Ryoga wandered through the streets of… Well, probably Tokyo? Maybe. For 5 years he had been in pursuit of Ranma Saotome, the one who had made his life hell, but who had suddenly one day disappeared from the Tendo Dojo.
Ryoga was not really sure what happened, he had only been to the Tendo dojo twice in those years. The first time listening to Akane's rants about how the pervert had corrupted poor Kasumi and run off. The second time had crushed his heart when he found that his love, Akane Tendou, had gotten married to another martial artist and had given birth to a child. Damn Ranma for ruining Akane and Ryoga's happiness and making Ryoga's life hell.
"I need a salmon, Daisuke-san," he heard a voice nearby. He knew that voice, he knew it very very well: Ranma Saotome. He turned around quickly and spotted the red hair and he was filled with a rage, charging forward.
"RANMA! YOU HAVE MADE MY LIFE HELL! PREPARE TO DIE!" the martial artist lacking a sense of direction exclaimed, as he thrust his massive umbrella at his nemesis. A nemesis who only partially blocked the blow and was several meters down the road. It looked like Ranma had been slacking off over these years, as he, currently in female form, was struggling to get up. A fist was thrown at Ranma's stomach, which Ranma blocked with a shoulder. Ryoga heard a crack. This time he would win, now he would get his revenge!
"DIE!" he once again yelled, as he raised his umbrella on the woman that looked defenseless, simply raising her hands and looking away. Only to suddenly feel some light taps on his shins, nothing that hurt him, he hardly even noticed. He looked down and saw a 3 year old copy of Ranma-chan crying as she furiously attacked his shin. At which point he actually regained enough senses to hear what the little clone was saying: "Leave mommy alone, big bully!" It was at these words that his brain froze and he fainted.
Slowly Ryoga awoke. What a nightmare. He dreamt that he had attacked an innocent mother looking like Ranma, almost killing her. He shuddered, he definitely needed to control that temper.
"You are awake," he heard a voice. HER voice. As he focused on the young woman currently sitting at a table, he noticed that she wore a dress and currently had her arm in a sling.
"I don't really have any skill to fight you anymore, Ryoga-kun," she said, making Ryoga wonder if he had somehow turned left at Hokkaido and ended up in an alternate universe. "I really hope you won't make Kaisuke a widower today and our children be without a mother. But this really has to end."
Once again Ryoga's brain froze up. This made no sense. This was definitely Ranma, that much he was certain of, but the words made no sense, because it just sounded wrong.
"Please let me explain, and if you still want to kill me after, I guess I cannot really stop stop you." Ranma said, and it was at this point Ryoga noticed just how feminine Ranma sounded. If he did not know this was Ranma, he'd have thought it was a real woman.
"Why do you speak like that," Ryoga muttered, confused. "I was at the dojo and Akane was very upset at you, said you were a pervert and that you had corrupted Kasumi."
Ranma shook her head. "I am sorry to say this, but Akane has a lot of issues with me and Kai… Kasumi. I guess you should make yourself comfortable."
As Ryoga adjusted himself and sat up, Ranma started telling the story.
"You do remember that I married Akane in the second marriage, right?" A nod was given as confirmation, before Ranma continued. "Well, I guess that was really the beginning of the end for Ranma, the man amongst men," Ranma said with a small smile. "The Amazons realized I was too powerful to control and left for China, Ukyo was very upset, but I guess in the end she understood. The rest of the lunatics doesn't really matter."
Ranma continued telling her story, Ryoga wondering where this was going. "On our wedding night we realized I had… performance issues. I didn't love Akane and the truth was that I had never had any feelings for any of my fiancees, except Ukyo, which was when I thought she was a boy. You were my first serious crush, Ryoga-kun."
Brain froze again on the directionally challenged martial artist. Ranma liked boys?
"Yes, Ryoga. I liked boys. And these days I love men. One in particular. But anyway, back to the story… It was about 6 months into the marriage that things started really falling apart. Akane was frustrated that I could not perform. And I became increasingly unhappy and depressed. We got separate bedrooms and didn't really talk anymore."
"A few months later Kasumi entered my bedroom. Akane was visiting a friend, who I later found out was her lover. Nabiki was away at college. The Panda and Soun was at a bar, once again celebrating the joining of the schools."
Ryoga slowly nodded as he began to get a better understanding. Wait? Ranma had liked him? That was… well, not surprising really, as Ryoga remembered all the times Ranma had pretended to be a girl and then the was the whole Koi rod incident. His attention started drifting as he started thinking about other instances.
"Are you with me, Ryoga-kun?" Ranma questioned, and Ryoga nodded quickly, refocusing.
"Kasumi asked me to swear on my honor that I'd never tell anyone what she was about to reveal. And I did. But as that secret is already out and no longer a secret it doesn't matter anymore. Anyway, Kasumi told me about her feelings. About how she'd always felt she was supposed to be guy. But she had really given up that dream when she started developing into a woman and then she had to take over responsibility for the household. It was too late for her, but not too late for me. And that she had been convinced how her feelings was true when she had stolen one of my packets of instant nannichan. How it felt so right. Which only returned her into more darkness when she had returned to her female body a few hours later."
Ryoga saw Ranma's eyes start to fill with tears. "She had given up, Ryoga. And showed me the scars of those times she had almost ended it. And then told me that she suspected that I was truly a woman shortly after I arrived to the dojo, many years earlier, because I always seemed happier, always seemed to be more cheerful in my girl body, even when I would loudly proclaim I was a boy or a man. She told me to speak to a therapist. Took me a month to find the strength, but I did go to a therapist, because at that point I too had reached the point where I thought of seeking out mom and asking for a seppuku."
"The therapist helped. Sure, the first few sessions I really did not really want to say anything, but eventually she suggested some light hypnosis, to make me more relaxed. I was worried, remember the Amazons. But then I figured I was at a point where it didn't matter anyway, it couldn't get worse." Ranma gently explained, while Ryoga nodded. Oh, he was well aware of depression, his special attack based on it.
Ranma continued "It brought out a lot of memories… Did you know that C-… uhm, feline fist had a secondary purpose?" Before Ryoga had time to respond, Ranma continued. "It was used as a form for conversion therapy. Your kid is gay? In the pit with him, repeat, repeat, repeat, until he'll either end up dead, insane or his mind convinces him that his feelings are wrong. That he is wrong for feeling that way. In my case it was a boy who felt he should be a girl…" Ryoga's eyes widened as he heard the last comment.
"I am transgender, Ryoga. Really have been all my life, for as long back as I remember. Always wanted pretty dresses, always wanted to play with dolls and with girls. Imagine, the great Ranma Saotome, man amongst men, was actually a girl all along. At least inside, where it counts. The reason why the contract was worded as it was and my mom allowed the training journey was because young me had told her that I was a girl and that I was not a boy. She felt it was her influence, and hence Genma kept me away from most girls for my life. But even away from my mom I didn't stop saying it. It wasn't until the pit, until I was thrown in again and again, each time told I was a boy, until I at some point started believing it. Still did not change how I still always felt wrong, but you can get used to that feeling if you don't know it is there." Ranma was quiet for several seconds as she filled her tea cup and then offered Ryoga a refill, although his cup was still untouched.
"The trip to Jusenkyo gave me a girls body. What I unconsciously wanted. I thought the reason it felt so comfortable and right was the curse, I was in denial about my old buried feelings. So I fought against it so hard. Because I was a man, not a weak little girl." Saying this Ranma let out a small giggle. "The panda did everything to reinforce that belief."
"Uhm, but what about your martial arts? You didn't seem that strong when I fought you, Ranma." Ryoga finally put in his own word, causing Ranma to shake her head.
"I realized the reason I was so obsessed with the art was because it was a distraction, it was a way to keep myself occupied and not thinking about how bad I felt. And these days my name is Keiko."
"Kei… Keiko? But uhm, why?" "Because I was no longer Ranma, no longer a man, silly. I briefly considered Ranko, but it brought too many bad memories, even though there were also some good." Ranma quickly answered, before she continued her story.
"So a few months after I had that breakthrough Kasumi had become my best friend. We understood eachother, but there was no romantic feelings. Just a kinship over our suffering, a support for the other. None of us really planned on coming out, it would be too shameful. At least until Akane brought news. Oh, so happy news." A frown formed on Ra… No, Keiko's lips.
"Oh, yes, I was to be a father, Akane was pregnant. The panda and Soun were filled with joy, the schools united. Mom doing a dance because of grandchildren. And I was stunned. I had never been with Akane that way. Something which Kasumi also knew." Keiko sighed. "I'm not sure if it was a moment I should be proud of. But it was that moment I came out. I blurted out that I was trans. That I was a woman, that Akane and I had never been together that way. And unexpectedly all hell broke loose." Keiko gave a sad smile.
"Mom was ready to make me sepukku then and there. Akane yelled that I was a pervert. Soun started crying about how the schools would never be joined and the panda started yelling how I was being weak and that I should man up. And then Kasumi stepped in, yelling that she was really a man inside, then grabbed my arm and quickly dragged me out while the lunatics were still stunned."
Ranma paused and shook her head. "At least Nabiki was on our side. Not sure when she had moved out in the chaos, but she was in the hallway, handed Kasumi some yen and told us to move quickly. So we did. I later heard that Nabiki cut the power, which bought Kasumi and I extra time to make our escape."
"We kept hidden away for a few weeks after that. Moving from small cheap motel to the next. Until we found a small apartment on the other side of Tokyo. Ahh, now that I remember it, I kinda miss it. My first real home where I felt I belonged." With that Ryoga looked around and out of the window, noticing a rather nice and well-kept garden and a dojo. Yeah, definitely not an apartment.
"I guess it was the real birthplace of Kaisuke and Keiko. Kaisuke bound his breasts, cut his hair and adapted a masculine language. While I did have much practice already for Keiko, but I did get some help with the language." Keiko smiled at those memories. "It was where we really had our greatest challenges, especially Kaisuke. My girl body kept gender dysphoria away, I was lucky in that regard, seen and treated as a woman. Kaisuke was less fortunate, since most could easily see the feminine features, the wider hips and even bound Kaisuke's breasts were visible. A lot of the time he was unable to find a job. I found a job as a waitress, Kaisuke could not find any, so instead I suggested that Kaisuke should follow his dream and study to become a doctor."
"It was after a few months that Kaisuke got approved by therapist for treatment for gender reassignment." Noticing Ryoga's blank stare, Keiko sighed. "Kaisuke started male hormones. Voice started changing. And he was so happy when he noticed his first facial hair. But there were also bad times. As Kaisuke changed, he grew to hate the female features even more."
"It culminated one evening, when he admitted that he was so envious of me and my Jusenkyo blessing. Even with surgeries and hormones, Kaisuke would not be physically a man, never be able to father children. As he broke down and cried, I held him. Then kissed him on the forehead and suddenly our locks were locked. That was the night I realized that I loved him." Keiko smiled remembering it fondly.
"A few weeks after that I started thinking. And I realized what I had to do. I worked like crazy after that, doing extra shifts and being extra cute, earning even more tips. So a few weeks before Kaisuke's birthday I handed him two tickets. To China. And told him we'd go to Jusenkyo, just before kissing him."
Keiko let out a small laugh. "Compared to my other trips to China, this one was trivial and uneventful. On Kaisuke's 27th birthday he was blessed by Jusenkyo. I have never seen anyone so happy in my life. We hardly even left our tent during the next two weeks, we had found heaven." Keiko let out a happy sigh. "After that we sought out Herb and negotiated with him to be locked. Which gave me an idea." Keiko sighed again.
"While we were not that active in the transgender community, we knew of it, we knew some people. And I realized they did not have the same opportunities as Kasumi and I. Where before I would have fought, I now was far more calm, so I actually used words. Hey, don't look at me like that!" The last exclaimed after Ryoga looked at her as if she had grown another head.
"Okay, okay, so maybe Kaisuke did much of the talking, but at least I handled the Amazons. Blessed Spring Travels was formed during those days. One fifth owned by Kaisuke and I, the remaining split between the Jusenkyo Guide, the Amazons, the Musk and the Phoenix. And when we got back to Japan we spread the information in the right circles. If I had been Nabiki we would be filthy rich, but we didn't charge crazy amounts. But it did allow us to move into a different place, this house. Because well, the small apartment was really too small for 3 and Kaisuke had definitely made sure in China that the family would grow." With that said she blushed.
"I believe you met Kimiko. She's a determined little lady, a lot like her mother. I gave up waitressing to mostly be an at-home mom. I still arranged Jusenkyo trips of course. But I did not work like I had before. I was really turning into an business mom. And I love it. I feel I do so much good. Anyway Kaisuke finished his studies and a doctor is quite well-paid. So instead of hoarding money, we set up a foundation, Blessed Springs foundation. Even convinced the other members of Blessed Springs to give up some of their profits."
"Uhm, but the Dojo?" Ryoga interrupted, making Keiko frown slightly and Ryoga almost felt like he was shrinking. "We own a dojo, I train a few groups of advanced students every week, while Kaisuke has learned enough to train beginners. But it's not the same obsessive level as in Nerima. We do it for fun, not because we need the money. But anyway… Back to the foundation."
"We support the trans community. Not just trips to Jusenkyo, but all kind of support. Last week we helped a 15 year old kicked out from home. Setting him up with housing and a bit of cash for groceries." Keiko sighed.
Ryoga stared as Keiko. Oh, he could definitely see the physical similarities to his old buddy from school that fell into the Spring of Drowned Girl. But mentally and socially he definitely knew he was speaking to a woman.
"What happened to the Tendo family? And your parents?" Ryoga finally asked.
"To start off, I guess I should inform you that my name is Keiko Tendou, because my husband is Kaisuke Tendou. Akane was never able to convince Soun to remove Kaisuke's deadname from the clan registry. Grandpa Soun sometimes show up, but he never tells Akane. That night he was mostly stunned, because he was reminded how Kaisuke had been acting very much like a tomboy in her youth. He's always doing the long scenic route, to make sure Akane will never be able to find us. Speaking of Akane , she ended up divorcing me of course and then went through a swift marriage to the baby daddy. Last I heard they had a single child, a son. Proudly proclaimed to one day be the next master martial artist." Keiko Tendou shook her head. "I doubt she'll ever really changed, so used to get what she want. And her husband gives in to all her demands."
"Nabiki was already planning a move to be closer to college on her own. She basically gave us a lot of what she had saved for her own place, setting her move back some months. She has a pair of room mates in Akane's old friends, Sayuri and Yuka. And if Akane really knew what they were doing, she'd probably have a meltdown and blame me for making Nabiki a lesbian with two girlfriends. If they could all three legally marry I think they would, but for now they are simply partners inside and outside bed. Nabiki is working for a bank. Something about investments and ports something. Uhm, like she makes other peoples money grow and earn some of it."
With that said, the young woman smiles. "A few months after the incident my mom contacted me through Nabiki. We spoke and she told me that she would love having a daughter. She always wanted one, but I guess the panda was not man enough." Keiko smirked at that joke. "We spoke about my childhood and she remembered much more than I did. I had really spooked her back then. She had not been able to handle a transgender kid and blamed herself for my feminine behaviour. She visits quite often these days, always spoiling her grandbabies rotten. At first she did really try to tell me how to raise Kimiko, but I told her quite strongly that Kaisuke and I were her parents and made those decisions. A lesson that was hard for her to learn."
"And lastly the panda. I haven't spoken to him since then. I'll never be able to forgive him for what he did to me. I sent him a picture from our wedding, simply writing on the back that 'The schools have been joined'. According to mom he's still loudly complaining about me. But it doesn't matter. He's never going to see Kimiko or Ranma or any of our other children when they will come along."
"Ranma?" Ryoga suddenly perked up.
"Yeah, our son is named Ranma. Kaisuke insisted that since our first one was named after his family, so the second would be named after mine. Didn't know many ancestors, so we settled on Ranma for a boy or Ranko for a girl." Ranma smiled slightly. "To be honest I already see some signs, so it wouldn't surprise if Ranma followed in mommy and daddy's footsteps and became Ranko. But no matter what, we will love him or her or them very very much and provide as much support as we can."
Lastly Keiko patted her stomach and Ryoga noticed the slight bump. And felt ill. He had almost punched Keiko in the stomach. If he had he'd have been a murderer. He felt less worth than a slug. "Sakura-chan is still in here. Still some months to go. Told Kaisuke she'd be our last one, but honestly I feel like I am telling myself a lie. I love Kaisuke, I love our children, I love children in general, I love being a mom. It is a hard duty, but it is worth all of it. And crazy as it sounds, I really love being pregnant."
"So after hearing this, do you still want to kill me Ryoga-kun, or do you want to meet my husband and kids?" Ryoga swallowed some spit. "Uhm… I don't want to kill you anymore. I did not know."
Kaisuke entered the room, together with Kimiko and the youngest one, Ranma. Carrying a baby alarm, making Ryoga realize that Kaisuke had heard it all.
"Uhm, you're looking good Kaisuke, who knew that Keiko would end up with you instead of one of the girls? Congra…" he started, only to be interrupted by the shorest redhead. "Why'd mommy like girls? Mommy has daddy!" This made them all erupt in laughter and he could see the love between these two.
Ryoga got up and asked for the bathroom. He definitely needed to pee. "Second door on the right," Keiko explained and Ryoga walked through second door on the left and suddenly found himself in some other city.
"Where the hell am I now…"