Disclaimer: Ranma ½ is the property of Rumiko Takahashi. I do not claim any of it to be mine.
"Ranma" -Japanese speech
Attack -Martial Arts Technique
Chapter 1: Here's Ranma!
Tendo Dojo, Nerima Ward, Tokyo
Sōun Tendo was sorting through the post that had just been delivered when he came upon the postcard. It had the picture of a panda eating bamboo on one side. When Sōun flipped the card to the other side, he instantly recognised the messy scrawl that served as handwriting.
Bringing Ranma from China.
Tears began waterfalling down the Tendo Patriarch's face in joy.
'At long last! Ranma is coming here!' he thought, deliriously happy at the news. He leapt to his feet and set about gathering his daughters.
When Sōun stuck his head into the kitchen, he immediately honed in on the sight of his eldest daughter making tea and snacks, as she usually did for the rest of the family at this time before she started on dinner.
"Kasumi! Come into the living room, I have announcement to make to all of you girls!" he called quickly before ducking out and went searching for his other daughters.
He didn't bother checking to see if Kasumi was moving to obey him. His eldest was a good, biddable child and had never gone against his wishes. His next-eldest child on the other hand…
Sōun left the living room and climbed the stairs to the first floor. Reaching a door with a sign saying 'Nabiki' on it he opened it, revealing his daughter sprawled on her belly, reading a magazine and eating crisps on her bed.
Sōun chivvied her downstairs, then set about the most difficult task of all; tracking down his youngest daughter. Five minutes later, he was left scratching his head ruefully. He couldn't find a trace of his youngest child anywhere in the house.
He heard a yell from outside and smiled to himself. Of course. Where else could she be. He made his way towards the family dojo and the sound of smashing bricks.
As he rounded the corner, he saw his daughter smash through not one, but two bricks with a single blow.
"Akane!" he called out after the blow was struck. Akane looked up and followed her father when he gestured at her to do so.
"Nice form back there by the way." Sōun complimented her as they walked back to the house proper. Akane beamed with pride at her fathers praise.
Once all three of his daughters were settled in the living room, Sōun began his talk.
"Now then," he began, "I recently received word that my old friend Genma Saotome will be arriving in Nerima soon, along with his son Ranma. They will both be staying here." Sōun paused to get a feel for the reactions of his three daughters.
Kasumi, her long brown hair tied back in a ponytail and the most serene of the three, merely blinked in interest. Nabiki narrowed her eyes at her father and brushed some of her shoulder length black hair behind her ear. Akane had the most negative reaction of the lot, snorting in disgust and violently shaking her head in disgust, her long blue hair flapping like a tail as she did.
"Great, a boy is coming here!" Akane groused, scowling as she spoke.
Sōun quailed inwardly as he usually did when his daughters were upset with him.
Or even if there was just the possibility of his daughters being upset with him.
He persevered valiantly however. "Now, now, Akane. Genma is my oldest friend and he and his son will be our guests, so I will expect you to treat them with respect. Understood?" Sōun regarded her with his approximation of a 'stern paternal face' and a not inconsiderable amount of trepidation at the back of his mind.
Akane 'Hmmph'd' in displeasure, but reluctantly nodded in acquiescence.
Mentally wiping his brow in relief, Sōun steeled himself and took the plunge. "You may be wondering why I am putting my friend up like this. The answer goes back to when Saotome-kun and I were disciples under the same master. We swore an oath to unite the Saotome School of Indiscriminate Grappling with the Tendo School….through marriage."
The room was silent for a moment until Akane leapt up and slammed a clenched fist into the table.
"Now just wait a moment! Are you telling me that you've engaged one of us to this…this Ranma person without our permission?!" The martial arts bluenette bit out in a snarl.
"That's right Otou-san. We've never even met this Ranma person yet." Kasumi protested softly. Nabiki remained silent but her eyes narrowed again.
Outside, the sky darkened and rain started to fall.
Elsewhere in Nerima….
The girl ran down the street as it rained. She wore a red sleeveless Chinese-style shirt and black Chinese-style trousers with tie-offs at the ankles. She also wore blue armbands on her wrists. Rather unusually, she was barefoot and carried her kenpo shoes in one hand. In the other hand, she carried a large rucksack. Her fiery red hair was tied into a short braid that flapped as she ran. The girl's sapphire blue eyes blazed with an anger that was echoed across her entire face.
Behind her, a large panda ran in pursuit. It ran on its hind legs, which was unusual. As it gained on her, it lunged at the girl in an attempt to seize her.
Almost as if she were reading its mind, she dodged the clumsy grab with practiced ease.
A large vein popped on the panda's forehead and it growled. The girl pirouetted in mid-air and threw the rucksack at the panda, which barely dodged it. What the overweight panda failed to do was dodge the flying kick that the girl followed up with. The panda crashed into the tarmac of the street with an audible thud.
The girl glared at the fallen panda in outrage as she threw her shoes down, assumed a kenpo stance and gave the panda a 'come-at-me' gesture. The people in the street were perturbed and bewildered at the sight of a giant panda in the middle of the street, whispering to each other as the beast stood groggily, shook its head and glared at the girl as it too assumed a martial arts stance.
Jaws dropped from the watching passers by as they thought, almost as one being, 'A panda….who practices martial arts…..what…the…hell….?'
Moving faster than a creature of its bulk should have been able to move, the panda unleashed a flurry of jabs at the girl, who dodged them with almost contemptuous ease.
"I still can't believe you'd try to pull this on me!" the girl yelled as she continued dodging the jabs, "It sucks! Pickin' my fiancée for me!"
With those words, she grabbed one of the panda's arms and threw the massive beast onto its back with a grunt of effort.
'Is this girl even human?!' was the consensus of the onlookers.
The girl, panting at the effort it took to throw the panda's immense bulk, flicked her braid over her shoulder as she glared at her apparently defeated foe.
"I'm going back to China and try to sort out the messes you got us into, Old Man!" she told the prone animal bitingly.
Lifting the rucksack onto her shoulder, the girl began to walk away from the panda, back down the street she had come from.
Abruptly, the panda leapt up and attempted to strike the girl on the back of the head but the girl dodged once again, almost as if she had eyes on the back of her head.
"That kinda trick stopped workin' two years ago Old Man, panda or no panda!" the girl sneered at her assailant as she once again used the rucksack as an impromptu missile.
The bout continued until the panda got in a lucky blow, knocking the girl unconscious. Growling at the staring crowd that had gathered, the victorious panda threw the knocked out girl over its shoulder and, dragging the rucksack, waddled off towards its destination.
"So where have Saotome-san and Ranma-san been living?" Kasumi enquired curiously. Sōun was grateful for her question as the tension in the room had become palpably stifling, with both Akane and Nabiki glaring at him in suspicion.
"Well, that's the funny thing." Sōun said with a nervous chuckle, "They've been on an extended journey of training for quite some time and have most recently been in the mountains of China."
" 'Extended'" Akane parroted, "How extended is 'extended'? A month? Two?"
Sōun coughed uncomfortably at his youngest daughter's line of questioning.
"I believe that it has been, ah , about ten or twelve years or so…." Sōun replied nervously.
"TEN YEARS?! How old is this Ranma person anyway?" Akane exclaimed.
"He should be your age Akane." Sōun replied. Akane scowled. Kasumi sighed in disappointment; she preferred older men. Nabiki, on the other hand, looked interested.
"Is he cute? What kind of guy is he?" Nabiki asked, bombarding her father with questions.
The Tendo patriarch shrugged. "I've never met the boy, so I couldn't say." This remark earned him three simultaneous eye-rolls from his daughters.
The next moment, the Tendo household was on their feet when a shriek of feminine rage echoed across the Tendo home. They opened the sliding door to the garden and looked out to find the source.
A petite redhead leapt over the fence and landed in the centre of the garden, panting heavily. She cart wheeled backwards just as a section of the fence was knocked down revealing….a panda?!
The Tendo family gaped as the girl and the panda engaged in a bout of extremely proficient martial arts, each clash so fast that Sōun and Akane could barely keep up with the two opponents.
After one such clash, the girl yelled at the panda, her voice fill of frustration and anger, "Damn it Old Man! Back off now or I'll use it!"
The panda seemed to know what 'it' was and didn't like it that much, because it hesitated for a moment before charging at the girl with a growl.
"Tch. Fine. Have it your way!" The girl growled back at the charging beast. After dodging a flurry of blows, the girl inhaled deeply and threw her chest out, causing the watching Akane to become slightly jealous of how well endowed the girl was.
Grinning cockily, the girl exhaled and thrust her hands out and cupped them together, aimed straight towards the panda, which seemed to be frozen in fear.
A shimmering glow appeared around the girl as her cocky grin grew to an arrogant smirk. Abruptly, the glow vanished as the girl called out something.
"Mōko Takabisha! (Pride of the Fierce Tiger!)"
Upon the uttering of these words, a blue beam erupted from her hands and struck the panda in the centre of its body, sending it flying into (and through) the fence, creating yet another gaping hole in the wooden structure.
In the still silence that followed, the girl was panting heavily as she stomped -barefoot, Sōun noticed- into the street through the first hole and returned carrying a large rucksack. Dropping it onto the grass, she opened it up and rummaged through it for a moment before withdrawing a long coil of rope.
Wheeling around, the girl stomped out to the panda through the second hole and trussed it up like a stick pig. She dragged it back into the Tendo Household's backyard and wiped her brow.
She then noticed the family looking at her with slack jaws and wary eyes. Seemingly unconcerned by this, she sauntered over to them.
"Err….hi." She said, slightly embarrassed by what she had done to their yard, "Sorry about the mess. The Old man wouldn't take 'no' for an answer."
"I-Indeed." Sōun replied, a bead of sweat falling down his face.
"Yeah…" the girl agreed, "By the way, where are we? I've gotta find somewhere so I can put the kibosh on whatever plans Pops here had in mind for me."
"This is the Tendo School of Indiscriminate Grappling." Akane told the girl, never taking her eyes off her in case she attacked. As Akane spoke the rain lightened, then faded into nothing.
Peering into the cloudy sky, the redhead muttered, "Finally!", before turning and walking back over to the rucksack and, after a bit more rummaging, withdrew a thermos flask from it. Returning to the Tendos, she looked at Akane and cocked her head to the side slightly.
"Y'don't say? Huh, looks like Pops was closer than I thought." mused aloud then shrugged. Opening the thermos, she then dumped the contents over her head, confusing the Tendos.
Steam rising from her body, the Tendo family gaped like freshly caught fish as the redheaded girl before them shifted forms into a male. Once the transformation had finished, the Tendos, as one, pinched themselves to see if they were dreaming, eliciting four simultaneous 'ow's from their owners.
Where once a petite and busty redhead had stood was now occupied by a tall, well built boy with black hair and his blue eyes took in the stunned family of four before him.
"The name's Ranma Saotome," the boy said in a rough voice, "and we need to talk. Now."
Next Chapter: The Pools of Despair