Chapter Nine: Youth Gone WildEdit
"Aizen?" Ranko asked, waving cheerfully at the two retreating forms of Akane and Ryouga. It would have seemed a quite normal, innocent form of speech, had her teeth not been clenched.
"Yeah?" Aizen replied, oblivious to the fire growing in Ranko's eyes, that would have made any normal person flee in utter and complete terror.
Ranko waited until the two of them were alone before she let loose her fury.
"WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?" she screamed.
Aizen sighed. "What else was I supposed to do, Saotome? She realized you were Takao, and that you looked just like Ranma... Why didn't you tell me that you two had the misfortune of meeting in male form?"
"What I'd like to know is how she never noticed that the two of us look so similar. Back in my world, I could go in my best girl form disguise, and she'd nail me right off the bat. It sucks, but still, you may have jeopardized our one and only chance of getting back home!"
Aizen smirked. "Actually, the way I figure, I've just increased our chances!"
Ranko almost fell to the ground. "Are you serious? How can this be to our advantage, in any way?"
Aizen put her finger to her mouth and smirked. "Quite simply, Saotome. We're secret agents, right?"
"According to them, yeah. I surprised they bought that whole story."
"Well they did. But here's the thing. In telling them that, we've basically made them deputy secret agents!"
"Deputy secret agents... Don't you mean honorary?"
"Umm... What's the difference?"
Ranko shook her head. "Whatever, just go on."
"Well, say we need to go on a mission of importance... And to pull off this mission thoroughly, we'd need Ranma out of the way."
Suddenly, it began to dawn on Ranko. "I... I think I see what you're getting at! We get her to keep Ranma busy!"
Aizen simply put her finger on her nose.
"What about Ryouga, though? He's this Ranma's best friend, don't you think it would be more logical to have Ryouga do it? Akane will see right through that."
Aizen blinked in confusion. "Saotome... Did you just say and apply the word 'logic'?"
Ranko simply smacked Aizen on the back of the head. "Just answer the question!"
Rubbing the back of her head, Aizen continued. "Well, we'll just take Ryouga along with us on this mission, and say it requires a male for it to work."
Ranko thought about it for a moment.
Then she thought about it for another moment.
"Fine, then what's the mission?"
Aizen's straight face slowly grew into a wide smile.
"Can you hear them?" Kire asked.
"Will you back off? It's not the easiest thing to keep my balance up here with your constant annoyances, you know!" Masa shot back, trying desperately not to fall off of the wall he was currently standing on.
"But can you?"
"Well try to listen in!"
"Look, I AM trying. Can you even hear yourself THINK with all that talking?"
Kire paused for a moment.
"Yes," he replied.
Masa just shook his head sadly.
"Wait, they've started to move again!"
Kire almost jumped with excitement. He loved the spy business. He smiled in the knowledge that his trench coat, sunglasses and hat would go to good use.
Kire and Masa had a heck of a time trying to follow all of them from the restaurant back to the Tendo home, trying desperately to hear what was being said, but to no avail. Eventually, the two enemies of humanity had parted from the others, so Kire and Masa had decided it would be better to follow them.
And so they had.
And now they were walking down the street.
"Are you just gonna sit there, or help me down?"
Kire snapped out of it and reached over to help Masa off of the wall.
Yuka stared at the two boys appraisingly. She'd seen the two of them at the restaurant, then she'd seen them follow Akane, the Hibiki boy and the two... visitors back to Akane's place.
Now, they were in hot pursuit of the other Saotome and Aizen Myoo.
But little did they know, Yuka was in pursuit of them. She didn't know why the two boys would follow them, but she intended to find out.
It was possible that they were just perverts, looking for a date, in which case she wanted to see them get their asses kicked once Saotome turned male.
Unless in female form, his... attraction goes towards males?
Either way, no matter what happened, she wanted to see.
As one of the boys fell off of the wall onto the other boy, she stifled a laugh, and then moved along, following them.
"Like a shadow, Yuka. I am the shrubbery," she chanted to herself, trying to hide herself from view.
It seemed to be working.
"So, what do you make of that?" Ryouga asked.
Akane shrugged. "I don't know what to make of it. When I fought... Takao... Ranko, whoever I fought, I knew that he was leaving openings on purpose. It made me angry, but I still never took the opening."
Ryouga blinked. "You could tell that? I thought he was fighting at the best of his ability."
"No, if I hadn't surprised him like that, by... uhhh..." Akane blushed a little for continuing. "Hitting him in his vulnerable spot, and he had been fighting at his full capabilities, I'd never have won."
Ryouga blinked in confusion. "You think he's that good?"
Akane nodded. "Definitely. The only thing that irks me is--"
Akane shook her head. "Nothing, it's just that... Takao came to my dojo last night and signed up for lessons. The next morning, Aizen showed up at the breakfast table."
"Well, doesn't that mean that Takao probably arranged for Aizen's stay with your father, then?"
Akane shook her head. "If he arranged it with anyone, it was Nabiki. But the whole time he was there, Nabiki never made contact with him. The only people he spoke to while there were my father, Kasumi, myself and Grandfather Happosai."
"Well, maybe he had business with someone."
Akane looked up. "Grandfather Happosai wasn't in his room this morning. It's not a terribly strange occurrence, but he had left his bag there..."
"Errr..." Akane blushed. "Never mind."
Ryouga just shrugged it off.
"But do you believe them?" he asked.
"I guess right now we have no choice, but I think there's something else they're not telling us."
Ryouga nodded. "I guess for now we should just go with what they say."
Akane smiled her agreement. "Say, Ryouga?"
"You're a martial artist, right?"
Ryouga nodded. "Yeah, I practice the art. Why?"
Akane just shook her head. "No reason. I'm just wondering why you don't fight in the mass every morning..."
Ryouga smirked. "I don't for several reasons. I don't want to beat you and have to date you, for one."
Akane shuddered. "Trust me, if anyone ever DOES beat me, I still wouldn't date them. That's just something Kuno said to give him a better chance to go out with me."
"He's pretty deluded, ain't he?"
Akane nodded. "Yeah, but now I hear he's after Aizen. Big break for me, but just wait until he finds out the truth."
Ryouga laughed at the mere thought of it.
"Anyway," he said. "My place is up this way." He pointed towards the left.
"All right, I'll see you around then," Akane replied, continuing to walk down the street.
Ryouga nodded and took a right. Surprisingly, he did find his way back home before dinnertime.
"Okay, so when do we put this in motion?" Ranko asked.
Aizen looked down at her watch. "Well, I could talk to Akane about it tonight and give you a call tonight to see if she goes along with it. You could take care of Ryouga."
Ranko nodded. "Yeah, I'll call him tonight. Say... Where'd you get that thing?"
Aizen blinked. "Huh?"
"The watch. You didn't have that earlier."
Aizen looked down at her wrist smiled.
"Like it?" she said.
"Where'd you get it from?"
"Back at the dojo. I found it in one of the upstairs bedrooms!"
Ranko held her breath. "You STOLE it?"
"No, I'm just borrowing. I figured we'd need it. Besides, I'll give it back! Nobody will miss it!"
"Nabiki, I've paid my debt off. I want my fathers watch back," one of Nabiki's many loanees stated.
Nabiki tried to stall. "Sure, sure. I'll have it to you first thing tomorrow!"
The loanee narrowed his eyes. "Nabiki, I need it tonight, before my father realizes its missing!"
Nabiki just swore to herself.
"Anyway," Ranko said, sighing. "We'd better split up now. I'll take care of Ryouga, you arrange the Akane thing, all right? I'll give you a call tonight if I can."
Aizen nodded. "All right."
"Oh, by the way, if any of the two guys who are following us give you trouble, just sack 'em and get Yuka to come over and help you out."
Aizen blinked. "Two guys? Yuka?"
"They've been following us ever since the dojo. Maybe earlier, I think I saw 'em at the restaurant."
Aizen looked around suspiciously. "Where?"
"Over there, by that row of bushes. One will probably break off and follow me. Judging from Yuka's... demeanor, I think she'd follow me, but I'll try and get her to change her mind. I can double back and let her know without that guy seeing me."
Aizen just blinked. "Uhh... okay."
"Anyway, see you later!"
Aizen just nodded and dazedly to walk towards the Tendo home.
"What is it now, Anuket?" Izanagi said, sighing.
"Yes, the hearing is all arranged. I've managed to get Hades on your defence."
"Of course he's evil, Anuket. He's a lawyer!"
"No, he's Cochrane's mentor. Remember the Simpson trial?"
"Of course he'll win it for us. We're paying top dollar for it."
"Well, he thinks I'm working with him, so I've got to arrange a lawyer for him. I think Bachhus is a lawyer. I could grab him. He's drunk all the time, but that's a good thing for what we want to do to Aizen."
"No word from them yet, but they're due to send us a message tomorrow afternoon."
"No, it's astroturf. You can't eat it."
"Baa... *scrfl* *mnch*."
"Anuket, please refrain from eating my floor. I need to practice golf putting on that!"
"All right, I'll treat you to a chia pet. Just don't eat my floor."
"I think it'd be better if you followed Aizen, Yuka."
Yuka nearly jumped ten feet. She had been following the boy ever since he broke off with the other one, but had not expected Saotome to come up behind her.
Heck, the boy she was following was even peering out from behind the bush as though he was still following Ranko.
"How did you--?"
"It doesn't matter. I can take care of myself with this guy, whoever he is, but Aizen can't. If she gets into trouble, she's in trouble. I need you to follow her."
Yuka blinked. "But how--"
"Just do it. Don't say anything to Akane about what you know, either. We've got a new plan sorted out. I'll tell you tomorrow at school, but for now just go!"
Yuka did a salute, and then ran off, leaving Ranko with her pursuer. Alone.
Cracking her knuckles, she smiled.
Masa frowned. He could have sworn he was following one of the enemies of humanity quite closely, not allowing her a chance to escape.
There was no way she could tell he was there. She must have just gotten away without him noticing. Damn. He never should have split up with Kire.
Suddenly, he heard an audible crack from behind him.
He turned slowly.
"Want to tell me something?" the girl asked.
Ranko smiled. The look on the boys face alone almost sent her into hysterical laughter, but she held on to it.
"Uhh..." The boy stammered. "I... uhh..."
"You were following me? And your friend was following my friend."
"L... Look you..." the boy tried to say bravely, unfortunately it came out in small squeaks. "You don't... know who you're... umm... dealing with!"
"Looks to me like a scared little boy!"
"Yeah, damn straight!" the boy cried. After a short pause, he put his finger to his chin in confusion. "Wait a second..."
"Tell me why you're following me."
"I.. don't have to tell you anything, enemy of humanity!"
"Enemy of humanity? Oh God, you sound like a corny horror movie..."
"I... I know all about you! You're trying to bring about the Armageddon!"
Ranko blinked. "Armageddon? What the hell have you been inhaling?!"
"Don't play dumb with me! Izanagi told us all about it!"
Ranko paused. "Izanagi?"
The boy narrowed his eyes. "That's right! You mess with us, you mess with him!"
"You've got to be kidding."
The boy just stared.
"AIZEN!" Yuka called, nearly out of breath.
Aizen paused and turned around. "...Yuka?"
"Hey!" Yuka said, finally catching up to her. "Saotome told me to come and find you. There's some guy following you or something."
Aizen nodded. "I know."
"Well, he said you might need some help in case he causes any trouble."
Aizen shook her head. "He won't cause any trouble."
Yuka blinked. "Why not?"
"He's stuck in that tree over there," she pointed a few dozen yards away, at a boy sitting in a tree, staring at Aizen.
Yuka's jaw dropped. "How...?"
"Well, I was walking along, then I noticed him following me. I guess he climbed up there after I stopped for a moment, and now he can't get down. He's at our mercy."
Yuka smirked. "So what should we do?"
Aizen smiled. "I saw a cop at the last intersection."
Yuka looked puzzled for a moment, and then noticed that the house next to the tree had an open bedroom window, which was on the same level as the tree.
Yuka gave an evil smile.
"You want to do it, or shall I?"
Yuka smirked. "If you don't mind, I would like the honour."
Aizen bowed. "Feel free."
Yuka took a couple deep breaths, and then inhaled deeply before yelling, "EEEEEK! PERVERT!!!"
Then, the two of them ran together, leaving one very confused looking boy, and a quickly approaching police officer.
Ranko stepped in the front door of the Saotome house and removed her shoes.
"I'm here!" she called.
"Oh, Ranko dear," Nodoka called from the kitchen. "Could you come here for a moment?"
Upon entering the kitchen, Ranko paused.
There sat Ranma, looking extremely embarrassed.
Wearing a womans kimono.
"Oh, Ranma's helping me fit this kimono for a company function his father is taking me to tomorrow night. I was originally going to ask you to help me fit it, but you weren't here yet. Now that you're here, however... Well, I'm quite certain Ranma doesn't want to remain in this thing... It's quite unmanly."
Ranko just nodded. "Uhh, sure."
Needless to say, Ranma shed the kimono with unrelenting speed, and made his way to the living room just as fast.
A few moments later, Ranko was in it.
"So, Ranko," Nodoka began as she sewed a thread through the sleeve. "How was your day today?"
Hmm. An opportunity to play Ranma and Akane together with Ranma's own mother. Ranko COULDN'T let this opportunity pass.
"Well, I met a girl today..."
"Oh, who is she, dear?"
"Her name's Akane... Truthfully, Mrs. Saotome, I think she's kind of sweet on Ranma..."
Nodoka looked up in surprise. "Oh? Is that so?"
Ranko nodded. "Yeah, she's real pretty and ladylike, too."
God, she had to bite her tongue on that one.
"Really? Well, I shall have to meet this girl. Akane... what did you say her last name was?"
"Tendo. Akane Tendo."
Nodoka paused for a moment. "Tendo... Tendo... I've heard that name before..." After a moment of thought, she shrugged. "Oh well, I'm sure it will come to me when I least expect it."
Ranko just nodded. "I think Ranma's kind of oblivious to the fact, though."
"However do you mean, dear?"
"Well, I don't think he's noticed her yet."
After a few more stitches in the kimono, Nodoka paused.
"Well, Ranko... What do you suggest?"
"Well, I think these two would be a perfect match, Mrs. Saotome."
"Actually, I wanted to talk to you about that as well, dear."
"What would you say to being betrothed to Ranma?"
Nodoka nearly fell over backwards at the reaction. "My dear, if you don't like the idea, you could merely tell me."
Ranko was at a loss for words for a few moments before regaining her composure. "Actually," she began. "I'm already.. kinda... engaged."
Nodoka nodded. "Understood, dear. I was only curious as to what you thought."
"Well, I like Ranma and all, Mrs. Saotome. I just don't... well, like him like THAT."
"That's all right dear," she said, continuing her stitches. "Now what were you saying about this Tendo girl?"
"Well, I think they'd be a good match."
"What makes you think so?"
"Well, the way they act around each other is one. You can tell one likes the other, but each is too afraid to let the other know."
"Do you have any ideas, dear?"
Ranko smirked. "I thought you'd never ask."
"Mr. Izanagi?" the voice on the intercom rang.
Izanagi sighed. First Anuket, and now this.
"Yes, Ms. Kappa?"
"Sir, Kire on line one, sir."
"Kire? They weren't due to call until tomorrow," he muttered to himself as he picked up the phone.
"Umm, Mr. Izanagi, sir?"
"Yes, Kire? You have anything to report?"
"Actually, yes and no. We've followed the subjects around a bit, and we witnessed a physical fight between the Saotome guy and the Tendo girl."
"A physical fight? Delightful!" Izanagi smiled.
"But we've hit a bit of a snag."
"Well, I don't know where Masa is. I suppose we'll meet at the meeting place later on, but..."
Izanagi's features went blank for a moment. "But...?"
"I'm kinda stuck somewhere. I think I need to get out of here before I continue surveillance."
Izanagi sighed. "Where are you, Kire?"
"Nerima City Police Department."
Izanagi placed his palm to his head and banged it thoroughly.
"How did it happen Kire?"
"Actually, never mind. I don't want to know. Just give me a few moments."
"Akane?" Aizen asked.
"Yeah?" Akane replied, looking up at her.
"Look, we've just received word on what our next mission will be, and it looks like we'll be needing your help. We need you to keep Ranma Saotome busy tomorrow."
Akane looked at Aizen confusedly for a moment. "Ranma Saotome? Can't Ryouga--"
"Actually, no. The mission requires Ryouga's presence with Takao and I."
"But why can't I--"
"It has to be a male presence. The place we're infiltrating is very, very harsh if you're female."
"So you need me to baby sit Ranma Saotome?"
"Not quite. We've worked out a few things for you. Just take him out on the pretext of a date. We'll supply you with the dinner money, reservations and the movie ticket."
Aizen nodded. "Yeah, it's really important that he be occupied tomorrow night, Akane."
"It's top secret, Akane. Even Ryouga won't be told the whole story. Just what he needs to know in order to survive."
Akane stared at Aizen for a few moments. "But... I've... never ASKED a boy on a date before! What do I say?... What do I WEAR?!"
Aizen began to smile. "Trust me, Akane. You've asked the right person."
"So, you're suggesting that you can convince this Akane girl to ask my Ranma out on a date tomorrow?"
Ranko nodded. "Very easily. I just need some assurance that Ranma will accept. He doesn't seem to be very willing to be around girls lately."
"Oh my, I hope this doesn't mean he's unmanly."
Ranko shook her head furiously. "Nonononono. I'm sure he IS quite... umm... manly. He's a mans man! A man among men! No doubt about that."
Nodoka smiled. "You seem very defensive about him, dear."
"Well, lets just say he and I share lifestyles."
"Oh, then you...?"
"Umm, yeah. You could say that."
Nodoka smiled. "Don't worry, dear. There's nothing wrong with that, I was simply curious."
"Dear, this fiance of yours...?"
"Is it a..."
"A girl?... Uhh, yeah."
Nodoka smiled. "Do you love her?"
Ranko paused for a moment. "I... You know, if you'd asked me in front of her, I'd probably deny it. No... No, I'd definitely deny it," she said, sighing. "But now I would have to say... definitely."
Nodoka let her smile grow wider. "You must miss her very much."
Ranko laughed. "Oh, you have no idea."
Nodoka just smiled and put the finishing touches on the kimono.
"So, how do you suggest we convince Ranma to go along with the date?"
Ranko thought for a moment. "Well, there's this--"
"I'm sorry, Mr. Izanagi," Kire apologized.
"Caught in a tree for PEEPING? What on EARTH were you doing PEEPING?"
"I wasn't peeping! I climbed up the tree to see if I could get a better view of the subject, and then realized I couldn't get back down without falling. The next thing I know, someone screamed pervert, and that cop was all over me."
Izanagi shook his head. "Where did you leave Masa?"
"Well, we were at this intersection when we split up. He went that way--" Kire pointed down the street. "--and I went this way."
"Well, then, we'll go this way," Izanagi said, walking up the street.
They walked forward for a few moments when Kire paused.
"Do you hear that?"
Kire paused for a moment. "That!" he said.
"I don't hear anything!"
"No, I hear something. It's coming from over there!" Kire said, pointing towards some nearby bushes.
Izanagi went over to investigate.
Upon clearing through the bushes, Izanagi let out the biggest, longest, most profane swear word he could think of.
A few minutes later, they untied Masa from the tree and allowed him to get over his airsickness.