Chapter Seven: The Chemicals Between UsEdit
"So, you," Yuka pointed at Ranko, "are really Ranma Saotome, except from another reality?"
Ranko nodded. It had taken a while, but Yuka had finally dawned on what her situation was.
Yuka blinked, and then turned to Aizen. "And you're really Aizen Myoo, God of Love."
Aizen nodded. "Yeah, that's about right."
Yuka looked blankly at the two of them for a few moments before resigning. "All right, I suppose I can live with that. There's no RATIONAL explanation for how you can change from a girl to a boy like that, so I'll have to go with irrational."
Ranko smiled. "Thanks, Yuka. I really appreciate this. All we need you to do is keep quiet about this, especially to Ranma and Akane. You can go back to class now, I think we've been here long enough."
"Hold on a minute here," Yuka objected. "You go through all this explanation, and expect me to just sit back and forget it all?" Yuka smirked as she shook her head vigorously. "Nice try, but I'm on board now. You two expect me to trust you, fine. I'll trust you, but only while I'm around you."
Ranko's mouth hung open. "Look, Yuka. It's not that we don't want you helping us out, it's just that--"
"No buts! I'm helping, and that's that." She gave Ranko a smirk. "Besides, this DOES after all, involve my friend. I have a personal interest in setting her up with somebody, and I don't care who. Ranma... well, OUR Ranma is as good a person as any." She chuckled a bit under her breath. "Besides, I was beginning to wonder a bit myself if she was... umm... well, you know."
Ranko shook her head. "If she's anything like Akane on my world, then I sincerely doubt it, but... well--"
"Welcome aboard!" Aizen shouted, then reached her hand out in a friendly gesture.
Ranko's mouth hung agape again.
Yuka could only smile and shake Aizen's hand. "So," she began. "What's our first order of business?"
"Sir?" the intercom rang out. Izanagi sighed in annoyance.
"I thought I asked you to hold my calls, Ms. Kappa."
"I know sir, but you also said if Anuket showed up, to send her right in."
Izanagi blinked. He HAD said that, hadn't he?
"Fine, then. Send her in."
"Yes sir. Do you still need me or may I go for lunch?"
"You can go for lunch. Try and stay away from the mortals, Ms. Kappa. They give you a horrible case of bad breath."
"Yes sir, I was actually going to step out for a cucumber sandwich."
"Very well," he said. Blasted machines. Why they had to invent the infernal things in the first place was beyond even him. The pantheon was doing just fine using telepathy and teleportation. It was pathetic.
As the door opened, he rose to greet his visitor.
"Anuket, won't you have a seat?" he gestured to the chair in front of his desk.
Anuket bleated a reply, and sat on the floor in front of his desk.
"I suppose you're wondering why I've called for you?"
"Baa," was Anuket's reply.
"Well, I've been doing some research on Aizen's situation. Getting the council to... prolong his stay on earth will be no problem, but if he gets his powers back, there is no way we can keep him out of the Kami Realm."
"Yes, I supposed you'd be wondering how he would get his powers back if he's in mortal form." He sat in his desk and flicked a switch under his desk. The lights went out, and a slide projector began projecting images on the wall.
An image of Ranma Saotome began projecting on to the wall.
"Yes, that would be Ranma Saotome. He was Aizen's latest assignment. Basically, it's for this reason that Aizen was in human form, and we were lucky enough to have two meddling Kitsune mess around in his home and lock down the dimensional door." He pressed a button on his desk, and the scene changed again.
"Believe it or not, this too is Ranma Saotome," Izanagi gestured to the picture of the pig-tailed girl on the wall.
"You've heard of Jusenkyo, no doubt?"
"Obviously. Well, Ranma Saotome was subject to a curse some time ago. He fell into Nyannichuan."
"You've really got to touch up on your languages, Anuket... Spring of Drowned Girl."
"Yes, now, he's set young Saotome on a task to... set himself up with a girl of his fancy."
"Ahh, yes. Now, normally, that wouldn't be so difficult, except that he brought Saotome to an alternate reality, to set up an alternate version of himself, with an alternate version of the girl he likes."
"Yes, I was surprised too. Aizen hasn't always been known for originality."
"Well, here's what I've discovered. In order to keep Saotome in the alternate reality, he requires some of Aizen's magic. And the magic is automatically set to disperse and return to its originator once the task is complete. That magic might just be enough to allow Aizen to return to godhood."
Anuket's eyes shot open. "BAA?!"
"And it appears that Aizen is now working with Saotome, in an effort to have this done."
Anuket got up and frantically started to jump around, bleating madly all the while.
"Anuket, please calm down. I've... arranged for a counter-measure. While Saotome and Aizen are working to set up this... other girl with the... other Saotome, two of our operatives are working against that.
"I knew you'd ask that... Kire and Masa."
"Boy, we'd better be getting good pay from this," Kire complained. "I HATE the mortal realm."
Masa walked over to their table in the diner they had gone to in order to plan their route of attack, carrying a tray full of food.
"Quite complaining, bud. Look at it this way, now we can munch down on this yummy mortal food AND probably get a few pranks in here and there."
Kire shrugged. "I guess," he muttered, and began poking at his food with his chopsticks. "What's this, anyway?"
"It has been a good sixty years since we've been here, Kire. It's probably some new type of food. Everyone else is eating it. I dunno, it looks okay."
Kire poked at the burger thoughtfully. "How am I supposed to eat this?"
Masa looked around, scanning the restaurant. "They're all eating it with their hands."
Kire blinked, and backed off in disgust. "With their HANDS?! What kind of savages are these?" He lifted the top of the bun off. "This meat had better be cooked."
"It probably is," Masa said, then hefted to burger, and took a bite.
A few moments passed before Kire finally spoke. "Well?"
"Wuhl, whug?" Masa replied, still chewing.
"How does it taste?"
"Ef tafes goug."
A few chews later, Masa swallowed. "I said, it tastes good. Great, in fact."
"But no chopsticks? Where's the challenge? What's happened to this world?"
"Who knows? Anyway," Masa invoked a change of topic. "As for out mission... What did the old man say?"
"Not much. He didn't explain much, just that it would be in our best interests to keep this... Ranma Saotome guy from meeting and going out with Akane Tendo."
"I wonder what for..."
"Well, Izanagi DID say it was of great importance," Kire's mind began to wonder. "Hey, maybe if these two get together, they have a kid that like... is the cause of Armageddon, the antichrist or something."
"I thought he was already born."
"Oh yeah," Kire said. "I forgot. Some guy out west. Runs some multi-billion dollar company. Anyway, there's gotta be something with these two. Something that threatens the safety of all mankind."
Masa nodded. "That would be why he assigned us to this."
Kire smiled. "Aren't we well respected, Masa?"
Masa nodded. "Damn straight!"
"Anyway, we'd better think this out. He says they both go to the same school. Here's a picture of Saotome." He passed Masa a photograph.
"Buff, isn't he?" Masa mentioned.
"Yeah, but the funny thing was that he mentioned something about not having the right picture, and that would have to do. Who knows what he meant by that."
Masa shrugged. "Ah well."
"Anyway, here's the Tendo girl. We've gotta keep an eye open for her too." He passed another photograph to Masa.
"Hey, she's a looker." Masa whistled as he looked over the photograph.
"Wait till you see the next picture. Too bad these two are the bad guys."
Kire passed another picture to Masa. "According to Izanagi, those two are going to be working against us. Trying to SET UP Saotome and Tendo."
"Why would they do that? Do they have something bad in store for mankind or something?"
"Who knows. They're mortal, so it could be they just don't know what their trying to do. Or maybe they do, and they're evil to the core."
"Well, evil or not, they're both pretty damn hot."
"Anyway, Izanagi's set us up with the school records, so as soon as we've picked up our uniforms, we can start at Furinkan."
"Uniforms? There had better be tail room."
"We might have to keep away from morphing this trip."
Masa choked. "Are you serious? You know what happens as soon as we lie! Heck, if we feel like pulling a prank, we start morphing!"
Kire nodded. "Well, when we feel mischievous, we'll be mischievous somewhere else. And as for lying... well, we'll stretch the truth, but try not to tell an absolute lie. We can keep it under wraps for a few hours, at a time, right?"
Masa nodded. "I guess."
"Masa... I'm serious, keep it under wraps."
"I will, I will."
Kire just critically at Masa.
"I'd probably believe you a lot better if you didn't have your ears popping out of your head."
Masa blinked, then reached up at felt the two telltale fox-like ears sticking out from the sides of his head. He pushed them back in, and looked around innocently.
"Well," Masa began. "At least it wasn't my tail."
"So good of you to join us, ladies," Ms. Hinako greeted, casually watching Yuka, Ranko and Aizen walk into the room.
"When did she turn back into adult form?" Aizen whispered to Ranko.
Ranko scanned the room and found her answer. Ryouga was slumped over his desk, and Ranma was looking very... upright.
"I'd guess that Ryouga and Ranma were joking around," Yuka mentioned. "That always gets her goat, and Ryouga's usually the only one who ever gets drained, but Ranma's always scared of it happening to him."
Ranko shook her head. "It doesn't matter. School's just about over."
Aizen looked at the clock. Indeed, school WAS just about over. Mere minutes to go, in fact.
As the three girls... well, one girl, one sex- changing martial artist, and one mortal god found their seats, Hinako began to write up on the board.
"Okay, class. Here is your homework for the night," she began.
Ranko groaned. She did NOT want to do homework while she was stuck on that world. It was bad enough having homework at home.
Aizen, on the other hand, was intrigued. She had never done homework before, the concept was... interesting, to say the least.
A moment later, Hinako shrunk. An audible zip passed through the classroom as Hinako turned around.
"The homework for the night is, write a letter to the principal asking to increase the candy allowance for the teachers!"
A class-wide face-fault was the only thing anyone could muster for a reply.
A few minutes later, the bell had gone off, and the students began to stampede out of the classroom. Ranko and Aizen, on the other hand, waited until after class, and then had a brief talk with each other as they prepared to leave for their meetings.
"You think we can trust her?" Aizen asked.
"Yuka was mainly Akane's friend on the other world. I talked to her a few times, but she never seemed to me the type to go back on her word. Then again, this one could be different."
Aizen shook her head. "Doubtful. I chose this world because it was the only one that directly messed with your life."
Ranko chuckled. "Yeah, but my life is intertwined with many others... But not Akane's. Not until I first met her, anyway."
"Well, let's trust her for now. I think we can use all the help we can get."
"There's something that's been bugging me, though," Ranko spoke up. Looking at Aizen, she began. "What's going on back on my world?"
Aizen blinked. "What do you mean?"
"Well, I've been here for more than a day now. What's going on at home?"
Aizen's eyes went wide. "You know..." she began.
"Oh, you didn't."
"Please, tell me you didn't."
"Let's just say they'll probably be happy to see you when you come back."
Ranko put her head into her hands and shook it. "Akane's gonna kill me when I get back," she muttered.
"Well, I think we should go." Aizen muttered.
Ranko nodded. "Yeah, I guess that would be an idea. Look, I'm gonna run... home first and get changed. I don't wanna be in this dress any longer than I gotta be."
Aizen nodded. "All right, I'll meet you there, then."
Ranko nodded, and then bounded out the window.
Aizen blinked. "I've gotta learn how she does that."
Nabiki smirked. Ranko was definitely in the class. That was all right, she'd just wait until the two of them came out. Aizen and Ranko certainly were getting buddy-buddy.
It was fortunate that she had to talk to both of them. Something weird was happening, and it all seemed to be focused around Aizen Satohara.
A moment later, Aizen popped out of the room.
"Aizen!" Nabiki called. She looked past her into the classroom.
Then she frowned. It was an empty classroom.
"Where's... ah... where's Ranko?" she asked.
Aizen shrugged. "She went home."
Nabiki blinked. "When?"
Oh please, Nabiki wasn't THAT blind. "I didn't see her come out."
Aizen nodded. "That's because she used the window."
Nabiki blinked in surprise. "The... window?"
Aizen nodded. "Yeah, she was in a hurry."
Nabiki's mouth dropped open. She ran into the class and looked out the window. Sure enough, Ranko was bounding across the field, up, and over the fence.
Nabiki's jaw dropped even further. In a hurry or not, this was the THIRD floor! She'd have broken bones or something!
She turned around, half angry. She needed to talk to Ranko. She even TOLD Ranko she needed to talk to her.
She must have been avoiding her. She looked over to where Aizen was standing.
Aizen wasn't standing there. She had left while Nabiki was staring out the window.
Nabiki let her anger grow another notch, and then let it calm as she began to plan.
If they wouldn't come to her, she would have to come to them.
"Oh, Ranko!" Nodoka greeted. "You're back so soon. What did you do, run?"
Ranko ran past Nodoka as fast as she could, and barely managed to utter a greeting.
Nodoka blinked. "Ranko?"
"SorrymomI'minahurry!" Ranko yelled again as she ran past Nodoka again, this time dressed in a pair of pants and a white shirt.
"Really, Ryouga," Ranma muttered. "I don't know what the big deal is..."
"Look, this is a double-date, Ranma. If I didn't bring you along, the other girl would feel left out."
"But I don't WANT--"
"Shh, just wait patiently. They'll be along soon."
Ranma shook his head. "I don't even know how you managed to drag me here so quickly after Ms. Hinako zapped you."
Ryouga shrugged. "Just determination, I guess."
Ranma scoffed. "More like hormones," he muttered under his breath.
"What was that?" Ryouga asked.
"Umm, I said... Want more chicken bones?" Ranma smiled.
Ryouga blinked. "We're eating burgers, Ranma. There are no chicken bones in it."
"Whoops, must have been mistaken."
"Yeah, an-- HEY! She's here!" Ryouga said, smiling widely.
Ranma turned around. Aizen was there, she was walking into the restaurant.
Alone, he might add, but didn't.
"Hey, you two," Aizen said, absently looking around. "Have you seen... umm.. Akane here yet?"
Ryouga blinked. "Akane? Is she for Ranma?"
Aizen nodded. "Yea-- HEY! How'd you know?!"
Ryouga blushed. "Well, I kinda guessed. You said you wanted to meet me and Ranma here after school, so it was only natural to assume you were bringing a date for him, too..."
"Too," Aizen deadpanned. "You mean... that Ranma..."
"What do you mean 'that Ranma'? How many Ranma's are there?" Ranma joked.
Aizen shook her head. "Never mind. Uhh, Ryouga, I think you misunderstood. I just wanted to meet you guys here to hang out."
Ryouga's heart shattered, almost audibly. It only took him a moment to get the pieces together to realize what she was saying. She WAS interested in him, but didn't want to make it seem that way. So, by inviting Ranma along, she made it seem like she just wanted to hang out.
Ryouga smirked knowingly. He was onto her.
"What's Akane coming for, then?" Ranma asked.
"Hm?" Aizen looked over towards Ranma. "Oh, Ranko's supposed to be bringing her. They'll probably sit somewhere else, but I think we could join them without much of a problem."
Ranma nodded. "Ah..."
Ranma's mind searched desperately for an explanation. Aizen was admittedly, a lesbian, so she could only be waiting for Ranko because... say, didn't he overhear Yuka and Sayuri saying Ranko was lesbian too? Then if Akane was coming, that would mean...
Ranma's eyes popped open in surprise.
THAT would explain a LOT. Maybe Ranko was an ex-girlfriend of Aizen, and Akane was Ranko's new girlfriend. That would mean Aizen was just using him and Ryouga to get back... sort of a rebound situation.
Ranma wasn't sure he wanted to be put in that type of situation. Especially with him living in such close quarters to Ranko.
"Uhh, excuse me," Ranma said, standing up. "I just have to go to the bathroom."
Aizen nodded. "Sure, but don't go too far," she said, and then continued her lookout for Akane and Ranko.
"Hey, Kire," Masa spoke up.
"Hm?" the Kitsune replied, not looking up from his plate.
"Lookit over there. I think that's one of the bad guys."
Kire perked up. True enough, one of the girls in the photograph was standing over a table with one man sitting at it.
"Hey, is that...?"
"No, he's not that Saotome guy. But she--" He pointed at the approaching form from out the window. "Is the Tendo girl. Chances are we'll be seeing the others soon."
"Are they okay by themselves?"
Kire nodded. "I don't see a problem letting them chat. But the minute this Saotome guy shows up, we've got to take care of it."
Masa nodded in agreement.
"DAMMIT!" Ranko yelled. Here she was, mere feet away from the restaurant doors, and some IDIOT has to splash her with muddy water. It was a good thing she was already a girl.
Growling, and angrily pushing open the doors to the restaurant, she noticed Akane was already seated. Aizen had thought to come over and start chatting with her.
"Hey, Ran---ko," Aizen exclaimed. "What happened to you?"
Ranko jerked a thumb backwards. "Had a run-in with a bad driver and a puddle. I'd have chased after the idiot if I didn't have to come here." She sighed. "Give me a minute to clean myself up, will ya?"
Aizen and Akane both nodded. Ranko also managed to spot a rather distracted looking Ryouga at the next table. Ranma was nowhere in sight.
"Where's Ranma?" she asked Aizen quietly as she walked by.
"Bathroom," she replied just as quickly.
Ranko nodded, and continued her way to the bathroom. She did it so absent mindedly that she never noticed the sign that read 'men' on the door.
Once inside, Ranko looked at herself in the mirror. Not bad, just a bit of dirt on her face. Easily cleaned.
She reached over to turn on the cold water, when she noticed a slight problem.
Any form of valve on the tap was remarkably absent.
She tried to turn on the water other ways, through touching the tap, twisting certain parts. But still nothing.
She was about to resort to using magic words when she placed her hands under the tap, and it automatically turned on.
Ranko jumped when the water turned on. She hadn't expected it to turn on so simply. She bent over to wash her face, and splashed it with the warm water.
Then she paused.
Warm water. Quickly looking up into the mirror, she noticed something of importance.
She was no longer a she. She was now a he.
A cough and rustle from behind him told him he wasn't alone either. Judging from the sound of it, his double was just about to exit the stall.
He had to think quickly. There had to be something. Anything. Cold water.
He had to find cold water.
He looked around frantically, and then spotted a usable source.
He walked towards it, and was about to splash himself, when he realized he was about to stick his head in a urinal.
The stall door opened.
Takao backed himself against the wall, and hoped to anyone or anyTHING that would listen, that his double wouldn't see him.
"I REALLY don't wanna be here," his double muttered. Takao exhaled in relief. He didn't realize he was there.
But there was something else. His double didn't want to BE there, either.
As the double Ranma began to look around the bathroom, Takao hugged himself against the wall. He couldn't let himself be seen.
And then Ranma moved. Takao heard some clumsy clunking coming from the far stall, and then silence.
Looking back, he realized his double had just jumped out the window.
"Oh, crap," he muttered to himself.