NeeP Productions Presents:

Recipe of Disaster
By Niki (NeeP) Paradis

The legal stuff:

     Ranma ½ is written by Rumiko Takahashi, produced in Japan by Sunday Comics, and Shogankukan Video (Studios?)  It is released in North America by Viz Communications.  This story and others by me like it are in no way meant to be used for profit, just entertainment.  Anyone else who thinks otherwise is plain loco.  Besides, I’m poor and cannot afford being sued by anyone.
     Jiro, Jakku Mizuno, Iikiba Hibiki, Yoiko Hibiki, Kanaeda Saotome, Ranko Saotome, Gel, Mizuko and Oyu are figments of my imagination, and I am claiming them as such.
     Iikiba Hibiki, although my character, has been designed to be able to cross into other stories or series with no reason whatsoever.  I don’t mind if other people use him in their stories, but I would appreciate being asked first.  I just want to make sure Iikiba stays within character, that’s all.  My e-mail address is at: .
    For the sake of reading convenience, I’ll assume that not everyone understands Japanese and thus keep the use of Japanese words to a minimum, except in the case of titles or names.    For these I’ll leave a brief translation here.
     Oniisan:  Big Brother – the formal form.  Jiro addresses Ryouga in this way.
     Oniichan:  Big Brother – more familiar form.  Yoiko addresses Iikiba in this way.
     Otousan:  Father – the formal form.
     Tousan:  Father or ‘Dad’ – more familiar form.  Iikiba addresses his father in this manner.
     Touchan:  ‘Daddy’ – most familiar form.  Yoiko calls her father this.
     Okaasan:  Mother – the formal form.
    Okaachan: Mother or ‘Mom’ – semiformal form.  Iikiba addresses his mother in this way.
     Kaachan:  ‘Mommy’ – most familiar form.  Yoiko calls her mother this.
     Oneechan: Big Sister – more familiar form.  Kasumi gets called this a lot.
     Oyaji: Pop, or literally “old man” – Ranma addresses his father this way.  Incidentally, Kanaeda calls his dad this as well.

Recipe of Disaster
Niki (NeeP) Paradis

Chapter One:  Boys With Bandannas

    The young man stood alone in the middle of a busy street.  People walked by him, on their way to wherever it was that they were going.  The young man sighed.  At least they knew where they were going.  It wasn’t as if he hadn’t any idea of where he wanted to go, but, rather, he didn’t know how to get there.
     He walked up to a koban (police-box) and politely inquired about the whereabouts of Ucchan’s Okonomiyaki shop.  The officer, a rookie who was new to the area of Nerima, had no idea, but offered to call the senior officer who regularly patrolled the area and get the answers from him.
     Bring ... Bring ...
     “Excuse me, sir, but there is a young man here, asking for directions about ...”
     “Wait a sec, a young man?”
     “Yes sir...”
     “About sixteen or seventeen years old?”
     “Carrying a backpack and umbrella and wearing a bandanna?”
     “Yes sir...”
     “Shit!” The senior officer mumbled.  “Not him again...”
     “Sir? ...”
     “Listen.  That young idiot is perpetually lost.  You can give him directions for a certain location today, but sure enough he’ll ask you for the same directions tomorrow.  Better get used to this loony.”
     “ ... ”
     “Is it the Tendou Dojo again or for the High School?”
     “Neither sir, he’s asked for directions for Ucchan’s Okonomiyaki shop.”
     “Oh.  Well then, tell him...”
     The officer relayed the directions to the patiently waiting bandanna-clad youth.  Who thanked him and dashed away ... in the wrong direction.
     “Hey wait!” cried the rookie.  He was about to dashed after the boy when another young man stumbled up to him.
     “Where is Furinkan High School?”  He asked.
     The rookie stared, wondering just how many bandanna-wearing, backpack and umbrella carrying boys there were out there any way?

     The young man ran through the streets, almost swearing out loud as he dashed by buildings that seemed familiar but he wasn’t sure.  I have to find the Okonomiyaki shop, I just gotta.  He dashed around the same block three times, before coming to a complete stop.  His eyes filled with tears as he again cursed his lack of direction.  He wiped the tears from his eyes with his fists and yelled loudly enough that the people surrounding him quickly decided to give him a wide berth.

     Ukyou looked up from the grill that she was cleaning.  The shop was still open for business, but she preferred tidying up whenever she could.  That cut down on the amount of time it took her to clean after the shop was closed, and it made a good impression on the Health Inspector whenever he came by on surprise visits.
     Is that Ryouga?  She wondered if the idiot out there knew that he was making an ass out of himself.  It was one of those things that can drive potential customers away: loud idiots making nuisances of themselves.  She had to do something before the idiot costs her the evening’s business.
     She marched through the door, armed with her battle-spatula (just in case) and a look that meant business.
     Ukyou stopped short as she got a good look at the particular idiot that she was yelling at.

     It wasn’t Ryouga.

     The boy looked at her, re-shouldered his backpack, all the while looking as embarrassed as Ukyou herself felt.
     “Excuse me,” he asked.  “Where would I find Ucchan’s Okonomiyaki shop?”
     Confused, the owner of said shop jerked her thumb at the sign behind her.
     “Oh good,” the boy sighed in relief.  “I finally found it.”

     The rookie was pondering about the two strange young men with apparent lack of direction when a young girl interrupted him.
     “Excuse me, I am hoping that you could help me...”
     The rookie stared.  The girl was about fifteen years of age.  Her blond hair was up in two ponytails on the top of her head, and kept out of her face and secured behind her pointed ears with a blue and white bandanna.  She carried a heavy backpack with a blue umbrella strapped on top.  Her demeanour was that of a person who has travelled a great distance.
     “Are you lost too?” asked the police officer.
     “No.  But I am looking for someone who is.  You’ve probably already seen him.  I’m looking for a boy wearing a bandanna, carrying an umbrella and backpack.  Could you tell me where he went?”
     “Which one of ‘em were you looking for?”
     The girl just stared blankly at him.

     The distance between the koban and the high school was about three blocks but it took Ryouga Hibiki two hours to get there.  To his dismay, school had already been let out for the day and most of the club meetings and extra-curricular activities were almost finished.  There was next to no one around, and definitely not Ranma Saotome.
     “Damn you, Ranma,” he growled to himself.  “Avoiding a man to man fight like that!  You will pay!”
     Of course, it hadn’t occurred to him that if he made it to the school an hour and a half ago, he would have found Ranma mashed into the ground with a huge mallet imprint in the side of his head.  But within an hour and a half time span, Ranma regained consciousness, brushed himself off, insulted Akane’s lack of femininity, and taken a flight across town via the same mallet that knocked him flat.  However, all that Ryouga could see was the fact that Saotome had ran away from him again.
     It wasn’t his day.
     Then he took a look up into the sky.  Off in the distance, dark clouds were forming, and with the wind blowing those same clouds directly towards him (or so it seemed), Ryouga figured that he had less than an hour to find a sheltered place to set up camp for the night.  And on top of that, his tent had a leak in it and the patch kit was in Jiro’s backpack.
     Ryouga sighed.  It was going to be a loooong night as well.

     Ukyou watched her visitor eat.  He ate in a way that suggested that he hadn’t eaten for hours and yet he ate in a style that indicated that he knew that there was a certain way to go about eating okonomiyaki.  Curiously she looked the boy over while he occupied with eating his meal.
     He was somewhat taller than she was, and muscular but not bulky.  He had thick brown hair that looked like it was once cut short but was starting to grow out.  It was kept out of his hazel eyes with a plain red bandanna.  He wore a sleeveless red shirt and grey pants that were tied at the ankles.
     Pleasant looking individual, she thought to herself.  Nothing like Ranchan, but not bad looking at all.  In fact, if she had to compare the stranger to someone at all, she would have to pick Ryouga.  Not that he was anywhere close to her ideal of a perfect man, but he had more in common with this boy than Ranma would.
     Ukyou then realised that she was staring and that object of her gaze was staring back, his cheeks flushed red.  She cleared her throat as she quickly turned her head.
     “Are you ... Kuonji Ukyou?” he asked around a mouthful of food.
     “I guess I am, honey.”  Ukyou was starting to become intrigued.  “So what’s your name, Sugar?  Why were you looking for this shop?”
     The boy took a last swallow of his meal, before replying.
     “My name is Hii ... uhh just call me Iikiba.”
     Iikiba?  As in “good fangs”?  No way...
     “I travelled a long way, on a quest for my mother.”  He grinned, revealing his namesakes.  “She said to me that you have something that she needs.”
     Do I know of any older women?  Asked Ukyou to herself.  Out loud she said, “Your mother, huh?  Do I know her?”
     “No ... But she knows you ...uh, of you ... heh, heh.”  Iikiba blushed as if he caught himself saying something that he shouldn’t have.  “Well anyway, she wanted me to get a copy of your mother’s okonomiyaki recipe.”

     Jiro looked around the school ground.  No Ryouga in sight.  She knew he came here, his ki signature was evident, but he was obviously elsewhere right now.  Probably looking for shelter, she thought as the first few drops of rain came down on her.  She pulled her umbrella out of its straps on her backpack and opened it up.  She wasn’t cursed like her “brother” but she wasn’t eager to get soaked, at least not until she got her hands on some dry clean clothes.
     She sighed, everyday it seemed like she was trying to find Ryouga.  At least now he was willing to accept her company instead of trying to lose her all of the time.  Who knows?  Maybe one day his family’ll adopt her, and then she’d have someplace where she belonged.  Until then, she will be content to be his guide and to show him just how helpful a little sister (even if it is only in name) could be.
     Jiro stood still.  She widened her senses, trying the air around her for the right sense of Ryouga-- ness.  She strained, listening, feeling with every fibre of her being until she felt a trace of Ryouga’s chi at the edge of her sensory net towards the shopping district of Nerima.  Satisfied that he was within tracking distance, she set off at a brisk pace towards him.

Chapter Two

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