Categories > Anime/Manga > Ranma 1/2 > The Raven

You can't go "hom" again.

by Narsil 0 reviews

Category: Ranma 1/2 - Rating: R - Genres:  - Characters: Ranma - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2012-08-10 - Updated: 2012-08-10 - 2492 words - Complete

In an alley in the Nerima district of Tokyo, a dark circle silently appeared on a wall. A few seconds later a short, busty redheaded girl stepped through it, a katana across her back, a baby in her arms, and a large raven on her shoulder. Stepping away from the opening, Raven glanced around — nobody in sight. Not that that was going to matter, as soon as she stepped out onto the sidewalk....

She glanced down at the sleeping baby with a soft smile. “Okay, kid, let’s get you dropped off with Auntie Ukyo, then I can get this over with and we can both get on with our new lives. Hopefully, my duties as a fury’ll let me drop in every so often and see how you’re doin’, along with Mom’s — along with Nodoka-san’s rugrat.”

Stepping out of the alley, she ignored the gasps of shock and stunned expressions of the pedestrians — and the car that swerved out of control to smash into a display window — as she looked around to orient herself and nodded. Two blocks west, just like he said. As she strode along the sidewalk, she wondered if a disembodied spirit made solid could still eat. She hoped so — she hadn’t had a single bite since she was murdered, and Ukyo had always made the best okonomiyaki she’d ever tasted. And at this time of day, Ukyo should have just opened for the early lunch crowd.

A few minutes’ eager walk with Thought flight-hopping along alongside from sign to telephone wire to rooftop, and Raven almost stumbled as the familiar storefront came into view. It looked the same, but there were no lights on inside and there was a large ‘For Sale’ sign in the window — one that had been there awhile, from the way it had faded.

Well, damn! The revenant simply stood and stared for a time, until the baby in her arm shifted slightly in its sleep. Glancing down at the little bundle, Raven sighed. Guess I shoulda put more thought about where I wanted ta go, she thought. Ukyo must of moved and not be open with a new place, yet. I’ll just hafta wait till after I take care of Akane.

Briefly, she considered taking to the roofs to get it over with that much faster, then glanced down at the baby again before reluctantly deciding to go on foot. It wouldn’t take that much more time, but she didn’t know how much longer the baby would stay asleep....


Raven stared in stunned silence at the Tendo compound. At least, it had been the Tendo compound, green and fringed by the colorful flowers that Kasumi had carefully tended, shade trees ... now, it was a fenced-off area of naked earth filled with construction equipment and the rising skeleton of a new apartment building, at least according to the sign.

Finally, the redhead took a deep breath. “Great, what do I do now?” she snarled. Deciding there wasn’t much point in simply standing there, she turned away and began ambling along, deep in thought, considering who might know where the Tendos had moved to. Tofu, gone before she died. Amazons, gone. Ukyo, gone. Either one of the Kuno siblings would probably know, their insane obsessions would lead them to keep track of the Tendos in the hope that her ‘Ranma-sama’ would show up, in Kodachi’s case, or that with the ‘foul sorcerer’ dead his ‘fair Akane might awaken from her bespelled state’, for Tatewaki. Unfortunately, the operative word was ‘insane’, and Raven really didn’t want to have to deal with either — especially not with a baby in her arms. If she returned to Niflheim before dealing with Akane, would that count as a failure and put her back on the wall?

Suddenly, she was jarred from her circling ruminations. Stepping back from whatever she had walked into and looking up, she found herself staring at the front gates of Furinkan High School as Thought landed on the wall and seemed to caw a laugh at her — sheer habit had had her walking the usual route to school. Idiot! You were so busy thinkin’ a’ who ya could ask, ya didn’t think a’ where else Akane might be. An’ even if she isn’t here, her friends will be, they should know where ta find her.


Looking away from the window yet again, a brown-haired, ponytailed girl did her best to force her attention back to Tani-sensei’s lecture, only to have her eyes drift down toward the top of her desk — normally, math was one of her better subjects; today, she just hoped he wouldn’t call on her, not after Nabiki’s early morning phone call. Even now, Sayuri didn’t know if she hoped or feared it would work out the way the former Mercenary Tendo thought it might.

Should I have told Yuka about Nabiki’s call? she wondered yet again, feeling the weight of her friend’s worried gaze out of the corner of the light brown-haired girl’s eye from the adjacent desk. Yet again, she rejected the rut-worn thought. Yuka was a loyal friend but no actress — not even as good as Sayuri, much less Akane — and if Ranma showed up ...

Suddenly, she was shaken from her ruminations as the class fell silent, Tani-sensei breaking off his lecture in mid-sentence. Looking up and glancing around, she froze at the sight of a familiar petite if busty redhead standing in the classroom doorway, a raven on her shoulder, check, the hilt of a katana visible over the other shoulder, check ... and a baby in her arms?!

The impossible redhead glanced around the classroom, then focused back on Sayuri and a stunned Yuka in the desk next to her. “Yuka-kun, Sayuri-kun, we need ta talk,” she said in a voice of frozen helium.

Sayuri looked over at Tani-sensei, and the teacher jerkily nodded. “Of course, take as long as you need,” he said in a shaking voice. “I’ll pass the word to Kubo-sensei if you aren’t back by the end of class so he won’t mark you down as delinquent for his class and can pass it on if needed.”

Suppressing a sigh, Sayuri stood. Yeah, don’t we have the most courageous, protective teachers in all Japan?! she thought sardonically as she turned to her friend, still frozen in shock in her seat. “Come on, Yuka, let’s see what Ranma-kun wants.”


Raven turned around to face the two girls that had followed her out onto the school grounds, Thought settling on a low-hung branch of the tree the three girls were standing under. “I get back ta Nerima, and find Ucchan’s shut down and construction where the dojo used ta be, what the hell’s happened? !” she demanded abruptly, then winced at her choice of words.

Yuka and Sayuri exchanged glances. You don’t know?!” they exclaimed in unison.

“Would I be askin’ if I did?” the revenant growled, and Sayuri winced. “So where’s Ukyo?”

“I ... I ... she ... she’s dead,” Yuka managed to stammer out, face pale.

Raven froze, swaying in place. “Dead?” she whispered. “When ... how ... ?”

Sayuri glanced at her shivering friend, then stepped forward to place a steadying hand on the revenant’s shoulder. “It was shortly after you ... you were murdered,” she replied. “When she heard what happened, sh-she committed seppuku.”

“Seppuku ...” Raven repeated, then drew a deep breath as she straightened. “So what happened to Konatsu?”


“Her ... waitress, I guess, the cross dresser that worked for her. He would a’ been her kaishakunin.”

Sayuri looked blankly at the redhead for a moment, then said, “I don’t know who you’re talking about. From what the news reports had to say, she didn’t have a second.”

No kaishakunin. Raven closed her eyes in pain at the thought, then opened them to get rid of the image of her best friend writhing on her restaurant floor, jaw locked against screams of pain, intestines spilling from the massive slash she’d have made in her abdomen with one of her throwing spatulas, with no one there to behead her at the moment of the crosscut.... Eyes on the ponytailed girl’s face, the revenant realized that Sayuri was still talking.

“ ... just lucky Akane didn’t follow Ukyo-kun’s example, not completely,” the other girl was saying. “She felt that after what she had done seppuku was too good a death — that she didn’t deserve to enter the next life with her honor washed clean — and so she slit her wrists instead. Praise the kami, she didn’t know how to do it properly and her sisters found her before she bled out.”

Raven’s grip on the baby in her arms had been tightening as the revelations hammered into her, and suddenly the tiny bundle woke under the pressure and let out a squall that made the girls jump. Yuka stared as Raven hastily started rocking the crying baby, making hushing sounds like she must have seen young mothers do, and the schoolgirl began to reluctantly chuckle at the sight of panic on the revenant’s face. “I take it the baby isn’t yours,” she commented wryly, reaching out her arms. “Here, give him — her? — to me.”

A relieved Raven handed over the still-squalling baby, and Yuka frowned at the damp feel of the cloth diaper (and who still used cloth diapers in this day and age?). And yes, there was definitely a smell indicating that ‘damp’ wasn’t the only problem. “Where did you stash your baby supplies?” she asked. When Raven looked at her in confusion, she sighed. “You don’t have any? Definitely not your baby. Do you even know how to change one? What’s his name?”

Raven reach up to tug at her pigtail, looking abashed. “No, I don’t have any supplies. Actually, I don’t know the name or sex, either. The parents didn’t give me a name before ... they died.”

Yuka glanced searchingly at the redhead, then shrugged. “I guess since I’m the one with a baby brother, I get the job. Sayuri, do you have any cash available? My card’s maxed out for the month.”


Raven and Sayuri watched as a grimacing Yuka rolled up the soiled diaper and threw it in the nearest park garbage can before returning to wipe down the now-revealed-to-be baby girl and wrap on the clean — and thoroughly disposable — diaper that had turned out not to cost a single yen. The terrified owner of the corner shop had taken one look at the armed Raven and the still-crying baby and insisted they take whatever they needed.

As the baby girl settled down and began happily gurgling at Yuka’s tickling attentions from where it lay on the blanket-covered grass, Raven quietly asked, “What happened ta the Tendo dojo?”

Sayuri sighed. “The Tendos lost their home when they couldn’t pay the inheritance tax after Tendo-san got drunk one night a few months after ... well, he walked in front of a truck. Kasumi, Nabiki and Akane moved into an apartment.”

Raven stared at her in shock. Sure, Tendo Soun hadn’t been at Ranma’s eventual level, or even at Genma’s when they’d first shown up. Sure, he had gotten a little soft and out of practice since the death of his wife. Still, he had been at least at Kuno’s level, at the speed trucks could move on city streets he should have taken the hit and ... well, maybe not walked away, but slept it off, even — Even if he was drunk? the redhead thought, remembering the time he’d gotten more than a little tipsy, the trouble he’d had moving, controlling himself, and considered trying to control ki when drunk. Okay, maybe that was plausible.

Sayuri had been watching the play of emotions across Raven’s face. “Why?” she asked. “I’d think that after what happened, they’re the last people you’d want to see.”

“I ... have business with Akane,” Raven said shortly, voice suddenly as cold as when she’d first shown up at the school, and Sayuri gave her a sharp look as Yuka looked up from where she had been packing up the diaper bag.

“You’re here to kill her, aren’t you?” Sayuri enquired.

Yuka blanched as Raven nodded. “Yeah, I am. D’ya blame me?”

“No ... no, I don’t. Neither will Akane, for that matter.” Sayuri waved off Yuka’s mew of protest. “You know it’s true, Yuka — I don’t know what Nabiki said to her after her suicide attempt, but you know how she’ll feel about it! If the price of getting Ranma out of hell is her life, she’ll be happy to pay it.”

Her face was stony, expressionless, but a slow tear from each eye trickled down her face, and Yuka finally nodded. “You’re right,” she reluctantly agreed.

Raven stared at the two girls for a long moment, then leaned over and gently scooped the baby up in her arms. “Thanks a lot fer helpin’ with the kid,” she said as she slung the diaper bag over a shoulder and stood up. “You girls go ahead an’ get back ta school.”

Sayuri drew in a shuddering breath. “You aren’t going to ask us where Akane lives?” she asked.

“Naw, I don’t want ya girls any more involved in this than ya already are,” Raven replied. Besides, I can just check any phone book or check with any a’ the storekeepers Kasumi likes ta buy from.

She turned and started to walk away, only to pause when Sayuri called out, “Ranma!”

Without turning around, she said, “Yeah?”

“I can’t wish you good luck, but ... kami bless.”

Raven nodded acknowledgment without speaking, then strode off toward the park entrance.

The two girls silently watched her leave. As soon as the revenant was out of sight, Sayuri pulled out her cell phone, flipped it open, and hit the speed dial. “Nabiki, you called it, Ranma showed up at the school —” ... “Yes, it was definitely Ranma, and I managed to work in the tidbits you wanted me to tell him.” ... “No, he was in his girl form —” ... “Yeah, she’s headed for you right now —” ... “No, we didn’t tell her where you live now, but she won’t have much trouble finding out.” She quickly related what had just happened, then paused. “That’s okay, you have a right to be a bit snappish. Good luck.”

Closing her phone and turning back to her friend, she said, “Come on, Yuka, let’s get back to school. We’ve done what we can, now all we can do is wait and pray for the best.”
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