NeeP Productions Presents:

Recipe of Disaster
Niki (NeeP) Paradis

Chapter Five: Night of Revelations and Business Deals.

     Ukyou was going through Iikiba’s photo album for a second time.  She has seen pictures of herself, of Ryouga, baby pictures of Iikiba and of Yoiko.  She saw pictures of Ranma’s and Akane’s children, Kanaeda and Ranko.  She looked at pictures of other children, such as Gel, a violet-hair amazon girl with thick glasses.  She looked at the images of the family of Jiro and Jakku, with their children, Mizuko and Oyu.
     It’s nice to know that Jakku won’t be out to kill Jiro forever, at least, she thought.
     She looked at a photograph of Iikiba, as a toddler, pulling on one of Ryouga’s ears.
      It looks like the kid’s got him by the tip of the ear, she commented to herself.  She paused before turning the page and looked again.  Wait a sec, Ryouga doesn’t have pointed ears, Jiro does.
     She flipped to that first picture she saw of Ryouga and Iikiba.  Sure enough, Ryouga’s ear, the one closest to the camera, was just slightly pointed.  It was made more noticeable by the bandanna tied behind it.
     She then turned to the page with the picture of the older version of her and Ryouga dancing.
     He has pointed ears here, too.  Wonder why I didn’t notice that before.
     Looking at the pictures over and over helped numb Ukyou to the possibility of having her future fixed for her.  It also helped her to consider another possibility of what to do in case she lost the fight for Ranma to either Akane or Shampoo.  Now that she realised that the Ryouga in the pictures could not possibly be the one from her timeline, she relaxed a bit, knowing that the future was not fixed. Not that I’m giving up on Ranchan, no way on that one.  But now she knew that there was another option and that she didn’t have to spend her life lonely if Ranma was lost to her.

     Once the boys were dressed, everyone sat around the table in the main room.  Ranma was now wearing his blue Chinese shirt, Ryouga was wearing his yellow shirt that fastened in the front and Iikiba was wearing the burgundy tunic that resembled Ryouga’s yellow one.  Yoiko was wearing one of Akane’s sweaters instead of her soaked yellow wrap.  There was a kind of nervous tension between the two Hibiki boys that everyone seemed to feel.
     Kasumi came in with the tea and set it down on the table with a plate of cookies.
     “There.  Now we are all settled, right?” she asked.  She exuded an aura of calmness that no one could help but catch.
     Ryouga turned to Iikiba.
     “You there, Iikiba.  Why don’t you tell us the whole story from the beginning, hmm?”
     “I don’t know if I should.  I was always told that it’s not a good idea to know too much of the future.”
     “You might as well, Oniichan,” commented Yoiko.  “Kaachan was going through your photo collection when I went to the restaurant.  Someone saw that tag on your pack, I guess, and took it there.  She knew who I was at any rate.”
     “Aah ... damn.”  Iikiba sighed.  “Not much left to hide, is there?”
     Everyone looked to him, expectantly.
     Iikiba cleared his throat.
     “My given name is Hibiki Iikiba and I was ...or will be, born in the year of 2001.  This,” he gestured to Yoiko, “is my younger sister, Hibiki Yoiko.  She will be born in the year of 2004.  We are the children of Hibiki Ryouga and Kuonji Ukyou.”
     Iikiba paused as Ryouga started to tremble.  “Don’t panic Ryouga-san, listen to the rest of the story before you, uh, blow up.”
     “Anyway, I came to this time by accident.  I inherited my, uh, directional problem from Tousan and on top of that, I sometimes get lost through dimensions and time.”
     “It’s possible that people from other places in time to come to you?” asked Ranma.
     “Yes,” replied Iikiba.  The crowd around the table looked at Ranma.
     “I found Iikiba, once.  He was about four years old and he was sitting with Jiro who was about twenty.  She told me that I had been missing for five years.”
     “I think that was an other version of me,” Iikiba interrupted. “When I was four years old, Auntie Ji was twenty-five years old.”
     “Then, I’m around in your time?”
     “Your son, Kanaeda and I are best friends.”
     “Oh.  Well anyway, the Jiro that I met with said that dimensional rifts always crop up around Iikiba-chan.  She didn’t know whether the little guy subconsciously created the rifts or if he simply attracts them.”
     “I don’t know either,” commented Iikiba.  “But, I’ve ran into other versions of myself, at all sorts of ages.  I’ve run into children that are all sorts of different combinations of all of you.  There was Ryu, son of Ranma and Ukyou, excuse my familiarity, Ryoko, daughter of Ryouga and Akari, Tacchi, son of Kuno and Nabiki (“No way,” commented Nabiki.), Cream, daughter of Shampoo and Ranma, Akaneda, son of Ryouga and Akane (Ryouga blushed furiously.), and there were many more.  I’ve even ran into a girl with the combined last name of Saotome-Hibiki ...” Iikiba went deep red as his voice trailed off.
     Everyone around the table looked sick, especially Ranma and Ryouga.
     “No way!” shouted Ranma.
     “That will never happen!” Ryouga vowed.
     “Well, anyway, the point that I’m trying to get across is that Yoiko-chan and myself are from a possible future and that anything can still happen,” Iikiba explained.  “Don’t assume that our presence here means that the future is engraved in stone.”  Ryouga calmed down immediately.
     Soun and Genma crowded up to Iikiba.
     “So tell me, Iikiba-kun, who is the mother of your friend, Kanaeda?” asked Soun with a fiery intensity.
         “Akane-san is!” chirped up Yoiko.
     “You’re making things worse, dummy!” hissed Iikiba to his sister.
     “You hear that, Tendou?” asked Genma.
     “Sure did, Saotome,” sobbed Soun happily.  “We did it!”
     “The legacy of the School of Anything-Goes Martial Arts is secured!”
     “I’ll break out the sake!”
     “Hey!” shouted Ranma.
     “Otousan!” cried out Akane.
     “It’s only a possibility, so quit celebrating.”
     “Otousan, you’re embarrassing me!”
     Nabiki turned to Iikiba, ignoring her family and ‘extended guests’.
     “So Iikiba-kun, what are you and Yoiko-chan going to do now?”
     “When I found myself in this time, I figured that while I was here, I’d get a copy of the recipe that Okaachan lost.  As for Yoiko...”
     “I’m here ‘cause someone has to take Oniichan back home afterwards.”
     “Well,” stated Nabiki, “I have a small business proposition to make.”
     Iikiba suddenly became wary.  “What kind of thing do you have in mind?”
     “Don’t be so suspicious, Iikiba-kun.  It’s nothing difficult.”
     “Sorry,” Iikiba said sarcastically, “my business instincts took over.”
     “Right.  Well, anyway, all I want is some information...”
     "About any new product that came onto market before my time and made it big.”
     Nabiki’s mouth dropped – just a little bit, but she quickly recovered.
     “Uh, yeah,” she said.
     “Don’t sound so surprised, Nabiki-san.  I am the son of a businesswoman, and besides, you’re still around in my time as well.  We know you.”
     Yoiko walked up to Kasumi and asked her a question.  Kasumi nodded and went to a drawer and pulled out a pen and some paper and handed it to Yoiko.  Yoiko thanked the eldest Tendou sister, then walked back and handed the stuff to her brother.
     “Thank-you, Yoiko.”  He turned to Nabiki.  “I assume you’ll want to be playing the stock-market, right, Nabiki-san?”
     “Right,” replied Nabiki, having quickly regained her composure.
     “Now, you realise that I don’t think that this is entirely honest, but in some cases, financial support was the reason that some of the products did as well as they did.  I’ll give you the names of five companies that will produce one beneficial item that would not have done so well if they didn’t have the financial support.  Okay?”
     Nabiki frowned.  “Why only five?  Why not more?”
     “Let’s just say that I’m not comfortable with the idea of you having too much financial power, Nabiki-san.  I don’t want you to conveniently forget our deal because you might find it inconvenient to follow through.”
     “What do you get out of it, Iikiba-kun?  I wouldn’t think a Hibiki would have a great need for a lot of money.”
     “No, I don’t.  But things do happen, and I’d like to be prepared for them.  You know, hospital stays, house repairs, search teams for Tousan and myself ...  I don’t want much, just enough for the sake of financial security.  You do understand, right?”
     “Right, I do.” Nabiki nodded.
     Iikiba started to write out a contract.  They haggled over the percentage that Iikiba would receive in return for the information.  They finally agreed on ten percent since Nabiki was putting out the money herself.  Then they argued about how she would give the money to him.  They were on a standstill on that particular problem, until Yoiko came up with an idea.
     “How about a bank account to be created in Oniichan’s name shortly after he’s born.  Then Nabiki-san can deposit ten percent of the money that she has already made and then, every year, she can deposit another ten percent that she makes off of his information?  That would work, since Nabiki-san doesn’t have the money now, and it would be too much money to give to Oniichan all at once when we get back home to our time.”
     Nabiki and Iikiba nodded.  Then they wrote up the contract, signed it and had it witnessed by everyone in the room.
     Yoiko looked at the clock on the wall.
     “It’s late,” she said.  “Oniichan, we should be going.”
     “Oh my,” said Kasumi, “Where would you stay?”
     “Don’t worry, Kasumi-san.  We’ve got a place.”
     Ryouga looked towards Jiro.  “I don’t suppose, you have a place in mind to stay the night?”
     Jiro grinned.  “Of course I do, Oniisan.”  She looked towards Soun.  “It is still all right, Tendou-san?”
     “Of course, Jiro-chan.  You and Ryouga-kun can stay in the dojo for the night.”
     Ryouga brightened.  “Thank-you Tendou-san.”

     Iikiba was trudging along behind his sister.  He was holding his umbrella over his head, while Yoiko’s just dried wrap was getting soaked again by the drizzle.
     “So where is this place that we’re staying at anyway?” he asked.
     “Home,” replied Yoiko.
     “We can’t go home yet, I still need to get a copy of that recipe.”
     “No, Oniichan, I mean Kaachan’s restaurant, in this time.  It’s the same lock.”  Yoiko looked back at her brother.  “Do you mean Kuonji-obaasan’s recipe?  The one lost in the fire?”
         Iikiba grunted an affirmative.
     “I wondered why you wound up in this time.  So I guess that we’ll stay until we get it, right?”
     Iikiba nodded.
     They reached the restaurant and Yoiko unlocked the door.  They looked inside and saw that Ukyou had fallen asleep at the table.  Iikiba groaned as he saw all of his belongings scattered all over the place.  They went in and shut the door behind them.  They both looked at their future mother, who was starting to snore softly.
     “I guess we should get her to bed,” suggested Iikiba.  “I’ll carry her, but you gotta lead the way for me.  Yoiko nodded.
     Yoiko led the way up the stairs to the small room where Ukyou slept.  Iikiba carried Ukyou easily and was careful not to jostle her.  Yoiko pulled back the covers from the futon and Iikiba laid her on the bed.  They covered her up and went back downstairs.
     Once they made it back downstairs, Yoiko shivered.  In response, Iikiba threw his red T-shirt at her.
     “Put this on, and let your clothes dry overnight.”
     “Thanks Oniichan...” started Yoiko, but her brother interrupted.
     “Why didn’t you bring a pack with you?  You know better than that, Yoiko.”
     Iikiba sighed.  “Y’iko-chan, just remember next time.”

Chapter Six

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