Recipe of Disaster
Niki "NeeP" Paradis
Chapter Eight: Broken Dreams and Fixed Battles
Iikiba sat at the counter, panting. As always,
he had exhausted himself. The Shi-shi Houkoudan always took a lot
out of a person. But at least he was no longer depressed. Now,
he was just plain angry. He looked towards Ukyou and Ryouga who was
looking at him warily. The remaining customers also looked at him,
took deep swallows and one by one they got up from their plates, went to
Ukyou and paid their bills, and prudently left the scene.
Ukyou watched in dismay as the last of her livelihood left the restaurant. She looked at Iikiba--torn in telling her future son off for driving off her customers and avoiding having him blow up again. But then, she thought, if he really is my son, he'd understand.
"Are you aware that you just drove off today's business?" she asked icily. Iikiba glared at her, then understanding registered on his face and his eyes widened.
"You're right, Ukyou-san," he sighed. "I should have known better." He stood up and bowed low to her.
Ukyou grunted. "Alright then."
"How easy does the Shi-shi Houkoudan come to you?" asked Jiro curiously. Iikiba swallowed, and glanced at Ryouga before answering.
"Almost as easy as it comes to Tousan, my father, that is. I'm not as down in the dumps as often as he is, though." He gestured to his sister, still unconscious and propped against his backpack. "Yoiko-chan, gets depressed more often than I do, and at least once a month, she gets to a point that can throw a Shi-shi Houkoudan that can level the neighbourhood, if she released it. I don't get depressed that often, although I can make myself depressed during a battle if I have to. When I get depressed, I really get depressed, then I can cause serious damage with my heavy ki."
Ranma, who was leaning against the wall, watching the whole thing, asked, "In battle, huh? Have you even defeated someone with that attack?"
"A certain old pervert who was groping at Yoiko got himself flattened with it. That was last year." Iikiba smirked. "I showed that old goat a thing or two."
"Who taught you?" asked Ryouga. "Did your father...?"
"He had to." Iikiba shrugged. "We learned while we were young. Sometimes we were so upset, for one reason or another that we had to release the depression before we could do damage to ourselves."
"Oh?" asked Ryouga and Ukyou together.
He grinned, "I'm saying too much, but honestly, at home, we're one big happy family."
"Oniichan?" asked Yoiko sleepily as she stirred. "I thought that you said that we weren't suppose to talk so much."
Iikiba jumped, then turned around and looked at her.
"You're right. I forgot myself but I think I can get away with it just this once." He winked.
"There you are, 'Kiba-kun!" came a voice from outside of the restaurant. A red-hair boy burst through the doorway. "Are you aware that your folks are worried 'bout you?" He glanced around at the people around him. "What year is this, anyway?"
Ranma studied the newcomer. The boy seemed familiar to him as well. Not that he ever seen this guy before, but there was something nagging at him...
The boy looked back and recognition registered in his eyes.
"No way, man." The redhead shook his head in disbelief. Then he looked at Iikiba, and asked, "Is that who I think it is?"
Iikiba looked away. The boy grinned.
"I can't believe it," he addressed Ranma, "but it is. Oyaji!"
Jakku paused before the restaurant. There was
no doubt about it; this was the place where the blast came from.
The hole in the middle of the street before the building was proof of that.
However, there were too many people around the building for his tastes.
Lucky for him, that most of the customers had already left, but unfortunately,
the crowd that was forming in front of the building, presented too many
eyes. If he were to kill Jiro, he would prefer to have as few witnesses
He looked into the doorway, as discretely as possible, and saw that the guy that Jiro called her brother was still there, plus the storeowner and the guy-girl that the Hibiki guy always fought. There were more people in the restaurant as well; two boys and a girl.
Too many witnesses, he thought as he shook his head. And all of them would more than likely seek retribution for Jiro's death. He sighed. Perhaps another day...
He backed away from the store, hoping that no one within saw him, when he came against something solid, and warm. He turned around and came up against the chest of a very large pig. He looked up and saw the pig looking down with a somewhat mean look in his piggish eyes. Jakku swallowed. He had seen this pig before -- from afar. He knew that the pig belonged to an acquaintance of the Hibiki guy and he knew that he never wanted to get it mad at him.
"Katsunishiki! Apologise to this young man. You know that he didn't mean to bump into you."
To Jakku's surprise, the huge pig backed up, and actually bowed low in apology. Jakku then saw that the pig's owner was riding on the back of her huge pet.
"No, it's my fault, I wasn't watching where I was going." He bowed back, knowing that he looked ridiculous, but he was willing to make a fool of himself to get on the good side of this pig. "Gotta go!" With that, Jakku turned around and walked away -- quickly.
The young officer had finally reached the site
of pillar of light. The only evidence that he could see that anything
had happened was a really large hole in the street. He also thought
he saw an incredibly huge pig walking away from the scene, but after he
shook his head, the pig was gone, so he chalked it up to a delusion caused
by stress and exhaustion. But the funny thing was that no one was
paying any particular attention, or even seems a little concerned over
the damage that loomed big in front of them. Then he looked up and
saw that the pit was located right in front of Ucchan's Okonomiyaki shop.
It figures, thought the rookie to himself, as he pulled the radio out of his belt and called in the potential safety hazard, especially with people coming en masse from the restaurant. We can't have people falling into that hole. But to his surprise and dismay, the old Sargent on the other end seemed unconcerned about the whole thing.
"Happens all the time," was what Sargent Yamato said to him. "Don't worry about the people. They know better than to fall into that hole." The rookie shook his head in amazement. But at least he managed to arrange a clean-up crew to come and patch the street.
While waiting for the crew to arrive, he looked around the perimeter of the hole--to ascertain the damage, and realised that there wasn't any evidence of any bombs, equipment malfunction or photon torpedoes. He was confused--it was obvious that the hole was created from a blast of some sort, but there was no sign of whatever it was that caused it. The best thing that he could think of that he could do is to go into the restaurant and ask what the hell has happened. But that had to wait until the area was secured.
Ranma was stunned. He looked at the guy who
looked back with such familiarity. Who the heck is this, and where
does he get off calling me --ME!!! --'Old Man'?!? The red-hair
boy simply faced him, with his arms crossed and with an 'in-your-face'
kind of attitude. He wore a blue Chinese shirt, and soft-soled kung
fu styled slippers, which contrasted sharply with his worn in blue jeans.
Ranma looked into the boy's face. He got eyes just like Akane's,
he thought with a kind of wonder.
Then it clicked in that this kid had just acknowledged him as his father. His jaw dropped open, as he realised the implications of how this kid came to be.
"Heh," chuckled the boy. "He does a good impression of a beached fish, doesn't he, 'Kiba-kun?"
Iikiba shook his head. "You ought to watch yourself, Kanaeda. A wrong word can really screw things up back home."
"So you say." Kanaeda turned away and handed the duffel bag to Yoiko. "Your mom thought that you could use this, Y'iko-chan."
Yoiko seized the bag with hope in her eyes. "Is this what I think it is?" she asked eagerly. She opened it and looked inside. "YES!!! It is! Clean clothes!" With the bag gripped firmly in hand, she raced up the stairs into the washroom. Everyone stared up the stairs, as the washroom door slammed closed.
"That's one problem solved," said the redhead. "Now to get you home, Iikiba..."
"I can't leave yet, Kanaeda. I have to get a recipe."
"Yeah. Ukyou-san and I were suppose to discuss whether or not she was going to give it to me." Iikiba looked meaningfully at Ukyou.
"I'm still thinking about it," was all that she said.
"Who are you?" Ranma asked the red-hair boy.
"I thought it was obvious. My name is Saotome Kanaeda."
"Are you calling me dense?"
"Always have, always will."
The two Saotomes glared at each other as Iikiba again
"About the recipe, Ukyou-san. Please, may I have a copy?"
Ukyou didn't hear Iikiba's request as she was stunned. She realised exactly who this Kanaeda-guy was, and to her, the realisation that the strange red-hair boy was Ranma's son and not her own was like another nail to the coffin of her dream of marrying Ranma. This can't be happening, she thought.
"This can't be real," she murmured as she tried to block the restaurant by covering her ears with her hands. "You can't be my son," she accused Iikiba. "I am engaged to Ran-chan. I WILL marry him!"
Iikiba stood, shocked as if he was just given a hard stinging blow to the face.
"What is it with you?!?" he asked exasperatedly. "Am I so awful a possibility that I have to treated like this?" He turned towards the front door of the restaurant. "I am outta here," he snarled as he marched out of the restaurant. "I'll come back when you stop talking stupid."
"Hey! Iikiba! Where are you goin'?" asked Kanaeda as he watched his friend's departure. He shook his head as soon as he realised that Iikiba's going off--by himself. "Y'know, I'm sorta inclined to agree with Ga-chan, myself," he said as he shot a very dark look at Ukyou. "You really oughtta keep an open mind." Then he ran out after him.
Ranma, Ryouga and Jiro looked out the door after the redhead.
"That was kinda peculiar," stated Jiro, once Kanaeda had disappeared from view. Ryouga and Ranma could only nod. Jiro continued. "Y'know, it probably wasn't a good idea for Iikiba-san to go out by himself, especially with the sense of direction that he has..."
"You mean that Oniichan has left?" asked a dismayed voice from the back of the restaurant. All heads turned to look at Yoiko, who was coming down the stairs into the restaurant. Dressed now in a yellow shirt and green trousers that were cross-garnered at the shins, her resemblance to Ryouga was even more complete. And her hair, which was now loose, hung to her waist, making her look older--momentarily.
"YOU LET HIM LEAVE?!?" she wailed like a little girl. "Do you know what can happen with him loose like that?"
Blank looks were being directed at her, fearful that she was going to let loose with another Shi-shi Houkoudan. Yoiko looked at the fear in their faces and blushed.
"Sorry, for yelling like that," she apologised. "I'm just worried."
"What for...?" asked Ranma. "So he'll get lost. It's not unusual for a Hibiki..."
"Shut-up, Ranma," muttered Ryouga.
The look on Yoiko's face stopped the squabble from going further.
"Lost is one thing," she said. "If leaves this dimension and leaves the rest of us behind..." She shook her head and shuddered. "The rest of us--Kanaeda-kun and me, will be stranded in the past." She sniffled. "And that will definitely screw up the future and our lives."
"Oh." Ranma had nothing more to say.
Iikiba was no more than ten meters out of the restaurant
when he realised that he was lost. He remembered walking past the
hole formed by the blast and the confused officer standing next to it.
Other than that, he had no idea what was going on before he took the wrong
turn that got him lost. He heard Kanaeda calling out to him.
He turned to look for his friend and crashed into something that wasn't
"Oof!" came a startled response. Iikiba turn around in time to noticed that he was falling on top of someone. They both landed with a muffled thud. Iikiba rolled off immediately and offered the stranger a hand.
"Kunou-sama!" cried out a worried voice.
"I'm very sorry. I wasn't watching where I was going. Are you alright?"
"Hands off, cretin." Iikiba's proffered hand was slapped away. "Why weren't you watching where you were going?"
"I said I was sorry," said Iikiba hotly. "I was distracted, okay?"
"Such manners are not becoming. Especially when addressing your superiors. I shall have to teach you some manners."
A little man in a black ninja suit helped the young man to his feet.
"Are you all right, Kunou-sama," he asked in a worried voice.
"I am unhurt, although not much will be said about the oaf that knocked me down."
Iikiba looked around him. There was a crowd building as there usually is when there is a fight in Nerima. He did manage to spot Kanaeda, who gave him a shrug and spread his hands as if to say: 'This is your fight, buddy. It ain't my fault that this guy's a real jerk.'
Iikiba turned back to face the other guy, who was looking at him in a condescending manner. He was wearing a kendo-outfit and was carrying a bokken. Iikiba was taken aback by the person's arrogance. It was an accident! he thought. Out loud he said, "Really? And who are you to think that you are to teach me? I think that a truly noble person would let such a small incident pass."
The other guy went red in the face. Iikiba could've sworn that he could see steam coming out of the guy's ears.
Kanaeda shouted out from behind him. "Go get him, 'Kiba! Show that fool that you're not gonna stand there and take all that grief."
"Insolent boor. I am the mighty Blue Thunder of Furinkan High School. I am Kunou Tatewaki, and I am you better!"
The name shocked Iikiba. This is Kunou-sensei?!? Thinking back to an arrogant history teacher, who in class has always stressed the importance of his family name in relationship to all of the important moments in the history of Japan.
"Well if you want to fight, I won't disappoint you then. But I think that you just bit off a bit more than you can chew." Iikiba unslung his umbrella from the back of his bandoleer and went charging at Kunou.
The crowd around the two fighters cheered.
Jiro looked out of the door, pretty much ignoring
the arguing between Ranma, Ryouga and Yoiko. She understood the implications
that Yoiko-kun was getting at, but she found that all of the shouting was
starting to hurt her ears. She noticed cheering in the distance and
the sound of fighting. She saw that the crowd in front of the store
was moving off into one particular direction.
"I think I know where Iikiba-san went," she said.
Four heads turned to her.
"There's a fight goin' on out there, and Ranma-san is in here."
"So it ain't me..." commented Ranma.
"Go on," urged Ukyou, "we're listening..."
"And Iikiba-san left the store angry..."
"And Kanaeda-kun went after him," mused Yoiko. "The two of them are probably fighting." She chuckled. "He probably called Oniichan a pig-headed fool or something..."
"So I guess that we better go after him before he and that guy, Kanaeda, wind up doing some serious property damage," suggested Ryouga.
They left the restaurant, with Ukyou locking up behind her.
Akari Unryuu heard the sounds of fighting.
She strained her ears and heard the sounds of cheering. There was
also the sound of large objects breaking. She looked down to face
the pig that she was riding on.
"What do you think, Katsunishiki?" she asked. "Do you think that it might be Ryouga-sama?"
The pig gave a non-committed snort.
"Well, I think that we should go and check it out. Let's go!"
With that the huge pig and the girl turned and went towards the sound of fighting.
Kanaeda Saotome watched as the two combatants faced
each other, issuing threats and insults. So far the two of them were
only measuring each other up and displaying their own strengths on the
surrounding area. Already there were holes and rubble in the walls
and in the street. He looked around at the crowd and realised that
they were excited even without the actual battle.
To be honest, Kanaeda was a little envious of Iikiba being able to have the chance to beat up on their future teacher. Lucky guy, he thought. I always thought it would be a pipe-dream--A chance to beat the crap outta Kunou-sensei. He knew that the tall youth wasn't really their arrogant history professor, but it was pretty apparent that this Tatewaki Kunou was as obnoxious and stuck-up as their over-bearing teacher back at home. Oh, well, he thought as he watched the two charge at each other, I guess I can at least do the next best thing...
"Go! Iikiba! GO!!!" he shouted, cheering his friend on.
The rookie was helping direct the repair crews when he realised that the crowd was moving in a particular direction. He heard quips and phrases about 'martial-artists', challenge and 'fight'. He knew that he had to go--to make sure things didn't get too out of hand, he told himself. To be honest, it was one of the fights that he really wanted to see. After all, he only agreed to the Furinkan Patrol because he hoped to see one of the martial-arts battle that were always the talk of the precinct. He willingly followed the crowd.
Ranma, Ryouga, Ukyou, Jiro and Yoiko managed to catch
up to the crowd before the fight began. However, despite Yoiko's
premonitions, Kanaeda Saotome was only a spectator of the fight.
It appeared that Iikiba Hibiki had got himself into a fight with one Tatewaki
Kunou, Blue Thunder of Furinkan High.
"What's going on?" asked Ryouga to a young woman who was watching the scene.
"Well," started the bystander, "it started when the boy in red walked into the arrogant jerk. He apologised, and even offered to help the guy up. But the bigger guy insulted him and challenged him to a fight."
"Well, chances are that Kunou has bitten off more than he can chew," chuckled Ranma. "Especially if that guy's anything like you."
"Um, thanks--I think..." Ryouga wasn't sure if he should feel proud, insulted or what.
"They're just about to start," said the woman.
Akari joined the crowd. She and Katsunishiki had no trouble finding a spot which she can watch the fight in relative comfort. (But then, who's gonna argue with a girl on a two tonne pig?) She was disappointed that it wasn't her boyfriend in the fight, but the young man in red that was facing the kendo specialist appeared to be almost as strong as Ryouga. She looked through the crowd and saw that brown-hair boy with the water bucket who bumped into them earlier was watching the fight. She also saw Ryouga's little sister beside a building. She wondered if Ryouga might be with her. But before she could go over to look, the fight began.
Jakku watched the two opponents square off.
He knew that the older boy in blue was incompetent and wasn't any threat
to himself or his plans for Jiro. The other boy, he remembered seeing
at Ucchan's Okonomiyaki shop. That boy was an unknown. He might
be a friend of Jiro's and thus, a potential enemy. It was in Jakku's
best interests to watch the boy and see just how good he was.
He watched as the guy in red raised his red umbrella. Jakku blinked.
Hey, isn't that the umbrella that I dragged over to the restaurant last night? He was certain that it was. Remembering how he found the umbrella and the backpack, he then began to wonder if the guy might be related to the Hibiki guy.
Iikiba was watching his opponent very carefully.
He remembered his father saying that Tatewaki Kunou was incapable of fighting
without his bokken. But he was quite capable of smashing holes in
stone and other objects. Kunou pretty much depended on speed when
it came to attacking.
Kunou made a series of thrusts at Iikiba's chest with his wooden sword. Iikiba parried then off with his umbrella. When Kunou drew back to prepare for another strike, Iikiba struck at him with his umbrella. Kunou dodged the thrust.
"Is that the best you can do, dog?" he taunted.
"No. It's not," stated Iikiba. "I'm just seeing what you can do. Is that it?"
Kunou made another series of stabs at Iikiba's chest. As Iikiba parried them, Kunou did a quick swipe. Iikiba barely managed to block it in time.
Damn! thought Iikiba. I overestimated him!
"Come on, 'Kiba-kun! I know that you can do better than that!" Kanaeda's voice was easily heard over the crowd.
"Shut-up!" yelled Iikiba. "I know what I'm doing!" He successfully blocked another of Kunou's blows.
"You dare ignore me?!?" asked Kunou incredulously.
"Why? Feeling insecure?"
"Perhaps it would be wise to keep your mind on the battle, instead of talking to the riffraff!" snarled the Blue Thunder as he went charging at Iikiba again.
The bokken swings were now more varied. Iikiba was now pressed to dodge and duck as the blows were directed at his head, arms and shoulders. He was starting to become concerned. Kunou was faster than he was and he knew that he could not keep up.
"Only one thing to do," he muttered to himself. It was a trick that he has seen his father do on occasion. All he knew about it was that if the trick wasn't done right, it really, really hurt.
He pretended to let his guard down for a moment, exposing his head to attack. Kunou went for the invitation and was about to bring his bokken down on Iikiba's head. He brought the wooden sword down...
The crowd winced at what they imagined was the finishing blow. Then they looked at the boy in burgundy and grey, holding the end of the bokken in his hand, where he caught it. They cheered.
Iikiba gave a feral grin.
"Now what are you gonna do with out you weapon?" he asked. Unfortunately, he wasn't paying attention to the little man in ninja black.
"Here! Catch!" called the manservant called Satsuke as he threw something rather large at Iikiba. Iikiba had to let go of the wooden sword in order to catch it.
It was a watermelon.
Iikiba blinked. He seemed to remember Kanaeda's father mentioning something about Kunou and watermelons, but for the life of him, he couldn't remember what.
"What the hell is this?" he asked as he looked at Kunou. Kunou was standing still, holding his bokken high, with a demonic glow in his eyes.
I think I just might be in trouble, he thought.
Ranma, Ryouga, Jiro, Ukyou and Yoiko had managed
to get a spot close enough to the fight. They had been observing
the methods that Iikiba had been using against Kunou.
"Aw, man..." moaned Ranma. "The poor guy doesn't have a chance..."
"What do you mean, Ranchan?" asked Ukyou.
"Kunou went through a form of hypnotic training which involved the use of watermelons. Now, whenever he sees one, he can't help but cut it--
"That doesn't sound too bad..." mumbled Ukyou.
"--and whoever holdin' the melon at the time..."
"I wonder why Iikiba-san is holding back..." murmured Jiro.
"Hunh. You noticed it too."
"Probably to give Kunou-sensei a even match," started Yoiko. "He would think it to be too dishonourable if..." She broke off as Kunou launched his attack anew.
Iikiba watched as Kunou brought his bokken hard and fast towards his head. In a desperate attempt to block, he dropped his umbrella to hold up the watermelon. The crowd held its collective breath.
Yoiko turned away.
"I can't watch," she said.
The wooden sword went cleanly through the watermelon, landing squarely on Iikiba's head. He stood still, as the two halves of the melon fell out of his upraised hands. Then he fell over, and landed on the ground with a thud.
"Oniichan!!!" cried Yoiko.
"'Kiba-kun! You can't fall down, now!" yelled Kanaeda. "Get up!"
"I did it?!? I mean, see how the cretin falls under the might of the Blue Thunder!" Ecstatic, Kunou struck a pose.
"Good for you, Kunou-sama," congratulated Satsuke. "You really did show him one."
Iikiba sat up, groaning and rubbing his head.
"Did anyone get the number of that lightning bolt that hit me?"
"It was I that struck you like a bolt from above."
"You cheated. You had outside help."
"Why don't you admit that your feeble attempts were no match for my prowess."
"All of your attempts to disable myself were distinctly... feminine "
"Excuse me...?" he asked in a dangerous voice.
"Feminine, as in, akin to a woman. I should have seen it before... You fight like a woman, and you wear the colours of one."
Jiro looked to the others.
"Isn't that a kind of outdated mode of thinking?" she asked.
"Yeah," said Yoiko. "In most of the best anime, the leaders and the main characters wear red."
Kanaeda whistled a long low note. Then he chuckled.
Kunou-sensei is about to get his butt kicked.
Iikiba was up immediately, he grabbed his red umbrella
and wiped the sweat off his forehead with the sleeve of his deep red tunic
and re-adjusted his red bandanna. He glared at Kunou as if daring
him to repeat what he just said.
"Care to repeat what you just said?" he asked acidly.
"I don't care to repeat myself, but to make sure that I am understood, I will." Kunou looked smug. "You fight like a woman and you dress like one."
Iikiba's eyes glowed red as his anger set in.
"You are dead!" he growled as he charged at Kunou.
"Finally," sighed Yoiko. "I was starting to get worried."
Iikiba charged at Kunou while swinging his umbrella.
Kunou managed to block it, only to be given a hard kick in the midsection.
"Oof!" Kunou stumbled back a couple of steps, trying to regain his balance. Iikiba followed him, throwing punches that weren't quite as fast as Ranma's but fast enough. Kunou reeled as he received hits in the head, shoulders and chest. He tried to regroup for another attack. He brought his bokken up and got it into position, but before he could swing it, Iikiba had ducked and knocked the legs out from under him with a low kick.
"Kunou-sama!" yelled Satsuke. "I'll help you!"
Another watermelon was thrown into the air. It didn't make it over to the combatants. A swarm of mini spatulas reached it first--and the watermelon fell to the ground in slices.
"There's no way that I'm gonna let you do that again!" roared Iikiba, as he resumed his advance on Kunou.
"Get back, cretin," shouted Kunou as he scrambled to his feet, "or else you will receive what's coming to you!"
"You really should get your mind outta the feudal ages," snarled Iikiba as he swung at Kunou's chest with his umbrella.
Kunou tried to swing at Iikiba's hand, trying to knock the umbrella out. Instead, the bokken was knocked out of his own hand by a well aimed kick.
"I really happen to LIKE red," Iikiba said as stepped closer to Kunou. "And you wanna know something else?"
Iikiba threw a punch that hit the side of Kunou's head. Kunou went flying a few metres, and came down hard. Iikiba walked to the prone form as the crowd held its collective breath. The kendoist twitched once, but did not rise.
"And I can make red look manly," he told the prone form of the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High.