was lying on his back, on blanket-covered ground, from the sound of the rain still falling he was under canvas, and his head was pounding hard enough to threaten to bring tears to his eyes. What had happened? He'd been giving that honorless coward Ranma what he deserved, and something had hit the back of his head, given Ranma the chance to recover, he'd decided to leave to try again later, and ... those crazy girls from China!
His eyes shot open to find a blurry face inches away from his own, and he realized there'd been hands on both sides of his head when they released him and the face withdrew. A soft, clear, lovely voice said something in what might be Chinese.
"Speak in Japanese, child," another voice said, rough with age.
"Of course, Honored Elder," the first voice said. "Husband truly has a hard head. Besides First Wife's love taps, he's taken another blow to the back of the head. He has a moderate concussion, but no internal bleeding. He should be fine with a little rest."
Ryoga sat up and carefully looked around, finding himself in what looked like a park, as best he could tell in the nighttime rain; he focused on the people talking. The aged voice turned out to belong to a tiny gnome of a ... well, with the long white hair and the voice she was probably a woman ... balancing on a staff. And the young voice was — he froze, eyes widening in shock as he found himself staring at the face that had haunted his nightmares for weeks. "Y-Y-You ... you ... you're alive!" he gasped out.
"Of course, I'm alive," the young woman said, brow furrowing. "Why wouldn't I be?"
"I thought I'd ... I'd ..." Ryoga broke off and fought to hold back the tears he could feel threatening to fill his eyes and spill down his cheeks.
"You thought you'd killed her?" the gnome asked, then chuckled when he nodded wordlessly. "I will admit you gave it an honest effort. Pa Fum, perhaps it's time you stop training in the martial arts — I suspect your husband, here, saw the way you moved at first and assumed a higher level of skill than you actually have in a true fight. Leave the fighting to your second wife."
"Wait, husband?" Ryoga asked carefully, shifting slightly as he tried to look around surreptitiously for his backpack.
"Yes, 'husband'," the wrinkled gnome repeated. "Twice over, actually, your second wife, Xian Pu, is behind you." Ryoga twisted around to find the purple-haired girl that had knocked him out sitting there, a chúi on each side. She smiled sweetly and bowed in place. "Good evening, Husband," she said, then picked up the chúi and rose to walk around and sit again beside her co-wife.
Ryoga stared at the two, wide-eyed, too stunned to even notice the pair's healthy beauty, then turned to the gnome. "Who ... what ... how ... ?"
The gnome smiled sympathetically. "I am Ku Lon, an Elder of the Joketsuzoku, and I'm afraid you've run afoul of one of our ... quirkier traditions." She quickly explained the two Kisses used for powerful outsiders, and how he'd ended up with two wives instead of the usual one. Her explanation didn't do much to calm the Lost Boy.
"So you expect me to just go back to China with you?" he demanded incredulously.
Ku Lon glanced up over Ryoga's shoulder for a moment, then refocused on her guest. "If you were of the normal variety of man that defeats one of our warriors, yes," she said with a shrug. "We have many centuries of experience in keeping such men with us at least long enough for a few children to be born. Beyond that some adjust, some never do. Those ones, we usually let escape eventually if they wish — they roil the tribe. You, however, are a special case; with your wandering curse, there is no possible way to hold you for long against your will. All you need to do is walk down a street, turn a corner, and you're gone."
Ryoga had tried to keep his eyes on the ancient woman during her explanation, but found his gaze kept wandering back to the two girls. No, not the two girls, one in particular — and not the breathtaking beauty of the warrior, but the cute attractiveness of the girl he'd thought he'd murdered. Shampoo watched him with a growing grin, then leaned over and whispered something into Perfume's ear (had he actually heard their names right?) that had the other girl blushing bright red, her eyes dropping demurely.
Tearing his eyes away from her even as he felt his heart skip a beat, Ryoga looked back at Cologne (he had to have heard that wrong!). "Hard to believe my family's curse is actually good for something," he growled, mood darkening as he thought of all the long, lonely miles he'd wandered. "But if you can't hold on to me and you aren't going to kill me, why am I here?"
Ku Lon had been watching the little interplay, smiling, but now she sobered and leaned forward. "To make you an offer," she replied. "While it is true that we cannot hold you, you are not the first Wanderer to grace the tribe with your presence and as a result we have created an exception to the laws. As things stand now, the focal point of your wanderings is your rival, Ranma. So long as you are focused on beating him, you will find your path crossing his anywhere from weekly to every few months.
"However, if you will accept Pa Fum and Xian Pu as your wives, truly accept them so that the focal point shifts to them instead of Ranma, you will find that wherever you wander, you will have a home to return to, and the tribe to look after your children. It will be a much less lonely life."
Ryoga found he no longer had any problem keeping his focus on Cologne, thoughts of the difference it would make in his wandering running through his mind, knowing that sooner or later he would return home — a real home with his family there, always happy to see him, children racing to greet him. Then he suddenly thought of what would be entailed in creating those children, and even as he tasted the blood trickling from his nose he fought to drive the image from his mind of the two girls on a bed, soft lighting, not a stitch of clothing...
The three Amazons stared in shock at the suddenly unconscious teenager, blood running out of his nose. Pa Fum moved over to kneel next to him and cup her hands on each side of his head. "He seems all right," she reported after a moment, puzzled. "But the blood —"
"He's fine, probably just had some pervy thought 'cause a' yer offer."
Xian Pu jerked around, looking for the source of the disembodied voice, but Pa Fum simply turned toward it, looking up at a point above head height several yards away. "Why do you say so, Ranma?" she asked.
"You can see me?!"
"No, but I can sense you," she replied. "Now, what's wrong with my patient?"
"Well ... he doesn't get around girls much, and ... when he gets ta thinkin' about ... some things ..."
Ku Lon had fought not to laugh at the way the boy turned nature spirit's hands had shot to cover her bountiful breasts and mound below with its curly patch of red hair, then relaxed when informed she was still invisible to most of them. (Teenagers are so sensitive about looking ridiculous — adults, too, come to think of it.) But now the Elder lost it, clutching her sides as she started cackling with laughter. Pa Fum and Xian Pu turned to stare at her, and her laughter increased at the sight of their bemused expressions until she lost her balance on her staff and fell over.
Finally, she fought her laughter from peals down to chuckles and sat up. "What our guest is trying to say is that your husband, here," nodding toward the unconscious boy, "is inordinately affected by thoughts of naked girls and what he'd like to do with them. Correct?"
"Uh, yeah, pretty much," Ranma agreed.
The two younger Amazons turned to stare at Ryoga. Pa Fum was blushing again, but Xian Pu frowned thoughtfully. "That too too big problem," she mused. "Point of Kiss of Marriage to make strong babies."
"Oh, I'm sure it isn't anything that time and exposure won't take care of, assuming he's willing," Ku Lon said nonchalantly.
Ranma laughed. "Yeah, I'm sure he'll enjoy that. Well, if ya guys aren't gonna kill him I'd better head back home. They're probably wonderin' what's happened to me."
Ku Lon picked up her staff and hopped up onto it. "I will accompany you part of the way," she said. "Xian Pu, Pa Fum, when your husband awakens, he will probably wish for some time to think about our offer. Show him where we've stowed his backpack, so that when he inevitably wanders halfway around the world he'll have it with him."
The two girls nodded. Ranma shrugged. "Sure, why not?" She dropped down beside the diminutive crone and the two floated/bounced toward the edge of the park through the easing rain.
"Are you aware that you are being followed around by several minor demons?" Ku Lon asked quietly.
Ranma shot her a sharp look, before facing forward again. "Yeah, I know, thanks. Not a problem, we got it handled."
"Good, then you don't need your mother to escort you the rest of the way home, after all."
A wry laugh came from ahead and to one side and Nodoka stepped out from behind a tree, her rain-soaked nightgown plastered to her smoothly muscled body, feet bare, bare katana in hand hanging at her side. "How long did you know I was there?"
"Since you arrived," Ku Lon replied. "You're very good, for a city dweller, but not at the same level as warriors facing enemies or hunters that have others depending on them to put food on the table."
The Elder quickly made her farewells and Ranma watched as she bounced away back to the camp, then looked over at her mother, focusing as much as she could on the face that looked so much like an older version of her own — in spite of the fact that she had already seen her mother's naked body any number of times, thanks to the way nonliving objects were next to invisible in this form, somehow the way the rain-soaked night clothes she could barely see were plastered to her mother's body made it worse, and she really didn't want to deal with the kind of dreams that could give him.
Then Nodoka's body was wracked by a massive shudder and she sneezed, and Ranma winced. She'd forgotten that, just because the wet cold didn't bother her, her mother couldn't say the same. "Come on, Mom, let's get ya home an' in the furo," she said.
Nodoka nodded. "An excellent idea," she agreed, then yelped as Ranma swept her off her feet.
"No need ta bruise yer feet any more," the redhead said, lifting to just above head height and floating off toward the street.
The two made their way through the rain-slick streets back to the Tendo compound without a word until Ranma set her mother down in front of the front door. Nodoka reached for the latch, only to pause when Ranma grabbed her elbow. "Hold up a minute," the young succubus said, and closed her eyes for a moment to reach out with the senses she was still getting used to. Yes, there were her fiancée's and mom's wards, full of power and the comforting touch of their inner light and determined love; there was the relaxed joy of some sprites dancing to the rhythm of the Voice, and others more alert but just as relaxed; and there, behind her and to the side, just as she'd felt all the way back from the park ... she turned to look at empty air. "Alright, Pop, nobody's watchin; ya can come out now."
Nodoka glanced between her daughter and the direction she was staring, brow furrowed in confusion ... until between one second and the next an equally soaked panda was suddenly standing on the wet grass. "How?" she gasped — it wasn't magic, she had sensed nothing! "How long were you following us?"
"Since I met ya at the park," Ranma answered for him, smirking a bit at the panda — the female panda, remembering the prank she and the guide had played on her pop back at Jusenkyo. "Dunno how ya did it, Pop, but ya don't hide yer emotions — I can't see ya, but I can feel ya."
The panda held up a sign, her eyes avoiding Nodoka's. #A ki technique I developed.# flip #Your ki reserves aren't large# flip #enough for you to learn# flip #yet, but they're close.#
"And what else can you do that you haven't told us?" Nodoka asked, voice hard. Genma flinched, but before she could respond her former wife held up a hand. "Wait, not tonight — it's late, and I'm soaked and freezing. But tomorrow, we're going to talk."
Genma sighed, eyes dropping. #Yes, Nodoka-san.#