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All Ranma characters are property of Rumiko Takahashi, first published by Shogakugan in Japan and brought over to North America by Viz Communications.
From a Different Viewpoint.
It was the first day of school at Furinkan High. A group of punks had decided to start the school year off right by picking off the first few students getting to the school for lunch money and just for kicks. Dressed in the common high school uniform and wearing masks of various animals, they figured no one would be able to identify them. Hiding in an alley near the entrance they waited for a student walking alone. Soon they spotted a likely target. A tall, thin gajin dressed all in black, turtleneck and pants, walking alone. As one they charged out of the alley to surround him. "OK, gajin, give us all your precious metals and yah won't get hurt!"
The man had barely reacted to their charge, seemingly lost in thought. As they surrounded him he stopped walking and took a long glance around at them, apparently unconcerned, and without missing a beat, walked quickly forward, slipping between two of them with casual grace. His response was so puzzling that they failed to act until he had already gotten a couple of yards away.
The leader snapped "Hey! Stop!", and getting no response from the gajin, pointed at him. "Get him!" he roared to his gang. Their indecision broken, they again charged as a group. As they did, the gajin turned about with a snap and faced them. They came to a halt before him. He stood calmly, arms at his sides, his only reaction a mildly annoyed frown.
They stopped confused, where was the fear? Was he just stupid? "What's wrong gajin?" The leader taunted "Don't speak Japanese?"
The strange gajin looked at him and slowly
replied in a heavy accent. " I-speak a little Japanese,
Yup, decided the group, an idiot. "Baka. baka! ha ha ha!". The gajin's frown deepened for a second then disappeared, replaced by a slowly widening smile. His foot moved back as his body eased into a martial arts stance. His hands rose a bit and his grin reached his eyes.
"You-are-making-a-mistake." he said haltingly, the grin never going away.
"Get him!" The leader cried and they charged again. The tall gajin sidestepped a clumsy attack and sticking out his leg, gave a hearty shove to a punk wearing a cat mask, throwing him into two others. The leader came in on his left, trying to grab him and got an elbow to the face for his trouble. As he staggered back the tall stranger pivoted to punch him in the gut. He collapsed and the fifth member of the gang came around on his right. The black clothed man lashed out with a side thrust kick to the chest and the last man went down.
The gajin started to step back to survey the
situation as the first three he knocked down started getting up. They spread
out to keep him from taking them all down at once, and came at him more
cautiously. This time he took a couple of hits before getting loose. <
Uh oh>, he thought to himself,
< Either I've gotten rusty or they breed a higher quality punk around here.> Five minutes later he was walking into the school, wincing and limping a bit. He had given better than he had gotten, barely; < Perhaps it's time to brush up on my martial arts.>
Johnathon had come to Japan from America to teach English at Furinkan High, and his first day was shaping up to be pretty lousy. He was directed to the principals office by a helpful janitor and met the vice principal there. At first the vice principal mistook him for an exchange student and Johnathon had to break out his picture ID to prove he was who he said he was. People tended to take him for about eighteen instead of his actual twenty-five years of age. < I should have kept the mustache>, he mused to himself. His first class was during the second period so he killed time wandering about the school checking out the grounds. He noticed the Kendo Club sign and was a bit wistful. < Maybe I can practice with them?>
When he arrived he went to the front of the class and stood there. He got some strange glances from the students as they sat waiting for the teacher. The tall gajin walked to the desk and spoke. "Hello class, I am Johnathon Dwire, I will be your English instructor." Silence reigned for several moments and then a spate of incredulous whispering. After a minute of this he rapped a ruler against his desk to get their attention and spoke up. "All right, does everyone have the required text?.... Good, turn to page 8 and we will begin." The class went relatively smoothly after that, even though his Japanese was rough and he appeared young. The students of Furinkan High were better behaved than those in an American high school and Johnathon was pleased at the conclusion of his first day.
The rest of the week was relatively uneventful. He had joined the Kendo club at practice without too much trouble. The leader of the Kendo club, Tatiwaki Kuno, was in his English class and "graciously allowed" Sensei Dwire to practice. Kuno was good too, at Kendo at least, though he wasn't much of a teacher. His Japanese was often too flowery for Johnathon to understand. He did only moderately well in his English class, often popping up with something to say in english that was usually incorrect. Johnathon did enjoy the sparring sessions with the other students although he was disappointed that Kuno never sparred with him. After a week Johnathon was winning almost every match but still couldn't get Kuno to spar with him. Kuno was the best kendoist Johnathon had ever seen and he knew that Kuno could teach him many things about the art, but he was impossible to pin down.
Johnathon preferred to spar a superior opponent once in a while. That was when he learned the most, but Kuno just wasn't interested in teaching a "gajin" anything. He had other things on his mind, primarily a certain 16 year old girl by the name of Akane Tendo. Johnathon learned of Tatiwaki's obsession after the speech contest held on the last day of the first week of school. He had declared to the school that only someone who defeated Akane in combat could date her. This seemed to galvanize the male population of the school. She had been popular for a while, but Kunos' challenge had fired the spirit of dozens of guys who otherwise would have been afraid to approach her on normal terms. The first day that next week, they were out in front of the school waiting for her arrival.
Johnathon heard the ruckus and ran to the front doors to find out what was happening. He saw the crowd running around outside and started out to end the fight, but stopped as his elbow was lightly caught.
"Don't worry sensei," said a girl with short brown hair and longish bangs, "Akane can handle herself." Johnathon paused to look at her, placing her as a student in one of his classes.
"Tendo...Nabiki?" he stammered unsure of himself, "Are you Akane's.....?"
"Sister," she supplied helpfully, "and yes, I'm sure." she pointed back outside and he turned to see that Akane Tendo was standing amid the fallen bodies of perhaps two dozen male students.
She started toward the front door after straightening her skirt, but stopped as a familiar form stepped into her path. It was Kuno, carrying a boken.
"Uh oh." Johnathon knew Kuno was very good, and was surprised when Nabiki again stopped him.
He looked back at her and she just winked and said, "Trust me." Sure enough, as he turned back around Akane had gotten inside Kuno's guard and punched him solidly in the face. Down he went and Akane walked inside.
Johnathon watched her go by bemused. < What happened out there?>, he wondered to himself as he headed to the classroom. The next morning he heard the noise of fighting outside again, but missed the action. He decided to get a good view the following day, assuming this would happen again. That morning, he went to a third story window before the school opened and waited. Somehow he was not surprised when he was joined by a small crowd of students, including Nabiki Tendo.
Johnathon had noticed her more during class the last couple of days. She was an excellent student, and seemed to have a small group of close friends who consulted with her at every opportunity. They were there too, and, he realized, they were taking bets! "Hmmm, interesting." he murmured to himself. He looked down and saw the horde of male students outside, wielding various athletic gear. Members of every sports club in the school, save the Kendo club, were there. Kuno had probably fought them for the right to challenge her, or simply forbade their coming, Johnathon wasn't sure.
Johnathon had missed several meetings recently, having decided that he couldn't learn much more without a superior opponent like Kuno, who still ignored his requests to spar. He had considered joining the fencing or Karate clubs but not too seriously. He was still pretty much an outsider and not very welcome. Besides, he had been the number one fencer at school for the three years he had studied fencing. Also, half of the martial art styles he was familiar with were karate based. He really wanted to learn something new....
Akane showed up at the gate and charged in. Johnathon watched intently and was amazed. She was dropping them like flies! Every blow disabled an opponent, she was quite fast. < Faster than me?> Johnathon wasn't sure, but he was certain that she was stronger than him. It was incredible that she could be so powerful. She was about average height for a Japanese woman and looked to be no more than 120 to 130 pounds, but it was evident from the damage she was doing that she was very strong. < Incredible.>
He shook his head in astonishment. It seemed to him that her male opponents were not fighting fully, and she was giving everything she had, but still she was the best martial artist he had ever seen. < Wow.> She was done in time to beat the bell, and today Kuno hadn't shown up, so everyone started heading for class.
The next day he was there on the third floor again, trying to identify her martial arts style as she fought. She used mostly basic moves, karate, jujitsu, kung fu...but did them so well he was again amazed. He decided to talk to her. As his forth period English class let out for lunch he motioned to Nabiki Tendo to come over to his desk. She walked over, an interested expression on her face.
"Tendo-san," he began politely, "I would like to talk to your sister, could you arrange it?" She looked mildly interested and tilted her head as if waiting for something. After a moment's pause, he got the idea. "I will treat you two to coffee after school...if that is acceptable?"
She nodded and returned with a wry smile "Four o'clock at the coffee shop on the corner of eighth and main, all right?"
"Yes," he replied,
Nabiki smiled again and left. < Hmmm,> she thought to herself, < This could be interesting.>
At four o'clock he arrived at the coffee shop. Nabiki
and Akane were sitting in a booth and were both halfway through an appetizer.
Akane was saying something as he came up. "Your treat
Nabiki responded as she waved for him to join them "You could say that... Sensei, join us!"
Johnathon did so and took one glance at the empty dishes and coffee cups. He nodded to himself in resignation and Nabiki smiled at an easy win. He looked at Akane then, who was looking back at him suspiciously. He turned to the waitress who had come up and ordered a Cream soda (he wasn't very fond of coffee) and turned back to Akane.
"Ah, Akane-san," he began, Nabiki had an amused look on her face and Akane looked annoyed and a little confused. "I couldn't help but notice your fights every morning..."
Akane was wondering who this guy was. < Why did sis call this gajin sensei?>
He continued, "You are very skilled, I was wondering where you were taught." Now it was Nabiki's turn to look a little confused.
Akane answered politely after a pause, looking less annoyed. "I have been training since I was little in my father's dojo."
"Ah!" Johnathon smiled appreciatively. "I have been looking for a place to improve my martial arts. Would your father be willing to take on a new student?" Both Nabiki and Akane looked surprised, then Akane smiled while Nabiki looked a bit disappointed. Johnathon wondered what they had been expecting.
Akane was cheerily talking, "I'm not sure if
my father will be willing to take on new students, but if you'd like I
could introduce you. Have you studied any martial arts before....?" She
realizing she did not know his name.
Helpfully Nabiki supplied it. "Sensei Johnathon Dwire, my English teacher." Akane looked like she wanted to ask him a question, but changed her mind.
Johnathon broke the sudden silence. "Yes I have, a few different styles, ever since I was eight."
Akane and Johnathon chatted about various martial arts styles while the waitress brought the bill. Nabiki, bored, excused herself, and Johnathon paid the bill. He and Akane left together, still talking. She lead him to her home, the Tendo dojo, and took him inside to meet her father.
"Father, this is Johnathon Dwire. He would like to become a student here." Mr. Tendo politely asked about his prior training.
Johnathon listed them off on his fingers. "Three different forms of karate; jujitsu, boxing and wrestling, fencing and recently, kendo."
"Why so many styles?" Mr. Tendo wanted to know.
The young man answered simply "At first it was because I moved around a lot when I was a kid. When I got to a new place I would have to start over again. Each time it got easier to learn the new style, and each added to the next. In my third karate class I was ready to advance to a belt in three days even though it was quite different than the styles I had taken before. I finally concluded that each style complemented the others. I was thinking about a new style to take, perhaps Aikido or Tai-Chi, but after I saw Akane fighting at the school..." Johnathon nodded to Akane and shrugged "What can I say?"
Mr. Tendo had nodded slightly to himself during Jonathan's explanation. "Hmmm, all right, Dwire-san let me show you the dojo and I'll tell you a little about the School of Indiscriminate Grappling."
They got up to go and suddenly Johnathon face faulted "The school of what?"
Akane grinned as she watched them go, then walked off to put on her gi. Dressed in her gi, she found "Dwire-Sensei" and her father in the dojo. Her father was earnestly expounding his school's tenets. Johnathon was listening intently so that he wouldn't miss a word, (his Japanese was still far from perfect). Akane walked up to Johnathon. "John-san, would you like to spar with me?"
Mr. Tendo nodded happily "Excellent suggestion Akane."
Johnathon turned to her, his eyebrows raised in pleased surprise, "I would love to Akane-san." he gave her a short bow and a pleased smile.
Akane strode over to the center of the dojo. She got into a ready stance, fists clenched, Johnathon stood casually, knees just slightly bent, hands open at his sides. He gave a formal bow, keeping his eyes on her. She was a lot shorter than him, and a bit lighter, but he had seen how strong she was, how skilled. He started thinking furiously about how to hold his own. She cried "Begin!" and charged with a straight punch. He started with his most recent style, blocking across the body with a forearm. She attacked again and again, the third time with a kick, catching him in the side.
< Too slow!> his mind screamed at him and instinctively he backpedaled, switching styles. He went back to the beginning, a style of blocking he called the "house" defense that he had learned when he was eight years old. It was a nearly perfect defense, but left no openings to attack with. Akane continued to attack, while Johnathon defended frantically, slowly gaining confidence, but still steadily retreating under her assault. Johnathon had to turn to the right to keep from being driven up against the wall. Akane broke off her assault for a moment to gauge her opponents defense. < He is fast, just about as fast as me, but I think my skill is greater, and I'm stronger than he is.> His initial blocks had been intended to drive her off balance and give him an opportunity to counter attack, but they had been a bit too weak to do the job.
Even as she paused, he attacked, going up on one leg, and lashing out with the other again and again very rapidly. She parried quickly, moving back, and he followed, hopping on his left leg as he kicked again and again with the right. She blocked the fourth kick forcefully, driving him off balance. His fifth kick was sloppy and she snagged his foot as it went by. Before she could yank him off balance he dropped his upper body like a rock, landing on his forearms and snapping his left leg out to join his right. It nearly caught her in the face, she managed to dodge it but lost her grip on his leg.
Akane was impressed with his quick reaction but was confident that she had him pegged. < He is weaker than me, and not as skilled.> She pursued him as he rolled backwards to his feet. Akane struck, knocking him backwards even though he blocked her attack. He landed on his back and rolled to his feet again. Johnathon had to dodge and block immediately, going fully on the defensive again. He was starting to get winded. Johnathon started to grin wider and wider, feeling a serious adrenaline rush starting as his unconscious realized how badly out matched he was.
Akane had been holding back a bit, at the smile she accelerated her attack, going full out, and was a little surprised that Johnathon continued to block her attacks. She could tell that he was weakening though, she would have him in a few minutes for sure. She jumped over a leg sweep and backed off for a second. "You're pretty good," she said cheerfully "Are you sure you aren't here just so you can date me?"
"Date-you?" he wheezed between breaths. He was exhausted and Akane was still fresh. "You-are-a-bit-young-for-me." With that he charged, focusing all his energy into one final attack. "Kiiaaa!" as he moved in he started punching faster and faster, Akane could only block and dodge the barrage. Mr. Tendo on the side was counting under his breath, "20-30-40.." Akane was driven back as one punch got through, then a second, both only partially blocked.
After about fifteen seconds Johnathon's attack faltered. Akane attacked with her own flurry of punches. He was hit in the gut almost immediately, even as he started to bend over from the blow a second punch caught him in the cheek. Johnathon dropped, barely managing to roll enough with the blow to remain conscious. He felt his head hit the floor and shook it to fight back a wave of blackness.
He was aware of Akane standing over him saying something but the roaring in his ears drowned her out. After a few minutes he sat up slowly. Akane knelt next to him looking relived. He looked around, Mr. Tendo was gone, and a beautiful woman holding an ice pack was walking into the room.
"Kasumi, this is Johnathon Dwire-san. John-san, this is my older sister Kasumi." Akane made the introductions. Kasumi put the ice pack on his cheek and started to apologize for her violent sister.
"That's all right," Johnathon stopped her, "Best workout I've had in years."
Kasumi excused herself explaining that she had to prepare dinner. "Would you care to join us for dinner, Johnathon-san?"
"Yes." he replied. "Thank you." She bowed and left.
Akane grinned at Johnathon and said "So what were you saying about my being too young?"
He looked at her, still a bit muddled. "Hmmm? Oh yes, well you are sixteen right? I am twenty five so sixteen is a little..." he broke off. "Yes?" she was looking incredulous "No really, I am!"
"OK, if you say so." Akane shrugged acceptance. "You look eighteen or so you know."
He nodded "Yeah, I know, when I was sixteen I could still get children's prices to get into places." He laughed in remembrance, then sobered.
Johnathon looked seriously at Akane "Your father left... do you think he will agree to train me?"
She laughed at his worried look. "He left saying something about 90 punches in 15 seconds, I think he was impressed."
"I'm glad to hear it." Johnathon said as he rolled to his feet. He winced and his chest twinged in pain.
"Are you ok?" Akane asked, concerned.
"I will be soon enough," he answered, "I just strained myself with that last series of punches."
Akane looked at him thoughtfully. "I could sense your "chi" focusing when you did that attack, you were really putting everything into it."
"I figured you could handle it." Johnathon replied confidently. "But doing that always strains the muscles in my chest, sometimes afterwards it hurts to breath. It's a bit beyond my skill I'm afraid." Akane giggled and they walked out of the dojo, talking about martial arts. Dinner turned out to be excellent and afterwards Mr. Tendo arraigned to train Johnathon two days a week, for a modest fee.
The end of part 1. Part 2 follows.
Hope you like it, C&C is always appreciated!