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Blessed Curse

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Blessed Curse

 

Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 belongs to Rumiko Takahashi

 

Author note: Thanks to Blissfull Wulf for betaing this fic.

 

So I'm starting a new fic where Ranma is born a boy but is really a girl inside. There are plenty of stories like this out there but I have always wanted to try my hand at it. So to give everyone some warnings, firstly this is going to be a Ranma-chan/Ryoga story, I am a fan of the Ryoga/any gender Ranma pairing but as Ranma is picking her gender to be female in this story Ryoga will be with a girl Ranma.

 

This is also a pro-Amazon fic and for fans of Akane Tendo you will be happy to know that I am going to be nice to her this time around. A lot of the ideas for this story were thought up by me and my beta Blissful Wulf and if anyone else has an idea that they’d like to share feel free to leave a comment as well.

 

Hopefully everyone will like my new fic as I explore a Transgender Ranma.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

When Ranma came up gasping for air it was almost right away that he felt like something was different. He couldn't quite put his finger on what it was though, he was still reeling from seeing a large panda bear surge from the pool of water he had knocked his father Genma Saotome into instead of the balding overweight man that had raised him. But whatever it was Ranma could swear for the first time ever he felt... right. He couldn't dwell on the feeling very long as the guide of the training grounds they were visit was speaking, catching Ranma's attention.

 

"Oh, very bad luck Mister Customer fall into Nyannichuan," the guide said as he took out a sign that said Nyannichuan from behind his back. "Tragic story of girl that fall in spring 1,500 year ago. Now who ever fall into spring take on body of a young girl."

 

Ranma blinked as he processed what the guide said then looked down at himself. Or should that be herself. Ranma pulled open her gi wide and stared down at her new chest in shock. She had breasts! Two full formed large breasts! She gave a high pitched scream in surprise, she was a girl! Genma, seeing his son turned into a girl, decided to hightail it before his son-turned-daughter decided to try and beat him to a pulp.

 

Ranma meanwhile swam to the edge of the pool and pulled herself out. Once she was out of the water, Ranma pulled the top of her pants away so she could see how complete the transformation was. It was very complete she quickly noted as she let go of her gi bottoms. She didn't know what to think or what to feel... no that was a lie she knew just what she felt but she was afraid to address it. She had had a feeling her whole life while growing up, a feeling of not being right. Of not being in the right body but if she ever tried to bring up these feelings around her father, Genma would tell her to be a man and stop acting like a girl. After a while Ranma kept those feelings bottled up.

 

Speaking of Genma, a scowl crossed Ranma's face; did that fat bastard know this was going to happen? That the training grounds were cursed? She wouldn't put it passed him and she growled under her breath in anger.

 

"GET BACK HERE POPS!" Ranma yelled as she took off after the man.

 

******

 

Ryoga Hibiki frowned as he walked along a cliff path above what looked like a bunch of pools of water, wondering where the hell he was now. He was sure he was close to finding his rival Ranma Saotome, a boy he had known from school over a year ago who frustrated Ryoga like no other. Almost every time he had made it to school Ranma had stolen his bread during lunch. Ryoga had challenged Ranma to a martial arts match over it many times and sometime during it they had become... well not friends he didn't think, but Ranma helped him get to school and back home as Ryoga had no sense of direction.

 

One day Ryoga challenged Ranma to a man-to-man fight to settle their feud once and for all, they both agreed to have the fight in the lot behind his house. It had taken Ryoga four days to reach the lot and when he arrived Ranma hadn't been there. Afterward he found out that Ranma had been withdrawn from school by his father and had left the area. Ryoga was convinced that Ranma had run out on their fight and was determined to find the other teen to finally have that fight!

 

Ryoga had followed clues and retraced as well as he could Ranma's route until he heard a rumor that Ranma and his father had traveled to China. Right away Ryoga had set out to China as well and had found himself at the valley with all the pools.

 

'I'm so close, where could Saotome be?' Ryoga wondered to himself as he just knew deep in his gut that Ranma was here.

 

"Grrwwlll," Ryoga turned startled at the sound of growling and the sound of running feet. Coming straight at him was a very large panda that didn't look like it was going to stop. With a yell Ryoga jumped straight up into the air in time to avoid being flattened by the panda.

 

'That thing is huge!' Ryoga thought as the animal ran under him and jumped off outcroppings of rocks. He blinked in surprise, he had never seen any animal move like that before. Landing lightly on his feet Ryoga wondered what was up with the panda, maybe it was a circus animal? Musing on the idea he started to walk again along the cliff path.

 

"I'm going to kill you old man!" A girl's voice yelled behind him. Ryoga spun around again, seeing a girl run past him along the same path as the panda bear. She didn't seem to notice Ryoga as she passed him, accidentally pushing Ryoga off to the side. He stumbled and swung his arms to re-catch his balance. Ryoga breathed in relief as he caught himself, pressing his hand against his chest.

 

"Crazy girl," he muttered to himself. His green eyes widened as the edge of the cliff under his feet suddenly gave away, not giving him any time to grab the ridge to stop his fall. He yelled loudly as he fell toward one of the pools below him, landing with a large splash. Another yell escaped from the teen, sending up a cloud of bubbles as he tried to swim to the surface of the pool but he couldn't seem to get his body to move right, like something was happening to him. Finally after what seemed like ages Ryoga was able to swim to the surface, yipping in a panic.

 

"Ohh, unlucky customer fall into spring of drowned fox," the guide said as he reached over to pluck Ryoga, who was now a black fox with a yellow tipped tail, belly, toes and ear tips, he also had a black bandanna tied around his neck, out of the pool of water. "Is tragic story of fox that drown 900 year ago, now who ever fall into spring turn into a fox."

 

Ryoga looked down at his small from where he dangled in the guide's grip, making a surprise yipping-bark as he saw he was covered in black and yellow fur and had a bushy tail swinging under him.

 

"Is too bad Mister Customer," The guide said as he turned to Genma-panda. "Is not pig like thought, no stir fry pig. Fox not good eat,"

 

Ryoga gave a scream like bark when the guide said that, suddenly glad he didn't fall into something that turned him into a pig! In fact that would have been a horrible thing to turn into, he would have been helpless as a pig! He wasn't too happy with being a fox either but at least he could protect himself as a fox!

 

"Come, let see what Mister Fox really is," the guide said as he walked back to his hut he shared with his daughter Plum. "Maybe Mister Fox is really human?"

 

Ryoga nodded in agreement, he was very much human! Inside the hut the guide warmed up a large bowl of water over a cooking fire. Once it was warm enough Ryoga was tossed into the water.

 

"YOWCH!" Ryoga yelled in pain as the water was a little bit too hot, jumping out of the bowl, his hand in front of his crotch and his skin red from the heat of the water.

 

"Ahh, Mister Fox is a Mister Customer," the guide said. "Hot water change back original form but cold water change into curse form."

 

"Growf?" The panda asked.

 

"Is there any way I can get my things out of the pool I fell in?" Ryoga asked, blushing heavily but looking at Genma curiously as he realized that the panda was the same one that almost ran him over on the cliff.

 

"Can take stick to fish things out, but Mister Customer take care not fall into second spring," the guide said as he handed Ryoga a long stick with a hook on the end and a large shirt for Ryoga to cover himself in. Ryoga took both the shirt and stick then left the hut, very quickly getting lost as he was unable to find his way back to the spring he had fallen into.

 

*****

 

Meanwhile Ranma huffed in frustration as she lost sight of her father. The currently red headed girl was still pissed off at her old man for getting them into this mess but now that she was alone her temper was slowly coming back under control and she was able to think clearly again. She sighed and leaned back against a large tree trunk, sliding to sit on the ground.

 

Her mind was whirling with thoughts mostly about this new form she found herself in. She slowly reached up and cupped her breasts through her gi, almost not believing that these large things were hers. It brought up feelings that she had learned over the years to keep hidden and had repressed unless her father found out what she was thinking. Genma had pounded into her for years that Ranma was to be a 'man-among-men'. She had never really understood what he meant by that, it wasn't as if Genma was the best example of what a man should be like.

 

Once again the memories of not feeling right about herself growing up sprung to mind. Ranma had never been comfortable in her own body as she grew. And as she got older, the feeling had gotten more and more pronounced. She remembered as a child innocently bringing the feelings up in front of Genma, which had not ended well for Ranma. It was right after one of these times that she had gone through the Neko-ken training, a horrible experience where her father threw a young boy Ranma into a pit of starving cats. Ranma had cried and cried for his father to let him out, bleeding from the cuts the almost feral cats had left on him. Genma only told Ranma to stop acting like a girl and not to cry, men didn't cry.

 

Ranma shuddered and wrapped her arms around herself tightly. Every time Ranma made the mistake of bringing up how wrong she felt, Genma would put her through some horrible training. After a while Ranma learned to keep her/his mouth shut and buried those feelings deep down.

 

But now... now those feelings were coming back in waves! Without the anger toward her father to distract her, Ranma couldn't help but feel right and comfortable for the first time in her life! She felt so confused and she didn't know what to do about it. With her emotions so out of control and new to the female hormones her new body had, tears started to well up in Ranma's blue eyes. Though she tried to stop them, they started to stream down her cheeks and a small sob escaped. And once it started, even more escaped as the confused boy-turned girl cried from a combination of confusion and years of repressed feelings.

 

"Are you ok?" Ranma blinked at the sudden voice and looked up into a pair of concerned dark green eyes.

 

*****

 

Ryoga grumbled to himself as he walked through the thick underbrush of the forest. What should have been an easy walk back to the pond he fell in had turned into a mess. At least the guide had given him something to wear so he wouldn't be naked!

 

"Where the hell is that pond?" He muttered to himself, he hated getting lost like this! Ryoga stopped for a second when he heard what sounded like a girl crying. Pushing a nearby branch out of the way, Ryoga saw a girl around his age sitting at the base of a tree.

 

"Are you ok?" Ryoga asked. The red headed girl quickly looked up and Ryoga found himself looking into a pair of pretty blue eyes.

 

"I-I'm fine," Ranma said as she quickly started to wipe her tears away as she jumped up off the ground. She stumbled slightly as she stood, her whole center of gravity thrown off. "Just... something in my eye." Ryoga blushed slightly as he noticed how pretty Ranma was and quickly adverted his eyes as he saw her gi top was slightly open, fighting off a nose bleed. Ranma glanced up at Ryoga and wondered why he was blushing and not looking at her. She quickly got her answer when the wind blew and reminded her that her gi was sitting open a bit. "Eep!" Ranma quickly closed her top, suddenly embarrassed. She shouldn't be since she was really a boy... but she was.

 

"Sorry," Ranma said as she looked down at her feet.

 

"Err... it's ok," Ryoga quickly assured her, looking back now that Ranma's bust was covered up. He shifted uncomfortably, he was a boy after all and he had gotten a very good look at a pretty girl's bust. That he hadn’t had a nosebleed was a miracle in itself. "Are you sure you are ok? I... well I heard you crying and..."

 

"I-it's nothing," Ranma said in an almost bashful tone. "My Pops did something to me today and now everything is weird."

 

"He didn't hurt you did he?" Ryoga asked with a slight growl, angry for the girl in front whose dad hurt her.

 

"Well... it's really nothing," Ranma said, feeling flattered that Ryoga was willing to stand up for her and leaving her confused. "Just a lot of weird stuff and afterward my Pops ran off. I tried chasing him so I could beat the stuffin' out of him but..." She shrugged. Ryoga frowned for a second as he remembered something.

 

"Wait... you're that girl that nearly pushed me off the cliff!" He realized.

 

"Huh?" Ranma asked.

 

"Back there, you were running along the cliff and screaming. You almost pushed me off," Ryoga said as he pointed.

 

"I don't even remember that, I was so angry at my Pops... I just kinda lost sight of everything around me," Ranma said. "I didn't mean ta push you off, I really didn't."

 

"Well... just be careful ne?" Ryoga said, he couldn't stay mad at a pretty girl, it just wasn't in him.

 

"Why are you carrying a stick with a hook?" Ranma asked as she noticed that all Ryoga was wearing was a large, long shirt and carrying said stick-hook.

 

"Err... I sort of dropped my pack in some water and it ended up at the bottom. I just need it to fish my stuff out," Ryoga said, not wanting to admit that he now turned into a little black and yellow fox with cold water.

 

"Well you gotta be careful around here," Ranma warned him.

 

"Yeah... I know," Ryoga said. A strong gust of wind blew through the trees and lifted the edges of the large loose shirt up, making Ryoga blush hotly as he had to drop the stick and push down the shirt. Ranma blushed just as hotly as she got a peek of Ryoga's package, gaping slightly in shock. "Err... ummmm... maybe I should go get my stuff now," Ryoga said with a squeak, completely embarrassed by what just happened. Picking a random direction, Ryoga quickly ran off so he wouldn't embarrass himself further.

 

Ranma watched him walk off, still in shock since she’d gotten a bit of a clue about how she affected the other teen. She was also trying to put her finger on who he reminded her of. He was cute with those green eyes and those cute little fangs.... her eyes widened as she suddenly remembered.

 

"Crap, that was Ryoga," Ranma said with a groan as she slapped her forehead. Ryoga had been a boy she had knew in the last school she went too and had been friends with him. She also remembered the boy had a large problem with finding his way around. "Hey Ryoga! Stop!" She yelled as she tried to catch up with the other teen but it was too late, he was already lost once again, never hearing Ranma call his name.

 

*******

 

"Growf," Genma held up a sign that said 'stop grumbling boy' as he watched his son-turned-daughter. He didn't like the way his son was acting, it was too much like the way he acted as a little boy when Ranma claimed that he didn't feel right as a boy and even sometimes acted like a weak little girl.

 

"I'm not grumbling you overgrown panda," Ranma said. "I just don't understand why we need to visit this village. The guide already said that there isn't a cure."

 

'He also said the village might,' one side of the sign said before it was flipped over, 'know of a cure. So we have to visit or do you want to stay a weak girl'

 

Ranma rolled her eyes; Genma had been obsessed with changing Ranma back to normal for good since they met up again. He kept pouring hot water over him but cold water kept finding Ranma and turning him into a her. She on the other hand was adjusting to her new center of gravity and the shift of gravity each time she changed shape. She was also trying to get use to the new breasts on her chest, her back was starting to hurt just a little bit too.

 

"Not too far now Mister Customers. Village of the Joketsuzoku is right around bend," The Jusenkyo guide said from ahead of them. "Is village that is run by women warriors."

 

Genma snorted, as if a woman could be a good warrior. Still, hopefully some would be nice to look at... maybe he could even bed a few.

 

Ranma saw the look on the panda's face and rolled her eyes again, the man would never learn. She didn't quite share his opinion of women, she had seen a few girls kick monster's butts. True, the girls she had seen weren't really marital artists and were more along the lines of 'magical' girls, but the point was they weren’t the weak mewling creatures that Genma seemed to paint them as.

 

"Ah here we are Mister Customers," The guide said, bringing Ranma out of her own thoughts. She looked up at the large, wooden wall and the gate in front of them. On either side of the gate stood two tall, built but pretty women. Both looked pretty strong to Ranma and she had a feeling both knew how to use the weapons they held, one a sword and the other a glaive. The guide started to speak with the guards in Chinese and after a few minutes the woman with the sword yelled something to the other side of the gate. With a groan the gate started to rise so they could enter. "We very lucky, today is village tournament. Joketsuzoku have every year to pick out strongest best warrior in tribe."

 

The Jusenkyo guide lead the cursed pair past several hut houses to the center of the village were a large crowd of women and even a few men were standing around a large circle, in the middle was a large log suspended in the air between poles. On top of the log stood two women, one of which was very tall and large. When Ranma saw the woman's face, she couldn't help but flinch back with a soft 'ugh'. The woman had a face that looked like she fell off the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. The rest of the woman didn't look that good either, she was made of nothing but bulging muscles. Ranma knew the woman's looks couldn't have come from her height, she could see at least two other women in the crowd that were just as tall from what Ranma could see of them, and they were at least somewhat pretty.

 

"Growf!" Genma said when he saw the large woman as well.

 

"Not very pretty no?" The guide said with a chuckle. "Like small fighter? She very pretty yes?" Ranma looked at the smaller girl on the log, well smaller compared to the large woman, Ranma thought the purple hair girl might be a little taller than her own female form was. And she agreed that the purple hair girl was a lot prettier.

 

Ranma watched with curiosity as the smaller purple haired girl, armed with only a pair of large round maces, attacked the giant woman. She watched amazed as the smaller girl knocked the giant woman clear off the log and into a stone wall behind the log. A hush fell over the crowd as they watched the defeated woman who groaned loudly as she passed out and fell to the ground, leaving behind an imprint of her body. Most of the crowd started to cheer loudly while some booed at the girl who had won.

 

Ranma was impressed and couldn't help but wonder if the girl on the log might be interested in a spar as Ranma didn't buy into her father's attitude about female fighters, and other than Ryoga, Ranma hadn't had anyone to have a decent spar with in a long time. Genma was too busy trying to cheat during their spars and Ranma wanted a real challenge.

 

Meanwhile Genma had lost interest in the battle on the log and had looked around. His eyes lit up as he saw the large table off the side that was loaded with a feast. Starving, Genma walked over to the table and sat down, stuffing his face as soon as he did. He ignored the sign on the table that proclaimed the table as the first prize of the tournament.

 

"Wow, she's pretty good isn't she Pops?" Ranma as she turned to speak to Genma. "Pops?"

 

"Aiyah! What Mister Customer doing!?" The guide yelled. Ranma ran over and groaned.

 

"Pops! What are you doing?" Ranma asked as she saw the panda stuffing as much food into his mouth as he could.

 

'Shut up and eat,' Genma signed before thrusting a chicken leg into Ranma's hands. Ranma opened her mouth to yell at her father again but her sixth sense picked up on a movement behind her and jumped to the side as the purple haired girl crushed her mace into the table, breaking it in half as she tried to hit Ranma and Genma.

 

~How dare you eat my prize!~ The girl yelled in Chinese as she pointed her mace at Ranma and Genma. ~Who are you?~

 

"Huh?" Ranma asked then turned to the guide. "What did she say?"

 

"She ask who you is and why you eat her prize for winning tournament," The guide translated. Ranma groaned and looked back at Genma.

 

"You just had to stuff your face," Ranma groused then turned back to the other girl, thinking quickly. "This is the first place prize right? So all I have to do is defeat you and I'll be the winner right?"

 

The guide translated what Ranma said to the girl who nodded.

 

"Ok, so let's do this then," Ranma said as she tossed the chicken down on top of the broken table and started toward the log. The purple haired girl growled as she followed Ranma onto the log, Ranma standing in a loose relaxed stance as she crossed her arms behind her head.

 

~I'll make you pay for stealing my prize and insulting my honor!~ The girl said as she pointed at Ranma then moved in to attack the smaller red head. Ranma jumped over the other girl's head as she rushed Ranma, the smaller girl landing a kick between the taller girl's shoulder blades as she passed under Ranma. The purple haired girl stumbled then fell off the log to the dirt below. Ranma landed back on the log and looked down at the other. All the women and men watching stopped cheering and watched on in shock.

 

"So... does this mean I won?" Ranma asked as she hopped down to the ground. "That means the food is mine and everything is good now right?"

 

The girl got up off the ground and reached up to brush the dirt off her top. She stepped up to Ranma and reached up to turn the red head's face to the side, leaning in close.

 

"Xian Pu stop!"

 

*******

 

Cologne, elder and matriarch of the Joketsuzoku, had watched the pair of outsiders since they had entered the village. Right away she could tell they were not what they appeared to be. The panda was walking on his hind legs and he was eating the food that was the first prize for the tournament. This was a red flag since pandas didn't walk on two legs and they only ate bamboo. Not only that but panda bears didn't write on signs in what looked to be Japanese.

 

The girl too gave out signals that she wasn't as she seemed. As she walked and moved, it was easy to tell she wasn't use to her body and her whole center of gravity was thrown off. She seemed to be adjusting to it fairly well and she moved in a way that spoke of a life of training in martial arts.

 

Of course the biggest clue was the man with them, the guide from the nearby cursed training grounds Jusenkyo. The guide wouldn't be with the pair if they hadn't been cursed at Jusenkyo. She watched the red headed girl challenge her granddaughter Xian Pu, or Shampoo as it would be pronounced in Japanese, who was the winner of the tournament for the first prize. Cologne was quite proud of her great granddaughter for winning; she after all had trained the girl herself. And the challenge was innocent enough, after all the cursed outsider wouldn't know any of their laws and that fool of a man from Jusenkyo didn't look like he was going to bother telling the girl either.

 

'Idiot,' Cologne thought with a snort and a shake of her head. They had more misunderstandings with outsiders because of that man. Shaking her head again, Cologne turned to the combat log to watch Shampoo and the outsider fight. She was amazed as everyone else that the red headed girl had won, but then again Shampoo had been too over confident in herself and had over extended her reach when she moved to strike the other girl. On the other hand, Cologne was amazed that the red headed girl had been able to move as fluently as she had, the girl was clearly still not use to her body but still had been able to defeat her granddaughter.

 

Cologne's eyes widened as she watched Shampoo move to give the outsider girl the Kiss of Death.

 

"Xian Pu stop!" She called as she pogoed into the ring on her staff, halting Shampoo's actions.

 

~Why did you stop me Great Grandmother? This outsider defeated me in combat, I must give her the Kiss of Death,~ Shampoo said, pointing at Ranma who just looked confused.

 

~Not everything is as it seems Great Granddaughter,~ Cologne responded. ~We must gather all the facts before taking action. Head home and tell your father that we shall have guests.~ Shampoo sighed, she had been humiliated by the outsider girl and her pet panda and she wanted to repair her bruised pride. But when Cologne gave an order, you had to follow it. The purple haired teen turned on her heel and walked quickly out of the ring, pushing her way through the crowd.

 

"Forgive my Great Granddaughter," Cologne said as she turned to Ranma. "She acted before thinking, she was angry that you and your panda had eaten the prize she earned by winning the tournament."

 

"Well I didn't eat anything," Ranma said. "It was all my Pops."

 

"You and the panda came from Jusenkyo correct?" Cologne asked.

 

"Yeah, how didja know?" Ranma asked.

 

"You are with the guide and you both give off signs that you are not as you appear," Cologne said. "I am Kon Lon of the Joketsuzoku. Welcome to our village."

 

"Oh. Well I'm Saotome Ranma of the Anything Goes school of Martial Arts," Ranma said. Cologne's eyes flashed for a second, she recognized that school's name. "And sorry about all this," She added, waving her hand as the destroyed table and ruined feast that Genma was still snacking from.

 

"Come, you and your panda are welcome to my home," Cologne said as she waved for Ranma to follow her. "We shall speak about your curses and what happened tonight."

 

"Okay I guess. Hey Pops! Come on!" Ranma called over her shoulder as she followed the small old woman.

 

"Growf," Genma said as he stuffed one last piece of food in his mouth as he shuffled off after his cursed son. The guide also followed behind them, wringing his hands worriedly.

 

****

 

The home that Cologne led Ranma and her father to was one of the bigger huts in the village. Ranma gave a curious look when she noticed what looked like a satellite dish on the roof, that wasn't something she expected in an old world village like this. Inside the home it was sparsely furnished with a kitchen area to the side and a small living area with a short table in the middle. There was also a small TV with a couple of gaming systems tucked under the TV stand. The walls were decorated with scrolls that depicted battles or were of mythical animals such as dragons and phoenixes. Weapons also hung on one wall across from the door.

 

~Poe, prepare some hot water for our guests,~ Cologne said to a middle aged bald man with a long thin mustache. The man gave a short bow and moved over to the kitchen area. Also in the room stood Shampoo who had her arms crossed over her chest as she watched Ranma's group. She was curious about why her grandmother needed hot water.

 

'The only reason any one would need hot water outside of a bath is because....' Shampoo blushed as she realized what sort of people the outsider girl and her panda were and how close she had come to making a mistake in giving the redhead the Kiss of Death. Ranma and Genma sat at the table when Cologne motioned to it, watching as the old woman turned on the guide and started to speak to him in Chinese.

 

~What are you doing you fool? You have been warned before that you need to explain the rules of our village before you bring outsiders here!~ Cologne berated the large man.

 

~I'm sorry, it slipped my mind. I didn't know that young Mister Customer was going to challenge your granddaughter,~ the guide said defending himself.

 

~Xian Pu nearly gave that girl the Kiss of Death if I hadn't stopped her,~ Cologne said. ~You are in charge of the outsiders when they are here, you should have stopped the Panda from eating the first prize! At this rate Plum will take over your duties.~

 

~My daughter is too young to be a Jusenkyo guide!~ The guide wailed.

 

~That may be but she has a better head on her shoulders than you do foolish man,~ Cologne hissed. ~I will be taking charge of the outsiders, you shall return to the training grounds.~

 

~Yes Elder,~ The guide said with a sigh then turned to the Saotomes. "Elder Cologne take care of Mister Customers, she tell you about curses and if cure." He told them before living.

 

Poe at the same time carried over a kettle of hot water, pouring part of it over Ranma and the rest over Genma.

 

"Is there a cure?" Genma asked as soon as he was back to normal. He wanted Ranma turned back into a boy for good before the whelp started going off about feeling like a girl again like he did as a small child before the training trip. Genma blamed that on his wife Nodoka, making his son into a weak little girl and had to take Ranma far away from the woman. He had worked too hard to make Ranma into a man he could marry off to one of Tendo's daughter and so close to the time to return to Japan and make good on that promise the last thing he needed was a curse to muck everything up!

 

"There is not a known one," Cologne said as she sat down at the table. Behind her, Shampoo was looking at Ranma with interest. Now that she wasn't as angry as before, Shampoo could admit Ranma had been a pretty cute girl and as a boy he was just as good looking. Her thought process reasoned if the outsider was really a boy, then the Kiss of Marriage is what she should give the other teen. She wasn't really into finding a spouse just yet but she supposed that the boy in front of her wouldn't be too bad of a life partner. After all he was an excellent fighter and they could have many strong children one day. "It is possible that jumping into the spring with your base form could override the curse for good."

 

"So all we have to do is return to Jusenkyo and jump into the spring of drowned man!" Genma proclaimed as he jumped up. "Quick boy! Let's return to the training grounds so we can get rid of these curses!"

 

"I did not say that it was a for sure cure," Cologne said calmly while taking out a pipe. She lit the sweet smelling tobacco inside and began to slowly puff on it. "The magic of Jusenkyo reacts in unpredictable ways. I have seen many causes where an animal or person fell into two different springs. Every time the curses blended and mixed."

 

"So if I jump into that guy spring, I'll change into some sorta girl-boy?" Ranma guessed.

 

"It's possible but as I said the cursed springs react differently to everyone," Cologne said. "I would not suggest chancing it."

 

"There has to be some sort of cure," Genma said as he slammed his fist down on the table. Cologne gave him a cold annoyed look making Genma sheepishly draw back.

 

"If there is one, I do not know of it," She said dryly. Genma growled in anger and stomped outside, he couldn't let this curse ruin his plans of retirement! Ranma watched his father but made no move to follow the man. Instead he turned to Cologne and saw Shampoo standing against the wall.

 

"So... what was she going to do before you stopped her?" Ranma asked, nodding toward the purple hair girl.

 

"My Great Granddaughter had decided to give you the Kiss of Death for defeating her," Cologne explained.

 

"Nani!?" Ranma said, looking between the two Amazons.

 

"It is an old village law, when an outsider female bests a village female then she shall be given the Kiss of Death and hunted down until the outsider is dead," Cologne said.

 

"Are... are you going to kill me?" Ranma said, eyes darting around the room.

 

"No child," Cologne said. "Calm yourself, we do not use the law very often any more. Shampoo's pride was bruised after winning the yearly tournament only to be swiftly defeated by an outsider. If she had been able to give you the kiss then she would have been bound by our laws to carry out the sentence. But now that we know you are a male, it brings a new light to all this."

 

Ranma fidgeted slightly at the words, he had relaxed slightly when Cologne said he wouldn't be killed but something about her calling him a 'male' just didn't sit well with him. Cologne's sharp eyes hadn't missed it either, she had watched Ranma since he and his father entered the village after all. She had read his/her body language and had observed quite a few things, something that she recognized. While not use to his female form, Ranma's body had been relaxed and had even looked almost comfortable.

 

But as soon as Ranma had changed back to his birth form... just barely under the surface he was now tense. And the way he reacted to being called a boy...

 

"Tell me young one, how are you feeling about all this," Cologne said after a few minutes.

 

"Huh?" Ranma said, blinking at the elderly woman.

 

"Your curse, how do you feel about it," Cologne repeated.

 

"Ahh... well..." Ranma tapped his fingers against the table.

 

"You can tell me child," Cologne assured him. "Your father will not find out anything you say here."

 

"It-it's a bit weird," Ranma finally said. "Being in a new body and having all new parts. But... I'm not sure how to put it," he said, rubbing the back of his neck.

 

"Try," Cologne requested softly.

 

"I... I don't know. It's weird but... I kinda like it..." Ranma said. "I know it's wrong and Pops will kill me if he finds out."

 

~Poe, bring over some cold water will you?~ Cologne said.

 

~Great Grandmother, what is going on?~ Shampoo said, she hadn't understood anything they said. ~He's a boy, don't I need to give him the Kiss of Marriage?~

 

~Let's see how this plays out Granddaughter,~ Cologne said as she took the water from Poe. Then without warning Cologne poured the water over Ranma's head.

 

"Hey!" Ranma yelled as she shifted back into her girl form. She sputtered as she wiped water out of her eyes. "What the hell was that for?" Ranma asked as she squeezed the water out of her pony tail. Cologne didn't answer her right away, watching Ranma instead. The red headed girl was annoyed but Cologne could see the tension bleeding out of Ranma's shoulders.

 

"It's not wrong what you are feeling," Cologne said finally.

 

"Yeah right," Ranma said with a sulky pout. "I'm a boy, I'm not suppose to feel like... feel like..."

 

"A girl?" Cologne said. "It happens sometimes, sometimes a person is born into the wrong body and you know you should be something else. Tell me, do you feel comfortable with yourself now?"

 

Ranma shifted a bit under Cologne's gaze not sure if she should answer. "Well... yeah I guess but... if Pops finds out I'm still feeling this way he's gonna freak."

 

"It is nothing to be ashamed of child," Cologne said. "I believe you are a transsexual, you identify with the opposite sex than when you were born with though you hide it."

 

"Pops always told me not to act like a girl," Ranma said softly. "He'll really be pissed if he knows that I feel like a girl." There, she finally admitted to herself once and for all that she felt more right as a girl than a boy.

 

"You're father is a horrible-" Cologne started to say only to be cut off as the door to the hut slammed open.

 

~Elder! The outsider is causing trouble in the village square! ~ A pink haired young woman said. Cologne jumped up and ran outside with Shampoo on her heels. Ranma hesitated for a moment then ran out after them. In the square they found Genma on the ground with a sword to his neck.

 

~What is going on here?~ Cologne asked loudly.

 

~This outsider man attempted to put his hands on me,~ The woman holding the sword to Genma's neck said. ~He thought I was a weakling he could have his way with.~

 

Cologne glared at Genma who gulped and tried to shrink back.

 

"You have made a very stupid mistake," Cologne said coldly. "Throw him into the cages!"

 

"You can't do this!" Genma yelled as he was hauled to his feet.

 

"You’ll find that we can, you just attempted to force a Joketsuzoku warrior into having sex with you," Cologne said. "If you had raped her, you would be dead by now. I think time in the cages will give you time to think." Genma cursed and tried to fight the two women dragging him away. One of the guards struck the man across the head with the butt of her sword knocking the balding man out cold making it easier to drag Genma to be locked up.

 

Ranma watched in shock as Genma was taken away then turned to Cologne.

 

"Are you... are you going to do that to me too?" She asked.

 

"No child, you have done nothing wrong," Cologne assured her. "You're Father will just cool his heels for a few days. In the meantime you are welcome to stay in my home."

 

*****

 

Ranma yawned as he entered the main room of the hut, he’d had a surprisingly restful night after the day he had yesterday. He couldn't believe he broke down and admitted to a perfect stranger that he felt more comfortable and right as a girl! He must have lost his mind and blamed the weird feelings on his cursed form... yeah that was it...

 

"Good morning child," Ranma looked up at Cologne who was standing at the stove making breakfast. "Did you sleep well?"

 

"Errr, yeah. First time I slept in a bed in a while," Ranma said as he sat down at the table. "Look about yesterday..."

 

"You are still confused," Cologne said as she sat out a bowl of miso soup in front of Ranma.

 

"I don't know 'bout confused... I mean I guess I'm not," Ranma said with a frown. "It's because of the curse I feel this way."

 

"Are you sure?" Cologne asked, looking Ranma in the eye. Ranma kept her gaze for a moment before looking down. "I see. May I make a suggestion?"

 

"Yeah I guess," Ranma said.

 

"Walk around in your female form for a day or two. Do not think about how you were born a male, just focus on how you feel in that form," Cologne suggested. When Ranma opened his mouth she held up a hand. "Just try it, your Father is still locked away and will be for a while. Take this time to find yourself, stay in your female form for a day or two, then your male and compare how you feel."

 

"Why?" Ranma asked after a few seconds.

 

"I know and have known plenty of persons like yourself," Cologne said. "Just give it a chance and keep an open mind. Once you decide how you feel come and speak to me."

 

"Ok, I guess I can try," Ranma said.

 

~Great Grandmother, I found him,~ Shampoo said as she entered the hut, dragging a much taller teenage boy around her age with her. He had long inky black hair and wore a white robe with a purple and red diamond pattern on the chest and black rimmed wide sleeves and was also wearing dark blue pants. Also on top of his head was a pair of very thick glasses.

 

"Mu-Tsu, thank you for coming," Cologne said as she turned to the two teens.

 

"Xian Pu said you wanted to see me elder?" Mu-Tsu, or Mousse as most outsiders knew him, said to a table next to the wall. Cologne sighed as she rubbed the bridge of her nose.

 

~Put your glasses on idiot!~ Shampoo said, slapping the back of Mousse's head. Mousse blinked then pulled his think glasses down, covering his eyes completely and saw that he was not talking to the elder Amazon.

 

"Mu-Tsu, you and Xian Pu are to escort our guest around the village and act as a translator as Xian Pu does not speak Japanese," Cologne told him.

 

~I told you that you should have learned Japanese,~ Mousse said to Shampoo in Chinese.

 

~I didn't think I would ever have a reason to,~ Shampoo said, crossing her arms over her chest. Mousse sighed, he loved Shampoo, he really did, but sometimes her stubbornness could wear on him.

 

"Of course Elder, whatever you and Xian Pu need," Mousse said instead as he turned back to Cologne. Cologne nodded then turned to Ranma.

 

"This is Mu-Tsu, he and Xian Pu will be your guides," Cologne said.

 

"Hey," Ranma said with a small wave. Cologne hopped over to the sink on her staff and filled up a glass with cold water. Hopping back, she handed the glass to Ranma who sighed then poured it over his head. His skin seemed to tingle as he became a smaller she, rolling her shoulders as she adjusted to the new weight on her chest. Mousse had to fight to keep his mouth from dropping open, despite living close to Jusenkyo all his life this was the first time he had seen a curse in action.

 

"Ah-hmm," Mousse cleared his throat as he quickly got his wits back. "Shall we?"

 

****

 

"So... Mu-too?" Ranma said as they walked along the edge of the village where Ranma could see several women and girls training. Mousse sighed as he tucked his hands into the sleeves of his robe.

 

"Just call me Mousse," He said.

 

"Mousse, so women are the ones in charge? Kinda like Amazons?" Ranma asked.

 

~What is she saying?~ Shampoo asked.

 

~She is asking if we are like the Amazons,~ Mousse told her.

 

~What is an Amazon?~ Shampoo asked with a frown.

 

~A female warrior from the west, their tribes are like ours but there are no men,~ Mousse explained then turned to Ranma. "Yes, a bit like the Amazons, we've been called that. But our village and our sister villages are different, for one there are men here in the village."

 

"And you guys take the role of a woman?" Ranma asked.

 

"We take care of the home and any children," Mousse agreed. "But we're trained as warriors too; I am a master of the art of Hidden Weapons for example."

 

"Hidden Weapons?" Ranma repeated curious.

 

"Yes, I am able to store and use a large amount of weapons on my person and within my clothing," Mousse said. "Or any items I wish."

 

"Is it easy to learn?" Ranma asked, she wasn't big on using weapons though she did know how to handle a few, but the ability to store other items on her person would cut down having to use a pack and maybe she would be able to hide stuff from her Pops. "How does it work?"

 

"I am not allowed to teach outsiders any Joketsuzoku's techniques or styles without an Elder's permission," Mousse admitted with a frown. Shampoo looked down the other two teens, getting frustrated at not knowing what either of them was saying.

 

~AAHHGG! I'm tired of not knowing what you two are saying!~ Shampoo yelled, making Ranma jump back while eyeing Shampoo startled. Shampoo turned and grabbed the front of Mousse's robes and pulled him down. ~You have to teach me whatever language this is!~

 

~Calm down Shampoo!~ Mousse said. ~Look, I can try but you can't learn another language in a day, it could take awhile for you to learn.~

 

"Errr... what’s going on?" Ranma asked. Mousse sighed and straightened back up as Shampoo let go of him.

 

"Shampoo doesn't know any Japanese and wishes for me to teach her," Mousse explained. "She's tired to not knowing what we're saying."

 

"I guess I can understand that, I don't know any Chinese," Ranma said. "Believe me, it's hard trying to get through here without knowing what people are saying."

 

"Just how did you get around without knowing the language?" Mousse asked.

 

"Pops did all the leading. He doesn't know any Chinese either so he either guessed or found someone who could speak Japanese," Ranma said with a shrug. Mousse sighed and pushed his glasses up so he could rub the bridge of his nose.

 

"Is that why your father ate Shampoo's tournament prize?" He asked.

 

"Honestly, he would have ate that feast even if he did know what the sign said," Ranma admitted. Shampoo hit Mousse's arm, wanting him to translate. The taller Amazon youth told Shampoo what Ranma said, the purple haired girl huffed under her breath and glared in the direction where the village prison was.

 

~Stupid panda, should have made a rug out of him,~ Shampoo muttered. ~If he had left my prize alone, I wouldn't have lost my pride in that fight.~ Ranma backed away again as Shampoo clenched her fists in anger. Needing to vent her frustrations, she turned to Mousse and attacked him while Ranma watched in shock. Mousse, who was use to Shampoo using him as a punching bag, quickly recovered and began to fight her back, tossing out his sleeves and sending a wave of chains at the smaller teen. Maybe this would be the time he would defeat her in combat and get the Kiss of Marriage.

 

Ranma looked around and noticed that several other villagers looked in Shampoo and Mousse's direction, shrugged their shoulders then went back to what they were doing.

 

"Huh... Guess this is normal," Ranma said as she walked away a few feet and sat down, watching the fight between the other two teens. Like the day before, Shampoo showed that she was a very good fighter, she dodged and struck back at Mousse as the boy tried to trip her up with... was that a duck shaped potty trainer? Mousse was clearly no slouch when it came to fighting but Ranma could tell that he was trying his best not to hurt Shampoo. But even if he hadn't been holding back Ranma was sure Shampoo would still be winning like she was now, she was just that much better. Ranma was sure that between the two of them she was better than Shampoo but like Ryoga would give Ranma a very good workout. Mousse too could also be a good sparring partner as long as he didn't hold back on her.

 

Finally Shampoo decided that she had vented enough and planted her foot in the middle of Mousse's face, sending the taller teen flying back several feet. Mousse lay on the ground groaning loudly with a large red foot shaped mark on his face. Shampoo landed lightly on her feet and placed her hands on her hips, watching Mousse for a moment. Nodding to herself, and feeling a lot better now that she had worked out her anger on someone, Shampoo flipped a lock of purple hair over her shoulder and walked over to sit down next to Ranma. As neither of them understood the other, both girls were quite as Mousse recovered from his beating.

 

"Ow," Mousse said as he sat up, rubbing his head to ease away the ache.

 

"Wow, she beat you up pretty good," Ranma said, impressed that the boy recovered so quickly. "Everyone acted like that happens a lot."

 

"It does," Mousse said as he stood up and brushed the dirt off his robes then smoothed down his long hair. "I am often Shampoo's favorite punching bag but I love her anyway."

 

Ranma raised a red eyebrow, somehow she didn't think Shampoo returned the other Amazon's feelings.

 

"So... how do we go about teaching Shampoo Japanese?" She asked instead.

 

*****

 

The rest of the day passed quickly after that. Mousse and Ranma spent time teaching Shampoo the basics of Japanese. While she was a long ways away from being understandable it had been fun teaching the other girl. Not once during the day did Ranma go see Genma who was still locked away in the village's prison.

 

Ranma stepped into the public bath house in the village, pools of hot water steaming pleasantly. She eyed the water then sighed as she stripped out of her clothes and stepped into the pool. Another tingle ran up her form as her muscles became more defined and his shoulders widened while he lost his curves. After spending a whole day as a girl, it was a little odd now to be back in his boy body. It should have felt natural, but instead it was almost like putting on a suit that didn't quite fit. The idea was strange but it was how Ranma felt now. As he trailed his fingers through the water he wondered if Cologne was right, without his Pops constantly telling him to be a man it was giving him time to think about it. Really think about it for once.

 

Ranma finished washing up and poured cold water over his head once he was out, turning back into a girl and dressed in fresh clothing she had brought in with her. Night had fallen in the village as she walked back to Cologne and her family's hut, everyone else was already asleep as she entered and went straight to the room they had lent her. Flopping onto the bed, she yawned widely and fell asleep, her dreams filled with cute little fangs, green eyes and strong arms.

 

*****

 

Author Note: Ok, Ranma is a bit OOC but a lot of it is shock and trying to adjust to feelings that she thought she kept buried. Some of the regular Ranma will show up as the story goes on don't worry.

 

Mousse isn't hating or fighting Ranma because Ranma isn't Shampoo's 'husband' now. Since Ranma isn't trying to take away his 'love', Mousse has no reason to hate Ranma.

 

Edit 8-30-14: Just a little spelling and grammar that needed to be fixed.

Chapter Text

Blessed Curse

 

Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 belongs to Rumiko Takahashi

 

Author note: Thanks to Blissfull Wulf for betaing this fic.

 

Chapter 2

 

Ranma sighed as she looked at the kettle of hot water that had been set out for her by Shampoo's father Poe. The young martial artist had ended up spending a total of three days in her new female form, one more than Cologne suggested, and today she was going to spend time in her birth male form. Ranma hadn't been idle during the last couple of days. She had in that time found her center of gravity in her cursed form and could easily go through her katas again when she practiced her forms. The time spent as a female had also allowed Ranma to get use to the hormones and other feelings that her cursed form had. As such, she wasn't overrun by them and even felt more like herself again.

 

Which was great, now she didn't feel like she was going to almost cry when upset and wasn't overwhelmed like she had been before. Other than that Ranma had been surprised that she had enjoyed the time spent as a girl. It only served to remind her what she told Cologne that first night and had also led her to thinking about how she felt growing up. It was still all confusing to her, she was born a boy after all, shouldn't she feel like a boy? Ranma shook her head, she didn't have any answers for that. Picking up the kettle, she let the hot water inside pour over her head and down her form. The tingle that came when she changed from a girl to a boy was starting to become unnoticeable as he got use to it.

 

Once he was changed back to the body he was born with and put the kettle to the side Ranma stretched out his limbs as he quickly adjusted to the added height and shift in gravity. Other than the few minutes in the bath Ranma hadn't been in a male body in the last couple of days and being back in this form was a bit strange. It was familiar, it was the body he had grown up with after all, but at the same time it was strange for lack of a better word. It was like it was something he was use to but didn't feel just right.

 

As he left the room he had been loaned, Ranma braided his hair absently. He didn't wear it like this too often, he usually just kept it tied back into a low ponytail. The rest of the hut was empty as Ranma walked through it to the door where his almost constant companion Mousse was waiting. Shampoo did spend time with the both of them but she also had her own studies with Cologne as well as her other duties in the village.

 

Outside of the hut, Mousse turned to look at the odd outsider he had been forced to play tour guide too. He adjusted his glasses when he saw that Ranma was male, after only seeing Ranma as a boy once, he had almost forgotten that the other teen was originally male. It wasn't too bad, as not many people spoke to Mousse it was nice to be able to talk to someone which was why he didn't complain about showing Ranma around.

 

"Ranma," He said with a nod of greeting.

 

"Hey Mousse," Ranma said as he came to stand beside the other boy, Mousse was still taller than him even like this.

 

"I see that you have finally changed back," Mousse said.

 

"Yeah, the whole point of this thing was to see how I felt like a girl vs a boy," Ranma said. "Honestly feels a little weird."

 

"The curse in general or... other things?" Mousse asked. Ranma gave the long hair teen a look.

 

"Do you know why Cologne had me do all this?" He asked.

 

"I have an idea, it may have to do with one of the laws in our village," Mousse admitted. "But I think it would be a good idea for the elder to explain it to you."

 

"I guess.... hey Mousse, been wondering about this for a while," Ranma said as he looked up. "What's with all the satellite dishes and everything else?"

 

Mousse started to chuckle softly. "I was starting to wonder if you would ever ask about that, most outsiders do. We do have electricity in our village, a few outsiders married into the village years ago and introduced it to us. We do not have the amount that a city does, there use to be a power line that ran underground through the forests."

 

"Use to?" Ranma asked. Mousse nodded and pointed up windmill looking object that Ranma had noticed before but didn't know what it was.

 

"We've started to use wind generators and solar panels instead," Mousse explained. "It's surprising to the few outsiders that visit that we have these things, most see us as a primitive village. My mother would go crazy without her soap operas."

 

"I kinda did too, that was how the guide seemed to describe your village so it sorta shocked me," Ranma said. "So... any word on my Pop?"

 

"He is still locked up," Mousse said. "I'm sure he will be let go soon, he didn't get a chance to do anything, but he will be booted out of the village all the same once the elders decide to release him."

 

"I guess that's when I'll be going," Ranma said with a sigh. He had been enjoying his break from his father. Mousse wasn't so sure, if what he thought was going on was true then Shampoo would be free from acting out on either the Kiss of Death or Marriage and Ranma could be adopted into the village. But he still didn't say anything to the other boy as it wasn't his place. Instead he took Ranma to a central building in the village that acted as a mead hall so they could have a late breakfast.

 

*****

 

Ranma breathed deeply as he tried to meditate, he was still confused about everything. While he had admitted to Cologne that first night in the village that he had always felt like a girl, Ranma was starting to wonder if maybe that was the curse talking. He had never understood the feelings in him and even now it was confusing. He had really enjoyed walking around in his girl form. It was comfortable and for a lack of a better word right while the male form he had been born with was familiar but never seemed to really be him. It confused the teen and he didn't know what to think.

 

"What are you doing child?" Ranma opened his eyes and saw Cologne's feet standing in front of him.

 

"Meditating," Ranma said as he turned so he was no longer standing on his head but sitting up instead. "I was trying to sort out everything from the last few days."

 

"Has it helped any?" Cologne asked. Ranma sighed and ran his hand through his hair.

 

"Yes... No... I don't know," Ranma said. "I can't seem to wrap my head around everything. It's just so confusing!"

 

"I have a suggestion," Cologne said making Ranma eye her, her last suggestion was for him to go around as a girl for a couple of days and he was still confused about what he felt. "I can place you in a hypnotic meditative state, it will place you within your own mindscape."

 

"Do you really think that would help?" Ranma asked.

 

"It may, you might be surprised by what you find there," Cologne said. Ranma sighed then nodded his head.

 

"Alright, I'll try it," He said. Cologne motioned for him to follow her back to his room and had him lay on the bed to get comfortable. The elderly woman left for a moment then returned with incense which she lit while Ranma watched her. Lazy smoke started rise from the stick of incense, twisting in the air as it drifted. Ranma felt himself relaxing slightly as the soothing scent hit his nose.

 

"Now concentrate on my voice," Cologne said in a slow even tone. "You are finding yourself relaxing... your eyes are closing and your mind is turning inward..." Ranma found himself relaxing under Cologne's voice, his breath becoming even as his mind started to calm down and he felt himself drifting....

 

*******

 

Ranma blinked as one minute he was back in the room in Cologne's house then the next he was standing in... a forest?

 

'Is... is this what my mind looks like?' He wondered as he slowly stepped forward looking around. He would have thought his mind looked like a dojo or something, not a calm, quiet forest. It reminded him of growing up on the road and the forests he and his Pops would camp in at night.

 

As Ranma looked around he realized that it wasn't just trees, grass and rocks. How he missed it at first he didn't know but there was also a small building that appeared to a small dojo. And as he looked around, more things started to come into view. Uneven poles used to practice balance, a punching bag hanging from a tree, and even a practice dummy not far from that. Something caught Ranma's attention out of the corner of his eye and when he turned to see what it was he shivered in fear. A part of the forest was dark and he could just make out a pit... a pit that reminded him of the one Genma used during the Neko-ken training. He almost swore he could hear the hissing and spitting from ca-cats.

 

Ranma shivered again and quickly turned away from The Pit and looked around again. He blinked as he suddenly saw a small lake close to the dojo in his mind.

 

"I swear that wasn't there before," Ranma said as he walked over to the lake. In the middle of the water sat a boulder and Ranma could see lily pads and lotus petals along the edge. He leaned over to get a better look into the water and frowned as he was unable to properly see his reflection as the water rippled over the image.

 

"It's not going to clear up," Ranma blinked as a familiar sounding voice spoke. He looked up and saw in the middle of the lake on the boulder was his girl from. She was sitting with one leg drawn up to her chest looking back at Ranma. To Ranma she looked like a ghost, he could see the trees behind the lake through her body.

 

"Wha?" Ranma asked. "Who are you?"

 

"I'm you," Girl-Ranma said. "The inner you so to speak, I'm what your soul looks like."

 

"My soul?" Ranma asked.

 

"Yes," Girl-Ranma said with a nod.

 

"But you're a girl," Ranma pointed out.

 

"Yes but you already knew I would be," the other Ranma said. "We've always been a girl."

 

"But we were born a boy," Ranma pointed out.

 

"That doesn't change who we are," Girl-Ranma said. "Yeah outside we were born a boy but inside... inside this is what we are."

 

"So what does that mean?" Ranma asked softly. "Doesn't that change everything?"

 

"Why should it?" Girl-Ranma asked. "We've always known deep down that we were a girl, that the body we grew up with wasn't right."

 

"But we would have to do girly stuff," Ranma said. The other Ranma's words made sense and as he accepted the other's words rang with truth, Girl-Ranma's body seem to become a little clearer though it was still very faded looking.

 

"We have before and we enjoyed it. Remember when we played with Usagi or Miko or even Junko? We played with their dolls and even played dress up, Kaya had that really pretty blue dress that we liked," Girl-Ranma said.

 

"Then Pops found out about it and we ended up leaving, he was so mad," Ranma said.

 

"Pops has always wanted us to act like a boy but that doesn't change that deep down we're not," Girl-Ranma said.

 

"But..." Ranma started to say.

 

"How did you feel during the days you stayed in your girl form?" Girl-Ranma asked, cutting him off.

 

"I... I liked it," Ranma said softly. "Once I centered myself it was like walking normally."

 

"And now, as a boy?" Girl-Ranma asked.

 

"It's familiar but... it's not the same. It's like an uncomfortable outfit, I'm use to it but... I don't really like it," Ranma admitted. "But I'm afraid... that we won't be us as a girl. And what will other people think? What will Pops think?"

 

"Who cares what other people think? Pops pushed us to be a boy but we're miserable so he doesn't count. If Pops really cares he'll accept that we are who we are. Everyone else can accept it or leave us alone. We can find people who like us for being what we really are," Girl-Ranma said then with a smile added, "We're still us even with really being a girl, we still love martial arts."

 

"Yeah... I'm not going to let anything stop me from being the best martial artist in the world," Ranma said with determination. "So... nothing really changes?"

 

"Not if you don't want it to," Girl-Ranma said. "But we have the chance to be what we should have always been. We have a girl's body now! It felt right didn't it? When you walked around as a girl, it felt like we've always been that way."

 

"It did... it really did. I've never felt so at peace with myself like I have since we got that curse," Ranma said.

 

"Is it really a curse? That's our body, the one we should have always had," Girl-Ranma pointed out. "We're still us, we like the same things we did before."

 

"Yeah, we... I do don't I," Ranma realized. The light seemed to go off in his head. "I'm still one of the best damn martial artist in the world, I'm still... me. I'm just really a girl."

 

"That's right, we're still us," Ranma looked back at Girl-Ranma. She was standing up on the boulder, her body now solid. She stepped off the rock onto the water, walking across the surface to where Ranma stood. "We'll always be us. We're just... a girl."

 

"I'm a girl, I always have been deep down," Ranma agreed softly as Girl-Ranma reached the edge of the lake. She smiled up at him and wrapped her arms around Ranma, engulfing him in a hug. Girl-Ranma began to glow, becoming so bright that Ranma had to close his eyes. He felt a warm sensation all over and when he opened his eyes, he was alone once again. But now something was different and when he leaned over to look into the lake he saw what it was. His reflection was now clear, and looking back was herself. Inside her own mind her body now reflected how she saw herself. "I'm a girl," Ranma said softly again... and she felt better and content with accepting that.

 

******

 

Ranma could hear the birds outside tweeting and chirping in the morning sunlight as he slowly woke up. For the first time since he could remember Ranma felt relaxed and at peace with himself. He stretched his arms above his head, his back arching off the bed, as he remembered the dream the deep meditation Cologne had put him in brought. Who knew that admitting to himself once and for all that he was really a girl would make him feel so much better.

 

'Don't know how Pops is going to take this,' Ranma thought to himself as he opened his blue eyes and looked up at the ceiling. 'Who am I kidding, I know just how he'll take it. Pops is going to freak.' He sighed as he sat up, pushing back his hair from his face. Ranma may have admitted and made peace with what he really was but he knew Genma would have nothing to do with it.

 

Ranma sighed again as he got up, he was feeling the need to find some cold water and turn himself back to his real form. In the main room of the hut sat Cologne and Shampoo at the low table, seemingly waiting for him.

 

"Errr, hey?" Ranma said in a questioning tone as he sat down at the table.

 

"How did you sleep?" Cologne asked. "Did the meditation help?"

 

"Ah yeah, it did," Ranma said.

 

"And?" the elder woman hedged.

 

"I really am a girl," Ranma said in an almost soft one. "Inside I mean. I saw myself and it was the form of a girl."

 

"As I expected," Cologne said with a nod of her head. She pushed a glass of water she had sitting next to her to Ranma who gave her a small smile and poured it over his head.

 

"How did you know?" Ranma asked once she was back in her female form. "Why did you have me go around as a girl for a few days then as a boy? Why the deep meditative state?" This had been bugging her for the last few days. "Mousse said it had to do something with some law?"

 

"Did Mu-Tsu tell you what the law was?" Cologne asked.

 

"No, he said that you would tell me," Ranma said with a shake of her head. Cologne nodded her head satisfied with the answer.

 

"As I said the first night you arrived in the village, I believed that you are transsexual. Somebody born as one gender but identifying as the other," She started to explain. "I recognized the signs. You see, every now and then one of the villagers is born transsexual. Our ancestors did not understand why some boys would rather be girls, in fact our history archives states that the elders back then thought these men were simply trying to improve their standing in the village but then some of the village sisters claimed that they were really men."

 

"I guess that would be pretty confusing," Ranma said, knowing from experience. Cologne nodded in agreement.

 

"It was at the time. Some of the younglings started to kill themselves when denied the ability to acknowledge what they really were," Cologne continued. "We have so few in the village that the elders had to allow it, the change in those who were really telling the truth could be seen right away. It showed our ancestors that the villagers were speaking the truth and were really born in the wrong body.

 

"Over time the village elders were able to tell who were really what we now know to be transsexual and who was faking. Living so close to Jusenkyo we are able to use the spring of drowned man and woman to change the villagers to their proper genders.

 

"The law Mu-Tsu mentioned was a law created for these individuals, to protect them. Mostly the village sisters who wished to be village brothers but to be fair it was extended to the others as well."

 

"What does that have to do with me?" Ranma asked as she pointed to herself. "I ain't one of your villagers."

 

"The thing about our laws is that we are able to bend them to our liking," Cologne said with a small smirk. "As an elder and matriarch of the Joketsuzoku, I am able to extend the law to you. It will provide you the protection from other certain laws within our village."

 

"How?" Ranma asked.

 

"By adopting you into the village you will be free from all of the laws concerning outsiders," Cologne said. "I will be honest with you; you are a strong and powerful fighter, one we would love to have in our village. And I also wish to free my Great Granddaughter from the Kiss of Death and Kiss of Marriage."

 

"The first one means she would have to kill me right?" Ranma asked, remembering that the elder mentioned that the first night.

 

"Yes, and the second means that Shampoo would have to marry you," Cologne said.

 

"Shampoo no want marry," Shampoo said carefully, her Japanese still choppy. "Shampoo... not ready to find husband."

 

"Xian Pu has only just turned 16, old enough to be considered an adult within our village and to marry," Cologne said. "She would go through with the Kiss of Marriage but I know she is not ready for that step. And to be honest her Father and I would like her to grow up more before she takes that step."

 

"So... you get me to join your village and your granddaughter is off the hook?" Ranma asked.

 

"Yes, that is the gist of it," Cologne said. "I see a lot of potential in you child, I would love to mold you into a strong, powerful warrior."

 

"What about my Pops?" Ranma asked. She was very tempted by the offer, these people understood what she was going through and from what she saw the people here were very skilled martial artists. They could be the out she needed to get away from Genma and she had enjoyed her time here so far.

 

"He will not be allowed to stay," Cologne said with a cold voice, she did not like Genma Saotome, even within prison he was constantly bad mouthing the village girls. "Whatever you decide, we will be banning him from the village. Do you have any other family?"

 

"I think I have a Mom back in Japan," Ranma said with a frown. "But I'm not sure if she's alive or not, I can never get a straight answer from Pops about her."

 

"We could perhaps return to Japan if you like to see if your mother is still among the living," Cologne offered. Ranma traced her fingers over the top of the table slowly as she thought about the offer.

 

"I'm not going to say your offer isn't tempting, cause it is," Ranma said after a couple of minutes. "But... ahhh..."

 

"You feel you cannot just jump feet first into a life changing decision like this," Cologne guessed. Ranma blushed slightly but nodded her head in agreement.

 

"I do like it here, and if you hadn't forced me to go ahead and confront about how I feel and everything I might have spent the rest of my life calling myself a guy," Ranma said. "And I'm not really hopped up on the idea of being under Pops control again but..." she shrugged her shoulders helplessly.

 

"I understand," Cologne assured her. "Take your time to think about my offer." Ranma nodded and stood up from the table to head outside. She had to really think about this and decide if she wanted to spend the rest of her days with the Amazon-like warriors.

 

*******

 

Ranma was startled out of her thoughts as somebody suddenly sat next to her on the roof. Wanting a private, quiet place to think over Cologne's offer of joining the village, Ranma had taken to the roof of one of the taller buildings. She hadn't thought anyone would disturb her up there. Turning her head she was only mildly surprise that it was Mousse, her constant companion in the village it seemed, that had joined her.

 

"I really wasn't looking for company," She said as she turned back to looking at the nearby mountain.

 

"That is Mt. Phoenix," Mousse said as he noticed where she was looking. "Home to the Phoenix People tribe."

 

"Who?" Ranma asked.

 

"A whole tribe of bird people," Mousse explained. Ranma snorted softly and turned to Mousse.

 

"You're shiting me," She said. Mousse shook his head and adjusted his thick glasses.

 

"I am not. I don't know much about them, they don't like to deal with us or our sister village or the Musk if they can avoid it," Mousse said. "But they live right next to Jusenkyo, rumor is they got that way because of the springs."

 

"Who's the Musk?" Ranma asked.

 

"A tribe on the other side of the jungle," Mousse said. "Ruled over by men. They have a practice of finding wives by selecting an animal and throwing them into the same spring you fell into. The traits of the changed animal passes on to the offspring, at least according to them. They'll take any other woman as a bride that they can find, including the women in our village."

 

"Why are you telling me this?" Ranma asked.

 

"Shampoo told me about the offer that Cologne gave you," Mousse said. "I thought that maybe you may like to know about some of the nearby villages."

 

"Did they put you up to talking to me?" Ranma asked, half curious.

 

"No, I honestly thought of this myself," Mousse said. "You've noticed I'm not very popular here in the village."

 

"I think it's because of your dogged pursuit of Shampoo," Ranma pointed out. "Who doesn't seem to like you very much sometimes."

 

"Shampoo and I were friends as children until I fell in love with her," Mousse said. "The point being is I have no friends within the village. I am a laughing stock at times even. You are the first person to be my friend, if I can call you that, in years. And I really don't want to see you go and neither does Shampoo."

 

Ranma sighed and looked over the village again.

 

"It's like I told Cologne, I'm tempted to say yes. I do like it here," the red headed girl said.

 

"But..." Mousse said, sensing there was more.

 

"I don't know. It's a big life changing decision. Maybe not as life changing as finding out that you're a girl in a boy's body your whole life," Ranma said, running her hand through her hair. "But still big all the same. I've lived my life on the road with Pops, we rarely stay in any place long enough to set up any kinda life. I guess I'm scared of the idea."

 

"Did you enjoy traveling?" Mousse asked.

 

"Yeah, somewhat anyway," Ranma said. "But you can imagine what it was like with Pops. He's never gonna accept that I'm really a girl in a boy's body."

 

"At least if you live in the village, your father cannot do anything to you," Mousse pointed out. Ranma sighed and propped her chin into her hand.

 

"I know, and that is a big point in favor of living here," Ranma agreed. "I'm just conflicted by what I want I think."

 

"Well I hope you decide to stay in the village," Mousse said as he stood up. Ranma grunted softly, eyes fixed on the far away Mt. Phoenix again as she sunk back into her thoughts. Mousse sighed and left Ranma to herself, leaping off the roof to the ground below.

 

*****

 

Ranma spent the rest of the day weighing the pro and cons of letting herself be adopted by the Joketsuzoku. In the end, she couldn't see a reason why she shouldn't accept Cologne's offer. She had no home that she could remember to return to and like she told the older woman, Ranma wasn't even sure if her mother was dead or alive. Genma sure as hell was not someone that Ranma wanted to return to, while Genma had spent Ranma's whole life teaching her in Anything Goes, how Genma had taught her left much to be desired. The man was far from a good father and Ranma had very little affection or respect for him.

 

Ranma also knew Genma would never accept her for what she was and Ranma would have to go back to being a boy if she left with her father. She honestly didn't want to go back to that, Ranma liked being a girl and now freely admitted that it was what she should have always been.

 

So in the end the decision was easy.

 

"I want to stay," Ranma told Cologne when she returned to the hut. "I really got nothing for me to not stay."

 

"I'm glad you've decided to become one of our village sisters," Cologne said with a pleased smile. Shampoo was bouncing in excitement when Cologne translated for her that Ranma consented to stay in the village. The purple haired girl ran over to the shorter red headed one and picked her up in a bone crushing hug.

 

~I've always wanted a little sister!~ Shampoo said happily in Chinese. Shampoo was extremely happy by Ranma's decision to stay, not only was she free from the Kiss of Death and Kiss of Marriage, but now that Ranma was to be adopted into her family she gained a sister, something she had always wanted but was unable to have since her mother died when Shampoo was little and her father Poe never looked for another wife.

 

Cologne chuckled as she watched Shampoo and Ranma. Yes she was happy as well, she liked Ranma, the girl was quite adapt at martial arts and Cologne couldn't wait to teach her some of the techniques she knew. She would also be quite happy to finally throw the girl's useless father out of the village.

 

******

 

Genma sulked as he glared in the direction of the two female guards that stood outside his cell. He had been stuck inside the village prison for over a week and nothing he tried led to his escape. He hadn't seen his son in all that time either. Who knew what these women were doing to Ranma, what ideas they were putting in the boy's head!

 

He couldn't believe he was in this situation, by a bunch of women at that! He firmly believed that a woman's place was at home, taking care of the men, not pretending they were some sort of great warriors. Of course he wasn't going to say any of this out loud, he had too many bruises from the last few times he had opened his big mouth.

 

All this over him trying to teach a woman her proper place while looking to get some relief from the situation he and Ranma were in. You would think in a village with more women than men, they would be happy to be bedded by a fine manly man like himself.

 

And on top of that the food sucked. It was nothing like the feast that he had eaten the first night. All the food the guards gave him was bland and tasteless and nowhere near enough to feed him.

 

He was still sulking and grumbling to himself when Cologne arrived sometime later. When she cleared her throat he nearly jumped out of his skin.

 

"You!" Genma yelled, wrapping his hands around the bars of his cell and glaring down at Cologne. "You can't keep me in here like this, I demand that you like me go this instant!"

 

"Sit down you fat fool," Cologne said in a cold tone while her staff struck him in the chest. Genma was knocked over onto his back and he shivered in fear as he looked up at the shrunken woman, he was greatly reminded of the master at that moment. "You are as of this moment banished from our village, the guards will escort you to the gates were you are to leave our territory and never return."

 

"Fine," Genma said as he stood up. "I'll be happy to take my son and leave."

 

"I'm afraid that will be impossible," Cologne said with an amused glint in her eyes. "Your child will be staying here with us."

 

"Yo-you can't do that!" Genma yelled.

 

"You’ll find that I can," Cologne said with a smirk then turned to the selection of warriors she brought with her. ~Throw him out of the village.~

 

Genma cursed loudly and struggled in the grip of the guards that dragged him through the village to the gates. Groups of women and men stopped what they were doing to watch the spectacle, some of the younger children laughing and pointing. And far in the back, hidden in the shadows, Ranma stood with Mousse and Shampoo on either side of her watching as the only family she really knew was tossed out of the gates and the doors slammed in the man's face as he screamed Ranma's name.

 

******

 

Ranma settled into life in the village pretty quickly. She’d never had a stable home that she could remember so it was a novel experience for her. Cologne had also started training her alongside Shampoo once Ranma had settled in. There were some problems there, while Ranma didn't believe the hype that women were weak she still a problem hitting another girl since she had been taught to never hit a woman. It took a bit of time for Cologne to break Ranma of the habit but soon Ranma was able to hit Shampoo when the pair spared.

 

Ranma also started to make other friends in the village but still spent most of her time with Mousse and Shampoo. When together, Mousse refrained from telling Shampoo how much he loved her and trying to win her hand in marriage while Shampoo cut back on beating the nearsighted boy up. Ranma was sure when she wasn't there they acted how they normally did. When they were all together Shampoo continued her lessons on how to speak Japanese, she wasn't the best at it and tended to speak in the third person and give people nicknames if she found their real names too hard to pronounce.

 

In turn, both teens began to teach Ranma Mandarin, the dialect of Chinese spoken in their village. Ranma felt like she sounded like Shampoo when the other girl spoke Japanese. Ranma also received new clothing, she loved how the Chinese silk tops felt against her skin. Her favorite was a red top, that thankfully didn't clash with her red hair, with a black sash tied around her slim waist and a pair of black kung-fu style pants that tied at her ankles.

 

It wasn't all smooth, quiet calm. Genma tried again and again to break back into the village to kidnap, or as the man saw it 'rescue', Ranma back. He never succeeded but he also never gave up. Genma often became an object lesson for many girls in training to become warriors.

 

It was weeks later when everything changed yet again.

 

Down at Jusenkyo the guide grunted as he pulled the heavy pack from the bottom of the springs. He had been doing his rounds, checking to see if any unlucky animal or person had fallen into one of the springs when he noticed the pack sitting in the bottom of the spring of the drowned fox.

 

'I thought that boy who fell in got his pack,' the guide thought to himself once he pulled the water logged pack up out of the spring. Of course he hadn't seen the boy since then, not even to return the hooked stick, which Plum had found in the jungle surrounding the springs, or the shirt the boy that the bandanna borrowed. He brought the pack inside of his and his daughter's home, leaving it by the fire pit to dry out. Later that night he started to dig through it in hopes of finding some sort of address or contact information so he could send the pack back to its owner. There wasn't enough room in the guide's home just to leave junk around after all.

 

Unfortunately the water from the spring blurred out the ink on the ID tag attached to the pack and the guide couldn't find anything else with contact information. But he did find one thing, in a side pocket on the large pack was a photo that was washed out looking but still clear enough for him to make out two teen boys in the photo. One looked much like the young man that the travel pack belonged to, the other boy in the photo took a little longer for the guide to place. (1)

 

'Ah! It's the young man that fell into the spring of drown girl that same day,' the guide thought as he tried to match where he had seen that face before. He heard rumors that the girl-cursed youth was still in the Joketsuzoku village. He quickly wrote out a note to take to the village, hoping Ranma would be able to tell him who the pack belonged to and where he could send it.

 

Attaching a note to the leg of a massager pigeon he kept to send messages to the nearby villages, the guide set about to cook dinner for himself and his daughter Plum.

 

*****

 

"What's so special about this soap?" Ranma asked confused as Cologne handed her a bar of soap before she headed outside that morning.

 

"It is called 'Waterproof soap'," Cologne explained.

 

"Waterproof?" Ranma asked confused.

 

"Yes, it is a special type of soap that will stop the effects of the Jusenkyo curses," the elderly woman said. "If you wash with it as a boy, cold water will not turn you into a girl."

 

"And if I wash with it as a girl I won't turn back into a boy?" Ranma asked excitedly. Ranma had been happily spending time in her true girl form but every night turned back into a boy while she bathed. Unless she did so in cold water, Ranma wasn't able to experience soaking in a tub as a girl and she didn't like turning into her old boy form.

 

"Yes, but there is a limit," Cologne warned. "The effect only lasts for a week at a time each time the soap is used. Once the week is up and you haven’t used the soap again, the curse becomes active once again. But as long as you wash with it once a week as a girl you'll be able to stay in your girl form without fear of hot water turning you back into a boy."

 

"So it's not a permanent cure," Ranma said.

 

"No, but it will hold you over until we have what we need to lock the curse once and for all," Cologne said. She was currently in negotiations with the ruler of the Musk tribe, Dragon King of the Musk Dynasty Chili, to use the Ladle of Locking. The Ladle of Locking, or as it was also known the Pail of Preservation, was a special item that the Musk used to lock the animals they cursed in the Nyannichuan in their new human woman form so they wouldn't be able to return to their original form. Sometimes the Joketsuzoku asked to use the magical pail and ladle to lock their Transsexual village members in their true forms.

 

It wasn't easy, the Musk and Joketsuzoku were lifelong enemies and were currently in a feeble truce at the moment. The Joketsuzoku had to trade something the Musk wanted to get to use the Ladle of Locking for a short time. King Chili's son Prince Herb, while still an arrogant snot nosed brat, was a bit more reasonable than his father but it would still be years before Herb became the next Dragon King.

 

"Thanks Cologne," Ranma said with a grin. Cologne had told her she was allowed to call her 'Great Grandmother' like Shampoo did since she was now adopted into their family but Ranma just couldn't bring herself to do it just yet. Cologne chuckled and nodded before leaving to attend to some of her duties as the leader of the village. Ranma looked at the Waterproof soap with another grin and slipped it into her pocket, she would be able to take a hot bath as a girl tonight.

 

When she returned to her new home she found Shampoo looking at a letter at the low table in the middle of the room.

 

"Wha's that?" Ranma asked as she flopped down beside her new 'sister'.

 

"Letter come from Guide at Jusenkyo," Shampoo said. "Guide said want Ranma to come to training grounds, has something he needs help find owner." Ranma looked confused, she didn't know what in the world the Guide from Jusenkyo would need her help with. She didn't think it was anything she owned, all of her stuff was in the room she had been using since she arrived in the village.

 

"Haven’t got a clue what he's talking about," Ranma said.

 

"Can see," Shampoo suggested as she put the letter down. "If run will reach training grounds in short time."

 

"Yeah but what about Pops?" Ranma asked. "He's still trying to take me back."

 

"Not see stupid Panda-man in days, maybe tiger eat Panda-man," Shampoo said.

 

"Don't wish that on the poor ti-tiger," Ranma said, stumbling over the word. Shampoo gave her a quick look of pity, Ranma's fear of cats had been discovered after the girl had agreed to stay in the village. Cologne had been quite pissed when she discovered that Genma had forced Ranma to learn the Neko-ken.

 

"Shampoo and stupid Mousse go too," Shampoo offered. "All three too too strong for Panda-man."

 

"Alright I guess it wouldn't hurt to look," Ranma said with a shrug of her shoulders. The girls got up to go find Mousse, Shampoo leaving the note from the Jusenkyo guide on the table.

 

******

 

Genma grumbled as he waited outside of the village hidden from sight. Every attempt to re-enter the village had so far been blocked, he had to grudgingly admit for a bunch of girls the villagers weren't bad.

 

'I will have to really step it up to get into the village,' Genma decided with a nod to himself. As he leaned back to scheme a plan of attack the front gate of the village opened. Sensing something new was happening, Genma sat back up and watched with glee as Ranma ran out of the gate. 'I knew the boy wouldn't let himself be ensnared by those women for long!' He thought happily only to frown as he noticed that Ranma was in his girl form. And that Ranma wasn't alone, he had two other teenagers, a purple haired girl and a long black haired boy, with him.

 

Genma sneered at Mousse's long hair but at the same time had a pang of envy, his own hair had fallen out a long time ago leaving him quite bald. He noticed that all three of them were heading toward Jusenkyo. Seeing his chance he quickly followed, using the Umi-Sen ken to keep hidden from the trio. There would be nobody to stop him now!

 

*****

 

Ranma, Shampoo and Mousse arrived at the springs less than an hour later. They had taken to jumping from tree to tree as they ran, only having to stop when Mousse had slammed into a couple of them because of his poor eyesight.

 

"Ok, let's see what the guide wanted so badly," Ranma said as she headed toward the Guide's hut.

 

Genma who had easily followed all three teens wasted no time. Still cloaked in the Umi-Sen Ken, Genma came up behind his daughter and used Strike of the Spitting White Snake to strike her in the back.

 

"Haku Dato Shin Sho!" Ranma was taken by surprise by the attack and collapsed to the ground as she was knocked clean out.

 

"Who there!?!" Shampoo said as she and Mousse got into stances as Ranma collapsed to the ground out like a light. Genma reappeared in front of them making Shampoo growl. "Stupid Panda-man! Shampoo not let Panda get away with that!"

 

"Silly girl," Genma said as he got into his own stance. Genma was overweight looking but he was far from unfit. The more experienced warriors of the village might have been able to overpower him but he was a match for Shampoo and Mousse as he was now. Shampoo yelled as she jumped to attack Genma while Mousse sent a wave of chains at the man to trap him.

 

Genma jumped into the air to avoid both attacks. Shampoo grit her teeth in anger and jumped up after him making Genma smirk. Mid-air combat was the specialty of the Saotome School of Anything Goes Martial Arts. He traded a few blows with Shampoo then used one of his own techniques that he never taught Ranma to grab Shampoo close, knock the air out of her then toss her in the direction of the springs as he moved to avoid being hit by blade tipped chains. Shampoo managed to let out a yell before she landed in one of the springs, disappearing under the water.

 

Mousse yelled as he tossed a smoke bomb at Genma, a cloud of smoke surrounding Genma. Usually he would follow the attack with his Exploding Chicken Eggs but this time he leapt high in the air, aiming for Genma as the smoke cleared. Both of his feet were pointed at the man as wickedly large sharp claws sprung out of the tip of his shoes.

 

"Takazume ken!" He was doing this for both Shampoo and for Ranma!

 

"Got ya!" Genma had held his breath when the smoke surrounded them and waited for Mousse's attack. He twisted in midair and grabbed the teen's legs as he missing hitting Genma. With a grunt Genma turned in midair, using the slingshot force to toss Mousse away toward the springs where he landed in one further away than Shampoo's spring had been. Landing lightly on the ground, Genma dusted the dirt off his hands then quickly grabbed his pack he had hidden in the valley then draped Ranma over his shoulder. Not sticking around to see what the other two teens were cursed as, Genma high tailed it out of the area as quickly as he could. It was a shame Ranma lost all of her things because of this but nothing a five finger discount couldn't fix.

 

As Genma left, Shampoo climbed out of the spring the man had tossed her into, screaming to the sky in squeaky fury.

 

'I will kill you Genma!' She wasn't alone in her thoughts, Mousse also vowed revenge as he dragged himself out of his spring. The two Amazon Joketsuzoku would have their revenge on Genma Saotome and rescue their village sister!

 

****

 

Cologne frowned as she entered her home and found the note Shampoo left behind from the Jusenkyo guide. She hadn't seen either her Great Granddaughter or Ranma all day since that morning nor had she seen that slacker Mousse. When she asked the gate guards, they confirmed that the three teens had left around mid morning, heading in the direction of Jusenkyo.

 

She felt like something was wrong, the three youths should have returned to the village by now.

 

'What could be keeping Shampoo and Ranma?' Cologne wondered as she looked out into the jungle. Deciding to go look for them, Cologne selected a group of warriors to come with her and headed out with the search party to look for the teens. She hoped they hadn't been killed or worse, kidnapped by the Musk.

 

When she arrived at Jusenkyo she got a very unpleasant surprise, her Great Granddaughter Shampoo and Mousse were cursed and Ranma taken by her father. After getting the whole story from the pair once they were turned back into their normal forms, Cologne's body glowed with chi as she became angry. So in the end she gave permission for Shampoo to hunt down and kill Genma Saotome. She also didn't stop Mousse from going with Shampoo, his own need for revenge overpowered his constant need to woo Shampoo for the time being.

 

*****

 

Author Note: I'm so glad that all of you like this story so far, I hope you continue to enjoy it.

 

(1) Ryoga had to have some way of figuring out where Ranma went, he must of used the photo of the both of them to ask people if they saw Ranma while following him.

 

Edit 8-31-14: A few minor mistakes just needed to be fixed.

Chapter Text

Blessed Curse

 

Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 belongs to Rumiko Takahashi

 

Author note: Thanks to Blissfull Wulf for betaing this fic.

 

Chapter 3

 

Kasumi Tendo hummed a pleasant song to herself as she entered the house she shared with her father and two younger sisters, bags of groceries in her hands. Once the bags were placed on the counter in her kitchen, she took out the stack of mail she had placed inside when she entered the gate. Mostly it was bills, at least one catalog which she put to the side and... a postcard?

 

"Hmm?" Kasumi looked at the postcard, the front decorated with a photo of a panda bear, and turned it over to see who it was for. Seeing her father Soun Tendo's name on the back she quickly took it into the main room of the house. "Father, you received a postcard," She said as she handed the card to Soun.

 

"Thank you Kasumi," Soun said as he put his newspaper to the side and read the back.

 

'Tendo,

 

       Returning from China, bringing the boy. Should be there the day you get this card.

 

               Saotome'

 

Tears of joy sprung to Soun's eyes as he read the words. At last, his friend and old training buddy Genma Saotome was coming with his son Ranma to fulfill the promise they made so many years ago!

 

"Kasumi! Nabiki! Akane!" He called his three daughters names.

 

"Yes Father?" Kasumi said as she leaned out of the kitchen door.

 

"Yeah Daddy?" Nabiki Tendo, the middle Tendo daughter, asked as she walked down the stairs into the living room.

 

"I have wonderful news... where is your sister?" Soun asked as he noticed only two of his daughters had come to his call.

 

"I think she's doing her daily run," Kasumi said.

 

"As soon as she gets home, we’re having a family meeting," Soun said then headed out of the room to prepare for his friend’s arrival.

 

"What do you think it's about?" Nabiki asked her older sister.

 

"I don't know, but he's very excited about whatever it is," Kasumi said as she handed the stack of bills to Nabiki.

 

"Huh," Nabiki said absently as she flipped through the bills. "Guess we'll find out when Akane gets home."

 

******

 

"Stay here boy," Genma said to his son as they came to a stop on a corner. He hadn't been in Nerima in years and needed directions on how to reach the Tendo Dojo.

 

"Yeah sure, whatever Pops," Ranma said with a roll of her eyes. Genma scowled down at his son-turned-daughter then headed down the street to speak to someone. Ranma rolled her eyes again, she had no idea where Genma was dragging her too, and he had been very hush-hush on it since they arrived back in Japan. Ranma sighed as she leaned back against the lamp post on the street corner.

 

She and her father had been on the run, or more like Genma was on the run and dragging Ranma along for the ride, since they left Jusenkyo a few weeks ago. Ranma didn't remember anything of their departure, only a blinding pain then darkness. She woke up nearly a full day later in a village they had passed through before when going to Jusenkyo. It didn't take a genius to figure out that Genma had knocked her out since Ranma wouldn't have willingly left now that she had a new family. When she had woken up, her father had been standing over her only to jump back when Ranma screamed in surprise.

 

Once he had recovered Genma told her that he had 'rescued' her from the Amazons, as he called the Joketsuzoku, then asked her why she had been running around with two of them instead of trying to get away with a suspicious look in his eyes.

 

Ranma may not be the brightest crayon in the box but she was quick enough to think up a lie. Pulling on her knowledge of the laws Cologne had told her, Ranma lied and said that since she defeated Shampoo in combat that she was engaged to the purple haired youth who had followed her around to make sure Ranma didn't 'run away'. Ranma remembered being taken aback when Genma exploded that Shampoo was not her fiancée and to put the girl out of her mind.

 

'Kinda hard to do that when she's trying to kill you, isn't it Pops?' Ranma thought to herself with a smirk. Shampoo had shown up a day or two afterward trying her best to kill Genma, or at least maim him, and they had been running away since. Added onto that, Mousse had also shown up for the same reason, Ranma didn't get much of a chance to speak to either teen since Ranma had been dragged all over China as her father tried to put as much distance between him and the Amazon youths. When they weren't on the run, Ranma had attempted at least a couple of times to leave and head back to Joketsuzoku but Genma, who had been keeping a very close eye on his only child, had stopped her every time. He seemed hyper aware of what she was doing and where she was at all times. Ranma knew it wasn't because Genma was worried about her, and if he was he had a funny way of showing it, but instead seemed to know Ranma would rather be back with the Amazon-like warriors, seeing through some of Ranma's lies.

 

Ranma would have made a run for it during the times Shampoo or Mousse had attacked Genma but quickly found that her two friends were hesitant in their attacks if she was nearby. While she may not like Genma, the man was still her father and she didn't want to see him dead therefore she stuck close to him to keep him from being killed.

 

Ranma had almost made her escape once, she had found some bottles of booze that a sailor had left behind and gave them to her father. Genma had happily taken the offering and drank what was left in the bottles. When the man had dropped off into an alcohol induced slumber, Ranma proceeded to run off. She had hoped to find either Shampoo or Mousse and convince them to return to the village with her, letting Genma continue his own way. Ranma didn't even make it out of town, Genma had woken up right after she left and quickly sobered up from the little amount of liquor he had drank. He dragged his offspring back to camp and that had been the start of the close watch on her from then-on out.

 

"Excuse me, can you tell me if this is Hong Kong?" Ranma blinked as she was jarred out of her thoughts by a familiar voice. She looked up and saw Ryoga Hibiki, map of what looked like some place in America, at least she thought it was, she wasn’t sure. It could be France or something, open in front of him, looking lost as ever. "OH! It's you, that girl from the place with all the springs."

 

"Yeah," Ranma agreed with a grin. "You look a little lost, you're far away from Hong Kong, we're in Japan."

 

"Really?" Ryoga asked excitedly. "Oh, I didn't get your name last time," he blushed a bit as he remembered last time and what happened with the shirt he had been wearing. He really hoped the pretty girl in front of him didn't remember.

 

"Oh I'm Ran," Ranma froze for a fraction of a second, Ryoga didn't know she was Ranma his old rival and sparring buddy from junior high. Ranma hadn't been overly kind to Ryoga, something she regretted and often tried to make up for without seeming to. But he didn't know her like this and Ranma didn't want to spoil a chance to start over. "Ka. Ranka, yep that's my name," she quickly said, coming up with a similar sounding name right on the spot. After she said it, she supposed she could have gone with Ranko now that she thought about it but it was too late. (1)

 

"Ranka..." Ryoga tried the name out, grinning in a silly fashion. He completely missed the hesitation when Ranma gave him the fake name. To him it was just a pretty name for a pretty girl. "I'm Ryoga," he said with a polite bow. "Why are you in Japan? Don't you live in China?"

 

"What?" Ranma asked, "No, I'm from Japan, Pops and I were just visiting." She would have liked to stay in China with her new family but Genma had put a kink in those plans after he dragged her off. Ranma was still plotting a way to return to China and Joketsuzoku, they had lost Shampoo and Mousse before stowing away on a boat heading to Japan and the red headed girl didn't know if her two friends would come here or not.

 

Ryoga scowled darkly at the mention of Ranma's father, he remembered clearly how sad and scared Ranma had been and that she mentioned Genma was the cause of it.

 

"Your father isn't hurting you or nothing is he?" Ryoga asked. "I'll gladly pound him into the dirt otherwise."

 

"Nah, it's fine," Ranma assured him. "Pops is an idiot, I can take care of myself." Still she was a little warm and fuzzy that Ryoga had offered to beat Genma black and blue for her, but just a little since she could do it herself. When her father wasn't cheating of course. Ryoga looked hesitant for a moment then nodded. Above them thunder rumbled as the dark clouds that had been hanging around all day threatened to drop its load.

 

"Eeerrr, I've got to go," Ryoga said quickly, he wanted to be inside before it started raining and he turned into his cursed fox form. He didn't want his new pretty friend to know about how much of a freak he was by changing.

 

"Oh... ok," Ranma said as Ryoga turned and quickly walked away. "I wonder what that was about."

 

****

 

Genma grunted as he left the store, pocketing the packets of ramen he grabbed on the way out. He had gotten the instructions he need to find the Tendo Dojo and he couldn't wait as the sooner they got there, the sooner Genma could force Ranma into picking his future bride.

 

'Of course, if that blasted boy doesn't turn back into a boy, my plans might go up in smoke,' Genma thought to himself. Somehow, no matter how much hot water Genma poured over his son, Ranma would not turned back into a boy. Genma didn't think it was anything the Amazons had done, the first night away Ranma had turned back but since then Ranma had been a girl and Genma couldn't figure out just how the boy was doing it.

 

He wondered if he wasn't using hot enough water on his son, he hadn't really been able to test the theory as those two teens from Jusenkyo that had foolishly challenged him had followed them all throughout China trying to maim him. Busy trying to stay alive and in one piece, Genma hadn't the time to even change out of his own cursed form while on the run. And cold water just seemed to find him no matter what, it was kinda annoying.

 

'Once at Tendo's I'll use the hottest water I can find,' Genma thought to himself with a nod. He walked back toward the corner where he’d left Ranma and frowned as he came to a stop. His girl-cursed son was talking to another boy, Genma thought the bandana wearing boy looked a little familiar but he couldn't place where he had seen him before, and seemed to be acting... acting like a bloody girl around the other youth. Genma scowled, what was that boy of his up to? He watched as the other boy stiffened when it thundered then quickly left.

 

"Boy! What do you think you're doing?!" Genma all but roared as he stomped back over to Ranma.

 

"The hell you going on about old man?" Ranma asked with an almost pouty scowl on her face.

 

"With that boy!" Genma yelled, not noticing that he was starting to draw a crowd. Ranma frowned up at her father confused.

 

"What about him? He's just a guy I know Pops, no need to get your fur up in a bunch," Ranma said.

 

"You were acting like a girl instead of a man!" Genma roared. Ranma stepped back stunned and tears sprung to her blue eyes.

 

'Damn it, I thought I had this crying thing under control,' Ranma thought to herself. One thing she had found out, tears tended to come a lot easier as a girl than in her male form. Genma sneered as he saw the tears.

 

"There you go, being a weak little girl again," Genma said.

 

"Shut up Pops!" Ranma swung her pack at Genma, catching him by surprise as it collided with him and knocked him onto his back. Ranma turned and ran off, one arm over her eyes as she tried to control her crying. People started to whisper about what a horrible man Genma was, to make his daughter cry like that. Many mothers in the crowd glared at Genma as the man sat up, pushing the pack off him. The storm clouds rumbled again then let loose, a torrent of water soaking Genma to the bone and triggering his curse. Many people cried out in alarm as Genma-panda stood with a growlf noise, not understanding what had happened and many ran off screaming.

 

Genma-panda ignored the people around him as he picked up both his and Ranma's packs and lumbered off to find his offspring.

 

*****

 

Ukyo Kuonji sighed as she leaned against the counter, looking out over the empty tables at her uncle's restaurant. Ukyo was working part-time there to build up some cash so she could open her own restaurant one day. Yawning, she arched her back while stretching her arms out then pulled down her top as it rode up.

 

Ukyo sighed again, running her hands over her top. For once she was dressed as a girl, something her uncle insisted on. When she was younger her father had engaged her to her childhood friend Ranma, offering up their okonomiyaki cart as a dowry. Ranma and his father Genma then ran off with the cart without taking Ukyo with them. She could remember running after them, screaming for them to stop, she was supposed to go with them but her little legs hadn't been able to keep up.

 

The incident had brought shame on their family according to her father and he had made Ukyo give up her womanhood until she could get her revenge on Ranma and his father. For that reason Ukyo usually dressed and acted like a boy, wearing the male school uniforms and the last school she had attended had even been an all-boys school. Ukyo shuddered slightly as she remembered her stalker Tsubasa Kurenai, a boy from the school that had discovered that Ukyo was really a girl and decided he was in love with her. Outside of school Tsubasa had a habit of dressing up like a girl, his disguise was so good it was easy to mistake him for one, and often claimed they were perfect for each other for that reason.

 

Ukyo had trained all her life to get her revenge on the Saotome’s so she could take her life and womanhood back once and for all. This was something Ukyo's father and uncle disagreed on, when Ukyo was at her uncle’s he insisted that she dress and act like a girl and said many times that Ukyo shouldn't have to base her life around getting revenge on someone. While she never mentioned it to her father, Ukyo privately agreed with her uncle. She had been hurt by her former best friend’s actions but to give up her womanhood had been even harder.

 

Ukyo looked up as the bell above the door rang, glad that someone had come in to break up the dreary rainy afternoon.

 

"Hello, welcome to Jiruo's Okonomiyaki," Ukyo recited as she moved behind the grill. She took a look at the person who came in, it was a girl a little shorter than her with bright red hair pulled back in a ponytail. The girl was soaking wet from the rain outside but Ukyo could tell the other girl had been crying as her blue eyes, which reminded her of a certain person from her past, were red rimmed. "Hey Sugar, are you ok?"

 

"Y-yeah," Ranma said as she sniffed. "Sorry."

 

"Hey, don't be sorry," Ukyo said. "Hey, come on and sit down. You look like you could use one of my special okonomiyakis then I'll go get you a towel to get dried off with."

 

"Thanks, that'll be great," Ranma said as she wearily sat down in front of the grill. Ukyo gave her a small smile and cooked up a quick okonomiyaki with all the fixings and sat it in front of her.

 

"Here you go Sug," Ukyo said. "I'll be right back." She left Ranma to eat while she ran up to the apartment above the restaurant where her uncle Jiruo was sitting at the table.

 

"What's the hurry?" her uncle asked amused.

 

"Poor girl just came in from outside, she's soaking wet," Ukyo said as she grabbed a couple of towels from the closet.

 

"Oh, well make sure she has something warm to drink, it's chilly out there," Jiruo said in understanding. Meanwhile downstairs Ranma hungrily ate the okonomiyaki, starving as all she had eaten that day was a small bowl of rice.

 

'Yumm, reminds me of Ucchan's,' Ranma thought to herself with a happy hum. She happily thought back on her best friend Ukyo, or Ucchan as she called the older boy, who had made the best okonomiyakis in her, back then his, opinion. She wondered what her 'big brother' was doing and absently thought about the last time she saw him. To this day she wondered why her Pops took Ucchan and his dad's cart and why the boy had chased after them. Ranma remembered asking her Pops to stop but Genma claimed they were in a hurry and they left Ukyo in the dust. 'Maybe I should try and find him? I wonder if he even remembers me and how the heck do I explain why I have a girl's body now?'

 

"Here we are," Ukyo said as she returned. "Wow, you must have been hungry," she said in a surprised tone as she noticed that Ranma was already finished with the okonomiyaki she had made.

 

"Yeah, it was really good," Ranma said with a grin as she took the offered towel and started to dry off her red hair. "It was as good as the ones my big brother use to make when we were kids."

 

"You have a brother?" Ukyo asked as she slipped back behind the grill and started to make a warm cup of tea.

 

"Well, he's not really my brother," Ranma said, voice muffled by the towel, "he's my best friend, we met when we were kids but I looked up to him as a brother."

 

"So if you don't mind me asking, what were you crying for?" Ukyo asked. Ranma stiffened a little, she thought the rain had covered the tear tracks on her face.

 

"You could tell?" Ranma asked, looking up at the taller girl.

 

"Well your eyes are pretty red," Ukyo said. "So, boy trouble?"

 

"Well... not really. I guess it's a little silly but it was my Pops fault," Ranma said with a sigh, taking the cup of tea from Ukyo. "He said something and it just sorta really hurt me. He wants me to be a boy and won't accept me as who I am."

 

"Gee, don't I know that feeling," Ukyo muttered. "So he raised you like a boy huh? Upset that you were a girl?"

 

"Yeah, something like that," Ranma said with a shrug. "I'm just so tired of his shit, just nags all the time how I'm suppose to be a man-among-men and doesn't even think about my own happiness."

 

"Have you tried just talking to him?" Ukyo asked, absently making another okonomiyaki for the other girl.

 

"When I was younger," Ranma said then sighed. "He wouldn't even listen to what I had to say, we've been on a 10 year training trip and he's pushed me to be the best. I don't mind that, I just don't like the way he forces me to be something I'm not."

 

"I know how you feel, I think my own father was disappointed I'm a girl sometimes," Ukyo said. "I was raised like a boy too, but my uncle just wants me to be myself."

 

"I made some great friends back in China who are like that," Ranma said with a smile. "I've been trying my best to get back to them, they had pretty much adopted me."

 

"You've been trying to run away?" Ukyo asked as she slid the okonomiyaki to Ranma.

 

"Is it really running away when you're trying to get back to the family you know accepts you for you?" Ranma asked.

 

"Guess you have a point," Ukyo said. "Well whatever you do, I wish you luck Sugar."

 

"Thanks," Ranma said with a smile. "I feel better now, talking it out a bit really helped and the okonomiyaki is really good but I guess I better go find Pops before he comes tearing through town looking for me. How much do I owe ya?"

 

"You know what, it's on the house," Ukyo said with a smile. "My treat." Ranma gave her a bright smile that made her look cute, thanked her again then left the restaurant.

 

"Hmm... kinda reminded me of Ran-chan a bit," Ukyo said softly to herself then shook her head, thinking that was just a silly thought.

 

*****

 

"Gowlf!" Genma-panda lumbered up to Ranma as soon as he spotted her. 'Where the hell have you been boy?'

 

"Just took a walk to clear my head Pops," Ranma said.

 

'Done crying like a little girl then?' Genma wrote on his sign, flipping it over when he ran out of room. Ranma rolled her eyes and nodded. 'Don't roll your eyes at me boy. Come on, we need to get going.'

 

"Where are we going anyway?" Ranma asked as she took her pack from her father. "You never said."

 

'To visit with an old friend of mine,' Genma wrote. 'Tendo and I have some family business.'

 

"What sort of family business? Aren’t we going to see Mom?" Ranma asked.

 

'You’ll find out in due time,' Genma wrote. 'And don't worry about your mother for now.' Ranma eyes narrowed, her father was being very secretive about something. 'Let's go.'

 

"Fine," Ranma sighed and shouldered her pack, following Genma down the road. People gasped and gaped as they watched the petite red headed girl walk down the road with a very large panda. As the afternoon wore on into evening the rain finally let up, Ranma wrinkled her nose at the smell of wet panda fur. She had been nagging her father about when they were visiting this 'Tendo' person and hadn't gotten much of a straight answer only that they were going to be staying a while at the man's dojo.

 

Ranma sighed and rubbed the back of her neck, she didn't like it when her father was dodgy like this, it meant he was hiding something from her. She stopped as they passed a bathhouse then looked back at her panda cursed father.

 

"Hey Pops!" Genma stopped and gave a bear like scowl over his shoulder.

 

"Gowlf!"

 

"You don't plan on meeting your friend like that do you?" Ranma asked, waving her hand at Genma. "You'll give him a heart attack or something. Wouldn't it be better to go as a human?" Genma scratched the side of his head in thought then nodded. Yes, it would be easier to explain everything to Soun if he was human first. Genma headed into the public bathhouse with Ranma right behind him. Inside the steamy bathing room on the men's side, several of them screamed or yelled as the large panda walked in. In a flash, people scrambled out of the large furo, grabbing clothing and personal items as they fled.

 

As Ranma set down her pack so she could bathe as well, her head shot up as she heard one man that passed her say he was going to call the cops or at least the local zoo.

 

'Wait... maybe I can get rid of Pops this way,' Ranma thought, her mind racing. 'At least for a little while... maybe...' She looked down into her pack where her special water proof soap sat. There wasn't much of it left, Ranma had constantly used it to stay in her female form. But there was more than enough for Genma to use, Ranma had noticed that when they did stop to bathe, Genma was always too lazy to change back into human form to wash first, he always washed himself in his cursed form. Already Ranma could see Genma filling up a bucket with cold water.

 

'Hand me the soap boy,' Genma signed. Thinking fast unless she lost her nerve, Ranma grabbed the water proof soap and handed it to Genma.

 

"Here you go Pops," Ranma said. Genma just grunted and started to lather himself up with the soap. Ranma watched with sad eyes as Genma used the last of it to get into his fur and cover every inch of himself, she had used it the day before so she had at least six days left before she started changing back into her boy form.

 

Ranma started to slowly edge toward the door, her father was going to freak when he got in the hot water and didn't change back. Already she could faintly hear sirens heading their way. Genma ignored his child as he poured a pail of cold water over his head, washing the soap suds out of his fur. Genma walked over to the furo and stepped down into the hot water with a growling sigh. As he submerged himself in the hot water, Genma immediately noticed something was wrong. He hadn't felt the familiar tingle that came from shifting from one form to the other and he could tell he was still in his panda form.

 

Genma started to panic, dunking himself in the water over and over again, trying to change back to his human form. Growling loudly as he trashing in the water, he didn't see Ranma slide out of the public bathhouse side door or the police at first as they busted in.

 

"Growlf!" Genma finally noticed the police as they yelled, holding up his front paws and starting to climb out of the water. He needed to get over to his signs and marker so he could talk to the policemen.

 

"Easy there boy," one police officer said in a soothing tone. "We're not going to hurt you."

 

"Grrrr gowlf," Genma paused for a moment then started to wave his front paws, trying to speak without speaking as he tried to explain.

 

"He's going berserk, take him out," the officer in charge said.

 

"Will do," a man said beside him. He lifted up a gun and pointed it at Genma who didn't notice. He let off a single shot, hitting Genma in the side of his neck. Genma staggered, reaching up to touch his neck, pulling something that was sticking out of his neck out. Genma looked blearily at the tranquilizer dart then fell into a heap to the ground.

 

****

 

Ranma sat on top of one of the buildings across the street from the bath house, watching as the police officers walked around the area and asked people questions then as her father in panda form was taken out of the bath house in a cage.

 

Ranma let out a breath as Genma-panda was loaded into a truck with the name of the zoo on the side then carried off.

 

"I can't believe that worked," Ranma said softly, getting up and walking to the far side of the roof. She roof hopped out of the area then jumped down to street level. Ranma was undecided on what to do, should she try to find her way back to China or should she try to find that Tendo guy first. Looking both ways, she wasn't sure where she was right at that moment. "I wonder if this is how Ryoga feels all the time," Ranma wondered to herself, feeling very lost.

 

In another part of Nerima, as a small black and yellow fox sneezed, Ryoga-fox wondered if someone was talking about him.

 

****

 

"You what!?" A voice asked loudly in the Tendo dojo. "What do you mean fiancé!?"

 

"Now Akane dear calm down," Soun said holding his hands up and sweat dropping slightly. His youngest daughter Akane was furious with the wonderful news he had told her and her two older sisters. For some reason, none of the three of them looked very happy. Akane looked very much like her mother, Kami rest her soul, right now and the sight of it was almost enough to bring Soun to tears.

 

"Daddy how could you engage us to somebody without asking us?" Akane asked with a huff as she sat back down.

 

"Yea Daddy, betrothals are so last century," Nabiki agreed, she was no happier about this than Akane was.

 

"Now girls, it's a matter of family honor," Soun said. "My friend Saotome and I agreed to join the two lines of Anything Goes years ago."

 

"I do hope he's not younger than me, young men are just so... young," Kasumi said. Akane and Nabiki gave their older sister looks of disbelief, wondering how she could be so calm about all this.

 

"Is he at least cute Daddy?" Nabiki said, trying to get some information of this Ranma Saotome guy.

 

"I don't know, I've never met him," Soun said. The girls face vaulted while Soun laughed nervously and sweat dropped.

 

"What do you mean you never met him?" Nabiki asked as she recovered.

 

"You engaged us to some boy you don't even know?" Akane asked in only slight disbelief.

 

"Well..." Soun said. "Saotome and his son should be here soon, you'll meet him then."

 

But the night wore on and to Soun's disappointment, Genma and Ranma never showed up. The girls were not all that broken up about it.

 

******

 

The next morning Ranma groaned at the light from the rising sun hit her in the face. She sat up on the branch of the tree she had slept in, stretching her arms out over her head and arching her back almost like a cat.

 

"Hmm, what a night," Ranma said to herself, she couldn't believe her last second plan to get rid of Genma for a while worked. She lost the soap in the process but there hadn’t been that much left of it anyway. The red headed girl hopped down from the tree she had slept in and tried to figure out what she was going to do now.

 

'I could try and make a break for it back to China,' Ranma thought to herself as she walked through the park where the tree was located. 'Or... I could try to see if I can find Mom. If she's dead at least I can visit her grave and if she's alive I'll explain what has happened to me. I just hope she'll accept me as I am.'

 

She had a plan now, but felt a little lost on how to go about it. Ranma didn’t remember where she and Genma had lived before the training trip, Ranma wasn't even sure if it was in Nerima where she was now. She didn't even know her mother’s name so she couldn't look that way either.

 

'This is going to be a little more difficult than I thought,' Ranma thought as she rubbed the back of her neck. 'I gotta be able to find out something, but where do I start?'

 

rustle

 

Ranma froze and turned to look at the brush behind her. She had heard something moving around in the bushes, blue eyes narrowed as she crept closer.

 

"Yip!" Something barked and sounded like it was struggling.

 

"What tha?" Ranma reached over and separated the bush. "Oh, how kawaii!" Ranma cooed and reached down to untangle the creature within. "Shhh, it's ok, I'll get you out."

 

Ranma tugged and pulled away at the branches of the bush then lifted out a small black and yellow fox.

 

"Oh you are just so cute," Ranma said as she held up the fox in front of her. It had inky black fur and very unusual yellow markings on its belly, and on the tip of its tail, toes, and ears. It also had a yellow with black stripes bandanna tied around its neck. 'Kinda looks like the one Ryoga was wearing yesterday,' Ranma thought to herself.

 

Meanwhile the fox, Ryoga looked back at Ranma, or as he knew her Ranka, in disbelief and seemed to blush slightly as she called him cute.

 

"You're a tame little guy aren't ya," Ranma said as she drew Ryoga close to her body, pressing him between her ample bust. "I bet you have an owner somewhere, why would they let someone like you get lost?"

 

Ryoga couldn't answer if he wanted to, his brain was shutting down from where he was resting in Ranma's breasts. Ranma petted Ryoga as she walked away from the bushes, hoping to either find the fox’s owner or to find something to eat as her stomach growled. She never noticed the pile of clothing and the large travel pack that lay on the ground next to the park's sprinkler system.

 

Ranma walked out of the park and toward the small outdoor market. She looked around and grinned as she spied a cart selling sweet buns, her stomach growling. Ryoga's little stomach growled in response.

 

"You hungry too huh?" Ranma said. "Well let's get something to eat." Ranma put the cutest look on her face as she approached the cart. "Oh that looks so good mister," she said as she made her blue eyes look big, one hand balled up next to her face while the other held Ryoga-fox gently in one arm.

 

"Oh my, what a cute little girl you are," The man working the cart said. Ranma mentally rolled her eyes but outwardly she poured on more of the cute. She had figured out while in China that she could scam some guys out of food as a girl when she looked cute and helpless. "Are you hungry miss?"

 

"Yes but... My papa forgot to give me any money to buy anything..." Ranma made her lip quiver slightly. Ryoga's mouth dropped open slightly as Ranma masterfully manipulated the vendor as the man seemed to crumble under Ranma's cuteness.

 

'I can't believe he's falling for that!' Ryoga thought to himself. 'Well... Ranka is really cute, almost any guy could fall for that.'

 

"Well I can't let a cute girl like you go hungry," the vendor said then winked. "This is on the house."

 

'Stop being so forward you pervert,' Ryoga thought while growling at the man.

 

"Golly mister, thank you so much," Ranma gushed. The vendor laughed and handed her a small bag full of sweet buns. Ranma gave him another bright smile while giving him another thank you then bouncing away. The vendor watched Ranma's ass as she left then shivered in fear. He moved his eyes up to meet the eyes of the little fox the girl had been holding, a look in the animal's green eyes that promised death.

 

'I'll rip your arms off if you don't quit ogling her,' Ryoga's eyes seemed to say to the man who shivered again. After Ranma disappeared back into the park, the man shook his head.

 

"Cute girl, but that fox is a little scary," he said to himself.

 

****

 

"Here you go little guy," Ranma said as she laid a sweet bun in front of Ryoga. Ryoga yipped and started to gulp down the bun. "Hee, guess you was as hungry as me," Ranma said with a laugh as she bit into another bun. "Hmmm, nice and warm."

 

'Kami....' Ryoga looked at Ranma with wide eyes, the red haired girl had a blissful look on her face. Ryoga felt his mouth go dry and his heart beat a little harder, everything about this pretty girl just made his tingle all over.

 

"You are so cute," Ranma said as she reached over to pet Ryoga. "I should give you a name, I can't just keep calling you 'little guy' and 'fox'. Hmmm... what about Kit-chan? See Kit for kitsuna and chan for cute!"

 

'Are you kidding?' Ryoga thought, it wasn't a very original name but it could be worse he decided. He could be called 'F-chan' or 'K-chan'. He barked in agreement while wishing Ranma was talking to him as a human and not as a little cute animal.

 

"Great!" Ranma said with a grin. "Just you and me Kit-chan, I just got away from my Pops and now I'm looking for my Mom."

 

'Good, you need to be away from that man,' Ryoga yipped, taking another sweet bun when Ranma held one out to him. 'A sweet girl like you needs to be with your mother.'

 

Ranma absently chewed on a sweet bun as she tried to come up with a game plan. She couldn't remember much of anything before the training trip as she had been really young when she and Genma left. Ranma only had the vaguest memories of her mother, she thought her mother might have had red hair not unlike her own current form. Ryoga walked over to sit by Ranma, placing one of his paws on her leg.

 

"I wonder if Pops had anything in his pack that could tell me how to get home," Ranma said as she reached up to pet Ryoga. He yipped softly, eyes going half lidded as she scratched behind his ears. "Not sure what happened to his pack Kit-chan, the cops might have it but I'm not sure. And I have no idea where the cop station is anyway."

 

Ryoga made a soft whining noise, he would be useless there. If he tried to lead Ranma he would get the both of them even more lost.

 

"Well, we're not going to find anything sitting around here," Ranma said as she balled up the bag the sweet buns where it and aiming it at the trash can a few feet away. The paper ball hit the back of the can and fell in. "Ha, two points. Come on Kit-chan," Ranma picked up Ryoga-fox and placed him on her shoulder. Ryoga easily balanced himself as he rode his new vantage point as Ranma walked back over to the tree she’d slept in to get her pack she had stowed away. Once she had her things, Ranma picked a random direction out of the park.

 

******

 

Ranma sighed as she rubbed her face, she had been walking all around the city trying to find anything to point her in the right direction, now she was completely lost and had no idea where she was. The sun had long since set, leaving Ranma and Ryoga to travel down the darkened streets of Nerima.

 

'I don't like this,' Ryoga thought looking around worriedly. The fur on his back was raised and the fur on his tail puffed out, someone was watching them and whoever it was wasn't friendly.

 

"You sense it too, don't cha Kit-chan," Ranma said softly as she reached up to pet the fox on her shoulder. "Come on, let's cut down here and try to get a higher vantage point." She turned into a dark alley that came to a dead end. That really didn't worry her, Ranma planned on using the walls on either side of the alley to jump up to the top of the buildings.

 

The alleyway suddenly became darker as a group of people stood in front of the mouth.

 

"Well well well, look what we got here," A thug around the same age as Ranma said. The boy had his hair dyed a bright green and wore a cut up pair of jeans and tank top. The other three in his gang were dressed in similar ways. "A pretty girl like you shouldn't be walking the streets by yourself after dark... who knows what sort of trouble you could get into."

 

"Yeah real pretty, maybe we should... take her someplace 'safe'," one of the other boys said, making the others laugh.

 

"How about it pretty lady?" The leader of the group said, leaning close to Ranma who looked very unimpressed.

 

'Get away from her you greased up baka!' Ryoga thought as he growled loudly, baring his teeth at the punk.

 

"How about no, I don't 'hang around' with people like you," Ranma said dryly, even Genma wasn't as bad as these guys.

 

"I don't think you understand, we're not giving you a choice," The thug leader said as he took a switch-blade knife out of the back pocket of his pants. The other three teens in the group snickered and leered as they took out weapons as well such as chains and blunt objects.

 

"Yeah, you don't want to do this guys," Ranma said as she dropped her travel pack to the ground.

 

"I think we do," the leader said with a smirk. "You think you can take us little girl?"

 

"The question is can you take me?" Ranma said with her own smirk as she slid into a stance. Ryoga growled, his back arched and fur on end from where he stood on Ranma's shoulder.

 

"Get her!" The lead punk roared as he rushed Ranma, the other three boys right behind him. Ranma ducked under the leader’s arm as he took a swipe at her with his knife. She grabbed his arm, twisting it behind his back. "AARRRGGHH!" He yelled as with a sharp yank Ranma dislocated his shoulder.

 

Ryoga gave a scream like bark as he jumped on another punk. The punk screamed in pain as Ryoga bit and scratched at his face, tearing a chunk out of his nose. Ranma dropped to the ground as the last two punks both swung at Ranma at the same time, one with a bat and the other with a chain, the chain wrapping around the bat.

 

"Hey! Watch it!" The teen yelled. Ranma twisted on one leg, sweeping the other around to knock the thug with the chain off his feet with a low kick. As the punk fell, he yanked the bat out of the other punk's hands. Hopping up, Ranma used the heel of her hand to strike him in the nose. The boy howled in pain, hands coming up to his nose that was now broken, blood pouring from it.

 

"You little bitch!" The thug Ranma had knocked over said as he jumped back onto his feet. He untangled his chain from the bat and swung it at Ranma again. She jumped into the air, twisting mid air as she flipped over the boy's head and kicked out with a foot. Ranma's foot struck the boy in the back of his head, the boy swaying for a moment then blacking out as he crumpled to the ground.

 

Ryoga meanwhile ducked and jumped to avoid the wild swings that the thug took to try and knock the black and yellow fox off of him.

 

"AHHH, demon fox!" The thug yelled as Ryoga bit and tore another chunk out of his arm.

 

"Kit-chan, come on. You don't want to get rabies from these guys," Ranma called.

 

"You little bitch," The leader growled as he tried to sit up, holding onto his numb arm. "You're gonna pay for this." Ranma scowled and planted her foot in the leader's chest, pushing him onto his back, the boy groaning in pain as his shoulder was jarred.

 

"I ever see you again, I'm gonna do more than dislocate your shoulder," Ranma growled. Ryoga jumped up onto Ranma's shoulder, growling lowly at the thug. "I ever found out you pulled this on another person, I'm gonna come back for ya."

 

Ryoga yipped in warning as someone came up behind them. Ranma spun and caught the arm that the last thug has swinging at her. He was bloody, covered in bite and scratch marks from Ryoga's attack. Ranma twisted his arm until he cried out in pain then thrust her fist into his chest. The thug was knocked back several feet into one of the garbage bins in the alley.

 

"Wh-what are you?" The leader asked as all of his gang had their asses handed to them by one little girl.

 

"I'm a martial artist," Ranma said as she grabbed her pack. "The best one in the world and don't you forget it." She turned and started to bounce up the walls of the alleyway to the rooftops above them.

 

*****

 

Akane sighed happily as she left the house, a shopping list for Kasumi in one hand and a basket in the other. Her father Soun had been in a depressed funk ever since a couple of nights ago when his friend Genma and his son never showed up. Akane on the other hand was not broken up that the boy who was to be engaged to either her or one of her sisters didn't come. It was a little unfair to whoever the boy was to think of him like that but Akane was on a boy-hating kick because of the boys at her school who fought with her every morning at the gates. It left a bit of a bad taste in her mouth toward boys her age.

 

Her father's depression was hanging like a cloud over their home and Akane was quite happy to run this errand for her oldest sister. The sounds of the market place near their house reached her ears and Akane smiled as the vendors and store clerks greeted her.

 

"Morning Akane-san, running some errands for your sister?" A elderly lady at one stand ask.

 

"Hai, just picking up a few things for dinner tonight," Akane said with a smile.

 

"Well everything is fresh this morning, take your pick," the lady said, waving her hand over the fruit and vegs at her stand. Akane gave her another sweet smile then quickly picked out the ones on Kasumi's list.

 

Akane moved from stall to stall, getting the things on Kasumi's list one by one. She hoped her oldest sister would allow her to help make dinner that night but she wasn't sure. Whenever she brought up the suggestion, her other sister Nabiki and their father Soun's face always went deadly pale. She didn't know why, her cooking wasn't that bad. Sure it wasn't as good as Kasumi's, the older girl was a master that had learned at their mother's knee before she passed away.

 

Humming a song to herself, one that she heard playing on the radio before she had left the house and was now stuck in her head, Akane passed an alley on her way to the little store at the end of the street. She stopped suddenly and glanced back at the mouth of the alley, she swore she had heard something. Akane glanced back at the busy market place, no one was paying any sort of attention.

 

She decided after a moment to forget it, it was likely a stray animal rooting around in a garbage bin or something.

 

"G-g-get away..." Akane stopped again, her brown eyes wide. Now she was sure she heard someone that time. She looked at the alley again, someone had called within and that voice sounded so frightened.

 

'It better not be one of those perverted boys from school picking on someone again,' Akane thought as her eyes narrowed in anger. Mind made up, she stalked into the alley ready to kick anyone’s ass who got in her way. As her eyes adjusted to the shadows and low light in the alley, Akane stopped short in surprise.

 

It was not, as she first thought, some poor soul being bothered by some pervert or mugger like she first thought. In fact, it was nothing like that, in front of Akane was a teenage girl about her own age with bright red hair pulled back in a ponytail sitting on the ground and pressed up against the brick wall. In front of the girl was a pair of cats, an old tom cat who had seen better days and a black cat wearing a collar with a little bell hanging off the front. Neither were doing anything to the girl, in fact both of them were just sitting a foot or two away from the cowering teen.

 

Akane frowned to herself wondering if this was some sort of joke. That thought left her mind as she caught a glance at the other girl's blue eyes. She could see the sheer terror in those eyes; the girl was completely and utterly terrified of the cats. Akane was suddenly reminded of her friend Yuka, who was terrified of spiders. The girl would almost become cationic if she even saw a photo of a spider because Yuka had an extreme case of Arachnophobia.

 

'Is there a phobia for cats?' Akane wondered absently as she stepped forward. "Go on, shoo you mangy cats." Akane waved her hands as she herded the two cats away. The cats yawned and stretched then walked away with tails held high.

 

"Hey, it's ok. They're gone now," Akane said as she turned back to the other girl, who was still shuddering in fear, her eyes lost in some remembered terror. Akane gulped and reached down to touch the red head's shoulder. The girl gave a small cry and started at the touch. Her head hit the brick wall hard with a crack, making her eyes roll up in her head as she blacked out. 'What do I do?! What do I do!? Wait! Doctor Tofu, he'll help!'

 

Plan in mind, Akane put her basket further up her arm and picked up the smaller girl. Running out of the alley, Akane headed for the clinic her family doctor, a man by the name of Tofu Ono. She was sure he could help.

 

****

 

Author note: (1) I wanted to be a little different and give Ranma a different alt name instead of Ranko. Ranka is sort of a cross between 'Ranma' and 'Ranko'.

 

Edit 3-19-14 - Just to let everyone know, Ranma didn't leave Ryoga behind. A bit of time has passed between Ranma and Ryoga beating up the thugs and Akane finding Ranma. Ryoga got lost between the scenes in his typical way.

 

Edit 9-2-14: nothing really changed, just the usual small little errors that was missed the first time.

Chapter Text

Blessed Curse

 

Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 belongs to Rumiko Takahashi

 

Author note: Thanks to Blissfull Wulf for betaing this fic.

 

Chapter 4

 

"Dr. Tofu!" Akane yelled as she ran into the clinic.

 

"Akane-san? Are you alright?" Doctor Tofu Ono asked as he poked his head out of his examination room.

 

"It's... not... me..." Akane panted slightly. She had run all the way from the market place with the girl she found on her back. While she wasn't extremely heavy, she wasn't light either. Knocked out, the girl was a bit of a dead weight on her back. "It's her!"

 

"Oh my, let me help you there," Tofu easily took the girl off of Akane's back and carried her into the back to lay her on an examining table. "Now, tell me what happen."

 

"I was picking some things up for Ka... for dinner tonight and I heard somebody in the alleyway," Akane explained. "I went in thinking someone needed help. I found her all pressed up against the wall across from a couple of cats. She was really afraid of them so I shooed them away but afterward she didn't seem to notice me and when I touched her shoulder she sorta jerked back and hit her head on the wall."

 

"Ah..." Tofu carefully moved the girl's head and gently touched it. "Yes, there is a bit of a goose egg back here. You said that she was afraid of the cats?"

 

"Yeah, they weren't doing anything just sitting there but she acted like they were attacking her or something," Akane said. She looked up admiringly at Tofu as he finished examining the girl she brought in. Tofu Ono had been the Tendo family doctor for years and had taken care of Akane whenever she got into a fight or had accidently hurt herself. Akane had a bit of a crush on Tofu, to her he was the perfect example of a man. Kind and a strong martial artist and a very good doctor it was hard not to admire the man.

 

"Hmm, sounds like she might have Ailurophobia," Tofu said as he pressed a couple of pressure points on the girl's neck and shoulder. "There we go, she should come around here in a moment."

 

He was proven right as a moment later the girl started to groan softly and stir.

 

"It's alright miss, you're safe here," Tofu said softly as he helped the girl sit up.

 

"Owww," The girl said, reaching up to touch the back of her head. "What happened?"

 

"You had a bit of an accident and have a bump on your head," Tofu explained. "Don't worry, it will go away in a day or so. Can you tell me your name?"

 

"Err, yeah," The girl said, sitting up to look at him. "My name’s Ranma, Saotome Ranma." In the background Akane gasped.

 

*****

 

Ranma felt like she was having the most rotten day ever. After beating up the gang of thugs the night before Ranma and Kit-chan had found a nice place in a small park to set up camp for the night. It wasn't the same park Ranma had slept in the night before, at least she thought it wasn't. She had settled in for the night with Kit-chan nestled in her arms.

 

But come the next morning Kit-chan was gone. Worried that her new little friend had gotten lost, Ranma left her pack after hiding it away and went looking for the fox. Unknown to Ranma, during the night Ryoga had walked off to go use the little fox’s room and in typical Hibiki fashion had gotten completely and utterly lost, unable to find his way back to Ranma. He didn't want to leave Ranma's side, he felt with him there she was at least a bit protected but his family curse had struck again.

 

Ranma searched all over the town she was in, calling out the name she had given Ryoga's cursed form. Hearing a noise from an alleyway and thinking it might be her fox, Ranma had quickly ducked in to check. She found something much much worse. She found those things. Those horrible things that haunted her worst nightmares.

 

After that Ranma didn't really remember much, just the blinding fear then blackness.

 

Ranma stirred on a semi-soft surface groaning softly, her head ached horribly and she wondered what the heck had happened.

 

"It's alright miss, you're safe here," A man's voice said softly as someone helped Ranma sit up.

 

"Owww," Ranma said, reaching up to touch the back of her head. "What happened?"

 

"You had a bit of an accident and have a bump on your head," the man explained. "Don't worry, it will go away in a day or so. Can you tell me your name?"

 

"Err, yeah," Ranma said, sitting up to look at him. He was at least a decade older than her with soft looking longish brown hair and wearing a pair of glasses. "My name’s Ranma, Saotome Ranma."

 

"Hello there, my name is Doctor Ono Tofu," Tofu said with a smile. "I'm the chiropractor here in Furinkan."

 

"What happened?" Ranma asked.

 

"You hit your head and Akane brought you here," Tofu said. "As I said, you'll be fine, the bump will go away in a day."

 

"Akane?" Ranma asked wondering who the man was talking about. Tofu smiled and turned, holding a hand out toward the girl with long blue hair that was standing by the wall.

 

'This is the person Daddy was waiting on!?' Akane thought when she heard Ranma's name then wanted to laugh. 'She's a girl!' Akane almost couldn't believe it then frowned slightly. 'Ok, hold on there Akane, maybe it's not the same Saotome Ranma Daddy was talking about. He seemed really sure that it was a boy that was supposed to come to the house and this is obviously a girl. Maybe they just so happen to have the same name. How common of a family name is Saotome anyway?'

 

"Akane?" Tofu called to her, trying to get her attention.

 

"Hmm? Yes Dr. Tofu?" Akane asked knocked out of her own thoughts. Tofu nodded toward Ranma, Akane blushed slightly and stepped toward.

 

"Hi, my name is Akane," She said with a bow. "I...err... found you in the alley and brought you to Dr. Tofu for help."

 

"Oh... thanks," Ranma blushed, she really hoped that the other girl just saw her knocked out and not scared out of her wits by a couple of cats.

 

"Well Miss Saotome I think you'll be fine. You can go ahead and jump down but if you feel light headed or dizzy, try to make it to a hospital if you can't make it back to me," Tofu said as he ushered the girls out of the clinic.

 

"Oh yeah, thanks doc," Ranma said.

 

"My pleasure," Tofu smiled as he watched the girls walk off. 'Hmmm... there was something very strange about her chi but I can't put my finger on what it is.'

 

*****

 

"So... I can help you home if you need it," Akane offered as she and Ranma walked down the street.

 

"I... umm... don't really have one," Ranma said, scratching the side of her nose. "Me and my Pops have been on a ten year training trip and we just recently came back to Japan."

 

"Oh? Where's your father then?" Akane asked her mind racing as she remembered her own father mentioned that the Saotomes had been on a training trip as well.

 

"Don't know, we kinda got separated," Ranma said with a shrug. "We were suppose to go to some guy he knew house but Pops is kinda... tangled up in something else now." Ranma almost smirk, she wondered if Genma was enjoying being the new attraction at the zoo.

 

"Do you remember who?" Akane asked.

 

"Err, something that started with Ten I think," Ranma said, tilting her head back. Akane licked her lips before asking,

 

"Tendo?"

 

"Yeah, that's it!" Ranma said. "Wait, how did you know?"

 

"My family name is Tendo, I think you and your father were suppose to come to our house a couple of nights ago," Akane said. She couldn't believe it, it was the same Ranma her Daddy was talking about! She couldn't help but be relieved that Ranma was really a girl. 'Daddy is going to be so disappointed, I can't believe he didn't know that Ranma was a girl. What has his friend been telling him?'

 

"What? Really?" Ranma was just as surprised.

 

"Yeah," Akane said with a nod. "Hey... if you don't have any place to go, you can stay at our house for a couple of days."

 

"Are you sure?" Ranma asked. "I mean, you just met me."

 

"Yeah maybe, but you said you didn't have any place to go right?" Akane asked. When Ranma nodded she continued. "Well, I'm sure Daddy wouldn't mind if you crash at our house for a while, both of our dads are friends after all, and Kasumi would love it too."

 

"Kasumi?" Ranma asked.

 

"My oldest sister, I have two of them," Akane explained. "Hey, it's where you and your father were heading anyway right? Well maybe he'll look for you there."

 

"Yeah, maybe," Ranma muttered, she didn't really want to see her dad but Ranma really didn't know where to go from here. "Okay... if your parents don't mind, I really would like a warm place to sleep for a couple of days."

 

"Great!" Akane said with a sunny smile. "Want to be friends then?" She asked. Ranma smiled shyly, she didn't have many friends.

 

"Sure, I would like that," She said. "I need to get my pack I left it in the park."

 

"Ok, the park is this way," Akane lead Ranma back to the park she had slept in. "Say Ranma."

 

"Hmm?" Ranma looked over at the taller girl.

 

"Did... did your father ever tell you why you were coming out to our home?" Akane asked.

 

"No, not really," Ranma said. "I kept asking him about it but all Pops would tell me was that we were going to see some friend of his. Honestly, he was really edgy about it like he was hiding something."

 

"Oh... I think I might know what it was. Daddy told me and my sisters that there's betrothal between our families."

 

"Wh-what?!" Ranma asked, stopping and looking at Akane in shock. Akane nodded her head, holding the basket of dinner items in front of her.

 

"Yeah, Daddy thinks you’re a boy and he told us that you have to marry either me or one of my sisters," Akane said. "But that's just silly, not only is that an outdated practice, we're both girls!" Akane giggled and shook her head. "I feel sorry for my Dad, he's going to be heartbroken a bit but I'm glad you're a girl."

 

"Y-yeah," Ranma sweat dropped and rubbed the back of her neck. 'What the hell have you gotten me into Pops? Kami, an engagement? That's why Pops has been acting so weird and why he reacted like that when I lied and said Shampoo wanted to marry me. Fuck, how is Akane going to act when she finds out I do have a boy form? Unless I leave before I start changing again, she's gonna find out... well... maybe I can explain before that happens. I hope she believes me, Akane seems really nice. I hope I don't regret this.'

 

"Ranma? Are you ok?" Akane said, waving her hand in front of the other's face.

 

"Huh?" Ranma blinked as Akane brought her back out of her thoughts.

 

"Sorry, you just seemed to drift off there for a moment," Akane said. "Your head isn't hurting you is it?"

 

"No no, I'm fine," Ranma said. "I was just thinking. Hey, there's the tree I left my stuff in." She quickly changed the subject and jumped up into the tree. Akane watched as the other girl pulled something out of the branches, a large newish looking travel pack with a bed roll on the top.

 

"Okay, now that you have your things, let's head back home," Akane said with a smile. "So... what sort of things did you see during your travels?"

 

As the girls walked, Ranma described some of the things she had seen and learned while on the road for ten years.

 

******

 

"I'm home!" Akane said loudly as she opened the front door and toed off her shoes. Ranma quickly followed her example and set down her travel pack.

 

"Oh Akane, I was getting worried," Kasumi said as she exited the kitchen, a cleaning rag and a bottle of cleaning spray in each hand. "Who's your friend?"

 

"This is my new friend Ranma," Akane said. "Ranma, this is my oldest sister Kasumi."

 

"Hi," Ranma said with a small wave.

 

"Ranma?" A man's voice asked as a middle aged man with shoulder length black hair and a mustache wearing a brown gi came running into the house from the back porch. "Oh my dear boy I am so happy to finally see you!" Akane and Kasumi's father Soun swept the surprised Ranma up into a hug.

 

"Father!"

 

"Daddy!"

 

"Oh how I've waited for this day my boy now our families..." Soun stopped speaking as he squeezed Ranma closer in confusion, there was something wrong here. Ranma's front was too soft and squishy, it felt nothing like a boy’s chest. Placing his hands on Ranma's shoulders, he pushed the teen back so he could look at her.

 

"Are you sure Ranma is a boy Daddy?" Nabiki asked as she leaned forward. She had heard Soun yelling from her room upstairs and came down to see what all the fuss was about. "He looks like a girl to me," she added as she reached out and squeezed one of Ranma's breasts.

 

"I-I-I don't understand," Soun said in woeful confusion as his arms dropped to his side.

 

"Could you please stop that?" Ranma said in an irritated tone as she slapped Nabiki's hand away from her breast, the way the other girl was squeezing her had hurt a bit.

 

"Nabiki!" Kasumi said in a scandalized voice. Nabiki held up her hands as she backed away slightly.

 

"Alright, alright," She said. "I'll stop. I'm just staying that this isn't a boy, I think Daddy was wrong about his friend having a son... if this is really Saotome Ranma."

 

"She is," Akane said as she grabbed Ranma's arm and pulled the smaller girl with her into the kitchen. "I am so sorry about that Ranma, that was my other sister Nabiki and she's.... a little forceful and blunt but she doesn't mean any lasting harm."

 

"She's got a grip on her," Ranma said rubbing her abused breast. She looked back as she heard a wail from the other room while Akane sighed. "What's wrong with him?"

 

"Daddy is just very disappointed that you're a girl and not a boy," Akane said as she placed the basket of food on the counter. "And he's very emotional, he's out there crying I bet."

 

"I didn't mean to cause problems," Ranma said.

 

"Don't worry about it, this isn't your fault," Akane said. "You dad shouldn't have told Daddy that you were a boy all this time. They shouldn't have made that stupid promise either."

 

"Ye-yeah," Ranma agreed with a bit of a sweat drop, when she started changing back into a boy she was going to be so dead.

 

"Ranma-chan, I apologize for our father," Kasumi said as she walked into the kitchen. "He hasn't been the same since our mother died and well..." She shrugged helplessly.

 

"Errr, it's ok I understand," Ranma assured her.

 

"Where is your father Ranma, will we be expecting him too?" Kasumi asked as she put her cleaning supplies to the side.

 

"Yes, where is Saotome?" Soun asked with a bit of a growl, he had moved on from sadness and was now angry at his old friend for deceiving him all these years. "I would like to have a little word with him."

 

"I'm not sure where Pops is," Ranma said with a shrug. "We got separated and he disappeared."

 

"Hmm, maybe he didn't want to face Daddy after lying to him about Ranma being a boy," Nabiki commented with a smirk as she leaned against the doorframe.

 

"Daddy, can Ranma stay with us? At least for a while?" Akane asked. "I mean, she doesn't have any place to stay right now and if her father is looking for her he might come here."

 

"I... guess that isn't a problem," Soun said as his anger deflated slightly.

 

"Ah guys," Nabiki said holding up a hand. "We really can't afford-"

 

"Nabiki, don't speak like that," Kasumi scolded then turned to Ranma with a smile. "We'll be happy to have you here Ranma, you can sleep in the guest room. I'll get out the guest bed so you don't have to sleep on the floor."

 

Nabiki sighed and shook her head as she turned and left, she wasn't sure if they could afford to have a house guest. And if Ranma's father showed up...

 

'I guess I'll have to hold back on that new computer for a while,' Nabiki thought with a sigh. 'Maybe I can start charging Kuno more money for photos of Akane... hmm... or maybe...' Nabiki thought and plotted to herself as she walked up the stairs into her room.

 

"Don't mind her," Akane said. "Come on, I’ll show you the guest room." Grabbing Ranma's hand, she dragged the smaller girl out of the room. Soun sighed sadly, if only Ranma was a boy.

 

"Oh don't look so down Father," Kasumi said. "At least Akane made a new friend."

 

"I know... but the promise..." Soun sighed and walked out of the kitchen to go mope in front of the family shrine. Kasumi sighed and shook her head, she hated seeing her Father so disappointed but like her sisters she was a bit glad Ranma was a girl. She didn't like that their father had picked a future husband for one of them.

 

'Oh well, he'll get over it in time,' Kasumi decided as she started to prepare a quick lunch. She was glad Akane had picked up enough food for her to make extra tonight.

 

*****

 

Ranma looked around the guest room that the Tendo’s were allowing her to stay in. It was very Spartan with just a dresser along one wall, which Ranma had set her clothing into already.

 

"Here we are Ranma-chan," Kasumi said as she rolled the folded guest bed into the room.

 

"I can just sleep on my bed roll," Ranma said as she came over to help.

 

"Nonsense," Kasumi said with a smile. "There is no reason for you to do that. Now why don't you go on downstairs, Akane-chan said she wanted to show you the Dojo. I'll make up the bed for you." Kasumi pushed Ranma toward the door gently. Ranma looked over her shoulder at the older girl, she was surprised at how well the Tendo’s were taking her. "Go on, scoot."

 

"Alright," Ranma said as she left the room. Downstairs she found Akane dressed in a light yellow gi waiting on her.

 

"Come on, the Dojo is out here," Akane said, leading her new friend outside.

 

"So does your dad teach?" Ranma said as she looked around. Akane sighed softly and shook her head.

 

"He use to when I was little," she explained. "But when Mom died Daddy...well... he just couldn't bring himself to do it anymore, his heart wasn't into it. He did always find time to teach me though, I'm the only one who was interested in learning."

 

"Oh... well it's a nice dojo anyway," Ranma said and it was. It was nice and roomy; Ranma could imagine teaching a large class in here. There was a selection of weapons on one wall and what looked like a bunch of cement blocks and wooden boards set up in one corner next to a well used training dummy. Ranma wondered what in the world the cement blocks were for.

 

"So Ranma... since you practice martial arts would you like to spar with me?" Akane asked hopefully. She had been dying to ask since Ranma told her about some of the things the red headed girl had learned.

 

"Oh umm... sure," Ranma said. Akane smiled happily and led Ranma into the middle of the dojo. The blue haired girl slid into her favorite stance while the red headed girl stood across from her, arms crossed behind her head.

 

'Ok, guess I'll start,' Akane thought as she tossed out a punch. Ranma ducked under the right hook then moved to block Akane's follow up kick with her arm. Akane started to get a bit frustrated as Ranma ducked and blocked her attacks. 'Wow, she is good. Is she reading my moves?' Akane thought as she stepped back slightly, looking at Ranma through her hair that had fallen into her face. 'Time to get serious,' she decided, brushing her hair out of her face and shifting her feet.

 

"HYAH!" Akane put the same amount of power into her new punch that she put into destroying cement blocks. The fist flew at Ranma who watched calmly, then to Akane's shock reached up and caught Akane's fist with one hand. Akane gaped at the other girl in shock, no one had ever caught her fist like that before.

 

"My turn," Ranma said and Akane suddenly found herself on the defensive.

 

Now before Ranma would have avoided each of Akane's attempts to hit her and most certainly would have never gone out of her way to hit a girl. While she didn't buy into Genma's whole 'girls are weak' thing, Ranma had been trained to never hit a girl by her father. That was the first habit the Joketsuzoku broke her of, she was told she was insulting her opponent by refusing to attack back and how would her opponent learn if she avoided every hit or refused to attack.

 

Ranma carefully timed her strikes as she easily bypassed Akane's defenses, holding back the power behind her attacks as she gauged how much Akane could take. Bit by bit, Ranma upped her attacks until she was sure Akane couldn't take it.

 

'She's a bit sloppy in her blocking and she leaves herself wide open when she attacks,' Ranma thought to herself. She ducked under Akane's attempt to attack her head. 'She puts too much power into her hits, she's making herself tired faster. But, she can take a hit and if she focused more she would do a bit better.'

 

'Damn, she's not even breaking a sweat,' Akane thought, she was panting slightly and her hair was sticking to her sweaty face. 'I've got to end this.'

 

Akane started attacking again, Ranma backed up toward the wall. With a yell, Akane cocked her fist back and let it fly at the other girl. Ranma jumped into the air, twisted above Akane's head and landed behind the bluenette as she punched a hole into the wall. Akane blinked in surprise and jumped slightly as Ranma poked her in the back of the neck.

 

"Haaa," Akane started to laugh slightly as she removed her hand from the wall and turned to look at Ranma. "Wow, you are really good."

 

"Umm thanks," Ranma said, rubbing the back of her neck. Akane gave her a tired smile and headed back toward the house. She was sweaty and had worked up an appetite from sparring with Ranma.

 

"Ranma, I am really glad you're a girl," Akane said over her shoulder, if Ranma had been a boy... she shook her head as she thought about that stupid challenge one of the upper classmen and her sister Nabiki’s classmate Tatewaki Kuno had given at the start of the year. The older teen had something of an obsession with her and had told all the boys in the school during an assembly that no one could date her unless they defeated her in a fight first. Since then, a group of boys stood at the gates to her school every morning fighting her all at once. Luckily Akane had defeated all the boys every morning but it left a very bad taste in her mouth when it came to the male half of the school.

 

"Ok?" Ranma said confused, she wondered what Akane meant by that. Her new friend didn't seem to hear her as she headed upstairs toward her room.

 

"Oh Ranma, there you are," Kasumi said as she walked out of the hallway with a towel and a bucket with bathing things inside in her arms. "I've got a fresh bath going in the furo if you’d like to wash off."

 

"Oh that's ok, I didn't really-" Ranma said only to be interrupted by Kasumi.

 

"You were just out in the dojo sparring with my sister correct?" Kasumi asked. After Ranma nodded she smiled and pressed the items into the girl's arms. "Then you should go ahead and wash up. Lunch is almost finished, it'll be ready when you get out."

 

"Oh ok," Ranma said as she let Kasumi push her toward the furo. A soak in a hot furo did sound good right now, she hadn’t really had a chance to have one in a while.

 

********

 

Ranma sighed happily as she slid into the hot water in the furo. There was nothing like a nice relaxing hot soak, it had always been one of Ranma's secret pleasures. Growing up on the road like she had, bath rooms weren't really something you found every day. Ranma had to bathe in cold streams and lakes, and believe her that really sucked when it was cold. Genma would tell her to suck it up like a man but he groused and complained just as much about bathing in cold water. Sometimes they got lucky and came across a hot spring but those were few and far between.

 

"Hmm," Ranma slid down until the water was almost up to her nose. She loved being able to bathe and soak in the hot water as a girl but she knew that wasn't going to last much longer, in too few days the waterproof soap would wear off and she would start changing into her boy form again.

 

"What am I going to do about that?" Ranma asked herself as she sat up. She was conflicted, these people had been nice to her so far but who knew if that would last once she started to change again. Maybe she could explain that she thought of herself as a girl even when she was a boy and about the curse, but would they believe her? Ranma didn't know.

 

And then there was that whole betrothal thing. It explained why her dad reacted like he did when Ranma lied and told him Shampoo considered her boy form her husband but why didn't the man just tell her about the engagement in the first place when she asked? He just kept putting it off.

 

"I bet he was waiting until the last minute to tell me," Ranma muttered to herself. She didn't want to marry anyone right now, especially not a girl. Even before she’d discovered what her feelings on her gender meant Ranma had never been interested in girls, boys on the other hand... well there was something else that she had never told Genma.

 

There was another possibility, she could just leave before the soap wore off and go with her original plan of either going back to China or looking for her mother. That way the Tendo’s never had to find out about her curse. But she was so tired of moving from place to place all the time, she had been doing that for 10 years already. She just wanted the chance to stay in one place for more than a couple of months at a time and to stay in a real house instead of a tent.

 

"Of course I would have had that if Pops hadn't 'saved me' from the Joketsuzoku," Ranma said with a roll of her eyes. Well she didn't have to decide now, there were still a couple of days before she figured out what to do. In the meantime she would take a chance to rest here. And who knew, maybe the Tendo’s, at least Akane and her sisters, would be understanding and wouldn't call her a freak or something and make her leave.

 

"I guess I better get out," Ranma said with a sigh. As she stood up and got ready to get out of the bath, the door opened up. Akane stood in the doorway with nothing but a towel that she held in front of her body to shield her nudity.

 

"A-Akane!" Ranma said as she flushed in embarrassment.

 

****

 

"Akane, the bath is ready," Kasumi said as she passed her sister's room.

 

"Thanks Nee-chan," Akane said with a smile. As soon as her sister was gone, Akane groaned softly and rotated her shoulders. 'Damn, Ranma was a lot better than I thought she would be. I haven't been this sore in years. But now I have a proper sparring partner so I can get better, I'll show Kuno and those pervert boys. Hmm, I think a good soak is what I need to work out the kinks.'

 

Akane stood and quickly headed downstairs to where the furo was. As she undressed and dumped her dirty gi in the hamper Akane noticed Ranma's red shirt and black pants already there.

 

"Oh, Ranma must already be in the bath," Akane mused as she grabbed a towel, holding it up in front of her as she slid the door into the bathing area open. She looked up as she opened the door and saw Ranma standing in the tub.

 

"A-Akane!" Ranma said her face flushed.

 

"Don't mind me," Akane said. "You don't have to interrupt your bath on my account."

 

"Epp!" Ranma remembered that she was naked and quickly sat back down in the water. She might think of herself as a girl now but she was raised as a boy and they didn't bathe with girls. Akane giggled softly, Ranma must be shy. Ranma blushed hotly and looked down in the water as Akane dropped the towel and sat down on a stool to start washing up.

 

"What's the matter Ranma?" Akane asked as she filled up a bucket and dumped the water over her head, shivering as the cold water ran over her.

 

"Sorry, not use to taking a bath with other people," Ranma said in embarrassment.

 

"Hey it's ok, we're both girls here," Akane assured her. Ranma just mumbled something under her breath and flushed harder, not looking up at Akane as the other girl rinsed off and stepped into the bath.

 

'Wow, she sure is shy,' Akane thought as she sighed, the hot water feeling really good. "You are really good Ranma, I haven’t had a work out like that in a long time."

 

"Oh umm... I didn't hurt you did I?" Ranma asked as she looked up, the water was covering Akane up now so it wasn't as embarrassing for her. Ranma thought she was pulling her punches enough not to hurt her new friend.

 

"Don't worry about it," Akane said with a wave of her hand and a grin. "A bruise here and there won't kill me. I'll just have to train a lot harder than I have been." Ranma shyly smiled back, glad that her new friend wasn't sore about losing. The girls chatted for a while, Ranma slowly relaxing and getting use to sharing a bath with another girl.

 

"Akane-chan, Ranma-chan," Kasumi's voice drifted through the door. "Lunch is ready as soon as you two get out."

 

"Hai Nee-chan," Akane called back. "Come on, Kusami's cooking is the best and I bet you're starving." Ranma's stomach took that moment to growl in agreement making Akane laugh, Ranma giggling with her.

 

*******

 

Ranma exited the guest room the next morning yawning widely. She hadn't been able to sleep in like that in a long time and the room had been so nice. Kasumi had taken the time to make the room a little more comfortable. The bed had nice soft sheets and blankets on it with fluffy pillows and she had put curtains on the only window in the room. Kasumi had even placed a vase of flowers on the nightstand and put away Ranma's few meager belongings that Ranma hadn’t already put away. Luckily the woman hadn't asked why some of Ranma's stuff looked like it would belong to a boy and not a young girl.

 

Ranma had spent most of the night being grilled by Akane's older sister Nabiki. The older girl had wanted to know all she could find out on Ranma and her father. Ranma had gotten flustered by the questions as they became more and more personal and had to be saved by Kasumi who sharply told her sister to lay off. Ranma hadn't seen much of the sister's father, Soun Tendo spent most of his time moping out by the family shrine.

 

"Good morning Ranma," Kasumi said with a smile as Ranma walked down the stairs. "I saved you some breakfast, it's on the counter in the kitchen."

 

"Thank you," Ranma said as she made a beeline for the kitchen. Kasumi smiled and giggled softly, that girl had quite the appetite. "So where's Akane and Nabiki?" Ranma asked when Kasumi joined her in the kitchen.

 

"They had school today," Kasumi said. "They left a couple of hours ago."

 

"Oh," Ranma said, enjoying the okayu Kasumi had made. "Kasumi, can I ask a question?"

 

"I think you just did," Kasumi joked with a smile. "But you may ask another."

 

"Yesterday, after me and Akane got done sparring, she said she was glad I wasn’t a boy and I got the feeling that she meant more than what she said," Ranma said. "Why is that? She doesn't like boys or something?"

 

Kasumi sighed softly as she took the now empty bowl from Ranma.

 

"Akane is having some problems at school with some of the boys there," Kasumi explained. "You’d have to ask her, she knows all the details. A word of advice Ranma-chan, Nabiki is a sweet girl but she has a very bad habit of charging people money whenever they ask her for something so I would avoid asking Nabiki anything."

 

"She's kinda pushy," Ranma said.

 

"Nabiki has always been like that," Kasumi said with a chuckle. "She doesn't mean any harm, and honestly the money she makes goes toward the house. As for Akane, as I said you would have to ask her, it's her story to tell. But don't push her if she doesn't want to answer, it makes her a bit upset."

 

"Ok, I'll remember that," Ranma said then winced in pain, pressing a hand to her side.

 

"Are you alright?" Kasumi asked as she noticed the motion. Ranma nodded, she had been getting these little pains for the last day or so and didn't know what was causing them. She hoped she wasn't hurt somewhere.

 

"Yeah, I'm fine," Ranma assured her. "I'll be back," she added as she left the kitchen and headed towards the downstairs bathroom. Kasumi watched her go and shook her head with a smile. She washed the bowl in the sink and was putting it in the drain pan to dry when a scream rang through the house startling Kasumi who dropped the bowl. The bowl hit the floor, shattering into pieces but went unnoticed by Kasumi as she ran from the room to the bathroom.

 

"Ranma? Are you alright?" Kasumi as she opened the door enough to slip in. "What's wrong?"

 

"I-I-I'm bleeding!" Ranma said, completely freaked out.

 

"What?" Kasumi asked, drawing the girl into her arms to calm her down.

 

"I'm bleeding, d-down there," Ranma said. "I-I came in here to use the toilet and I found blood i-in my boxers and I don't know why. I didn't get hurt or nothing!" Kasumi blinked and rubbed Ranma's back.

 

"Ranma, there isn't any reason to be concerned," Kasumi said soothingly. "You're just having your time of the month."

 

"M-my what?" Ranma asked confused.

 

"Your period," Kasumi said making Ranma give her an even more confused look. "Ranma, you haven’t had your period before now?"

 

"I-I don't even know what it is," Ranma said with a shake of her head. She was shaking all over, she hadn't known about this part of a girl's life. "I've only been a girl for a few wee..." Ranma clammed up as she realized she was babbling and about to give away her secret.

 

"Ranma, what did you mean by you've only been a girl for a few weeks?" Kasumi asked as she caught what Ranma said. Ranma bit her lip, she wanted to explain as she did feel bad about not telling her hosts about what was going on but she wasn't sure if Kasumi would believe her. Or worse yet, maybe Kasumi would believe her but demand that she leave.

 

"My pops did have a son," Ranma said softly bowing her head so her hair hid her face. "I was born in a boy’s body but... but I had never felt comfortable or right in it. I didn't understand what it meant until a few weeks ago, Pops and me went to this ancient training ground called Jusenkyo. It's filled with a bunch of pools of water that turned out to be cursed. Pops accidently knocked me into the pool of drowned girl.

 

"After that I finally felt right for the first time in my life but it turns out I can only be a girl if I'm hit with cold water, hot water turned me back into a boy. The guide brought us to this nearby village and one of the elders helped me understand what my feelings meant."

 

Ranma looked up at Kasumi, her big blue eyes begging for the older girl to understand.

 

"I'm transsexual, I might have been born a boy but I'm a girl, I really am Kasumi."

 

Kasumi stayed quiet, holding Ranma the whole time the red headed girl had explained what she meant. Kasumi was a bit skeptical, a magic spring that turned you into something else? But the tone of Ranma's voice and the look in those blue eyes were enough to convince Kasumi that Ranma was telling the truth. About everything.

 

Kasumi had a friend that she had grown up with and gone to school with that was also transsexual. Her best friend Aoi had been born a boy but swore all her life that she was really a girl. Aoi was currently working up the funds to start her gender reassignment surgery.

 

"I understand Ranma-chan," Kasumi said with a smile. Ranma sagged in relief in Kasumi's arms.

 

"Kasumi, is everything alright?" Soun's voice asked on the other side of the bathroom door. "I heard somebody scream."

 

"Everything is fine Father," Kasumi called out. "It's nothing for you to worry about, it's something girl related."

 

"Urrmmm... yes... well I'll leave you to it then," Soun said then the girls could hear him rapidly walk away. He had raised three girls and knew 'girl stuff' was not something he wanted to get mixed up in. Kasumi smiled and shook her head then stood up, holding her hands out to Ranma.

 

"Let's get you cleaned up and I'll show you what you should do," Kasumi offered as she helped Ranma to stand. "Then we'll go down to the kitchen and I'll make you a nice soothing cup of tea where I'll explain everything."

 

"Thank you Kasumi," Ranma said in a grateful tone. She had been unprepared for her first time of the month.

 

****

 

"So I'll have to go through this every month?" Ranma asked an hour later, nursing a lukewarm cup of tea between her hands.

 

"Well if you were like this the entire time then yes," Kasumi said, a small frown marring your face. "But I can't say what will happen when you start switching back and forth again. Maybe you should speak to Dr. Tofu, he might be able to tell you more."

 

Ranma sighed and wished again that Genma hadn't snatched her from the village, Cologne might have been able to help her in this.

 

"Ranma... can I ask what happened to your father?" Kasumi asked as she had always felt there was something off about Ranma's story of how they got separated.

 

"Well... to be honest, I tricked Pops into using the last of my waterproof soap when we stopped at a public bath house and the police had a zoo haul him off," Ranma admitted with a tiny blush.

 

"A zoo?" Kasumi repeated. "Why would a zoo take him?"

 

"Well it could be because Pops is also cursed, at Jusenkyo I knocked him into one of the springs and now he turns into a panda," Ranma said with a smirk. "It really suits him, he doesn’t look too much different from when he's a human. But I was so shocked when he came out of the spring I didn't move in time and that's when I fell into the spring of drowned girl."

 

"I see," Kasumi said. "You said the soap lasts a week?"

 

"Yeah, but I don't know when we'll see Pops," Ranma said, shrugging her slim shoulders.

 

"I can't imagine he'll have ready access to hot water in a zoo," Kasumi said with a giggle. "Well in the meantime, we'll just have to figure out how to break the news to Father and my sisters."

 

Kasumi was a bit worried about how Akane would take Ranma being a boy. Her youngest sister was on the biggest boy-hating spree and Akane had a bit of a temper on her. She would have to think of a way to gently break it to her sister and make Akane understand that Ranma was still a girl even when she was a boy.

 

Nabiki on the other hand Kasumi would have to make sure she didn't take advantage of their newest house guest.

 

"What about that whole engagement thing?" Ranma asked. "I don't want to marry another girl."

 

"That will be a bit of a problem, Father is really set on joining our families," Kasumi said with a sigh. "I will think of something don't worry."

 

"I'm home!" Akane called as she entered the house, groaning in relief as she toed off her shoes.

 

"How was school?" Kasumi asked as the youngest Tendo joined them. "Where's Nabiki?"

 

"Same as always, having to deal with stupid boys and we had a test today but I think I aced it," Akane said as she grabbed a cookie off a plate. "Oh she said she had something to do with Kuno. I didn't even want to know, she would have charged me a fee just for asking."

 

"Well don't ruin your dinner," Kasumi said as she took the plate of cookies away, Akane reaching to grab another as it was taken out of her reach. Ranma giggled softly as Akane pouted.

 

"Fine, I'm going to change and go work out," Akane said as she headed up to her room.

 

*****

 

Ranma had decided this was one thing about being a girl that she didn't like. She thought the cramps might be the worst but overall being visited by her 'aunt flow' as she heard Nabiki refer to it has just really sucked. When she mentioned it to Kasumi, the older girl just gave a humorless laugh and said no woman liked it.

 

Other than that, Ranma's days at the Tendo Dojo were nice. She was getting to be really good friends with Akane and even Nabiki was starting to warm up to her a bit. She didn't have any money on her to pay any rent and she felt bad just lazing around mooching off of her host so Ranma took to helping Kasumi around the house. She liked the older girl, Kasumi continued to treat her like a girl even knowing she had been born a boy and had answered any questions Ranma had. Ranma had found out later that one of the reasons Kasumi was so understanding was that she had a friend who was like Ranma and understood somewhat what Ranma was going through.

 

Ranma sighed as she entered the bathroom and dropped her clothing in the hamper. After that first night at the dojo, Ranma convinced Akane that she’d rather bathe alone. Akane put it off as Ranma being really shy thankfully. It was partly but Ranma still wasn't use to bathing with other girls after growing up as a boy. She headed toward the shower head on the other side of the room, having taken to showers over using the furo during her time of the month.

 

As Ranma stood under the shower head, letting the hot water pour over it with a content sigh, she began to feel a slight tingling sensation starting from the tip of her fingers to her toes. This was her only warning before her whole body shifted, it was quick and painless, one second she had been a girl and next she was back in her old boy form. Ranma sighed as she looked down at herself, one hand on the wall to keep her balance. After spending weeks as a girl, Ranma had almost forgotten what it was like to stand around in a boy's body.

 

It felt strange and foreign, if Ranma hadn't already been convinced before of the wrongness of her boy form, she now would have.

 

'Crap,' Ranma thought as she pushed away from the wall and over to the mirror in the corner of the room. It was weird looking at her male form again, it was like it wasn't even her though she knew it was. This body didn't feel like her's anymore, she snorted softly as even as a boy she couldn’t bring herself to call herself one. 'Just great, now I'm gonna have to explain what's going on.'

 

Ranma had sorta lost track of how many days she had before the soap wore off. She still hadn't explained to anyone but Kasumi what happened to her, not even Akane.

 

'Crap,' she thought again as she turned away from the mirror, stumbling slightly as she hurried to finish her shower. She would have to relearn how to walk as a boy again as her center of gravity was off. It was a reverse of what had happened after she fell in the spring she thought with a snort. 'Guess I'll go ahead and head out like this, no point in putting it off.' Ranma quickly dressed in the extra clothing she brought with her and headed for the kitchen where she could hear Kasumi humming.

 

"Kasumi," Ranma said just loud enough to catch her attention. Kasumi gasped at the unfamiliar voice and turned on her heel to face who had entered her domain. She blinked and looked closer at the boy.

 

"Ranma?" Kasumi asked, breathing a sigh of relief when Ranma nodded. It wasn’t hard to tell it was Ranma, her male form stood a head taller than her female one, her form was much broader, and her hair was black as night now, but otherwise Ranma looked the same. Both of Ranma's forms looked like they could be twins had they been side by side. "Well... you are a very handsome young man Ranma," Kasumi said with a soft smile and giggled as Ranma gave her an annoyed look.

 

"I don't want to look handsome," Ranma said as she sat at the counter.

 

"Oh don't pout Ranma," Kasumi said patting her shoulder. "Do you want a glass of cold water?"

 

"I would but I shouldn't," Ranma sighed. "I mean, I've got to let your sisters know and I might as well do it like this," she waved a hand at her current form.

 

"Yes, I suppose you're right," Kasumi said. If she hadn't already been convinced by Ranma's story before, she was now. Ranma looked uncomfortable and unhappy to be a boy.

 

"Hey Kasumi, have you seen Ranma anywhere?" Akane asked as she entered the kitchen. "I haven’t seen her... who's this?" Akane eyed the strange boy sitting at the counter. The boy was around her age and something niggled at the back of her mind, something about him was familiar but Akane didn't know what.

 

Ranma let out a breath, this was going to be a lot harder than she thought it would be.

 

"Akane, it's me, Ranma," she said.

 

"No you're not, Ranma is a girl," Akane said with a snort. "Who are you really?"

 

"This is Ranma Akane," Kasumi said, already filling up a glass of water after putting on the kettle to boil some hot water. "Look," Kasumi poured some of the water over Ranma's head, Akane's mouth dropping open as the strange boy turned into her friend.

 

"What in the name of Kami-sama?" Akane asked, pointing at Ranma. "You were just a boy... but you're a girl!"

 

"Akane-chan, calm down," Kasumi said soothingly. "Ranma has a bit of a curse, she changes gender when she's splashed with water."

 

"But-but curses aren't real," Akane said then realized how stupid that sounded since she just saw Ranma change from a boy to a girl. Her eyes narrowed as she turned to look at the red head. "Were you a boy this whole time?"

 

"Well no, not really," Ranma said as she rubbed the back of her neck.

 

"Not really?" Akane answered. "What sort of answer is that?"

 

"Well... I was born with a boy's body but-" Ranma started to say.

 

"You're a boy!?" Akane nearly screeched. "Oh Kami-sama, I can't believe I took a bath with a pervert!"

 

"I am not a pervert!" Ranma yelled back.

 

"Yes you are, all boys are perverts!" Akane yelled.

 

"I'm not a boy!" Ranma said, planting her hands on her hips.

 

"Yes you are! I bet you used your curse just so you could get a peek at me," Akane said. "I can't believe this, all this time you were a pervert." Ranma growled and did the first thing that came to mind, she insulted Akane back.

 

"What do you know you flat chested tomboy?" Ranma said. Akane's face went red and she grabbed one of the chairs in the room to hit Ranma with.

 

"AKANE!" Kasumi yelled sharply. "You put that chair down right now young lady!" Akane flinched in shock and quickly put the chair back down. Kasumi marched over and grabbed Akane's arm, dragging her from the kitchen out to the dojo.

 

"Kasumi, what are you doing?" Akane asked, she had never seen her sister like this before.

 

"I have never been so disappointed in you little sister," Kasumi said after she closed the door to the dojo and turned to face the younger girl.

 

"Wha-" Akane started to ask.

 

"That girl in there dredged up all her courage to tell you about her curse and the first thing you do is insult her!" Kasumi said. "When what she needed was your understanding."

 

"Nee-chan, that boy in there lied to us!" Akane said, pointing a finger in the direction of the house. "Why do you keep calling him a girl?"

 

"Because no matter what she looks like on the outside, Ranma is still a girl," Kasumi said calmly. "Akane, Ranma is transsexual. She was born into the wrong gender, her mind and soul are female and she was lucky enough to come across something that would allow her to fully be a girl."

 

"That doesn't make sense, how can you be born into the wrong gender. You’re either a boy or a girl, you can't be both," Akane said. "And why didn't he say anything before?" Akane felt betrayed, she had thought she found a great new friend but the whole time Ranma was just another boy.

 

"That right there, that attitude is the reason why Ranma was scared to say anything before now," Kasumi said. "She was afraid that you would reject her over something she has no control over." Akane crossed her arms and pouted, feeling low as her sister scolded her. Kasumi sighed and placed her hands on Akane's shoulders.

 

"Look little sister, I know you feel a bit betrayed but Ranma didn't do any of this on purpose. All she wants is to be accept as she is, if she could she would be a girl all the time but it's called a 'curse' for a reason," Kasumi said. "She needs a friend right now."

 

"I just don't understand Kasumi," Akane said. "I mean... she was born a boy, isn't that what Ranma is then?"

 

"Akane... I want you to go down to Dr. Tofu's clinic," Kasumi said after a few seconds.

 

"Why? I'm not hurt," Akane said in a confused tone.

 

"I want you to go and ask him about all this," Kasumi told her. "You respect Dr. Tofu don't you?" Akane blushed slightly, she more than respected Tofu, she had a huge crush on him, and nodded slightly. "Go and ask him all this then. He's a very smart man after all, shouldn't he be able to tell you if something is possible or not?"

 

"I guess..." Akane said. She was confused still and very hurt by Ranma's lie.

 

"Go on, go see him now," Kasumi said as she pushed Akane toward the door of the dojo. She was not going to have these two girls fighting if she could help it.

 

*****

 

"Dr. Tofu?" Akane asked, looking into the man's examination room from the lobby. She frowned when she didn't see him them jumped as a bony hand touched her shoulder. She turned around, one hand over her heart, and looked up at the amused Tofu who made the skeleton he kept in his office that he named Betty wave.

 

"Akane-san," Tofu said with a smile. "What brings you here? How's your little friend from the other day?"

 

"Oh ummm... 'she' is fine," Akane said. "Dr. Tofu, I wanted to ask you something."

 

"What is it?" Tofu asked as he set Betty back up on the corner of the room, straightening her bones a bit.

 

"Is... is it possible for somebody to be both genders?" Akane asked.

 

"In what way?" The doctor asked as he turned to face the teenage girl.

 

"Huh?" Akane asked with a confused look. There was more than one way?

 

"Well, do you mean somebody who was born with both genitals? Or someone who is intersex?" Tofu asked as he pushed his glasses up on his nose with one finger. "Or maybe somebody who's transsexual?"

 

"That one!" Akane said loudly then blushed as she clamped her hand over her mouth.

 

"I see, did you discover K-k-kasumi's friend's secret then?" Tofu asked, his glasses fogging up slightly as he stumbled over Kasumi's name. Tofu was head over heels in love with the eldest Tendo daughter but whenever he was around her or heard her name he tended to go a little crazy. It was a trait he picked up from his father who went crazy over Tofu's mother Kin Ono when they first started dating.

 

"Friend?" Akane asked slightly confused, he couldn't mean Ranma.

 

"Yes, Aoi," Tofu said.

 

"Aoi!?" Akane asked in a shocked tone. Aoi was her sister's friend who Akane had seen a lot of growing up, the woman was almost like another sister to her.

 

"Oh dear, isn't that who you meant?" Tofu asked. Akane shook her head slightly making Tofu sigh. "Well I shouldn't tell you other patient’s secrets but then again it really isn't... Akane-san, Aoi was born a boy but she identifies as a woman. She's what's called a 'transsexual', though if I understand it she is currently working on having gender reassignment surgery so her body will match the gender she identifies as."

 

"I don't quite understand Dr. Tofu, how can you be one gender but see yourself as another?" Akane asked.

 

"Well, it isn't 100% clear why it happens but sometimes a person is born as either a boy or a girl but everything else about them feels like they should be the opposite gender," Tofu explained. "Not everyone understands it but for the person it happens to, they might always feel like they are in the wrong body. They just know for lack of a better word and feel trapped in their current body. Some people like Aoi take steps to correct this, though modern medicine only goes so far. Maybe one day..."

 

"So... somebody really can be a girl even if they are born a boy?" Akane asked softly. She felt terrible for yelling at Ranma now like she had. She had let her shock and anger get the better of her when Ranma revealed her curse to her.

 

"Yes," Tofu said then looked at Akane worriedly. "Akane-san, what is this all about if it isn't about Aoi?"

 

"I'm sorry Dr. Tofu, I've got to go," Akane said as she turned and ran out of the clinic. Tofu watched as Akane left, feeling very confused.

 

*******

 

Meanwhile at the Tendo Dojo...

 

splash

 

"Would you please stop doing that?" Ranma asked in an annoyed tone as Nabiki poured more cold water over her head. After Kasumi had sent Akane off to Dr. Tofu they had taken the time to tell Nabiki about Ranma's curse. The middle Tendo sister took it a lot better than Akane had, at first she didn't believe it and used the hot and cold water to switch Ranma back and forth. After a few times, Ranma was getting the feeling that Nabiki believed her now and was just doing it to tick her off.

 

"Nabiki, you're getting water all over my floors," Kasumi said.

 

"Alright alright," Nabiki said as she stopped playing with Ranma's curse. "So... you were born a boy like Daddy thought but you're really a girl. And then you got a magical curse at this old training grounds that let you become a girl." Already the wheels were starting to turn in Nabiki's head, she could make a killing off this!

 

"Nabiki," Kasumi said in a warning tone. "You are not to blackmail Ranma-chan."

 

"But..." Nabiki started to say then took one look at her sister's face and pouted. "Fine... ruin all my fun..." She muttered to herself as she crossed her arms over her chest. She then brightened and looked back at Ranma again. "You ever think about modeling? Your boy and girl forms are very good looking, you would make a killing!"

 

"Nabiki!" Kasumi said with a shake of her head as Ranma looked a bit flustered by all the questions.

 

"Errr.... I think I need some fresh air," Ranma said as she raced out of the door. She looked around for someplace to get a few minutes to herself and spied the roof above her. Inside Kasumi looked sternly at her younger sister.

 

"Nabiki, was that really all necessary?" Kasumi asked once they were alone.

 

"What, I was just having a little fun," Nabiki said with a shrug. "What are we going to tell Daddy? You know when he finds out Ranma really is a boy, even if he's a girl sorta, that he's gonna push that engagement onto one of us."

 

"I know, but I think I can stall Father at least for a while," Kasumi said. "Nabiki, we have to help Ranma. That poor girl is just getting use to her body and all she wants is to be herself."

 

"That ain't gonna be easy sis," Nabiki said.

 

"I know it's not, but we'll make it work," Kasumi said. "That means you have to help too."

 

"Alright alright, I'll try not to be too much of the 'ice queen'," Nabiki agreed. "What happens if Mr. Saotome shows up?"

 

"Ranma said he was taken to a zoo," Kasumi said. "I don't know how long it will be before he discovers he'll be able to change back into a human but if he does and comes here Ranma will have to act like she's still a boy. So we'll have to make sure she'll have time to learn about her girl form."

 

"This is gonna be a pain in the ass," Nabiki summed it up. "With Ranma living here, it's already a strain on our finances but if her dad shows up..."

 

"As much as I dislike your... extra actives..." Kasumi said with a scowl. "I'm sure you'll think of something to make more money. I'll try to convince Father to start taking students again, it has been too long since he last taught."

 

"I wasn't kidding when I said Ranma would make a great model," Nabiki said.

 

"Do not go around taking pictures of that poor girl. It's bad enough you do that to Akane!" Kasumi said sternly.

 

"Akane lets me," Nabiki pointed out. "Don't get your panties in a bunch sis, I said I would be good." Kasumi sighed as Nabiki walked away toward the stairs, rubbing her forehead. She was glad their father wasn't in the house at that moment, the man had gone out searching for his 'good friend Saotome'. She looked up as the front door opened and Akane came running in, pausing only long enough to kick her shoes off.

 

"Where... is... Ranma?" Akane panted.

 

"I think she's on the roof," Kasumi said then planted her hands on her hips as she gave Akane a stern look. "You're not about to go yell at her some more are you?"

 

"I'm sorry Nee-chan, I was just so... so..." Akane bowed her head in shame. Kasumi sighed and drew her sister into a hug.

 

"There there little sister," Kasumi said as she stroked Akane's long hair. "I know it was a bit of a shock but I hope you got over it."

 

"What you said was true, Dr. Tofu confirmed it," Akane said softly. "Is Aoi really..." she let the question hang as Kasumi nodded. ”So that's why you understood Ranma so well?"

 

"A bit, I was there as Aoi discovered herself when we were children," Kasumi said. "Go talk to Ranma, Akane. Go make peace with her. Don't let this ruin your friendship with her, she needs it."

 

"Hai Nee-chan," Akane said softly.

 

*****

 

Ranma sighed as she stared out over the neighborhood that the Tendo's lived in from where she sat on their roof. Her legs were drawn up to her chest and her chin rested on her knees.

 

'This day couldn't have gone worse,' Ranma thought to herself sourly. Akane had taken the knowledge about her curse very badly, even calling her a freak. Ranma's fingers tightened around her legs, that had hurt her so much and now she wished that she had gone ahead and left when she had the chance, going back to China and the people she knew would accept her. She also felt a little bad called Akane a 'flat chested tomboy', but only a little since the other girl insulted her first.

 

thunk

 

Ranma looked up at the noise and noticed that a ladder was propped up against the wall. Akane's head popped up over the edge of the roof as she climbed up.

 

"There you are," Akane said as she climbed onto the roof. Ranma looked away making Akane sigh softly. The long haired girl walked over to sit beside the red head, both of them sitting quietly. "Ranma... look I'm sorry about how I acted earlier. I guess... well I guess I freaked out a little."

 

"A little?" Ranma asked as she turned to face Akane. "I think you freaked out more than 'a little'."

 

"Ok, I really freaked out," Akane said with a sigh. "I don't really like boys Ranma. I find them immature, stupid and perverted and well... I kinda felt betrayed when I saw that you were a boy."

 

"But I'm not," Ranma said with a sigh as she lay back on the roof, looking up into the sky that was starting to darken as the sun set. "Not really, I may have been born with a boy's body but that doesn't make me a boy. My spirit, my soul is a girl if that makes any sense and this 'curse' I got at Jusenkyo, it's the real me."

 

Akane sighed and drew her legs up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them.

 

"Yeah, I kinda understand that now," She said. "I talked to Kasumi and Dr. Tofu, they both explained to me how it worked. Ranma I really am sorry, can you forgive me for the way I reacted?"

 

"Why do you hate boys Akane?" Ranma asked curious. Akane sighed again and scowled.

 

"There's this boy at my school, he's in Nabiki's class, name’s Kuno Tatewaki," Akane explained. "He's sort of a big deal, his dad is the principal of the school and his family is really wealthy and he's captain of the Kendo team. He asked me out on a date at the start of the year but I turned him down."

 

"Why?" Ranma asked as she sat up. "Isn't he cute? Or is he ugly? And don't some people go for the rich guys?"

 

"He's ok looking I guess but he's just a really big jerk," Akane said as she grit her teeth. "He went up before the school assembly after that and told all the boys in our school that no one is allowed to date me unless they can defeat me in combat."

 

"What?" Ranma said with a small laugh. "Does this Kuno guy think he's an Amazon or something?"

 

"A what?" Akane asked confused then shook her head, not sure if she wanted to know. "Now every morning before school I have to fight almost all the boys in the school in a great big group."

 

"What? All together?" Ranma asked surprised then scowled when Akane nodded. "That isn't a fair fight."

 

"No, but I'm able to kick all of their asses every day so I can handle it," Akane said with pride in her tone. "After I take care of them then I have to fight Kuno too. He's such a pushover it's not even funny, I don't know how he became the captain of the Kendo team," Akane rolled her eyes and huffed as she crossed her arms. "But because of them, I hate boys."

 

"So you compared me to all the boys in your school," Ranma said.

 

"Well yeah but... it's also because you beat me in our spar and I remembered what Kuno said at the start of the year," Akane admitted.

 

"Akane, I have no desire to date you," Ranma said. "I don't like girls at all, I like boys."

 

"So you're gay?" Akane said, that made her feel a little better at least.

 

"No, I'm straight," Ranma pointed out then frowned. "Well... I guess as a boy I would be gay but since I'm really a girl..."

 

"Yeah, I get it," Akane assured her then looked at her friend. "Ranma... I am sorry that I blew up and called you all those things. Kasumi is always getting onto me about my temper. Can you forgive me?"

 

"Well... ok I guess," Ranma said. "And I'm sorry I called you a 'flat-chested tomboy', you hurt me earlier so I snapped back."

 

"So are we ok now?" Akane asked hopefully.

 

"Yeah, just try to remember that even when I'm in my boy body, I'm still a girl ok?" Ranma said.

 

"Ok," Akane said with a smile making Ranma smile back.

 

*****

 

That evening when Soun returned to the Tendo household, the girls sat down with the man and explained Ranma's curse. He didn't believe them until Ranma showed him how the curse worked.

 

"I see... why did you not tell me you are Genma's son and not his daughter?" Soun asked as he rubbed his chin with one hand.

 

"Err... well I hadn't been able to change back until today so I thought that maybe the curse was permanent," Ranma said with a nervous laugh as she rubbed the back of her neck. She hated that she had to lie to the man, but all three Tendo daughters told her that Soun, who was very old fashioned in his way of thinking, would have a very hard time understanding or accepting that Ranma was transsexual. "But then I started to switch back today so..." Ranma shrugged her shoulders.

 

"Hmmm, I see my boy," Soun said with a nod, missing Ranma wince at being called a boy. "Well this isn't so bad. You know of the arrangement between our families," Soun wrapped an arm around Ranma's shoulders with a large smile as he waved a hand at Kasumi, Nabiki and Akane. "Which of my daughters do you wish to take as your bride?" Ranma opened her mouth to protest, a panicked look on her face.

 

Nabiki opened her mouth to offer up Akane, she had no wish to be engaged to anyone thank-you-very-much, and then winced as Kasumi kicked her in the ankle to shut her up. She glared at Kasumi who ignored her and stepped forward.

 

"Father? May I make a suggestion?" Kasumi asked. When Soun nodded she smiled and continued. "Father, Ranma barely knows us, you can't expect him to just pick one of us. Maybe Ranma should take the time to get to know each of us before deciding."

 

"Hmm... you make a good point daughter," Soun said as he started rubbing his chin again. "I quite agree. Ranma my boy, take the time to get to know my daughters and in a year from now you will decide which one you want to marry."

 

"Sure," Ranma quickly said, glad she wasn't put on the spot to choose now. This would hopefully give them all time to figure a way out of this.

 

"Wonderful!" Soun said with a large grin as he slapped Ranma on the back. "This calls for a celebration! I must get out the good sake! Oh if only your father was here as well Ranma," Soun walked off to where he hid his good sake. When he left, Ranma and the Tendo's breathed a sigh of relief.

 

"That was close," Akane said. "But that only puts this off for a year."

 

"Then we'll just have to figure something out during that time," Kasumi said. "For now, let's just be thankful Father’s letting us have this year."

 

"Well somebody better think of something, otherwise Akane is going to have to marry Ranma," Nabiki said.

 

"What? Why me?" Akane asked.

 

"Well, you're always saying you hate boys," Nabiki said with a smirk. "Well Ranma is only half boy."

 

"Hey!" Ranma and Akane yelled as Nabiki laughed and left the room.

 

****

 

Author note: Ok, just a quick notice, this will be the last chapter for a short while. I'm going on a short hiatus but don't worry it won't be as long as the years old writer's block I had. I am going back over the previous chapters of this and my other stories to give them a tune up. As soon as I'm done, I'll be back to writing.

 

Edit 9-3-14: And this ladies and gents brings an end to my editing! Thank you so much for putting up with it all. Nothing much had to be changed, just a few spelling mistakes I found.

Chapter Text

Blessed Curse

Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 belongs to Rumiko Takahashi

Author note: Thanks to Blissfull Wulf for betaing this fic.

 

Chapter 5

 

“School?” Ranma repeated looking up at Kasumi. It had been two days since the waterproof soap had worn off, leaving Ranma to change back between her original male birth form and the cursed female one that she considered her true body. While it was still a little awkward between her and Akane, the two girls’ friendship had quickly gone back to what it used to be. This morning after Akane and Nabiki had headed off to school, Kasumi had dropped the bombshell that she was going to register Ranma at their school.

“Yes,” Kasumi said with a nod as she sat down beside Ranma at the low table. “You can’t just keep hanging around here all the time, though I do appreciate the help you’ve given me, but you need to go back to school.”

“I just… I haven’t gone to school in over a year,” Ranma said, scratching the side of her neck. “And that’s only cause Pops didn’t want trouble from the cops.”

“Your father didn’t want you to go to school?” Kasumi asked, not sure if she should be surprised or not. Ranma’s father Genma, from what little bit she could glean from Ranma, did not sound like a pleasant man.

“Nah, he always said that school was pointless in the pursuit of the art,” Ranma quoted with a roll of her eyes and a sigh. “When I was little he taught me how to read and write and basic math, always claimed that was all I needed to get by. Only time I ever went to a school was when the local police in whatever area we were staying in for a while forced him to let me go.”

“Oh my,” Kasumi said, bringing her hand up to her lips. “What did you do, surely you didn’t try to get by on such little schooling?”

“Nah, whenever Pops was out doing whatever he was doing, I bet it was either stealing something or scamming somebody,” Ranma shook her head slightly as she thought about her father’s usual activities while Kasumi scowled, ”or when he was drunk off his ass I snuck to the local library. I mean, it wasn’t as good as learning in a school, but at least I wasn’t so far behind that I couldn’t catch up.” Ranma shrugged her shoulders slightly.

“Well, while you are here you are going to school,” Kasumi said firmly. Ranma had no arguments on that, she liked to learn, though most of her focus was on her martial arts. When she was younger Ranma did buy into Genma’s words about not needing to know more than how to read and how to add until one of her friends from childhood had set her straight, even teaching her that learning could be fun. True, Ranma wasn’t the greatest at school work but it was always because she had to rush to catch up with her classmates as she was always behind since she didn’t go to school usually.

“Yeah ok, I’m not going to argue with you,” Ranma said. “How am I gonna pay for a uniform and stuff?” (1)

“I got Nabiki to give me some money, she owed me a couple of favors,” Kasumi said with a giggle. “Think of it as payment for helping me out around the house. Now come on, the mall should be open now, we can pick up your school supplies.”

 

*******

 

At the local mall, Kasumi and Ranma picked up a black school briefcase and a plain bento. Ranma would have liked one of the cuter ones on the shelf, shying away from the one covered in cats but Kasumi caught the wistful look Ranma gave when the currently boy-shaped girl looked at one covered in little cartoon dogs. But as they had to keep an image, at least for now, Ranma sighed and turned away from the shelf. Kasumi smiled sadly, Ranma wanted to embrace the things that girls wanted but had to play the role of a boy. It broke her heart to see Ranma like this.

At the uniform store, Kasumi picked out a couple of boy uniforms for Ranma to try on so they could find one that fit and found the cursed teen looking at girl uniforms, holding a sleeve of one of the winter uniforms in her hand.

“Ranma-chan?” Kasumi said getting the other’s attention. Ranma quickly looked up, dropping the sleeve of the uniform and stepping back.

“Sorry,” Ranma muttered.

“Do you like dresses Ranma?” Kasumi asked, curious. As Ranma had only recently in the last few weeks come to terms with herself and gained a form that she was comfortable with, Kasumi didn’t know what Ranma’s thoughts on female clothing were.

“A friend I had when I was a kid had a really pretty dress I liked,” Ranma said softly. “Pops flipped when he saw I had it. Had to learn how to keep that kinda stuff buried. I wore a couple of dresses in the village I was staying at before Pops kidnapped me.” Ranma shrugged her shoulders slightly.

“I see,” Kasumi said. “Well go try these on to see if they fit.” She placed the male uniforms in Ranma’s arms and sent her to the dressing room. ‘Poor Ranma,’ Kasumi thought with a sigh. If it wasn’t for the fact Ranma’s legal paperwork still listed her as a boy Kasumi would be tempted to register Ranma in her female form at Furinkan High School. Kasumi saw the hidden desire in Ranma’s blue eyes as she looked at the girl uniforms and the hidden disappoint when she had to play the part of a boy.

‘Well just because she can’t wear girl clothes at school doesn’t mean she can’t wear them at home or anything,’ Kasumi reasoned. They would have to be careful how they planned it of course, her father would never understand why Ranma preferred to act and dress as a girl but Kasumi was sneaker than people gave her credit for. She was sure between her and her sisters they could keep Soun in the dark. ‘We should make it a girls day out this weekend, I’m sure Akane-chan would love to pick up a couple of new dresses and help Ranma find something of her own. Father will never enter Ranma’s room so he’ll never know what’s in her closet. Or she can just keep her girly clothing hidden in my or Akane-chan’s room.’ Kasumi smiled to herself, yes they could make this work out and help Ranma along the way.

 

*********

 

The next morning Ranma walked into her borrowed bedroom while toweling her wet hair dry. She had gotten up early to do her exercises, while she and Akane took time to have little spars in the dojo Ranma wished she had a sparring partner that could push her to her limits. Akane was decent but she was the one being pushed not Ranma.

‘What I’d give for Shampoo or even Ryoga to be here,’ Ranma thought as Shampoo had given all she was worth when they fought, once Ranma got past the ‘no hitting girls’ thing and showed she was worthy of being one of the Joketsuzoku’s finest warriors when she was older. Ryoga of course had been her sparring buddy back in Junior High. Mousse had been pretty fun to spar with as well, he wasn’t as strong as Shampoo but the taller boy’s Hidden Weapons made the fight interesting, you never knew what was going to fly out of those white robes next.

Ranma sighed as she opened the closet door and looked at the uniforms inside. She was half tempted to just go in her Chinese silks, she had never been one for uniforms, something she was sure came from not having to wear them very often. But Kasumi had gone through all the trouble of getting Ranma the uniforms… Ranma sighed again and grabbed one of the uniforms, putting it on. As she walked out the door to go downstairs she absently pulled her long black hair back into a short braid.

“Morning Ranma,” Akane said as she stepped out of her room as Ranma passed it. “Looking forward to going back to school?”

“Yeah and no,” Ranma said with a shrug. “I don’t mind learning but I know I’m gonna be behind since I haven’t been in school for over a year. Last school I went to was a all-boys school.”

“All-boys?” Akane said with a wrinkle of her nose. “What was that like?”

“Meh, it was school except there wasn’t any girls,” Ranma said. “There was a all-girls school that was nearby I think. We had all the same classes. The only time it really got hectic was during lunch.”

“What happened at lunch?” Akane asked curiously as she and Ranma sat down at the table, Nabiki yawning and sipping her morning coffee.

“Well the cooks would save all the really good bread so at the end of lunch they could throw it out to the students. Everyone would crowd around the lunch counter and the cook would announce what bread it was and throw it up into the air,” Ranma explained. Akane and even Nabiki were looking at Ranma in disbelief.

“You must be joking,” Nabiki said.

“No, it was a free for all everyday at lunch for the last good bread,” Ranma said. “It was like a riot, everyone was crowding together to be the one to grab the bread.”

“Did you ever get involved in that?” Akane asked.

“Yeah, but I just jumped over everyone’s heads and grabbed the bread for myself,” Ranma said. “No one complained because it was first-come first –serve except for one guy I knew that I became… sorta friends with. At least the days he was at school anyway.”

“Why didn’t he go to school?” Akane asked. “Was he sick?” Kasumi came out with breakfast then, setting it out on the table.

“This looks wonderful Kasumi,” Soun said as he folded up his morning paper and put it to the side, he was half listening to Ranma’s tale of his old school.

“Well… Ryoga has a bit of a problem finding his way around,” Ranma said as she rubbed the back of her neck. “So he didn’t always make it to school on time.”

“Dig in everyone,” Kasumi said as she sat down. Ranma happily did so with gusto, filling up the bowl and starting to eat in her usual manner. Akane stared at Ranma, she could never get use to seeing the other teen eating this way, it made Ranma look like a pig!

“Why do you have to eat that way!?” Akane finally snapped, this had been bugging her for days!

“Huh?” Ranma paused in her eating, looking up at Akane.

“You’re acting like a pig Saotome,” Nabiki said. “It’s not a pretty sight.”

“Oh…” Ranma lowered her bowl and chopsticks to the table then rubbed her neck. “Sorry. It’s a habit I had to pick up growing up. Pops liked to turn everything into a martial arts lesson, including meal times. He always tries to steal my food when we eat, if I don’t eat in a hurry he’ll get it.”

“Ah yes, that does sound like Saotome,” Soun said with a chuckle. Kasumi frowned in disapproval; nobody should steal food from their children not even for a lesson. Akane felt bad to for yelling at Ranma.

“Well… no one is gonna steal your food here so… you could take your time you know,” Akane said after a few seconds. Ranma gave Akane a small smile and picked up her breakfast again, she still ate quickly but in a much more controlled manner.

 

******

 

As soon as they ran outside, Ranma jumped onto the fence by the sidewalk, running along the top of it. Akane looked up at Ranma in surprise, watching with a small amount of envy as Ranma easily kept her balance.

“What are you doing?” She asked.

“This is great for balance practice,” Ranma told her. “You should try it.”

“There is no way I’m going to run on top of a fence in a dress!” Akane yelled. “Everyone would see my underwear!”

“You could always wear shorts under your skirt,” Ranma suggested.

“I would still have perverted boys trying to sneak a peek,” Akane said with a shake of her head. Ranma sighed softly and shook her head.

“Well maybe after school then, like when you go on your run?” Ranma suggested instead. “You wear your gi then so no one will be able to see anything.” Akane considered this suggestion, it wasn’t too bad of an idea she guessed and if Ranma could do it so could she. As the fence came to an end Ranma leapt to the ground, her stride never breaking as she kept in step with Akane. As they passed the walkway leading up to one of the houses, Ranma yelped as she was splashed with cold water, halting her run as she looked at the old lady holding a ladle in one hand and a bucket of cold water in the other. The sidewalk was wet where the elderly woman had been tossing the water.

“Hey, watch where you toss that,” Ranma said. Akane skidded to a stop and turned back, seeing Ranma female once again. The boy’s uniform was hanging off Ranma’s smaller girl form, the sleeves hanging past her hands and pants baggy as she lost height.

“Err? What’s that girly?” The old woman said as she squinted up at Ranma. “Well, aren’t you a pretty young thing. But you need to lose the outfit missy, young thing like you needs to be wearing a nice dress not baggy boy clothing.” The old woman adjusted her glasses then turned to walk slowly up to her house, muttering to herself about how awful styles were today. Akane snorted with laughter while Ranma watched the woman a bit dumbfounded.

“Okay… never had that happen to me before… this isn’t funny,” Ranma said turning to Akane. She held up her arms to push her sleeves up. “I can’t go to school like this.”

“Just hot water right?” Akane asked as she looked at her watch. “We’re close to Dr. Tufo’s clinic, we have enough time to stop by and get some hot water.”

“Alright,” Ranma said, following after Akane.

 

***********

 

“Dr. Tofu?” Akane called as they entered the clinic. She looked around when she didn’t get an answer then looked at Ranma. “Maybe he’s upstairs or something. Just wait here, I’ll go get the water.”

“’K,” Ranma said, watching as Akane went into the back where the exam rooms were then looked around the lobby. She didn’t sense anyone behind her until a bony feeling hand landed on her shoulder, making Ranma yelp and leap into the air. She twisted around to face whoever was behind her, coming face to face with a smiling Tofu and a skeleton.

“Hello Miss Saotome,” Tofu said. “Say hello to Betty, she thinks you have some really good reflexes.”

“You scared the crap out of me,” Ranma said.

“Sorry, just having a bit of fun, didn’t mean to scare you,” Tofu said as he rolled the skeleton back into the corner.

‘I couldn’t even tell he was behind me,’ Ranma thought as she watched Tofu. ‘He’s a really good martial artist; no one’s snuck up on me like that in a long time except Cologne.’

“So what brings you to my clinic Miss Saotome,” Tofu asked as he faced Ranma again. “Your head isn’t bothering you from your injury is it?”

“What?” Ranma asked as she touched her head. “Oh, no it’s fine. I’ve had worse than that and bounced back from it.”

“I see,” Tofu said with a bit of a frown as he adjusted his glasses. As a doctor, he wondered what sort of things this young woman had gone through that she just brushed off a head injury like it was nothing.

“Here you go Ran- Dr. Tofu!” Akane said when she saw the man, a light blush covering her cheeks. Ranma raised an eyebrow at seeing it then smirked a little.

“Akane-san, what brings you and your friend? Shouldn’t you two be at school by now?” Tofu asked. Akane looked at Tofu then glanced at Ranma then turned her gaze to the glass of hot water in her hand.

“Just give it here Akane,” Ranma said with a sigh as she held out her hand. “He’s gonna find out anyway.”

“Find out what?” Tofu asked, watching as Ranma took the glass and poured the water over her head. He watched amazed as the petite redheaded girl turned into a taller lean young man. “I see… that does explain a few things.”

“Huh?” Ranma asked.

“I was a bit confused by your chi, it seemed a bit off but I couldn’t understand why but now I think I do,” Tofu explained. “Tell me Miss, or should it be Mr. Saotome?”

“Errr? Born mister but really a miss?” Ranma said.

“I see,” Tofu said with a nod then turned to Akane. “She’s the reason why you were asking about transsexuals the other day.”

“Yes Dr. Tofu,” Akane said as she hung her head shyly.

“And your ability to change between genders is magic I suppose?” Tofu asked, turning back to Ranma.

“Yes but don’t make any mistake, I’m a girl even though I turn into a boy,” Ranma said.

“I understand,” Tofu said. “When you have time I would like you to return to answer a few questions I still have but I think you two need to head on to school before you’re late.”

“What?!” Akane checked her watch then grabbed Ranma’s arm, dragging the other teen out of the clinic. “Come on Ranma! Bye Dr. Tofu!” Tofu chuckled softly to himself as he watched the pair leave.

‘A most curious type of magic,’ Tofu thought as he finished setting up his clinic for the day and waited for his first appointment. He had always been curious about the occult and was eager to learn a bit more about Ranma’s curse.

Outside as the girls headed toward the school Ranma grinned over at Akane.

“So… you have a crush on the doc?” Ranma asked, laughing as Akane blushed and gave a small embarrassed yell, dodging as Akane playfully tried to punch the other girl in the shoulder.

 

************

 

As they neared the school, Akane started to chant something under her breath. Ranma looked at her in alarm as a look of anger crossed her friend’s face and Akane’s hands balled into fists.

“I hate boys, I hate boys, I hate boys, I HATE BOYS!” Akane steadily chanted, growing louder with each word until she was yelling as they approached the gate. Ranma looked ahead and saw a huge group of boys standing in-between the gates, wearing various types of sports uniforms and some holding sport equipment.

“There she is!” Ranma heard one boy call.

“Get her!” Another yelled.

“I HATE BOYS!” Akane yelled in response as she ran at the group. The boys yelled and charged Akane who was already swinging her fists. Ranma jumped onto the top of the gate and watched with wide eyes as Akane fought the group.

‘Wow, no wonder she doesn’t fight well one-on-one, she’s a brawler,’ Ranma thought as she watched Akane move. Akane was better at fighting large groups at once and was taking the boys down two and three at a time with ease. And that was no easy feat, the boys weren’t working together when they fought Akane, hitting each other as much as trying to hit Akane making it pure chaos but Akane managed to duck and dodge between flying limbs as she delivered her own hits.

“Hey Ranma!” Ranma turned when she heard Nabiki’s voice. “Hurry up or you’ll be late! Don’t worry, she does this every morning!”

“Go… on… Ranma….” Akane yelled as she ducked under a hockey stick then planted her fist in the stomach of a boy dressed in a kendo uniform. “I’ll… be… done… soon…” She twisted and kicked the feet out from under another boy.

Ranma hesitated for a moment, it was against her nature to just leave her friend in case Akane was overwhelmed, then remembered that Akane did do this every school day and she did look like she had it under control. There was also another lesson that she learned from the Amazons, never interfere with another person’s fight unless it was life or death because you insult the person by saying they were weak.

“Alright, see you inside Akane,” Ranma said with a wave of her hand and headed inside the school.

 

**********

 

Nearby in the shadows of the trees that dotted the grounds of Furinkan High School, Tatewaki Kuno narrowed his dark blue eyes as he watched the dark haired boy that had arrived with Akane run into the school. He felt that the boy had been too familiar with the lovely Akane Tendo and wondered what sort of relationship he had with the girl.

‘I shall have to approach Tendo Nabiki to find out about the boy,’ Kuno thought as Akane finished with the last boy in the mob, taking that as his cue. He took the red rose he carried with him and tossed it in Akane’s direction. Akane sighed and caught the rose in midair then turned toward Kuno.

“Truly a brutish lot,” Kuno said as he stepped out of the shadows, his bokken held loosely at his side.

“Can we just get this over with?” Akane asked with a roll of her eyes. “I don’t want to be late for class.”

“Tendo Akane, if I defeat you then you shall go on a date with me but if you defeat I-“ Kuno started to say before Akane broke in.

“’Then I shall allow you to date me.’ Blah blah blah, you say the same thing every day and the answer is still no,” Akane said as she slid into her stance.

“Prepare yourself!” Kuno said holding his bokken out in front of him before attacking Akane.

Up in the school Ranma stood looking out a window as she watched Akane fight Kuno.

‘He’s holding back on her,’ Ranma thought as she narrowed her eyes. Ranma wondered if Akane knew and somehow doubted it as Akane quickly knocked Kuno onto his back in the dirt and kicked the older teen’s wooden sword away.

Down below Akane brushed off her hands and headed into the school as Kuno lay in the dirt.

‘Ah the fiery Tendo Akane,’ Kuno thought fondly to himself as he stood up, grabbing his bokken then heading into the school to change into his school uniform. He would try again that afternoon to get Akane to go out with him but for now he needed to see Akane’s sister Nabiki to find out more about the strange boy.

 

***********

 

“Class we have a new student joining us today,” The teacher currently over the class said as she introduced Ranma. “This is Saotome Ranma, he’s been on a 10 year training trip and has just recently traveled to China.”

The class broke out in excited whispers, it had been a long time since they had a new student.

“Wow, he’s so cute.”

“I wonder if he’s got a girlfriend.” Akane could hear two of her classmates whisper behind her.

‘If only you knew,’ Akane thought with a small smirk.

“Why don’t you sit in the free seat next to Tendo-san,” The teacher told Ranma. “Once I finish with today’s lesson, I’ll see how far along you are while the others work on the class work.”

“Hai sensei,” Ranma said before going to sit down at her desk.

In another part of the school, Kuno approached Nabiki at her desk as the class had a free period since their usual teacher was out sick and the substitute didn’t feel like teaching.

“Tendo Nabiki,” Kuno said. Nabiki smiled that little irritating half-smile/half smirk she always had when she dealt with the other teen.

“Morning Kuno-baby,” Nabiki said, brown eyes glinting in humor as Kuno’s jaw tensed a little bit.

“Do not call me that woman,” he said as he hated that nickname. “Who was the boy with your sister this morning?”

Nabiki found herself at a bit of a dilemma, while she would love to sell Kuno info about certain things like the possible engagement between her family and the Saotome’s, leaving out that it could apply to her or one of her sisters to let Kuno assume it meant Akane and watch the chaos that resulted, she did promise Kasumi she would be good. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t still cause a little mayhem while making a tidy profit from the wealthy boy in front of her.

“You know my usual fee,” Nabiki said. Kuno took out his wallet and laid a large amount of yen on the desk in front of Nabiki. She picked it up, counting the bills as she said, “He’s a family friend, his dad knows ours. He’s staying at our house while his dad is out working.”

“And what is his relationship with your sister?” Kuno asked as he mulled over the information.

“Oh they have become very good friends,” Nabiki said as she smirked again. “Especially after Ranma defeated Akane in a sparring match.”

Outside school the birds sitting in the trees took to the air as Kuno yelled “WHAT!!”

“Kuno-san, sit down this instant!” A teacher that had been wandering the hallways said as she checked in on the class.

 

*********

 

“Come on Ranma, meet my friends,” Akane said at lunch time as she grabbed Ranma’s hand and dragged the cursed girl out of the classroom to go eat lunch outside. She had seen those two perverted boys, something everyone in the school agreed on, Daisuke and Hiroshi eyeing Ranma to get her to join their group. Ranma let Akane drag her outside, bypassing the aforementioned boys before they could invite Ranma to hang out with them. “Sayuri, Yuka!”

“Akane!” One of the girls Akane called to waved from where they saved a seat for her. “Over here!”

“So you’re the new boy in class right?” The other girl asked as they sat down. “I’m Sayuri and this is Yuka.”

“Yo,” Ranma said with a small wave as she took out her bento.

“So how do you know Akane?” Sayuri asked.

“Yeah, I thought you hated boys Akane,” Yuka added.

“Let’s just say Ranma is a special case,” Akane said. “His father is friends with my dad.”

“Oh… so are you two dating?” Yuka asked. Ranma and Akane nearly choked on their lunch at Yuka’s question.

“We are not dating,” Akane said.

“I don’t like girls,” Ranma said at the same time. Yuka and Sayuri stared at Ranma for a moment then started to giggle. “What?”

“I see, so you’re gay?” Sayuri asked. Ranma scowled slightly and opened her mouth to disagree when Akane grabbed her pigtail and pulled her head closer to whisper in her ear.

“They don’t know that you’re a transsexual Ranma,” Akane whispered. “And you’re a boy right now so just go along with it. If you need to, you can tell them later about that part of you cause I don’t think you want the whole school to know.” Ranma grimaced and nodded her head.

“Yeah, I like guys,” Ranma told Sayuri. Sayuri and Yuka giggled again.

“I get it, so you’re her new gay best friend,” Yuka said. “No wonder Akane doesn’t mind hanging around you, you’re not trying to get into her pants.”

“And thank Kami for that,” Akane said as she calmly took a bite of her lunch. “Ranma always beats me in our sparring matches.” This time it was Yuka and Sayuri who choked.

“What? Really?” Yuka asked.

“Hmm,” Akane nodded. “He’s been training harder than I do.”

“Akane’s alright one-on-one but she’s a hell of a brawler,” Ranma said. Akane blinked and turned to Ranma.

“Huh? Brawler?”

“You fight much better when you got more than one person comin’ at ya,” Ranma explained. “I guess it’s habit after fightin’ all those guys every day. By the way, I wanted to tell you that the guy with the swo-“

“I will not allow it!” A voice rang out over the school yard. Everyone turned to see Kuno walking quickly across the schoolyard with his bokken in one hand. He hadn’t had time to change into his kendogi as he wanted to make sure he confronted Ranma before lunch was over. Everyone stared at Kuno as he stalked across the grounds toward Akane and Ranma. “I will not allow you to date Tendo Akane!”

Ranma and Akane groaned as the other students around them erupted into whispers.

“We’re not dating!” Akane and Ranma said loudly at the same time.

“Fiend, who are you to sully Tendo Akane’s purity?” Kuno said as he came to a stop in front of Ranma, pointing his bokken at the cursed teen. Ranma scowled and stood up to face the taller boy.

“My name is Saotom-“ Ranma started to say but was cut off by Kuno.

“Nay, but tis proper to give one’s name first,” Kuno said, flipping his hair a little. “I am the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High!” He held up his sword and gave a dramatic pose while a rumble of thunder and a crash of lightning showed up on cue.

“Blue Thunder?”

“Wasn’t he calling himself ‘Shooting Star’ a few weeks ago?” The other students in the yard said to each other.

“Kuno Tatewaki, age 17,” Kuno continued, ignoring everyone else.

“Is this guy for real?” Ranma asked Akane who sighed and nodded her head. “O-k… My name is Saotome Ranma of the Anything Goes school of Martial Arts. And you’ve got this all wrong, me and Akane are not dating at all.”

“Yeah Kuno-sempai, Akane plays on the wrong team,” Yuka said, her and Sayuri giggling loudly. Kuno gave them a confused look, not understanding what Akane playing on a team had to do with anything while Akane rolled her eyes at her friends.

“You lie,” He said to Ranma instead, deciding to ignore the giggling females. He pointed his wooden sword at Ranma once again. “I will not allow you to date Tendo Akane, you are not worthy of her attentions.”

“We’re not dating, and we’ll never date,” Ranma told him in an annoyed tone.

“You say that Tendo Akane is not good enough for you?” Kuno asked outraged. Ranma groaned as she face palmed.

“Will you stop jumping to conclusions?” Ranma asked.

“I challenge thee cur,” Kuno said, once again pointing his bokken at Ranma. “For the hand of Tendo Akane.”

“I’ll accept your challenge to fight, but not over Akane,” Ranma said annoyed as she crossed her arms over her chest. She never could turn down a challenge, another thing Genma had always taught her was to accept any challenge thrown her way. Most of the time Ranma had ended up fighting someone that Genma had either conned or pissed off in some way. “Akane-chan and I are just friends, but now I just wanna beat you into the dirt for being so damn annoying. But not right now.”

“And why pray tell shouldn’t we fight now?” Kuno said.

“Lunch is almost over,” Ranma said, pointing over to the clock on the side of the school. The rest of the students in the yard turned to look as well then scrambled to either finish their lunch or pack up to head back into the school. “So we’ll fight after school,” Ranma turned and grabbed her bento, quickly eating what was left over then running toward the school doors with Akane and her friends.

“Ranma do you think that was really a good idea to challenge Kuno to a fight?” Akane asked. “He’s one of the better fighters in the school.”

“Akane, if you can beat Kuno everyday then he’ll be a cinch for me,” Ranma pointed out. Akane scowled slightly but had to agree with the other girl.

“Alright,” She said with a sigh as she could see there was no talking Ranma out of fighting the upperclassmen.

 

*******

 

“Did you hear, Kuno is gonna fight that new kid after school,” Nabiki perked up as she heard, grinning to herself as she heard the other students gossip. She had hoped that telling Kuno about Ranma winning her and Akane’s spar would enrage the boy and push him to confront their house guest. While she had promised Kasumi she wouldn’t directly use Ranma in anything, she could still set up betting pools for any fights that might involve the teen. She had planned on going down to the grounds to watch the confrontation herself, thinking Kuno and Ranma would fight then but on her way out the door Nabiki had been waylaid by a teacher about one of her class assignments.

‘Looks like I’m still going to get a big payoff,’ Nabiki thought happily, glad to know she hadn’t missed her opportunity after all.

“Do you think the new kid can win?” A boy asked making Nabiki grin like a shark.

“Why don’t you put down some bets,” Nabiki suggested as she and two of her ever present lackeys walked up. As soon as she laid down the odds, in Kuno’s favor as no one had seen Ranma fight yet therefore didn’t know how good the cursed teen was, Nabiki was surrounded by her classmates as they placed their bets. Nabiki made sure to tell everyone to spread the word so she could book even more bets after school. (2)

 

********

 

“Where the hell is that jerk?” Ranma asked as she and Akane waited by the front gates for Kuno to show up.

“Knowing him, he’ll want to make a dramatic entrance,” Akane said with a sigh as she leaned back against the wall surrounding the school grounds. She was annoyed that Ranma had accepted Kuno’s challenge, only calmed down a little by the fact that Ranma had made sure to enunciate loudly that it wasn’t over who got to date Akane but just to beat Kuno into the ground for being annoying. She looked around, word had gotten around that Kuno was going to fight Ranma and most of the students had stuck around after school to see the fight. There were no teachers to be seen of course, with Kuno’s father being the principal he got away with things like this. She knew it drove the Vice Principal crazy, he had tried to stop the frights in the morning only to be told over a long distance phone call by Principal Kuno to leave them be or the man would be out of a job. As long as nobody was killed, these sorts of crazy things were allowed to go on.

Akane could see Nabiki and her friends taking bets on the fight on the other side of the school yard. She straightened up as an idea popped into her head.

“I’ll be right back Ranma,” She said as she headed toward one of Nabiki’s cohorts. Nabiki was always setting up betting pools on just about anything that could be bet on. Akane knew Nabiki had a betting pool set up on how fast Akane defeated the Hentai Horde and Kuno every morning. Akane of course never saw a dime of the money that Nabiki made, nor did she see any money on what Nabiki made off of the photos she knew Nabiki sold of her. She knew most of the money went toward the house, upkeep of the dojo, food and any bills that needed to be paid since their father didn’t work. So Akane didn’t usually complain about it, not much anyway, but it would be nice to have a little extra sending cash.

“Hey Rin,” Akane said, approaching one of Nabiki’s lackeys instead of her sister as she didn’t want Nabiki to know what she was up too.

“Hey there squirt, come to place a wager?” the girl asked when she saw Akane.

“What are the odds?” Akane asked.

“Well most everyone is betting on Kuno of course, 5 to 1, but there is a 10 to 1 odds on your friend over there,” Rin explained. Akane grinned and placed a bet on Ranma, knowing Ranma would wipe the floor with Kuno.

“Don’t tell Nabiki,” She added, slipping Rin an extra tip.

“Got it,” Rin said as she slipped the yen into her pocket. Akane all but skipped back over to Ranma who watched her.

“What was that about?” Ranma asked.

“Nabiki always sets up a bunch of betting pools, everyone is betting on Kuno so when you win we’re going to make a killing off my sister,” Akane said with a giggle. Ranma rolled her eyes but chuckled softly anyway in amusement. At that time the doors of the school slammed open and Kuno walked out dressed in his kendo uniform once again.

“Saotome, today I shall smite thee for the hand of the lovely Tendo Akane!” Kuno said as he reached the middle of the school yard. Ranma rolled her eyes again, handed Akane her school briefcase then walked out to meet Kuno.

“For the last time you idiot, I’m not going to fight you over Akane,” Ranma said loudly. “Akane and I are not dating, but I am gonna kick your ass.”

“Have at thee then!” Kuno said as he brandished his bokken at Ranma. “I strike!” He rushed forward, his sword raised above him. Ranma jumped backwards avoiding Kuno’s attempt to hit her then rolled to the left as Kuno followed up the attack with an upward strike.

“Come on, can’t you do better than that?” Ranma taunted knowing that if an opponent was angry they would start making mistakes. Kuno growled and surged forward, Ranma side stepping the attack then planting her elbow in Kuno’s back as he passed her.

“Perhaps you do have a little skill,” Kuno said after he stumbled forward, almost falling to the ground but managed to catch himself at the last second. “But try this on for size! Strike! Strike! Strike!”

Kuno swung his bokken again and again trying to hit Ranma but she ducked and dodged past every attack. The older teen started to become frustrated in his inability to hit Saotome and decided to use his most deadly attack against the other teen.

“HA!” Kuno yelled as his sword came down in a sharp arc which Ranma avoided by jumping to the side. Her eyes widened as the statue behind her exploded and a sharp pain hit her side where she was grazed by the waves of air pressure from Kuno’s attack.

‘I knew he was holding back!’ Ranma thought to herself, her hand briefly pressing against her side. ‘Fuck that hurt. I’ve got to stop this fight before this idiot hurts someone.’

‘When did he learn to do something like that!?’Akane thought as the others whispered around her. She had never seen Kuno use an attack like that before and never against her. ‘Has…has that jerk been holding back on me!?’

“Pretty good Kuno, I knew you had something ya could do,” Ranma said as she seemed to dance around Kuno, never letting him land an attack. “How come you never used that on Akane?”

“Tendo Akane is but a delicate flower,” Kuno said as he tried to keep up with where Ranma was at all times. “My power is too great for her.” Ranma snorted in amusement.

“You’re not that great,” she said as she moved closer to Kuno. “My turn now!” Ranma yelled as she let loose a series of punches that were almost a blur to the naked eye. Back at the village Cologne had started to teach Ranma an attack called the Kachu Tenshin Amaguriken, a move that taught Ranma how to move her arms at high, near supersonic speeds to deliver a hundred blows at a time. Of course thanks to Genma pretty much kidnapping her Ranma hadn’t been able to fully learn the attack and while she did her best to practice while on the road she didn’t have the move down pat. But she was fast enough to rain a few good punches that hit Kuno in all his vulnerable parts.

As Ranma drew back her attack, Kuno stood before her swaying slightly on his feet, his bokken held up in front of him.

“I… will… not… admit… defeat….” Kuno wheezed through the pain. Ranma snorted and reached up to flick Kuno on the forehead. With a groan Kuno fell backwards onto the ground, twitching every now and then. Nabiki walked up, checking on Kuno then stood up and grabbed one of Ranma’s hands, holding it up into the air.

“The winner!” Nabiki announced loudly for everyone to hear. There was a roar of groans, a lot of the students had betted on Kuno winning, and a small group of gleeful cheering. Akane was among that group as she had known Ranma would win. Ranma pulled her hand out of Nabiki’s grip and ran over to join Akane.

“That was great!” Akane said with a grin then scowled in anger. “I can’t believe that jerk, he’s never even tried to use any attack like that on me.”

“Yeah I tried to tell you at lunch that I thought he might be holdin’ back on ya,” Ranma said as she rubbed the back of her neck. “I think he thinks you’re weak or somethin’, he called you a ‘delicate flower’.”

“I’ll show him a delicate flower,” Akane muttered under her breath. “What was that last move you used anyway?”

“Something Cologne started to teach me,” Ranma said. “She didn’t get a chance to finish before Pops dragged me back here to Japan so that move wasn’t perfect.”

“Well it got the job done,” Akane said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “Come on, I’ve got to collect my winnings.” She grabbed Ranma’s arm and dragged her friend over to Nabiki where she was paying out the very few winners of the bets.

“What are you doing here sis?” Nabiki asked as soon as she saw Akane. “You two head on home, I’ll be a while.”

“Oh I’m not here for you,” Akane said cheerfully. “I’m here to collect my winnings.”

“Winnings?” Nabiki repeated, her eyes widened as Rin handed over a large wad of cash to Akane, it was a pretty good chunk out of the money she’d collected.

“Here you go kiddo, don’t spend it all in one place,” Rin said cheerfully. Akane beamed happily then turned to hand part of it to Ranma.

“Here, you won so you get a cut of the winnings,” Akane said. Ranma who had very little money of her own since Genma didn’t give her any and what she did have was from a few odd jobs that she’d done, quickly stuffed the yen into her bag. Nabiki gapped as Akane and Ranma left the school grounds then turned to grill her lackey on why she let Akane place a wager.

 

*********

 

Ryoga groaned softly as he looked up from the map in his hands to the signpost in front of him. He could have sworn he was in the Chiyoda ward but according to the sign he was in the Nakano ward. Either way, he was no closer to being in the Nerima ward which was where he wanted to be right now.

Ryoga was looking for Nerima as that was where he had left Ranka behind by accident. He was also still looking for Ranma but he currently had no idea where Saotome was at the moment. Ryoga was torn up about who he wanted to look for more, Ranma so he could finally beat the hell out of the other boy or Ranka who he had a huge crush on.

‘Damn it, why can’t I find my way just this once?’ Ryoga thought as he balled up the useless map he had been trying to use and tossed it in the nearest trash can. He sighed again then quickly walked up to the nearest person. “Excuse me, have you seen this guy?” Ryoga held up a photo of him and Ranma from Junior High, a copy of the photo that he had originally lost at Jusenkyo. Luckily he had a second copy at his house that he found.

“Nope, sorry,” The man he was talking to said. “Never seen ‘im before in my life.” Ryoga’s shoulders sagged slightly at the news.

“Well do you know which way Nerima is then?” He asked.

“Sure, it’s in that direction,” The man pointed in the general direction of the Nerima ward.

“Thanks!” Ryoga said as he took off in a run… in the opposite direction that the guy pointed.

“But… you’re going the wrong way!” The man yelled but it was too late as Ryoga was already out of earshot. “Idiot.”

 

***************

“Ahhh…” Ranma sighed happily as she poured the cup of cold water over her head.

“Better?” Akane asked with a giggle.

“Much, I hate having to walk around as a boy,” Ranma said as she took the offered towel from Kasumi to dry her hair.

“You’ll have all night to be in your real body,” Kasumi said with a smile. “Father is out looking for your father again.”

“Yeah good luck with that, I hope Pops is still sitting in whatever zoo he’s in,” Ranma said. Akane giggled again, she found it amusing to know what had really happened to Mr. Saotome and both girls hoped it would be a long time before Genma figured out he could turn back into his human form again.

“We’re ordering out tonight,” Kasumi said. “And I’ve rented a couple of movies I think you might like Ranma so why don’t you two go relax until Nabiki gets home.”

“Hai Nee-chan.”

“Hai Kasumi.” Both girls said as they left the kitchen.

 

**************

 

Author note: Another chapter finally out. Thanks everyone for putting up with me editing all my stories and hope this chapter was worth the wait.

(1) Never did understand how Ranma always got away with not wearing a school uniform.

(2) I have no idea how betting works outside of table game odds at a casino.

 

Chapter Text

Blessed Curse

Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 belongs to Rumiko Takahashi

Author note: Thanks to Blissfull Wulf for betaing this fic.

 

Chapter 6

 

Kuno peeked out into the auditorium from the backstage area; he could see the seats filling up with the rest of Akane’s would-be suitors. After waking up and recovering from his epic battle with Saotome, who must have cheated to win against a great swordsman like himself, Kuno had called a school assembly to take place the next day. Straightening his kendo uniform, Kuno stepped out onto the stage and cleared his throat for attention.

“We have all battled the lovely Tendo Akane for the chance to take her onto a date,” Kuno said loudly. “But now there is a new player among us therefore anyone who wishes to date Akane must first defeat Saotome Ranma in battle!” Whispers broke out among the group of boys known jokingly as the ‘Hentai Squad’ at Kuno’s announcement.

“Saotome? The new guy?”

“Is Kuno nuts? That guy took him out in no time.”

“I already get my ass handed to me by Akane every morning, I don’t know if I want to fight somebody that’s better than her and Kuno.”

“Saotome might be good but I bet he can’t take us all on.”

“That little punk ain’t nothing.”

That day many members of the Hentai Squad dropped out as they didn’t think it was worth getting beat up anymore when there were so many other pretty girls around the school that were much safer to ask on dates while the rest planed on how they could take Ranma out of the race for Akane’s hand, most forgetting that Ranma had said several times he and Akane were not an item.

Kuno smirked as he turned on his heel and left the stage.

‘Oh yes, you will regret the day you and I crossed paths Saotome,’ Kuno thought to himself with an evil chuckle.

 

*********

 

“Excuse me, have you see this guy?” Ryoga asked as he showed a boy in a school uniform Ranma’s photo.

“Hey, isn’t that Saotome?” The boy said, his head tilted to the side as he looked at the photo.

“Yes!” Ryoga said happily. “Do you know where I can find him?”

“Well yeah, he goes to Furinkan High school,” The boy said.

‘Ha! I knew I would catch up to you sooner or later Saotome. Now I’ll have my revenge for making my life a living hell!’ Ryoga thought with a fanged smirk. “Where can I find Furinkan High?”

 

*********

 

“Ha! Missed me!” Ranma said as she stuck her tongue out at the old woman from the day before, sometimes known as the ‘Lady of the Ladle’, as she jumped over the elderly woman.

“Errr? What’s that?” She asked but went unheard as Ranma and Akane ran down the street.

“Don’t tease the old lady,” Akane said over the wind. “She’ll just try harder next time.”

“She can try, but no one defeats Saotome Ranma,” Ranma half jokingly bragged. Akane rolled her eyes at her friend, Ranma had such an ego on her. As they rounded the last corner on the way to school, Akane put Ranma’s ego out of her mind and focused on the fight ahead of her. She could already see the crowd of boys waiting between the gates.

‘Hmm, there seem to be less perverts waiting on me today,’ Akane absently noted as she started to chant ‘I hate boys’ out loud. Ranma was prepared to split from Akane and head into the building when one of the boys in the crowd yelled.

“There’s Saotome!”

“Get him!”

“What!?” “H-Hey!” Ranma and Akane yelled at the same time as the boys rushed at Ranma instead of Akane. Akane watched in open mouthed shock as the Hentai Squad attacked Ranma instead of her like they usually did.

“Akane,” Nabiki called out to her sister. Akane quickly ran over, waving her hand at the fight.

“What the hell are they attacking Ranma for?” She asked.

“Seems Kuno-baby has got it in their heads that they gotta defeat Ranma before they can date you now,” Nabiki explained. “I just found out about it, I didn’t even get to set up any bets.”

“Bakas,” Akane groaned as she face palmed. “Kuno-no-baka.”

“Oh I agree,” Nabiki said. “Kuno could have given me some warning.” Akane sighed at her sister then turned back to the so-called ‘fight’. Already the battle was over, Ranma walking away from where all the boys that had attacked her were laying on the ground groaning in pain. The cursed teen then rolled to the side as Kuno attempted to attack her from behind.

“I see you are not out of tricks yet Saotome,” Kuno said as Ranma turned to face him.

“What the heck Kuno?” Ranma said. “Didn’t I beat you yesterday?”

“Silent! I know thou has used trickery to defeat me,” Kuno said.

“Yeah right, you are such a sore loser,” Ranma said as she crossed her arms over her chest.

“I shall smite thee Saotome!” Kuno yelled as he rushed at Ranma who dodged his attack easily.

“Smite? Where the hell are you getting these words from?” Ranma asked as she ducked under an attack. “Well come on stick boy, let’s see if you can keep up.” Ranma jumped over Kuno’s next attack, landing on then pushing off of the taller teen’s head and ran toward the back of the school, laughing and taunting as she avoided each of Kuno’s attacks.

“Wait… isn’t the school pool back there?” Akane asked as she watched Ranma lead Kuno on a merry chase.

“You better go stop them before they end up falling into the pool,” Nabiki said as she headed inside the school. Akane sighed then ran to follow Ranma and Kuno around to the back of the school, luckily no one else was following the two fighting teens as they were either heading into the school or helping the Hentai Squad into the nurse’s office.

 

*******

 

“Naahhh,” Ranma stuck her tongue out at Kuno while pulling her eye-lid down, insulting the older teen as she dodged his attacks. Kuno wasn’t half bad with a sword, though Ranma had seen better Kendoist over the years, but she was better and faster than him. “You couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn.”

“Stand still wretch!” Kuno yelled, growling in frustration as Ranma jumped over his bokken and landed on top of the fence that surrounded the school pool. “HA!” He swung his blade downward, using the air pressure to destroy the chain-link fence. Ranma jumped back and out of the way with a laugh, taunting Kuno.

“Gee, can’t you hit little ol’ me?” Ranma said grinning as Kuno gave a yell of rage as he charged forward with his sword swinging wildly. Ranma landed by the pool then nearly slipped as her foot hit the wet, smooth concert. Her blue eyes widened as she looked behind her, she had been so focused on her so called ‘fight’ with Kuno she hadn’t even noticed that they had come to the pool area. “Wait Kuno, stop!”

“I strike!” Kuno bellowed as he ran full tilt at Ranma but slipped at the last second on the wet concert. He barreled into Ranma, knocking them both into the pool with a large splash.

‘Well damn, there goes my secret about my curse,’ Ranma thought to herself as they hit the water. As they sunk to the bottom of the pool, Kuno grabbed Ranma around the torso. He was surprised when he grabbed a handful of a full, firm breast while Ranma’s eyes widened then narrowed as she was groped. Twisting out of Kuno’s hold, she decked him under the water then pushed off the bottom of the pool and shot out of the water. Kuno slowly floated to the top of the water, floating on his back as he looked up into the sky, his arms crossed over his chest.

‘Where did that girl come from?’ He wondered. ‘And what happen to that coward Saotome? Truly my might was too much for him.’

Akane rounded the corner of the school in time to see Kuno and Ranma fall into the water then a red headed blur jump out and run toward the clump of trees on the back part of the school property. She sighed then headed into the school to get a kettle of hot water, looks like she and Ranma were going to be late for class.

 

********

 

“Stupid idiot… why the hell did he have to grab so hard?” Ranma grumbled to herself as she jumped up into a tree and sat down on one of its wider branches. She slid her wet pants off and started to squeeze the water out of them. “Damn it, I can’t believe this…”

Ranma was worried that now Kuno knew about her ability to change genders, he would spread it around the school. While Ranma would have loved to come to school in her girl form, magical curses or magic in general were a little hard for people to chew on. Even with the stories and sightings of ‘magical girls’ in and around parts of Japan, most people didn’t believe magic was real. The magical girls were often played off as a hoax or explained off as special effects or using some sort of weapon. Even Ranma, who had seen a person using magic in her youth didn’t really put much stock in the whole magic thing until Jusenkyo. Changing genders or even whole species with a splash of water tended to do that to you.  

So without being sure how the principal in charge of the school would react to having magic being shoved into his or her face as real, Ranma had to go to the school as a boy. Plus Ranma remembered how badly Akane reacted to the curse and well Ranma would rather avoid having a bunch of people react so violently to her curse, at least until she got to know them a little better.

‘Well the dog might be out of the bag now,’ Ranma thought to herself, refusing in her mind to use the word ‘cat’. ‘Well… maybe now I can go ahead and go to school as a girl if everyone knows I have both bodies.’

“Ranma!” Akane’s voice called below her in the trees.

“Up here,” Ranma called. Akane followed the voice until she was standing under the tree Ranma was sitting in.

“I think you need this,” She said, holding up the kettle of water.

“Yeah, I think I do,” Ranma said. As Akane started to hand over the kettle he heard Kuno yelling in the distance.

“Saotome! You cannot run you coward!”

“Oh damn,” Akane cursed. “Here, change back while I hold him off!” Akane tossed the kettle into the air and ran to head Kuno off before he saw Ranma in her girl form.

“Whoa!” Ranma yelped as she leaned out to catch the kettle before it fell back to the ground, using her strong legs to hold onto the branch of the tree.

“Kuno!” Akane yelled as she stepped in Kuno’s path.

“Tendo Akane, while you are a stunning reflection of beauty as ever,” Kuno said as he came to a stop, “I am afraid there is a certain cur I must deal with.”

“No way Kuno, you fight me right here and now,” Akane said. Kuno blinked at her in surprise, never before had Akane come to him to fight.

“Truly, you wish to fight me now?” He asked. Akane didn’t say anything instead moving into a battle ready stance. “Then I shall grant you your wish, and afterward you and I shall go on a date.”

“Dream on Kuno,” Akane said in a ‘no way in hell’ voice. “I’m never gonna date somebody like you.”

“Such harsh words from a desert bloom such as yourself,” Kuno waxed poetically. “That cowardly Saotome, he is the cause of your hostile anger toward me. Not to worry my dear I, Kuno Tatewaki, shall defeat the fiendish vill-“

“Who the hell are you calling a coward!?” Ranma yelled as she hit Kuno in the head with the kettle from behind. Kuno fell to his knees briefly holding his head where a large bump formed.

“Ranma!” Akane hissed when she saw her friend hadn’t turned back to her male form. Ranma had been listening in and became so angry when Kuno called her a coward she had forgotten to use the hot water to change back. Kuno lifted his head to see who had dared to hit him, his heart swooning at the vision in front of him.

“Pony-tailed girl,” He said as he grabbed one of Ranma’s hands between his own.

“W-what? What do you think you’re doing?” Ranma asked in surprise.

“Your hair is a red as the flame of a phoenix,” Kuno said as the air almost seemed to fill with glitter and little hearts. “And your spirit is as ferocious as the mighty tigress in the jungle. My dear lady, you shall have the privilege, nay, the honor of going on a date with me.”

“So wait…. Does that mean you’re not interested in me anymore?” Akane asked, not sure if she should be insulted or not.

“Still your broken heart fair Tendo Akane,” Kuno said as he turned to Akane, this time holding her hands. “I shall not abandoned my love for you.”

“Wait,” Ranma said as she scratched her head. “You just said-“

“Nay instead of making my heart choose, I shall date both of you!” Kuno posed, looking skyward with his hand over his head. Akane and Ranma looked at each other, both sweat-dropping.

“Nah!” They said as same time then both cocked back a fist, ramming them into Kuno’s unprotected stomach.

“OOFFMM!” Kuno’s breath was knocked out of them and he flew back several feet out of the tree line where he laid in a heap.

“What a jerk!” Ranma said with a shake of her head.

“Welcome to my life,” Akane said with a sigh as she picked up the heavily dented kettle off the ground. “Well, there’s no water left in here for you to change back with.”

“I can’t believe that guy,” Ranma said as she walked over to the tree she had been in and grabbed her uniform’s pants. “I mean, I can’t believe he couldn’t even tell I was the same person! I changed right in front of him, he grabbed my tits!”

“He what?!” Akane said, her head snapping around to look at Ranma then shook her head. “Kuno is fairly school smart, at least that’s what Nabiki’s always said, but he’s pretty stupid at the same time. Well… we’re already late for class so maybe we can sneak in to the home ecc. lab and get you some hot water there.”

“No, you know what?” Ranma said as she finished redressing. “Let’s ditch. We’re already in trouble, might as well go all the way.”

“Ditch?” Akane repeated. “Oh… well…”

“What, are you scared to ditch school for a day?” Ranma teased Akane, poking her in the arm.

“No!” Akane said as she slapped Ranma’s hand away. “I’m not scared. Ok, let’s ditch then.” Then she started to giggle softly. “Kasumi is going to kill us.”

“I won’t tell her if you won’t,” Ranma said with a grin. “Let’s go!”

 

*********

 

An hour later both girls were at an ice cream shop, sitting at one of the outside tables. Everyone around them barely paid any attention to the two girls as they were hardly the first students to play hooky.

“Hmmm…” Ranma moaned happily as she scooped a large spoonful of chocolate ice cream in her mouth.

“You seem to be really enjoying that,” Akane said with a laugh.

“You have no idea how much better ice cream tastes as a girl,” Ranma said around her spoon.

“What do you mean? It tastes different as a boy?” Akane asked lowly.

“I think so,” Ranma said as she stirred the ice cream around in the tall glass it came in. “I had to be sneaky to eat any ice cream before, Pops always said eating sweets was girly.” Ranma rolled her eyes at the memory as she ate another spoonful. “But I’ve noticed that sweet things taste sweeter like this,” she added as she waved her hand at her body.

“Guess I never thought of that,” Akane mused. “So your Dad really told you eating ice cream was girly?”

“Yes, of course that hypocrite would then turn around and eat whatever sweet thing was nearby,” Ranma rolled her eyes again. “I think he just told me that bull shit so he could have it all to himself.”

“I really don’t like your Dad Ranma,” Akane said flatly.

Ranma shrugged her shoulders as she leaned back in her seat, looking mournfully at the empty ice cream glass in front of her. “Pops wasn’t the best pop around, some of the trainin’ he put me through was really dangerous and that’s not even scratching the surface of some of the stuff I hada go through growing up. Plus Pops was, is and always will be a con man, you wouldn’t believe the amount of times we got run out of a town cause he pissed off the wrong person.”

Akane snorted and shook her head, the more she heard about Genma Saotome, the less that surprised her about him. Both girls looked up as they heard somebody yelling down the street, a tall long hair boy was arguing with a telephone pole. Ranma’s eyes lit up as she jumped to her feet.

“Mousse!” She yelled, waving her arms over her head. Mousse frowned and turned toward the voice, squinting his eyes.

“Shampoo?” He asked. Ranma snorted and jumped over the railing around the ice cream shop and ran over to the boy, pulling the glasses down off the top of his head to sit properly on his face.

“How many times you gotta be told to wear your glasses?” Ranma asked.

“Ranma,” Mousse said in relief. “I’ve finally found you.”

“Yeah yeah, come on and sit down,” Ranma said as she pushed Mousse toward the ice cream shop where Akane was waiting.

“Ranma, who’s he?” Akane asked as she watched the other girl push the tall youth into a chair.

“Akane meet Mousse,” Ranma said with a grin as she sat down. “Mousse meet my new friend Akane.”

“Pleasure,” Mousse said with a small nod of his head.

“Ah… so how do you know him Ranma?” Akane asked, giving Mousse a look of distrust.

“Oh don’t worry Akane,” Ranma said as she caught Akane’s look, the girl didn’t trust anyone who was male since her experiences at school. “Mousse isn’t even gonna give you a second look, he’s got eyes only for one person and that’s Shampoo.”

“Mousse? Shampoo?” Akane asked, relaxing slightly but still watching the other teen.

“It’s Mu Tsu,” Mousse said. “But everyone who doesn’t speak Chinese can’t seem to pronounce the names in our village so it turned into ‘Mousse’.”

“Village?” Akane asked. Ranma quickly gave Akane a rundown of how she meet Mousse and the other Amazons-like people of the Joketsuzoku and how their leader Cologne had helped her discover that she was transgender and was more or less adopted into the older woman’s family.

“Then we had to go down to Jusenkyo for something the guide wanted,” Ranma said as she finished her story. “Pops was waiting there for us and knocked me out. When I woke up we were several miles away.”

“I see,” Akane started to relax again. She was still a bit distrustful but Ranma seemed to vouch for him and according to Ranma Mousse was already in love with another girl. “Alright, I guess I’m happy to meet another one of Ranma’s friends that already knows about her. Why don’t I go get us some more ice cream, my treat?”

“Oo, can I have a banana split this time?” Ranma asked with shiny, begging blue eyes. Akane laughed and nodded her head as she headed inside the shop to put in another order. “So Mousse, what happen after Pops knocked me out?”

“Shampoo and I attempted to attack him but he overpowered us both,” Mousse grumbled as he crossed his arms over his chest.

“What? Really? But Pops has been a push over the last couple of years,” Ranma said.

“I don’t know what technique he used but he was invisible when he attacked you,” Mousse explained.

“Huh…” Ranma leaned back in her seat with her arms crossed over her own chest. “You know, Pops use to go on about having these two styles that he created for years but he never showed them to me. I always thought he was bluffing but now I wonder…”

“Whatever he used, he was able to turn our attacks against us and toss us into the springs,” Mousse grumbled.

“Wait, you got cursed?” Ranma asked as she sat in up in alarm. “Is that why you keep trying to maim Pop?”

“Part of the reason, Shampoo was given permission to dispose of your father for the attack,” Mousse said. “I was just lucky I was allowed to go with her since I was attacked as well. Then the kidnapping of a village sister of course.”

“Yeah,” Ranma said with a shake of her head. “Look, you two gotta stop trying to kill my Pops. Beat the shit out of him if you want but you can’t kill him.”

“But!” Mousse tried to protest.

“I get that you’re angry Mousse but I don’t want to see my Pops dead. Yeah he’s made my life hell but he’s still my father, I’ll be happy not to see him ever again,” Ranma told her friend. Mousse sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose under his glasses.

“I guess I understand but Shampoo will still want to kill him,” He said.

“I know and when Shampoo shows up, cause if you’re here then she’s gotta be here too, then I’ll talk to her,” Ranma promised. “So what springs did you get knocked into?”

“I fell into the spring of drowned tiger cub,” Mousse grumbled. “Not even a full grown tiger.”

Ranma shuddered slightly, great her friend turned into a cat. “And Shampoo?” Mousse opened his mouth to answer but by that time Akane came back over with a tray of their treats.

“Here we go,” Akane said with a smile. “Mousse, I didn’t know what you wanted so I just got a bowl of vanilla.”

“That is fine, thank you,” Mousse said with a smile then flicked his wrist so a spoon came flying out of his sleeve.

“Whoa! How did you do that?” Akane asked.

“Mousse is a master of Hidden Weapons,” Ranma said with a grin. “You should see some of the crap he keeps hidden in those robes of his.”

“Hidden Weapons?” Akane repeated in a questioning tone. Mousse’s lips tilted in a slight smile as he nodded his head.

“I am able to keep several different types of items, mostly weapons, on my body under my robes,” Mousse turned slightly and swept one arm out, a trio of thick chains flew out of his sleeves and wrapped themselves around a chair. With a flick of his wrist, Mousse sent the chair up into the air then with a twist unwrapped the chains from the chair and recalled them into his wide sleeve. Another sweep of his arm sent out a wave of knives that buried themselves into the chair that had been falling back to the ground.

“Kami-sama!” Akane yelped in surprise. “And you have all that on you?”

“Yes, and much more,” Mousse agreed as he adjusted his glasses.

“So where are you going to stay Mousse?” Ranma said changing the subject.

“I will find someplace, I have the money to rent a hotel room,” Mousse said. “It’s Shampoo I’m worried about, her Japanese is just barely enough to be understood and she’s frantic to find the panda and make a rug out of him. And to find her little sister as well,” Mousse smirked at Ranma as he said this, laughing as Ranma blushed.

“Little sister?” Akane asked amused.

“Yeah yeah, laugh it up,” Ranma said with a pout then muttered to herself, “Just because I’m smaller and younger.” Akane laughed softly at her friend who smiled back after a few seconds.

 

*******

 

The girls and Mousse wandered around a bit more that day, even finding an empty park so Ranma and Mousse could spar. Akane watched in awe as Ranma went full out for once as she dodged Mousse’s attacks then seemed to dance in close to land a few hits of her own. Mousse was a much better Martial Artist than Kuno and lasted much longer against Ranma than the kendoist did. Mousse also had a wider range of weapons to use though Akane was wondering where the potty trainer came from.

After the spar, which Ranma happily won, Mousse left the girls to find a place to stay.

“See, he wasn’t so bad,” Ranma said as they walked down the street toward the Tendo household.

“Yeah, he was ok… for a boy,” Akane agreed.

“Hmm, now I guess it’s just a matter of time until Shampoo shows up,” Ranma mused, wondering to herself what spring her friend had fallen into.

“We’re home!” Akane called as she opened the door.

“Welcome home,” Kasumi said with a smile as she stood in the doorway with a mixing bowl and spoon in her hand. “Did you two enjoy playing hooky?” Both girls looked at Kasumi like deer caught in a headlight, causing Kasumi to smile again slightly. “The school called when you two didn’t show up for classes.”

“Nee-chan, I can explain-“
“It was my fault, I convinced her-“

Kasumi held up her hand to quiet Akane and Ranma. “I’m not angry, a little disappointed that you would do this but I can’t be angry for something that I’ve done myself in the past. Just don’t make a habit of it.”

“You…” Akane gasped.

“I did go to school up until last year Akane-chan,” Kasumi said with a smile. “There were a couple of times I’ve skipped school, I wasn’t always the good girl.” She winked then headed back into kitchen.

“Wow, I didn’t know your sister had it in her,” Ranma said.

“I didn’t either, she acts so much like our mom I forget that she’s still a teenager,” Akane said.

That night after dinner Nabiki grilled the two younger girls on where they had been, slightly impressed that Akane had been a bad girl for once and skipped school. Akane and Ranma told her a bit about their day, Nabiki’s interest peaked when they brought up Mousse which lead to a discussion about the Joketsuzoku.

“So the women are in charge and the men play the role of the women?” Nabiki asked.

“Well the married men in the village take care of the kids and homes but they’re still warriors too. The village sisters want strong men to marry you know, to make strong kids and to protect the kids,” Ranma explained as she rubbed the back of her neck. “The unmarried guys patrol around the village while the girls go out hunting. But yeah, the women are the ones in charge and are the breadwinners so to speak.”

“Hmm,” Nabiki hummed softly as she leaned back on her hands. She was sure Ranma had only scratched the surface of the village she’d stayed in and Nabiki wanted to know more. She was always wanting to know everything she could about other people, you never knew when having that knowledge could come in handy after all. “I want to meet this Mousse guy. And you said you think your friend is gonna show up too?”

“If Mousse is here then Shampoo is here for sure,” Ranma said with a laugh. “She’s just gonna have a harder time getting around since she doesn’t speak Japanese very well and can’t read it at all.”

“So where is your friend?” Nabiki asked.

“Err, he said he was going to rent a hotel room,” Ranma said with a shrug. “No clue where at.”

“Oh well, I’ll just catch him next time he shows up then,” Nabiki said with a shrug of her shoulders as she stood up and headed to her room.

“Should I be worried that Nabiki is interested in Mousse and the Joketsuzoku?” Ranma asked after a few seconds.

“I really don’t know,” Akane replied.

 

***********

 

The next day Ranma, in her male form again, and Akane ran toward the school gates, both sighing in frustration at the group of boys standing by them.

“I’m starting to see why you hate these guys,” Ranma said to Akane as they slowed down to a walk. She frowned as she noticed that all the boys weren’t standing at battle ready, some were even opening crying. She shared a look with Akane, who noticed this as well and just shrugged in confusion. “Ok guys, why the hell are you crying?”

“We’ve come to a decision yesterday,” One of the boys, who had been elected as the group’s spokesman, said as he stepped out in front of the group. “We have officially stopped trying to pursue Tendo Akane for a date so no more fights every day.”

“Ok, not that I’m not glad to hear that,” Akane said in a confused tone, “but why?”

“Saotome hits a lot harder than you do and it’s not worth fighting him,” The boy said. “I don’t know if he’s your boyfriend or not but we like to stay hurt free for now on. Come on men, time to head inside!”

Ranma and Akane watched as the group headed inside the school building, leaving both teens behind.

 

*************

 

“What the hell did you two do?” Nabiki asked, standing over the two teens with her hands on her hips. When Akane and Ranma gave her confused looks Nabiki huffed loudly and waved a thick envelope that was in one hand at them. “You see this? These are the photos I sell of Akane every day. I had a nice new batch of photos that I was sure I was going to run out of before lunch. Instead, I find out that most of Akane’s fan base as opted out of buying them.”

“You mean you didn’t sell anything?” Akane asked surprised.

“I wouldn’t say that, a couple of boys still bought some photos and Kuno-baby of course,” Nabiki said as she sat down next to her sister and houseguest on the grass. “Speaking of Kuno, he begged me to get him some photos of his new love.”

“Oh Kami-sama, please don’t tell me,” Ranma groaned, burying her face into her hands.

“Yep, he wants photos of his lovely Pony-tailed goddess,” Nabiki said with a smirk. “He’s been asking me all about you.”

“Great,” Ranma said with a roll of her eyes.

“Ok, so what happened?” Nabiki asked her sister. “Why did I suddenly lose all my customers?”

“Don’t ask us,” Akane said. “When we got to school this morning the Horde said they were done fighting over me. Something about Ranma hitting a lot harder than I do. Frankly I’m insulted, I think I pack a way better punch than Ranma does.”

“You wish tomboy,” Ranma said laughing and leaning to the side as Akane tried to hit her in the arm.

“I have no idea what made all those boys change their mind but I’m not disappointed they did,” Akane said. “I was sick of having to fight all those perverted boys every morning. Maybe now I can get to classes on time.”

“You know Kuno is still head-over-heels for you,” Nabiki said. “At least I can depend on him to buy anything featuring you. Now Ranma-baby, if maybe you would consider maybe helping out here…”

“I don’t want some guy I don’t even know or like ogling a picture of me,” Ranma said dryly.

“Nabiki, I know Kasumi told you to leave her alone,” Akane hissed.

“Nee-chan said not to go around taking advantage of Ranma-chan,” Nabiki said. “If Ranma just so happens to volunteer for it, it’s not taking advantage.”

“No thanks,” Ranma said.

“Pity… well if you change your mind, you know where to find me,” Nabiki said as she stood up and headed back to where the rest of her minions were waiting on her.

“Why does she keep trying to get me into modeling?” Ranma asked once Nabiki was out of earshot.

“I guess cause you’re really cute,” Akane said with a shrug of her shoulders. Ranma made a humming noise then shook her head, she didn’t think she would ever understand Akane’s older sister.

 

****************

 

“Hey you!” Ryoga grabbed the front of a passing male student’s uniform jacket and pulled the smaller boy toward him.

“Hey! What’s your problem!?” The boy asked.

“Where is Furinkan High?” Ryoga asked ignoring the boy’s question. The male student gave him an ‘are you stupid?’ look then pointed at the sign behind Ryoga. Ryoga turned his head and wept with joy as he saw the sign say ‘Furinkan High School’. “Finally, after so long I’m here!” He let go of the boy he had captured who brushed off his front then walked away shaking his head.

“Weirdo,” The boy said. Ryoga ignored him and quickly found a good spot where he could jump out and spring a surprise attack. Finally after months of hell, he was finally able to take revenge on Saotome for running off on their man-to-man fight!

 

**********

 

A few minutes later Ranma and Akane exited the school and started on the path to return to the Tendo dojo.

“So what’re the plans this weekend?” Ranma asked, her arms crossed behind her head.

“I think Kasumi nee-chan wants to do a girls-day-out,” Akane said. “Would you be ok if Sayuri and Yuka come too? I mean we could always say that you’re a cousin or something.”

“I don’t mind hanging out more with them,” Ranma said. “Do you think they could keep the secret if we told them?”

“Maybe, if we stress how important it is,” Akane said thoughtfully as she tapped her chin. “They’re not really big gossips, not like those two perverts that keep trying to get you to hang out with them.”

“Daisuke and Hiroshi aren’t that bad,” Ranma said having talked to the two boys during free period and during gym. “But they are total perverts, I’m not going to disagree with that.”

“If you say so, I always feel like they’re talking my clothes off with their eyes,” Akane ranted not noticing at first as Ranma suddenly stopped until she was a few feet away from her friend. “Ranma?”

Ranma ignored Akane for a moment, the hairs on the back of her neck were standing up like someone was watching her. Her danger sense went off at the last second as a shadow descended from above as someone yelled, “Ranma! Prepare to die!”

Ranma cursed as she sprung forward, landing in a one handed hand-stand just as the figure landed in the spot where she had been standing. She looked up at her attacker, surprised to see Ryoga there with the tip of that red umbrella he always carried with him digging into the ground. Ranma could feel a shock wave under her fingertips and pushed away just as the concert busted up under Ryoga and formed a crater.

“Ryoga! What the hell!?” Ranma yelled as she landed back on her feet.

“Who’s he?” Akane asked as she ran over to Ranma’s side, brown eyes side as she looked at the crater the new boy was standing in.

“Akane meet Ryoga,” Ranma said with a wave of her hand. “I told you about him, I went to Junior High with him.”

“Oh wait… the one with the bread?” Akane said squinting her eyes as she tried to remember what Ranma told her about Ryoga.

“Quit ignoring me!” Ryoga yelled. “I’ve come to get my revenge on you Saotome, I’m going to destroy your happiness.” He pointed a finger at Ranma as he said this. Ranma frowned and turned back to Akane, pointing a finger at herself.

“Am I happy?” She asked. Akane shrugged her shoulder in a ‘I don’t know’ way.

“Because of you, I’ve seen hell Saotome!” Ryoga growled drawing the girls’ attention back to him. Around them a crowd of students were gathering, wondering who the new guy was and what his beef was with the newest student. Ranma frowned as she crossed her arms over her chest.

“What the hell are you talking about? I haven’t seen you in a couple of we… errr… years,” Ranma said, quickly stopping herself from saying weeks since Ryoga didn’t know she was ‘Ranka’.

“I’ve chased after you all this time for revenge,” Ryoga said as he threw his umbrella at Ranma who cursed and jumped to the side. The heavy umbrella landed where she had been standing with a clanking sound.

“Watch where you’re throwing that thing,” Ranma said. “Why the hell are you trying to get revenge on me for? Wait… is this about the bread?”

“No this isn’t about the bread you idiot!” Ryoga yelled as he moved in to attack, trading punches and kicks with Ranma. Ranma was still confused, she had no idea what she had done to get Ryoga so riled up, when she last saw him he seemed pretty calm. Still, she couldn’t help the grin that crossed her face as she fought with Ryoga, this was what she was missing. Ryoga was a hell of a lot better than Mousse and the other teen pushed her to her limits. “Why are you smiling? Do you think this is a joke!?”

“I haven’t had a good challenge like this in a while, I forgot how fun it was to spar with you,” Ranma said with a laugh as she back flipped away. Meanwhile one of the boys in the crowd had gotten curious about Ryoga’s umbrella and reached down to pick it up.

“Kami! This thing weighs a ton!” This caught Akane’s attention who walked over and tried to pick up the umbrella herself. She grunted softly as she found out he was right, the umbrella did weigh a lot. She had to use both hands to lift the thing and even then she was only able to lift it a couple of feet off the ground before dropping it.

‘And this Ryoga guy holds this thing one handed,’ Akane thought as she turned her attention back to the fight. ‘He’s really strong.’

“Ok, why are you so pissed at me then?” Ranma asked as she ducked under one of Ryoga’s punches. Ryoga paused in his attack and looked at Ranma as if she was stupid.

“Don’t tell me you forgot,” He said.

“Forgot what?” Ranma said.

“Our man-to-man fight, the one you ran out on you coward!” Ryoga yelled. Ranma frowned and tossed her ponytail over her shoulder.

“What, you mean that spar you wanted to have before I left for China with my Pops?” Ranma asked. “Ryoga, I waited three days for you to show up.”

“Yeah and when I arrived on the fourth day you weren’t there!” Ryoga growled in anger. “And it was a man-to-man fight, not a spar!”

“Ryoga, we were suppose to fight in the lot behind your house right?” Ranma asked.

“Yeah…” Ryoga said.

“Then why did it take you four days to get there!?” Ranma asked.

“I… umm… Got lost,” Ryoga said with a blush.

“Whoa, that’s a really bad sense of direction.”
“Did it really take him four days to get to the lot behind his house?” The students around them whispered.

“Then why didn’t you get Shirokuro to lead you?” Ranma asked, remembering Ryoga had a half grown puppy that would sometimes guide him around.

“Hey! I made it to the lot on my own!” Ryoga yelled his face red in anger.

“It took you four days according to you,” Ranma pointed out.

“And you weren’t there, you ran away like a coward,” Ryoga countered. He reached up and started to rip bandanna after bandanna off his head, making Ranma wonder just how many of those he had tied around his head. “So I chased after you and because of that, I’ve been in hell.”

“Hey! I’m not the one that told you to follow me,” Ranma said, watching as Ryoga started to spin the bandannas around on his fingers. Ryoga didn’t answer her, instead he growled in anger and tossed the spinning bandannas in her direction. Ranma didn’t know what Ryoga’s game was but she leapt into the air and twisted around to land on her feet on Ryoga’s other side, her mouth open in shock at the damage left behind. Ryoga’s bandannas had left deep cuts in the ground where she had been standing. “Ok, that’s a new trick. But you coulda hurt someone you idiot!”

She ducked under Ryoga’s kick to her head and swept Ryoga’s other leg out from under him. He landed on his back with a grunt then coiled up into a ball, rolling back onto his hands and pushing himself into the air. He landed next to his umbrella that Akane had put back down, rushing Ranma again in an attack.

The students scattered out of the way as Ranma lead Ryoga on a merry chase around the schoolyard. Nabiki saw a chance to make some money and started taking bets. Ryoga tossed more of the deadly bandannas at Ranma who jumped back out of the way.

“Ranma watch out!” Akane yelled as Ryoga opened the umbrella and tossed it at Ranma. Ranma cursed and rolled to the side out of the way until she was in front of Akane. “What did you do to him to make him so mad?”

“Wish I knew, cause it’s gotta be more than a missed fight,” Ranma said. She glanced over at Ryoga who caught the umbrella one handed, spinning yet another bandanna around on one finger. He threw it in Ranma and Akane’s direction, Ranma cursing loudly as she picked up Akane bridle style and jumped up into the trees.

“He’s gonna end up killing somebody!” Akane yelled in anger.

“I know,” Ranma said. “I’ve got an idea.”

Ranma jumped back to the ground and rushed toward Ryoga.

“Finally decided to fight back huh?” Ryoga taunted, jabbing at Ranma with his weapon.

“I don’t know what the hell your problem is right now Ryoga,” Ranma said as she jumped to stand on top of Ryoga’s umbrella as it moved to hit her again, “But you need to calm down. If you wanna have that stupid fight of yours, we’ll have it but not here.” Ranma jumped off the top of the red bamboo umbrella and did a handspring off the top of Ryoga’s head. The momentum pushed him forward, almost stumbling over his own feet. When he caught his balance Ryoga looked around for Ranma, growling in anger when he couldn’t find the other teen who was standing behind him.

“Ranma, you coward! You won’t get away from me!” Ryoga said as he ran off in an attempt to find his rival. Ranma rolled her eyes and shook her head.

‘Man he is such an idiot sometimes,’ Ranma thought to herself. ‘But I wonder what the heck is up with him? I gotta try to talk sense into him when he comes back. I don’t want to keep fighting him like this, a spar is one thing but this rage…’

“Do you think he’ll be back?” Akane asked as she came over to Ranma’s side.

“Yeah but it might be a couple of days before we hear anything about him,” Ranma said. Seeing that the free entertainment was over the crowd started to break up, students going home for the day.

“What was he so angry about?” Akane asked as she and Ranma started to walk home.

“That’s just it, I don’t know,” Ranma said. “He’s always been a little hot under the collar but Ryoga really is a great guy. No sense of direction but he’s a great sparring partner. I always thought of him as my friend but I don’t know, something happened that he blames me for I guess.”

“Doesn’t sound much like a friend,” Akane said. “Sounds like whatever his problem is he’s blaming it on you.”

“I know and I gotta get to the bottom of it cause I don’t want him to hate me,” Ranma said softly. Now it was more important than ever that Ryoga got to know the real her through her real girl form, Ranma use to tease Ryoga badly during their time in Junior High and she wanted to make up for all that.

“If you think it’s worth it Ranma. He’s your friend after all,” Akane said.

“Yeah, I think he’s worth it,” Ranma said softly again.

 

***********

 

As soon as the girls reached the house, Ranma raced up to her room to change out of her uniform and dump a glass of cold water over her head. She sighed happily as her body shifted into her much preferred form, rolling her shoulders as she adjusted to the weight on her chest.

“Better?” Akane giggled when Ranma stepped out of her room, she had also changed out of her school uniform into her favorite yellow gi.

“Yep,” Ranma chirped happily.

“Well I’m going for my run, try not to get into any more fights,” Akane said, laughing as Ranma sputtered behind her.

“Crazy tomboy,” Ranma said with a shake of her head as she headed downstairs behind her friend. While Akane ran out of the front door Ranma turned into the main room, stopping in surprise when she saw Mousse sitting at the table. “What are you doing here?”

“Ranma your little friend is so delightful,” Kasumi said as she stepped out of the kitchen with a fresh pot of tea and a plate full of snacks. “He exchanged several wonderful recipes with me while we waited on you.”

“Recipes?” Ranma asked as she sat down beside her friend. Mousse shrugged his shoulders slightly.

“My mother taught them to me and Kasumi seemed to want to learn them. It gave me something to do while I waited for you to return from your school,” Mousse defended himself.

“Since when are you on a first name basis with Kasumi?” Ranma asked before stuffing a cookie into her mouth. “Didja find a place to stay?” The second part came out slightly garbled as her mouth was full.

“Ranma, don’t speak with food in your mouth,” Kasumi scolded as she sat down at the table.

“She insisted I call her by her given name,” Mousse said answering the first question.

“I found Mousse-kun at Dr. Tofu’s clinic, when he told me his name I figured he was your friend you were telling us about and invited him over for dinner,” Kasumi explained.

“Dr. Tofu?” Ranma asked after gulped down a cup full of tea.

“Yes, he was looking for an assistant and offered me a place to sleep,” Mousse said. “It’s better than staying in a hotel.” A ding sounded in the kitchen catching Kasumi’s attention.

“Oh my, that’s dinner,” She said as she quickly hurried back into her kitchen.

“Dr. Tofu…. I noticed he acts very strange around Kasumi,” Mousse said, remembering how the usually calm doctor had acted loopy once he had see Kasumi in his clinic. The Chinese youth had been shocked by seeing all the elderly people running out of the clinic once Kasumi showed up only to see why they did by Tofu’s actions.

“Really?” Ranma asked. “I know Akane’s got a crush on the doc.”

“Yes, Dr. Tofu was acting very… erratic,” Mousse said his lips quirking into a smile. “It was almost entertaining to see as long as you weren’t in his way. He ran out of the clinic with that skeleton of his. Kasumi just told me to lock up the clinic and invited me here.”

“Huh…” Ranma said. At that time someone knocked on the door, Kasumi calling she would get it.

“Ranma-chan, it’s for you,” Kasumi said as she handed a scroll to Ranma. Ranma gave the scroll a confused look as she unrolled it.

“What is it?” Mousse asked as he adjusted his glasses.

“Something from Kuno, an annoying jerk from my school,” She explained to Mousse. “He wants to meet me at the field next to the school. Well he wants to meet the ‘Pony-tailed girl’ anyway.”

“Why?” Mousse asked.

“Don’t know, I guess it’s another challenge to fight with him. He’s got some sorta beef with me,” Ranma said as she stood. “Might as well go get this over with, build up an appetite for Kasumi’s cooking. Wanna come?”

“Might as well. I am interested in seeing what other fighters are here,” Mousse said as he stood as well.

“Kasumi, we’re going out to kick Kuno’s ass again. Tell Akane where we are if we don’t run into her,” Ranma called as they headed out.

“Alright but don’t be late for dinner,” Kasumi said. “Have fun.”

 

*********

 

“Where the fuck is he?” Ranma asked as she leaned back against the fence surrounding field, the area washed red with the light of the setting sun. Mousse stood beside her, his hands tucked into his long sleeves. “You think he would be on time to his own challenge.”

“Is that him?” Mousse asked as he spied a figured walking up. It only looked like a dark blur to him since his glasses were once again sitting on top of his head.

“Yeah, finally,” Ranma muttered as she walked up to meet the older teen. “Ok Kuno, I’m here. Let’s get this over with.”

“Pony-tailed girl, there is only one thing I wish to say to you,” Kuno said. He reached behind his back, Ranma quickly shifting into a battle ready stance as she thought he was drawing his sword. Instead he look out a bouquet of roses, the petals as red as her hair, and pressed them into her arms. “Pony-tailed girl, I love you.”

“What!?” Ranma said blushing hotly, looking down at the roses Kuno gave her. This was not what she expected when she came to meet Kuno.

“Is that the usual way you Japanese gain a woman’s attention?” Mousse asked as he slid his glasses down to see what was going on. Kuno who was about to walk away dramatically stopped and glared at Mousse.

“And who pray tell are you?” Kuno said coldly.

“My name is Mousse, I am a member of the same village as her,” Mousse said, not at all intimidated by the other boy. The two boys were roughly the same height, Kuno only an inch or so taller. Still, Kuno looked down at Mousse as if he was inferior.

“Giving a beautiful rose like the Pony-tailed girl flowers is always the proper way,” Kuno said as if Mousse was an idiot.

“Not in our village, if a man wants to marry a village sister, he must defeat her in combat first,” Mousse said. “That is the law of our village.”

“Mousse shut up,” Ranma hissed, she didn’t need the other boy putting ideas into Kuno’s head.

“What is your relation to the Pony-tailed girl?” Kuno said, his grip tightening on his sword.

“Relationship? I have no relationship with Ranma, we’re just friends,” Mousse said as if the idea was ridiculous, he loved Shampoo after all. Ranma was just his only other friend in the village.

“I asked thee what your relationship with the Pony-tailed girl was not that vile wretch Saotome,” Kuno said.

“I just told you-“ Mousse started to say with a frown.

“Shut up both of you,” Ranma said as she stepped between the two taller teens. “Kuno thanks for the flowers but I am not interested.” She pushed the bouquet back into Kuno’s arms then snagged Mousse’s sleeve as she walked past him, dragging the Amazon away. Kuno’s eyes narrowed while his grip on the roses tightened.

‘I do not know what your intentions toward the Pony-tailed girl is but I will not stand for them,’ Kuno thought as he spun on his heel and walked away back toward his grand house.

 

***************

 

Author note: Woo! Yet another fic done in less than a week, I’m on a roll here. Happy New Year everyone!

 

Chapter Text

Blessed Curse

Author: USA Tiger

Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 belongs to Rumiko Takahashi

Author note: Thanks to Blissfull Wulf for betaing this fic.

 

Chapter 7

 

When Ranma and Mousse returned to the Tendo household Akane was waiting for them in the hallway, freshly bathed after her workout wearing her PJ’s for the night and a towel draped over her shoulders.

“So how did the fight go? Why didn’t you wait for me? How badly beat up is Kuno and please tell me we won’t see him tomorrow,” Akane said the last part in a pleading tone.

“It wasn’t a challenge,” Ranma said annoyed. “He just wanted to meet with me so he could give me flowers and tell me that he’s in love with me.”

“Wh-what?” Akane said brown eyes blinking in surprise. “He did all that to ask you on a date?”

“Not a date, just proclaimed to ‘love me’,” Ranma said then huffed as she smacked Mousse in the chest. “Then this idiot opened his big mouth and mentioned one of the biggest rules in the village.”

“I apologized for that,” Mousse said.

“Rules?” Akane asked. She vaguely remembered Ranma saying something about the different rules in the village that adopted her but the only one she paid attention to was the one that granted Ranma a new family and the chance to be in her real body. The three teens wandered into the main room of the house and sat down around the table.

“Good, you’re just in time for dinner,” Kasumi said as she brought out the last of the food. “Nabiki!” She called up the stairs for the middle sister.

“Who’s the cutie?” Nabiki asked as she stepped off the last step and saw Mousse at the table.

“This is my buddy Mousse,” Ranma said, biting the inside of her cheek to stifle a laugh as Mousse gave a flustered sound at being called a ‘cutie’.

“So you’re Mousse huh?” Nabiki said as she quickly slipped in to sit next to the Chinese youth. Kasumi chuckled softly to herself and shook her head as she watched her younger sister then left to fetch their father from the dojo.

“Erm, yes?” Mousse said in a confused tone.

“Hmm, I heard a bit about you,” Nabiki said as she leaned in close to the other teen. Mousse leaned back slightly not sure what to think about the sudden attention he was getting. He didn’t usually get attention from girls, the ones in his village didn’t bother giving him the time of day not that he would notice since he was stuck on Shampoo who saw him as a friend at best and a punching bag at worse. Ranma was only seen as a friend and that suited the red-headed girl just fine. “I have all sorts of questions.”

“Umm, what sort of questions?” Mouse asked.

“Mostly about your village but I’m sure we could talk about you,” Nabiki said with a grin then turned so she was facing Ranma and Akane who were both fighting not to giggle at the confounded look on Mousse’s face. “Ranma, you didn’t tell me your friend was cute.” Mousse sputtered at being called cute by this strange girl. Nabiki grinned again to herself, she hadn’t know what to expect when Ranma talked about her friends from the Amazon like village in China but Mousse being a good looking guy was a pleasant surprise. The thick glasses were a bit of a turn off but not enough to take away from the rest of Mousse’s looks. ‘Hmm, I wonder if he’s ever considered contacts or surgery,’ Nabiki mused to herself. Even if nothing came from it, she could already see herself having fun teasing the other teen.

Ranma snickered to herself as Mousse continued to look confused. The older teen was so fixated on Shampoo that he had a habit of not really noticing anyone else that was female. The short time she had lived in the village Ranma had heard plenty of girls talk about Mousse. While there were plenty who thought Mousse was just a silly male, quite a few bemoaned the fact Mousse was so stuck on Shampoo. Mousse never noticed the admiring looks he received from time to time, those girls felt that anyone would be lucky to have that level of loyalty directed at them.

‘This has got to be the first time anyone has really flirted with Mousse,’ Ranma thought to herself. ‘He certainly doesn’t know what to make of it.’

Akane was giggling too, when Nabiki and her wicked tongue were focused on someone else it was quite fun to watch her older sister work. She just hoped Nabiki didn’t go too far with Mousse, he seemed to be one of the few decent boys she had met and would hate to see a friend of Ranma’s get hurt.

At that time Kasumi returned to the room followed by Soun to start dinner. Soun questioned Mousse on who he was and why he was there, satisfied when Mousse said he was a friend of Ranma’s. He did worry as he watched Nabiki flirt and tease the youth, he really wished Nabiki would cut that stuff out. Be more reserved like his oldest daughter.

‘Ah, I guess that’s the times these days,’ he thought sadly. ‘Children grow up much too fast now a days.’

Later that evening as Mousse headed back to Tofu’s clinic he thought back on the evening, he had no idea what to make of that Nabiki girl. He did wish that Shampoo paid the same sort of attention to him sometimes.

 

**************

 

Ranma yawned as she headed down the stairs toward the Dojo for her morning workout. There was no rush today since there was no school. She had to fight down an excited squeal as she remembered that Kasumi was taking her and Akane shopping for some clothing for her girl form. Other than some clothing she had back at Joketsuzoku Ranma didn’t own anything but male clothing. Genma wouldn’t even entertain the idea of his child owning a scrap of clothing that belonged on a girl. Part of Ranma was a bit nervous, Sayuri and Yuka would be joining them on their shopping trip and Ranma had agreed to let the two girls in on her secret.

Ranma thought Sayuri and Yuka were pretty nice but she had no idea how the girls would react to her gender bending curse or that she was transgender and considered her female form to be her real one. Akane seemed to think her two friends would be okay with it and would help keep Ranma’s secret out of the school gossip. She just hoped Akane was right about that.

Half an hour later Ranma reentered the house feeling much more awake and calm. Her morning workouts always had that effect on her.

“Ranma-chan, this was delivered this morning for you,” Kasumi said as she handed an envelope to Ranma.

“What is it, another ‘challenge’ from Kuno?” Akane asked as she passed Ranma in the hallway. She was already dressed for the day and was going out to meet Yuka and Sayuri to bring them to the dojo.

“No it’s from Ryoga,” Ranma said as she read. “He wants to fight this afternoon.”

“Nooo, that’ll cut into our shopping trip,” Akane groaned. Ranma smirked slightly as she folded the note back up.

“Don’t worry Akane-chan, when he says this afternoon it’ll be a week before he shows up,” Ranma assured her. “With his sense of direction he’ll be lost that whole time.

 

********

 

A few streets over a black and yellow fox sneezed, feeling as if someone was talking about him.

 

********

 

“If you’re sure,” Akane said.

“Yeah, don’t worry about it,” Ranma said as she headed for the furo. “I just hope the idiot will listen to me long enough to try and patch things up,” She added under her breath.

When Ranma emerged from the bath in her male body once again Akane had already returned with Yuka and Sayuri.

“Hi Ranma!” Yuka greeted happily.

“Akane said you’re coming with us shopping today right?” Sayuri asked. When Ranma nodded she squealed happily. “I’ve always wanted to go shopping with a gay guy, I heard they have the best fashion sense.”

“Ah… yeah…” Ranma sweat dropped and rubbed the back of her neck. “Hey Akane, where’s your dad at?”

“Kasumi convinced him to go out for the day since she isn’t going to be here to make lunch,” Akane said as she walked out of the kitchen with a pitcher of cold water and a kettle of hot water.

“Err what’s with the water Akane-chan?” Yuka asked when she saw them. Ranma saw the items and sighed, nodding her head to her friend.

“Let’s do this outside so Kasumi won’t be pissed we got water all over the floor again,” Ranma said as she turned and headed out into the yard.

“Do what? What’s going on?” Sayuri asked.

“What you guys are about to see is a little unbelievable but keep an open mind will you?” Akane pleaded, she wanted all three of her best friends to get along. Yuka and Sayuri looked at each other, they had known Akane for a long time and had never seen her like this. Whatever this was all about was important.

“Ok, we promise Akane-chan,” Sayuri promised. Akane sighed in relief then lead her friends outside where Ranma was waiting.

“Ok, just bare with me for a moment because I don’t know how you’re going to take what I say,” Ranma said as she turned to face Yuka and Sayuri. “Firstly you gotta know that I’m transgender.”

“Oh oh… wait that’s… that’s… that’s where you’re born one gender but feel like you’re the other right?” Yuka asked. When Ranma nodded she gave Ranma a curious look. “So… are you a girl in a guys body or do you have a girls body under that outfit but going through all that stuff so you can have a boys body later?”

“I was born a boy,” Ranma said. “It was something I was never comfortable with, like I was in the wrong skin my whole life but I didn’t really understand what that meant until recently. You know I was on a 10 year training trip with my Pops before I started school here, the last place we went was an old training ground in China called Jusenkyo.

“This training ground was different, it’s filled with hundreds of pools of water and a lot of them have bamboo poles sticking out of them that you can balance on. But what makes this place so special is the water.”

“What does that mean?” Yuka asked confused. Ranma didn’t answer her, instead taking the pitcher of water and pouring a little bit of it over her head. Yuka and Sayuri gasped loudly as they watched Ranma instantly changed from a taller good looking boy with black hair to a shorter cute looking red head with a decent sized bust.

“Each of the springs at Jusenkyo has a curse on it where you change into the thing that last drowned there with cold water. I was knocked into the spring of the drowned girl,” Ranma said. “This body, as far as I’m concerned, is my real body.”

”Oh my god… you just turned into a girl,” Sayuri said softly, looking at Ranma with wide eyes.

“Yeah, really into a girl, I don’t think you can fake anything like this,” Yuka agreed as she stepped forward slightly. “So you said cold water turns you into a girl so hot water…”

“Changes me back into a boy,” Ranma said letting Akane pour a little hot water over her head. Akane’s two friends watched wide eyed as Ranma changed back to her other form. Ranma fidgeted slightly as she waited for the other two girls to say something. After a few seconds Yuka picked up the water pitcher and poured it over Ranma again, shifting her back into female form.

“So this is the real you huh?” She asked.

“So… you’re not disgusted?” Ranma asked.

“We’re a little weirded out,” Sayuri said after sharing a look with Yuka.

“Yeah, who knew that magic was real,” Yuka agreed.

“But Akane is vouching for you and I think it was brave of you to share this with us,” Sayuri continued giving Ranma a smile. Ranma smiled back as her shoulders sagged in relief. Akane grinned happily, she knew she could count on her friends.

“So what do you call yourself as a girl?” Yuka asked once they were all back inside and Ranma changed into some dry clothing.

“Hmm?” Ranma looked at Yuka confused.

“Well we can’t call you Ranma, I mean you’re trying to keep this a secret right? Calling you by your name might clue someone in on what’s going on,” Sayuri said.

“Oh yeah, that’s true,” Ranma agreed. She thought back to when she met Ryoga on the street corner a couple of weeks ago, she hadn’t wanted him to know that she was the same boy he went to school with, at least not until she made it up to him after how bad she sometimes treated him. “Ranka.”

“Huh?” The other girls turned to look at Ranma.

“Call me ‘Ranka’ when I’m like this,” Ranma, no Ranka said. (1)

“Ranka huh?” Akane said. “It’s pretty.”

“Where did you come up with Ranka?” Yuka asked.

“A guy I knew before,” Ranka said. “I met him again a little while ago and he doesn’t know about my whole ‘curse’ and I didn’t want him to figure it out by telling him I was Ranma so I told him my name was Ranka.”

“Ohhh, a boy huh?” Sayuri said while Yuka giggled. “Sounds like you have a bit of a crush.” Ranka blushed slightly making her new friends giggle louder.

“Come on girls,” Kasumi said as she stepped out of the kitchen with her little purse in her hand. “We need to leave now if we’re going to spend the whole day shopping.”

 

********

 

“Aww, look at the cute little fox,” Yuka said as they walked through the shopping district Kasumi had led them to. Ranka turned to where Yuka was pointing and squealed happily.

“Kit-chan!” She yelled running toward the fox. Kit-chan looked up at the yell and gave an excited yip when he saw his beloved Ranka. He was quickly swept up into Ranka’s arms, blushing brightly as he was pressed into her ample bosom. “Where have you been? I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”

“Ranka-chan!” Akane said as she and the other two ran to catch up with the red head. Ryoga glanced over at the girls, the one with the long blue hair looked a bit familiar but he couldn’t place his paw on where he’d seen her before.

“Ranka-chan, is he yours?” Yuka asked.

“Yep,” Ranka said as she hugged the blushing fox close. “This is my Kit-chan. I lost him a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been looking everywhere for him.”

“I didn’t know you had a pet,” Akane said.

“Well he’s a really recent pet, I was worried he might have run off,” Ranka said. Kit-chan whined softly in apology, he hadn’t meant to get lost and had been looking everywhere for her too when he wasn’t looking for that bastard Ranma.

“Girls, you shouldn’t run off like that,” Kasumi said as she caught up to the others then noticed Kit-chan in Ranka’s arms. “Oh, what a cute little fox.”

“Isn’t he?” Ranka agreed, letting Kit-chan climb onto her shoulders. “And he’s super tough too, we ran into this gang of boys in an alleyway and Kit-chan took down one of those wanna-be thugs all by himself.” She scratched Kit-chan behind the ears while he preened under her praise. The other girls giggled at the fox’s actions and cooed at how cute he was.

“Come on, let’s get shopping,” Akane said. Ranka, Yuka and Sayuri agreed and followed Akane down the busy street until they found a clothing store.

“Oh Ranka-chan, you gotta try this one,” Sayuri said as she found a blue sundress on one of the racks.

“It is nice,” Ranka agreed with a grin as she took it.

“I’m going to try on this one,” Akane said as she found a nice yellow dress. Sayuri and Yuka quickly found their own dresses to try on, leaving purses and Kit-chan with Kasumi so they could go change in the dressing room.

Inside Ranka’s dressing room, the red headed girl held up the dress to her front as she looked into the mirror. A giddy laugh escaped her as she grinned and hung the dress on a hook so she could undress down to her boxers. She quickly slid the dress on and sighed with another smile as she looked at her self. She loved the way the skirt flowed around her legs as she turned and how comfortable and right she felt wearing the dress.

She had worn a dress or two since she was able to find her real body back in the village in China. But they were form fitting short dresses, made to be battle ready. They were nothing like this, loose and free flowing. Horrible to fight in though she thought she could in a pinch as she gave a couple of punches and kicks.

‘Pops would have a heart attack if he saw how much I like this,’ Ranka thought gleefully as she stepped out of the dressing room. “How do I look?”

“Oh Ranka-chan, you look so nice,” Kasumi said with a bright smile as she clapped her hands in delight. Kit-chan’s mouth dropped open.

‘She looks more than nice, she’s beautiful,’ Ryoga thought, a red tint appearing on his furred cheeks as he watched Ranka spin in the dress to show the others as they came out of their dressing rooms. The other girls were pretty but none of them matched up to his red-headed angel. Ryoga’s imagination ran away from him as he saw Ranka surrounded by pink fluffy clouds and sparkles in his mind.

“Oh that looks so good on you Ranka,” Sayuri said.  

“Oh could somebody help me?” Yuka’s voice said from another fitting room. “I can’t get the zipper all the way up.”

“I’ll help,” Ranka said as she was closer to the fitting room Yuka was in. She slipped behind the curtain and pulled the small zipper on the back of the other girl’s dress the rest of the way up.

“Thanks Ranka-chan,” Yuka asked as she moved to stand in front of the mirror. “Ooo, this one might make a good party dress. I’ll have to see how much it is, Mama only gave me a small allowance. Oh Ranka, you’re so pretty!” Yuka squealed as she turned around and looked at the red head.

“Thanks,“ Ranka said with a slight blush, twirling around so the skirt flared around her legs. “I like the way the skirt feels…. What’s wrong?” She asked when she saw Yuka frowning at her.

“You can see the outline of your boxers and when your skirt flared up I could see them,” Yuka said. “That’s not the right kind of underwear to wear.”

“Oh…” Ranka blushed again and rubbed the back of her neck. “Well I don’t really have anything else.”

“We’ll have to fix that,” Yuka said as she grabbed Ranka’s hand and pulled her out. Akane had come out of her fitting room as well and was modeling the dress for her sister. “Sa-chan, Akane-chan.”

“What’s wrong?” Sayuri asked.

“Ranka-chan doesn’t have the right type of… you know… under clothing,” Yuka said in a whisper as she waved her hand toward her hips. Sayuri looked at Ranka again and hummed.

“Oh you’re right, I didn’t notice before. Ranka, don’t you have any panties?” Sayuri asked. “You’re not wearing a bra either.”

“Why would she? She’s, you know, not like this all the time,” Akane pointed out.

“Akane-chan has a point,” Yuka said.

“I don’t own any of that stuff, it’s not like Pops would let me get any,” Ranka said. “And the girls back in the village I was staying in didn’t… um… really wear bras so I didn’t either.”

“Well, you’re blessed with a very… umm…” Yuka blushed as she stumbled over her words.

“Perky,” Sayuri said.

“Yes yes, perky that’s it,” Yuka quickly agreed with a nod. “Blessed with a very perky…”

“Kami-sama you two,” Akane said with a roll of her eyes. “You’ve got big breasts Ranka and a lot of girls usually wear bras to help support that.”

“Oh,” Ranka blushed again. “Well I don’t see how that would work with… you know.”

“Well I could see where it would be uncomfortable when you changed but I think it would be a good idea to have some just in case,” Yuka said while Sayuri nodded. Akane thought about it for a moment then agreed as well. Ranka sighed but went along with it, they had been girls longer than her after all.

“Alright, let’s finish looking for clothing here then we’ll hit the lingerie shop,” Yuka said with a giggle.

The four girls tried on many outfits, modeling them for Kasumi and Kit-chan. Ranka has a small pile of clothing built up to buy when they were done made up of dresses and other cute outfits. When they left the store Ranka walked out wearing a short sleeve blue shirt and a pair of cute over-alls.

“Ok so we need to get her some shoes and we need to stop at that lingerie store,” Sayuri said. Kit-chan’s ears perked up. Lingerie? As in female underclothing? Ryoga imagined Ranka in a bra and matching panties but didn’t get very far as his nose started to bleed and he fainted.

“Kit-chan!” Ranka said in alarm as she caught the fox-cursed boy as he fell off her shoulders.

 

********

 

“I wonder why he fainted like that,” Kit-chan could faintly hear Ranka’s voice as he slowly came to again. “And he’s got a nosebleed.”

“Do you think we should take him to the vet?” He could hear one of the other girls in the group ask. He lifted his head from where it had been laying on Ranka’s arm and looked around dazed. He was cradled in his Ranka-chan’s arms and gave a soft confused bark.

“He’s awake!” Ranka said as she shifted Kit-chan to look at him. “I was worried when you fainted, are you alright?”

Ryoga gave a small yip while mentally he cursed himself, damn him and his nose bleeds! This happened every time he thought of or saw a hint of naked female flesh. He was so overcome by embarrassment that he got a nosebleed and a lot of the times fainted if he didn’t stop it in time. Still, as he was hugged and petted by the pretty Ranka some good came out of this.

“I think he’ll be fine,” Kasumi said, laughing softly at the blissed-out look on the fox’s face. “If it happens again we’ll take him to the vet. We should go ahead and get Ranka-chan her… ah-hmm… underwear then stop for lunch.”

“Hai Kasumi-chan,” the girls chimed together.

‘Underwear?’ Ryoga thought dazed then widened his eyes in panic, trying to think of anything but the girls in their underclothing and nothing else. He did not want another nose bleed and fainting again! He was jolted out of his thoughts a few seconds later as Ranka handed him over to Kasumi who had sat down on a bench outside the store to watch their bags. The fox cursed boy was a little disappointed he wouldn’t get to see his lovely Ranka model panties now…. Oh well maybe it was for the best.

Inside the store Ranka looked around with wide eyes, she had no idea that there were so many different styles of bras and panties. And other things she had no idea what they were. Joketsuzoku village girls tended to only wear a simple brand of panties, and even then some went commando when they wore pants, and none really wore bras.

“Kami-sama…” Ranka breathed softly.

“Yeah, it takes a lot of hard work to be a girl,” Sayuri teased with a wink.

“But we look good in the end and drive the guys wild,” Yuka added with a giggle. “Or girls if that’s your thing.”

“How the heck would any of this work?” Ranka whispered. “I mean I can’t really wear any of it as a boy.”

“Well maybe you could wear the panties,” Yuka said.

“Yeah, I heard some guys love to wear women’s underwear,” Sayuri said. Akane snorted softly at the idea.

“Sounds like a bunch of perverts,” she chimed in.

“Well I think some are but I heard some just like to feel pretty,” Yuka said. “And Drag Queens wear women’s clothing too, I think that includes the underwear.”

“I think the bra is going to be the biggest problem,” Sayuri said. “But it would be a good idea for you to have a couple when you’re in your real form for an extended period of time. Come on, let’s look around.” She grabbed Ranka’s hand and pulled her into the sea of racks.

A few minutes later they had the gender-cursed teen in the fitting room, Akane behind her helping to snap up a bra in the back.

“So how do you feel about all this Ranma?” Akane asked softly.

“I like all the clothing, I feel so much more like a girl,” Ranka said with a grin. “The panties aren’t bad but I really don’t see how it’s going to be comfortable as a boy. The bra on the other hand…” she rolled her shoulders to try and get use to wearing one. Akane giggled softly at her friend.

“I started with a training bra when I was young and started to develop,” she told the other girl. “It can take a bit of getting use too. We can look for some boy shorts, it’s kinda like a girl version of boxers, and maybe some sports bras if you got to fight any.”

Ranka smiled and turned around to hug Akane.

“Thank you so much for putting up with all this,” She whispered. Akane blinked in surprise then hugged the smaller girl back.

“You’re welcome. I have no idea what you are going through and I’m sorry I was a jerk when I found out about your curse,” Akane whispered back. “It’s kinda fun to help you discover your girly side Ranma.” Ranka laughed softly as she pulled back.

“Don’t forget, I’m Ranka like this,” She said half jokingly with a wink. She sighed then and turned back to look in the mirror. “I can’t want to get this locked permanently and don’t have to worry about if I can wear any of this as a boy or what to do if I do change. I just want to be in my real girl form all the time. This thing is a little tight.”

“You might need a bigger size,” Akane said as she picked through the pile looking for the next size up. “What about the stuff you were using before to stay a girl?”

“The waterproof soap?” Ranka asked as she struggled to get the bra unclasped. Akane rolled her eyes and reached over to help. “I would love to but I have no idea where Cologne got it.”

“Here try this one,” Akane said, handing over another bra.

“How’s it going in there?” Yuka asked from the other side of the curtain.

“We’re trying to find one that fits,” Akane called back. The bra that Akane gave Ranma was the type that clasped in the front, giving the neo-girl an easier time to clasp it up. “These are just simple everyday wear bras, maybe we should skip on the fancier ones.”

“Please, I need time to just get use to this!” Ranka said with a nervous laugh.

Half an hour later the girls left the store, Ranka holding a bag filled with panties, boy shorts and a few normal and sports bras. She even had a couple of thongs, something Sayuri and Yuka insisted on.

‘How the hell do people wear those things?’ she wondered to herself.

“Did you girls find everything?” Kasumi asked, looking up from the book she had been reading. Kit-chan looked up, waking up from the little power nap he was having and gave a happy yip at seeing Ranka.

“Yeah,” Akane said as she started to pick up bags. As Ranka picked up Kit-chan he poked his nose into one of the bags she was holding, jerking back and quickly climbing onto her shoulders when he discovered it was full of panties, covering his nose with his paws as he tried to keep it from bleeding. The girls laughed at the silly fox, Ranka kissing the top of his head. Ryoga sighed happily, green eyes wide as his crush kissed him.

‘Oh Ranka…’

 

*************

 

Later that afternoon, after the shopping trip was over, Akane changed into her favorite yellow gi and went out for her daily run. The trip had gone a lot better that she thought it would originally, she was very happy her two best friends accepted Ranma for who she was. In fact, they accepted it easier and quicker than she had, something she was a little ashamed of.

Still Ranma, as Ranka, had plenty of stuff to wear as a girl now all safely tucked away in her closet and a cleaned out drawer in her room. They had thought about putting everything in the guest room but there was always the possibility of Ranma’s father showing up at any time. So far he hadn’t and if Ranma was right, then Genma was currently at a zoo and didn’t have ready access to any hot water but who knew if that would last.

Then there was also Ranma’s little pet fox Kit-chan, who was adorable and acted so cute with Ranma. Akane sighed again as she turned the corner to go down another street near her home. She wished she had a pet but they had never been able to afford one, not until recently when Nabiki completely took over having everything paid in the house. She always wanted a cat, which was out of the question now with Ranma living with them, or maybe a little pig would be fun too. Anything really as long as it wasn’t feline.

Akane skid to a stop as something small and purple streaked across her path, emitting a high pitch rapid almost barking like noise followed by a yappy dog chasing whatever the other animal was. She blinked for a moment then quickly took off after the two animals.

“Hey!” Akane said as she quickly found the dog barking and growling at a pile of cinder blocks. “Let it alone you stupid dog!” She grabbed the dog by the scruff of its neck and pulled it back. The dog turned to growl and snap at Akane but quickly cowered in fear with its tail between its legs as Akane loomed over it, an eerie battle aura springing up around her and her eyes seeming to glow brightly.

“Yip yip yip yip…” The dog quickly ran out of the lot, yipping loudly. Akane huffed and straightened her hair then knelt down next to the cinder block pile.

“Come on, the mean old dog is gone now,” Akane cooed to the creature as she reached in and gently picked up the animal. She hissed as little claws scratched across her hand but didn’t let go as she brought it to the light. Cupping her hands around the tiny critter and holding its shaking body up to her chest, Akane squealed softly. “Oh you are so cute!”

Cupped in her hands was the cutest little sugar glider. Its fur was a bright purple, an unusual color but since her own hair was dark blue Akane shrugged it off, and eyes were a pretty red color. Akane cooed and gently petted the gilder as it clung to the front of her gi, feeling its tiny heart beat rapidly in fright then slowed down a bit as it calmed. She grinned and stood up, walking away from the lot with the sugar glider. Akane didn’t know if it was someone’s pet or not but if they were irresponsible enough to let it out where a dog would try to eat it then they didn’t deserve the cute little critter. She on the other hand would take much better care of it.

 

**********

 

Still clinging to Akane’s top, Shampoo slowly became aware of everything around her. Her animal instincts had overtaken her human mind for a short time when the dog had started chasing her right after she had been splashed with cold water. This was not the first time it had happened either, Shampoo hated her cursed form. She was small and helpless in this form, a far cry from the warrior woman she was among her village.

Shampoo didn’t like Japan all that much, or thought all that much of the wide world in general. While not a backwards village by any means, growing up mostly sheltered in Joketsuzoku hadn’t prepared Shampoo for the big cities where before the only thing she had to worry about was any possible war between her people and the Musk or even the Bird People of Mt. Phoenix if they should decide to attack one day. She barely knew enough Japanese to get around, curse that stupid Mousse for getting separated from her he was at least fluent in the language, and turning into a helpless sugar glider at a moment’s notice didn’t help things at all!

And she still hadn’t found her adopted sister Ranma or that blasted panda man that kidnapped Ranma and cursed her. Things were starting to look a bit hopeless but Shampoo was a Joketsuzoku warrior! She couldn’t let things like this get in the way of her mission.

Stirring herself from her depressing thoughts, Shampoo finally took a look around her. She was clinging to some yellow material and gentle hands were holding her up and petting her. Shampoo would not admit it, even on her death bed, but those fingers stroking her fur felt really really nice. She looked up at the face of the one holding it, a pretty girl with long blue hair and wide brown eyes, and Shampoo quickly realized that the girl had saved her from the vicious little dog. She would have to give the girl the Kiss of Friendship, a kiss on the nose, for saving her life once she turned back as was only proper.

“You’ll like our house, it’s a little loud at times but Kasumi-neechan is a great cook,” Shampoo flushed slightly as she realized the girl had been speaking this whole time to her and she hadn’t been listening.

Akane quickly slipped through the gate and into the house, calling out happily that she was home.

“Did you have a nice run Akane-chan?” Kasumi asked as she leaned out of the kitchen to greet her youngest sister. “Oh my, what a cute little sugar glider. Where did you find it?”

“Some idiot must have left it out, I found a dog trying to eat it,” Akane said. “Can I keep it?”

“Well… I suppose it wouldn’t hurt,” Kasumi said. Shampoo gave a noise of protest, she was no one’s pet! She was a mighty warrior!

“Hey Akane, you’re back early from your run,” Shampoo’s head snapped up and she twisted around to look behind her. A happy chattering sound escaped from Shampoo, there was Ranma she finally found her sister!

“Yeah, I found this poor little thing being harassed by a stupid dog,” Akane said as she petted Shampoo who tried not to relax into the feeling but soon found herself doing so.

“It’s cute but what is it?” Ranka asked as she leaned forward to get a closer look. Kit-chan shifted so he wouldn’t tumble off Ranka’s shoulder then sniffed at the animal, giving a small series of yips and barks.

‘It’s a sugar glider Ranka-chan,’ Ryoga ‘said’.

“Why is he barking, he’s not going to eat Kyandi is he?” Akane said as she held Shampoo, or Kyandi as Akane had dubbed her, away from Kit-chan.

“I don’t think so, I already fed him this afternoon and he doesn’t look like he wanted to eat it or anything,” Ranka said as she straightened up, one hand on Kit-chan’s back. “Kyandi?”

“That’s its name!” Akane said, feeling clever at coming up with it. “It’s a sugar glider and sugar is what candy is made out of so Kyandi!” (2)

“Is it a boy or a girl?” Ranka asked. “If it’s a boy, it might not like being called Kyandi.”

“I’m not sure,” Akane admitted as she pulled Shampoo off her shirt and looked at her. Shampoo started to chatter in protest.

‘Hey! What are you doing!?’ Shampoo started blushing hotly as Akane checked to see what gender she was, ducking and hiding her face in embarrassed shame. Oh how she hated this cursed form!

“I think it’s a girl,” Akane said as she held Shampoo against her chest again.

“Well I can go buy some pellets and things at the store tomorrow,” Kasumi said. “For now just keep an eye on Kyandi-chan.”

“Hai Kasumi,” Akane said happily. She finally had a pet of her own! Shampoo was not as happy about the arrangement, she needed to find some hot water as soon as possible.

The two girls walked out to the dojo, Ranka placing Kit-chan on the floor next to the wall then waited for Akane go join her. Akane looked around trying to find a safe place to put Kyandi then sighed as she placed the sugar glider next to the fox.

“There, you two play nice, don’t you dare eat her fox,” Akane warned with a finger in front of Ryoga’s muzzle. He quickly yipped and laid down on the floor, his head laying on his paws as he turned his wide green eyes up to Akane. Shampoo crossed her forepaws over her chest and sulked as Akane walked away. The two animal cursed teens watched Akane and Ranka spar, Ryoga admiring how strong and graceful Ranka was.

Shampoo also admired her ‘sister’, Ranma was the best sparring partner she could ever ask for since most of her village was unable to defeat her now. The other girl on the other hand… not as great of a fighter. She left a lot of openings that if the fight were much more serious could have gotten her killed on the field of battle. Several younger sisters and brothers of the village could have taken this girl down easily. Still, Ranma was trying to correct those mistakes and Shampoo wondered what the relationship between her sister and Akane was.

Shampoo watched the two girls go back and forth for a few more minutes then tried to sneak off to go find a bathroom and hot water. Tried is the key word as Ryoga quickly placed his paw on Shampoo’s tail and gave a warning growl. Shampoo turned and glared at the fox, a bolt of lightning seeming to pass between their eyes as the pair squared off.

‘Just try it fox,’ Shampoo thought as her hackles rose. ‘I’m just in the mood to take you down and turn you into a pair of gloves!’

‘You’re not going anywhere rat,’ Ryoga thought. ‘I’m not about to be made mincemeat by Ranka-chan’s friend because I let you wander off.’ Both glared at the other for a few seconds, daring the other to make the first move. Shampoo gave a warrior’s cry, or tried to but it only came out as a high pitch squeak that couldn’t even strike terror into a timid mouse, and leapt at Ryoga, landing on the startled foxes head. Ryoga yipped in surprise and shook his head, trying to get Shampoo to let go of him but she held on fast.

“Kyandi!”
“Kit-chan!”

Ranko and Akane raced over and pried the two animals apart, bits of Kit-chan’s fur in Kyandi’s claws once they were separated.

“What was that about?” Ranko asked as she held Kit-chan close to her chest, petting him and kissing the top of his head. Ryoga’s body became relaxed instantly as he basked in the attention he was getting.

“I don’t know… maybe it’s a good idea if I bring her inside,” Akane said, gently petting Kyandi’s back. “Maybe she had a flashback to that little yappy dog from today.”

‘I’ll get you fox,’ Shampoo thought at Ryoga, slowly relaxing as Akane petted her. ‘Don’t you try anything stupid with my sister!!’ Ryoga didn’t even seem to notice the death glares Shampoo sent his way as she was carried out, too busy paying attention to his Ranka.

 

************

 

Unfortunately for Ryoga the Eternal Lost Boy had lived up to his name once again after Ranka had put him down to go help Kasumi move food from the kitchen to the dining table. Ryoga as Kit-chan started to sniff around the room, following his nose down the hallway and somehow ended up in the backroom of a tattoo parlor. He wasn’t sure how he ended up in a tattoo parlor, of course he never could figure out how he ended up half the places that he did and chalked it up to Hibiki bad-luck.

“Has anyone seen Kit-chan?” Ranma asked as she exited the furo with a towel draped over her neck and long black hair hanging free in damp clumps.

“Sorry Ranma-chan,” Kasumi said with a shake of her head. “I haven’t seen him since before we had supper.” Ranma sighed, a mushroom-shaped cloud escaping as she did.

“I wonder where he’s gone now,” she said in disappointment. She hoped her little fox hadn’t run off and got lost somewhere, she thought there might be a gap in the fence around the Tendo yard the little fox could escape from.

“He seemed like a smart boy, he’ll turn up again,” Kasumi assured her. Ranma sighed and nodded her head, heading up to her borrowed room to sleep for the night.

Later that evening after everyone in the house was asleep for the night, Shampoo escaped the tight grip Akane had on her and broke out of Akane’s room by tearing a small hole in the rice paper on her door.

‘Aiyah, that girl has a grip like a bear!’ Shampoo thought as she scampered down the stairs to the furo she had seen earlier. She gave a little cheer when she saw it was still filled with hot water and dove into it, feeling a tingle run over her body as she instantly changed into her true form. ‘Ahhhh, much better. I hate that weak little form, why couldn’t I get cursed with something useful like a cat or something?’

She pouted as she sat in the hot water, arms crossed under her impressive breasts. Really of all the things she could be cursed as, a sugar glider wasn’t on the top of her list. It was only a little better than turning into say a mouse. At least as a gilder she could get up high somewhere and glide away to safety if she couldn’t find someplace small to hide.

Well… maybe not the only good thing. Shampoo blushed slightly as she remembered being held by Akane and the girl petting her gently. She was still irritated the girl had adopted her as a pet, her Xian Pu of the Joketsuzoku warriors! Shampoo sighed and let her head dropped forward, her chin resting on her chest. It wasn’t Akane’s fault of course, for all the girl knew Shampoo was in fact an odd colored sugar glider.

‘I’ll just have to avoid getting caught again,’ Shampoo decided as she stood from the furo and grabbed a towel off the nearby shelf. Shampoo didn’t seem to care that she didn’t have any decent clothing to wear, walking out of the bathroom wearing just the towel that barely came to the top of her legs. She slipped back up the stairs, going past the three doors with the names of the three Tendo sisters hanging on them, peeking in another only to quickly close the door when she saw it was the room that belonged to the father then tried the last room in the hall.

The bouncy purple girl gave a little soft cheer as she found Ranma sleeping in the last room, quietly slipping in and closing the door behind her. Sneaking over on bare feet, Shampoo knelt down next to the futon on the floor.

“Ranma…” Shampoo whispered. Ranma grunted in her sleep and turned onto her side with her back to Shampoo. Shampoo frowned and reached down to shake Ranma’s shoulder but she just turned and dodged in her sleep. “Aiyah… Ranma fight even when sleep,” Shampoo whispered to herself. “Time for Shampoo take more direct approach.”

Shampoo prepared herself then proceeded to pounce on Ranma, making sure to cover the gender-bent girl’s mouth so her shout wouldn’t wake the house.

“HMMMFFF!” Ranma gave a muffled shout, sitting up in surprise. “Hamoo?” Ranma asked, her mouth still covered by the other’s hand.

“Aiyah, Shampoo so happy to see little sister,” Shampoo said as she dropped her hand from Ranma’s mouth so she could hug the other girl tightly. “Shampoo so worried when Panda-man took Ranma. Ranma okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine Shampoo,” Ranma assured her with a whisper. “Mousse gave me the rundown on what happen after Pops knocked me out.”

“Stupid Mousse already here?” Shampoo asked in surprise.

“Yes, I’ve already spoke to him and I’m going to tell you the same thing I told him,” Ranma said. “I don’t want you to kill my father.”

“But Panda-man kidnap Ranma and dishonor Shampoo,” Shampoo argued. “Panda-man deserve to be rug!”

“Shhh! Keep it down,” Ranma said as she frantically waved her hands. “You don’t want to wake up the whole household do you?” Shampoo pouted and crossed her arms over her chest. “Look, I’m not happy about Pops kidnapping me either and I’ll be glad to never see the fat panda again but he is my father and he did raise me. You can’t just go around killing people here Shampoo, that’ll get you arrested and deported, and you can’t kill the cops trying to arrest you either.”

Shampoo just pouted some more, the village rules and her own pride demanded that Genma suffer for what he did. Killing him was the most obvious choice, it was the harshest punishment and it would put the man out of her and Ranma’s life for good. But she guessed she could be satisfied with beating the living daylights out of Ranma’s father.

“Shampoo can still beat Panda-man up?” She asked. Ranma sighed and tucked a strand of loose hair behind her ear.

“Yes if Pops does show back up, and that’s an if cause I don’t know if he will, you and Mousse can beat him up as long as you don’t kill him,” Ranma promised. “And no, I don’t know where he is right now and if I did I’m not going to tell you.” She did not need Shampoo beating up every panda in Japan’s zoos, Mousse she could trust to at least wait until Genma came on his own but Shampoo was a very overeager person and would be all gung ho to get the job done.

“Fine,” Shampoo said, still cutely pouting then brightened up. “Then go home to village?”

“There might be a problem with that,” Ranma said. Shampoo gave her sister a confused look. “Pops engaged me to one of the girls here in the house, some sorta family agreement to join the two schools of Anything Goes. I don’t want it and neither do the Tendo sisters, we’re trying to figure a way out of it and we stalled their dad from making me choose a bride for at least a year.”

“Aiyah, why not leave now?” Shampoo asked. “Go back to village.”

“Can’t, I’ll still be honor bound to marry one of the Tendo’s even if we go back to China and no killing them isn’t an option,” Ranma said. “I like the Tendos, Nabiki is a little… much… but they’re all three nice. I would like to break this agreement without staining my family’s honor or theirs.” Shampoo didn’t really want to kill Akane either, even if the girl thought she was just a sugar glider at the moment Shampoo liked the other girl.

“Shampoo have contact Great Grandmother,” Shampoo said as she tapped her chin with one finger. “She want know, maybe know way?” Ranma sighed in relief, letting herself flop back down on her bed as Shampoo’s mind turned away from thoughts of killing Genma Saotome. She blinked and really took Shampoo in, leaning up on her elbows.

“Shampoo, why are you only wearing a towel?”

 

************

 

Author Note: I know I know, I took forever with this. I have no real excuse other than real life has been a little hectic and some days I just don’t get around to working on any fanfics. That’s the curse of having a real life sometimes I guess.

(1) A lot of people are getting confused since I've been referring to Ranma as 'she' in both male and female forms. So to try and make it easier, for now on when it says 'Ranma' it means she's in her male form and 'Ranka' when she's in her female form. Kinda like what I've seen in a few fanfics before when authors called Ranma's girl from Ranko, except I'm using Ranka.

(2) Kyandi is the Japanese word for candy. Yea! So now everyone knows Shampoo’s cursed form is a sugar glider.

Chapter Text

Blessed Curse

Author: USA Tiger

Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 belongs to Rumiko Takahashi

Author note: Thanks to Blissfull Wulf for betaing this fic.

I hope everyone had a Happy New Year. And I know I’ve been really slow in updating this and my other fics, 2015 was just not a good year for me writing wise but here’s hoping 2016 will be better.

And to Satsubatsu Sentoryu, yes you’re right I did have kyandi spelt wrong, thank you for pointing that out to me.

 

Chapter 8

 

“Shampoo, why are you only wearing a towel?”

“Umm… Shampoo really dirty and took bath?” Shampoo said with a nervous laugh, rubbing the back of her head. She did not want to reveal she was that weak little sugar glider, trying to hold that off as long as possible. “Not want sister see Shampoo so dirty.” Ranma gave her a look, something was off about Shampoo’s tone… or she was just seeing things that weren’t there because she was so tired.

“Sure, if you say so,” Ranma said with a yawn. “Just nick something from my closet to wear for now, I’ll take you to the Doc’s clinic where Mousse is on the way to school.” Shampoo got up and picked out one of Ranma’s red Chinese shirts to wear and borrowed a pair of her boxer shorts. Ranma just laid back down with a yawn, it was way too late in the evening, or too early really, to deal with this. Shampoo quickly got dressed and laid down beside Ranma, she was tried too, constantly running for her life from larger animals had that effect on a person.

 

**********

 

“Akane-chan, can you go wake up Nabiki-chan and Ranma-chan?” Kasumi asked her youngest sister over her shoulder as she cooked. “Breakfast is almost ready.”

“Sure thing Nee-chan,” Akane said as she stood from the table and walked upstairs.

“Such a good girl,” Soun said fondly of his youngest daughter as he sipped his morning tea. Ah, he had such high hopes she would be the one Ranma wed, they got along so well after all.

Upstairs Akane stopped by Nabiki’s room first, knocking on the door then opening it.

“Nabiki, Kasumi said breakfast is almost ready,” she said. On the bed Nabiki groaned and shifted into a tight curled ball under the covers.

“Five more minutes,” she mumbled sleepily.

“I bet Nee-chan has coffee ready for you,” Akane bribed. The lump on the bed stayed still for a moment longer before Nabiki sighed and sat up. Her hair was mussed from sleep, sticking up in places, her eyes nearly closed as she squinted at her sister.

“Fine fine, I’m up,” she said with a yawn as she stumbled out of bed, picking up her cotton pj’s off the floor and switching out of the thin short night gown she liked to sleep in. Akane giggled softly, this was the only time anyone got to see Nabiki ruffled looking, looking very much unlike her usual ice queen self. She closed the door to let her sister get dressed and walked down toward the guest room. She stopped by the door to her room, frowning at the hole in the bottom of the door. Kyandi disappeared sometime during the night and had escaped her room. Hopefully the sugar glider was still somewhere in the house, maybe exploring her new home. She would ask Kasumi to keep an eye out for her pet.

“Ranma, time to get-“ Akane started to say as she opened the guest room door then cut herself off, staring at the bed. Ranma was in bed in her male form and with her was a girl with purple hair who had her head pillowed on Ranma’s shoulder and arm draped across Ranma’s stomach. Akane stepped back and closed her eyes, she was a little ashamed to admit her first instinct was to yell and call Ranma a pervert after seeing that. It was another case of her temper running away from her and took a deep breath to calm herself down. She needed to be calm, maybe it wasn’t what it looked like. Maybe the purple hair girl was some crazy drunk chick that had wandered in the night before without anyone realizing it…. ok that sounded crazy but this was Nerima, crazy was the norm.

Her temper under control again, Akane stepped back into the room and walked over to the bed. She shook Ranma’s shoulder, calling the other’s name.

“Ranma… Ranma wake up!”

Ranma grumbled and cracked open an eye to look at Akane.

“Akane?” she asked as she yawned and rubbed her eyes with a free hand. “What time is it?”

“It’s morning,” Akane said. “Ranma who is that?” she pointed at Shampoo who cutely mumbled in her sleep and curled up a little.

“Hmm?” Ranma blinked and looked down at the girl sprawled over her chest. It took her a second to remember what happened during the night. “This is my friend Shampoo. You know, the one from the village Mousse is from?”

“O-oh!” Akane said the last of her temper going away as she really studied Shampoo this time. The girl was pretty, with purple hair that was the same shade as her Kyandi, and a cute button nose set in a soft round face. “What is she doing here asleep in your bed?”

“She showed up last night, I couldn’t just kick her out,” Ranma said. “Come on Shampoo, I know you’re awake. I need to get up.” Shampoo grumbled and opened wide red eyes as she sat up, stretching her arms over her head as she yawned. Akane felt a flash of… something. She wasn’t sure what, admiration? Jealousy? Maybe a combination of both, Shampoo was very well… built. The purple hair girl had a bust size that rivaled Ranma’s female form’s and was very pretty and cute. Akane felt very… flat chested and boyish next to the other girl. She had always been a bit tomboyish, despite all that she did to be girly like her older sister.

“Little sister talk too too much,” Shampoo said.

“If we were back in the village, you would have been up already, going through morning lessons with Cologne,” Ranma pointed out. Shampoo pouted cutely and crossed her arms over her chest, knowing it was true. “Anyway, Akane this is Shampoo my adopted sister from Joketsuzoku. Shampoo, this is my friend Tendo Akane.” Shampoo brightened greatly, this was her first chance to speak with the girl that saved her the day before.

“Shampoo too too pleased to meet Ranma friend,” She said with a sunny smile. Akane blinked then returned the smile, the other girl didn’t seem too bad after all.

“I’m pleased to meet you too Shampoo,” Akane said. “I came to tell you breakfast was almost ready Ranma. Shampoo you can join us too if you want, Nee-chan always makes extra.”

“Is okay?” Shampoo asked looking at Ranma.

“Of course, Kasumi is a great cook,” Ranma said. “And afterward we can drop you off at Doc Tofu’s, that’s where Mousse is staying, on the way to school.” Shampoo scowled slightly, she couldn’t believe that blind idiot found Ranma before she did and now she was going to have to stay in the same place as him until she spoke to her Great Grandmother.

‘That idiot better not try anything,’ she thought to herself. Shampoo wondered often what happened to the boy that had been her best friend as a child, one she didn’t have to beat senseless every time he tried to declare his love for her. Don’t get her wrong, Mousse was no slouch at his chosen art style and was easily one of the better male fighters in the village but he was nowhere near her level and Shampoo wanted a strong husband to father her children like her father. Not that Shampoo was looking for a husband right now, she dodged that bullet with Ranma thankfully.

“We should try to find a time to spar Shampoo,” Ranma said as she got off the bed, scratching at her stomach absently. “I need a good warm up before that challenge with Ryoga. Hopefully that idiot will be happy we finally had a decent fight and he’ll calm down.”

“Akane-chan, Ranma, breakfast is ready!” Kasumi’s voice drifted up the stairs.

“Great! I’m starving,” Ranma said as she bounded for the stairs. Shampoo laughed and looked at Akane.

“Little sister still eat too too much?” She asked.

“Yeah, she’s like a human vacuum cleaner sometimes,” Akane said then laughed at her joke. Shampoo laughed with her and headed downstairs with the bluenette.

 

******

 

After breakfast, which consisted of explaining who Shampoo was to the other Tendos and consuming Kasumi’s delicious cooking, Akane, Ranma and Nabiki got ready for another day of school. On the way Ranma and Akane stopped at Dr. Tofu’s office with Shampoo and explained her situation. Mousse brightened when he saw his fellow Amazon but refrained from flying at her with swinging fists and declarations of love. He and Tofu had spoken a bit about how Mousse acted and Tofu had suggested Mousse back off a bit as his actions might be one of the things that drove Shampoo away. And unlike Tofu, Mousse seemed to have better control over his body than Tofu did when Kasumi was around. Shampoo was surprised that Mousse didn’t act in his usual way but she wasn’t going to complain either!

Tofu was more than happy to help out the young Chinese teenage and offered  his other guest room to her in exchange for helping out around the clinic which Shampoo agreed to until she heard back from the village.

A couple of days later Ranma, or Ranka as she was in her female form at the time, was walking the little outdoor market where she had first met Akane. Ranka had been trying to keep a look out for Ryoga, she didn’t know just when the lost boy would show up, it was hard to gauge with Ryoga as she remembered he had a habit of either not showing up until days afterward when he said he was going to be somewhere or could just as easily show up before hand. The day of Ryoga’s challenge had already passed so it was simply a waiting game to see when her former friend showed up. She hoped she could talk some sense into him, that maybe this fight would get whatever grudge he had against her other form out of his system and try to undo any damage from when they had been friends before as Ranka wanted to maybe get closer to the boy, show that she wasn’t the jerk that she had acted like before toward him.

Ranka also hadn’t seen hide nor fur of Genma, the soap she tricked him into using had long wore off by now and he would be able to change back into his normal human form. Where ever he was, if it was a zoo or not, he hadn’t discovered that yet it seemed.

‘Good, that fat panda can stay wherever he is for all I care,’ Ranka thought with a soft snort under her breath, she had long since found she liked being out from under Genma’s thumb and his constant words of ‘being a man-among-men!’ thrown at her. As if Genma even knew what that meant! He was certainly not man among men that was for sure.

Ranka’s stomach grumbled at that moment, reminding the girl that she hadn’t eaten since lunch. Rubbing her stomach absently Ranka looked around for who she might be able to scam out of a little food. Her eyes lit up as she spied a vendor selling Mochi ice cream and made a beeline for him.

A few minutes later a satisfied Ranka walked away with a few of the cold treats, happily eating one with mango filling. She decided to start heading back toward the Tendo’s as it seemed she wasn’t going to find Ryoga that day. As Ranka rounded the corner she came across a very strange sight. Three girls were standing across from a fourth on top of the grass hill above the market place. Ranka vaguely recognized the three girls from her class at school, they were even wearing the female gym clothes consisting of yellow shirts and short red shorts. All three were covered in bandages on their faces, legs, and arms and each were holding gymnast clubs.  The fourth girl Ranka didn’t recognize at all and she was wearing a uniform from another school, had long black hair put up in a side pony tail and was looking at the other three girls coolly.

‘Hmm… wonder what this is all about?’ Ranka thought to herself as she shoved another Mochi ice cream ball into her mouth. ‘Three on one doesn’t seem fair at all. I wonder if the other girl is going to need help.’

“Why you must be from Furinkan High,” the fourth girl said. She knelt down, placing a yellow gym bag on the ground and pulling the zipper open. “I so am looking forward to next week. Sure, our schools may be rivals, well I do hope we’ll still be friends.” She reached into the bag and took out a purple gymnast ribbon, part of the ribbon held between her first two fingers of her left hand and the ribbons handle in her right as she stood back up. “After you lost I mean.”

“You’re such a liar!” One of Ranka’s school mates said.

“We’d never be friends with you,” a second one to the right of the first girl said.

“Don’t think we don’t know what you’re up to,” the first girl said.

“You’re trying to stop us from competing in the tournament!” the second girl yelled.

“Why else would you ambush us?” the third girl in the group asked.

“We’re going to give you a taste of your own medicine,” the first girl that acted as the leader said.

“Let’s get her!” All three yelled at the same time running forward with the clubs held high.

“Now now girls,” The fourth girl said as she started to whip the ribbon around so quickly that Ranka could barely see it, knocking the clubs out of the girls’ hands and started to hit them instead. The girl’s voice took on a hard edge as she continued speaking, “if I weren’t a lady!”

“Huh?” Ranka said in surprise as she watched. The fourth girl hadn’t needed any help at all it seemed, she completely defended herself from the attack and was now twirling the ribbon around her in a graceful spin. ‘Wow, she’s good with that ribbon.’

“If I weren’t a lady, I’d have to teach you a lesson!” The girl started whipping the girls again who screamed and cowered on the ground, covering their heads. “And then you’d really be in trouble! How lucky for you that I was reared better than that!”

Ranka scowled, shoved the last of her Mochi ice creams into her mouth and flicked the hat she was wearing off her head, jumping down into the middle of the group. It seemed it was her classmates that needed protecting, not the other girl. Self defense was one thing but now it had turned into assault.

The girl stared in shock as her ribbon attack was halted, looking at the red headed girl that had easily caught her ribbon within one hand.

“Come on, cut it out,” Ranka said. “I think you made your point already.”

“You stopped my ribbon, that’s never been done,” the girl said, just slightly impressed. “You’re not an ordinary girl are you.”

“Ah well yeah,” Ranka said with a slight grin. “I guess you could say that.” ‘I turn into a boy with hot water, of course I’m not an ordinary girl,’ Ranka added in her thoughts. The other girl started to slow walk to the side, toward one of the clubs laying on the ground. She hooked her foot under the club and kicked it up toward her, dropping her ribbon as she caught the club as it flew into the air.

“It makes no difference to me,” the girl said. “Well then, I won’t go any easier on you!” She ran at Ranka with the club outstretched for an attack. Ranka easily ducked under the attack and let the other girl go over her head. Her foe’s mouth dropped open in shock as her attack was avoided and she quickly dropped the club and landed hands first on the grass then pushed off into a handspring back to her feet with a flip. Ranka twisted on her foot and quickly stood up, facing the other girl, her hands up and ready for another attack.

“Oh, you are quite formidable,” the girl said as she smiled. “Well done. I am the Flower of St. Hebereke High School, a rising star in Gymnastics. I’m Kodachi,” she took a black rose out of nowhere and held it up to her face as she closed her purple-ish gray eyes. “The Black Rose.”

Kodachi flicked the black rose she was holding at Ranka who easily caught the flower, stunned and confused just a tiny bit. She watched as Kodachi ran toward a nearby wall and jumped up onto it. Kodachi stopped and turned toward Ranka.

“You will keep that in mind, won’t you?” She asked with a chuckle under her breath then jumped onto a nearby light post, starting to cackle loudly and insanely, and slid done to the ground. Her laughter died away as Kodachi left the area.

‘Wow… what a loon,’ Ranka thought to herself. She turned as she heard the other three girls from her school starting to cry behind her. Each were holding their faces in their hands sobbing loudly. “Ah… don’t cry,” Ranka said then sighed, offering to take them back to the Tendo Dojo so they could be patched up.

 

********

 

Sometime later at the Tendo Dojo, all four girls were up in Akane’s room. Kasumi had bandaged all three girl’s new wounds from Kodachi’s attack and brought up green tea for all of them to sooth their nerves. The three of them were still crying as they sat on the floor in front of Akane’s bed, Ranka was sitting on the bed with Akane.

“Akane, we were beat up,” one of the girls said, the original one that had started the fight with Kodachi.

“What?” Akane asked as she looked at her classmates. “The whole Gymnastic team?”

“She ambushed all of us in the middle of the night,” one of the other girls said.

“We were suppose to have a match with St. Hebereke in a week,” the third girl said.

“Wait, I thought the match was canceled,” Akane said. “Wasn’t that weeks ago?”

“The original match was canceled as most of the other school’s team had came down with the flu,” the first girl said. “The match was just recently rescheduled. But now we might have to cancel again, no one on the team will be able to fight!”

“Akane, you must avenge us,” the second girl said as she grabbed Akane’s hands.

“Take our place at the match,” the first girl said while the third agreed. Akane looked at the three girls, their faces so hopeful, and nodded her head in agreement.

“Alright, I’ll do it,” She said.

“Wait wait wait,” Ranka said holding up her hands. “Just what the heck are we talking about here?”

“Umm… who are you?” the first girl asked.

“Oh… I’m Saotome Ranka,” Ranka said.

“Saotome… are you related to Saotome Ranma?” the second girl asked. Ranka sweat dropped and scratched the side of her nose as she laughed nervously.

“Hee hee, yeah he’s my… umm… my cousin!” She said. “Yeah he’s my cousin. I go to a different school and I’m just visiting. Akane and I are really good friends.” She breathed a sigh of relief as the other girls seemed to accept the answer while Akane threw her an amused look. “So the match thing?”

“We’re part of the Rhythmic Gymnastics and Rhythmic Gymnastics Martial Arts team,” The first girl said.

“Rhythmic Gymnastics Martial Arts?” Ranka repeated. The three girls nodded and Ranka blinked, she never heard of that school of martial arts before, and she’d seen some pretty strange ones over the years.

“Yes, and this was a Rhythmic Gymnastics Martial Arts match,” the third girl informed Ranka. “We use all the tools from Rhythmic Gymnastics for the matches.”

“St. Hebereke High School for Girls has the best team in the area, and Kodachi is their best,” The first girl said. “But the reason St. Hebereke wins all their matches is because the other teams drop out before the match!”

“So this Kodachi girl has been attacking all the other teams?” Akane asked. When the other girls nodded she stood up and pounded her fist into her other hand. “Well that can’t go on, I’ll help you guys out.”

“Thanks you Akane!” All three girls said as they bowed.

 

****************

 

“I think you might be in over your head here Akane,” Ranka said some time later. Both girls were now in the dojo, Akane dressed in a gymnastic leotard and surrounded by rhythm gymnastic tools that the girls from school had lent her. Ranka sat off to the side studying the pamphlet about the sport.

“How hard can it be?” Akane said as she picked up the ribbon and started to twirl it around. She made a startled noise as she managed to wrap herself up like a mummy and fell over onto the floor. Ranka snorted softly in laughter and got up to help Akane.

“I don’t think you’re suppose to wrap yourself up in it,” she said.

“T-that was just a fluke,” Akane said as she discarded the ribbon and picked up the hoop instead. She tried to tumble through it but came up too soon and broke the hoop.

“Akane, you’re just not that graceful,” Ranka said as she sat back down.

“I am too graceful!” Akane said as she picked up the clubs next and started to twirl them around. She tossed one up into the air then held her hand above her head ready to catch it…. only for it to land a few feet behind her. “Damn, I can do this!”

“Akane!” Ranka said loudly getting the other’s attention. “Just stop for a second and listen, your strength is in… well… your strength. I’m not sure if you can learn all this in just a week.”

“I can help her,” A voice said from the doorway. Both girls turned and saw Ryoga in the doorway of the dojo.

“Ryoga!” Ranka said as she quickly stood up grinning. “What are you doing here?”

‘Oh crap, don’t tell he’s already here for our match right in the middle of this other thing,’ Ranka thought to herself. Crap what bad timing, she had to help Akane with the gymnastics thing! Oh well, she could deal with it, Ranka wasn’t the best for nothing.

“You could help me Hibiki-san?” Akane asked. “How?”

“Well… I know Rhythmic Gymnastics Martial Arts,” Ryoga admitted as he rubbed the back of his neck. “My mother, she’s a champion in the art. I’ve watched her all my life and she’s trained me in it.”

“That’s great!” Akane said.

“Yeah, she needs all the help she can get. I don’t know nothing about this art,” Ranka said. “It’s really nice of you to help us Ryoga-kun.” She smiled up at Ryoga who blushed and started to laugh nervously.

“S-sure thing Ranka-chan,” he said. He cleared his throat and leaned over to pick up the discard ribbon. When he did something let out a squeaking sound.

“What was that?” Ranka asked.

“Oh ummm…. I think this is yours,” Ryoga said as he reached into his pocket and took out a tiny bundle of purple fur, holding it out to Akane.

“Kyandi!” Akane said as she took the sugar glider from Ryoga. “Where did you find her?” She asked, not even questioning how Ryoga knew Kyandi ‘belonged’ to her. Shampoo chirped and glared at Ryoga from the safety of Akane’s hands, how dare he just stick her inside a pocket like that!

“Outside… somewhere,” Ryoga said a bit vaguely, he couldn’t even begin to tell Akane where he had found the sugar glider. “She was sitting in the middle of the sidewalk, somebody had poured water on her I guess, her fur was drenched.” Ryoga had completely missed the pile of wet clothing only a few feet away from the changed Shampoo when he picked her up.

“Thank you for bringing her home,” Akane said with a thankful smile as she cuddled Kyandi whose angry chatters died down. Ryoga was struck again that he knew the blue hair girl from somewhere, before the shopping trip that is.

“Hey wait…. Weren’t you the girl that was with Saotome?” He asked pointing at Akane. “At that school I mean.”

“What? Oh yeah, I’m Tendo Akane,” Akane said with a bow.

“Why do you hang out with Saotome?” He asked as he crossed his arms over his chest. “You know he’s a jerk right? No good?” He didn’t see the wince Ranka gave him behind his back. Akane bit her lip to keep the amused smile off her face.

“Ranma can be a jerk sometimes,” Akane agreed. “But he really isn’t that bad.”

“Why do you hate this Ranma guy so much?” Ranka asked, curious to hear what Ryoga really had to say about her without him knowing she was Ranma. If she knew then she would know what it was she had to do to fix things.

“Well… he’s a jerk like I said. And a coward,” Ryoga said rubbing his neck. “He steals things and… well he backs out of his promises… look it’s really between me and him so let’s focus on teaching you Rhythmic Gymnastics Martial Arts.” He leaned down again and this time was able to pick up the ribbon. “First thing, in Rhythmic Gymnastics Martial Arts you are only allowed to use tools to fight. If you use any part of your body to fight, it will count against you. So no punches or kicks are allowed.”

Akane handed Ranka Kyandi, who rushed up to sit on top of Ranka’s head nestled in her red hair to watch. Ranka sat down against the far wall thinking about what Ryoga had said.

“So I can’t just punch this girl and be done with it,” she said as she picked up the clubs.

“No,” Ryoga agreed. “That would disqualify you from the match. Now anything can be used as a tool, anything at all.” He pointed at the training dummy over by the far wall. “Even that. Most judges would prefer if you use the gymnastic tools; the ribbon, clubs, ball, hoop, anything like that, but you can use anything against your opponent as long as you don’t make body to body contact.”

“That’s allowed?” Ranka asked surprise.

“Yeah,” Ryoga agreed. “Strictly speaking it shouldn’t be, and on the professional circuits only the tools inside the rings are allowed, but for school matches most judges would allow anything to be used. Pretty much in small time matches anything goes.”

“What, like attacking your opponents before the match?” Akane asked half sarcastically as she remembered what her school mates told her and Ranka. When Ryoga scowled but nodded the girls’ mouths dropped open.

“They allow that?!” Ranka asked.

“Sadly yes, but they shouldn’t,” Ryoga said in anger. “That sort of thing would have never gone on when my kaa-san was in school and to sabotage your opponent before the match is strictly not allowed on the professional circuit. But in school matches things are a lot more relaxed and in some schools cheating is even allowed as long as the number one rule isn’t broken.”

“No hand to hand,” Akane said with a groan.

“Right, as long as there aren’t serious long lasting injuries or death, it’s allowed,” Ryoga said. “What school is this up against?”

“St. Hebereke High School,” Ranka said remembering what that Kodachi girl had said. Ryoga huffed and scowled.

“I’ve heard of it, it’s an all girls school and it has one of the best Rhythmic Gymnastics Martial Arts teams but it also has a rep for being one of the worst about cheating,” Ryoga said. “My kaa-san keeps up with that sorta stuff. Their number one star on the team is Kuno Kodachi.”

“Kuno!?” Ranka and Akane yelled at the same time. Ryoga blinked and looked at them confused.

“Yeah, why?” Ryoga asked.

“No wonder she was nutso,” Ranka said with a groan while Akane growled and tightened her grip on the clubs.

“There’s an upper-class man at our school whose family name is Kuno,” Akane explained.

“He got most of the boys at the school to fight Akane-chan every morning for a chance to ‘date’ her,” Ranka said. “And he keeps calling Akane and me his ‘loves’ and doesn’t back off after we beat the crap out of him.”

Ryoga’s face was blank for a moment, letting that information swirl in his head then his face became hard, hazel green eyes burning a fiery hate. This Kuno guy kept bothering his sweet Ranka, even when Ranka made it clear she didn’t want anything to do with the boy.

“I’ll kill him,” He said.

“Hey hey, it’s ok,” Ranka said as she hopped up and put a hand on Ryoga’s arm. Ryoga instantly relaxed, looking at Ranka with wide green eyes. “Kuno is an idiot, we can take care of him. Right now let’s just get Akane-chan through this match and beat his little sister.” Ryoga took a deep breath, held it then let it out slowly then nodded.

“Alright then…. First, the ribbon.”

 

**************

 

Akane groaned softly as she made her way into her room, Kyandi sitting in the top pocket of her yellow p.j’s. She was using a towel to dry off her long hair from her bath. Ryoga was a hard task master, but he really did know his stuff. She was sure she would be a bit sore in the morning, but not as sore as she would have been if she hadn’t been training with Ranma every day. Ranma pushed Akane to her limits in an effort to help her get better.

And even then Akane was nowhere in Ranma’s league. Not after watching Ranma spar/fight against Mousse and Ryoga, and her talks of her spars with Shampoo who was the best young fighter in her village. It did leave a sour taste in Akane’s mouth, she was use to being the best in Nerima and being praised for it. To see how she didn’t stack up as well as she thought she did against other martial artist… well Akane could be bitter and in denial over it or she could take a chance to improve herself and prove she was worthy of being called one of the best. She chose the second option.

“Man, what a day,” Akane said as she tossed the towel by the door and flopped down on her bed with her eyes closed, one hand held over Kyandi. Something tickled at the back of her mind, something was… wrong.

‘Look out!’ Shampoo chattered in warning. Akane’s eyes snapped open, above her bed on the ceiling was a girl her age with black hair pulled into a side ponytail and wearing a black leotard. She also had a mallet clenched in between her teeth.

Akane rolled off the bed and to her feet at the same time the girl dropped down from the ceiling and crashed into her bed mallet first breaking the bed. Akane’s hands came up ready for an attack.

“Who are you?! What do you think you’re doing!?” Akane yelled then narrowed her eyes. “Wait, you’re Kuno Kodachi aren’t you. Trying to take me out before the match?”

Kodachi stood and flipped her hair over her shoulder.

“Take you out? No no, that would be improper,” Kodachi said. “I merely wanted to meet with my opponent before our little match next week.”

“And that involved trying to smash me with a mallet?” Akane asked with a snort. Shampoo growled at Kodachi as she climbed out of Akane’s pocket up to her shoulder, purple fur puffing out. “You might have gotten the drop on the other girls but I’m not so easily taken down. I’m going to destroy you at our match.”

“No need for such harsh words,” Kodachi said as she swung her mallet at Akane. Akane ducked and rolled to the side, Shampoo leaping at Kodachi at the same time and landing on her face, biting and scratching. Kodachi let out a scream of surprise and dropped her mallet. Akane took her chance and grabbed one of her dumbbells, throwing it at Kodachi while yelling,

“Kyandi!” Shampoo heard the warning and leapt off Kodachi gliding over to the bookshelf while the dumbbell hit Kodachi in the head.

“Oh you will pay for that!” Kodachi said as she held her head.

“Ah but what I did wasn’t against the rules,” Akane said. “After all I used a ‘tool’ to hit you.”

“Hmmf, indeed,” Kodachi said as she gave Akane an appraising look. “I look forward to our match next week.” Kodachi sent a shower of black flower petals that blinded Shampoo and Akane long enough for her to leap out the window with an ‘Hohohoho!’

“What a loon,” Akane said with a shake of her head then looked around her room. “Wait, who’s going to clean up this mess!?” She asked as she took in her broken bed and the black rose petals covering her room. Kyandi squeaked and chattered as Akane sighed.

“Oh my Akane are you alright, what was all that noise?” Kasumi asked as she opened the door.

“Wow, what happen here?” Nabiki asked from behind their older sister. Ranma also peered in over Kasumi’s other shoulder.

“Oh I just had a visitor,” Akane said with a sigh as she picked up Kyandi and cradled the sugar glider against her chest. “Kuno’s younger sister Kodachi. I’m going to need a new bed.”

“Oh dear,” Kasumi said as she took in the mess. “Let me get my broom.”

“Leave it for now Nee-chan,” Akane said with a sigh.

“I’ll order a new bed tomorrow,” Nabiki said with a yawn. “Kuno-baby can pay for it since it’s his baby sister that caused the damage.”

“Kodachi tried to take you out before the match huh?” Ranma asked as she slipped into the room. “This doesn’t seem like a normal gymnastics thing,” she added as she hefted up the mallet that Kodachi left behind.

“She tried, but I got her good and so did my little Kyandi,” Akane said as she held up Shampoo and kissed the cursed girl’s head. Shampoo blushed hotly under her fur. “My little Kyandi was so brave.”

“Well, she seems gone for now,” Ranma said as she looked out the window.

“Good,” Akane said. “I’ll sleep in Kasumi’s room tonight I guess. Goodnight Ranma.”

“Night Akane,” Ranma said with a yawn as they left the room, Akane shutting off the light on the way out.

 

***************

 

‘So that was Tendo Akane…. She is not what I expected,’ Kodachi thought to herself as she leapt out the window and twisted herself up to the roof of the Tendo household. The way her older brother waxed on and on about the girl, Kodachi thought Akane would be some sort of super model beauty. Some sort of goddess in human guise. Instead she found a plain little girl. Oh she supposed Tendo Akane could be considered pretty to a normal person but she was way below the standard that a Kuno should have.

When she heard that Akane would be her new challenge from Furinkan High School, Kodachi had been eager to seek the girl out, not only to defeat her before the school match even started but to rub in her brother dear’s face that she had taken out his ‘Beloved Tendo Akane’. Again, Akane was not what she expected her to be at all. She was a little disappointed.

The girl was no threat to her title at all Kodachi decided. The girl had no training whatsoever in Rhythmic Gymnastics and would never be ready within a week, not against the lifetime of training Kodachi had. Yes, she would let Tendo Akane make it to the match she decided so she could deal the girl a humiliating defeat not only in front of her own school but in front of her darling brother Tatewaki. And to pay her back for that hit that Akane managed to get in, Kodachi could feel a bruise forming on her forehead, marring her perfect skin! Oh yes, Tendo would pay for that!

Kodachi could feel a laugh bubbling in her throat and a grin stretched over her face. Oh yes, she hadn’t been this entertained in a while. But as she opened her mouth to let the laugh loose, something slammed into her temple and knocking her out of the air. For a moment… everything went black as she felt herself fall.

And, just faintly, she heard someone call “I’ll save you!”

 

************

 

Mousse cursed under his breath as he jumped over the rooftops toward the Tendo Dojo. Shampoo was missing and all he could find of her was her clothing when he went out looking for her. Shampoo’s cursed form was so tiny and helpless and Mousse couldn’t stand it if something happened to her! He was rushing to the dojo to get Ranma’s help looking for the purple hair girl, or if he was lucky Shampoo had headed to the dojo herself to get to safety and hot water.

As he leapt off one rooftop, wasn’t that the Tendo house there, his foot connected with something that nearly sent him sprawling but he managed to correct his fall mid air and land lightly on his feet. He looked down to see what it was he hit and saw a figure falling to the ground. Was it Shampoo?

“I’ll save you!” He called as he quickly followed the falling body and scooped it up princess style before the form could hit the ground. Mousse landed lightly on his feet on the ground, bending his knees to soften the impact, with the woman he saved in his arms.

Kodachi blinked up at her savior, this… this man had saved her. This very handsome man, tall with long black hair and majestic white robes!

“Are you alright?” Mousse asked. Kodachi swooned, even his voice was perfect!

‘Ohhh, I never thought I would find a man, not like this,’ she thought as she held her cheeks blushing and looking away. What luck that this handsome knight in shining armor would be there to catch her!

“Hello?” Mousse frowned, this didn’t feel like Shampoo. The body was smaller than his beloved and wasn’t as muscular. Plus they weren’t trying to beat him to death, as much as he wished it he doubted just saving Shampoo from a fall would have the girl swooning in his arms. Reaching up Mousse pulled down his thick glasses and saw that yes, this was not Shampoo at all. It was some other girl. “Excuse me but I need to put you down now,” Mousse said as he started to put Kodachi on her feet.

Kodachi reacted quickly wrapping her arms around Mousse’s shoulders tightly.

“I w-was so scared!” She said as she clung to her savior.

“O-oh… well you’re fine now,” Mousse said as he awkwardly patted her back. How in the world did you comfort a crying female?

“Thank you,” Kodachi said as she pulled back to look at Mousse again, mentally frowning as she saw the glasses that hadn’t been there a moment ago. They were thick and covered up those pretty green eyes she saw before. Oh well, nothing laser eye surgery couldn’t fix. She was a Kuno after all and could afford to get his eyes fixed. “Might I know my savior’s name?”

Mousse frowned as he finally got Kodachi to get down and stand on her own two feet though she still clung to him.

“Mu Tsu,” he said as he tried to get his arm out of her grip.

‘Ms Tsu,’ Kodachi let the name roll around in her mind for a moment, foreign name. Chinese maybe? Pity Kodachi didn’t know any Chinese, she was schooled in the languages of English, French and some Latin. Still it sounded exotic.

Finally letting go of Mousse and leaping to the other side of the yard, Kodachi gave him what she thought was a coy smile.

“I am Kodachi, the Black Rose,” She said as she took out a bouquet of her beloved black roses. “Please allow me to thank you properly.” She tossed bouquet of roses to Mousse who caught them.

As he did, his nose twitched as he quickly took in the scents on the roses then quickly tossed them up and away from him where they explode in a shower of petals and dust.

“Paralyzing powder,” he said in a musing tone. “Pretty powerful too, would have kept me from moving for hours before wearing off. Impressive.”

Kodachi blinked at Mousse and her mouth dropped open.

“H-how…” she couldn’t get the words out, how did he know? No one had ever escaped one of her rose attacks so neatly before!

“My mother is an herbalist,” Mousse said with a shrug of his shoulders. His mother had grown up in Yakusai, one of Joketsuzoku’s sister villages that was well known for its herbalists. She had moved to Joketsuzoku when she and his father had fallen in love and he had ‘defeated’ her in combat. He had grown up around his mother’s herbs, since his eyesight started to go he learned to rely on his ears and nose to tell him what was going on in the world. There for he had smelt the herbs in the roses and had known what the mixture would do. “You must tell me your recipe for your mixture, my mother would love to know it.”

Kodachi blinked then slowly grinned, oh this man was even more interesting and wonderful that she hoped!

“We shall meet again Ms Tsu,” She said then leapt away back toward the Kuno estate laughing in delight. What a man!

“What a strange girl,” Mousse said with a shake of his head as he tucked his hands into the wide sleeves of his robes. He heard a sound from above and turned to see that Nabiki girl leaning out her window. She smirked a little when she noticed he had saw her then backed up out of the window and shut it. “Both of them, just strange.”

 

*****************

 

Nabiki yawned as she entered her room, one hand over her mouth and the other scratching her stomach. She couldn’t believe how much damage that Kodachi girl made to Akane’s room.

“Uhg, and I thought Akane was destructive,” Nabiki said with another yawn. “Still, I’ll be able to charge Kuno an arm and a leg over this, replace Akane’s bed and make some money on the side. All in all, a good turn around.” She flipped off her ceiling light and started to unbutton her PJ top so she could sleep in her skimpy nightgown under the top and pants then stopped as she heard voices outside her window.

Curious Nabiki slowly pushed the window open wider and leaned against the sill, one of her eyebrows rising as she saw Mousse holding Kodachi.  Leaning further out to hear, Nabiki watched as Mousse set Kodachi down and how the girl acted so lovesick. It made Nabiki narrow her eyes, she had already decided Mousse was her’s to play with. She was impressed when Mousse deflected the bouquet of black roses then jumped a bit when they exploded in a shower of dust and petals, Mousse declaring the dust to be paralyzing powder.

‘And he could tell that just by smell alone,’ Nabiki thought, happy when Kodachi finally left her family’s yard. She winced a bit as the high pitched annoying laugh rang through the air. Glancing down again, she saw that Mousse had finally noticed her. Nabiki smirked a bit at him before exiting the window back into her room and shutting it. “So Kuno Kodachi, you think you can just take my plaything? Well you’ve got another thing coming.”

Nabiki didn’t know all that much about Kodachi, she never really pegged the younger Kuno sibling as all that important. Oh she knew Kuno had a sister of course, and that she went to an all girls school but that was about it. Since she never thought she would have a reason to interact with the younger girl as Kodachi was rarely seen anywhere near her brother. But Nabiki planned on fixing that mistake as soon as possible and by tomorrow afternoon she planned on knowing as much about Kodachi as possible.

 

***********

 

“So how is this plan supposed to work again?” Akane asked as she and Ranma walked to school, Ranma walking along the top of the chain-link fence and Akane on the sidewalk.

“Just take Ryoga to the field he wanted to fight at after school so I can try to patch up things between us. Maybe if he finally has this fight with me he might listen to reason,” Ranma said. “He really hates my guy form and that’s something I really don’t want.”

“Why does he seem to hate you so much, as a boy I mean? He kept going on about your ‘man to man’ fight,” Akane asked. Ranma sighed and rubbed the back of her neck.

“That wasn’t my fault, I didn’t intend on leaving until after our spar. It’s all Pops fault,” she said.

“How is it your father’s fault?” Akane asked.

Ranma leaped down onto the sidewalk as the fence ended and walked beside Akane. “Ok, you were there when I said I waited three days for him and Ryoga showed up on the fourth and I wasn’t there. I wasn’t there cause Pops carted me off to China. See I stayed up all three days and nights waiting on Ryoga and I sorta passed out the third day.”

“Ranma! Why in the world would you stay up all that time?” Akane asked.

“Well you’ve seen how his sense of direction works,” Ranma pointed out. “I had no idea when he would show up so I stayed awake. When I woke up again it was a couple of days later, Pops had picked me up and left after I passed out. I pointed out to him he promised we would stay until after Ryoga and me had that final spar, and it was always going to be a spar to me I had no idea Ryoga saw it as a ‘man to man’ fight, but Pops claimed that since Ryoga didn’t show up the day we were going to originally fight I won by default.”

“And Ryoga is upset because he thinks you broke your promise,” Akane said.

“Yeah but I don’t want him to hate me like that,” Ranma said. “I mean, we get along in my girl form but he doesn’t know both my forms are the same person. It’s kinda stressful to have him hate me in one form but like me in another. And I want us to be friends.”

“Friends…. Or more than just friends?” Akane asked teasingly, poking Ranma in the arm. Ranma’s face flushed almost as red as her hair in her female form making Akane laugh.

“S-shut up!” Ranma said, her face becoming redder as Akane laughed even harder.

 

Chapter Text

Blessed Curse

Author: USA Tiger

Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 belongs to Rumiko Takahashi

Author note: Thanks to Blissfull Wulf for betaing this fic.

So… ummm… not quite a year but very, very long months since I updated this… I really have been working on and off this chapter. Anyway, I’m gonna try shorter chapters to see if I’ll post faster and I haven’t abandoned this fic so don’t worry about that! I have a twitter now, you can follow me @usa_tiger1983 I post updates on what I’m doing fic wise, what fics are close to updates and the updates themselves there.

 

Chapter 9

 

As Ranma and Akane came in sight of the school, Ranma gloated to herself how she had outsmarted the Old Lady of the Ladle. Ranma was convinced that the sweet old woman who watered the sidewalk every morning was trying to hit her on purpose while Akane thought it was simply a coincidence. Still now and then it did seem like Ranma and the older lady treated it like a game.

‘Ah… it’s nice to be able to come to school again without having to fight a bunch of perverted boys,’ Akane thought to herself as they passed the school gate. She still hated most men and boys, right now the number of males she could handle only consisted of 5 people: her father, Dr. Tofu, Ranma in her male form, Ryoga and Mousse. The last two because neither of them had any interest at all in her beyond being friends, it was nice. Still, there was one boy who still got under her skin and wanted to fight her every day, and… he was surprisingly enough not standing in front of the school like he usually was.

“Huh… where’s Kuno?” Ranma asked. Akane shrugged her shoulders.

“Maybe he gave up finally?” Both pretended to consider that then said ‘Nah’ at the same time. “I bet he’s waiting for a dramatic entrance like always.”

“Akane! Ranma!” They turned to the sound of Sayuri’s voice calling them, seeing her and Yuka walking toward them. “Good morning!”

“Good morning,” Akane greeted back with a smile at her friends.

“Yo,” Ranma said with a small wave.

“Akane, I heard you’re going to represent us in the Rhythmic Gymnastics match,” Sayuri said.

“Don’t let us down, we’re rooting for you!” Yuka added. Akane laughed and placed her hand against her chest.

“Don’t worry, leave it to me,” she said.

“Yeah, we got her somebody who knows that stuff really well to train her,” Ranma agreed. She didn’t know what difference it was going to make, Akane still wasn’t that graceful, but her friend was determined to try.

“We also heard all about your ‘cousin’ Ranma,” Yuka teased, her eyes lit up in laughter. “Heard she was pretty evenly matched with that girl from St. Hebereke from the other girls on the team.”

“Yeah, maybe Ranka should be Akane’s second,” Sayuri suggested. Ranma laughed a bit nervously.

“I don’t know about that, this is Akane-chan’s thing. I think she’s got it handled,” she said as they started walking toward the school. Akane giggled as her friends teased Ranma then froze as a jolt zapped through her.

‘What? Danger!’

“Tendo Akane, prepare yourself!” Kodachi yelled as she leapt from above, one of her brother’s bokkens raised above her head. Akane turned in time and caught the end as Kodachi attempted to strike her with it with a small grunt of effort.

Ranma, Sayuri and Yuka, whom had walked on when Akane stopped, turned to face the commotion.

‘It’s that loony girl!’ Ranma thought.

“You again!” Akane yelled angrily. “Ambushing me first thing in the morning!”

“’Ambushing’?!” Kodachi said with a scoff and upturned her nose at Akane. “I was doing no such thing!”

“Oh, then why don’t you…” Akane adjusted her grip on the wooden sword then used all her strength and might to lift Kodachi off her feet and swing her in the direction of the school gates. “Make like a tree and leave!”

Kodachi let go of the bokken and flipped several times through the air before gracefully landing on her feet. Akane rolled her eyes and flipped her long hair over her shoulder.

“Come on Ranma, let’s go in before the school bell rings,” she said, hoping they could make it before Kuno showed up for his daily fight.

Alas they were out of luck as there in front of them came Kuno, a bokken in one hand and a bouquet of red roses carefully carried in the other arm.

‘I can see her so clearly…’ Kuno thought to himself as he walked, his mind filled with fantasies of Akane in a leotard while gracefully using the type of equipment he had seen his younger, twisted sister using. This fantasy had run through his mind several times since he heard Akane would be representing their school in the upcoming match against his sibling’s school. ‘In all her gymnastic grace! These red roses shall speak my encouragement.’

“Akane, I love you!!” Kuno proclaimed taking a swipe with his sword. Ranma, who was the closest to Kuno when he swung the bokken, leapt into the air to avoid being hit. She then landed on the out stretched blade on one foot while planting the other in the middle of Kuno’s face. “Wha do you fink you’re doin!?” Kuno asked, words muffled by Ranma’s foot.

“What do you think you’re doing swing that bokken around like that baka,” Ranma retorted. Kuno growled and dropped the blade down and grabbed the front of Ranma’s school uniform as the other dropped to the ground.

“What do you have against me?” Kuno asked panting for breath, his face smudged with dirt from the bottom of Ranma’s shoe.

“I have plenty against you Kuno,” Ranma said in a dry tone.

“Making new friends brother dear?” Kodachi asked as she appeared behind Ranma.

“Sister, what are you doing here?” Kuno asked as he let go of Ranma who started backing out of the way.

“Brother, I have come to ask for your blessing for I have found the man I wish to marry,” Kodachi said with a longing sigh.

“Hmmmmm…” Kuno mused on this request and glanced in Ranma’s direction. His beloved, if twisted, sister was standing close to the boorish Saotome, his mind jumping to what was to him the most logical conclusion. He suddenly appeared back in Ranma’s personal space and tapped her shoulders once. “Yes!”

“Yes what?” Ranma asked alarmed. Kodachi scowled in confusion.

“Yes, you have my permission to go steady!” Kuno announced, producing a fan with the Japanese flag on it.

“Now wait a minute!” Ranma yelled.

“Not him you idiot brother of mine!” Kodachi yelled with her hands clutched at her sides.

“Oh thank kami,” Ranma breathed in relief as she zipped back to Akane’s side.

“I mean my beloved Mu Tsu,” Kodachi continued. Ranma choked back a laugh of disbelief and grabbed onto Akane to keep herself from falling.

“Mousse!?” She asked. “You’re in love with Mousse?!” Kuno’s eyes narrowed trying to remember that name then thought back to several days ago when he proclaimed his love to his lovely red headed girl, the tall Chinese youth with her.

“The Chinese boy with the pony tailed girl?” Kuno asked his sister. Kodachi ignored him for a moment as she turned toward Ranma, her arms crossed over her chest.

“You know my beloved?” she asked Ranma.

“Errr… yeah? He’s from my village in China,” Ranma said. Kuno thought of how he should answer then nodded.

“Yes my sister, you may pursue this Mousse,” Kuno said with a regal nod. ‘With Kodachi distracting him, I shall not have to worry about that boy spending time with the pony tailed girl.’ Kodachi gasped in delight clasping her hands in front of her.

“I don’t think Mousse will be too happy about this,” Ranma whispered into Akane’s ears. “Shampoo on the other hand is going to find this hilarious.”

“I’d rethink that if I was you Kuno baby,” Nabiki said as she joined the small group.

“And what business of yours is it Tendo Nabiki,” Kuno said. Nabiki put one hand on her hip as she stood in front of the Kuno siblings.

“I’ve got plenty of business with you Kuno. For one, you owe us a new bed, your psycho little sister here broke Akane’s last night while attacking her,” Nabiki said.

“Ah, then I shall buy my beloved Akane the finest bed money can buy!” Kuno proclaimed. Akane sighed and covered her face with one hand.

“And secondly, stay away from Mousse ‘Black Rose’, he’s not interested in you,” Nabiki said a touch coldly to Kodachi. Kodachi rose one perfectly groomed eyebrow and her lips tilted into a smirk.

“Oh I see, how interesting,” Kodachi said, her eyes boring into Nabiki’s in challenge. It seemed she had a rival for her Mu Tsu’s heart. She quickly produced a ribbon to snap at Nabiki, Akane growled and quickly got in the way letting the ribbon wrap around her arm before it could hit her older sister.

“Watch it Kuno!” She yelled. “Don’t you dare strike my sister!” Kodachi chuckled and kept her gaze on Nabiki.

“What do you say, then?” The Black Rose asked. “Shall we wager for Mu Tsu in the upcoming match?” Akane’s eyes widened in alarm.

“What did you say!?” Akane yelled. “Are you insane?”

“Fine,” Nabiki agreed. “When Akane wins the match between our schools, you’ll leave off on Mousse.”

Kodachi started laughing in amusement. “I needn’t worry then, she’ll be losing in any case!” She turned to Ranma then. “Tell Mu Tsu, when this match is over, he shall be mine!”

“Somehow I don’t think he’ll be thrilled with that,” Ranma deadpanned. Kodachi jumped back and started to twirl her ribbon sending out a flurry of black rose petals.

“Farewell!” She said then bounded out of the school laughing the whole way.

“Really, that girl is such a deviant,” Kuno said with a tiny sweat drop dripping down the side of his face. “But even so…. Saotome… tell that Chinese boy to take care of my little sister.”

“Wait a second, what?” Ranma asked looking up at Kuno in disbelief.

“I said tell the Chinese boy to take care of my little sister,” Kuno repeated in a serious tone then looked up into the horizon. “I have to admire her for being so wicked, so nasty, so spiteful and so thoroughly twisted.” Kuno then turned toward Akane and handed the bouquet of red roses to her, a tear dripping down his cheek. “Please, Akane, try not to let her injure you. When Kodachi wants a man, she doesn’t let go. She’ll surely try something evil in the match.” He added as he walked away toward the school.

“You better not lose that match little sis,” Nabiki said as she patted Akane’s shoulder. “I’m counting on you, in more ways than one.” Then headed into the school to catch up with Kuno to talk about getting money to replace the bed.

“Ranma… when did our lives become a damn soap opera?” Akane asked her friend after they stood in stunned silence for a few seconds.

“I ask myself the same thing every day Akane,” Ranma said with a sigh as she crossed her arms across her chest.

 

***********

 

Kuno sighed as he closed his wallet, a few hundred yen poorer, and watched Nabiki walk away to the other side of the classroom. How he hated dealing with Tendo Nabiki sometimes, but she did provide some of the loveliest photos of Akane and how he wished she would do the same for his mysterious ponytailed love. He worried for Akane, his little sister would wipe the floor with her no matter what skill Akane might have. Maybe he could convince Kodachi to go easy on Akane, perhaps if he offered to be her willing taste tester for a few days?

Kuno shuddered slightly, his sister was both a wonderful and horrible cook at the same time. Her food was wonderful to taste but did such horrible things to his body. On the other hand, he was convinced his body was starting to build immunity to most poisons.

Sighing again, Kuno turned toward the front of the class as their teacher came in. As he absently took notes, his mind wandered a bit until a whispered conversation behind him caught his attention.

“So she’s related to Saotome?” one of female classmates whispered.

“Yeah, Airi from the team said she swept in and kept that loony Kuno girl from completely beating them up,” another one of Kuno’s female classmates answered. “She introduced herself as Saotome Ranka, said she was Saotome-san’s cousin. Goes to a different school I think.”

“Wow… I’ve seen her a few times with Nabiki’s little sister, she does look a lot like Saotome,” the first girl said in a musing tone.

‘Ranka? Are they speaking of…’ Kuno turned to face the two girls. “Do thou’st speak of the ponytailed girl? Whose spirit is as fiery as her hair?”

“If you mean that red headed girl that always hangs with Nabiki’s sister then yeah Kuno-senpai,” one of the two girls said. Kuno’s eyes widened and he stood.

“Yes! My love has a name! And… she’s related to Saotome!?” He yelled as that piece of information registered in his head.

“Kuno! Go stand out in the hallway!” the teacher yelled pointing at the door.

 

*********

 

As soon as the final bell of the day rang, Ranma was up and out of her seat in a flash, already out the door before anyone could as much as blink.

“Don’t forget to bring Ryoga!” She called over her shoulder to Akane. Ranma wanted to get to the desired meeting spot before Ryoga, someplace quiet and out of the way. With Ryoga’s temper and the way he flung around those deadly bandannas, Ranma thought it might be a smart idea to make sure they were away from people. She was hoping they could clear up this misunderstanding between them, she liked Ryoga after all and even if nothing ever happened between them, a likely possibility depending on whether or not Ryoga freaked out when he learned Ranma was Ranka, she hoped they could at least stay friends. She didn’t have very many of those after all.

“Saotome!” Ranma screeched to a halt as Kuno appeared in front of her, blocking the doorway outside.

“Kuno! What the hell!?” she asked in an annoyed tone. “Look, I don’t have time to fight you today.”

“Nay Saotome, I am not here to battle with you, not at this time,” Kuno said. Ranma frowned in confusion.

“Okay… then why are you in my way then? I’m in a hurry,” she said. She blinked as Kuno produced a stuffed bear and a small bouquet of roses.

“I bid you, please deliver theses to your beautiful cousin Ranka,” Kuno said as he pushed the items into Ranma’s arms.

‘Aww crap, how he found out? Someone must of told him if it’s going around school,’ Ranma thought to herself. “Look Kuno, Ranka’s not interested in dating, she…. Umm… she’s already got a guy.”

“And who pray tell is taking advantage of the sweet innocent Ranka!” Kuno thundered in anger, removing his bokken from his belt and striking a pose. “I, the Blue Thunder, shall smite them!” Ranma sweat dropped and face palmed with her free hand. She heard the whispers that her classmates whom had come out of the classrooms along the hallway and was watching them.

“Look, Kuno, just forget it okay?” Ranma said. “I’m in a hurry so I need to go already.” She dodged under Kuno’s arm as the older boy tried to stop her, dumping the roses and bear into a trash can on the way out the door. “Man what a creep.”

“Well that didn’t go quite like you hoped did it Kuno-baby,” Nabiki said walked up.

“Who it this boy whomst dares to defile the sweet goddess Saotome Ranka?” Kuno asked. “Is Saotome Ranma in league with him?”

“’In league with him?’ Really Kuno?” Nabiki snorted with amusement. “No, Ranma cares a lot about his little cousin, wouldn’t let anyone hurt her.”

“Indeed… at least he has some honor though misguided,” Kuno said then turned to face Nabiki. “Is it the Chinese boy whom you and my twisted sister fight over? They seemed close. Or is it someone else?”

“I really doubt it’s Mousse,” Nabiki said then smirked as she remembered another certain boy whom Ranma was sweet on. “But yeah, I can give up Ranka’s boyfriend… for a price.”

“Ah, that is the Tendo Nabiki I know,” Kuno said with a long suffering sigh. “Name your price.”

Nabiki grinned and held out her hand as she told Kuno how much the information would cost him.

A few minutes later the school seemed to shake as Kuno’s voice rang out in rage.

“Hibiki Ryoga, I will smite thee!”

 

***********

 

“I found him,” Akane said as she pulled Ryoga into the area of the park were Ranma was waiting. The boy was blushing just a tiny bit but otherwise seem distracted by something else.

“Finally,” Ranma said as she jumped down from the tree limb she had been sitting off, landing catlike on her feet. “Hey man, before we start this fight I want to talk to you about a couple of thi-“

“Ranma, I don’t have time to fight you today,” Ryoga interrupted. Ranma blinked in surprise.

“Umm… what?” she said.

“I’ve got something important going on, I’ll beat you into a pulp next week,” Ryoga said with a wave of his hand, helping Ranka and her friend Akane was much more important to him right now. He had to make sure Akane was ready as she could be to face that Kuno girl.

“O…kay…” Ranma said exchanging a look with Akane then shrugged her shoulders. “But I still want to talk to you before that. Listen there’s been a misunderst-“

“Hibiki Ryoga!” This time Ranma was interrupted by Kuno who appeared on the clearing’s edge. “I shall make thee pay!”

“Oh come on!” Ranma yelled throwing her hands into the air.

“What is he doing here?” Akane asked to Ranma who just shrugged her shoulders again while make a ‘I don’t know’ sound.

“Who are you?” Ryoga asked frowning as he turned to face Kuno. “And what the hell are you talking about?”

“Ah yes, it is customary to give one’s name,” Kuno said just as dramatically as he had on Ranma’s first day of school.  Ranma and Akane both sighed and sweat dropped as Kuno started going through his silly poses. “I am the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High! Tatewaki Kuno, age 17.” As it had before a crash of thunder and a strike of lightning accompanied Kuno’s words as he posed. Ryoga’s eyes narrowed and his lip curled up, flashing a fang.

“Wait, I do know who you are,” he said as he dropped his pack on the ground and withdrew his combat umbrella. “You’re that creep that keeps hitting on Akane-san and Ranka-chan.”

Behind him Ranma flushed slightly as Ryoga called her ‘Ranka-chan’ then scowled.

“Hey wait! You don’t have time to fight me but you can fight him?!” She said pointing at Kuno. Ryoga ignored her as he faced his opponent.

“I forbade you to date the beautiful Ranka,” Kuno said as he pointed his bokken at Ryoga. “I shall not let you sully her sweet innocence.”

“Oh god,” Ranma groaned softly as she buried her face against Akane’s shoulder, Akane patting her back in comfort. Ryoga growled and charged Kuno who dodged out of the way then twisted to stab Ryoga. Ryoga opened his umbrella and used it as a shield, the wooden blade breaking as it struck the hard surface. Kuno looked dumbly at the broken sword for a moment then scowled.

“How dare ye damage my blade!” He yelled. “Sasuke!” A replacement bokken few out of the nearby trees as the Kuno family servant ninja Sasuke tossed it to him. The girls sighed and looked at each other.

“Bail?” Akane asked.

“Bail,” Ranma agreed and they both turned and left as Ryoga and Kuno continued to fight behind them.

The fight only lasted until Ryoga took a wrong turn around a tree and promptly got lost. But by then, Akane and Ranma were long gone and Kuno assumed that Ryoga was so overwhelmed by his might that the other boy fled in terror.

 

****************

 

“This isn’t funny Shampoo!” Mousse said as he helplessly watched Shampoo laugh so hard that she ended up sitting on the floor holding her stomach.

~It’s hilarious!~ Shampoo responded in Mandarin between her giggles. Mousse sighed then looked over at Akane and Ranma, who had given him the bad news; for whatever reason Akane’s sister Nabiki and that strange girl from last night had wagered over him on Akane’s upcoming competition. He didn’t understand why, he didn’t know either of these girls so why was he in the middle of all this? And his heart only belonged to Shampoo, it wouldn’t work anyway.

“How did you even meet that crazy girl?” Ranma asked as she leaned back on her hands from where she was sitting on top of Tofu’s examination table. Mousse frowned and pushed his glasses up onto his nose.

“Last night, above your home,” he nodded to Akane.

“Why were you there?” Akane asked.

“I was looking for Shampoo,” Mousse explained. “I couldn’t find her and I was afraid that she was in her cursed form of a- ow!” Mousse hopped on one foot while holding his ankle on his other leg where Shampoo had kicked him. Ranma and Akane looked on confused and curious to what Mousse was about to say, Ranma still hadn’t learned what spring her pops had drop kicked Shampoo into. Shampoo just looked murderous, she did not need that idiot spilling the beans on her cursed form to the person who currently thought she was her pet!

Mousse finally stopped hopping around, though his ankle still throbbed in pain, then coughed into his fist.

“Never mind, the point was I saw someone I believed to be Shampoo falling toward the ground and I jumped down to save her. It was only after I discovered that is wasn’t Shampoo,” he continued on.

“How can you make a mistake like that, they look nothing alike,” Akane asked. Ranma snorted in amusement then tapped the side of her head.

“He wasn’t wearing his glasses I bet,” she said grinning as Mousse coughed again and blushed.

“Regardless, the stranger hugged me then gave me roses,” Mousse hummed softly and crossed his arms over his chest. “I will say this much, I do admire the herbalist skill she seemed to have, that mix of ingredients made a wonderful paralyzing powder. It was too bad I couldn’t get a sample of it before I had to toss the bouquet away, Mother would have adored studying it.”

“Well if Akane losses the match, I guess you’ll have all the time in the world to get to learn her secrets,” Ranma said in a joking cheerful tone which had Shampoo cracking up again in laughter. Mousse made a frustrated sound and hunched his shoulders.

“Don’t worry Mousse, I don’t plan on losing to that crazy girl,” Akane assured him with a pat on the arm. Ranma wasn’t as confident as Akane was at that… then groaned as she realized something.

“Oh great, we left Ryoga fighting Kuno and forgot we gotta lead him back to the dojo to train you. He could be anywhere by now!”

“Well… I’m sure I can handle it,” Akane said, not feeling as confident as she had been. “I think…”

“I’m doomed,” Mousse bemoaned, sighing as Shampoo started laughing again.