Ryeka’s head was swimming as she regained consciousness. She put a hand to her head and groaned as it started pounding.
“Are you okay?” A soft feminine voice came from her side.
“Mommy?” The young Saiya-Jin looked around the dark room to see a figure sitting in a chair beside the bed. She launched herself from the bed to hug the woman tight. “Oh mommy, I had a terrible dream that me and Hatsumi and Nail all fell in some portal and got thrown back in time…and…and…” She stopped when she felt the person in her arms stiffen. She looked up at the woman’s face. “What’s wrong, mommy?”
Pan reached over and turned the light on. “You’re freaking me out kid.”
Ryeka was startled. “What happened, mom? You look a lot younger.”
The slightly older Saiya-Jin scratches the back of her head. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
“Looking at the full moon…oh.” Ryeka’s eyes went wide. “Oh boy. It wasn’t a dream, was it?” Pan shook her head. “Oh no. I just did a bad thing by telling, didn’t I?” Pan shrugged.
The door burst open to reveal a very concerned fourteen-year-old boy. “RYEKA!!! WHAT DID I TELL YOU WHEN WE CAME THROUGH THE PORTAL?!?!?!”
The younger Saiya-Jin put her knuckle to her mouth. “I’m sorry, Hatsumi.”
Pan put a hand on the boy and pulled him back away from the girl. “Take it easy on the girl. She’s had a rough day.”
The boy rolled his eyes. “SHE’S had a rough day.” He muttered sarcastically under his breath. “I need to talk to her for a sec, could you give us some privacy?”
The older Saiya-Jin raised an eyebrow. “You want me to leave my ‘daughter’ alone in a bedroom with a boy?” Even if she isn’t my daughter, I’m not letting them do anything.
Hatsumi shrugged. Oh well, cat’s out of the bag anyways. “You have before.” He scratched his head and thought. “Or is that, ‘you will later’? Damn this stuff’s confusing. I just need to talk to her.”
Pan’s shook her finger in the boy’s face. “Okay, but I’ll be right outside the door, and you’d better not try anything mister!”
The boy gave her a look like he couldn’t believe what she had just said. “You were saying that this young?” He shook his head. “Listen, we aren’t going to do anything, and one more thing…”
“Could you please not tell anyone about us being from the future? It would make things…uh, what’s the word?” He turned toward the girl on the bed.
“Awkward.” She answered with a smile on her face.
He scratched the back of his head. “Yeah, that’s the one.”
“Well it’s obvious who the brain of your outfit is.” Pan smirked.
“Can I talk to her, please?” Pan nodded and left the room. Hatsumi turned and looked at the thirteen-year-old wearing her mother’s clothes. He had never seen her in jeans before. She had always been quite the little lady, with a few extra articles of clothing to keep her martial arts training from revealing anything. She had always been very proper young girl, quite the contrast from her mother. Of course her grandmother had a lot to do with that.
Hatsumi sighed and sat on the foot of the bed. “Ryeka, I told you not to tell anybody here anything!”
The smaller girl pushed her lower lip out and pouted. “You told mom that she left us alone in my bedroom!” She argued.
The boy smirked. “Yeah, but what I didn’t tell her was that I was only five and you were four at the time.” His face went stern. “Whatever you do, don’t tell her anything about the stupid engagement! The last thing I need is THAT coming up right now.”
Ryeka looked down and twiddled her thumbs. “But I want to marry you.” She said under her breath.
Hatsumi hadn’t caught what she had said, like always. “Just keep it between us and Nail. We don’t need any more problems then we already got.”
Ryeka pulled her knees up to her chest and hugged her legs. “How are we going to beat Garlic? He’s stronger then when we fought him before, and we couldn’t beat him then.”
The boy produced the Makio Heart. “We’ve got what he came for. We’ve got to destroy this before he gets it, but I’ve tried everything I can.”
The young Saiya-Jin brushed some hair out of her face. “Maybe you should ask uncle Ranma for help.”
“I can do this without pop’s help!” He cupped his hands over his mouth. Have to remember to keep my voice down, or I’LL give something away.
“Then what are we going to do?”
“I’ll think of something, but for the meantime keep your mouth shut about ANYTHING.”
“Okay.” She was still looking down at her hands looking dejected. She started to sniffle.
Hatsumi saw her expression. “Oh, come on. Don’t cry! You know I can’t stand it when you do that!”
“What about this?” She looked up at him with the soulful puppy dog eyes.
She smiled. “Please think of something soon, Hatsumi. I want to go home.”
The boy’s shoulders slumped. “I know, Ryeka. I know. I’m doing the best I can.” He looked up for a second. “Wait a minute, Auntie Setsuna can get us home! Why didn’t I think of that before?”
“Because she doesn’t know you in this time.”
Hatsumi’s jaw unhinged. “Oh yeah, I forgot.”
Ryeka leaned forward and put a hand on his. “I know you’ll think of something.” She gave him an adoring look and a smile.
“I think I hate it when you do that worse than the other two.”
The door opened and Pan walked in again, holding a tray of food and drink. “Listen, uh, Hatsumi?” The boy nodded. “Ranma wants to talk to you outside.”
The boy stiffened. Why can’t I get a break? He asked himself rhetorically. “Uh, okay. I guess he’s the one with the red shirt.”
Pan’s eyes narrowed. “You know very well who he is. I saw you use the forbidden techniques at Phoenix Mountain. Don’t worry, I won’t tell him. Just go out there and talk to him.”
The boy’s head dropped as he scuffled out the door.
The elder Saiya-Jin turned to face the younger. She walked over and set the tray in her lap and sat on the bed beside her. “Now, Ryeka. Let’s talk about who your daddy is.”
Ryeka’s eyes went wide with panic. “Oh boy.” Think fast. What would Hatsumi do? “I can’t tell you that. It could, uh, mess things up in the future.”
Pan’s face took on a playful grin as she leaned in toward her daughter. “Couldn’t you just give me a teensy hint? Just a little something to help me along.”
The younger girl looked around nervously. “I…uh…don’t know. Hatsumi told me not to.”
The older Saiya-Jin’s brows furrowed. “So why do you listen to him?”
Ryeka looked down and blushed furiously.
Pan’s face lit up in a huge knowing grin. “You love him, don’t you?”
The girl slowly nodded her head. “I want to marry him, but he doesn’t want to marry me.”
Her mother leaned against the headboard of the bed. Geez, never thought I’d be sitting in a bed talking to my daughter about marriage when I don’t even have a boyfriend yet. Well, if Hatsumi is who I think he is, I could probably talk to Akane… “We could make him.”
Ryeka shook her head. “You already tried that. He keeps fighting it.” Her eyes widened as she slapped her hands over her mouth. “I said too much again.” She mumbled under her hands.
Pan didn’t want the girl to feel to pressured. She had other plans for the conversation. “Don’t worry. I doubt it will change anything. His father was the exact same way. I’m sure he’ll come around. After all, you two are still awful young to be thinking about getting married.”
“You mean that?” Pan nodded. Ryeka stared at her hands again. “Auntie told him that he could wait until he was eighteen. She thinks we should take it slow.”
Pan ruffled the little girl’s hair. The hair went back into place instantly. “I’m sure that’s for the best. Now, why don’t you eat something? You have to be hungry after going Oozaru.” The food was gone before she could blink. Her daughter just sat there dabbing her mouth daintily with the napkin.
“That was good.”
Pan blinked a couple times and shook her head. “You’re definitely a Saiya-Jin.” She leaned in close again. “So who’s your daddy?”
“I can’t tell you.”
“How about some yes or no questions? You wouldn’t be telling me then.”
“I don’t think so…”
“So does he have dark hair?”
“Uh huh…Uh, I mean…”
“Does he wear it in a pony tail?”
“Sometimes…I mean, no…uh…” Ryeka was getting a little flustered.
Pan smiled and sat up on the bed. “That’s all I needed to know.” She looked and saw the state her daughter was in. “Oh don’t worry about it. I already had a good feeling about who your father was. I just needed a little assurance.”
Ryeka blinked and looked at her younger mother with surprise. “You do? Okay, then I guess it’s okay then.”
Pan roughed up the girl’s hair again, again it returned to its former state as if nothing had happened. “Everything will be fine. You’re still here aren’t you?” Her daughter nodded. “Okay. What do you say we check the kitchen and see if Sasami has some more food?” The younger Saiya-Jin nodded enthusiastically. She’s definitely my daughter. Pan smiled and led the girl out the door and toward the kitchen.
Outside and earlier, Hatsumi walked out the front of the house and saw Ranma standing in the middle of the front yard with his arms crossed and a hard expression on his face. The boy swallowed and stepped forward. “You wanted to see me.”
Ranma narrowed his eyes. “Yes. I want to know how you know the Saotome Forbidden Techniques.”
Hatsumi started to sweat. “Uh, well…it’s a funny story actually…”
The older teenager narrowed his eyes. “Humor me.”
The younger boy pulled at his collar nervously. “Would you believe I figured them out on my own?” Ranma shook his head. “Didn’t think so.” Hatsumi tried to think fast. Man, dad doesn’t even know I know them in my time! How am I supposed to tell him now? I’ll just get into trouble later. A bit of inspiration struck him. “That’s not important now! We’ve got to get ready for Garlic Jr.! He’ll be here any minute!”
Ranma’s eyes seemed to flash. “Nice try kid, but you’re not dodging the question that easily.” Hatsumi dropped his head muttered something under his breath. “What was that?”
The boy looked up to his father. “I read the scrolls. I learned the techniques by reading the scrolls.” Well, I guess he’ll know I’ve been reading them in my time now.
The older teen settled into a loose stance. “So you learned the Saotome Forbidden Techniques from reading the scrolls. You must be a pretty good martial artist.”
Hatsumi’s head snapped up, his eyes meeting his father’s. “I’m the best!”
Ranma smirked. “Let’s find out.”
The younger boy cracked his knuckles. “All right. No Ki techniques and no magic. All hand to hand.”
The pigtailed martial artist nodded his head and brought his hands up in a ready stance. The younger teenager dropped into the same stance. It’s like looking in a mirror. Ranma thought. He’s obviously been trained in the Saotome School of Anything Goes Martial Arts, and he looks just like I did at that age. Only one-way to find out if he is who I think he is. “Sounds good to me. You’re move.”
Hatsumi shook his head. “Not a chance. I’ve learned my lesson enough times not to take that offer.”
Ranma chuckled. “Okay, then get ready ‘cause this is going to hurt.”
“Bring it on!”
Ranma leapt in at an incredible speed, leading with a low kick. His son jumped up and over his head, attempting to kick his father in the head as he passed over. The elder grabbed the boy’s leg and twisted a little and let go, causing the other to miss his landing. The boy rolled roughly of his neck and came back to a standing position. He popped his neck and settled back in a stance.
The heir to the Saotome School smiled at the boy. “Not bad kid. A few more years and you’ll be as good as me.”
The kid seemed to tense up. Problem is you keep getting better too! Even in my time! “Round two! KIAI!!!”
Hatsumi charged in with a flurry of punches at Amaguriken speed. Ranma deftly deflected each one and managed to land two punches on the boy for every one he threw. After fifteen seconds of exchange, the younger boy jumped back, holding his ribs.
They leapt at each other again, trading blows back and forth. They continued this for several minutes until at last the younger boy was thrown across the field and landed in a heap.
The boy slowly got back up to his feet, breathing heavily and wincing with each breath. “Okay. I give.”
Ranma smiled and patted the kid on the back. “Don’t worry about it. You’re pretty good, but I’ve got about three years and a trip to the land of the dead over you. You did pretty well considering.”
Hatsumi scratched the back of his head. “Thanks, I guess.”
“Although I wouldn’t expect my son to slack off in his training like that.”
The younger boy rolled his eyes. “I haven’t been slacking in my…” His eyes went wide. “Oh crap! Uh, I’m not your son.” His said in the most convincing tone of voice he could.
Ranma shook his head and chuckled. “Sorry, but doing the Forbidden techniques, Saotome Ryu style, and the Amaguriken is a dead give away. Not to mention you look just like me. Usually I’m pretty slow about these things, but techniques never lie.” His eyes narrowed. “Now why would I let you read the scroll?”
Hatsumi started to sweat. “Heh, heh…well it’s a funny story…heh, heh.” In fact I’LL die laughing if I don’t think of something quick…
The elder smiled. “You weren’t supposed to, were you?”
The boy’s head dropped. He suddenly found his feet VERY interesting. “No, sir.”
The shamed boy continued to stare at his feet until he was slapped hard on the back, jarring his head up with his eyes wide open. “That’s my boy! Way to show some initiative in your training!”
The boy spun around on his father with a shocked look on his face. “You knew the whole time…” He caught himself. “Er, you will know the whole time.”
Ranma couldn’t help but laugh. “What’s say we get something to eat? You have to be hungry.”
His son nodded enthusiastically.
The two arrived as Ryeka was starting on her second plate of Sasami’s cooking. Hatsumi sat down beside and Sasami gave him some of the same food. The two kids scarfed down the food like there was no tomorrow.
Ranma walked over by Pan who was leaning against the wall, watching the kids eat with a smile on her face. Ranma leaned against the wall beside her. “So what do you think?”
Pan’s smile widened. “I think they’re adorable.”
“So you do know who they are, don’t you?”
The Saiya-Jin nodded her head. “Yup, and you?”
“Yup. So what are we going to do with them?”
“I have no idea. I guess they can stick around here for a while, if it’s all right with Grandpa.”
Ranma raised an eyebrow. “Grandpa? Since when have you been calling him that?”
Pan smiled. “Since my daughter told me who her father is.”
The pigtailed martial artist shook his head. “She out and out told you that Tenchi was her father?”
“No, but I got enough hints out of her.” The Saiya-Jin smiled and went back to watching the kids, who were on their fourth serving.
“Why don’t you try some of my cooking?”
Ranma stiffened at Akane’s voice. “Oh no!”
Hatsumi’s eyes went wide. “You bet!” He grabbed the plate Akane was holding and wolfed it all down in one gulp. “That was….urf!” He put his hands over his mouth and ran for the back door.
Ranma shook his head and slowly walked out after his son. Akane was standing where she was, starting a slow boil. The pigtailed martial artist looked her right in the eye. “Good going, Akane. You just poisoned our son.” He turned and walked out the door.
Akane slumped down to her knees.
Sasami ran up beside her and hugged her. “What’s the matter?”
The youngest Tendo began to cry. “I…I didn’t want to believe that my cooking was that bad. W-what did Ranma mean by ‘our son’?”
Pan shook her head. Ranma and his big mouth. “He’s from the future. Ranma’s assuming you’re his mother.” She turned toward the door, only to be knocked down by her daughter.
“Is Hatsumi okay?” Ryeka asked as she struggled to stand back up.
The elder Saiya-Jin carefully untangled herself from her daughter. “I’m sure he’ll be fine. Ranma’s had lots of experience dealing with the effects of Akane’s cooking.”
Outside on the lawn, Hatsumi had turned a sickly color of green (pretty much the shade of the Shishi Hokoudan) and was puking his guts out on the Masaki lawn. Ranma slapped him on the back a couple times. “That’s right. Get it all out. Kami knows you won’t survive if you don’t.”
The boy managed to bring his gag reflexes under control and wiped his mouth with his sleeve. He took a few deep breaths and his color returned to normal. “What happened to mom’s cooking?”
Ranma cocked his head. “You mean it’s changed?”
“Yeah, I love mom’s cooking. That was…” He trailed off looking for a word.
“Toxic waste.” The boy nodded his head. “Yeah, I know. I’ve been trying to tell her that, but she won’t believe me, but you say her cooking gets better?” Again the younger Saotome nodded his head. “I guess there is hope.”
The boy held his stomach, which was still turning loops. “How do you cope?”
The elder Saotome shrugged. “Trying eating the grass. Works for dogs.”
“You’re kidding me.”
“Trust me, boy. I’ve tried everything to combat her cooking. That’s the only thing I’ve found that would work with moderate success. That and a stomach pump.”
The boy shook his head. “You used to tell me about how bad her cooking used to be, but I never believed anyone could be that bad.”
Ranma smirked. “So you’ve never had Usagi’s cooking either.”
“The queen never cooks. She hires people to do that.”
The pigtailed martial artist turned to regard his son. “Queen of what?”
“Never mind.” Hatsumi grabbed a large clump of grass and stuffed it in his mouth. “Canf talk wif mouf full.” After a couple seconds, he turned green again and started spewing again. “I thought you said that was supposed to help!!!”
Ranma laughed. “It did. It’s purging the rest of your system.”
About that time, another green figure landed beside them. “Hatsumi, get up!”
The boy rolled over and glared at the Namekian. “Do you mind, Nail? My stomachs leading a revolt against me here!”
The Namekian had a serious look on his face. “We don’t have time for that. Garlic’s coming.”
The boy got up and shrugged the lingering effects of the food poisoning. “We can’t let him get the Makio Heart.”
Ranma looked at them both. “What’s going on?”
Hatsumi produced the blood colored stone. “This is the last fragment of the planet that supplied the Garlic line their power. Son Gohan destroyed the planet, but the core still lives. If Garlic Jr. gets a hold of it, then he’ll become too powerful to defeat. He’s already nigh invincible from training for years in the Dead Zone. The first time he escaped, he did so when the Makio Star was aligned properly in its solar system. That’s when Gohan destroyed the world and he again got sucked into his own void. The second times he escaped, he trained until he had enough power to break out by raw power alone. The only problem was he opened his portal right where I was training in my magic. I hit him with a powerful blast that set him back a couple years. When he finally emerged, he was a little ticked at me.”
Nail crossed his arms. “Now that’s an understatement if I’ve ever heard one.” The alien’s antennae shot forward. He dropped into a defensive stance. “HE’S HERE!”