A GRIT fanfic
By Steven Scougall
THE BEGINNING 'The dance of the universes'
Many moons past the GRIT was without form and void, or, indeed, existence.
And the universes danced on in their infinite dance, but two of them, the UseNetVerse and the RanmaVerse got a little bit intimate in one of the slower dances and decided to find a spare bed somewhere.
Lots of really interesting things subsequently happened.
In short, a new universe was spawned. A universe not entirely unlike our own, and not entirely unlike the RanmaVerse either. People in both appeared, controlled by vastly powerful entities known as the RL controllers, who existed in a sort of anarchic state most of the time, except for when their sort of leader Heavensrun decided that enough was enough and that he should exercise his Admin power. Which didn't happen all that much.
One of the controlling entities, well known for his bad hair and occasional agressive headband, decided it was time to add a little extra history, modelled on his own life. STEVE'S STORY "Before the GRIT, there was..."
A young four year old stared up at his father.
"But... all of us... to Japan? Why?"
"Because, Steven, I have to. My boss has told me I have to go. You have to come too."
Steven's even younger brother of two years simply continued to blankly stare at the two, a big smile on his face while trying out the latest bits of English he'd just learned.
"Daddy going to Japan? Whee! FUN!"
"See? Richard likes the idea," said his father encouragingly.
"Richard," started Steven sourly, "can't even use the toilet, let alone understand that Japan is really far away and that we won't be coming back and besides he doesn't even have any good friends to leave behind and probably never even see again."
He stared at the wall for a while, not really listening to his father's explanation that he had no choice and life was usually unfair and that besides he was only four years old despite the way he could read long sentences already.
His father left the room, leaving the two to ponder upon his Words.
Steve stared at the wall for a while, along with his brother.
"Going to Japan? WHEE! FUN! FUN!"
"Shut up Richard."
"You're mean." Richard stuck out his tounge at his brother.
"Shut up Richard."
Richard started to cry. The brothers' mother swept into the room and picked Richard up. She gave her other son a Look.
"What have you done to him this time, Steven?"
"Just told him to be quiet."
"Steve was really mean," blubbed Richard.
Steven distantly stared at the wall again, this time listening to his mother talking reasonably at him. He'd heard it all before, he wondered why she was bothering to tell him again.
Three years later...
"We're going back... home? But this is home! Here! In Tokyo!"
Steven's father sighed. "We were never going to stay here for very long, Steven. We have to go back to Australia sometime. We can't stay for any more than another year."
"Then stay another year! All my friends are here! Bianca's here! Max's here!"
"It's time to go back home. Maybe we can come back, sometime in the future. But we have to go back home. I've already told work we're leaving in July."
"Don't wanna," grumbled Steven. But not too loudly, he'd learned long ago that the line never worked and usually earned him a screaming from one of his parents. He sighed, and looked out the window at the wide Roppongi street. He didn't hear as his dad left the room.
Just over that street was the edge of the Azabu Juban. Fifteen minutes walk brought him to his school, Nishimachi. He remembered how he'd stop at the little shop on the way to school and buy a rice ball for lunch.
He remembered all the people at his school. Mr. Laudenslager had been a real terror for the first graders. He still remembered his friend Max being asked to empty out his bag, and how Max had said, "uh... Steve's birthday present is in there." Steven remembered the way all heads had turned to look at him. Mr. Laudenslager had said something to him but he forgot what. He'd been too embarassed.
He remembered practicing his hiragana and katakana in this room, while looking out the window. In winter he'd wish for snow like that one November's day, while carefully tracing out each character, mouth open, forehead wrinkled in concentration. Hiragana 'Ne' and 'Re' had been quite hard to differentiate, he remembered.
He'd have to tell everybody he was going, that he wouldn't be back next school year but gone, perhaps forever. He'd have to say "Goodbye, forever, good luck with your life," not "see you again next year." He wondered how they'd take it.
He wondered how Bianca would take it. They'd been good friends. He at least had the yearbook with the photo that had both of them in it to remember her by. He smiled, at nothing in particular.
Upstairs a commotion suggested that his father and mother were trying to tell Richard that they'd be going back to Australia. His brother wasn't taking it too well. He probably couldn't even remember living there, he'd been only two when they'd left for Tokyo.
Their shouting woke up Peter, the newest addition to the family, who started screaming and shouting himself. It was too noisy for Steven to think any more.
'Urusai,' he thought to himself, pleased that he was speaking Japanese and he knew what he meant.
"Who?" asked Steven, staring at a confusing crowd of faces. People he'd grown to know over the past couple of years.
"Don't you remember? He was in our year two class," said Rob, the quiet one.
"I came in halfway through that year, remember?"
"And you couldn't subtract properly. What did you do in Japan, anyway? They didn't teach you maths, that's for sure." This was John, the bespectacled brain of the fourth year class, and one of Stevens' really good friends.
"Huh. At least I could spell. You couldn't even spell 'pot' properly."
"Did you do Kung-fu instead or something?" asked Matt.
"That's Chinese, you moron. You get Karate in Japan instead," chipped in someone else.
Things would have progressed to a half-hearted bickering and possibly a scuffle, but not today.
"And you pronounced that wrong, too. Anyway," said Steve, trying to bring things back on topic. "I still don't remember this guy. What exactly happened to him, anyway?"
There was a pause.
"Weren't you listening to Mrs. Boyle?" asked Rob. "He drowned."
Steven stood with his friends, staring at a little plot of earth beside the little peace tree. The last resting place of the drowned boy that he never really knew.
And yet... he felt sorry for this boy. Drowned and dead, before he was even ten. Before he could know anything of life. There were so many things to do and see. He especially knew that, he'd been in another country for three years.
There were so many things to do in life. So many things to see. The world was so varied. And to be cruelly cut down before you could even begin to understand this...
He'd never really known the boy. But he felt sorry for him anyway. He stared at the ground, where the boy lay forevermore.
"Goodbye," he said. "I wish I had something I could remember you by."
"I don't believe it," said Steven. "To be here, back at Nishimachi."
His mother just smiled at him as he explored the small school. He'd been so happy here all those years ago. It had been a good idea to send the kids here instead of ASIJ or Sacred Heart or wherever. Besides, this school was much closer and much easier to get to. The kids could walk it in five minutes.
It was good to be back in Japan again. The kids were getting over their culture shock. Their house was also amazing. And Jeff was getting into the new job at the Embassy, and at least wasn't hating it with a passion.
Steven stopped gawping as a memory rose. He looked over at a corner of the campus. It had been built over, there was a really large gym over where there had once been empty space. And over there... he wondered. He went over to check, to see what had happened to a place that was probably just a memory now.
It was amazing. He called his mother over.
"Look Mum, this is the single room 'hut' where I used to come for speech therapy. See? They've built a large spiral stairway right over it and you can't get to it anymore, but it's still there, just behind the Matsukata house, beside this new gym. I wonder if they still have the how to juggle poster on the door." He thought, remembering. "I never could get the hang of that."
"You look really happy to be back."
"I am! This was a really great place! But... it's all so different. They've got this new gym and extended that building, completely covering where we used to play. I wonder if there's a good wall anywhere. Maybe I can teach the people here how to play Tips."
A hesitant female voice spoke up behind him. A voice that sounded strangely familiar.
"You... you can't be... Steven Scougall?"
He turned and looked at the girl talking to him. Who's this, he wondered. Come on, she knew him, so she had to know him from when he was here before. But he couldn't for the life of him remember who she was. The buildings looked the same... but the people didn't.
"Remember me? I'm Karis Campbell. Do you remember Bianca Spencer?"
Bianca... Bianca... The name seemed strangely familiar somehow. But how?
"You two were such good friends."
He flipped furiously through the yearbooks his mother had kept throughout the years. He'd forgotten they had these. He'd been too busy making a new life, making new friends, learning their games... settling down. Forgetting a life in another country, until it seemed almost unreal. For gods sake, he'd forgotten all of the writing and had mistakenly remembered 'niko' as cat.
"Neko, baka," he muttered to himself, as he went through the pages, from the back as he usually did when he was just scanning through magazines. Probably a hold-over of when he was in Japan the first time, with the way the Japanese started from the other side of the book. He refused to think of it as backwards. "Cat is 'neko' in Japanese. Not 'niko' at all."
Towards the front of the yearbook, he finally found what he was looking for. The Kindergarten year. He stared at the huge number of photos. There had certainly been a large number of kids in their class. Quite a lot of them were still at Nishimachi.
But he was looking for a specific photo.
In the background the TV blared Peter's favourite TV show, Dragonball. "...Let's fly fly fly, makafushigi..." He mouthed the familiar words as he looked among the photos...
And there it was. Actually, he was surprised. It wasn't two photos, on different parts of the page, but just one photo. Him he recognised almost instantly. His hair had grown a bit darker and there was nothing he could do to it anymore, it always sprang back into its usual bad shape.
There was another in the photo. A girl, a big smile on her face, resting on his shoulder. Light hair, he couldn't tell the colour, the pictures were black and white. Probably blond. The name given for her was Bianca Spencer.
So this was who Karis had been talking about at Nishimachi today. He wished he could remember who Bianca was, wished he could remember anything... but there was nothing. Obviously they had been good friends. There was this photo and Karis had seemed genuine enough about it. He wished he could remember.
He stared a long time at the photograph, trying to remember. But the memories were gone. He did something he almost never did anymore. He cried.
More years passed. Steven gradually built a wall around all the painful memories. He'd found it hard when he learned his friend, all the way from pre-school probably, Peter Osicka, had died in a car crash. But he just stared at the floor when he heard the news, not letting himself crack. He was barely fifteen and so many things had happened.
It had been harder when Mr. Zielinski, the English teacher at Nishimachi, had died, but he'd managed to get over that.
He still wondered about Bianca. He wondered if they'd been good friends or not. He wondered where she'd got to, if she remembered him or had forgotten him as he'd forgotten her.
It had been weird to meet another friend from Nishimachi, when they were both nineteen, just a year and ago. Chris had stared at him for a second or two and then said he remembered everything about Steven. Steven still wished he could remember anything about Chris from fifteen years ago.
Here he was, in Japan again. But this time, completely on his own. Not coming with Dad's job, but by himself, for himself. And one of the first things he'd done was to come to see Nishimachi again.
He looked around, his long coat fluttering in the wind. It all seemed so *small*. The first time he'd been here, he could remember it seemed huge, but now... A thought struck him. He went over to the spiral staircase behind the Matsukata house and looked.
Incredible, he thought. The little building is still here.
He recognised that voice. He turned and smiled. He switched to Japanese, it was easy enough, now. No more mistakes with 'niko' and 'neko.' He grinned at that memory.
"Hotta-san! It's good to see you again!"
They talked of times past, of Hotta-san's piano tutoring. Steven had been glad for that, it had given him something new. A clue to his future, now his present. They caught up on the here and now.
"There aren't many people that you knew still here. All your old classmates are now in University, most of them overseas in America."
"Well, I heard David Priest is still here, and I also heard Mr Fujino and Tanaka-san are still here. A shame about Tanaka-san, though. Getting a stroke is never good for anybody."
They stared at the ground for a moment. They both knew Tanaka-san, almost a fixture at Nishimachi, was in a very bad way, walking so slowly, as if life was too much of a burden. But he still kept going, thought Steve, impressed. He still taught.
After a silence, they found other things to talk about.
"Where are you staying while you're here?"
"I have this small apartment in Nerima."
Hotta-san sucked air through his teeth. "Nerima?"
"Is there something wrong with Nerima?" Steve was curious. He hadn't heard about this.
"Well... strange things happen there. I've only heard the stories, but I heard there was an actually a small trench war there not too long ago. And there was definitely something to do with a blimp and a large tower..." Hotta-san grinned. "Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?"
"Anyway, good luck while you're here."
He had to find out. Hotta-san had piqued his interest. A trench war, a blimp, a tower... as he'd said, it sounded ridiculous. But he'd asked his neighbours, and they'd said it was all true. They advised him to stay away from certain places, restaurants, a number of houses and above all Furinkan school.
He'd listened to their dire stories of a group of teenagers chasing each other all over the place, jumping off roofs, running on fences. Some of the stranger ones said that cold water changed them to animals or changed their gender.
He'd listened, smiled, and said "I hear you" and "I understand" a lot. If all this was true then he finally knew why his apartment was so relatively cheap to rent. That is, cheap for Tokyo. It would still rent him a nice spacious apartment five minutes from the city centre back in Canberra. At least here he had enough left over after rent to live comfortably, if a bit cramped.
It was certainly getting stranger about Nerima. People were now starting to talk about sightings of werewolves wearing glasses and all-scale war centred on a certain address, something like the 'Tendo dojo.' There was talk about more gaijin in the area, who could speak Japanese with ease and who angered extremely quickly. And what looked like a pyramid had appeared overnight.
His rent had gotten even lower. He had briefly thought about moving out and getting a larger apartment, but thought better of it for he already knew many of the locals and neighbours. And Dr. Tofu was a good doctor, if a bit eccentric at times. And with everything so weird around here nobody commented on him being a gaijin anymore.
One fateful day, while he was shopping for food, he found himself passing by a large traditional looking house. Sounds of extreme violence were coming from the other side of the walls, and he thought he heard something that sounded exactly like '@bap.'
He wasn't surprised when he found the sign saying this was the 'Tendo dojo of indiscriminate grappling.' So... this was the place all the trouble seemed to center on, if all the stories were to be believed.
He heard the sounds of scuffle coming towards him, but this one was outside the household. He decided to retreat to a safe distance and watch how things turned out.
Pretty soon, he could discern voices. He was surprised. They were speaking in Japanese, but he could tell they were gaijin. It was odd. They had such heavy accents, yet it just seemed perfectly clear what they were saying. One of the speakers even had what sounded like a New Zealander accent. It was if he was hearing them both in Japanese and English at the same time.
"Scougall-san!" Steve actually jumped in surprise, the voice had come almost right by his ear. "What are you doing here?" He turned, it was Mitsuya-san, the man from room three, but almost unrecognizable. He was wearing a fedora pulled almost over his eyes and a long trenchcoat almost to the ground, and wore very expensive sunglasses.
"Well... ah... I was just shopping. I was thinking about going to see Dr. Tofu and was walking this way when I came across this dojo."
"Hmph. A likely story. You know I've told you several times not to come by this way. It's too strange."
"What I find strange is such obiovusly gaijin voices speaking such good Japanese, almost perfect in fact, yet with such heavy accents."
Mistuya-san nodded. "That is one of our concerns. By the way, do you know what accent that is?" He indicated the one wielding the wet smelly fish.
"If I didn't know better that's the New Zealand accent."
"Ah. I see. I shall see you later, then, Scougall- san."
"See you later."
With a wave, Mistuya-san was gone.
Steve turned to watch the two. From listening to them, he determined that one of them was called Jason. This must be the one with shoulder length hair. The other... he tried to translate what they were calling him. Possibby 'Insane Punk.'
The 'Insane Punk' said something about someone else, Steve wasn't listening too carefully and there was of course that accent. Something about a guy called 'Ranma.'
A young teen with his hair pulled back in a pigtail suddenly jumped over the wall, furious. "What did you call me?" shouted Ranma.
"Ah... well... er..." started the insane one. He gestured with his fish. He didn't get much further for Ranma gave him an almighty kick. The New Zealander shot up into what looked like low Earth orbit and disappeared over the horizon. Ranma hmphed and went back inside.
Another one that looked exactly like Jason appeared through the doorway and said something. He sounded the same, he looked the same, he had the same hair, the same face, everything. A slight difference to the pronunciation suggested this one was called 'Jacen.'
Mind whirling, and completely forgetting about his bag of shopping, Steve watched closer. Something strange was going on, for sure.
A female voice shouted something about someone called Ryouga, there was an almighty '@bap' sound and a bald guy in a cape came flying from the grounds. And then, in defiance of all physical laws, the bald one stopped in mid air. He said something about 'nanobots.'
Steve took a step back and fell over his bag of shopping. He scrambled up, grabbed his bag, and continued backing away. This was all too weird. He had to get away. He tripped over and fell backwards again.
"Oh my," came a female voice. "Are you alright?"
If he was feeling better he might have properly noticed her and spoken a bit more nicely. As it was... "I've just fallen over and hit my head on a bag of shopping. Of course I'm not alright."
He shook his head, trying to clear the ringing in his ears. "Look, miss, do you know anything about that place over there, and why there are so many gaijin that speak Japanese so... strangely?"
"I live there," she said. "The gaijin there are friends of our family, I suppose."
"But they're ruining the place!"
"I don't mind cleaning up."
He gaped at her. They were doing more than getting the floors dirty, he could hear that.
"And when things get too messy our repairman Rol helps out, and if we talk to Jason sternly enough he can also fix things with his Admin power."
There were more sounds of random violence. There was a shout. "RANMA NO BAKA!" The one called Ranma came sailing up out of the house and disappeared into another part of Tokyo, screaming most of the way.
"Oh dear. He'll probably want some hot water when he gets back, too. I'd better put the kettle on. Anyway, nice meeting you..." she looked at him questioningly.
"Scougall. I'm Steven Scougall. Nice to meet you. I'd better go see Dr. Tofu, my head's quite sore."
"He's a good doctor. And so funny. Nice meeting you, Scougall-san." And with a wave she left.
The same woman came in to see Dr. Tofu while he was there. He found out two things, that her name was Kasumi Tendo, and that the doctor went mad the instant he saw her. He still had the bruises to prove it, and his joints were queuing up to complain.
Back at the apartment block, Mitsuya-san was sorry he hadn't warned Steven about Dr. Tofu earlier.
"He's a really good doctor, most of the time. But when Kasumi Tendo visits him, he just goes crazy, and makes you worse than how you came in. I went in with a sore foot once and came out doubled over and a bent neck. I still had the sore foot."
"What is it with Kasumi and the doctor?"
"They like each other, and somehow this makes him crazy when she's around. I guess he's very very nervous when she's there."
The conversation drifted around to slightly more personal topics.
"What? You aren't married? You don't even have a steady romance going?"
"I had a sort of crush on this girl at residential college when I was at University. I never really talked to her properly though. It's funny - she could be here in Tokyo right now, she said something about trying to get an Enlish teaching job in Japan. I never heard how that turned out. I'd be scared stiff if I saw her."
"Go for it! My cousin tells me this story about a ronin and the manager at their apartment block. It took them so long, but eventually, he asked her... Very romantic..." Mitsuya took time out to get a tissue and blew his nose noisily.
Steve smiled sadly to himself. "Nah... It doesn't feel right. I don't know how she feels about me at all. Probably just friends. Leaves me just by myself."
He slipped into English, mutterring, "I've never had much luck with women really," he said absently. Seeing Mitsuya's blank look he translated, then explained.
He found himself drawn to the Tendo dojo again, the next day. There was just something about the place. Something strange was going on and he was going to find out some more.
He ran into Kasumi again, but at least this time he hadn't fallen over. This time he found it much easier to be courteous and nice and to actually notice her. This time he asked her about Jacen and how he was related to Jason. He thought they were twins, it was the only sensible explanation.
Of course it wasn't that simple.
"Oh no," she said. "Apparently Jason picked up a cloning chamber somewhere and Jacen is a clone of him."
"It was to combat Alexis and his clone." She frowned. "Well, it turns out now it wasn't a clone but it seemed like it at the time."
"I don't believe this. I mean, clones? It just sounds so..."
"There are some other clones around the place too."
"There are way too many clones around here," grumbled Steve.
Someone that looked exactly like him, right down to the bad hair, wandered up to him. "I agree," said the apparition.
"So do I," came another voice from his back.
Steve whirled. There was another person that looked exactly like him. While his back was turned he missed the sudden appearance of another nine people that looked exactly like him.
"In fact..." started one of them.
"Perhaps there are too many?" suggested another.
Steve found himself staring at the large number of people that looked exactly like him. Just what the hell was going on?
He didn't notice as Kasumi hurriedly left. He didn't notice as most of the warring people in the Tendo dojo turned to notice this upstart and his eleven clones. He hardly heard as the most recent nine copies of him disappeared.
The crowd started towards him and his two clones. One of them said something about keeping Four to Twelve around for this encounter. He didn't really notice that, either.
But he did notice as he got pummelled, malletted, @bapped, and just generally beat into the ground.
Eventually the beating stopped and the crowd started fighting amongst themselves again, drifting back towards the Tendo dojo. The three seemed temporarily forgotten.
"Okay," said Steve, standing up and brushing himself off. "Why don't you two introduce yourselves?"
The two stared at each other.
"Well..." started one. Steve noticed this one's hair was ever so slightly longer than his. So... not a perfect copy.
"It should be perfectly obvious," said the other. This one looked nastily agressive. "We're clones of you."
"I thought it wouldn't be something as simple as long lost triplet brothers."
"Anyway," said the longer haired one. "I showed up third, so you can call me Steve Three or San-ban. He showed up second so he's either Steve Two or Ni-ban. You of course are just plain Steve, Steve One, Ichi-ban, or sometimes we will refer to you as our original.
"Now it is time to introduce ourselves to the rest of them." He indicated the Tendo dojo.
"They beat us into the ground! They're not going to be friendly! They're downright hostile!"
"Nah, that's just their habitual greeting for newcomers."
"They think I'm joining them?"
"But of course! Why else do you think you now have clones?"
Ni-ban hmphed and ran into the melee. His shouts could be heard above the general noise. He hadn't lasted long before a loud SPLAT could be heard, such as of a wet smelly fish hitting a human, and Ni-ban arced out of the ground, entering low Earth orbit like the Insane Punk had, and disappeared over the horizon.
"No doubt straight to Jusenkyo," commented San-ban.
"'Land of cursed springs'?"
"We'll find out. Come on, let's stroll in, and try not to be too annoying." San-ban strolled over to the Tendo household and let himself in.
Steve stood there a moment. So... a life choice. No doubt his life would be really different if he went in there. But perhaps it was time for a little change anyway. (END) Standard waffling:
There you have it. Yet another GRIT side story/fanfic, this one explaining a bit behind Steve and where his clones came from. There should eventually be a part two, that details Steve and his clones during the GRIT clone wars. Beyond that, I won't be writing any more GRIT fanfics. (There is a massed sigh of relief from the GRIT haters.) Standard Legalese:
A lot of the characters and events from the early parts of this story are taken and/or based on actual people from my own life. Occasionally I've made the minor details up since I can't remember them right.
I hope nobody wants compensation...
My exact entrance into the GRIT has been changed slightly. The major details are all the same, though.
And of course all Ranma 1/2 characters and places are from Rumiko Takahashi's Ranma 1/2 series and used here without her permission. Such characters and places are copyright lots of people, not least Rumiko Takahashi and Shogakukan.
The Dragonball theme is also used without whoever's permission I'd need to use it. *Sigh* I'm building up a large list of offences here, aren't I? And regards to the DB theme, I've put it down as well as I can remember it. I don't have any tapes of it handy. Other standard things:
Tell me what you think. I do need comments and criticism to get better. You can contact me at this e-mail address: