A Ranma ½ story
by John-Martin Lotz
Ranma ½ is the property of Rumiko Takahashi and Shogakukan. The American rights are owned by Viz Communications.
I am in no way claiming, or even pretending, to own these characters.
The steps up to the Tendo Dojo were miles high and tens of miles long, and there was a spotlight at the top shining on me. A crowd of millions was watching me and I knew that there was a gallows at the top. I smiled to myself as the vision of a bad historical film popped into my head. This was Nerima Ward, in twentieth century Japan, and I was under some kind of weird curse. Shaking my head to clear it of the images, I walked up the few steps that separated the real dojo from the street and me, and from the young woman who had been standing by the door watching my woolgathering.
"May I help you?"
"Yes… Is there a man… I mean boy… I mean girl… person… named Ranma here?"
The young women wiped her hands on her apron, tossed her long hair away from her face, smiled at me, then asked in a quiet voice the last question that I expected to hear. "Excuse me, but are you engaged to Ranma?"
"Engaged?" My voice rose about an octave, then I calmed. "NO. There is something we share, and I believe that he can answer some questions."
She seemed about to speak again when a voice yelled out behind her. "Ranma NO BAKA. Hit me. Please just try and hit me."
"I told ya, I don't hit girls! Even uncute tomboys."
"Ranma, you have a guest," she called out to the combatants, who came to a halt looking at me.
She looked at me as I reviewed our conversation. "I apologize for not giving my name earlier, I am Kiratso Tomoe "
She bowed to me, "Tendo Kasumi, and this is my sister Akane, and this is Ranma," indicating the dark haired girl, and the redheaded one I was seeking, in turn.
The redheaded girl smirked at me, "Never seen you before. You looked mad back then. Let me guess; Pop pissed you or your family off, and now you want to kill me. Right?" Her voice was pleasant and completely unafraid, actually more amused sounding. She circled me. "I really don't like to hit girls, especially since you are no fighter. Nabiki could probably take you." Now she really sounded amused.
I took a step back. That first question hadn't been the last question I had expected — but this one surely was. I had no idea how meeting this Ranma person would be, but this was NOT it!! Still, I had to know the answers to my questions.
I looked at the sign — advising challengers to bloody hand-to-hand combat to go around to the back gate — and raised my eyebrow at the young woman. My god, she's serious. What have I gotten myself into?
I handed Kasumi the bag containing a bottle of J&B scotch I had brought, and then studied Ranma — who was, in turn, studying me.
"Why did you want to see me?"
I sighed and knelt down to reach into my handbag, "It's easier to show than to describe." I pulled out two thermoses of water, one hot and the other cold.
"Jusenkyo," he breathed, watching the steam rise.
Yes, he was the one. I knelt down and poured the cold water over my head. And… changed. In that other form, I looked up into Ranma's eyes and started to smile. That smile froze, just like her eyes as she breathed, "You bastard!"
She screamed again, "You! You're!!" and dove at me.
I didn't think; I didn't have the time. I just reacted. Before I has fully aware she was attacking me, I found myself on my feet, fending off a flurry of punches, then suddenly in a courtyard, then 30 feet in the air, slapping Ranma backwards into a koi pond.
"Oh, my." I heard Kasumi say as she handed me the hot thermos and I reverted to my real self. Just about then Ranma struggled out of the water and headed toward me. Next I found Kasumi between us. "Ranma, stop!" Ranma halted and she handed him the rest of my thermos, which she had grabbed from me.
I cinched my disarrayed kimono tighter as Kasumi continued, "Ranma, hot water changed her into a girl, cold changed her into that man."
Ranma, now male, put down the rest of the hot water, and stood there shaking, and I had to ask, "Ranma, whose body is this? Obviously you know it."
He looked half ready to hit and half to cry as he said, "It's my father's, and it's dead." He spun away from Kasumi and stalked off. Before he got two steps, he halted and not facing me he started talking, no longer the confidant, self-assured person who had asked me if I were out to kill him. "I lost control. I apologize. You see, last time I saw that body, I buried it."
I could see Akane, hands over her mouth, collapse against a man who hurried out of the main part of the house. Another girl hurried up, no doubt drawn by the noise of the short fight.
"How did you trace me here?" he asked.
"With all due respect, tracking a stacked redheaded martial artist across China to Japan is not really all that hard."
He snorted at that.
"Actually, the crazy guy who pulled me out of the pool told me that the person whose body I at times wear was accompanied by a young man who fell into the pool of the drowned young girl. He described both forms to me."
He snorted again, presumably at my attempt at delicacy.
"Please, how is it that this body is so good at fighting? It reacts before I can think. It also is not very popular."
Everyone was staring at me mostly, and Ranma some, as I continued. "I spent a lot of time during these past three months in this body. It's a lot safer being a man than a girl if you are crossing China alone."
The other girl who had shown up didn't ask the obvious, why a lone girl was in back country of China. I would have hated to start off lying to them too early.
Instead, picking up the discarded bag with the bottle of Scotch, she peered inside, quirked an eyebrow, and asked, "Not popular?"
"Yeah, the Abbot of the Wudong Monastery threw a dead cat at me."
"And a number of shop owners demanded payment. I worked some of the debts off and the rest I'll send them when I get it."
Now he was definitely smiling, "How many of them collapsed of the shock?" There was a brief pause, then: "When I buried my father, there was a postcard in his pocket, addressed here. Tendo-san said I was to marry one of his daughters. Do you know anything about it?"
I shook my head.
"No. I seem to have some of the reflexes that your father had, but none of the memories."
End part one
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