Major Klaus von dem Eberbach hung from his bonds. His strong body was battered and weakened from drugs and lack of food. He knew his end was near. He had very few regrets. He would not die on German soil, he would never see Dorian again... He would not see his son graduate from school. 'Sorry Yuki, it seems that neither of us will see our son grown.'
He knew they planned to kill him later that day. They even had cameras in his cell. Bastards.
His mind was foggy, leaving him unaware that this was a live feed to his NATO office in Bonn. A hand tangled in his bloody snarled hair. He was jerked upright, and his captor sneered at him.
"Any last words Major Eberbach?"
Klaus licked his split lips. His mind cast out for something caustic to say, but he never got the chance. From the other side of the cell wall they heard a battle cry.
The far wall vanished in a cloud of dust and debris. From the ruins four figures entered. They were young men, teenagers really. One had long black hair and wore Chinese robes. He wore polarized glasses that shielded his eyes. He radiated a cool disgust at what he saw.
The next youth had short dark hair. He wore traditional kendo garb and held a gleaming sword in hand. His expression clearly said he knew how to use that blade and he would without hesitation. He moved to guard the portal while the last two drew near.
They were nearly the same height and stood hip to thigh as they walked. The boy on the left had shorter shaggy hair held out of his eyes by a yellow and black bandanna. He wore a loose yellow tunic and black pants bound from calf to ankle. A grim little smile revealed a set of sharp white fangs.
The last youth made Klaus, breath catch in his battered chest. Black hair was pulled into a neat pigtail. He wore a sleeveless white Chinese shirt and black kung-fu pants. Black leather fashioned into bracers covered his forearms. Cool blue eyes swept over the Major as he placed himself between the communist agent and the NATO officer.
"So, NATO now sends children to fight its battles?" Agent Seng sneered. He was utterly ignored as the pigtailed youth murmured, "Ryo-kun."
The fanged teen moved to the Major, never crossing the field of fire. His brown eyes met Klaus, and the Major relaxed. He wasn't sure why, but he knew this young man was strong enough to accomplish his goals. The boy gave him a shy, reassuring smile, then ripped the chain from the wall. He ignored the sounds of shock as a pair of iron hewn arms caught him
Klaus' head swam with the sudden pain of his protesting ribs. The teen was a foot shorter than he was yet he lifted him as though he weighed nothing. He was cradled against a warm chest and his mind protested. It was embarrassing to be held like a weary child, but he was in no shape to refuse the aid.
"Get clear Ryoga." At that the teen holding him moved easily towards the door. The strength this young man had was unbelievable.
"Msu Tsu, guard his back. Tatchi and I will follow you out."
"Daijoubu. Now get going. I'll finish this."
Klaus wanted to protest, but his vision faded to black.
NATO OFFICE: BONN
A and Z traded horrified looks. Their Major looked barely alive. And the only hope they had was a Japanese teenager! With a nod to O, the agent began to hack through the lines to connect to the security cameras of the base. They needed to know what was happening to their Major.
It had only been sheer luck that allowed the Alphabet to keep the Chief and other NATO officers from learning that their Major was in danger. They had learned not to trust anyone but each other. The Major may have been paranoid, but his agents were beginning to believe that he had reason. How else had they captured NATO's best operative?
The signal jumped and the screen split into two views. One was the cell that had held their commanding officer, while the other showed the two boys carrying the older man out of the base. A cold laugh drew their attention back to the first view.
"So you thought you could capture and hold the Iron Major?"
"We did, boy."
"Only through betrayal and deceit. But don't worry, we know who helped you capture the Major, and that bastard is next."
"And what do you think you can do against me, boy?"
What happened next was nearly to fast for the agents to follow as the boy hammered his enemy into the ground.
"As the old ghoul would say, 'You're 200 years too soon to beat me sonny boy'." With that the boy stepped over the downed agent and walked away. The two teens hurried through the halls to join their team-mates in the open field of the base. That was when they were surrounded.
Agent G bit his lip they watched the teens circle protectively around Klaus. They would all die...
"You came a long way just to die with Iron Klaus, boys."
"Oh really? Tell me something cub, did you study American History?"
"Yes you should always know your enemy, child." He answered the pigtailed youth.
Ranma jerked a thumb towards the lip of the walls surrounding the base as well as the rise circling the valley.
"Does the name Custer mean anything to you?"
Hundreds of warriors stood tall and proud, and armed to the teeth. The KGB agents were out numbered, badly.
"When you build secret bases in China, you should find out who your neighbors are first. Congratulations Mischa, you did what was thought impossible. They've been at war with each other for nearly 2000 years. And you managed to piss them off so badly they joined forces to stop you."
The Chinese boy pushed his glasses up his nose with a middle finger. "I suggest you evacuate, Cub. You and your three men are the only ones left."
"How... How could that be."
A purple haired girl leapt lightly to the ground followed by a pretty brunette holding a giant... spatula?
/Because we killed them, you stupid male. Now get the hell out of our lands before I send you to apologize in person to your ancestors for your stupidity!/
The girl with the cobalt spatula cheerfully translated and Mischa retreated. All done under the cold eyes of the men and women who stood guard over the teens. Once the area was clear the pigtailed youth spoke.
"Ukyo, can you and Xian-pu take the major out of here? We're going to clean this mess up."
"Sure thing Ranma. Come on Xian-honey, let's get the Iron Major to Elder Kho lon. He's gonna need to be patched up before we can send him home."
/He's very handsome. I now see where Clan Brother gets his looks./
"Down girl. You wouldn't be thinkin of cheating on me now would you?"
/Never, Shield-mate. Now let us get this poor man to shelter./
"Mm hm Kirin sent Mon-lon to help us. He and Lychee stayed back to make sure no one tried to drop in and surprise Ranma."
/Between the Seven Lucky Gods and the Phoenix fighters, no one will get near in time to save that base. Pity, we should have allied the three nations long ago./
"Hind sight is 20/20 sugar. Let's get moving."
The purple haired girl lifted the Major with nearly the same ease that Ryoga had. A group of fighters closed rank around them in a guard detail. The other warriors parted like the Red Sea to let them through as Klaus was carried away. He would be tended by the Amazon healers until it was safe for him to travel.
"Did we get all the documents in intel from the base?" Captain Kima of the Mount Phoenix Kingdom murmured as she joined the Nerima Wrecking Crew. She no longer held enmity for the boy who had slain her god. Even Saffron had forgiven the battle.
"Yeah we got it all. Nabiki and Kodachi are already going over what we found. Life is about to get very hard for the Chinese Government. Now I say we get rid of this eye sore. Damn base is screwing up the Feng Shui of the valley."
The fighters drew back and Ranma and Ryoga took positions on either side of the smoldering base.
"HIRYU SHOTAN HAAAA!"
In a brilliant flash of yellow light, followed by a tornado that looked like a dragon... The base vanished from sight, leaving a smoking crater in its wake.
The Nerima teens followed their leader from the wreckage of the battlefield. The pigtailed boy rubbed a weary hand over his eyes as he thought on how his life had changed on the last month. Only this time his life had taken a change for the better.
ONE MONTH PRIOR:
NERIMA, TENDO KE
Ranma lay on his back on the roof of the dojo. He didn't get many chances to just relax. Particularly since he and the others began their little projects to keep Nerima just a little more crime free. It helped the local police to turn a blind eyes to some of their antics in return for fewer yakuza in the area.
From his perch he spotted a man nearing the compound. He moved like a warrior, and all Ranma could think was: 'What the hell did the old man get me into THIS time?'.
So he jumped down and headed for the gate to greet the visitor. He was a tall soft spoken man, the kind pops would have dismissed as not a threat, but Ranma knew better. This was someone who had killed, you could see it in his eyes.
It was the same shadows Ranma saw when he looked into a mirror. The shadows that haunted him since that battle with Saffron, since the first time he had ever killed.
"Are you Ranma?"
The teen quirked a brow then gave an internal sigh. Might as well find out what the panda got him into this time.
"Yeah, I'm Ranma."
The warrior bowed low to him with great respect. Ranma almost choked in shock at his next words.
"My name is Shido Katsura. I am here at the request of your mother Shinohara Yuki."
"Uh, you got the wrong Ranma then. My mother is Saotome Nodoka."
The warrior just shook his head, "So they have not told you yet. Forgive me for dropping this news on you. Is there someplace we might speak in private?"
Ranma led him to his 'Thinking Spot' near an old bridge. After they were seated comfortably, Katsura began to drop one bombshell after another.
Genma and Nodoka were not his parents. His real mother was Nodoka's younger sister. Yuki Shinohara was a commander of a Kunika special strike force that worked with NATO. His father was a German nobleman and a Major who lead a team of twenty-six men. His mother died when he was four, but before that happened his parents chose to keep him in Japan to keep him safe from his father's enemies.
Genma was never to have been in charge of his upbringing. His real name was Ranma Sascha Shinohara-von dem Eberbach. He was the heir the Eberbach line. He was not a Saotome.
And he was very, very, wealthy.
Ranma's hands shook as he checked over the papers handed to him. Copies of his birth records, early photos of himself held in the arms of a beautiful woman while a sharp featured Gaijin looked on in pride. And letters... So many lettered written by his mother to him.
"Why... Why did she write these letters?"
"The Commander's work was very dangerous. She knew there was a good chance she would never see you grown to manhood. So she wrote many letters while we were on missions, trying to tell you what you would need to know about her."
"You worked with her."
"Yuki-Tachio was my commanding officer. I was proud to serve as her second in command. She was an honor to Japan. You can be proud of your mother Ranma san."
Ranma began to shake, badly. Katsura grew concerned and slung an arm around the boy. "Do you wish me to take you back to the Tendo Ke?"
"N-no... I-I need to get to the Kuno estate... Safe there."
The older warrior hurried to his car and made it to the sprawling Kuno home in record time. When he reached the gates, he identified himself as an officer of Japan and stated he had Ranma in the car. The gates were thrown open at that.
The teen was settled into what seemed to be his personal couch and wrapped in warm blankets by a young boy with fangs. Then Katsura found himself skillfully interrogated by a pretty brunette girl with hard eyes. Once the story was told, the young master of the house knelt by Ranma's couch.
"Ranma-kun. Do not worry now my friend. We will support you just as we have in the past year. All will be well."
Ranma found out later that Nabiki and Kodachi had scrutinized each document and found it all legitimate. Then, with a laugh that could have curdled water, the two girls packed his things form the guest room at the Tendo home and prepared a meeting with Katsura and the Saotomes.
Ranma missed that little love-fest, but Nabiki taped it and gave him a copy free of charge. He sat up that night and watched as his mother's most trusted agent verbally shredded Genma. Then he nailed Nodoka for betraying her dead sister's last wish. He then reminded both that Ranma's real father was still alive, and the most feared NATO officer in Europe.
When the smoke cleared, Ranma was free of every trap Genma had ever set for him. Then he got a rather surprising visit from Kho-Lon. He had been sitting in the garden, reading one of the many letters his mother had written him, when she arrived.
"Is it true?"
"Is what true?"
"Was Yuki Shinohara your true mother?"
"Yes... I just found out a few days ago."
The ancient Amazon began to laugh, in fact she laughed so hard tears ran down her wrinkled cheeks.
"Yuki... Oh, child, I should have seen it the moment I met him."
Then she placed a kiss to his forehead and said, "Welcome to the family, Clan child."
It took three days to find out that his mother had at one point helped Xian pu's mother in a battle against the army. She carried Par-pum, injured, for three miles to the nearest medic. Then she escorted the warrior home. Par-pum named her clan sister, making Ranma a member of their family.
Xian-pu's reaction was not what anyone had expected. She laughed with delight, hugged her 'Clan Brother', and rushed off to celebrate her new freedom with Ukyo. Ranma nearly sagged with relief. It was gratifying to know that he was now girl-free. All he had left to contend with was his curse. And that wasn't even a real problem any longer.
Six months after the battle at Mount Phoenix, Ranma figured out a way to change using his Ki to control the temperature around him. Once he mastered it, he taught the other curse victims, except for Genma, how to use it.
Kho-Lon invited him to visit the village, as he was the son of a legend. It seemed that he inherited a great deal from his mother when it came to status. So he packed up his gear, his lover, and a few friends and returned to China.
They had barely set foot on dry land when the news came. Someone built a secret base in the center of the 'shared territory'. The Musk and Phoenix already sent envoys to the Amazons. This had to be dealt with, and fast.
Ranma sent Ryoga and Msu Tsu to spy on the base while he and Kuno stood guard. It was then that they learned that Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach had been brought to the base to be tortured and executed.
There was no way Ranma would lose his father before ever meeting him. So they hatched a fast plan of attack, using the recon Msu Tsu and Ryoga gathered. However the big surprise was the Seven Lucky Gods group. Kirin had learned that Ranma was in China aiding his former adversaries and decided to help out.
Once ready, they split into groups, the aerial fighters from Mount Phoenix as well as Kirin's air-ship were set under Kima's command. Herb and Kho-lon each took half the remaining warriors and spread out to provide back-up for the small team that was going into the base. A team made up of 'The God-Slayer', the Blue Thunder, and their talented lovers. The four man team easily broke in and found what they were looking for.
When the smoke settled, there was lasting peace, and for Ranma, a hope for a new family.
AMAZON VILLAGE FOUR DAYS LATER
Klaus made his way slowly from the modest home of the healer. He still ached, and his ribs throbbed if he drew a deep breath. He was lucky though, for all the damage he'd taken in that base, nothing proved permanent. Just very very painful.
He woke covered with fresh herb-scented sheets to find his son fast asleep in the chair next to the bed. The boy with the bandanna was slouched on the floor, back against Ranma's legs. The oldest of the trio was resting near the door, a sheathed sword leaned against his shoulder.
The door opened and the last of the quartet entered carrying a tray of tea and soup. He smiled at the Major and set the tray on his lap. The youth introduced himself as Msu Tsu. They spoke quietly as the Chinese boy filled him in on all the things that had happened in Ranma's life.
Klaus decided that Genma really needed to have a chat with his tank, just as soon as he got it back from Eroica. Klaus's mood swung from rage, to shock, to disbelief. Sorrow came when he learned that his son already had the blood of another on his young hands. He wasn't sure what to make of all the talk of magic and gods, until he saw some of the warriors involved in his rescue.
Msu tsu pointed out Kima, stating she was Captain of the Phoenix forces. The winged woman was sparring mid-air with a soldier. The teen also pointed out the dragon prince Herb. What confused Klaus was that these warriors had all met defeat at Ranma's hand, yet the gladly fought along side of his son.
"Bushido." The young Kuno heir murmured. The way of the warrior seemed to rule these people, and Klaus couldn't be happier about. He was alive and reunited with his son because of it. All he had ever wanted for Ranma was to be a good parent. For his son to know just how much he cared.
To not make the same mistakes that his father had made.
But in his mission to protect his son, he had left the boy open to a life of hardship and violence. Genma and Nodoka had bullied and endangered his only child. His only reminder of Yuki.
Yuki... His best friend, companion, and the only he had trusted with the truth. Oh he had loved her in his fashion, he would have never married her otherwise. But it had not been the love either had truly needed. They had married in secret, telling only her family. No one knew just how Ranma's conception had come about.
It was with some shame that Klaus admitted to himself that his child was alive only due to the then experimental process of Artificial Insemination. But that process gifted Yuki and him with a beautiful son. A child neither were allowed to raise.
At the time Ranma was born, it seemed like the best option for her married sister to raise the boy if something happened to Yuki. After all Nodoka was near to her wild child little sister, and Ranma would be raised in Japan. Bringing Ranma to Germany would have placed his son in grave danger.
Ranma kept no secrets from his father. Klaus knew all about the Neko-ken, the curse, all the girls his son was promised to. He really thought a panda rug would make a good gift to Dorian... Eroica... Now there was another can of worms about to open. One he didn't even want to dwell on at that time. He was still avoiding it.
Klaus pulled his mind back to the present as the 'sparring match' continued. Laughter and insults filled the air. He was so entranced he nearly missed the approached of the woman his Yuki called 'Grandmother'.
"Amazing aren't they. The best fighters of a generation."
"Yes..." He broke off as Ryoga effortlessly pulled a boulder form the ground and heaved it at Ranma. The pigtailed teen chuckled and vaulted over the chunk of rock... Only to be felled by a swift blow from a bokken. Msu Tsu chuckled and let fly a flurry of chain.
Kho-lon chuckled and handed him a missive, "Nabiki and Kodachi have alerted your office via the Kunika that you are safe."
"Good... These children, they are very..."
"Gifted? Talented? Insane?" The old woman offered.
Klaus laughed, dimly realizing that he had not laughed like this since the death of his mother.
Dorian knocked on the castle door, unsure of what to expect. Klaus had arrived at his office earlier that week and filed his report after being debriefed. The reports stated that he had been 'rescued by local rebel forces.'
The medic took one look at his healing body and put him on two weeks of medical leave. But what shocked and worried Dorian was the lack of resistance in the major. Oh the older man had fussed and yelled, but it lacked the fire one expected from Iron Klaus.
So Dorian had come to Germany to check on his beloved Major. He heard the door begin to open and gave his best smile. But it was not Klaus' butler that answered the door, but a pretty, sleep tousled girl who looked to have passed a rather passionate night.
"Is Major Eberbach home today?"
The girl made a vague 'follow me' gesture with her hand and walked into the well lit halls. Part way down the second corridor, they were intercepted by two handsome, shirtless teens.
"Nabiki! The Major said not to answer the door."
"Forget it, Kuno. She's on auto-pilot. Why don't you take her back to bed?"
"Good idea, Ranma. I assume you are here to see the Major?"
Ranma nodded and smiled, "Follow me then."
The martial artist lead Dorian to the back of the castle where a shooting range was set up. He was in a bit of a stunned daze as he notice Klaus shooting ats targets.
Apparently the ear protection blocked out the sound of Ranma's voice.
Finally the boy snorted and cupped his hands together, and a glowing blue ball of energy formed before Dorian's stunned eyes. Ranma gave him a rather naughty grin as he tossed the ball into the air. Then he leapt high and spiked the orb. The sphere slammed into Klaus' target and obliterated it.
Klaus thumbed the safety on his gun and pulled off the hearing protection. He quirked a brow at the boy, who grinned unrepentantly.
"You have company, Papa."
"Did you catch him breaking in?"
"No. Nabiki answered the door."
"I thought she was asleep."
Klaus eyed his son for a moment and Ranma chuckled.
"I'm gonna go spar with Ryoga."
Ranma gave his father a jaunty salute and headed for another section of the grounds.
"My son Ranma and his friends Kuno, Nabiki, Msu tsu, Kodachi, and Ryoga. They are visiting for the summer. Do not bother them."
Klaus was then treated to the gratifying sight of a speechless Dorian Red Gloria.
"Darling, how the fuck did you get a son?"
"The usual way, I married a good woman."
"You're MARRIED?" Dorian wondered if it were possible to literally die of shock and a broken heart.
"Widower. Yuki died when Ranma was four, not long after our fifth wedding anniversary."
"I don't understand..."
Klaus sat on one of the stone benches Ryoga moved for Dominic. He looked about warily before pulling out a cigarette. He gestured for Dorian to sit and lit up. He drew a long drag off the 'cancer stick' before a sharp *crack* was heard.
Dorian froze as a whip fashioned from a black ribbon sang through the air and snatched the nicotine fix. The Major turned to the left and scowled at a young woman in black silk pants and a sleeveless cobalt blue turtleneck. She gave a sharp tug and the broken 'coffin nail' as well as the rest of the pack landed in her dainty hands.
"Now-now Major-sama. You know Ranma-sama doesn't like it when you smoke. He just found you and would rather not lose his father to cancer."
"Yes, yes, I know... Go terrorize the boys... Will we see you and your guest for dinner?"
"Marvelous. Ja ne."
Klaus sighed and rubbed his forehead. "That was Kodachi Kuno. She is a friend of my son."
"I met Yuki Shinohara while on a mission in my younger days. We were good friends. We married soon after. Ranma was born a little less than a year later." Klaus looked out over the grounds, his face pensive. He did not see his father and butler who stood near the corner of the castle.
"Yuki lead a twelve man team for the Kunika, Japan's anti-terrorism teams. We both had many enemies, but mine were... more numerous. We decided it would be safer for Ranma in Japan. And if something were to happen to Yuki, or myself as well... Her sister Nodoka would raise our son."
"Nodoka was already married at the time, but Yuki didn't trust Genma. Nodoka promised that Genma would have little to no say in our son's life.
"Then Yuki died. It was soon after I earned command of the Alphabet. I wanted to go to Kyoto and bring my son home, but it was too dangerous. I wouldn't be able to protect Ranma from my enemies."
The Major was lost in the past, telling this story for the first time. Ranma never questioned his father about the choices that were made. He understood that they were trying to protect him, and he loved them all the more for it. But Klaus needed to talk about it.
"Nodoka did not keep her word. Genma took Ranma off on some insane ten-year training trip to study martial arts. He tossed my son in harms way again and again. But no matter how dishonorable that fat bastard was he did not corrupt my child. Ranma is strong, a respected fighter."
"My son held his honor close and faced so many things... The Mount Phoenix people call him 'God-Slayer'. When I was captured, it was about a month after Ranma learned the truth. He led the team that rescued me."
A faint smile of pure paternal pride lit his face.
"He gathered his former rivals and adversaries and decimated a communist base. He led them from the front to save a father he didn't even know."
"You're very proud of him."
"My son will be the best Head of the Eberbach line in the history of my family. He knows that I am proud of him."
"Who all knows about Ranma?"
"Just you and his allies. I think my butler may know."
"You're family doesn't even know?"
"Nein. Most can't keep their mouths shut, and the KGB would have gone after Ranma in an instant."
"You don't worry about that now?"
"Ranma could knock the Cub on his ass and paint the landscape with the rest of his thugs. His friends are referred to as 'The Nerima Wrecking Crew' for a reason. No Ranma and his friends can take care of each other."
"That's why you brought them to the castle because you feel it's safe to do so!"
Klaus nodded. He wasn't sure why he was confiding in Dorian of all people, but he trusted the thief not to betray him.
"Why tell me all this?"
"Because if the Russians get lucky, I want you to look out for him. Ranma can out-fight anyone, but he does not understand how the world works. I trust you to protect my son, even from my family."
"Darling," the Earl gasped, "surely you don't think they would harm your child!"
"I won't have Ranma pushed into a loveless marriage, or bullied into a life he hates. I don't want him manipulated into something because of tradition or because someone tells him I would want it. You fight dirty Eroica. You, I trust, to be here if I don't make it back from a mission."
"I... I see." He didn't really, but the level of trust the moody German was handing him boggled the mind! "What will you tell your father?"
"The truth. I was careful to keep all the records of my marriage and Ranma's birth locked away, but there will be no doubts about my Heir. If they do not like it... He is also heir to the Shinohara Clan. Yuki's father was there when we wed, my son is accepted there."
"One more question Major, do they always steal your cigarettes?"
"Ranma decided it was a filthy habit and I needed to quit. He and the others are 'helping me'."
Dorian began to laugh, "Helping you?"
Klaus smiled ruefully, "Kodachi will snatch them out of hand, Msu Tsu cuts them off at the filter, while I smoke them... Kuno has a water gun, Ranma can grab them right out of my hand, and Ryoga hides them every time he finds them. I've cut down to five a day."
Dorian chuckled and stood, "So will I meet all of them?"
Klaus brushed off his pants and stood, " I will introduce you at dinner."
From the other side of the castle, Heinz von dem Eberbach was dealing with a hard blow. His son did not trust him. His only child had hidden his son from his father in an attempt to shelter the boy.
His son did not trust him.
Dominic was getting worried. Heinz had yet to speak on what they had learned, odd for a man of his temper. He guided the man he had served faithfully for so many years, to the kitchen. The elder Eberbach sat numbly while Dominic prepared a cup of coffee.
"I do not know my son at all." Graf Eberbach muttered.
"Did you ever try?" Came a new voice. Both men turned to see Ranma standing in the doorway. He nodded to Dominic and poured a cup of green tea from the kettle on the stove. He pulled up a chair and spun it into 'straddling position'.
"He grew up in a boarding school grandfather. How many times did you visit him? How often did you talk with him, not to or at him? How many times have you said, 'I'm proud of you', or 'I love you'?"
Ranma's eyes were kind, but stern, "My father decided he would be the last Eberbach heir to grow up alone and unloved. He put my needs and life before his own desire for your approval. I have no doubt that my father loves me unconditionally. But can 'Tousan say the same for you?"
Heinz flinched under his grandson's clear blue eyes. "I did as I had to."
"Bullshit. You chose tradition over your child."
Heinz glared at the boy, who was utterly unfazed.
"In case you're wondering, yes I did all the things papa spoke of, and a lot more. My childhood wasn't typical, but it prepared me to be the Iron Major's son. Parents, learn by making mistakes. I understand that now, the question is, will you learn from yours?"
"What do you mean?"
"Papa is still alive. You are still alive. He still wants your love and approval. Will you let tradition and the past keep you from your only child?"
The teen finished his tea and set the cup in the sink. His expression was reserved, "If you wish to speak to me, I'll be in the gym. We haven't built a dojo yet."
Heinz watched his grandchild walk from the kitchen. He was stunned, and had a lot to think on. "Dominic, I'll be in my room."
Dominic watched the Colonel leave the room. He moved like an old man now. He wasn't sure if he was angry with Ranma for speaking to Heinz like that, or grateful that someone had finally spoken those hurtful, but needed words.
Heinz stopped half way to his room and stopped.
'If you wish to speak to me, I'll be in the gym.'
Maybe he should speak with his grandson again...
As he came to this conclusion, Ranma was working out in the gym. Ryoga was holding the punching bag as Ranma pounded away. The two boys were a bit more careful when inside the castle. It wasn't like Nerima, where everyone expects massive amounts of property damage.
Heinz stood in the doorway as the two boys talked.
"You talked with the Colonel?"
"Did you get through to him you think?"
"Don't know. I think he's starting to think about what I said. I hope so. No matter how bad their relationship is; Father still wants, no needs his father to be there for him."
"Aa makes sense. Look at how protective he is of you, as well as the rest of us."
"Yeah, Poppa got a ready made family when he got me."
"Better believe it itoshi. So what do you think of Gloria-sama?"
"I think he drives Poppa crazy, but he's a good man."
"What do you base that on?"
"Poppa told him about me, about all of us. And he told Gloria-san that he trusted him to look after me if he didn't come home from a mission."
"Something tells me that if the Major doesn't come home, Gloria-sama will be right with us when we go get justice."
"I think you're right. You seem okay with that."
"Ryo-chan, I am not about to turn on my father for making the same choices that I do."
Ryoga laughed and hugged his lover, "Come on. 'Dachi said we need to look nice for dinner."
"Think Nabiki is awake yet?"
"She better be. She has a self defense class with father tonight."
"That sucks. Your father is a stern sensei."
"He just wants her to be able to protect herself. Let's face it; Nabiki can't fight like we do. Yeah she's good with a gun, but her hand to hand stinks."
"Why didn't she study the art from her father?"
"Akane got her with the mallet a few times. After that Nabiki didn't want to play punching bag."
"Damn. If she would learn to control her temper, Akane would make a good addition to the team."
"Maybe. Come on, I want to take a shower."
That was met with a soft husky laugh. The couple left the gym. Heinz was still standing there when Klaus came upon him a few minutes alter.
"Klaus... I think we should talk."
"Yes sir. Dorian, if you would tell Nabiki I'll be late for her lesson?"
Dorian eyed his major for a moment and nodded, "Of course."
The blond moved down the hallway, hoping that this would not end in a messy scene. His darling needed to find peace with his father.
The two men settled into the library. Klaus was silent for a moment, "I was not aware that you were coming to visit sir."
"Yes, well I was nearby and had heard that you were injured on a mission." He watched with regret as his son stiffened. It was obvious his child would not have told him of his ordeal.
"Are you recovering?"
"Yes. They did not break me."
"I... ah, it is good that you were not killed..." He would have continued but Klaus beat him to it.
"You have no need to worry, I do have an heir."
The tense set of his son's shoulders told the older man that his child was waiting for some sort of explosion. He smiled sadly, though Klaus did not see it.
"I have met Ranma. He is an admirable young man."
Klaus was speechless. This was not how he imagined the meeting to happen. He expected anger, denial...
"I'm proud of you son."
Klaus sat heavily in the wing hair, oblivious to the pained look on Heinz, face. "Sir?"
"I have always been proud of you. I just wish your mother could have lived to see this day."
"I... Thank you sir."
Heinz gave a slight smile, "Now shall we plan on how to spring Ranma on the rest of the family? This should be well plotted so the vultures can do nothing about it."
"What do you mean sir?"
"We'll let them think I knew all along about Ranma. It will cut down on gossip."
"And all the matchmaking?"
"Eh, a boy needs a mother. I'll tell them I wanted you remarried for Ranma's sake."
From the doorway, Dorian smiled. To think, all it took to bring peace, and maybe a second chance for his darling, was one smart mouthed boy.
"Gloria-sama, It's not nice to spy."
The blond turned at smiled at the girl who had answered the door earlier, "True love, but I've a vested interest in making sure this meeting went well."
The brunette chuckled and drew him away to introduce him to the others, leaving father and son to make their peace. It was a new beginning for the House of Eberbach, and the dawning of a new era.