Ranma Nibunnoichi - Reflections
A. V. Morgan
Disclaimer: Ranma Nibunnoichi, and the associated cast and concepts are the property of Rumiko Takahashi and those publishers and distributors to whom she has given official rights. It is not the intention of this work to infringe upon those rights. This story may not be purchased or sold without the express permission of the writer, meaning me, the creator, meaning Rumiko Takahashi, or those agencies to whom the creator has given such rights or privileges. The ideas explored are those of the author, and should not be construed to express the opinions or intentions of the creator or associated agencies.
Author's Note: I have been an avid fan of Ranma ½ manga, anime and fan fiction for years. I am also a writer and artist. In spite of these two things, I did not seriously consider creating any of my own fan fiction until now. Before addressing the story I chose to write, I want to comment on why I chose to write it. Over the past few years I have seen other fans take this cast and explore a wonderful assortment of possibilities. Many excellent ideas have been developed, and I felt I would have been walking in someone else's shadow, or stepping on several people's toes, to explore the ideas inspired by their additions to Ranma ½. Still, I had those ideas, and they eventually led me back to the original series where I discovered an excellent possibility I had not yet seen explored. In the original series, the conclusion of the "Two Ranmas" storyline was left entirely to the imagination of the readers. It was a perfect invitation for a fan fic, and offered me a foundation for many volumes of ongoing fan fics. Ranma Nibunnoichi - Reflections begins after Part 4 of Volume 35, and explores the events which unfolded during the week when the Tendo Household was stuck with two amorous copies of Ranma, one male and one female.
Revised Author's Note: The only changes to this documentapart from a typo or twoare in the disclaimer area. A new, revised version of Ranma Nibunnoichi - Reflections will be appearing under the heading of Reflections V.1 - Stuck in the Middle With You. This story has been evolving from day one. By the time I finished Reflections, I had produced enough material for three complete volumes and the story was still evolving in new directions. It had taken on a life of its own at some point. I could not stop the ideas from spilling out. Before I knew it, it was no longer the story I had intended to write. Nor was it the best story I could have written. As I worked on the fourth volume, intended as a transition from Ranma Nibunnoichi to Ranko Nibunnoichi, I realized it would become necessary to go back and revise everything, taking advantage of things I learned in the process of writing Reflections and the "bonus" volume, It's All in the Reflexes. Thanks to all of the reviews I received for both stories, and the special efforts of Daniel Jess Gibson and Fangorn (Thanks guys!) that process has begun.
In order to accommodate the growth of the story and the writer, I need to update it a bit so that it can continue. Some of the changes are simply structural. It will be a five volume story, each volume having fifteen chapters. In the fifth volume you will find out why the next story is called Ranko Nibunnoichi - Refractions. Sadly, that does mean there will be noticeable changes. Some of the changes will be very subtle, while others will be screamingly obvious. For example, the reflections will no longer be identified as Copy-chan and Copy-kun. The suffixes -chan and -kun, by which the copies were previously distinguished from each other, were not really suitable. In Ranma's case, the same suffixes have developed into a tongue in cheek way to emphasize which side of Ranma is being referred to, but that is not a proper way to distinguish a boy from a girl. The -chan/-kun suffixes are normally used to indicate a level of familiarity between two people regardless of their gender.
I am sorry if this upsets some of you. Feel free to stick with the version you like best. I will keep a copy of the original version here, if allows it, and on my personal site. For the most part, I am doing this revision for my own satisfaction. So far, I have published a rough draft. What I want to create, what I hope you will also appreciate, is a story that makes the most out of the ideas invested in it. I hope to make it a little less confusing as well. Comments and Criticism are welcome as always. This is still my first fan fic, after all. My only request is that my readers offer examples or explanations to ensure that their suggestions will enable me to improve the story.
Mature Content: Because Reflections was originally intended to integrate with the series, before it evolved into an outright divergence, it faced some obvious limitations, which many fan fic readers found disappointing. On the surface, the situation screamed for a lovely lemon flavor. I have a healthy (avid) interest in sex and sexuality, so it was not a case where I couldn't or wouldn't go there… it was just that going there would have upset the status quo tremendously. Now that Reflections is no longer a "missing chapter" of the original series, the ideas that support a lemon filling, can be explored. Part of the story deals with sexual awakening and experimentation, and some of the plot hinges on sexual events, and must be included in the R rated version. In some cases, the fact that sex occurred is the only thing a lemon scene contributes to the plot, and those scenes will be found only in the unrated version of the story. Even those scenes have a value and significance beyond mere fan service, since the way people act and interact in intimate circumstances is as important as how they conduct themselves in other circumstances.
Part One: Three Ranmas?
The promise of spring hung in the air over Tokyo's Nerima Ward. It was a warm day, for late winter, spiced by the scent of rain. Naturally, the shower had lasted just long enough to catch the group out in the open, as they trudged home from the train station. Now, only a few puddles and damp spots in the shade remained. Everything else, including their clothes and hair, had dried in the sun already. Akane sighed and glanced up to the side. It was strange seeing Ranma, walking nonchalantly along the top of the fence, unchanged by the freak down pour. It was even stranger that this sight was accompanied by the familiar sound of Ranma-chan bickering behind her. Especially since the same voice could be heard arguing with her.
"This is really starting to creep me out," Akane muttered.
Her mind flashed back to the scene in Mirror Mansion, as Ranma crashed into the warded curtain and ripped the seal away from the cursed mirror, allowing another clone to escape. Looking up to the side again she repeated her initial comment. "Why did he have to be male?"
"What are you starin' at?" the boy asked, catching her glaring up at him.
"Baka," she turned her head and kept on walking.
"Kawaikune!" he muttered, turning to look at the red-headed girls walking hand in hand along the fence top behind him. "What is that chunky, tom-boy's problem?" he asked in confused annoyance.
Ranma-chan looked at her twin, then back at the boy, and suppressed a shudder. Ranma and Akane had gone to several lengths to keep the two clones separated during the trip back to the dojo. From the moment they had laid eyes on each other, they had been obsessively attracted to each other. Neither of them seemed to have possessed a clue what to do with a lover, once found. The "throw yourself at someone and kiss them" tactic Copy-chan had used the week before was almost comical when doubled. It took them a while to stop lunging at each other and banging heads. By the time they were on the train bound for Nerima, the pair had impulsively progressed to hugging and kissing. The image of the two making out in their seat on the train sent pains and chills shooting through Ranma-chan's nervous system. "This is creeping me out too," she muttered under her breath. Bending her head sternly, she pushed the boy forward, "Keep moving. I need to get you to the dojo and out of sight before either of you get me into any more trouble!"
The boy allowed Ranma-chan to push him along the fence toward their destination. He showed no discomfort or concern at backpedaling down the fence pole in front of Ranma. He was somewhat disturbed that the boy who had let him out of the mirror had turned into a perfect twin of the girl he had loved at first sight. This prodding had been the first clue—since the startling transformation—of which girl was which. Taking her free hand, as a means to keep track, he finally raised the question that had been bothering him. "So. You gonna tell me why you turned into a girl? Why you look like her?"
"Aw, man! I told you I'd explain it all if you came with me to the dojo."
"You said that before you… changed."
Ranma-chan grit her teeth. "Whatever. Get this straight first. I don't look like her, she looks like me! I was in this form the first time I looked in the mirror, and I was a guy when I looked in it back there!" she growled, referring to Mirror Mansion. "Both of you are copies of me," she asserted for the hundredth time.
The boy tensed in alarm, "You don't mean…? Aw, man! I'm not going to turn out to be a freak like you am I?" He twisted away in horror.
Ranma-chan cringed and her face darkened with anger as Akane's voice trailed back to them, "If you're so disgusted, WHY ARE YOU STILL HOLDING HIS HAND?" Akane kicked the fence so hard it wavered under their feet and spilled all three of them into the canal opposite the sidewalk. Ranma-chan plummeted toward the water in resignation. Copy-chan betrayed only the slightest surprise, while "Copy-kun" went into a full blown panic. The three plunged into the water and surfaced, spluttering in shock at the cold, shouting in unison, "What didja do that for?" The boy was patting himself on the chest in terror until Akane leaned over and stuck out her tongue.
"Baka! Didn't you notice that the rain had no effect on you?"
Before the boy could answer, he was launched over the fence by a sleeper uppercut from Ranma-chan. She had moved in an instant rage, wounded by the simple fact that the boy was immune to her curse. Before she had stopped shaking in silent fury, she was launched after him by her other clone.
"Go pick on your own pervert!" the girl shouted as Ranma-chan crashed down in the middle of the street. Akane's eye twitched ominously, as she stood frozen for an instant. Copy-chan had started calling Akane "pervert-girl" when she had been chasing after Ranma, and clearly did not intend to stop. While Akane silently debated between maiming and murder, Copy-chan leapt over the fence, went to her "lover's" side and cradled his head in her lap. "Hey! Are you okay?"
Akane lurched forward to pound the girl into the pavement, as Ranma-chan popped to her feet and rushed forward to tackle the girl, moving neatly into position to intercept Akane's elbow drop. Ranma was slammed down into her duplicates with enough force to knock the air out of all of them. Despite the fact that Copy-kun was proving to be just as annoying as Ranma, Akane had agreed to keep the couple separated until they were all safe at the dojo. As they lay there stunned, Akane grabbed the boy clone by the pig-tail and dragged him off towards the Tendo Dojo. By the time the Ranma-chans had recovered, Akane was dragging him around a corner. The girls stood up muttering a litany of unflattering things about Akane and limped the last two blocks to the dojo.
Akane heard the two red-heads rushing to catch up to her as she passed through the gates of the dojo. Tuning out their loud cries for her to wait for them, she stalked up to the house. "Tadaima!" Akane announced her return, dragging "Ranma-kun" into the genkan.
Kasumi turned from watering a little bonsai tree, which sat on a narrow table in the hall across from the front door, and took in the boy's disheveled, unconscious state. One hand came up quickly to cover her mouth. "Oh my," she murmured softly, before composing herself. "Okeirinasai, Akane-chan, Ranma-kun," she smiled. Before she could ask about Ranma's condition, Soun and Genma burst into the tiny entry loudly demanding a report.
"It's about time, Boy!…"
"…Did you get rid of that menace?" they chorused.
Taking in Ranma's state, Genma hauled him to his feet, shaking him, "This is no time to be napping, Boy! Tell me you've done your duty as a martial artist and sent the evil back to where it came from!"
Akane cleared her throat as the boy mumbled in semi-conscious confusion. "About that…" she began.
At that moment, Ranma-chan swept open the entry screen and leaned in with her clone, "Akane! Wait! What are we going to tell…?" Everyone's eyes snapped to the two redheaded girls in surprise, as Akane hung her head in embarrassment. Ranma-chan recoiled in dismay.
"Well, this is hardly a surprise," Nabiki commented, appearing in the hall behind Soun and Genma. With a mischievous grin, she cleared her throat and said loudly, "Will the REAL Ranma Saotome please stand up?"
Ranma-chan immediately began sweating and waving her hands, "Wait, wait. I can explain everything! It's not my fault!"
"And we have a winner!" Nabiki smirked and watched as Soun and Genma loomed over the panicking girl.
"RanMAAAA! What is the meaning of this?" wailed Soun angrily.
"Foolish Boy! How could you fail in such a simple task?"
Akane grabbed Copy-chan and pushed her forward, clearing her throat, "Actually, um… This is mostly her fault."
"Hey!" the buxom red-head complained instantly, ignoring the fuming fathers to turn on Akane. "You were the one who threw the fruit basket!"
"You! You were the one who brought that damned compact along and tried to steal Ranma with it!"
"What? You mean you actually want him?"
"N… No!" Akane blushed and growled, "That doesn't have anything to do with it! You can't just kidnap people like that!"
"Oh, what wonderful news, Saotome-kun! My little girl rescued your son from an evil demon!"
"Who are you callin' a demon?" the girl snarled at Soun. As Soun lurched back in fright, he knocked the pitcher of water out of Kasumi's hand. It sailed unnoticed overhead, seeking a suitable target, before coming down on Genma.
"Oh! She's so SCARY!" Soun whimpered, cowering in the corner.
"Oh my!" Kasumi finally interjected. "Maybe we should all sit down and discuss this over tea?"
Ranma and Akane marched the clones through the living room, and out onto the patio. Ranma picked up a hot tea-kettle from the table as she passed, and stepped out onto the grass to quickly explain the curse to the duplicates. "Alright, pay attention. I'm not gonna explain this twice," she began, explaining how her father took her to Jusenkyo and knocked her, at the time him, into the Nyanniichaun. Using half the water in the kettle, he restored himself to normal, and as expected, Copy-kun instantly produced cold water to test the story. Ranma fumed, but recalled how others had reacted to the same story. Ukyo had spent hours pouring hot and cold water over her, out of sheer amusement. Ranma, using the last of the hot water, warned the couple that the curse was the only problem in his life they were spared from. It was in their own best interest to avoid contact with anyone outside the dojo. Not that he believed he could truly keep the two from bring new chaos to his life, but it was worth a try.
After wringing out his shirt and airing it for a few moments to dry, he joined the others at the table, where Akane had finished explaining what had happened at Mirror Mansion. Everyone already knew about the cursed mirror, and the spirit that stole the image of whoever looked into it to fulfill her dream of finding true love. It did not take much to explain the sudden chaos as Copy-chan tried to abduct Ranma-kun, using the little trap mirror they had received from the old man of the mansion. Or, the inevitable consequence of him tripping as Akane set him free, crashing into the mirror, tearing down the seal and looking into it a second time. Fortunately, Copy-kun spotted Copy-chan at once. It was "love" at first sight. Akane and Ranma had seen no other option but to bring the couple home until repairs to the mirror's seal could once again be completed.
"Another week?" Soun moaned, as Kasumi poured tea next to Akane.
Ranma glanced over his shoulder and saw the couple mooning over each other. Closing his eyes, he reminded himself that they were just reflections, and did not have anything, really to do with him. That was not really him over there drooling over his female side, he strained to convince himself.
"You are so cute!" the boy declared, taking the girls hands in his.
"You are more handsome!" she protested modestly, her eyes twinkling.
"Good couple!" Ranma quipped, oblivious to the fact that it sounded like he was bragging. He was just hoping their mutual absorption would prevent a repeat of girl's rampage.
"You are so right, Ranma!" Kasumi smiled, delighted by the sight of at least one happy couple in the house.
"They're so alike too…" Nabiki deadpanned.
Akane just sat there with her eyes narrowing, pretending to complete indifference to the situation. Down the table, her expression was mirrored by Genma, safe in the retreat of his panda form.
"I guess this is sort of like a honeymoon for them," Kasumi put in thoughtfully, after a moment. Tea sprayed forth from Akane and Genma. Ranma jerked as if he'd just been hit by lightening, his eye twitching madly. Nabiki raised an eyebrow.
"Ka- Ka- Kasumi!" Soun stammered, looking shocked.
Genma stood up frantically waving a sign, It's an abomination! No copy of MY son can be allowed to do THAT! Ranma and Akane flinched away as lurid images of boy-type Ranma molesting girl-type Ranma danced through the minds of everyone but Kasumi.
Akane whipped around on her knees, shouting, "YOU PERVERTS!" A roundhouse punch accompanied the cry, catching Ranma on the chin and blasting him out the open door into Copy-kun and Copy-chan, spilling them all out into the yard.
Ranma, after skipping all the way into the koi pond, splashed to her feet shouting, "I'm not LIKE that!"
"What didja do THAT for?" the other two demanded in unison.
Soun came out onto the balcony and declared, sternly, "Ranma! I forbid you to sleep with Ranma under my roof!"
Everyone stared at Soun for a second. Soun, it should be noted, had not been that quick to catch on to everyone else using "Copy-chan" and "Copy-kun" to distinguish the reflections from Ranma. Oddly enough, his error in address sufficed to penetrate his eldest daughter's cheerful obliviousness. The synapse marked "clue" connected to the synapse marked "ecchi" in an instant of unrepressed thought.
"Oh my!" Kasumi blinked. "You don't think they'd do THAT, do you?"
Everyone catapulted onto their respective faces, spastically.
Ranma sprung to her feet again, growling, "I don't even know what you're TALKIN' ABOUT! How can I NOT sleep with myself?"
"Ranma-kun! Think about what you're saying!" Nabiki warned with a shake of her finger, but Akane had already reacted.
"Ranma no HENTAI! Don't you have ANY restraint or morals?" Akane advanced on her fiancé, mallet-sama in hand, amidst a pillar of blue flames.
Ranma backed up slowly, hands out in warding gestures. "W- wait! Are you insane? Do you ever hear what I am saying?"
"You said you wanted to sleep with yourself!" Akane growled. "PERVERT!"
Ranma hung her head, while Akane closed the distance menacingly. On an instinctive level, the red-head estimated the power and intent of the other girl's rage. It had soared quickly to lethal levels. If she ran, Akane would charge and kill her. If she stood her ground, Akane would charge and kill her. If she wanted to live this time, she would be forced to defend herself. Even in deadly peril, such as her keenly honed instincts assured her she was in, she didn't want to raise a hand against Akane. At the same time, she was sure she had not said nor done anything to deserve her fiancée's anger. Almost to herself, she muttered, "Damnit, Akane, there ain't nothin' wrong with a guy sleepin' by himself. It ain't like I've got any other option…"
Akane, having closed to attack range, had already swung her mallet high. As those words penetrated, her hands suddenly let go on the downswing, and the mallet flew off over the compound wall and out of sight. Akane stood there, meeting Ranma's eyes, for several long breaths. "Did… did you say… b- by yourself?"
Ranma scowled, "What didja think I was sayin'?"
"You don't want sleep with one of THEM?"
"Do you think I am some kind of pervert?"
"Geez, Ranma-kun! Get a clue!" Nabiki shook her head.
Akane and Ranma remained squared off, both of them blushing in confused fury. Ranma's clones stared at the two of them. Off in the distance, a large object could be heard crashing to Earth with a skull ringing KLUNK followed by a distant, "Raaaaanmaaaaaa! This is YOUR FAULT!"
Kasumi broke into the silence to muse aloud, "Having three Ranma's in the house could get confusing. Maybe we should come up with some different names so there are no misunderstandings."
"Now there's an idea," Nabiki smirked.
As afternoon settled toward evening, Ranma and Akane completed their homework in something of an armed truce. Ranma kept glaring at Akane, silently bitter over the fact that she had never responded to his last question, nor apologized for the misunderstanding. Akane kept glaring at Ranma suspiciously, waiting for him to prove what a pervert he really was. The two mirror clones had given up on trying to sneak off for some privacy, because Soun and Genma had shadowed them at every turn, harassing them into sullen complacency in front of the television.
Strangely enough, the pair had proven difficult on the matter of names. They automatically responded to "Ranma" and seemed to understand they were being addressed when referred to as "Copy-chan" or "Copy-kun" but they scowled and dismissed a catalogue of names suggested by the others. Memories of Pantyhose Taro's notion of a perfect name kept everyone from eliciting a suggestion from the clones themselves. Eventually, the topic of names was dismissed. They were only supposed to be around for a week, and it was inevitable the two would be mistaken for Ranma more often than not, or in Copy-chan's case, Ranko, if Nodoka paid a visit. Kami forbid! It made more sense for them to respond to names he used. Both of them would respond to "Ranma" in general, but if they needed to be distinguished from him (or her as the case might be) Copy-kun (-chan) would suffice. For some reason, the suggestion to dub the girl "Raneko" was shouted down by all three Ranmas, and dismissed with the accompaniment of shudders.
Ranma spared a glance from his homework to check on the doppelgangers. They were sitting close together, speaking in hushed voices, paying more attention to each other than the show on television. He resisted the urge to go over and hear what they were discussing so intently. The conspiratorial whispering made fine beads of sweat pop out over his brow. Since there were no cats around, he decided a lethal dose of curiosity was not needed at the moment, and forced himself to ignore the couple. His mind strayed off on a tangent, as he wondered how to harness the "curiosity killed the cat" technique. Naturally, this was more important to him than his homework.
Time passed, marked by the sound of chimes dancing in the breeze.
"Time to eat, everyone," Kasumi announced a short time later, from the door to the kitchen.
Akane and Ranma jumped up to clear the table and put their schoolwork away. It was left to them to help set the table, as Nabiki continued to lounge in front of the television, spying on the clones, and Genma and Soun remained glued to their game of Shogi. Neither of them dared turn to acknowledge Kasumi with a look, or the other would swiftly rearrange the board.
Inevitably, the smell of food lured Genma's attention and Soun cheered his victory. The fathers joined the rest at the table and praised the bounty loudly.
"Itedakimas!" everyone chorused, and dug into the food. A quick four way battle ensued between Genma and the Ranmas, with the older man struggling to defend his meal on three fronts.
As dinner came to a close, the group discussed sleeping arrangements. Soun's declaration still stood, though it was Kasumi who restated it as, "It just would not be proper for the children to share accommodations." The clones looked on, glares sharpening with every word. Ranma and the others could not help but try to keep them separated. The idea of the two of them getting together, intimately, was too creepy for them to stand. They were in silent agreement. No one particularly cared about them fawning over each other, but… they actively would try to discourage anything ecchi or hentai.
"It would be best if Copy-chan slept with you tonight, Akane-chan. Copy-kun can sleep with Ranma-kun and Saotome-ojisan," Kasumi suggested.
"Are you sure it's a good idea to put those boys together, Oneechan? I mean, one little splash of water and…" Nabiki held up her hands and shrugged. It need not be said that chaos would ensue.
"Erk!" Ranma choked. "I'd rather spend another week sleeping in a tree!"
"Hah! Like I'd do anything with a pervert like you!"
"Hey! That's MY line!" Akane fumed.
"No one is going to come between me and my Ranma!" Copy-chan declared, standing. "Put that silly panda outside for the night, let Akane sleep with HER Ranma, and that leaves a futon for me and MINE!"
The mere idea that this was a way to get Ranma and Akane together was enough to get Soun and Genma to their feet, pushing the clones together, "That's right! What a perfect solution!"
Ranma almost bought into it too, "Gee, Pops. Are you volunteering to sleep outside then?"
"Er… No, boy. Tendo-kun will surely let me sleep on the floor in his room. Right Tendo-kun?"
"Ah, ha ha! Right Saotome-kun!" Soun sweat-dropped.
"But, Father… Surely these two should be married, or at least engaged first?" Kasumi asked wide-eyed.
Genma looked over and opened his mouth, "As their effective father, I…"
Ranma pounded his father out the open door. "Are you insane? Don't EVEN go there!" Ranma stood in the opening, huffing, as his father landed in the koi pond. To himself, "I can't believe he'd even THINK of giving his permission!"
KA-thwump! Ranma was suddenly knocked down in his tracks as a diminuitive form burst into the room from the yard shouting, "Whatta haul! Whatta haul!"
Happosai dumped a bulging bag of lingerie on the floor and quickly reached for a bowl full of food. While the diminutive old man was rapidly stuffing his face, Copy-chan leaned over and pulled out a few pieces of lingerie. Her eyes widened with delight, and she snatched up the bag and sprinted upstairs crying, "Kyaaaaa! I have to try these on!"
Happosai sat there in open-mouthed disbelief. Tears of joy and anger mingled and spilled from his eyes. He sprung to his feet, "Sweeto! Ranma-chan! I am coming!"