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***Disclaimer***

I do not have any type of ownership of Ranma ½ in any way and such; I don’t have any right to be using the characters or places used.  I only use them in my stories that I create to quench my writing desire to change the fate of the Ranma Universe at some level.  General Warning to the owners of Ranma ½: Don’t bother suing me please.  I’m still a lowly college student and if you remember your college days, money is scarce while schoolwork is plentiful (yet I can still make time to write this stuff.  Lets here it for procrastination).  It will be only considered a loss on your part.

 

***Story Notes***

I was inspired to do this while I was writing, “Return of the Eagle.”  I was in the middle of one of the earlier chapters when I thought about all the Ranma altaverse/divergence stories that exist out there.  In every one of them, Ranma either has his regular curse or no curse.  There is a rare few that deal with Ranma who has a curse that is completely different than the norm.  Plus, no matter what story it is, Genma is always a panda.  What would happen if Ranma and Genma, while at Cursed Springs, Jusenkyo, received different curses from the original cannon?  As such, this story came about.  Hope you enjoy it.

 

***Other Information*** Thoughts are italics and signing will be bracketed.  Other languages will be identified as need be.

 

A Tendo & Her Falcon

Chapter 2

 

Ranma sighed as he looked outside the dinner room, standing on a small stand for falcons to stand on.  It was a bright sunny day out and the fall heat was kept low thanks to a light breeze, keeping the air circulating.  Ranma wanted to take off and fly, to go see things and maybe find his mother, but he stayed.

He stayed because Nabiki, the one who was taking care of him, asked him to.  Knowing that he was in debt to her, he nodded his head.  In return, Nabiki promised to take him out after school so he could stretch his wings for the first time in a week.  Ranma took another glance at the clock and noticed the time.  Where is she?  She’s usually home by now.

“I’m home!” a voice called from the entrance.

“Welcome back Akane.  How was your last day of school?” another voice asked.  That one was Kasumi, the eldest sister and apparently the caretaker of the house and family as well as the pillar of the family.  He guessed that she had taken up the mother figure since Ranma never saw the Tendo’s mother.  He was fairly certain that she passed away some time ago, if Mr. Tendo’s crying fits were a big indication about it.  Ranma often wondered if he would ever stop his constant crying, a man never was supposed to cry, at least by his father’s definition.

“It was ok.  I’m only glad that Kuno left to visit his father until school starts up again.”  Akane and Kasumi walked into the dining area where Ranma was perched.  “That means I have the entire summer without him trying to grab me.”  Akane turned around at the stairs; “I’m going to go practice until dinner.  Call when it’s ready,” and then ran up the stairs.

Kasumi turned to Ranma with her usual smile on her face, “Don’t worry Ra, Nabiki will be home soon.  She probably got caught up at school and will be home in a few minutes.  Remember, Nabiki never breaks her promises.”  With that, she then walked into the kitchen and began preparing the meal for that evening.  That was one thing that always amazed him about Kasumi.  She always seemed to be able to guess what was on his mind at that moment before he even thought of it.

Footsteps could be heard as they came down the stairs.  Ranma turned his head around to see that Akane was ready for her training dressed in a yellow gi.  As she walked out towards the dojo, Ranma couldn’t help to notice that yellow really seemed to be a good color for her.  “Do you want to go outside and wait a few minutes before Nabiki is home Ra?”  Ranma whipped his head around with surprise etched on his face, which is really difficult if you’re a bird.  Standing there with her arm ready to take him as if it was perfectly natural for her to sneak up on a high-class martial artist like him, even though he couldn’t practice anymore.  Not saying anything, he climbed onto her waiting arm, being careful not to use his talons, and she carried him to another perch that was on the porch where he perched himself.  Then without another word, Kasumi disappeared into the kitchen again.

From this point, Ranma could see clearly into the dojo while its doors were open.  For a couple days now, this is how Ranma spent his days, studying Akane’s training and could only come with one conclusion: she needed some serious training if she wanted to improve any.  He sighed to himself as he watched Akane run through basic kata’s that were of the Anything Goes style, but he has yet to see her do anything more difficult then that.  He resigned himself from studying her any further as he watched her smash through a pile of bricks and think that it was a great accomplishment.  It might have been for her, but if this is the extent of what she can do then it isn’t that great.  He considered himself lucky to stay with another family that seemed to practice his family’s style.  Wonder if there is a connection between Pop and the Tendo’s?

“I’m home,” a familiar voice called from the front door for the second time today.

“Welcome back, Nabiki,” Kasumi called from the kitchen.  “Ra is waiting for you on the porch.”

Ranma turned to see the middle daughter, Nabiki.  Her facial expression was cool and collected but Ranma’s sharp eyes could identify a small smile creeping onto her face.  “Ok Ra, I need to change and then I’ll take you out somewhere to fly.”  And with those words, she disappeared up the stairs.

As Ranma watched her leave, he tried to figure the girl out for the umpteenth time.  Of all the Tendo’s, she was the only one that could keep him guessing.  One moment she would be completely devoid of emotion and then, by herself with only him as the only witness, she would drop the mask and let the emotions play on her face and sometimes tears would break their damns and make their way down her face.

If there was one thing that Ranma couldn’t stand was a girls tears.  The couple times that tears made their way down, Ranma tried his best to find out what was wrong.  Either with small rubs of his beak or a, “What’s wrong” translated as a series of chirps would always grab her attention.  She then just smiles as she lay on her bed or sat at her desk and begin to pet him.  He had to admit, the petting had a serious soothing affect on him and it seemed to do the same for her, as she would calm down and start talking about her day or her plans but not about what was bothering her.

 

Upstairs, Nabiki tried to take as much time as possible to change into her casual clothes.  She didn’t want to do what she needed to.  When she first brought Ra in with Dr. Tofu, the doctor stressed to her that as soon as the bird was strong enough to fly that she would have to release him.  After the last visit a few days ago, he told her again in his office, especially since Ra was healing so quickly and getting stronger.  With great reluctance, she agreed.  A wild animal, especially a falcon, didn’t belong cooped up in a house or city.  The breaking point came when he started telling her what would happen otherwise.

She stared at herself in the mirror and wiped away a few stray tears that she never noticed.  She never told her family what she was doing because she didn’t want the sympathy.  She needed to be strong and this was the best way for her.  Nabiki looked again in the mirror and tried to figure out what happened.  She couldn’t understand how such a simple bird could affect her, the “Ice Queen” of Furinken High.  Shaking her head, she cleaned her face up, checked herself in the mirror just in case and headed downstairs to get the deed over with before she started having second thoughts.

As she got to the bottom of the steps, Nabiki looked over and saw Ra watching his sister as if he was analyzing her “practice.”  She wondered what went through his head as he watched her little sister try to improve her status as a martial artist by smashing bricks.  When Ra turned his head, their eyes locked and Nabiki stared into the sky blue eyes that looked back at that seemed to see right through her.  Quickly breaking contact she walked over to where he was perched while slipper her mask on tightly, “All ready Ra.  We better get going before the weather decides to change.”

 

Ranma watched everything go by while perched on Nabiki’s shoulder to their destination.  She seemed to be giving him a tour of the city, why he couldn’t tell.  He turned his head so he could clearly see her face and what he found disturbed him.  Something is bothering her.  I wonder what it could be.  She seemed happy enough before we left.  Ranma continued to watch buildings going by but kept turning his attention to Nabiki every few minutes.

Nabiki was in a slump as she walked towards one of the larger parks.  It was a good walk and should have taken the train but this way she could have a little more time with Ra.  She realized that people were talking about her having a falcon on her shoulder, but she didn’t care anymore.  She turned to the right and caught the same blue eyes trying to break past her walls and find her.  “We’ll be there in a little bit Ra.  You’ll be flying again in no time,” smiling and putting up a false front.  Ra looked at her once more, seeming to try a last attempt to get past her walls before turning his attention to the sights.  She let out a silent sigh as she continued towards their destination.

Ranma and Nabiki gazed around the large park that was a good distance south, neat the city borders.  Sakura Trees dotted the long path that lead through the park and larger trees were placed in the back of the park.  They could see many people walking along the paths and carrying a quiet conversation, enjoying the quiet serenity of the park.  Occasionally there would be screams of joy as a group of younger children happily tossed bread to the ducks that floated on the large lake, like tiny boats on the high seas.

“Here we are Ra,” Nabiki smiled, her mask back in place.  “From here you can leave the city and fly where ever you want to go.”  Gently, she brought Ra, down off her shoulder, resting him on her forearm.  Almost naturally, she stroked Ra’s chest feathers, enjoying the soft touch.

Ranma was too excited about being able to go looking for his mother again to notice that Nabiki’s mask once again fell a little.  When he was about to look back to Nabiki again, he felt himself being lowered and then suddenly tossed upwards.  Instinctively, he leapt from her arm and flapped his wings taking him into the air.

Ranma was in heaven.  He truly missed being able to fly like this, as he took himself a little higher while circling.  Even though it was only a week, it seemed like an eternity of not feeling the air rush under his wings knowing that the slightest change could allow multitudes of maneuvers.  Ranma then took a long dive at the lake, imagining that he was going for one of the ducks on the lake, but pulled up far above the waterfowl and resumed climbing the skies.  This is what the Saotome School strived for in the mid-air combat, total control while staying aloft in the air for an eternity using different moves to give one just a little more time.  Now, he didn’t need those moves as he could stay aloft for hours instead of seconds.  Ranma decided to voice his happiness to the world, a call that let people know that he didn’t have a care in the world.

Down on the ground, Nabiki gazed happily as she watched the falcon that tried stopped a man with a knife but took a bullet for his bravery.  She could tell that Ra was happy now and she was happy for him.  For a long time, Nabiki lay in the grass watching Ra fly circles above her and occasionally taking an incredible fast dive at the lake but he always returned to circling upwards trying to get higher.  When she heard Ra call out, a small tear appeared on Nabiki’s cheek and was brushed away quickly.  What’s wrong with me?  I’m releasing a wild animal back to the wild.  It’s not like I’m loosing a friend.  But deep down, the truth was a different story.  With a solid determination, Nabiki stood up, took one last look at her circling friend and savior, and started walking out of the park.  Too quickly for her, the strong stride turned into a run.

Above the park, Ranma was finally getting to a decent height and decided to look down, enjoying the enhanced eyesight that he now had.  Where is she?  He took another look around the park.  Where did she go?  Ranma suddenly started to worry as he continued to scan the park for Nabiki.  Suddenly, he realized what just happened: he was no longer a pet but free to do what he pleased.  But for some reason, Ranma wasn’t as happy as he thought he would be.

Landing on one of the taller buildings nearby, Ranma watched the sunset while trying to decide what to do.  I should be happy that I’m free.  It means I could look for Mother… but what would I do then.  I never thought about it before.  She wouldn’t see her son, just a falcon.  Ranma’s thoughts then turned to the person that let him go and in a rare occurrence of insight, a decision was made.  I’m going back.  Let Mother keep her dreams alive a little longer until I find a way to change back, if there is a way.  Someone else needs Ra’s help more right now.  In a short leap off the roof, Ranma opened his wings and allowed the winds to guide him back.

 

It was early evening when Nabiki finally clambered off the bus.  As she looked up, Nabiki saw the first stars of the night appear in the darkening sky.  I wonder what Ra is doing now?  Sensing her mood drop, Nabiki quickly started her mantra.  No emotion.  I must not show emotion because emotions can be used against you.  Again, she began to feel he walls around herself rebuild, stopping the flood of emotions.

Unfortunately, the damage had been done.  It is better for him this way.  He is out where he belongs.  He doesn’t belong cooped up in the house all day.  I was told all the work I need to do and with me going into my junior year, I don’t have the time.  She continued to convince herself as she aimlessly walked on the sidewalk.

A couple blocks from home though, many of the images of her with Ra appeared.  Many dealt with her just petting him, enjoying the feel of his feathers and admiring his form.  Others were of Ra looking at her with a questioning look that just didn’t seem to look right on a birds face.  The happiest came from one a couple nights ago as Ra spotted an error in her balancing that night.  Soon, a smile was on her face as she walked into the dojo.  It would have been worth it though if I could have kept him.  She never heard the flapping of wings as the dojo doors squeaked open and close or the pair of eyes that watched her from the wall.

Ranma watched as Nabiki entered the house with a curious expression.  He had been heading towards the dojo when he noticed her walking along the sidewalk with her head mostly down in deep thought.  He thought about dropping down to her when he saw her depressed mood, but decided to watch her from a few hundred feet up.  He smiled when he noticed that she was smiling and noticed that they were home.  With quiet ease, Ranma landed on the wall surrounding the house and dojo and watched her greet her family and have dinner.

Realizing what he was here for, Ranma quickly looked to Nabiki’s window to see if it was still open from earlier today; it was.  With a single leap and a few flaps, Ranma quickly soared to her windowsill and landed.  Then using his beak, he opened the window some more to allow him to enter.  Once inside, Ranma stepped onto her desk, which was next to the window and silently waited for his prey to arrive.

 

Nabiki climbed the stairs with a tired expression on her face; it had been a long and difficult day.  But it had ended better than she thought it would have.  Nobody really questioned where she went this afternoon or brought up the subject since Kasumi had told them after she left.  The dinner conversation had been light and moving as they talked about plans for the summer.  Nabiki tried to get her dad to start teaching again so they would have a steady source of income but all she was able to get was a teary reply.  What her family really needed was something to knock their father out of this depression.  Nabiki paid particular attention to what her little sisters plans would be so she could sell the information to Kuno, who was becoming a bit obsessive of her.  Things wouldn’t get that far though if she had any say.

Nabiki chided herself for thinking of her older sister being clueless.  After dinner, Kasumi shocked her by asking for her help with cleaning the table and the dishes.  To shocked and still feeling low, Nabiki found herself agreeing as she picked up the dishes.  In the kitchen, the conversation was light dealing with plans for the family’s summer and thoughts of trying to get their father teaching again.

Standing in front of her room, Nabiki had to thank her sister later.  She seemed to know more about people and what they were feeling than Nabiki ever could.  On top of that, she had a way to help them without the person ever realizing it.  Nabiki smiled a genuine smile as she opened the door to her room, not caring about trying to hide it.  Turning on the lights, Nabiki nearly went into shock as she found a very familiar falcon sitting on her desk looking none too happy.

Ranma waited patiently for Nabiki to open the door and turn on the lights.  When his eyes finally readjusted for the light change, he decided to have a little talk, forgetting that he couldn’t talk in Japanese right then.  “Nabiki, what is going on?  Why did you take me out to a park just to leave me?  If you didn’t want me, why didn’t you tell me?  I hate it when people just decide things for me without informing me.”  Ranma took a little breath before starting up again, but calmer, “Is something wrong with me staying here.  I thought we were friends here.  You are one of my few friends Nabiki.  Please don’t turn me away again.”  Ranma didn’t know when it happened during his ‘talk,’ but he discovered that his vision was a little foggy.  “I don’t want to be alone again.”

 

Nabiki stood in her doorway in shock as she saw Ra chirp and click her ear off.  She could only guess what he was so angry about.  From behind her came a familiar, “Oh my,” and saw that Kasumi and Akane standing there gazing in surprise as they listened in.  Her attention was drawn back to Ra when she heard his chirping change tones.  The three daughters heart tore at what seemed to be a heart filled chatter from the falcon.  When Ra seemed like he was finished Nabiki turned to her sister’s, “How did he get back here?  I thought I took him far enough away.”

“It apparently wasn’t enough because here he is.  Maybe you should take him out of town next time.”  Nabiki only glared at her little sister.  She didn’t have a clue to how hard it was for her to do what she just did.

“Akane, could you go look after father.  I left him downstairs and I don’t want him finding the sake at the moment.”  Akane new that another front of tear showers would happen if Father started getting some drinks into his system and hurried downstairs.  Kasumi took one look at the falcon on the desk and another at Nabiki’s indecisive expression and asked a single question, “Nabiki, would it be so bad to keep him?”

Nabiki turned to the depressed falcon and studied him carefully.  What ever happened to him, it seemed that he needed a friend just as much as she did.  She remembered how she felt coming home and decided that it wouldn’t.  “No, Kasumi, I don’t think it would be,” her eyes never left the bird, as his expression seemed to rise a little with that single statement.

“Then I think you have some explaining to do.  It sounds like Ra wasn’t too happy with you leaving him like you did.”  Nabiki only nodded her head as she walked over to Ra and sat down on the bed near the desk.  With a knowing smile on her face, Kasumi went back downstairs to relieve her little sister from watching their father and made a mental note to get some more strip steak tomorrow.

 

Ranma partially shut out the world when he finished.  He said his peace and was waiting for some reply.  He almost turned to leave when he heard Kasumi’s question.  Hoping against hope, he stayed, waiting anxiously for Nabiki’s answer, “No, Kasumi, I don’t think it would be.”  Ranma was so happy that he nearly tried to jump to Nabiki’s shoulder and hold her with all his might.  So excited, Ranma missed seeing the door close and Nabiki sitting on the bed.

“Ra,” Nabiki started.  Ranma hearing his ‘pet’ name turned to her.  Seeing this, Nabiki marveled at how smart the bird really was and felt she was lucky to have such a friend.  “I’m sorry Ra, for leaving you like I did.  I was only thinking what was better for you.  The vet told me what it would mean for me to take care of you and I didn’t think I could do it.  But after I left, I wish I hadn’t let you go and that I would do what was needed.  I would do whatever it took if it meant that I could keep my friend.”  Nabiki silently wondered when she started petting Ra.

Ranma heard what he wanted.  She wanted him as a friend like he did.  It appeared that they both were in need of a friend.  He then recalled the last friends and how they ended up and silently vowed that it wouldn’t happen again.  This time, as he felt Nabiki pet him, he sensed a difference in the touch that she used.  It was a little more refined and delicate as she stroked his chest and Ranma felt a small tingling sensation as he felt all the stress from a few moments before leave him.  He knew that he made the right choice.  Ranma only wished that he could have found his mother to see her one last time, but the smile on Nabiki’s face softened that thought considerably.  “You must be one of the smartest animals around Ra.  I wonder where you really came from?”  Ranma could only give her a look saying, “If you only knew.”

 

Ranma sighed quietly as he stood on his pedestal that Nabiki got for him.  This was something that Nabiki got for him the day after their little talk several weeks ago.  It was a heavy, carved rock for a base with a wooden T-post sticking a few inches out of it, allowing him to sit and not worry about tipping over but was easy enough for Nabiki or anyone else to carry around if need be.

As he gazed outside to the warm early autumn weather, a sense of déjà vu came over him.  It was a wonderful day and was anxious to go out, but Nabiki promised that they would go out after she finished her “business” this morning.  But it wouldn’t end like it did seven weeks ago when she had run out on him.  In a way, he was glad that it did happen since it forced them both to deal with a few issues and now, both were good friends.  Nabiki was opening up a little more to him while he listened.  As he listened, Ranma was forced to keep his mouth shut and not make any comments since they wouldn’t be understood anyway.  Another bonus was that he had plenty of time to think things over before trying to say anything.

After that, Ranma had become a member of the family and was included in as much as he could.  One of these family times was when all four and one falcon went to the beach for a few days.  When he heard that they were taking the trip, he thought he was going to be stuck home at the dojo.  When Kasumi asked what he was going to do, she banished his earlier thoughts stating that he was going too.  She then went in to explain that she had registered Ra with the proper authorities and groups and was now licensed to carry him in the open, even when traveling by train.

At the beach, Ranma had the time of his life as he soared in the ocean breezes.  The crashing waves also felt good when he was flying close to the ground.  He even was able to buzz the heads of Akane, Nabiki, and even Kasumi when they started a water fight and that turned into an all out war.  After the beach, Ranma noticed that everyone seemed to be a little more normal.  Soun wasn’t giving Niagara Falls a bad name every hour, on the hour.  Kasumi had let loose the housekeeper and became the oldest sister again.  Akane and Nabiki both loosened up and seemed more relaxed than they had been before.

Coming back to the present, Ranma smiled at the thought of being part of a family again, though it wasn’t in human guise.  Ranma wondered if he would ever be able to see his family ever again.  His father had disowned him at Jusenkyo and he barely remembered his mother.  All that remained were vague images of being held for a photo and waving back as his father led him away from the house.  But the problem was the face was always shrouded over, never showing the face.

It was during the summer that Ranma learned what happened to Mrs. Tendo when Nabiki took him with her and Kasumi when they visited the grave.  After paying their respects, Ranma considered the Tendo’s lucky since they had known their mother and had memories about her.  His only wish was that he could meet his mother and just hold her again as a man instead of a falcon.

The summer break however, didn’t last.  After five weeks, Akane and Nabiki were again walking to school.  Ranma was left behind since he wasn’t allowed in school.  After a couple days of sitting at home, Ranma had enough and took off and followed them to school without them knowing.  But when he got there, he wondered if it was a school or loony bin.

The first thing he saw when the girls were entering the gates, he saw a mob of boys attack Akane screaming date proposals.  He was in such shock that he nearly fell out of the tree that he landed in to watch the fight.  Nabiki had mentioned the fighting in the morning but he didn’t believe it until now.  Ranma also recalled that it was a student, a Tatewaki Kuno, had started the morning fights.  Something about having defeating Akane in combat is the only acceptable way to be able to date her.  Akane’s popularity skyrocketed within 24 hours and hasn’t shown signs of stopping.

He was a little surprised to see Kasumi waiting for him at home expectedly, like she knew he would return at any moment.  She just smiled knowingly and went about her chores.  To make it up to her for leaving like he did, he accompanied when she left the house shortly after lunch.  Perched on her shoulder, Kasumi told him that they were returning a book to the local chiropractor and hopefully borrow another.  When they arrived, utter chaos ensued.  Ranma wondered if there was anything normal about this neighborhood as he saw all the patients run for their lives when they walked in.  Ranma never knew a person could move that fast in crutches with a full leg cast.  When the doctor started dancing with his skeleton after walking to the waiting room began to question if the man was really a doctor.  It was Kasumi that surprised him the most as she just giggled at the man’s antics thinking he was silly.  Ranma never saw Kasumi as the clueless type.  As the doctor, Ono Tofu, started dancing out in the street as they left the office, Ranma made note to stay out of the man’s way next time Kasumi visited.

Having not visited the school for the rest of the week, Ranma was surprised when Nabiki picked him up and left for school earlier than she normally did.  She didn’t tell him what was going on until they were in the vice-principle’s office.  Ranma, perched now on Nabiki’s arm, came out of the office with surprise written all over his face.  He still couldn’t believe that he was going to be honored as the school’s new mascot.

Somehow, without his knowing, Nabiki had taken a picture of him before the end of the school year and turned it in.  Apparently there wasn’t too much honor to believe in when your mascot was a palm tree so they decided to ask for ideas on the new mascot before the end of the year so they could debate over a new mascot during the break.  Since Nabiki was the trainer/owner of Ra, she would be paid a normal fee for taking care of him and a little extra for all the sporting events and important school events that she brought him to.

When the announcement was made, the entire school population, save one, thought that the new mascot was perfect.  The one who opposed him was Tatewaki claiming that only his “noble personage” was good enough for the school to take pride in.  Immediately afterward, Tatewaki lay unconscious in a pile of various items from books to shoes to sporting equipment.  The school obviously didn’t agree with him on this.

After that, Nabiki had asked him to stop by every day for lunch for school reasons and that she missed his quiet company.  Not able to ever refuse a girl, Ranma agreed and for the past week, he had been at the school during lunch hours and sat with Nabiki as she allowed the students to see their new mascot up close as she told the story of how they met.  Ranma guessed that people heard about the attack in the papers.

However, Tatewaki Kuno was something of a disbeliever and a sore looser.  This isn’t counting the thickness of his head hindering reality from reaching the peanut that has been defined as his brain.  He didn’t understand what Kuno called him, but it didn’t sound good as the Kendoist glared at him from a few inches.  Ranma’s glare turned sub-artic in December and a staring contest began.  After several agonizing minutes, Kuno apparently couldn’t handle the stare anymore and blinked.  At that moment Ranma dashed his head in pecked him a few dozen times.  Kuno recovered quickly the next day claiming that it was dark sorcery that caused him to loose.

The sound of the front door opening and a call from the front “I’m home,” broke Ranma’s train of thought.  Turning his head around, Ranma saw Nabiki walk in with her arm waiting.  Understanding, Ranma jumped from the pedestal and flew over, landing on her arm.  Ranma then climbed onto her shoulder as always when she brought him up to it.  “Ok Sis, Ra and I are going out to the park for a while.”

“Oh Nabiki,” Kasumi called as they were about to walk out the door.  “The school called this morning while you were away,” wiping her hands on her apron.

“Oh, what was it,” Nabiki inquired.

“The Kendo match tomorrow was apparently cancelled.  So you have the weekend free but the school board meeting is still on for Wednesday.”

“Thanks Kasumi.  We’ll be going then,” Nabiki grabbed her purse and slipped on her shoes and headed for the park.  “We’ll be back in a little while,” she called.

“We’ll see you soon.  Have fun,” Kasumi waved back.  Noticing the time, she walked over to the gate to meet in time to meet the mailman just as he was about to fill their box.  Thanking him, Kasumi picked up the mail and sorted it out.  Leaving Father’s mail on the table, she left to put her sisters mail on their desks.  On top of the pile on the table was a simple postcard with the image of a panda eating bamboo.

 

--A little later--

Soun Tendo was reading his mail when he came across the postcard.  Turning it over, he saw that it had come from China.  Reading it over, he started shedding tears, “Ranma?  He’s coming here?  Oh, how I’ve waited for this day.”  After reading it once more, Soun went in search of his daughters to tell them the good news.

“Kasumi!” Soun looked into the kitchen, finding her working over dinner preparations.

“Yes, Father?”  Kasumi noticed the postcard that was in his hand.

“We need to have a family meeting.”  Soon, he was standing outside Nabiki’s door.  KNOCK!  KNOCK!  “Nabiki!” Opening the door, expecting to see her he was surprised to find an empty room.  “Nabiki?”  Unsure where to look, he went and knocked on Akane’s door, “Akane!”  Again, he was greeted with an empty room.  Now really confused, Soun went down and stuck his head in the kitchen, “Eh, Kasumi, do you know where Nabiki and Akane are?”

“I think Akane just went into the dojo and Nabiki left for the park with Ra.  Is something wrong?”  Kasumi was a little worried now.  It had been a long time since they had their last family meeting.

“No, No.  I’ll go find Akane and we’ll meet when Nabiki gets home.”  Soun walked towards the dojo when he heard sounds coming from within.  Just as he expected, he saw Akane ending her practice standing in front of a pile of cinder blocks.

“HYAAAHHH!”  Akane looked down at her latest accomplishment of smashing through four cinder blocks.  As she was wiping the sweat off her forehead, she noticed her father walking over to her.

“Excellent as always daughter.  We are going to have a family meeting shortly as soon as Nabiki comes home.”  Soun then walked away with tears in his eyes thanking the Gods for giving him one daughter that was interested in continuing the Tendo School.

 

Nabiki was enjoying the view of the sky overhead as she rested on the grass.  Above her, Ra continued to amaze her as he performed unthinkable maneuvers in the sky.  Earlier, she had him practice grabbing a small log in the air by tossing it differently.  Sometimes she had tossed it early when he wasn’t yet ready and he still had been able to grab the log before it touched the ground.  Now, she was enjoying watching him have fun.

There have been times that she wished that she could join him in the skies while not having a care in the world.  But the thought of what would happen to her family if she left brought her back down to earth.  She might be called the “Ice Queen,” at school with no morals about information, but that was business.  But Nabiki did have her values and family was one of them.  If it weren’t for her meddling, Kuno would be attacking immediately after the hoard did instead of declaring his speeches.  Thankfully, her skills in math and business have helped her balance out the dojo’s income with the betting pools.  The problem was that everything was becoming repetitive.  I wish something would come around and spice things up a little.  Just then, she felt a drop of water on her arm.  Looking up, she could tell that the clouds had moved in quickly and a storm was about to start.  She got up quickly while brushing her jeans off, grabbed her purse and put two fingers in her mouth and whistled, loudly.

 

Ranma, meanwhile, was fully immersing himself in trying new flying maneuvers, pushing his agility to the max and then going farther.  Even though he couldn’t practice Anything Goes right now as a human, didn’t mean he should adapt his current condition to Anything Goes.  So, he ended up creating a Anything Goes Flying Falcon School by incorporating some of the simpler Anything Goes moves with his falcon body gave him some interesting attacks if ever need be.  To the ground though, the way he moved seemed like a natural falcon enjoying the day.

Glancing down, he saw Nabiki smiling up at him from her laid back position on the ground.  He recalled the silly tricks she had him do, for practice she said.  The idea seemed like child’s play to him, but soon she started tossing it earlier, at a different angle, away from him, or all the above.  It was no longer child’s play, but a challenge and he never backs down from a challenge once issued.  He always could get a decent workout when they practiced and loved every minute of it.  Seeing Nabiki smile really wished he could be human again so he could actually talk to her instead of speaking in bird talk.

Banking in another turn to ride the winds higher, he noticed that the winds had decided to pick up.  Taking a look around he discovered that the clouds had also gotten darker and could feel a fine mist starting.  It was then that he heard Nabiki whistle for him.  Looking down, he saw her standing with her purse in one hand and her arm waiting.  With his eyesight, he could tell why she called him as drops of water started appearing on her clothes and skin.  Deciding to have a last bit of fun, Ranma tucked in his wings and dove straight for her while using his tail to direct.

 

On the ground, Nabiki began to worry as she saw Ra start diving right for her.  As he continued to speed towards her, she was curious as to what he had planned.  Gathering her courage, she stood firm as he continued his decent towards her position.  Then just when she was about to shout to him to pull up, Ra opened his wings and fanned his tail about fifteen feet above her.  With the speed he was going, he was able to land lightly on her arm with ease.  She leveled an evil glare at him as he turned himself around on her arm, “Ra, if you ever give me a scare like that again I might have to see about clipping your wings.”

She had no intention of going through with it, but the threat was enough for her.  She would never admit it to anyone else, but for a third time that year, she felt fear.  This time, it was fear of having her friend crash into the earth and leaving her alone again.  “It’s alright now Ra.  Just don’t do that again.  Now come on, lets head home before the rain starts up.  Letting him up on her shoulder, Nabiki turned and headed for the exit.

Unfortunately, about halfway home the clouds above unleashed their dams on the populace.  Scurrying quickly, Nabiki was able to get inside a small convenience store before she was able to get too wet and purchased a small umbrella.  With her purchase being put to use, she and Ra continued on their way home.

 

Elsewhere in town, another pair was caught in the rain, though one of them was more prepared than the other as both walked with the grace and ease of a seasoned martial artist.  “Tell me again what we are doing here instead of trying to get rid of our curses, old man.”  The voice belonged to a younger boy, about 5’8”, dark hair and a yellow and black bandanna tied around his head.  He was dressed in yellow silk shirt with wooden ties and black pants with a yellow string tied around the leg up to mid-thigh in a weave pattern.  On his back was a very large backpack and was holding a simple bamboo umbrella in his hand.

“We’re here to see an old friend of mine, Ranma.”  The person that the young man was talking to was a beautiful woman with a very well curved body and endowed chest.  She stood about 5’9”, with long dark hair that was left undone.  She wore a pair of wire-rimmed glasses and dressed in a simple white gi.  She currently was readjusting her belt and top to better fit her form.  “When we are there, you will meet your fiancée so the two of you could…”

“What?!” Ranma screamed out.  “After everything we’ve been through, you want me to now get a fiancée?  Forget it Pops.  I’m going back to China to get cured.”  With a simple twist, he was walking back the way he came.  “Stupid old man, trying to decide a fiancée for me now.  Of all the stupid,” Ranma was unable to continue that line of thought as he instinctively ducked as his danger sense went off.  Unfortunately, the attack wasn’t at him but what he was carrying, knocking out of his hands.  Before he could call out a very inappropriate name, he felt himself changing.

The woman stood there with a satisfied grin on her face and a street sign in her hand.  Next to her was the hole that apparently held the sign not a few seconds before.  She confidently walked over to the pile of clothes before her and quickly grabbed the squirming form in the pile and brought a little black pig with a familiar yellow and black bandanna tied around his neck up to her eye level.  “Now listen here Ranma, this is about family honor and you will do as I say; understand.”

Ranma glared his father while pulling out a sign from behind.  [What do you know about honor old man?  Remember, I was there when the Daikoji’s found us near Jusenkyo.]  Ranma smirked as he saw his father sweat a little in the rain.  [So here is my answer.  FORGET IT!]  With an unnatural strength for a little black pig, Ranma smacked his father in the head, knocking his father down.  Caught unprepared for the attack, the woman instinctively dropped the pig and sprung back up, ready to fight.  Instead of finding Ranma in a similar position, the woman saw the pig dart around a corner.  Instinctively, she ran to the corner hoping to see the pig running down the corridor only to find him gone.

“Damn.  I thought we had that problem fixed.”  The woman grumbled for a moment before a thought came to her.  “Well, if he won’t come with me, he’ll just have to come on his own then since I’ll have his clothes.”  Whistling a little ditty, the woman stuffed the clothes on the street in the pack and slung it over her back with her pack before bending down to pick up the umbrella on the street.  Then with a casual flick, he slipped it into Ranma’s pack and continued looking for the Tendo Dojo.

 

***Author’s Notes***

Well, I finally got this chapter done.  Hope you like the way things are going.  Thanks to all those who sent in their thoughts and ideas for where the story can go.  I have to give thanks to Commander Galos for his idea with Ranma becoming the school mascot.  This should bring out some more chapters as the story progresses.  I also need to thank all that have sent in messages telling me how they have loved this story even though I only had a single chapter out.  Those messages kept me encouraged continuing writing this even when I only had an hour available.  Thanks again.  Since I left this chapter hanging like this, I am working on a chapter 3 right now.  I hope to get this finished relatively soon so I can get another chapter of Knight of the Moon and System Interface.  When that is done, I plan to hit Return of the Eagle.  Of course, I’ll make these plans and change them depending on how I feel at the time.