Sailor Moon Fan Fiction / Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction ❯ Happi's Redemption ❯ Getting Ready to Go Home ( Chapter 10 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Happi's Redemption
A Ranma One Half Fan Fiction
By Michael A. Ivins
Ranma along with all of his friends, enemies and acquaintances are the property of Takahashi Rumiko. I'm just borrowing them for my own amusement and hopefully that of my readers. Sailor Moon and the Senshi aren't mine either. Please don't sue me.
This story takes place after the end of the manga.
Chapter 10
Getting Ready to Go Home
The following day at the clinic, Dr Rinse had apparently been informed that her helper would be leaving soon. She called the young redhead into her office.
Ranma sat in a chair opposite the doctor. The older woman said, “Ranko, I've heard that you will be leaving in a day or two. I'll admit I had reservations about having a martial artist as an assistant, but you've been great. You have been very good with the patients and you have learned a lot. You have natural aptitude for medicine.”
She paused a moment. “I would really like to hope you choose to study medicine as your life's work. No matter what you decide to do, I want you to stay in touch.” She handed over a card.
The doctor went on, “Please write to me. I confess that I'm tempted to get a computer just so I can exchange emails with you.”
Ranma shook her head. “Get one if that's what you want, not for me. There's a lot of other things you can do with a computer.”
Dr. Rinse nodded. “I know. I've been thinking about getting one for a long time. Exchanging emails with you may well be the final argument that gets me to actually commit to buying one.”
The redhead smiled. “That would be great. I don't own a computer myself, but I'm sure I could talk Nabiki into letting me borrow hers. If not I could use one at the library for emails.”
The Doctor reached over to a shelf and pulled out a rolled up piece of stiff paper. The roll was tied with a piece of red ribbon. She handed this to Ranma. She said, “This is to help you in your studies.”
The young girl untied the ribbon and unrolled the paper. It was a poster sized copy of the ki flows chart she had been studying. Ranma was moved by the gift, but protested, “Won't you need this?”
“Don't worry,” assured the doctor. “This is a copy. I can afford to part with it for a student of your talent.”
Ranma stared at the chart for a time before she said, “I don't know what to say. Thanks, doc.” She started to roll the chart back up.
The older woman smiled then picked a small stack of handwritten sheets of paper. She handed them over to Ranma, explaining, “This is a list of books that I think would help you. Many of them you can borrow from libraries. Some of them you can buy from a college or University bookstore. There are also a few you're only likely to find in a store that specializes metaphysics and the occult.”
The redhead's eyes went wide at the mention of an occult book store. “Odd that you should mention that. Elder Lo Shen has told me that a person who owns such a store that might be able to help me with my curse.”
The doctor nodded. “Then you have another reason to seek that person out.”
Ranma got up and walked around the desk to give the doctor a hug. The moment didn't last long because at that moment a man rushed into the office with a bad cut on his arm.
After office hours Ranma went to the police station. She found that the class of trainees had arranged to throw a small party. There was food and drink (fruit juice) and some gifts were given. The Brick gave Ranma two scrolls for martial arts techniques.
When Ranma and Noriko got back to Lo Shen's house they found that the mail had come and they didn't get anything. So it appeared that they would be there for at least another day.
The following day both went back to their accustomed activities but shortly after lunch they were interrupted. A man on a motor scooter had arrived in the village. The word was that the express delivery service had flown in with a plane to the nearest village with an air strip. Upon arrival the pilot climbed aboard the motor scooter that he carried in the plane and traveled the rest of the way to the village.
Word was given to both of the travelers. At the end of the work shift at the clinic Ranma hugged Dr. Rinse. She turned to Comb in a serious tone said, “You take care of the doc. I hope soon to hear that she's making do with some other assistant while you're at University working on your own medical degree.”
The tall young man impulsively swept the petite redhead into a hug. He commented, “Right now I don't care if you really are a guy. A hug seems the best way to say goodbye. I'll take care of Dr. Rinse and work hard on becoming a Doctor myself. It's been great working with you.”
Ranma hugged the young man back. She commented, “Just don't expect me to kiss you or nothing. A hug is as girlish as I go.”
Comb laughed as he disengaged from the hug. “That's fine. You'll have to understand that I have a hard time thinking of you as a guy. After all, I've only seen you in girl form.”
The redhead nodded. “That's true.” She handed him a card and said, “This has my email address. I know you don't have a computer right now, but you'll probably want to get one when you go to the University.”
He frowned. “Don't you borrow a computer now?”
She nodded. “Yeah. I'm not sure how I'll do it, but one of these days I'm gonna get my own computer. Until I do, I can use a computer at the library or at school.”
Comb shook his head. “I wish I could help you with that, but my money for the university is pretty tightly budgeted.”
The redhead held up her hands in a dismissive gesture. “Don't worry about it. I'll work something out. I'll probably be in debt to Nabiki for the rest of my life, but I can live with that. She's been a lot nicer lately.”
She stepped back and said, “I've got to get back to Lo Shen's. Now that I know I'm leaving tomorrow I need to finish packing.”
He inclined his head in a bow then looked up and watched as she left.
Ranma went by the police training facility and was given a lot of hugs and handshakes from the students. From the Brick Ranma got a handshake that would have crushed the hand of a weaker person. The muscular woman said, “Kid… Ranko, you're Ok. If you're ever in the area again, look me up. We can spar.”
The red haired girl grinned, “I'd like that.” The Brick was one of the best sparring partners she'd ever met. She wasn't as strong as Ryoga, but a lot smarter and faster and a seemingly never ending source of new and interesting techniques.
They headed back to Lo Shen's house. As they went, Ranma commented, “These are good people. Why is it they seem so much nicer and saner than Cologne's tribe?”
Noriko shrugged and said, “I don't know. I tend to think you have likely only met the more extreme members of Cologne's tribe. Not everyone there is a warrior. Arguably the Elders of the Joketsuzoku are the most extreme of the lot.”
“Humph!” Ranma shook her head. “What I want to know is how I'm going to get Cologne off my back. I bet Shampoo would give up if Cologne quit.”
The blonde frowned. “I'm not so sure of that. Shampoo is pretty stubborn. If she thought she was losing her Great Grandmother's help, she might get desperate.”
“That's just great!” Ranma sounded depressed. “I don't love Shampoo. I could maybe see her a friend if she stopped treating like a prize to be won. But until she can show me a little more respect, I don't think I even like her.”
Noriko felt a small thrill go through her as she heard that. She asked, “Are you sure? Shampoo's really pretty and very sexy.”
The redhead shuddered. “I may have felt tempted when she first started doing all of that `Wo Ai Ne' crap, but the longer I've known her the less I like her.”
Letting no trace of it show on her face, Noriko was cheering inside. She only commented, “Now if you could only convince Mousse of that, maybe he'd concentrate his attention on Shampoo and leave you alone.”
Ranma snorted. “He's welcome to her. If there was some way I could do it, I'd give her to him - gift wrapped.”
In a thoughtful tone Noriko said, “I'll give what help I can. It's possible that the best way would be to work on the Council of Elders.”
Ranma stopped and considered that. Likely if anyone had the power to rein in the Matriarch it would be the council. She asked, “What did you have in mind?”
Noriko replied, “After you beat Herb and killed Saffron, the council members can't be too thrilled by the idea of a male of your abilities living in the village. I suspect they would be afraid that they would have to treat you differently than the other men there.”
The younger girl's eyes went wide. “If the rest of the men in the village saw me being treated better than them, it could make them unhappy with the way they're being treated. Maybe if I threatened to get the men stirred up enough to demand equal treatment, maybe they would give up on me.”
The blonde looked at her companion in surprise. That was a smarter idea than she was used to hearing from Ranma. She said, “Lo Shen does talk to the Joketsuzoku elders from time to time. It might be a good idea if she could drop hints on that subject.”
A huge grin spread across the redhead's elfin looking features. “It may not be a quick fix to the problem with Shampoo, but at least it is a plan with chance at success.”
When they got to the house, Ranma told Lo Shen of the idea of stirring up the men in the other village. The elder nodded. “Did you know that men of the Joketsuzoku village are forbidden to visit this village? The Council of Elders is afraid that the men would be `contaminated' by our ideas of equality.”
She paused in thought. “After you are back in Japan, I will call Elder Soap and tell her that you were here. She'll be furious, of course, but there won't be anything she can do about it. When I'm telling her about your having been here, I'll make a point of telling her what an independent spirit you are and how you would never be happy living in their village. She may be set in her ways, but she's not stupid. She should get the hint.”
Noriko nodded. “When we get back to Japan I think I should be the one to talk to Cologne. It would sound more convincing coming from another person than from Ranma himself.”
Ranma walked up to Lo Shen and took her hand. “Thank you, Elder. You have given Noriko and me more help than I would ever have expected in this part of the world. Lately most of the people I meet seem more interested in what they can get from me than in what they can do for me. It's nice to meet people who are genuinely helpful.”
Lo Shen bowed her head. “On behalf of all Chinese Amazons I apologize for the way you were treated. That Kiss of Death is a barbaric custom that has no place in the modern world. Kho Lon then compounded an already bad situation by treating you like she would one of the men of her own village.”
The blonde put in, `You should know that the way Amazons treated Ranma is not the only example of what she was talking about. I'm as guilty of it as anyone. I saw Ranma as the heir to my martial arts school and never thought to consider what her/his feelings were on the subject.”
She paused before continuing, “You know, it's ironic that it took getting physically younger to make me start acting and thinking in a more mature way. I admit it. I was a selfish, spoiled brat who was more interested in getting his own way than anything else.”
When she saw Ranma nodding her head she said in a grumpy tone, “You didn't have to agree so fast.”
Ranma shrugged but there was the hint of a smile on her face.
Lo Shen chose that moment to interrupt. She reached down beside her chair and grasped the handle of a somewhat battered looking suitcase. She pulled this out and said, “The clothes made by the sewing class are already inside. I also got you this.”
“This” turned out to be a cardboard tube with two cardboard end caps. On the side of the tube there was a rough-looking rectangular patch that looked as if a mailing label had been torn off. The elder explained, “Rin Se told me about the ki path chart. This will allow you to carry it without having to get creases in it from folding. As you can see, I'm re-using an old mailing tube. Rin Se remembered that you'd need this and sent it over.”
Ranma smiled warmly. “I'm sure it will work just fine.”
The elder said, “Mas Cara will be driving the pickup truck. It will be carrying four crates of our tea blend. She will be stopping by in the morning to pick you up. You can ride up front with her while your luggage can go in the back with the crates.”
She picked up an envelope from the table and said, “This is a letter to the pilot of the plane that will be carrying the tea to Beijing. This instructs him to take you with him on his flight and drop you off at the airport.”
She picked up another envelope and said, “This is the package sent by Miss Tendo Nabiki in Japan.” She handed it to Ranma.
Ranma opened the envelope and emptied the contents onto the table. She picked up the passport and handed it to Noriko. She looked at the plastic rectangle with the rounded corners. She saw the name Tendo Noriko on it and handed that to the blonde as well. There were a few other documents along with plane tickets on JAL.
Among the documents there was a computer printed letter. She read it.
Here are Noriko's documents. I have included the credit card and plane tickets. This should be all you need to get back to Japan.
Your Dad is starting to make a fuss. He's been going on about “What is taking that ungrateful boy so long?” Your Mom looks like she's about ready to draw the sword and do something painful to him.
Nobody seems to really be thinking too much about the fact that H is now Noriko. I don't think anyone has the least idea of how to deal with her. I'm just worried that my Dad and yours may think Noriko is weak now and they can pull some kind of silly revenge plot on her. Just be careful when you get here.
Ranma handed the letter to Noriko and said, “I swear my Pop keeps getting dumber all the time.”
The blonde looked over the letter and commented, “If they are hoping for revenge they are in for a disappointment. Thanks to the Brick's training, I'm nearly as strong as your female body right now. With a little more training I may be able to get as strong as your male body.”
The redhead frowned as she said, “I won't deny they did have real complaints, but you aren't that person anymore. You've satisfied me that you really want to make up for the way you were when you were a man. I won't let them hurt you.”
The blonde inclined her head in an expression of gratitude. She added, “I wonder what Akane is thinking.”
Ranma let out a snort. “Knowing her, she probably thinks that you and I have been doing all manner of perverted things together. Likely she thinks you've been having kinky sex with my male form the whole time.”
Silently Noriko thought, “I wish.” Out loud she said, “If that is what she's thinking you could have a flight on Air Mallet in store for you.”
Both Lo Shen and Po Shen looked confused. Ranma looked depressed. She said, “Yeah, you're probably right about that.”
Noriko sighed. She looked depressed as well. She asked, “Have you given any thought to what married life with Akane would be like?”
The redheaded girl frowned. “You mean like always acting as if I'm afraid of my own shadow? Having to be careful of every word I say for fear my wife will get the wrong idea about something and beat me with the mallet, maybe kill me?”
The blonde winced at the description. That was pretty much how she imagined married life would be for Ranma and Akane. She asked, “Ranma, do you want to be the abused spouse?”
Angrily the younger girl demanded, “What choice do I have? If I tell my parents I don't to get married to Akane they'll pull the honor argument. It's an arrangement that was made before I was even born and yet I'm honor bound to marry that violent tomboy.”
Noriko looked down at the floor for a moment. “When a woman is getting beaten by her husband, the advice always given is for her to get away from him. Usually she gets beaten because her husband is bigger and stronger than she is. Some people don't want to believe there can be such a thing as an abused husband.”
The redhead frowned. Noriko was going somewhere with this but she wasn't sure where. The older girl said, “The usual reason that a man can be abused is because he can't bring himself to hit his wife in his own defense. It almost always happens with a husband who is strong and could defend himself against almost any attacker. He gets abused because he doesn't want to hurt his wife by fighting back.”
The blonde continued, “I know one of Akane's chief complaints about the training you try to give her is that you don't take her serious as a martial artist. You only dodge, you never hit her. We both know that her martial arts skills are pathetic compared to yours. If you were willing to defend yourself, she'd end up battered and bruised.”
Ranma shook her head and replied, “I can hold back better than that. I could hit her without doing serious damage. I'm not sure I understand the point you're trying to make, Noriko.”
Noriko scowled. “I'm not sure what the point is at the moment. Tell me, if you wanted to, could you block or dodge the mallet strikes?”
“Yeah,” was the answer.
The blonde next asked, “Could you take the mallet away from her?”
Ranma felt like she wanted to growl. “Yes, I could, but what good would that do? The mallet is a ki attack. If I took one away from her, she could make another one.”
The former man thought about it some more. She asked, “What about the other Tendo girls? As I understand it the honor agreement only specifies that a Saotome child must marry a Tendo child. How would you feel about marrying Kasumi or Nabiki?”
Looking even more depressed, Ranma said, “Nabiki is in love with money. Even if we've been getting along better since the whole wedding mess, I don't think getting married to her would work. Kasumi… doesn't want me. I'm too young, she said. If I could pick any of the Tendo girls, she'd be the one. But it wouldn't work with her either.”
Now curious, Noriko asked, “Why wouldn't it work with Kasumi?”
The redhead shook her head. “I feel about her more like she's a sister and I'm sure she looks at me like a brother. If she had to she'd go through with it because of the honor agreement. The trouble is that she'd look at it as a sacrifice. She'd pretend to be happy but she'd always wonder what it would be like if she'd married Dr. Tofu.”
Noriko nodded as she took that in. Then she summed up, “So you don't think you could be happy with any of the Tendo girls. Ukyo is just a friend, you don't like Shampoo and Kodachi is crazy. Anyone else your father may have made agreements with you don't know them and don't feel any attachment.”
“Yeah,” was all the answer Ranma made to that.
The former man walked over and put a hand on Ranma's shoulder. “I've come to think of you as a friend, someone whose happiness I care about. Let me think on this situation and see what I can come up with. I think you should give more serious consideration to the other Tendo girls. A marriage to one of them might not be emotionally fulfilling, but neither of them is likely to physically abuse you.”
“There is that,” the redhead conceded.
Po Shen cleared her throat. “I… had no idea your situation at home was so bad. I sort of thought that you were eager to back. I hesitate to say this but if you wanted to stay, I'm sure the village could come up with the money to send you to University to study medicine.”
Ranma looked at her for a moment. “As tempting as that sounds, I can't. I'm not gonna run away from my problems. That's something my worthless father would do. I'm gonna have to face my problems and figure out a way to solve them. The real problem is that my father made so many honor commitments that there's no way I could fulfill them all.”
Her expression grim, Ranma said, “At the moment I can only think of two ways to resolve every one of theses problems. One of them would be to commit seppuku. That would satisfy the honor debts, but it wouldn't make anybody happy. Well, it might make Akane happy to finally be free of the pervert she thinks I am. The other way would be to renounce the Saotome family name and become a Ronin. Since all of the honor debts are on Saotome Ranma they would no longer valid if I'm not a Saotome any more.”
With a deep sigh she said, “I'm sure you can understand why I'm not happy about that idea. I'm going to keep that as a final escape clause. If I can't find an honorable way to resolve the fiancé mess and all the other honor commitments, then that's my final option.”
She turned from her study of the floor to look at Noriko. “You said you would think about my problems. Help me to find a third option.”
After a moment she said, “How am I going to tell Pops I want to be a doctor and just do martial arts as a hobby? He'll go on some kind of rant about how ungrateful I am, how disgraceful and such. I have to wonder if Mom's ideas of manliness require me to be a martial artist.”
Noriko said in a gentle tone, “Most mothers would be bursting with pride if their son announced his wish to be a doctor.”
The red haired girl snorted. “I've always thought Mom must be a little crazy to marry a guy like Pops. I just hope she's not a lot crazy. If she says I'm unmanly for wanting to make martial arts a sideline, she may demand I commit seppuku.”
The blonde looked puzzled. “I thought she tore up the contract and burned it.”
“She did,” confirmed the younger girl. “Since she did, I don't have any reason to give in to that kind of demand. If she does ask it, then I guess I'll stop being a Saotome and come back here to take Po's offer.”
Po Shen shook her head. “As much as we'd appreciate having you here, I hope it doesn't come to that. If it does, we won't care if you are a Saotome or not.”
“Thanks Po.” Ranma stood up. “Come on, Noriko. We've got some packing to do.”
When they got up to the guest room, Noriko said, “I've got a confession to make.”
Ranma rolled her eyes. “Another one?”
The former man nodded. After a pause she said, “I'm rich.”
“Huh?” Ranma wasn't quite sure she heard what she thought she did. “Did you just say you're rich?”
The red haired girl considered that for a time. She placed the suitcase and the mailing tube on the bed and said, “I'm guessing there's a story behind that. Why don't you tell that story while I pack. After that you can tell me how that changes our situation. I'm guessing you have some idea that your wealth might help me in some way. You can explain that as well.”
She paused a moment and said, “Even if you were rich as Happosai, would you still be able to get your hands on that money now as Noriko?”
She picked up the mailing tube and pulled one of the end caps off.
Noriko started. “Well, as to how I got rich, that's not all that much of a story. It comes of living a very long time. About 150 years ago I bought several parcels of land in Tokyo. At the time they were cheep. Not all of them became really valuable and those I've sold for what profit I could get. Some now have really big buildings on them that bring in enormous amounts of money in rent from the businesses that have their offices there.”
Ranma nodded as she slid the rolled-up ki flows chart into the tube and nodded. She could easily imagine someone doing what Noriko had described.
The blonde continued, “As to how I would be able to get access to the money, that wouldn't be all that hard. I've been having the real estate management companies that collect the rents deposit the money into Swiss bank accounts. Those are accessed by use of account numbers and not by a signature. Remember those accounts have been around long enough that the bankers don't expect the original depositor to ever come claim them.”
Ranma set the tube aside and picked up her pack. She didn't say anything.
The older girl explained, “The bankers believe that the accounts are being maintained by descendants of the original depositor. I set up passwords to use so that `Members of my family' could access the money. Using those passwords, I could be Tendo Noriko or even Saotome Ranma and still get the money.”
As Ranma began stuffing clothes in her pack she said, “Alright, I can understand that. But if you have a lot of money and still have a way of getting at it, why were you sponging off the Tendos?”
The former man responded, “You've seen how I used to live. I didn't need a lot of money. Part of the reason I was living off Soun was because I had hopes that he would grow a backbone and try to throw me out. Of all my students, you are the only one who was willing to defy me. I admit that I was disappointed when Soun turned out to be such a wimp.”
The redhead looked in her pack and commented, “I guess we'll have to ask Elder Lo Shen to give us some food for travel supplies before we leave in the morning. We might not always be somewhere where we can buy food when we get hungry.”
Noriko nodded, “Good idea.” She paused a moment before continuing, “you probably wonder why I used peeping on women in bath houses and stealing food and other such things as part of my training of your father and Soun.”
Ranma draped a pair of pants and a red shirt over the back of the chair. She planned to wear them in the morning. “Yeah, I did sort of question what that was supposed to teach them.”
The older girl explained, “That wasn't really teaching. It was more of a test of their character. I kept hoping that they would protest or refuse to do the things I asked of them. They seemed to think that if they did those things I would share with them the ultimate secrets of the Anything Goes School.”
“Did you?” Ranma wanted to know.
The older girl shook her head. “No. It was because they went along with all of that crap that I never gave them the deepest secrets of the School. I did teach them some advanced techniques and let them believe that those were the secrets. They weren't.”
Ranma took a look around to make sure she hadn't forgotten to pack anything. When she was satisfied that the only things left out were those items they would be using or wearing in the morning, she said, “So they failed your test of character?”
The blonde nodded. “You might be interested to know that you passed. You refused to help me steal lingerie. You refused to compromise your principles. You have much more honor than your father.”
Ranma considered that. “Does that mean you will teach me all of your secret techniques?”
“If you want me to,” was the answer.
The redhead nodded. “And that's the important question. If I study to be a doctor, then I won't be able to spend the time on martial arts that I have been. I would have to wonder if I would really need your secret techniques. Would any of those techniques heal people of diseases or wounds?”
Noriko smiled. “Actually some of them would. Besides ki healing, I know some magic healing techniques that the original Noriko taught me.”
“Would you teach them to me?”
The older girl said, “I'd be happy to.”
A thought occurred to the pigtailed martial artist. “We've spent all of this time talking about my problems and what I'm going to do with my future. Now that you're young again, you have pretty much a whole new lifetime ahead of you. What do you want to do with your future?”
The blonde looked surprised at being asked. “Well, I have to work at making up for some of the things that I did while I was Happosai. Though, sad to say, many of the people I owe apologies to are dead now. After that, maybe I'll open a dojo of my own. When I'm being serious about it, I can be a pretty good teacher.”
She paused again then snapped her fingers. “There was a point I was going to make about having money. It was about Ukyo. I was thinking I could buy a new Yattai to replace the one Genma took. That should clear the engagement issue with her.”
“That's a generous offer,” Ranma allowed. “I'm not sure it would count as me resolving my problem if you are paying for it.”
“What?” Noriko protested, “Can't I help out a friend?”
The redhead shook her head, “Like I said, generous offer. I don't know, though.”
In a pleading tone the blonde said, “Please! At least think about it. I literally have more money than I know what to do with. It would do my heart good to help you with this. If you want you could even think of it as a loan to be paid back when you become a doctor.” In a sly tone she pointed out, “Doctors do usually make pretty good money.”
Ranma was tempted. Finally she thought of a compromise. “How about this? I can tell Ucchan that I have the means to get her a new yattai. If she's willing to go along with it, then I'll agree to the loan.”
“Fair enough,” Noriko agreed.
Since they had come in earlier than usual it was time for dinner now. They went downstairs. After they finished eating, Lo Shen gave the two girls a box of canned foods and other supplies to eat on the trip.
After putting the supplies in their packs the girls adjourned to Po Shen's room to use the computer. Ranma sent one final email to inform Nabiki they had received the travel documents and credit card and would be leaving the next morning. Since they would still catch the plane at the time listed on the tickets, they didn't mention that they would be flying most of the way to Beijing. It wouldn't make a difference in when they arrived back in Japan.
They went to bed early so they could be up early the next morning.
Author's Note: Ranma and Noriko found kindness and help in an unexpected place. While sad to leave their new friends, they have business to settle back in Japan. Whether or not all of Ranma's problems can be resolved remains to be seen. Noriko has dedicated herself to furthering Ranma's happiness with no regard to her own. Is there any happiness waiting for Noriko when they get back into their home territory? Stay tuned.