Disclaimer: "Ranma ½" belongs to Rumiko Takahashi. She doesn't think about these kinds of things, but I do.
Formatting Notes: Double quotes indicate spoken dialogue, while single quotes indicate thoughts. Italics indicate flashbacks. I'm not very familiar with Japanese honorifics, so I won't be using them. I will also be using English translations for most terms except for the technique names that are left untranslated in the animé. As for the Amazon names, the naming theme can't be a coincidence (as with the Musk naming theme). I feel that the Chinese Amazons purposely name their children after the English words for hygiene products and then write the names as the closest Chinese equivalent. Therefore, they will have the same names even when speaking to each other in Chinese in the context of the story.
Chapter 1: Becoming Sisters
The newlywed couple was finishing their dinner in their camp in the Chinese Bayankala Mountain Range. The woman glared at her new husband as she asked, "Genma dear, China has been great so far, but why must we hike through these mountains as part of our honeymoon just to find some legendary training ground?"
Genma sighed. "It's only a day's journey from our hotel, Nodoka honey. We'll be there tomorrow morning. Ever since Master Happosai informed me of this place, I've wanted to see for myself if this Jusenkyo is really such a great place to train. It's supposed to have some sort of magical qualities, and I want to know if it would be a good idea to come back some day while training our future children."
"Well, I guess it's not too bad," replied Nodoka. "The scenery is beautiful, after all. Now, why don't we go to bed, dear. I've been enjoying how manly you've been over the past few days, and I don't want to stop now."
The two of them entered their tent, and they soon had no use for their clothing. Unknown to them at this time, this night of passion between them had a side-effect of fusing some of their DNA within Nodoka's body.
In the morning, the couple reached their destination as planned. They were greeted by the Jusenkyo Guide and signed the visitors' log.
Genma was disappointed. He had been expecting more from this place than a bunch of bamboo poles sprouting from several dozen small freshwater pools. He jumped up on one of the bamboo poles to take a closer look.
"Sir, what you doing?!" complained the guide. "I not finished with story of tragic legend. It very bad if you fall in spring!"
"Genma, maybe you should listen to him," said Nodoka. "I'm getting a bad feeling about this."
"Don't worry about it," replied Genma. "I think I can handle a pool of water." As he finished speaking, however, he accidentally shifted his weight a little too far for his above-average girth and lost his balance. Down into one of the springs he fell.
Nodoka screamed as what emerged from the spring was a panda wearing her husband's gi and glasses. "Oh, too bad," said the guide. "You fall in Spring of Drowned Panda. There a very tragic legend of a panda who drown there 1,200 year ago. Now whoever fall in spring take body of panda."
Nodoka was not listening to this, however. The panda had jumped out of the spring and was approaching her, so she began running in fear. Unfortunately, she slipped and fell in one of the other springs.
As she came to the surface wet and sputtering, the guide and the panda both approached. "Ma'am, you very lucky. You fall in Spring of Drowned Girl. There a very tragic legend of a girl who drown there 1,500 year ago. Now whoever fall in spring take body of girl. However, since you already a girl, you no change form. You still technically cursed, though, so you now a water magnet like all Jusenkyo victims."
Nodoka looked at the guide in shock. "You mean this panda is my husband?!"
"Yes," replied the guide, "but it not permanent. Hot water will change him back, but cold water will change him into panda again. Come back to hut, and I will heat hot water."
"Well, that was a great idea," complained Nodoka sarcastically as they were heading back the way they had come. "Let's go see Jusenkyo, a magic valley recommended by the greatest pervert alive. Now I'm married to a half-panda and have to worry about getting drenched everywhere I go."
"You think I'm happy about this?" argued Genma as he threw up his hands. "At least you don't transform when you get wet. How was I supposed to know the place was cursed?"
Nodoka sighed. "Well, there's no use crying over spilled milk. We'll just have to make the best of this. At least you weren't the one who fell in the Spring of Drowned Girl." Genma's face paled as he shuddered. "Well, one thing's for sure," continued Nodoka. "Cold drinks are now banned from the bedroom. I don't even want to think about what could happen if you transformed while performing your manly duties to me."
Just then, they noticed a strange man approaching at an alarming speed. He was dressed in furs and holding a crying infant. Nodoka's eyes went wide at what she suspected was happening. "Genma, stop him! I think he abducted that poor child!"
Genma blocked the man's way as he reached them and settled into a fighting stance after dropping his pack to the ground. "What are you doing with that child?" he asked menacingly.
The man slid to a stop at this unexpected confrontation. He knew he could just run around this foolish Japanese couple, but his pride wouldn't let himself be challenged like this without a response. "You dare challenge the great Musk warrior Bayleaf?" he retorted with confidence. "You will suffer for this indignity." He walked to the shade of a nearby tree, where he carefully placed the baby before returning to deal with his challenger.
"My name is Genma Saotome of the Anything-Goes School of Martial Arts," Genma proclaimed proudly, "and I'll be glad to teach you a lesson or two."
The two fighters charged towards each other and began a fierce battle. Nodoka ran over to grab the child as she watched and attempted to stay out of the way. Genma put up a good fight but soon realized he was outmatched, as Bayleaf possessed inhuman speed. It was all Genma could do to prevent a blow to his vital spots.
Eventually, Genma was sent flying into a nearby stream, where he transformed into his cursed form. "Ah, a Jusenkyo curse," noticed Bayleaf. "I brought something special along in case I had accidentally snatched a boy, and I think it would be a fitting punishment to now use it to lock you in that cursed form. He approached the stream and removed a strange pail and ladle from his hip. He filled the pail and attempted to use the ladle to splash Genma with water from the pail. While not understanding what he was attempting, Genma had enough sense to know it could only be bad and rolled out of the way before painfully getting to his feet. He continued to dodge Bayleaf's attempts to splash him, although one of these splashes hit Nodoka as she turned to keep the baby dry.
Suddenly, Bayleaf froze as he heard footsteps approaching from the way he had come. "D***! I've taken too long. I can't risk letting them catch me. You'll pay for this someday, Genma Saotome!" He ran off as the Saotomes were approached by an old woman hopping on a wooden staff and a woman with indigo hair waving a scimitar. With the battle over, Genma collapsed to the ground. The woman sheathed her sword as she ran to Nodoka to recover the baby with a cry of "Shampoo!" Assuming this was the baby's mother, Nodoka handed her the child.
"I was right. It was a Musk warrior, one descended from a wolf. We got lucky," said the old woman in Chinese.
Not understanding the language, Nodoka tried to communicate hoping one of them spoke Japanese. "I'm glad we could help, but my husband has been injured. He has a Jusenkyo curse that turns him into the panda you see here. We could use some help."
"Ah, you're Japanese," said the old woman in the same language. "My name is Cologne, an elder of a nearby tribe of Chinese amazons. "This is my granddaughter, Mascara, and you've already met her daughter, Shampoo." While Nodoka thought these names sounded weird, she didn't know enough English to understand just how weird they were.
"I'm Nodoka Saotome and this is my husband, Genma," Nodoka introduced.
"You have our sincerest thanks," continued Cologne. "That man is from a nation called the Musk Dynasty, a tribe of warriors possessing the traits of animals that their forefathers transformed in Jusenkyo's Spring of Drowned Girl and then married." Nodoka shuddered at this. "That particular one snuck into our village last night and abducted Shampoo, likely to be raised as his own personal slave girl and eventually wife. The king of the Musk does not stand for this kind of behavior, so if he was foolish enough to give you his name, we can ensure he will be punished."
"Yes, he said his name is Bayleaf. I don't know why, but for some reason it sounds like a better name for a yellow quadruped with a long neck and a leaf growing from its head."
Cologne had hopped over to Genma and began examining his injuries. "Your husband must be quite a fighter to be able to hold off a Musk warrior as long as he did with no major injuries. We'll head back to our village where he can be changed back and treated for his injuries." Cologne grabbed Genma's clothes from the stream and his nearby pack, while Nodoka and Mascara helped Genma along with a furry arm over the shoulders of each woman.
Back in the Amazon village, Genma was nursed back to health, and the Saotomes were honored as honorary members of the tribe, an honor that would also extend to their children. Cologne also promised that if they had any daughters, she or someone else would one day train them in special Amazon martial arts techniques.
Nodoka expressed her worry that her husband had also been foolish enough to reveal his name and that Bayleaf had promised revenge. Luckily, the warning Cologne had sent to the Musk had allowed them to catch Bayleaf red-handed attempting to return the locking ladle and pail he had "borrowed." He had received a life sentence of imprisonment.
With that problem out of the way, the Saotomes were able to leave once Genma regained his health (while Nodoka made sure he didn't swipe anything), and they returned to Japan.
About nine months later, Nodoka gave birth to the couple's first child, a girl they named Ranma. Genma was disappointed that he didn't have a son to be his heir, especially as his best friend, Soun Tendo, had three daughters himself, the youngest born on the same day as Ranma. Without any boys between them, they would be unable to join their martial arts schools through the marriage of their children as they had once promised.
For two years, the Saotomes tried to have more children but to no avail. Eventually, they had found out that Genma's injuries from his battle with Bayleaf had left him infertile.
Genma was forced to conclude that having a female heir was better than no heir at all and reluctantly began training Ranma in martial arts. This decision was made more palatable by the facts that Ranma enjoyed the training and that she was a natural prodigy at learning the Art. She was even developing into quite a tomboy, finding it annoying when her mother made her wear cute little dresses or dolled up her brilliant red hair.
On Ranma's 4th birthday, her parents took her to meet the Tendos to share the celebration with their own birthday girl, Akane. Ranma and Akane soon became the best of friends, spending as much time together as they could and training together in martial arts under the proud watch of their fathers. The two patriarchs hoped that even though their original plans had failed, maybe their schools could still be joined in a way if Ranma one day decided to work with her best friend to teach the Saotome Style of the school alongside the Tendo Style once Akane inherited the dojo. (Although Soun had also been training Akane's older sisters, neither of them showed anywhere near the interest nor skill that Akane did, so he had already decided on Akane as his heir to the school and dojo.)
For the first six years of her life, Ranma had enjoyed a happy and relatively normal childhood. However, that all changed on what was easily the worst day of her life.
It had started out promising. She had left with her father to join the Tendos on a Sunday training trip to a nearby wooded area. Soun shared the good news that yesterday his wife Kimiko had finally been able to return home after recovering from spending several weeks seriously ill in the hospital. The two families trained together in the morning, but after lunch Genma had insisted on some private training for Ranma in a special technique.
That afternoon, Ranma was both physically and mentally scarred as her father wrapped her in fish sausage and threw her into a pit of starving cats. He then repeated it several more times until Ranma snapped. The next think Ranma knew, she was waking up in Akane's arms, while Soun was treating the many deep scratches she had received. A scratched up Genma then explained about how she now knew the nearly unbeatable Cat Fist technique but apparently at the cost of temporary insanity and a deep fear of cats.
At home that evening, Ranma was trying to watch TV but couldn't tune out her parents' argument.
"Genma, how could you teach our daughter such a dangerous technique?!" complained Nodoka.
"It was described in a legitimate martial arts training manual. I didn't know it would turn out like this. I just forgot to read the next page," Genma argued.
"That's no excuse, Genma," replied Nodoka angrily. "Anyone should be able to tell something's wrong when the instructions basically say to let the trainee be mauled by angry animals. That's not something you should be doing to anyone, let alone a six-year-old girl! Didn't that page you forgot to read say something about anyone attempting it being an idiot and needing to have his head examined? Who knows what would have happened if Akane hadn't been able to calm her down. Best friend or not, Soun would've had your head if any of his daughters had been harmed by your foolishness today."
Genma was still attempting to come up with a decent response when the doorbell rang. Having been saved by the bell, Genma went to answer the door. When he opened it, he found their visitor to be none other than his old enemy Bayleaf, who immediately stabbed Genma in the gut with a long knife. "I told you that you would pay someday for crossing me, Genma Saotome," he said in a cold voice.
Bayleaf carried no other weapons, but he didn't need any as he mercilessly pounded Genma, sending him flying through the walls several times. Realizing what was happening, Nodoka grabbed Ranma and looked for a way to escape, but she couldn't find a safe way past the combatants and eventually found herself trapped in a corner of the living room.
Before long, Genma's broken and unconscious form was lying on the floor of the living room in front of Bayleaf. In full view of the rest of the family, Bayleaf reached down and snapped Genma's neck, killing him instantly. "NOOO! Daddy!" screamed Ranma as she tried to escape her mother's arms.
"Ranma, no!" shouted her mother. "There's nothing you can do." At these words, Ranma relaxed in her mother's grip while beginning to cry. She turned her gaze to her husband's murderer who was now slowly approaching them. "I know you want revenge on my husband and me, but please let my daughter go. She's done nothing to you," she pleaded.
Bayleaf shook his head. "For seven years I've been imprisoned because of you. Your whole family dies tonight."
Desperately, Nodoka held on to her daughter with one arm, while she reached over to the nearby mantle to grab the Saotome honor blade. As she pointed it towards their attacker, she warned, "I won't let you touch my daughter."
Bayleaf paused to consider this turn of events. This woman was no threat to him even with a sword, but she might be able to hold him off long enough for her brat to escape. He wasn't going to make the same mistake a second time. Looking around, he got an idea. The structure was already weakened from his fight with Genma, so he took a few steps over to the house's main support beam and began to pull. Slowly but surely it began to break, and before long it snapped completely in his hands. He gave a vicious grin as the house began to collapse on top of all three of them.
From the rubble of the Saotome house emerged a single figure. Bayleaf knew he was strong enough to survive the collapse, but there was no way the mere 100% humans could've survived. His revenge was complete. He began limping away to make his escape before any of the authorities arrived.
However, before long, some of the rubble began shifting once again. Eventually, a little red-haired girl managed to emerge, coughing up dust. Using strength that no other girl her age possessed, she managed to remove enough rubble to reveal the bloodstained face of her mother, who had protected her daughter with her own body when the house had collapsed.
"Mom, don't you leave me too!" whined Ranma.
"It's too late for me," she softly replied. "You have to get away. Go straight to the Tendos' house. They'll protect you."
"Mom," Ranma sniffed, "One day I'll make sure that man pays for what he's done."
"Ranma, listen to me," Nodoka replied. "I understand your need for justice, but promise me you won't let revenge dominate your life. I love you, Ranma, as does your father. Never forget that."
"I promise," agreed Ranma. "I love you too, Mom."
Once Nodoka heard these words, she sighed in contentment, and the light faded from her eyes.
Ranma wanted to do nothing more than just lie down and scream at the tremendous emotional pain she felt. However, she knew that she couldn't afford to do that right now. She focused tightly and managed to seal up all the pain and sorrow deep inside herself, unknowingly discovering a technique that she would later learn was called the Soul of Ice. She quickly ran away from the scene shortly before the first emergency vehicles began to arrive.
The Tendo family was enjoying a quiet, peaceful evening at home when the peace was shattered at the sound of the doorbell. Kimiko answered the door to reveal a pale-faced Ranma whose clothes and hair were an absolute mess. "Ranma, what are you doing here? Where are your parents?"
In a soulless voice that chilled Kimiko to her bones, Ranma replied, "Mom and Dad are gone. A man came to our house and killed them. He tried to kill me, too." Kimiko quickly pulled Ranma inside and ran to tell her husband.
That night, after Ranma gave her statement to the police, she was still in the same emotionless state in which she had arrived. The Tendos had insisted that Ranma spend the night with Akane, as they knew full well that she couldn't be left alone in that state. As they climbed into bed together, Ranma dressed in a spare pair of Akane's pajamas. Akane tried to get her best friend to open up. "Ranma, I know you're afraid of the pain, but you can't keep it all bottled up. It's not healthy. I'm here for you, and the rest of my family is, too. Please, just let it all out."
At these words of encouragement, Ranma gained the courage to drop the Soul of Ice. Her dam of emotions broken, she cried well into the night while Akane held her in her arms. Once she cried herself to sleep, she twice later woke up screaming as she relived the attack in her nightmares. Each time, Akane managed to calm her down so they could both get back to sleep.
It would be weeks before Ranma recovered enough to sleep on her own. The Tendos sent her to a family counselor who helped her deal with her loss. The Tendos also sent her to a therapist to attempt to reduce her fear of cats, but with the usual method of acclimation therapy unusable due to the danger of the Cat Fist, there was nothing that could be done against such a deep-rooted phobia.
The next day, the Tendos received a call from a law firm. The Saotomes had at one point had a simple will written. Ranma was to be placed in the care of the Tendo family and inherit everything, which was unfortunately not much between Genma's debts and the collapsed house. Some items had been salvaged from the wreck, though, including the family honor blade with which Nodoka had made her last stand.
The day after that was the funeral, during which Ranma used the Soul of Ice to keep from crying through the whole thing. Later, she let Akane hold her as she let it all out. This would continue to be their routine whenever Ranma felt she had to hold back the pain for a while.
Three days after the tragedy, a tiny, old woman on a staff approached the remains of the Saotome house. Cologne shook her head sadly. She had been too late. When the Amazons had received word from the Musk that Bayleaf had escaped, Cologne had been sent to Japan to find and warn the Saotomes. Unfortunately, it was clear that Bayleaf had found them first.
Just in case, Cologne went to the house next door to see if she could find out exactly what had happened. When a middle-aged woman answered the door, Cologne introduced herself as an old friend of the Saotomes and asked what had happened.
"It was terrible," the woman began. "Three nights ago, there was all this noise coming from their house. It sounded like a war was going on. I called the police as did several of the other neighbors. I had just looked back at the place through our window when the whole place collapsed to the ground. I couldn't see much because of the dark, but it looked like a man left the scene shortly afterwards before the police could arrive. He must have been the one who did it. The next day we were told that both Genma and Nodoka Saotome had been murdered, but they won't tell us any more than that."
"I see," said Cologne. "I haven't seen them in years, but I'll certainly miss them." 'I'll have to see if Bayleaf can be tracked, but there's sadly no other reason to stay,' she thought.
As Cologne was hopping away, the woman made one final comment, "I really feel sorry for that poor girl, though."
Cologne stopped, curious, and hopped around to face the woman, "Girl? What girl?"
The woman looked back at Cologne with a curious look. "I guess it really has been years since you last saw them," she said. "I mean their daughter, Ranma. She's only five or six years old, but she somehow survived the attack. Poor thing, the rumors say she saw both her parents die before her eyes. I can't imagine how she feels. At least she has the Tendo family watching over her now. I hear they're good people."
"Thanks, you've been very helpful," Cologne said before hopping away. 'What an idiot to just tell me all of that!' she thought. 'If I were helping Bayleaf, the girl and this Tendo family she's staying with would all be slaughtered tonight.'
Cologne wasted no time in finding the address of the Tendo compound. She then went back to her hotel room and make a phone call back to the village to discuss this turn of events with the other elders. It was determined that Cologne would remain in Nerima to watch over the young Saotome girl and eventually provide the promised training when she was old enough.
As her cover, Cologne opened a Chinese restaurant in the area, which she called the Cat Café. Eventually, the Tendo family would decide to go out to eat there, at which time Cologne finally met her young charge. Cologne became a family friend and adviser, especially to Ranma and Akane, claiming to have taken interest in them due to her own prodigious skill in martial arts. Eventually, Ranma and Akane would learn that there was more to this old Chinese woman than they thought.
As the years passed, Ranma enjoyed her second childhood with the Tendo family. The Tendos treated her as a full member of the family. She was given the former upstairs guestroom as her own bedroom, complete with duck-shaped door hanger with her name spelled out in Roman letters. Soun and Kimiko became a second father and mother to her (although she refused to call them as such out of respect to her own parents), while Kasumi, Nabiki, Akane, and herself considered themselves to all be full and equal sisters regardless of blood. She and Akane were especially close as both sisters and best friends.
Meanwhile, Ranma and Akane continued to improve their martial arts skills at an unbelievable pace under Soun's instruction among his other students. Ranma was unquestionably the better of the two, but Akane wasn't far behind. By the time they were 14, Soun declared that there was nothing left he could teach them and encouraged them to improve further on their own by training together. As part of her family legacy, Ranma heavily incorporated the Saotome Style of the school into her fighting, starting with the basics she had learned from her father as a little girl, then refining and extrapolating from there as her skills advanced.
Eventually, Ranma realized that something was changing in how she felt about Akane, and by the time she was 12 she figured out what it was. For a while, she had been refusing to take baths with any of her sisters, and one night at dinner she informed her family why she had stopped doing so. She had found herself physically attracted to girls, while boys provided her with no such interest. In other words, she was a lesbian. While her family was somewhat disappointed, they had little trouble accepting this part of her.
It was later on when she and Akane were working on their homework that Ranma revealed the other part of her self-discovery, which she would not be telling anyone else: She had developed a crush on Akane. As expected, Akane could not return her feelings, as she was attracted to boys, but she was glad that Ranma had let her know in order to keep things from becoming too awkward between them.
Over the next few years, Ranma tried to restrict her feelings for Akane to the platonic level and look out for other lesbians as potential dates, but she just couldn't help falling deeper and deeper in love with her. Now they were almost 16 and were about to start high school, and Ranma found herself barely able to hide her interest in public. While alone together, they had settled into a routine where Ranma would make obvious attempts to flirt with Akane, while Akane would accept these comments as if Ranma were just teasing her.
Finally, Ranma and Akane began high school together, unaware that they would soon reach a new turning point in their lives...
Author's Notes: Alright, I know I promised no new multi-chapter stories until I finished one, but I was reading through some of Noy Telinu's Ranma fics and saw his/her request for more Ranma yuri fics, so I decided to oblige. Just to warn everyone, Ranma is going to be especially popular in this AU, as not only will the guys be after her (at least until/if they learn of her preferences) but most of the major eligible female characters will be rewritten as either bisexual or lesbian.
Anyway, the idea for this fic came from asking myself how Ranma could be locked as a girl in a way that everybody, even himself, thought he actually was a girl. Anyone who's read the Musk Arc of the manga should recognize what's going on with him here, but I'll refrain from spelling it out just in case someone would like to be surprised, in which case it would probably not be wise to look at any reviews I might get. This won't be a permanent girl-type Ranma fic though, as Ranma will be in for a huge surprise once I get to the Musk Arc.
I won't be covering a good chunk of the manga arcs this time. I'll be skipping around only covering the major arcs and some others that benefit the plot. For example, I'll be skipping the Rhythmic Gymnastics Arc (although Kodachi will still cause trouble every now and then).
I suppose it's strange that Mrs. Tendo survived in this AU, but after killing off the Saotome parents, I couldn't in good conscience do the same to her. Of course, this has led to a happier Tendo household than in canon such as Soun continuing to teach. Although Mrs. Tendo's name is never mentioned in the manga (or animé), I would've never been able to get away with leaving her nameless, so I went with the common fan name of Kimiko.
Normally, I would've used the manga age of 10 for learning the Cat Fist, but I felt Ranma needed to be younger for her Harry Potter style tragedy, while I still wanted her to know the Cat Fist.