Ranma groaned as he turned to see Ryoga flying at him from about 15ft above him, a sigh escaped his lips as he dodged as best he could. Any other day he wouldn't have cared, but Akane had just recently malleted him across the city and he had landed wrong and hurt his back. He knew that in an hour he would have been perfectly fine, but right now he was on an improvised crutch and hobbling home. Ryoga's timing was just plain horrible, but Ranma had grown to expect something like this after over two years in Nerima. Ryoga, as always, was rage impersonalized and was twirling his 700 pound umbrella around like it weighed nothing.
It was immediately obvious to Ranma that he was in serious trouble as he barely dodged Ryoga's attacks. His injuries were worse than he thought passed through his mind as his back screamed in pain and Ryoga's fist impacted with his jaw and sent him flying. He barely registered Ryoga's insane giggling for finally having Ranma at is mercy. Ranma cried out again as he slammed into a wall with enough force to shatter it. This was Akane's fault flashed through his mind just before Ryoga attacked again.
Only his years of training allowed him to launch his body into the air and dodge the umbrella as it shattered the stone where he had been. Ranma's aura flared and he could feel his injuries healing as he landed in a crouch, it would take a while and would leave him a little weak for the next day or two, but Ryoga was out for blood today. The lost boy spun around and launched his Ki charged bandanas at him, but Ranma was prepared this time and ducked under them without noticeable effort. "Why are you attacking me P-chan, I don't have time for you today."
"You've hurt Akane for the last time you bastard!"
"I haven't done anything to the Tomboy lately, what are you talking about?"
The hairs on the back of Ranma's neck started to tingle and he launched himself straight up just as Kuno's sword, a real one, slashed right through where his head would have been. He spouted off something, but Ranma ignored it and concentrated on defending himself as they attacked in tandem. He weaved and dodged between the speeding sword of Kuno and Ryoga's pounding attacks, but he was unable to use his full speed as he was still injured and it would have made matters worse. Ryoga suddenly changed the direction of his swing and caught Ranma across the ribs and broke a couple. This left him wide open for Kuno's attack and he slashed through the upper part of Ranma's shoulder.
Ranma went down hard, but rolled to his feet and his vision went red. He had been putting up with more and more savage attacks ever since he had returned from Phoenix Mountain a few months ago. Kuno and Ryoga stopped laughing and backed up as Ranma's aura went from a thin line of blue to an enraged blood red that seemed to dance around him like a halo of impending doom. He rose to his feet and feral grin on his face was all the warning they had as the light seemed to spread out from him in waves of ever increasing power. The stone at his feet shattered and lifted into the air as he started to walk forward. Ryoga knew he was in trouble, this was the power Ranma had shown at Phoenix Mountain and he realized that it was now directed at him and not Saffron. Ranma had blown the mountain into a giant pile of rubble during the fight as well, Ryoga started to sweat.
Kuno on the other hand lived in his own fantasy world and ignored most everything Ranma ever did or said since he was a dishonorable cur in his opinion. Ranma's aura pulsed and the two boys were thrown across the street. They collapsed where they had landed, that would have been the end of it, but Akane chose that moment to walk around the corner just as Ryoga fell.
"YOU LEAVE P-CHAN ALONE!" She screamed.
Her worried expression turned to red rage as she charged Ranma with her mallet and turned him into a pancake, pivoted and launched the quivering mass into the sky. Whatever she had said was not lost to Ranma as he flew, his pain filled mind wondered why he had just felt a piece of his soul die.
by Cory D. Rose
Usagi and Rei were in the park when there was a loud explosion and they were the first ones to reach the large hole that Ranma had made when he landed. There at the bottom of an impressive crater was someone they had never thought to meet, the famous Ranma Saotome. The famous, bleeding, bruised, unconscious Ranma Saotome who had an expanding pool of blood forming around him.
"Rei, call Ami and have her contact her mother." Usagi ordered.
"Right, Meatball Head." Rei smirked, trying to get some kind of rise out of her friend. Even out cold Ranma was the cutest man they had ever seen, if he hadn't been injured as bad as he was Rei would have been all over him. Usagi too, but she had that on again, off again relationship with Mamoru so who knew what Usagi had in mind at any one time.
She pulled out her communicator and soon had an ambulance on the way, Rei turned around as Usagi climbed down into the crater. She pulled a small first aid kit out of her subspace pocket and started to dress the wound on Ranma's arm. "Rei give me a hand here, if the information on Ranma is correct, he should be alright pretty soon."
"You don't actually believe that do you?" Rei snapped.
"I can see him healing before my eyes Rei." Usagi said calmly.
The Ambulance rushed into the park and they soon had Ranma at the hospital where he was taken into the Emergency Room. A nurse came up to the two girls and had them answer a few questions.
"His name is Ranma Saotome." Usagi said.
"Do you know how this happened to him?"
"Were not sure, only that he was at the bottom of a small crater in the middle of the park. We do know that he is martial artist and lives in Nerima, but beyond that all we can do is guess."
"Is there any family we can contact?"
"We don't know, maybe someone in Nerima."
"Thanks we can look in our records for anything else that might be needed." The nurse said and walked away.
Rei looked at her friend and gave her a weird look. "Why didn't you tell her about him Usagi?"
The blonde turned and looked at Rei. "I'm not sure, it didn't feel right, there is something weird here and I can't figure out what it is."
"How could a regular human have survived falling of the sky like that? Also, those wounds were inflicted on him before he hit the ground, even I could tell that."
"I hadn't noticed, but your right. Who or what could do that to Ranma Saotome, he is one of the best fighters in the world."
Ranma opened his eyes to a familiar sight, the ceiling of a hospital room and he quickly remembered why he was here. Akane had hit him, hard, just as he was reigning in his aura. He had been in a lot of pain and barely even noticed her arrival, only the growl and impact of the mallet had given any clues that she was there..."YOU LEAVE P-CHAN ALONE!" Echoed through Ranma's mind as he lay there. A wash of anger swept through him as he realized that she really did hate him and had been playing him for a fool.
A quick look was all he needed for him to take an inventory of himself, he had large bandaged gash on his arm, broken ribs, and a multitude of bruises. He usually healed this kind of damage in a couple of days and figure since he was in so much pain, that it hadn't been all that long since he arrived. It was at that moment the door to his room opened and two girls came in, one was a blonde and the other was a black haired girl, both were beautiful and reminded him of most of the girls he had ever met. His danger sense didn't go off so he figured they were not here to try and kill him.
"Hello Ranma." They chorused.
"Huh? How do you know who I am?"
"Your pretty famous around here Ranma, most people can recognize you on sight."
"Oh...um...okay." Ranma shrugged it off, he would worry about it later.
"I'm Tsukino Usagi and this is Hino Rei, we found you in Juban park, in a crater. You looked pretty bad, so we had you brought to the hospital."
"Oh...you didn't need to do that, I usually heal up pretty fast."
"Yeah, the doctors are amazed, you have only been in here a few days and already you are pretty much healed."
"How long have I been in here?"
"Two days so far, we have been in to check on you a few times over the last couple of days."
"Your the only ones to come in and check on me in two days?"
"As far as we know, let me go and ask the nurse." Usagi said and walked out of the room.
"Ranma, can I ask you a question?"
"Sure, I guess."
"You are rumored to be able to use your chi energies to fight with, is that true?"
Weird question thought Ranma. "Sure, my chi and Ki abilities are what are making me heal faster than most people."
"Just how much control do you have, I use chi in my fire readings and it took me years to learn how to use it even to a small amount."
Ranma looked the girl over and read her aura and nearly fell out of bed in shock, the girl had an aura more powerful than the old ghoul did. Then he noticed that it was unfocused and mostly unused, he figured with a bit of training she could be as strong as Shampoo if she really tried. "Well from what I can see of your aura Rei, you have a lot of potential, but no one has ever trained you how to use it properly. Your chi is unfocused and wild, but you have also missed the most important step in your training."
"What is that?" Rei asked, fascinated.
"Chi and Ki is best used by someone who has a lot of martial arts training, the more in tune one is in with their body and the more in shape they are, the easier it is to use chi and Ki. You seem to have a black belt, first or second dan. To use chi and Ki one needs to be at least 5th dan or higher and a proper teacher in the art."
Rei's eyes narrowed as she pieced that together. "Are you saying that I am not in shape?"
"Huh, NO...I'm saying that you need to be in better shape than what you are now."
Rei growled just as Usagi returned with an older woman dressed in a kimono. She was very beautiful and had reddish brown hair and a worried look on her face. Usagi just grinned and motioned for her to enter the room. Ranma looked lady over and paled noticeably, it was his mother. Usagi giggled and pulled Nodoka into the room and her face took on a look of happiness that lit the room as she saw Ranma.
Nodoka vanished for a split second and repapered glomped onto her son, bawling her eyes out. "Oh my manly son, what happened to you?"
Ranma rolled his eyes when she couldn't see and prayed cold water wouldn't be a factor in this meeting. "Akane happened, that's what?"
"Yep, I don't know if you know, but she is very abusive..."
"Akane?" Usagi and Rei exclaimed.
"...but son, I've met her and she seems like a very nice girl." Nodoka said.
"She usually is, when there is company about or she needs to be on her best behavior."
"What happened to you?"
"It is a little complicated, but it has given me a chance to think for the first time in a long while."
"Were all willing to listen Ranma..." Usagi said.
"I don't know if I can..."
Ranma sighed and hoped the Kami were willing to let things slide for awhile, especially with his curse. "If I do this, I need to give you some back ground information."
"I don't mind, I haven't seen you in 12 years Ranma..."
"Your his mother and you haven't seen him in 12 years?!" Rei gasped out.
"My life is very complicated Rei, almost insane really."
"Are you sure you want us here Ranma?" Usagi asked, looking worried and curious at the same time.
"You girls helped me out, I don't mind, but you may not believe me."
"Just tell us Ranma, I won't hurt you."
"To put it bluntly mom, I find that a little hard to believe." Ranma said with a glare at his mother, throwing his mental hands up in the air in exasperation at his mother's ideas.
"Let's start at a few days before I went on the training trip mom..." Ranma began. He went on to explain his life on the road and what the old man had done to him over the years. His life at the Tendo's and so forth (Go read the series for more info.) "...That is a condensed version of my life so far."
Nodoka had nearly fainted in shock from what her husband had done to her son, the dangerous training, the curse (which had been explained very thoroughly), and about the number of times Genma had dishonored the family. Nodoka had tears trailing down her cheeks and Usagi and Rei were dumfounded, but the curse, when demonstrated had been more than enough to prove many of Ranma's claims.
"Son, why have you chosen now to reveal all of this?"
"I won't be going back to the Tendo's mom, Akane has betrayed any trust I had for her and I will not be used again. I also need to get away from all the madness to get my life back together before I leave Nerima permanently and get away from the Panda."
Nodoka had been rolling on the floor laughing when Ranma had revealed that the giant panda was in fact Genma, and she explained to the girls how he had been forced to eat Akane's toxic cooking on more than one occasion. She had also shown Ranma a copy of the seppuku contract he had signed and pointed out the fine print, a piece that seemed to have been ripped from his fathers version. It said, plainly, that Genma was responsible for all training, parental guidance, and to bring Ranma home every 3 or 4 months so that she could see his mother.
"Mom, exactly why was this contract used anyway?"
"It was never meant to cause this to be done to you Ranma, it was meant to keep Genma's insane ideas in line. It nearly killed me when Genma didn't bring you back and I did what I could to follow you, but he was always one or two steps ahead of me at all times. He even left a number of false trails to send me off on a wild goose chase or two. Oh and that reminds me of something I wanted to ask you, just what did you do to that Hibiki boy to get him so mad?"
"You've met Ryoga?"
"Yes, and he told me that you were a coward and had failed to show up at a duel with him." Nodoka said with a disappoving frown.
"Story of my life mom, it goes back to pop. Me and Ryoga set up the fight at the empty lot behind his house and we gave each other a week to train. I showed up on friday and sat down to wait, I figured he would show up sometime the next day..."
"The next day?" All 3 ladies asked.
"Yeah, Ryoga has a family curse that can make him get lost in a room with one door."
"I've heard of his lack of direction sense, but it isn't that bad is it?" Usagi said.
"You have no idea, I waited in that lot until late Sunday night and lay down to get a few hours sleep to continue waiting..."
"Sunday...3 days later?"
"Yep, but the next morning pops showed up for morning practice and beat the crap out of me. He carried me off to China from there while Ryoga finally showed up the next day, found me gone and swore revenge for running out on our duel and followed us all the way to china and all the way to the cursed training grounds."
"He has a curse?"
"He turns into...sorry, I promised him that I wouldn't reveal his curse to anyone. He may use it against me, but I will keep my promises, unlike him."
"Will you confirm it if I guess what it is?" Nodoka asked.
"Sure, so long I don't tell you outright."
"From what I recall of the few times I was at the Tendo's you have a dislike of Akane's pet pig."
"Yep, the pervert." Ranma grumped and jumped as Usagi started to giggle.
She dug into her purse and pulled out a pack of trading cards and handed them to Ranma. "These are sold at various stories around Juban and several other districts."
The cards were pictures of the various fights that Ranma remembered, the kidnappings of Akane, various random pictures of all the fighters in Nerima, including the 'trained' animals like a panda, a cat, a duck, and a little black pig. Ranma's aura flared and the bed sheets began to smoke while he became more and more angry. At the very bottom of each card was the name 'N. Tendo Enterprises'. Ranma climbed out of bed, much to all the girl's protests, though that stopped as he walked past them. A hospital gown was not designed to hide ones modesty and Ranma had buns of steel. Three girls turned bright red and were unable to call up much of a protest as they memorized the way his muscles moved. Nodoka kept her mouth shut and studied the girls reactions to her son and swelled with pride, he was so manly! They were practically drooling over him.
It took several minutes for him to find his clothing and used his speed training to get dressed. He failed to notice the flushed girls or the pride on his mother's face as he began to plan what to do next. "Usagi, do you know if the hospital managed to contact the Tendo's and tell them I was here?"
"Usagi?" Ranma asked worriedly, placing his hand on her shoulder.
"Ahaaaa!" Usagi jumped across the room, her long pony tails seemed to have risen off of the ground and were trying to stand up. She giggled nervously and blushed at the look of confusion on Ranma's face. "R-Ranma...?"
"Do you know if the hospital managed to call the Tendo's?"
"They found me in the phone book Ranma, I doubt they called the Tendo's since your last name is Saotome."
Ranma sighed in relief and winced as his broken ribs reminded him of their abuse at Ryoga's hands. "I need a place to stay for a few days and a temporary disguise."
"You will stay with me Ranma." Nodoka said, a command in her voice.
"Any other time and I would be more than happy to spend time with you mom, but when I disappear Nibiki goes ballistic and since I have been here for 2 days she might have already found me. Your place is on her list of usual places to check, I need somewhere she wouldn't suspect."
"He can stay at my place." Rei said, still blushing.
"Huh?" Ranma said.
"I live and work as a Shinto Temple here in Juban and we are always taking in guests."
"Rei-san, that isn't a very good idea, trouble seems to follow me around. Where I go danger and excitement usually follow. It only took 24 hours for it to start at the Tendo's when I arrived and has just escalated since, I don't want to place you or your family at risk in this mess."
"I can take care of myself." Rei snapped out, unsure why she was getting mad.
"I might be able to get my parents to set you up at my place Ranma." Usagi said. "But you would have to stay the night as a girl."
"No thanks Usagi-san, the same reasoning applies to you as well. I think I'll just camp out in the park for a few days and try and find a place later on."
"Ranma, what about Akane?" Nodoka asked.
"Akane has used me as a punching bag too often mom, I will not honor Genma's promise to Mr. Tendo. She hates me and tells me so on a daily basis, I had hoped things would get better, but they have only grown worse. Akane used to mean a lot to me, but she refused to give me a break or even trust me and in the process beat me up when I wouldn't fight back against her. I won't put up with it anymore."
"What about the other girls Ranma?"
"For now, I will deal with them later."
"Alright dear, I will abide by your decision, but we will need to find a way to deal with this fiancée situation honorably."
"If I make the decision I will follow through on my word mom, but if pops is the cause I plan to totally ignore it. It is his fault, then it is his decision."
Ranma walked out of the room and turned to Usagi and Rei. "How can I repay you for your kindness in helping me?"
"You don't need to." Usagi said.
"Sure I do, how about some ice cream." When Usagi's eyes started to sparkle Ranma knew he had a way to pay her back. He turned to Rei and considered her repayment carefully before deciding to do it. "Rei, I can teach you how to control your chi and Ki so that you can use it more effectively."
"D-do you mean that?" She asked quietly.
"Sure, I should be here in Juban for a few weeks before I decide what to finally do about my life, and there are several meditation techniques you need to learn to use chi and Ki effectively."
Suddenly Usagi and Rei started to beep and they paled a little bit, but Ranma ignored it. They said that was their parents paging them and took off, waving good by. From there Ranma and his mother checked out and walked in silence for awhile. "Mom, why didn't my curse surprise you all that much?"
"I have been following Genma for 10 years now Ranma, I even followed the both of you all the way to those training grounds."
"Wha...did you pick up a curse too?"
"Unlike Genma, I know a little Chinese and was able to read the signs and take precautions. Though the guide never mentioned your curses, I should have suspected when he called you two customers instead of visitors like he did me. For some reason the idea that you were cursed just never occurred to me, though it does bother me a little."
"I could have handled turning into almost anything but this mom, any kind of animal would have been preferable. Pops did raise me to be a man and pounded that ideal into my head for 10 years..."
"That isn't what I meant by man among men Ranma, I wanted a well mannered son, one who knew how to think for himself and make his own decisions. I wanted you to be assertive and unafraid of anything, a man who knew what he wanted and went after it with everything he had. The ability to woo the ladies and bed anyone he wanted."
"That last seems to be the only one Genma succeeded at, you are stubborn, rude, and very mean at times. You place yourself in situations that are dangerous and foolish just because someone challenged you in some way, when if you would have told them no it could have just blown over or forgotten about. Your hiding from me when I first arrived, though sad, was cowardly and dishonorable and I expect better of my son. For being raised by Genma for 12 years now, you have turned out amazingly well, but there are far to many areas that need improvement and I plan to correct those oversights as soon as I can."
"Now, we are going to make a few stops and pick up some items for you to read and practice, I will not let you wander off out of my sight again. Now come along, there is a book store around here that has everything you will ever need to improve yourself. I also have some martial arts training I want to discus with you."
"Genma spent the last 12 years teaching you his school and whole hoard of others, I have seen you practice with him after all. Well I want to pass my school on to you as well, that was what I was supposed to be teaching you while Genma brought you home every few months."
"Really? What school do you practice?"
"Why Kendo of course and before you say that weapons are useless, like Genma taught you. God knows I heard him quote it to me enough, we will be having a sparing match so that I can show you just what this old woman can do. By the way, have you figured out what you are going to do with that disguise you mentioned earlier?"
"Well, I have a few ideas on that as well." Nodoka smiled. Ranma began to sweat and wondered what he had gotten himself into. There was an evil glint in her eyes that worried Ranma more than a little.
After several minutes of walking they left the area and headed into a nearby shopping pavilion. Ranma hadn't been to this area before and it didn't look like much to him, but he kept his opinion to himself. He had been dealing with his mom for a while now and she had some really weird ideas about what she wanted from him. He just hoped he could survive whatever she had in mind, her reaction to the curse had been a little to conveniant for his tastes.
They eventually entered this book store that seemed to carry a little bit of everything. A shudder went through Ranma as she led him into the back corner of the room and over to a section called 'female outlook'. He looked the books over and to his horror they were all about the female body, clothes, make up, and a whole plethera of other things he really didn't want to know about. Ranma backed out of the area as if his pants were on fire.
"You've got to be kidding me." He hissed out.
"You'll see what I have in mind Ranma." Nodoka said and smiled.
Ranma groaned and failed to detect the girl that moved behind him untill he tripped over her and they fell to the ground in a pile. He sat up and shook his head before taking a good look at who ever it was that he ran into. She was cute, was the first thing he noticed. Then her small frame and blue hair were registered even as he stammered and helped her to her feet. She had on a school uniform that cut her curves nicely. "I"m sorry about that."
"Not to worry, no harm done anyway."
"I'm Ranma Saotome."
She blushed. "I know."
"Huh...oh yeah, I'm supposed to be well known around here. I forgot about that." Ranma said as he scratched the back of his head.
"I'm Ami Mizuno, It's nice to meet you."
Ranma smiled and she blushed, both of them looking at the ground. "..."
"Ranma, I have what we came here for." Nodoka said and grinned at her manly son.
"Alright mom, I'll be right there." Ranma said as he turned back to Ami. "I have to go, but it was nice meeting you."
"Same here Ranma."
He waved goodbye as they walked out of the store. A few seconds after they left Ami was pounced on by every girl in the store, demanding details.
"So what did you pick up mom?"
"These books detail all the information that a young girl needs to know as she grows up Ranma. Most of it is stuff that you should already know about, but since you were not born as a girl your going to have to get caught up on them."
Ranma glanced in the sack and saw a title that made his blood run cold, it was a book on female hygine. He had been avoiding this subject for months now, this was all he needed. "Mom, I'm a guy, why do you want me to know about this stuff?"
"Your going to be like this for the rest of your life Ranma, you need to know about it. You've already told me of a few instances where you've been stuck in your female form, these books will let you adapt a little better if it ever happens again."
"No but's, Ranma, you need this. These books will also help you to learn some of the other stuff that my husband failed to teach you."
"I don't like this mom..."
"I know you don't, but you do need to know this stuff and it will help you become even more accustomed to your new body. Now promise me you'll do this for me." Nodoka said, she knew that Ranma would keep his word if he gave it.
"...do I have to?"
"Okay, I promise ya." Sigh.
"Excellent Ranma, now there's our house. Let's get inside and have lunch."
Ranma trudged in behind her and resigned himself to his fate, he figured if this didn't work out she would make him spend long amounts of time as a girl. Maybe even go to school as a girl and that was the last thing he wanted to do right now. Nodoka handed him the books and he looked at them as if they were explosive and dangerous. A couple hours later Ranma finished off the first book, shuddered, and ate lunch with his mom.
It was still early in the afternoon when his mom got up and changed into something that the Amazons had made for their female fighters. She handed him a boken and grinned at him as she motioned for him to follow her. Ranma sighed and decided that he would put up with nearly anything to be with his mom again. Fifteen minutes Ranma slammed into the side of the house with a grunt and dropped his boken. "Come on Ranma, I thought Genma taught you better than this!" Nodoka yelled out.
Ranma reminded himself not to be to obvious about loseing in this fight, hiting his mother was even harder than hitting the tomboy. He rolled to his feet and shrugged as he dived back in, sword swinging in patterns Kuno had used on him. This time he held his own and his mothers was pleased, though he was holding back considerably. They spent the next couple hours going at each other until Nodoka finally called a halt and suggested they get cleaned up for dinner.
Ranma hobbled into the Tendo home a few hours after school had started, losing intentionally had been more painful than he figured it would be, and was glad he had staked the place out when he had watched for pops and old man Tendo to leave on their daily round of drinking. So Kasumi was the only one home to greet him when he came in, she was the only one of the family he was going to miss, at least his stomach would miss her. "Ranma? Where have you been, Akane was worried about you."
"Akane is the reason I was gone for so long, she put me in the hospital."
Kasumi gasped and looked sad. "Are you alright?"
"I will be in a few days. I'm taking a little trip and stopped in to grab my pack and bed roll."
"How long will you be gone?"
"...I don't know Kasumi."
"I am taking this trip to clear my head and make some decisions, and they may include not returning."
"Ranma you don't have to do this."
"Yes I do Kasumi and you know why, Akane's temper is getting worse and worse and I will not be on the receiving end anymore. She nearly crippled me this time and I found out some other stuff that I really didn't want to know, so for now I am leaving."
Kasumi sniffled and hugged Ranma, "Please don't go, we can work this out."
"It's been two years Kasumi, it won't be worked out and after what Akane did to me this time, I can not forgive her."
"W-what did she do..."
"She revealed that she knew Ryoga was P-chan all this time, she even called Ryoga P-chan."
"I will always be your friend Kasumi, but I can not put up with Akane's temper any longer, she refuses to listen to me and blames every little problem and mistake on me. Much like Ryoga and all the others, I will not tolerate it anymore."
Kasumi looked dejected and like she was about ready to cry, but put on a smile and handed Ranma a large envelope with the Saotome name on the front. "This showed up this morning and I didn't get a chance to give it to Mr. Saotome, I think it would be better if you opened it."
He looked it over and opened as he sat down at the table, there were several dozen documents inside. The cover letter was from a private investigating firm out of the Juban district. While he read through the file, Kasumi collected his pack and gear and brought it downstairs for him, she had already packed all his belongings. Ranma paused and watched Kasumi when his inner wrongness started to alert him to something, it took several minutes, but it finally came to him. "Kasumi?"
"Yes R-Ranma?" Sniffle.
Please don't cry and make this harder than it has to be Kasumi, Ranma thought, then gaped as he noticed that Kasumi had brought his pack downstairs. "H-how did you lift my bag down here, it must weight 500 pounds."
Kasumi smiled. "It wasn't that heavy Ranma."
"Um...yeah, do you have any idea what these papers are for?"
"It seams I have a relative in Juban that I didn't know about, a 12 year old girl."
"What's her name?"
"Tomoe Hotaru, her father just recently passed away and there is a young couple trying to adopt her, but since she has family still alive they need our permission to allow the adoption. I am also going to have to keep pops from finding out about this, the couple is loaded and he would take everything from them before he allowed the adoption."
"But Ranma, Mr. Saotome has to be informed."
Ranma grinned evilly. "Not anymore, I had a little talk with mother and she helped me get registered as an adult on the family register. I now have the ability to make my own decisions for myself and the family if I want to, Genma has been removed from that status now that I am around to take his place. His police record was enough to make the records office do pretty much anything me and mom wanted."
"You've been thinking about this for awhile haven't you?"
"Every time I was up on the room Kasumi."
"Is there anything else?"
"I take it you don't like it?"
"This also says that Ryoga is a member of Hotaru's family and I don't want him ruining my chance at a new beginning."
"He wouldn't do that would he?"
"Ryoga is using Akane to help him further his revenge against me, the fact that they like each other is a bonus for him to manipulate Akane even more. She is very vocal about her hatred of me now a days and he will do everything in is power to dishonor me in front of her family as well."
"This doesn't sound like Ryoga at all Ranma."
"Like Akane, he puts on a certain face when around certain people, and shows his true colors around others. He also has a warped way of thinking that allows him to perceive everything wrong as my fault in one way or another. It took me a long time to figure this out Kasumi, he is either far smarter than he lets on, or the Kami of coincidence. Akane coming across us fighting has happened far to many times to count and she always takes his side, even if she was there when it started, and take her wrath out on me."
"Ranma, I think you are looking at this from the wrong point of view."
Ranma shrugged, he had finally made up his mind and was going to go with his decision. "We'll see what the future holds Kasumi, I'll write you and let you know how I'm doing."
"Thank you Ranma."
Ranma reached into his shirt and pulled out some envelopes, one for each member of the family. He sat them on the table and grabbed his pack, waved at Kasumi, and walked out of the Tendo home and headed for Furinkan High. If all was going well, his mom should have called to pull him out of school and transferred him to Juban high by now. He flipped through the papers from the detective agency again as he strolled along the fence, it seemed that his mother had an older brother who had children, who in turn had a daughter.
The ringing of a Shampoo's bike bell alerted him to her presence and he jumped into the air and vanished from sight. He watched her speed by from the lamp post he was perched on, her head moving back and forth looking for him desperately. He actually didn't mind Shampoo all that much, but she wanted him to be her husband, and as a second class citizen of her village with no rights, she had been drugging and poisoning him for over two years now just to force him into that situation and would die before he gave up all of his freedom. She would have to undergo a massive change in personality and judgment for him to ever even consider her, but Cologne had too much of a claw in her soul to ever let go. The fact that he had no intention of ever going back to her village only made her quest even harder.
Shaking his head, Ranma jumped onto a nearby roof and hopped the last half mile to reach the school. He stopped in an alley just before the school and hoped his mother had the right idea about how to go about breaking his ties in Nerima. He carefully dumped some water over his head and transformed so that his clothing didn't get wet, then undid his pants and shucked them off to reveal a pair of shorts. Over the months he had gotten used to his curse and considered it a part of who he was, but he still preferred his male body to this female one, even if he was faster as a girl.
He grabbed the girls uniform he had hidden earlier behind one of the trashcans and quickly got dressed. She was buttoning up her arm cuffs when she felt the presence behind her and spun around. There on the wall was Kodachi, dressed in her school uniform, glaring at her. "What do you want Kodachi?"
"Harlot, I have come to visit my Ranma-sama and found you hiding in this alley like some uncouth coward." OHOHOHOHOHOHOHOH Kodachi laughed and attacked, her black ribbon snaked out and slashed through a trash can. Ranma somersaulted backwards and landed gracefully, her aura burst forth and a wave of dust flew from her.
Kodachi, still laughing, jumped into the air and fired out dozens of clubs and ball bombs, turning the alley way into a war zone. Ranma dodged and weaved through it, using her enhanced senses to land in just the right place to avoid injury. She picked a couple of batons out of the air, ducked a razor hoop, and charged the batons with Ki. Her arms snapped out and the batons flew out with the force of a cannon, but Kodachi twisted around them and sent her ribbon out, neatly wrapping Ranma up and pulling her into the air.
Ranma growled as she landed head first in the hard cement of the alley, wiggled out of the ribbon, and stood up. She didn't have time for this today and had every intention of never going through this again. Ranma snarled and brought her hands forward to fire off a small blast of Ki just as Kodachi was moving to attack her again, a razor hoop at the ready. The explosion rocked the alley as it slammed into the base of a nearby wall. Dust and debris filled the alley and Kodachi watched from a nearby roof for any sign of her foe, but as the dust cloud cleared away, she saw that Ranma was gone. Kodachi screamed and laughed her victory over the red haired harlot and bounced away.
About a half block away, Ranma was again invisible and putting the final touches on her disguise. She had let her out of it's pigtail and fluffed it up as her mother had shown her, it didn't have to be totally convincing, just enough to make people remember someone that wasn't Ranma Saotome. She entered the school grounds and made her way inside to the principle's office. As expected, everything was in order and all she had to do was sign some papers and Ranma Saotome was out of Furinkan. She vanished from sight again as she walked down the hall and out of the building.
"Hey mom, I came across something you should see." Ranma called out as she sauntered into the house.
Nodoka looked up as Ranma came into the main room and handed her a packet of papers. "How did the transfer go Ranma?" She asked as she took the package and opened it up.
"It was pretty simple really, though I did run into Kodachi while I was getting dressed, but I followed your advice about handling her and it seemed to work, better than anything else I've ever tried. Though I did not like running from the fight, it felt wrong."
Nodoka gasped and slumped down, tears running down her cheeks as she read through the papers. "Where did you get this Ranma?"
"It was sent to pops at the Tendo's, I picked it up as I was gathering up my other things. I figured it wouldn't be a good idea to let pops know he had more family to torture, so I took it."
"I had a brother, about 15 years older than me who had a son, I don't recall his name off the top of my head though. That part of the family stopped talking to me when I married Genma, sigh, I wish I had listened, but I was always a stubborn child. So someone is trying to adopt her, are you going to go and visit her?"
"Yes, I need to see what this family that wants to adopt her is like. I won't give her to just anyone."
"We should call them and set up a meeting."
"Believe it or not, the Hibiki's are a very distant relation of ours, several generations removed."
"That is not good news mom..." Ranma sighed.
Nodoka kept silent as she glared at Ranma for a second and pointed to the book he had discarded earlier that day. It was sitting innocently on the table in the front room, she gave him an evil smile. "Now I want you to go and read another few chapters in that book I got you Ranma."
"Do I have to..."
"It's either that or go to Juban High as a girl Ranma." Nodoka threatened, barely concealing a smile.
"Yeah I know." Ranma shuddered and went to grab the book on 'Female Form'. It dealt with everything Ranma didn't want to know about the female body, especially how it worked, when, and why it did what. The descriptions were bad enough, but the pictures of things were enough to make him queasy. Of course this was followed by a nightly test given by his mom. He still hadn't figured out how she had talked him into staying here for a week before moving to Juban where he had an apartment being set up.
If he was lucky he would also be teaching at a nearby dojo and earning some money. It would help though, if his mother wasn't beating the crap out of him most afternoons, as she taught him her sword style, amazingly her style was able to blend right into his Anything Goes style flawlessly and had been designed to do so. The fact that his mother could beat Kuno in a mater of seconds was a good selling point too.
Later that day, sometime in the early afternoon, they were outside running through another sword kata when they heard the sound of someone screaming from far away. Ranma cocked his head and frowned as he recognized the wailing, he wasn't to fond of Akane anymore, but it still hurt him to cause her any pain. He had spent a long time writing the notes before he was satisfied with them and what they said. The scream of anger was the first bell of a long battle that would finally end his life from hell and allow him to begin anew.
"That would be Akane."
"Oh?" Nodoka asked, her eyebrow raised.
"Yep, I talked to Kasumi today when I got my stuff and left some notes for each of the Tendo's. I expect Nabiki..." They heard the wail of terror, this one louder than the last, and obviously Nabiki. "...should be next." Ranma finished, smirking as they headed inside for supper.
"What did you tell them?"
"Akane's note said that the engagement was off until such time she learned to control her temper. That rising column of smoke in the distance was probably her." Ranma pointed in the general direction of Nerima, he could feel her Ki rising in anger even as he watched.
"What about Nibiki?"
"She was selling pictures of me, with out my permission or consent. While it was at school I knew that most of the money went to the dojo in one form or another, but when she expanded it she began to make a fortune off of me and the others. I asked for 51% of controlling interest in her little company or I would ruin it by having my pictures removed from the shelves. She has been pulling scams on me for 2 years now and I had adapt to counter her more interesting ideas."
"She can't be that bad Ranma."
"Mom, she once installed a camera in the bathroom furo when the hot water was broken and took pictures and videos of me in there getting cleaned up. A week later every boy in school had bought multiple copies of the video and pictures." To prove his point Ranma retrieved a video tape and a small flip book, and handed them to her mother, who's jaw was resting on the table. "I have several more sets of pictures and videos that she has made of me over the last 2 years, most of them are sets that I confiscated from the boys at school for having the balls to ask me to autograph them."
"Ranma, watch your language!"
"What about Kasumi?"
"Kasumi is a saint and a total slave."
"Kasumi keeps that household going at the expense of her own freedom, Mr. Tendo doesn't have a job, pop freeloads, and the other two sisters both have 'problems'. Kasumi has given up her youth to raise her sisters and take care of Mr. Tendo who is constantly in the midst of an 8 year nervous breakdown. There is a man who likes Kasumi enough to propose to her in an instant, but her family always comes first and she won't even consider him until her family can survive without her, which is an impossibility while everyone in that house depends on her to keep everything going."
"I see...I don't know if I agree with everything you have said Ranma, but I do agree on a few points. Getting you away from them was a good idea though and spending some time away from you fiancé's will help you make up your own mind."
With that the conversation ended and Nodoka's boken blurred as she tried to take Ranma's head off, he blocked instinctively and retaliated with the sword kata she had taught him a few days earlier. The klack and bang of the boken filled the air for the next couple of hours and Ranma was pushed to his limits and beyond. He now understood why the bastard panda feared his wife's sword so much, like Kuno, she had the ability to use a wooden sword to slice through solid stone and make it look easy. She had the skill to beat the pants off a good number of fighters, but he knew he could still beat her in a real fight. There were weaknesses in her style that he had noticed, he just hadn't figured out if they were deliberite or accicental.
Nodoka's eyes narrowed and her wrist twisted and brought her boken down on the top of Ranma's head, knocking him cold. It also sent him flying back and crashing into the grass. The sprinklers turned on all of a sudden and transformed him back into a girl in an instant, she blinked and shrugged. He had explained how the curse worked, but she hadn't really believed it, but the last week he had been 'accidentally' transformed nearly 20 times by really weird circumstances, sprinklers, broken faucet, water puddles, and kids with water pistals.
A few days later Ranma was just leaving Juban high after getting his paperwork finalized so that he could start to attend the next day. He was grinning as he walked and felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted off of him, no more fiancé's to deal with, no stupid fights, no interfering father, just pure freedom. Well sort of, so long as he spent a couple nights a week with his mother he could live on his own here in another section of Juban that his mother had helped him to set up. It seemed she had friends in high places and had called in a few favors to get him into a new school within a few days of leaving Furinkan.
It had been a week since he left the hospital and he had a couple of promises to keep to Usagi and Rei. The dojo had greeted someone of his unwanted fame with their arms open wide. The old sensei had nearly keeled over in a faint when he came in, the attending class had stared at him in awe. The dojo was only a few blocks from his new apartment building and had easy access to all the local business without any problems...
Ranma turned and spotted Usagi, her twin, and Ami of all people. He hadn't expected to meet her again, this could be a little fun after all. "Hi Usagi, who are your friends?"
"This is Minako (the blonde), and this is Ami."
"Hi Ami, I didn't expect to meet you again. Did you find what you were looking for the other day?"
Ami turned bright red. "Y-yes I did Ranma."
"Cool, Hey Usagi, I didn't know you had a twin?"
"Huh?" Said both blondes.
"You two look identical, except for the hair."
Ami giggled and Ranma had to resist smiling at her. "They aren't related, can you believe that? The only two blondes in all Japan and they have different parents." Usagi and Minako gave Ami a weird look for few seconds, blinked in unison, and smiled in a very frightening way as they looked at the two teens.
"Oh...well, while I have you here Usagi, lets go and get that ice cream I owe you, I'll even get some for all of us if you want." Ranma said.
"You said the magic words Ranma." Minako giggled.
"Ice cream, free, and all of us, you've made a friend for life and earned an empty wallet for the rest of the week." Ami said quietly, so that Usagi didn't hear her.
Usagi's eyes grew big and started to almost glow as her friends sighed, Ranma took that as a bad sign but couldn't do anything as Usagi grabbed his arm and dragged him the Crown Arcade. The whole way Ranma could feel his danger senses going off, but the only thing he could detect was the weird grin on Minako's face. Ami looked more confused than anything else, but had kept up with them as best she could while actually reading a book and walking at the same time. As they entered, he spotted Rei and a taller girl sitting in a booth in the back, her face turned bright red when she saw him and little hearts started to float around her head. Just what had he gotten himself into?
"Hi Rei, what are you doing here? Usagi said you went to another school."
"We meet over here a few times a week to talk and have fun...ow...um this is Kino Makoto." Rei said as she pointed at the taller girl and rubbed her shin where Makoto had kicked her.
"Hi..." Makoto breathed out.
It was the look that made Ranma scan for all the exists in the room, the little hearts in the eyes, lust crazed, I'm instantly in love look that every girl he had ever encountered seemed to get at one time or another. "Hello Kino-san, I'm Saotome Ranma."
"Ra..n..ma." Makoto seemed to say quietly and in such a way that Ranma nearly bolted, he could even feel the other girls giving him the once over.
Now that he wasn't distracted, he noticed that every girl in the arcade was gazing at him, little hearts in their eyes and drooling. Ranma considered implementing the Saotome secret technique, but a pretty red head came up and smirked at him, then winked, and for some reason he calmed down a little. "Can I get you anything?"
"We need 6 sundaes, whatever flavor the girls want, I'll take anything." Ranma said as the girls expressed their wants.
"Coming right up, cutie." The redhead giggled and sauntered away.
"So Ranma, just why do you owe Usagi an ice cream?" Ami asked, a strange look in her eyes.
"She and Rei helped me out the other day and I promised her one as a repayment."
"Nope, I promised I would teach her some chi control techniques to help her get stronger."
"When can we start on those?" Rei asked, smirking at the jealous looking Makoto.
"Well I just moved to Juban a few days ago and will be teaching at the Dragon Ascension Dojo just up the way."
"Old Mr. Kuroi's place?" Makoto asked.
"You know him?"
"I practice my martial arts there all the time, he usually gives me a couple hours in the evenings to practice what I want. Wait a minute...did you say your going to be teaching?"
"Yep, full time at regular pay and any time on the weekends for the more expensive classes for the experts."
Makoto's eyes glazed and she went into a fantasy mode, little giggles escaping her fantasy at obscure points. Ranma ignored her and let her have her fun, he turned to Rei and looked at her aura again, though to the others it looked like he was checking her out. Rei blushed, Ami tried not to be jealous, and Usagi...she stole Makoto's ice cream as the red head delivered them.
"Thanks." Said Ranma as the waitress left, she blushed and stumbled her way back to the counter.
Makoto giggled some more.
Minako couldn't take her eyes off of Ranma's broad chest and rippling muscles, she was squirming in her chair. Next to her Ami was doing the same, and blushed as she realized that Ranma was giving them all weird looks. Usagi was eating like she usually did and Ranma grinned at her and challenged her to see who could eat their ice cream faster. Usagi agreed and the girls were witness to a boy who could eat so fast the he blurred, and his food simply vanished before Usagi was even half way done. Ranma had eaten Makoto's too, but she didn't even notice.
"No one has ever beaten Usagi at speed eating before!" Rei yelled.
"Just one of many techniques in my martial arts school, pop can turn anything into practice, even dinner."
"Heh, you should have seen what he had me doing to practice falling when I first started."
"What did he do?"
"He kicked me off a roof." Ranma told them several more stories to entertain them, and had them all giggling by the time he was done, though Makoto's giggling was beginning to worry him. He figured it was time well spent if they were happy. Eventually he was about to describe the fight he had with the golden pair when his danger sense went off and he started to look for away to go and check it out, but few seconds later all the girl's beepers went off at the same time. They looked frustrated as they all made excuses to leave. He followed the girls as they ran out the door and seemed to vanished, Ranma continued to move towards the danger and hoped the girls hadn't come this way. He landed on roof a few houses away from the dojo he would be working at, looked at the commotion below, and fell off the building laughing.
He landed hard enough to crack the sidewalk and rolled through the geyser created by a broken fire hydrant that had been damaged earlier, turning him into a girl. Still snickering he watched the Sailor Scouts battle a tire shaped monster. Sure she had heard of the scouts, but to actually see them was a totally different experience. By the look of them they were out looking for sexual favors, no one showed off that much leg with a short skirt in public, but then he looked at them with her aura reading abilities and gasped. They were powerful beyond belief, Ranma would have been hard put to hurt them and the old ghoul would have had her hands full. Ranma watched from behind a damaged car as they fired off volley after volley of attacks and shook her head.
They were all power, but they had no organization, they just seemed to fire at a monster until it was defeated. Sure it worked but it wasted their abilities and the fact that only two of them were even trained fighters was plainly obvious, the one in green and the one in red. Ranma studied them for a few seconds and gasped again, the one in red had Rei's aura! It was Rei, she suddenly realized, whatever had been keeping her from noticing had faded the instant she noticed. Ranma watched the fight and decided to help if it was needed, but a few minutes later the blue scout called out a strategy and the others followed through and destroyed the monster in small explosion of dust.
After that the girls ran off and quickly vanished, Ranma stood up and leaned against the car. Of all the things she had been expecting in Juban, the Scouts had been on the bottom of the list. Now she even knew one of them, but what should she do about it. She didn't want to endanger any of them, but they obviously needed training or they were going to cause more problems than they solved. Ranma's danger sense went off and she dove to the side as the car was suddenly blasted out of existence.
"You are endangering Crystal Tokyo, DIE!" Yelled a beautiful woman with long green hair as she leveled a weird looking staff at Ranma.
"What the hell?!"
Ranma rolled to her feet and instantly launched into the air calling her aura, a wave of blue energy formed around her and a ball of energy fired from her hands. It hit the green haired lady, but she only stumbled back a few feet and snarled as she brought her staff around again and fired off a ball of energy larger than she was. It ripped the ground up as it flew towards Ranma, luckily it was also slow and easily dodged. Or so she though, it changed direction as Ranma moved and exploded right next to her. Ranma screamed as the explosion destroyed the entire street and hurled her into a nearby building.
Pluto ran forward just as Uranus and Neptune arrived, she fired right into the building and destroyed most of the first floor. Uranus and Neptune shrugged and fired off a couple of attacks right behind Pluto's, and waited to follow her lead. "There is a red headed girl in there, she is a threat to Crystal Tokyo, we must stop her."
"Fine by me." Uranus said.
"What did she do?" Neptune asked.
"She is threat, just by existing she is warping Crystal Tokyo and seems to give off chaos like it was water. Destruction off all those around her is how she works and must be stopped."
Ranma growled as she listened to the conversation, she was getting just a little tired of people jumping to conclusions about her. She tried to follow the way of honor and look where it kept putting her, it was time for a little pay back and since these Scouts were more than willing to kill, Ranma figured they were about to get the beatings of their lives. These Scouts were strong, stronger than Saffron if she read their auras right, so she reached deep within her and called up nearly all of her power. They were also stronger than the other Scouts, but she also had a the element of surprise, the didn't know just how strong she really was and that was an edge she could put to good use.
"Do you feel that?! She is getting stronger, level the building!" Pluto yelled and fired off several attacks at the building's main supports. Uranus and Neptune followed suit and they watched as the entire thing exploded and collapsed.
Ranma on the other hand wasn't there anymore, she had left out the back door even as it was falling. She broke into a run as she circled the building at high speed and used the Umisen Ken to vanish from sight as she jumped into the air and kicked Pluto in the head, sending her reeling. Ranma landed and wheel kicked Uranus even as she was moving to attack. She blurred and reappeared behind Neptune, punching her in the kidneys with the Amaguriken, nearly 300 punches in less than 2 seconds had her on the ground coughing up blood. Then spin and kick Uranus across the face and send her into a nearby wall, dodge an attack by Pluto and snap kick a piece of broken pavement and send it flying like a foot ball right into her stomach.
A quick twist and plant a solid blow to the back of Neptune's skull to render her helpless and unconscious. This of course sends Uranus into a frothing at the mouth berserker rage, just what Ranma wanted. She and Pluto fire off multiple attacks that Ranma dodged and weaved around like she was dancing, getting closer and closer as she moved around them. Then she suddenly stopped just as they were firing off more attacks and threw her arm into the air.
"HIRYU SHOTEN HA!"
Pluto and Uranus gasped as their attacks suddenly canceled out and formed into a swirling vortex of air that quickly flared out and pulled them off the ground, they screamed and struggled against the large funnel of air. As the minutes passed, Ranma waited patiently for the attack to run out of power, but the two Scouts kept adding power to it by trying to throw attacks at the mass of swirling air. Just as she was getting bored, Pluto and Uranus landed in the street and bunced a couple of times. Pluto's staff landed like a pike and embedded itself into the pavement near Ranma, she reared back and let lose a Vacuum Blade that sliced the top right off the staff, shattering the rest of it to dust and leaving Pluto's artifact behind to clatter to the ground.
Grabbing it out of curiosity, Ranma gazed at for a few seconds but gasps as it pops with a flash of light and vanishes. She looks around for a second, shrugs, and jumps off after resisting the urge to get more pay back. She is soon lost to sight as the Inner Scouts show up to help out with a fight they had thought finished. Pluto and Uranus were ripped to shreds and only their Scout powers were keeping them conscious, Neptune was just stunned and Mars was able to wake her up and get her help to transport Pluto and Uranus to the Shrine.
"What do you think happened to them?" Moon asked, and wondered what was strong enough to take out the Outer Scouts like this.
To be continued...
Notes - Okay, this is an ideas I have had kicking around ever since I stumbled across the Uncles stories. For some weird reason I just did not like how every one of those stories were nearly identical in the beginning, sure they were the same story by different authors, but they were nearly identical in reaction and plot. This didn't sit well with me and decided to use the same plot, but to make it very different than what I had read so far. I also got more than a little steamed that they seemed to be abandoned like so many other fics. I always try to write up a story so that it has a kind of ending to it if you can't get back into it or have writers block.