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A Ranma ½ story by

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.

"Kasumi is nineteen, Nabiki is seventeen, and Akane is sixteen. Pick one, and she will be your wife."

Ranma's eyes grew wide and his jaw dropped. He turned to look at his father, who was grinning like an idiot.

"Well, Son, who shall it be?" Genma asked impatiently.

If his father and Mr. Tendo weren't such idiots, Ranma may have believed they were joking, but they didn't have the capacity for such advanced humor. Before making his displeasure known, Ranma looked the girls over. Kasumi smiled sweetly at him, but her eyes revealed the strain it took to maintain, Nabiki regarded him coldly with the expression on her face making her intentions clear, and Akane was glaring at him as if he had killed her mother. "Since I'm a guest and all, I'm not going to hurt you— at least, not yet— but you're an idiot if you think you can choose who I'm gonna have to get married to."

Genma's face fell noticeably, but Soun seemed unaffected by the statement. Tears of joy ran down his face and his features practically glowed with bliss. "I understand that the choice must be quite difficult. All three of my daughters have grown into fine young women."

The Tendo sisters became quite obviously upset, but instead of directing the hostility at Ranma like he had expected, the girls turned to their father. Even Kasumi wore an angry frown. Probably because it sounded like he was trying to sell a prime piece of meat.

A more direct approach would be necessary, Ranma decided. He spoke a couple of alien words under his breath while twitching his fingers a bit under the table. Then, in a flash, Ranma's right hand, the one he had turned palm upward, sprouted a fist-sized ball of crimson fire. It hovered a few inches over his palm and its surface boiled violently, but was held in check by Ranma's will.

There were gasps from all present except for Genma, who had recently become intimately acquainted with his son's newfound penchant for pyrotechnics. It had been that reason alone that he hadn't told Ranma about the engagement a few blocks from their destination. Soun did have a family to take care of, so Ranma was bound to have mercy on him. Hopefully.

"Here's the deal, Tendo-san. If you can get out of the room before I blow you up, I'll marry one of your daughters. I'll even let you pick which one. Keep in mind that if you try and fail, though, your daughters will be fatherless."

A shocked silence hung in the air at Ranma's proclamation. All three girls had gone pale. Akane's hand had slipped from where it had been gripping the table edge in preparation to brain Ranma, and Genma was trembling. His son had become very, very ruthless after Jusenkyo and the subsequent stay in the Amazon village.

Soun's voice cracked as he spoke. "Now, S-son, I'm sure you're just overreacting. W-why don't we talk about this a little later after you've had a chance to settle in? Maybe a long soak in the furo and a home cooked meal will ease your nerves?"

Ranma bounced the ball of fire in his hand and asked, "So, you going to go for it, or are you just going to give up on the whole stupid idea?"

Soun, racked with indecision, went almost a minute without answering. He may have been none too bright, and a little on the emotional side, but he couldn't leave his children alone to fend for themselves in a harsh world; and from Saotome's reports, Ranma was a prodigy. The chances of him standing up, getting around the table, and out the door before Ranma could hit him with whatever it was he had conjured up were slim beyond reason, so finally he relented, "You win." His shoulders slumped in defeat and his body was actually shaken by sobs.

Ranma sorta felt sorry for the man. The union of the two schools was obviously very important to him, but Ranma would not be forced to ever do anything. He followed his own code of honor, and in his opinion, it was without equal. The ball of fire grew transparent and faded away.

Kasumi quickly rose from her position next to her father and tried her best to comfort the emotionally crushed man. As he shook in her circling embrace, Kasumi leveled Ranma with a disapproving look that spoke volumes.

Akane's fists were clenched in pure rage. No one could treat her father like that, even if he did deserve it! It was only Ranma's obvious command over forces beyond her understanding that kept Akane from attempting to inflict grievous bodily harm upon Ranma. Since her oldest sister was the most experienced caregiver of the family, she left her father to Kasumi, opting instead to direct a very nice murderous glare at Ranma.

Ranma's father hadn't been shocked by Ranma's display; he'd seen much worse from his son. The sight of Soun capitulating so easily, however, was like a blow to the very order of reality. Tendo never backed down from anything when his mind was set to it. Not anything!

With calm, unemotional, and methodical grace, Nabiki's mind ran over a list of facts she had picked up from her already ex- possible fiancé. Besides good looks and the skill he would almost certainly have from a lifetime of training in the martial arts, Ranma also possessed a very strong will that he imposed on others with ease; and last, but definitely not least, was that he appeared to casually play around with magic, something Nabiki had never really even had a second thought about. She had heard an incantation though, at least that was what she guessed it to be, and the ball of fire certainly hadn't been a trick done with mirrors and a flashlight. Conclusion: Ranma equaled several moneymaking opportunities, fiancé or not.

"Ranma, why don't you go out and have a look at the dojo? Tendo and I have much to discuss," Genma said. Though he wanted the schools joined, Genma didn't want it enough to upset Ranma to the point that he started getting… violent. Besides, maybe they could trick Ranma into falling for one of the girls; they were all very attractive.

Ranma shrugged, seeing his father's attempt to get rid of him for what it really was. "Why not?" He stood to go, but a sudden thought struck him. "Heh," he laughed weakly, "where is the dojo?"

Before anyone else could answer, Nabiki volunteered, "I'll show you." She also had a good idea what the two men would talk about, and the camera imbedded in the wall could pick up anything she missed.

Ranma didn't see the slightly startled looks directed at Nabiki by her sisters, so he replied, "Sure, lead the way."

Nabiki led Ranma through the house and across the walkway that led to the dojo. She followed him into the dojo and said, "You handled that pretty well." Nabiki couldn't help but respect someone who could stop her father in his tracks.

Still looking the training hall over, Ranma said, "Sorry I made him cry and all, but it really was a stupid idea. I'm only going to get married when I'm ready for it." He found the center of the dojo and sat down in a lotus position on the tatami mats. A couple seconds passed while Ranma spoke a short phrase that Nabiki couldn't understand; then his crossed legs slowly rose from the floor.

Nabiki didn't let the surprise show on her face. It would be a serious disadvantage if Ranma knew just how interested in his abilities she was. "Don't worry; he had it coming. How do you do that," she asked him, sounding and looking innocent.

"Magic," answered Ranma smiling. "It's really easy to do if you've got the potential for it."

"Could you teach me?" Kami, she could make a lot of money selling real magic lessons!

Ranma shook his head slightly. "It's too hard to tell yet. I'd have to be around you for at least a few days before I could tell for sure." Unknown to Nabiki, Ranma was, with slow and careful precision, expanding his aura throughout the structure of the dojo. Once he was firmly linked with it, Ranma withdrew the energy and settled back to the floor. His was a rare gift, the ability to draw knowledge and power from outside sources. Of course it would be a long time before he would see any noticeable differences in his overall magical strength, and the knowledge that had become imbedded in the very foundation of the dojo would take even longer before it began to integrate itself into his own style, but he was patient and already had several other sites linked to himself.

"You mean you would really teach me magic, for free?" Now that was surprising. The concept of 'free' was alien to Nabiki.

"It's against the rules to charge for that kind of instruction." Ranma climbed to his feet and began the opening moves of a simple kata, while Nabiki took a seat on a nearby bench.

"Rules?" This was great, she didn't even have to pay him for the info, and he was actually willing to teach her magic. If she knew the secret, Nabiki knew that she wouldn't even need Ranma.

"Oh yes, there's lots of rules." Ranma smiled. "One of them is not to force a willing student to pay for instruction."

Who would enforce the rules? It wasn't like there was some kind of magic police or something. "How would one… sorcerer know that another one had broken the rules?" Magician would have sounded just a bit ridiculous. Ranma didn't seem like the type to go around pulling rabbits out of a hat.

"Sorry, but I can't tell you anything else until I know whether or not you can even learn magic. The chances are pretty slim."

Nabiki decided to change the subject. There wasn't much point in getting her hopes up, and even if she could have done magic, the rules would have taken all the fun out of it. "My sister Akane is probably going to try to kill you."

"I wasn't really going to kill your dad, you know. I just had to scare him into giving up on that stupid idea of his and Oyaji's."

"Hey, I'm not complaining, but Akane looked more upset than I've ever seen her, and her temper is legendary."

Ranma frowned, and came to a halt. "Isn't Akane the heir to the school?"

"Yeah, she is." Nabiki had decided not to charge for any information yet, at least not as long as he was forthcoming with her. "Hey, how did you know that?"

Ranma took one last look at the dojo, making sure that he was firmly linked with it, then left for the house. "She was wearing a gi in the house and you and Kasumi don't carry yourselves like fighters," he answered to Nabiki.

Nabiki caught up with Ranma and followed him into the house. She felt pretty stupid for missing the obvious clues that had led Ranma to his deduction.

"Oh, it's just horrible, Tendo, horrible! Those evil women brainwashed my son. Now he is disrespectful and rude, but he used to be such a well-behaved boy," Genma was saying as Ranma and Nabiki came back in.

"Wow, when all that brainwashing happen, Oyaji?" Ranma asked from behind his father.

Genma turned several shades paler. Spinning around to face Ranma, he said, "It's all right, Ranma, I was just telling the Tendos about what happened in China."

"So you told them about the curses?" He was still using the brainwashing story? Stupid Oyaji.

The fat man now matched the color of his dingy gi. "W-what curses?"

Ranma sighed. "I'll be right back." He already knew where the kitchen was since he had passed it on his way to the dojo. It took him a minute to find a set of glasses and fill them with water. He returned to find his father looking a bit wild-eyed, and the Tendo, Soun included, looking like curious little children.

"Ranma, think about what you're doing, please," Genma pled. They would all know his shame now! Oh, the humanity!

Ranma splashed himself and Genma before anyone could even blink. The results were spectacular, to say the least. Ranma, once a muscular young man, was now a shorter though very endowed redheaded girl. Genma found himself no longer fat, male, or bald. In fact, he was the mirror image of his son-turned-daughter. Using such a negligible amount of magic that a spell wasn't even required, Ranma warmed the water in the other glass and poured it over herself and her stiff-as-a-board father.

To the Tendos, who were all taking turns staring at the pair of Saotomes, Ranma said, "We got the curses at a place called Jusenkyo because Oyaji is the world's smartest retard. Cold water activates them and hot water reverses them."

"Couldn't you just," Nabiki wiggled her fingers, "use magic or something to get rid of them?"

"I wish, but the kind of magic I do, except for a few tricks, is purely destructive. My teacher said that there were people with the right kind of magic to break the curse, though. I can't really find one of them, but I haven't given up."

Kasumi and Nabiki were taking the revelation in stride. Now Ranma and Genma would know what it was like to be women. Akane just knew that the Saotomes were perverts, being girls like that, and couldn't stop thinking about what they must do to themselves every opportunity that they got. Perverts! Poor Soun, his already fragile mind made more so by Ranma's demand, just couldn't handle the extra information. While thinking about the horrors that his friend had endured for the art, he fainted.


To be continued.

Author's Notes: While writing Power and Responsibility, I got this idea. I know I shouldn't start yet another fic while I'm working on two already, but the idea stuck in my head until I had to write it down. Writing something from the beginning of the series gives me a chance to alter Ranma's personality too. In Darkness Ahead, Ranma is born with special power, in Power and Responsibility, he is granted power, and now in Sorcerer's Solution, Ranma knows magic. I don't know whether I'm gonna continue this or not, but please send in any suggestions to dark_phoneix@hotmail.com

Chapter 1
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