Chapter 1 : If
I Could Turn Back Time
Nerima District of Tokyo, Japan -- Two Years, 1 week later (Present Day)
the cool, autumn weather of Mid-September began to settle in across Nerima,
teenagers of all ages trudged their way-- almost reluctantly-- back to
Furinken High School. Saotome Ranma and Tendou Akane walked together,
quite leisurely, to school that brisk September morning.
"Can you believe it, Ranma?" Akane asked
rather casually, swinging her arms a little as she walked.
"Believe what?" Ranma asked the girl walking
with him in return.
"That this is the first day of our Senior
"Yeah.. Time goes by really fast, huh? Even
if I am spending it with a kawaiikune
tomboy like you." Akane raised an eyebrow at Ranma's last remark, and
punched him in the arm. "Itai!"
He muttered, rubbing the now-sore spot near his shoulder. He and Akane
looked at each other for a moment, and Akane began smiling brightly.
"You deserved it, baka."
She told Ranma playfully, both her tone of voice and expression rather
"Yeah, I s'pose you're right." Ranma sighed,
unable to resist smiling back.
Carefully, so that no one would notice,
Ranma slipped his hand around Akane's, and they entered the schoolyard
together. This, of course, was a normal action for most ordinary couples.
However, those who knew Akane and Ranma knew that they were, indeed, not
an ordinary couple.
The two were not blocked or stopped as they
made their way into the school, as they might have been a few years ago.
Akane recalled, wistfully, how she would have to pummel guy after guy
just to get to the doors of Furinken. She was glad that that part of her
life was long over. Even though there had been an occasional battle or
two, the skirmishes seemed to cease altogether once Ranma and Akane declared
that they would, indeed, wed after they graduated.
As Ranma and Akane entered into the main
hall of Furinken, they were greeted by Kuonji Ukyou and, not too far behind
her, Hibiki Ryouga. Ryouga had decided that he wanted to graduate from
high school, and so he had taken a placement test and was, miraculously,
placed in the highest grade level.
Ukyou was cheery, as always, waving to Ranma
and Akane as they entered the building. "Ranchan! Akane-chan!" The couple
smiled back, and made their way over to where Ukyou and Ryouga were standing.
"Hey you two! I'm glad I caught sight of
you! Ryouga and I were hoping we would, right Ryouga?" Ryouga, who has
his back turned towards the others, said nothing in reply to Ukyou's query.
Ukyou laughed off his silence. "Don't mind him, he's just a little nervous
about coming to school! So, what rooms are you in this year? I'm in 4125
and Ryouga's in 4330."
Akane looked down at her room assignment
and smiled. "Great, Ucchan! I have room 4125, too!" Ukyou smiled at Akane,
but on the inside she felt like she was ready to snap into two. She was
taking Ranma and Akane's commitment to one another better than Ranma's
other suitors, but she was still quite upset that Ranma had picked Akane
over her. And now, to hear the girl who had stolen Ranchan from her call
her by his special nickname for her; it was devastating.
"Well, Akane! I guess I'll see you there
in a little while, after I walk Ryouga to class."
Ranma and Akane looked at each other, then
back to Ukyou. "Walk him to class?" They asked the Okonomiyaki
chef, in unison.
"So I don't get lost, Okay!?" Ryouga roared,
obviously brooding over some unknown fact. Ranma put a hand on Ukyou's
"Ucchan, don't you worry about Ryouga. You
and Akane go on ahead. I got the same class room as Ryouga, so I'll walk
with him." He told his childhood friend, grinning. Ukyou smiled back,
and thanked him, and she and Akane were on their way.
"I don't need your help, you know, Saotome."
Ryouga barked at his arch-nemesis. "I can get to class fine on my own!"
With that, he began to head in the wrong direction.
"C'mon, Ryouga!" Ranma called after him,
following the other boy, and grabbing his arm to stop him. "You're already
going the wrong way," to that remark, Ryouga snarled, "and besides that,
I'm tired of fighting with you. We used to be friends when we were kids,
why can't we be like that again?"
Ryouga fumed for a moment, then hung his
head. Ranma didn't want to fight him anymore. Without the prospect of
winning over Akane, and with an arch-nemesis who wanted to be friends,
Ryouga no longer had anything to live for. He hoped sincerely that this
year would go by quickly. If it lasted any longer, he might have the urge
to point his fingers at his chest and scream 'Shishi
Houkodan' at the top of his lungs.
"Ryouga..?" Ryouga looked at Ranma for a
long, silent moment, then nodded slightly. Letting out a relieved sigh,
Ranma tugged on his former rival's arm. "Come on, then! We're gonna be
Although this day was monumental for those
children who were returning to school, it was just another day at the
Nekohanten. The restaurant had picked up business as summer began to come
to a close, and Cologne suspected that business would increase as the
weather became colder and the demand for a hot bowl of ramen to warm the
stomach increased. So, keeping that in mind, the old woman had decided
to hire help.
Unfortunately, at first, there were few
responses to the sign she posted in the window. The few people who did
inquire seemed to be very insulted by how little Cologne wanted to pay
them for their services. Although Shampoo protested, claiming that she
could service all customers without the help of any others, the sign remained
Midway through August, the sign came down.
A young and very pretty, albeit a bit unkempt, girl had wandered into
the restaurant. She looked almost as if she were in a daze, but as soon
as she had wandered into the Nekohanten,
she asked immediately of the help wanted sign.
"Sign is mistake." Shampoo told her, as
she was the first to encounter the girl. "You go now, okay?"
"Oh, I am so terribly sorry.." The girl
apologized, her ebony hair cascading forward as she bowed. "It was wrong
of me to assume that you were hiring. I merely saw the sign and--"
"Shampoo!" Cologne yelled in a scolding tone, hopping over on her stick.
"Stand up straight, girl. Let me get a good look at you."
As she straightened herself, a smile formed
on her lips. "You must be the owner of this wonderful place." She said
lightly to Cologne, her green eyes twinkling. "My name is Mujouken Aikou.
I'm very honored to meet you."
Cologne looked over the girl. She would
make a good waitress, but not in the condition she was in. "Do you have
a home anywhere, girl?" She asked. Aikou responded in the negative by
shaking her head. "Very well. We will give you shelter, but it will take
away from your salary." Shampoo frowned slightly.
where she stay?" She asked. There were, after all, only enough rooms above
the restaurant for her, Cologne, and Mousse.
"You can make the attic into a room for
her." Cologne instructed. Shampoo was a bit surprised that her great-grandmother
had instructed her to do the task, but she sighed and headed off to do
what she was told. "Now, come, Aikou. Let's get you into a hot bath, and
into some nice clothes." Cologne told Aikou as she began to hop away on
"Thank you very much for your kindness,
Aikou chirped happily, following the old woman. Now, for sure, she
thought, I'll be able to find Ryouga-sama.
Presently, over a month later, Aikou had
indeed turned out to be a great help to the Nekohanten. Although Shampoo
saw her as nothing but a nuisance, both Cologne and Mousse found it quite
nice to have her working with them. Aikou was cute, Cologne mused, almost
as much as Shampoo was. She was also extremely polite. That aspect of
her attitude reminded Cologne of the Tendou's eldest daughter.
Nekohanten o okoshiyasu! Please, may I show you
to a table?"
Cologne chuckled, as the new customer nodded dumbly in reply to Aikou's
greeting, and followed her to a table. She could almost see the drool
start to slide down his mouth. Although the fact that male customers responded
to Aikou in this way made Shampoo a tad jealous, in the month that Aikou
had been working, business had almost doubled.
"Shampoo! I love you!" For once, in quite
a while, Mousse had picked the right target, and was now attached to Shampoo,
who growled at him.
"Stupid Mousse!" She screeched, dumping
a glass of ice water over his head.
"Oh, dear.." Aikou murmured, watching, then
turned back to the man she had seated. "Please excuse me, sir. I shall
be back to take your order in a moment." She bowed, then turned, making
her way across the room to Shampoo and Mousse. Once she had learned of
Mousse's strange predicament, she had begun carrying a small flask of
hot water in her apron. She pulled it out and began to pour it over Mousse
as Shampoo continued to yell.
"Mousse is dummy! Shampoo no is love Mousse!
Shampoo love Ranma!" As Shampoo finished yelling, Aikou's eyes widened,
and she dropped the flask, hitting Mousse with it.
"Ra... Ranma? Did you say Ranma? Saotome
Ranma?" Shampoo nodded.
"Shampoo was marry Ranma, but stupid girl
Akane steal him from Shampoo." the Amazon explained.
Aikou hadn't really heard a thing that Shampoo
had said, she was so stunned. "Ca... Can you take me to Saotome-kun? He's
a childhood friend of mine." She asked of the other girl. Shampoo glared
at her, then turned away, folding her arms.
"Ranma live at Tendou Dojou. But Shampoo
no show stupid girl like you! You find on own!" She told Aikou, before
marching off to serve the man who had just recently walked in.
Aikou frowned, sighing. She looked down
at Mousse, who was no longer a duck, but was sitting on the ground, almost
in a daze. "Mousse-san, do you know where the Tendou Dojou is?" The boy
pushed his glasses up, snapping out of his daze, and immediately gave
Aikou instructions on where to find Ranma's home. "Please tell Cologne
that I'm very sorry to leave without permission, but I must see Saotome-kun!"
Before Mousse could either agree or protest, Aikou rushed out of the restaurant.
"Well, that wasn't too bad for a first day,
huh Akane?" Ranma mused as they walked into the Tendou's home. As they
entered, Ranma dropped his bag to the ground, took Akane's, and set it
down next to his. Akane promptly headed to her bedroom to change, and
Ranma decided to head towards the kitchen, to see if he could persuade
Kasumi to feed him lunch. After all, now that they were Seniors at Furinken,
they only had half a day of school.
"Hey Kasumi--" As Ranma rounded the corner
to the dining room, he was a bit surprised to see everyone gathered at
the table. Kasumi smiled at Ranma as he entered into the dining area.
That's odd.. Ranma thought as he looked at everyone. There was
a girl sitting at the table, with her back to Ranma. Kasumi's here,
Akane's upstairs, but who's that other girl? It can't be Nabiki, she would
still be at the University right now.
"Ranma, my boy," Genma said, standing up,
"it seems as though you have a visitor. It's been ages since we've seen
her, so mind your manners! You got that, boy?"
Ranma raised an eyebrow at his father. "Okay.
"Go on now," Genma told the girl, and she
stood, turning to Ranma. Ranma stared at her for a long time, trying to
figure out who she was. She looked very familiar, but at the same time....
He couldn't quite make out who she was. He found himself imagining her
with short hair, and about six years younger. Now, he was almost positive
he knew who it was, but how could he be sure.
"Good afternoon, Saotome-kun. It's been
a very long time since we last saw each other." The girl greeted Ranma,
rather politely. It is her! Ranma thought. There had only been
one person to ever refer to him as 'Saotome-kun.'
"Aikou?" He asked, just to be safe. She
nodded, a smile spreading across her face. "Aikou! Man, it's been like
six or seven years! How've you been?!"
"I've been well, Saotome-kun, but I was
wondering if you could tell me--"
"That's great! --Hey, Akane. Come here.
I want you to meet a childhood friend of mine. Akane, this is Aikou. Aikou,
this is Akane. My iinazuke."
Akane smiled a bit awkwardly, having been
thrown into something unexpected, and Aikou bowed politely to Akane. "It's
a pleasure to meet you. Saotome-kun, I've just come to ask you if you
could tell me where I ca--" Once again, Aikou was interrupted by her childhood
"This is great! Because Akane and I invited
a few of our friends over to lunch, and I have a feeling that you'll remember
at least one of them!" Ranma was grinning from ear to ear. "They should
be here any moment..."
As if on cue, a voice called from the door,
"Ranchan! We're here!"
"Ucchan! I'm in the dining room!"
Ukyou and Ryouga soon appeared in the doorway,
next to Ranma. "Hey, Ryouga! Look who's here!" He said, indicating Aikou.
"Do you remember her?"
Aikou's jaw dropped, and she lifted her
hand to cover her mouth. "Ryouga-sama.." She whispered in shock. Ryouga
looked at her, a look of surprise mounted on his features. Of course he
remembered this girl. She was a girl he had known since she was born,
a few months after himself. Their mothers were best friends, so they had
been playmates through their younger years. He had even stayed with her
family when his parents became lost and didn't come home for long periods
Here, standing before Ryouga, was a girl
who led him to school every day, and when he had been put into an all-boy's
middle school, she had cut her hair off and dressed as a boy so that she
could continue to do so. She was the first girl who had ever shown him
warmth and kindness, and here she was, standing before him six years after
he had left to chase down Ranma.
"Aikou." He stated, at a loss of any other
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Chapter 2 -- Omoide ga Ippai