Ranma belongs to Rumiko Sensei
X-Men belongs to Marvel Studios
Special Thanks to Riniko and Minyu putting in hard works for those Holiday Hours!
LAST WARNING: Don't read if you don't want things to change for you!
House of M
*** M ***
Everything was in flames as far as Ranma could tell. The X-Men were struggling to pick themselves up from the ground and he wasn't doing much better, panting on his knees. The thing responsible for this was the one foe none of the X-Men have ever managed to defeat, save one. Facing that foe head on and standing in its path was his mentor and best friend, Jean Grey.
Jean stood unflinching in front of the Dark Phoenix, the powerful cosmic entity. It came for her, jealous over what it's other half was experiencing with Jean. It wanted to unite a lot sooner than it should have. The X-Men tried to help Jean fight it off, but they were all ineffectual. Even Ranma.
Ranma looked up just in time to see his mentor and best friend gazing softly at her downed friends before she locked eyes with him. Giving him a soft, sad smile she turned to the Dark Phoenix and embraced it. There was a moment where everything flared up brightly, almost blinding him, and then it was over. The Phoenix was gone, but on the ground was Jean, yes eyes was open but it's once vibrant green eyes was now dulled. Lifeless.
Ranma woke up in a cold sweat, panting, in his dorm room. He looked over to Beak's bed and saw that his roommate was still asleep. He looked down at his hands while exhaling heavily. It was the same nightmare, the feeling of powerlessness. Once more he vowed to become stronger, but until then he needed to continue his studies. It's what Jean would have wanted.
Ranma's day began like normal until, while writing down the notes on computer programming languages from Ms. Pryde's class, there was a beep from the teacher's wrist. Ranma was aware of her phasing outside to take the private call, but that did not stop him from taking as many notes as possible. Hacking might become useful someday. It could be considered computer-fu, adapting to a superior opponent and destroying their defenses with speed and agility. Ranma found himself quite interested in the subject.
A moment later Ranma saw the perky teacher come back in, her expression sad while looking directly at him.
"Ranma," Kitty sighed softly. "We have a… little problem. Again."
Ranma instantly stopped his note taking as he looked at the cute, brown-haired woman. He put down his pen gently and closed his eyes before exhaling.
"Yeah..." Kitty gave him a sympathetic look, but all Ranma did was nod as he got up and left. On the way out his classmates also offered similar looks. He was appreciative of that, but it was a bit too much everyday for the past three months.
Ranma made his way through the building and saw some of the teachers traveling the hallway, giving him a soft nod as they passed. He returned their nods and made his way to the Institute's most sacred area. Its cemetery.
It was a very pretty area, a good final resting place to honor their fallen. Ranma's eyes immediately locked onto the tombstone that was in the shadow of a beautiful oak tree.
SHE WILL RISE AGAIN
After running his eyes over the words that Scott was kind enough to let him write, he looked down at the little figure on top of the grave. The sleeping boy was small on the plot, his white angelic wings made him look simply adorable in any other circumstance. The child was curled up with his wings wrapped around his small frame to ward off the chilly winds this time of year.
Ranma felt his heart ache upon seeing it, and for a moment staggered. Jean was the first person he had ever lost. He knew she had come back before, but it never felt as real for him. Even the words, "She Will Rise Again" did not comfort him. Would she really be back? As much as the X-Men tend to joke about Jean Grey coming back from the dead, it really only ever happened once. With her death however, that meant raising Saffron fell to him. It was a task he once would have passed off to someone else, but he couldn't dishonor Jean memory.
"Hey runt," Ranma got down respectfully to one knee before the grave, taking care not to be on top of it as he gently nudged the little boy's feet.
The little boy's wings slowly unfurled as he let out a cute yawn before his bleary eyes started to focus on Ranma.
Gently he picked the boy up, who was slowly returning to consciousness. "What did I say about doing this?"
"Not to..." Saffron looked down with sad eyes. "I miss her, Daddy."
"Me too, runt," Ranma still didn't feel comfortable being labeled a father-figure, he really viewed himself more as a caretaker.
"Me too, but she would be very sad if she knew you were sleeping here. You don't want to make her sad, do you?"
"No..." Saffron sulked as he hugged tight to his father's neck.
"Now be a good boy and say goodbye," Ranma turned the boy in his arms toward the grave and the two did the Japanese-style sign of respect for a deceased loved one. The boy still looked sad, but Ranma had to be strong for the both of them. Looking back one last time at Jean's grave, he tilted his head in its direction.
"See ya later, Teach."
Ranma did not care about the gazes of the students who could see him from their classrooms. His priority right now was Saffron. He also did not see the bubble of white light on the horizon, encompassing everything in a flash.
*** House of M ***
Ranma blinked as he found himself standing in a busy street in the midst of New York's Times Square. However...why did it look so different? Why were there so many people flying around, and why was Magneto on display everywhere?
"What the…?" Ranma was startled by his voice, but looking down he realized that he was in his girl form.
"When did I-"
The pigtailed girl was now very confused. She just had Saffron in her arms a moment ago, she was in the school. How the hell did she get ported here? More importantly, where was Saffron? Well, first things first, Ranma needed to get some hot water to change back. Looking around, she spotted a public restroom.
"Oh baby! Come to daddy!" a bunch of boys with what looked to be mutant shouted to the redhead as she passed.
Ranma ignored them at first, until she realized that she saw a lot of mutants on their way to the bathroom. Heck, almost everyone around was a mutant and they were out in the open. Her senses were telling her that something was very VERY off. Yet she couldn't put her finger on it.
Walking into the bathroom, Ranma turned on the hot tap and waited for it to warm to the correct temperature, even as she got weird looks from the men inside.
"I'm a guy!" Ranma shouted to the group, making them wrinkle their noses in disgust.
"Well, can't you at least shapeshift back to a guy? Perv!" A teenage boy with misshapen arms shouted back as he walked out.
Feeling the water with her hand, Ranma dipped her head into the sink to let the hot water wash over her for a full minute before frowning. She straightened back up and stared at the reflection in the mirror. Water was sliding down her girly face from the sheer volume that was soaked up in her hair. Yet she was still the same as before. A girl.
"What the heck?!"
"Problem?" an older man with three eyes asked the clearly distressed redhead.
"Yeah, I'm not a guy!" Ranma gripped the sink, making cracks on either side of it.
"Oh, can't shapeshift back?" the three-eyed man nodded in understanding. "Why don't you call the mutant hotline, they might be able to help you out?"
"Mutant hotline?" Ranma looked at the man strangely. "You mean the X-Men?"
The man's lower two eyes blinked first, followed by the third one.
Ranma blinked. "You know, X-Men, School for Gifted Youngsters? Professor Xavier is a world renown figure!"
"Never heard of them, are they a new rock group you youngsters are listening to nowadays?" the man asked kindly. Seeing Ranma's confused expression he sighed.
"Damn kids, high on KICK nowadays. Look, I think you should get yourself some help."
The man pointed to a sign in the bathroom. The KICK help hotline was apparently an American drug rehabilitation program for mutants.
"What the..." Ranma frowned even more as she took a look at the fine-print. It was a service sponsored by Lorna Dane of House Magnus.
She had met Instructor Dane before, but never heard of her being associated with a title like that.
"Ah, yes," the older man looked on with pride. "Things were so much different before Magneto's rise to power."
Ranma turned sharply to the man. "What did you say?!"
The man blinked at her again, giving her a strange look, but gradually told her everything. After listening, Ranma wandered out of the public restroom in a daze. Did she get tossed into another reality again? It wouldn't be the first time for Ranma, as she remembered her time spent with younger versions of the X-Men. But from what she gathered, on this world the mutants were the dominate race while humanity was dying out. Worse, Magneto was the ruler of the United States. The Genosha War never happened, and no one had even heard of the X-Men.
If there were no X-Men, how was she going to get help getting back to her reality? This reality also had no Avengers, or any other superhero group on this world.
Suddenly, the streets rumbled, making the redhead look up and her eyes widen in shock. An armada of Helicarriers bearing the "M" standard, flanked by customized fancy-looking red Sentinels and escorted by hundreds of fighters, flew in formation over the city.
The people all around her looked up and cheered lustily.
"Magneto, we love you!" a woman shouted fanatically.
"Long live the House of MAGNUS!" A large, muscle-type mutant roared as he pumped his fist.
"MAG-NE-TO! MAG-NE-TO! MAG-NE-TO!" The crowd chanted as one. As if in response, the Sentinels looked down upon the crowd and gave a salute. Even louder cheers erupted.
Ranma took in as much of the sight as possible when something caught her eyes. It was a newsstand with a big picture of Magneto! She hurried over to it and picked it up to browse through. An out-of-costume Magneto was on the front page, the headline reading:
"House of Magnus' Big Day: Children of the Atom and World Leaders gathered to pay tribute."
"What tribute?" Ranma mused as she flipped through the pages and saw a picture of Professor Munroe posing with the X-Men's most bitter rival. In the background of that picture was her gym teacher, Mr. Guido. She read through some of the article, which told her that Ms. Munroe was a princess. After thinking about it, Ranma could actually see that.
Ranma flipped to the next page and her eyes almost bugged out. Spider-Man's secret identity was Peter Parker?!
"The photographer from the dance?!" Ranma eyes widened in disbelief. She had sensed NOTHING from the unassuming brown-haired man. Still, if this was an alternate reality, things might not be the same as it was on their world. Shaking her head from the shock, she continued to read. On the right side of the page was the crime report column.
Sapient Crime? Perhaps they meant flatscans?
"The heck..." Ranma suddenly felt her skin tingle furiously for some odd reason. She tried to ignore it, looking back to the sky to view the display of strength from the man who was a mutant terrorist on her world. Would they even want to help a flatscan like her?
"You touch it? You bought it girl!" the man at the newsstand told the pigtailed girl, snapping her out of her internal dilemma.
"Hey! I ain't no girl!" Ranma countered, and not about the fact that she needed to pay. She didn't have money on her, which meant it was time for the good-ole Saotome dine-and-dash!
At least, Ranma was about to when she heard a familiar voice. She turned around and, there in a weird-looking hat and oversized pink shirt, was a very familiar hairy mutant.
The man looked at her in genuine surprise. "You know who I am?"
"Errr..." Ranma suddenly sweated. What if this alternate-universe Wolverine recognized alternate-her?
"Kid… is Saffron your son?" Wolverine gave Ranma a hardened look.
"It's really you?!" Ranma clarified as she matched the ki-signature as the mutant she knew. Her outburst, however, made the old mutant do something very creepy. He broke out into a smile.
"Ok, enough flirting. Someone better pay me!" the sales clerk demanded.
"This is yesterday's paper, we ain't paying for it!" Wolverine tossed the newspaper back at the clerk and grabbed Ranma's wrist, dragging her along.
"Whoa! Wait! Where ya going?!" Ranma demanded. She could have overpowered the mutant easily, but her gut instinct told her to follow along. "What the hell is going on?!"
It wasn't until they were somewhat alone in an alley that Wolverine turned to the girl. "Kid, what was the last thing you remember?"
"Umm, I was picking up Saffron from Jean's grave..." Ranma replied quietly.
"Jean's grave..." Wolverine closed his eyes and sighed. "Then you remember the way things used to be? Do you remember the senior staff of the X-Men leaving?""
"Hmmm, yeah. You guys were invited to the New Avengers' Tower for something very hush-hush. At least, that's what Celeste told me" Ranma frowned. "And what do you mean, remember how things used to be?"
"Something's changed our world, I'm sure of it," Wolverine looked at the pigtailed girl meaningfully.
"Aren't we just stuck in a different reality? It's happened before, right?"
"No, kid, I think Magneto used his daughter to fuck us all over," Wolverine growled with barely-contained rage. He saw the girl still looked confused and decided to explain everything he knew up to this point. Right now, the kid was his only ally.
"The reason why the senior staff left was because of the Scarlet Witch. Jean told you about the warning your future-self gave us about protecting her after she went crazy, right?"
Ranma slowly nodded her head. Jean had told her, but she didn't think it really mattered to her. The X-Men had devoted considerable resources to keep her alive, along with the Genoshan military, or what was left of it.
"Well, it turns out that created a big problem," Wolverine told the boy-turned-girl. It suddenly occurred to him how odd it was that Ranma was a she at the moment. The boy was very adamant about staying male whenever possible.
"What do you mean?"
"Wanda, or rather the Scarlet Witch, is more powerful than we could have possibly imagined," Wolverine sighed. "I don't think your future-self was fully aware of just how powerful she is, and might have just gotten information on her from second-hand accounts."
"Really?" Ranma asked. He had seen different scales of powers with the X-Men. Some he could handle and others he could not. Either way, it was an eye-opening experience.
"Her power was not simply hexing, as we thought," Wolverine leaned against the wall across from the pigtailed girl.
"She has the power to change reality to suit her needs."
Ranma eyes widened. That sounded a bit like what Susan Storm's son could do.
"Wait, if she's crazy and has the power to bend reality…. Oh crap."
"Exactly," Wolverine nodded in approval at the aqua-transsexual's grasp of the situation. "It was no longer a discussion of curing her, but if we should put her down."
Ranma exhaled a deep breath at that, and suddenly it all clicked into place. "I'm guessing you guys voted to put her down if this is our world..."
Wolverine popped his claws and growled. "Not if we kill her here and now."
Ranma blinked. She understood the principle. It was no different than putting down an out-of-control animal. But… an animal and a human were completely different. That's when something else occurred to her.
"Wait, how did you remain unaffected?" Ranma asked, looking at the old mutant, who had a haunted look in his eyes.
"Who said I was unaffected?" Wolverine muttered under his breath before he looked at Ranma critically. "'Sides, why are you still a girl?"
The savage mutant watched as the girl's mouth opened to answer, when she suddenly froze. He could see there was some sort of internal process going on in her head. Slowly her face morphed into one of anger.
"That. Bitch..." Ranma's eyes widened as it finally hit her and she grasped the implications. "She locked me in my girl form!"
"She did?!" Wolverine stared at the girl before him "Why would she do that?"
"I dunno," Ranma shrugged, getting angrier by the minute. "But if killing her is the only way to free me, she's dead."
There were few things Ranma would kill over, his manhood was one of them. Of course, she meant what she said. However, that would still just be a last resort for if the woman would not unlock him.
"Easier said than done kid," Wolverine looked at the boy-turned-girl dubiously. "Now I need to find Xavier, only he can put this right."
"Professor X? Where do you think he's at?" Ranma asked as he saw Logan walk over to a car, break in and hot-wire it.
"People here have never heard of the X-men or the school."
"Only one way to find out, kid," Wolverine started the car and gestured at the passenger seat.
+++ A day later +++
Their drive to the Xavier Institute proved fruitless. A total stranger was living there and had never even heard of Charles Xavier. The two spent some time driving to locations that Wolverine knew of, but it all proved fruitless. So here they found themselves back in New York City, specifically Stark Towers.
Ranma was leaning against one of the pillars while Wolverine, or Logan as the man insisted Ranma call him, tried to get an audience with the billionaire. That's when Ranma sensed something wrong.
"Errr… Logan," Ranma began to straighten up as she saw a group of mostly familiar mutants entering the building very stealthily.
"What?!" Wolverine, who had been annoyed with the receptionist, turned around to take it out on Ranma. But he stopped when he saw his former crew from this new life.
It was a group of six people dressed in elegant military garments, Magneto's personal squad, which he was supposed to be the leader of… somehow. At the forefront was Jessica Drew, better known as Spider-Woman. There was Mystique, who, apparently, he was sleeping with in this reality. Rogue looked playful as always, with the way she was spinning her guns in her hands. Toad from the Brotherhood. Kurt, who was trying to smile disarmingly, and a sixth person he did not recognize who carried an energy staff.
"What the hell is wrong with you, James?" Jessica Drew, the dark-haired British beauty asked, genuinely confused at her one-time leader's erratic actions. She also did not fail to note the red-haired Asian girl that was with her leader. Mystique was not going to like this.
"Please tell me you didn't do go all crazy for that redheaded tart over there."
"Hey!" Ranma looked extremely offended and glared at the group, her skin was tingling again. " I ain't NOBODY'S tart!"
"Stay out of this, short-stack," Rogue stopped her spinning guns, pointing them at the redheaded girl.
"Logan," Mystique approached Logan with her gun raised. "Look, something is wrong. Just come back quietly with us and we can get it fixed. Okay?"
The shape-changing mutant gave her lover a pleading look.
"Ranma," Wolverine spoke up, noting that the sixth person in armor seemed surprised. "Saotome Final Attack!"
The rest of the group moved in defensive formation even as the pigtailed girl grabbed the savage mutant, hoisted him over her shoulder and made a break for it.
Wolverine's weight meant next to nothing for Ranma, as she was just clearing the building in under a second when she felt a blast hit her back, making her drop the older mutant and causing her to tumble into the street.
"Kid!" Wolverine breathed a sigh of relief at seeing the boy-turned-girl was okay, but then another blast hit her.
"Arggh!" Ranma screamed in pain. How did they react so fast to her actions?
"Damn it, Logan!" Mystique came out with her crew, looking very angry as she raised her guns at her lover. "It didn't have to be like this!"
"Moko Takabisha!" Ranma shouted as she fired a ki blast at the staff, blowing it up in the mutant's hand.
"Fuck, it's a ki-adept!" Rogue cursed and turned to the sixth figure. "Ranma, she's all yours."
Ranma's eyes widened when she heard what Rogue said as the man took off his mask. Blue eyes looked down at her in mirth. She knew the handsome face that was wearing that confident smile very intimately. He didn't have a pigtail, instead sported a very short ponytail. It was her face, her male face. A face that was now sporting a familiar cocky grin.
"Like what ya see, babe?" the Faux-Ranma tilted his head as he cracked his neck.
"Don't you have enough girls in your harem, Saotome?" Rogue chided the man, only for him to give her a quick flirty peck on her cheek, without getting his power absorbed. She leaned into the kiss lightly before a throat-clearing from Jessica made her focus on the situation at hand.
"Never enough, sugah," the Faux-pigtailed boy responded in a flirty manner with a southern accent for the woman. He then turned his attention back to the redhead that he shot.
"As for you, it's not very nice disgracing the Saotome name like that. I assure you, the Saotome Final Attack is nothing like that."
Ranma jaw had dropped from shock at seeing the blatant display of affection, before she glared at everyone around her and flared her ki out angrily.
'That Witch Bitch!'
"I am going to KILL HER."
Wolverine was busy fighting off Mystique and Kurt, aka Nightcrawler, when his companion began to glow.
"Ranma! Take care of her now before there's anymore collateral damage!" Jessica Drew ordered the handsome youth as he glowed a steady matching yellow.
"You got it, boss!" the Faux-Ranma winked at his beautiful superior and studied the girl before him. Odd that their ki aura colors were almost identical.
"Let's see what ya got."
Ranma barely dodged the pigtailed boy's attack as she caught him across the face with a spinning heel kick. The boy was surprised, but he recovered fast and was able to tag her with a gloved fist on her upper arm, making her spin wildly before she straightened up and regained control. Ranma set her face as she attacked the boy with a flurry of attacks, watching as a look of shock crossed his face when she tagged him several more times across the body before she did a flip-kick to send him flying.
"Saotome! Stop playing around and end it already!" Rogue glared at her on-and-off again lover. "OR do I need to tell the Stepford harem that you are tanking another fight for a pretty face?"
"Hey!" the Faux-Ranma looked back at the southern belle as he rubbed his sore jaw.
"She's not easy, okay?! I might have to work for this one."
Ranma dodged under a couple of shots fired by the black-haired woman and the blue shape-shifter known as Mystique before she was back with Logan.
"Kid, we gotta make a break for it," Wolverine saw the way the two pigtailed twins fought. The boy appeared to be highly skilled.
Ranma growled, not wanting to back away from this fight and show who was the real Ranma. But with so many people interfering she'd be overwhelmed. She hated to admit it, but the fake Ranma was pretty damn good, though he appeared to be purely using Saotome style and one other that she couldn't place. There were no elements of Amazonian Wushuu or any of the self-created moves Ranma had derived from their combinations.
"Alright! Let's get outta here!"
Once more, Ranma fired a ball of ki energy at the ground, kicking up dust before she fled with Wolverine. The other Ranma was in hot pursuit, jumping from building to building to catch up with her. She might have been faster, but Wolverine's weight did slow her down some.
She was in the middle of thinking on that problem when a big wall of black shadow appeared in front of her, swallowing them both. It felt like she was falling into an endless abyss, and she floundered about while trying to keep a grip on Wolverine. However, just as quickly as the dark abyss swallowed them, it was over as the two exited into a room and crashed against the floor. Ranma was impressed, as Wolverine got back onto his feet and into a defensive stance just as fast as her.
"Rrrgh!" Wolverine growled, ready for another fight as Ranma got in close to cover the mutant's blind spot.
"Clamp it down, Mutant," a large black man with hair braided into cornrows and a yellow wife-beater told Wolverine. He then looked to Ranma and leered a bit. "You too, Little Red."
Ranma felt Wolverine relax his guard a bit but she saw the archer in the shadows. The archer in purple saw her too, but he still notched his arrows.
"Disable the tracker in the back of your neck, or we'll do it for you," the man called Cage told Wolverine as the Archer finally revealed himself.
"Do it." the Archer threatened in a low voice.
Ranma was trying to pay attention to the conversation between Wolverine and the men, but noted that there were a bunch of high-caliber fighters in the room with them. Damn it, why could it never be easy? What was that Western expression? Out of the fire and into the frying pan? That's when she felt the purple archer guy fire his arrow. Ranma reacted instantly, grabbing the arrow and returning it to sender, pinning the man's arm against the wall.
Pandemonium ensued a moment later, as Wolverine charged the black man and Ranma dealt with the Chinese girl in the qipao and the black woman. Ranma had intend to block the Chinese girl's attack first and then kick the woman in the face. However, when Ranma grabbed her arm, she screamed as if in agonizing pain, then fainted.
"What did you do to her?!" a white boy came at Ranma with some nifty kung fu moves that Ranma weaved around easily. She threw a powerful right hook across his face, and he too screamed before seizing up and fainted.
"Kid! What the hell are you doing to them?!" Wolverine asked as he backed away from Luke Cage. Those screams were horrifying.
"I dunno!" Ranma shouted back to the man defensively. She dodged several machine gun shots from the woman with white hair before rewarding her attacker with a kick to the face! Unlike the last two times, the woman was simply staggered and sent crashing into the wall.
"See! That's more like it!" She felt relief. It was her opponents, not her.
"Ya'll fucked up big time!" Cage flexed his muscles and intended to play for keeps, until a loud crash sounded as the roof of his hideout was torn open.
"Sentinels!" The Asian man that reminded Ranma of Bruce Lee shouted in fear. There were two fifty-foot Sentinels staring down on them.
"It's your fault! You should have let me remove the tracker from his neck!" the purple Archer shouted as he pointed accusingly at the pigtailed girl with the red hair.
[SAPIENT TARGET IDENTIFIED.] The first robot said.
[SAPIENT TARGET LOCKED.] The second robot raised its hand.
"Moko Takabisha, DOUBLE SHOT!"
The group of fighters were stunned as two energy beams punched through the faces of both Sentinels, making them fall backwards.
"A ki-adept?!" The Asian man looked at the girl in wonder. "Aren't you all on Magneto's side?"
Ranma turned, only to see Wolverine do something unexpected. He punched his own clawed blade into his neck.
"Get us all out of here!" Cage shouted as he looked at Ranma with wary respect. A moment later, the same large black shadow from earlier engulfed Ranma once more.
Ranma felt herself falling and locked onto Logan's ki signature before she tackled him, just as they were released from wherever they were into an office building.
"Logan!" She looked at the wound on the back of the mans neck and sighed in relief as she saw it healing. There was also some destroyed circuitry on his claws. She saw the other group looking at her strangely and she gave a weak smile in return.
"He'll be back, good as new in no time!" she assured them. Judging by their expressions, that was the last thing they were worried about.
"Nnnggh… not…quite as new," Wolverine slowly woke up. As he saw from the bloodstains, he had succeeded in removing the tracker.
"Easy, Shang Chi," Cage held his arms out when he saw the Asian man begin to walk toward the girl.
"I thought all of you ki-adepts abandoned us lowly martial artists," the Chinese man, Shang Chi glared at the pigtailed girl.
"Ki-adept?" Ranma blinked, having never heard that term before. "And what do you mean by abandon?"
"Anyone that had a mastery of ki was granted Homo Superior status and was favored by the House of Magnus. Many took him up on his offer." the white-haired woman in a black bodysuit that appeared to be rather tight explained to Ranma.
"I thought everyone with ki mastery was found by King Herb. How did someone of your caliber slip through the cracks?"
"My caliber?" Ranma blinked before smiling. She wasn't immune to flattery.
"If they had known we had a ki-adept with us, they would not have sent Sentinels," the white-haired woman explained. She saw the questioning look on the girl's face. Was she perhaps a hermit practitioner? Those were still pretty rare.
"Sentinels are like fodder for ki-adepts, nice job on those two by the way." Cage explained as he looked at the girl and held out a fist which Ranma automatically bumped. Apparently that was the wrong thing to do, as he too screamed in agony and collapsed.
"What did you do?!" Shang Chi suddenly backed away from the girl. He had heard ki-adepts had skills that can could kill a person with but a single touch. Everyone else likewise gave the girl a wide berth.
"Kid!" Wolverine chided, glaring at the girl.
"Hey! Ain't my fault!" Ranma defended herself again! She didn't know why they were screaming in agony!
"Wait!" the white-haired woman addressed the group. "I noticed that it only happens when the girl's skin touched our own."
"That's right! You were covered up when I touched you earlier," Ranma recalled the fights she just had in greater detail. Every single time was because she touched them skin to skin.
"Ughh… what happened," the blonde man that Ranma had touched earlier murmured as he groggily sat up, rubbing his head before noticing everyone in the room. "What's wrong with Luke and Shang? What's going on? Why do everyone look so different?"
"Danny? Are you okay?" the white-haired woman asked dubiously.
"Yea-wait. Why is Black Cat here?" Danny asked, looking at the woman.
"Black Cat?" The white-haired woman stared at the man. "My name is Felicia?"
"You remember?" Wolverine suddenly looked at the blonde man, then back at Ranma. "Tell me, what is your superhero name?"
"I am the Iron Fist," Iron Fist replied. Even his manner of speech was different from earlier. He could tell something odd was going on.
"You seem to know what is going on, Wolverine."
But instead of answering Danny he turned to look at Ranma. "Kid, touch all of them with your skin, now. Even just a poke will do."
The rest of the group backed up as Ranma grinned and disappeared from their view. Even Danny could not feel the girl's presence anymore. It was like something from a horror movie as person after person collapsed in agony.
Ranma revealed herself again, dusting off her hands for a job well done, while the blonde man known as Iron Fist stared at her.
"How did you- what technique was that?!" Danny asked, as he too got into a defensive stance.
"Sorry, family secret," Ranma grinned smugly before he noticed the little blonde girl she touched earlier did not collapse like the others.
Ranma went over to the girl and poked her forehead a few more times, but got nothing.
"I already remember how the world was like before!" the tween girl slapped Ranma's hand away in annoyance. "
"How do you know that, kid?" Wolverine asked with genuine interest.
"My name is Layla Miller, and I saw the world change before my eyes."
+++ Connecticut, Summers' Residence +++
It was an odd feeling, waiting in someone else's house for the owner to get home. Ranma was looking at the pictures of the couple on the stand, while the rest prepared to confront one of the world's most powerful telepaths. The plan hinged on Ranma's speed to avoid everyone being lobotomized.
Good thing he was currently in the Umi-Sen-Ken and cloaked from everyone's senses. Their resident martial artists looked very interested in learning it. Fat chance of that happening. Ranma felt Emma before she even had her key in the door.
"She's here," Ranma let the rest know as they turned to brace themselves for the confrontation with a very shocked Emma Frost.
"You're robbing me?!" Emma Frost sounded more offended than angry, she immediately used her powers to stop their movements, functionally immobilizing them. "You're all going to regret thi- ARGGHHHHHH!"
From behind the collapsed form of Emma Frost, Ranma revealed herself again as the woman twitched. She looked at her hand again and began to grasp at an idea as to exactly why she was affecting people like this.
As if it was his own home, Wolverine went over to the Summers' fridge and raided it for a beer.
"Anyone else want one?"
The group looked at each other before letting out devious grins. Wolverine tossed one to Cage, Shang Chi, Misty Knight, and Danny.
"Nnngh..." Emma Frost groaned in pain. "No. No. NO NOOOOO. House of FUCKING MAGNUS?!"
"Long may it reign," Wolverine sarcastically toasted to the blonde woman.
"I am going to fucking kill him and his fucking children!" Emma promised in full anger. She then turned to look at Ranma.
"Good job, Saotome. I see my girls chose a winner."
"You mean Celeste, right?" Ranma corrected the woman. Perhaps she wasn't all there yet.
"I know what I said," Emma replied before she turned to look at the little blonde girl they brought with them.
Layla Miller looked a bit afraid as the woman known as the White Queen approached her. "Yes?"
"I can use you."
"Uhh..." Layla looked over to the pigtailed girl. "Help?"
Later, when Scott Summer's returned home, he did not expect his wife to be with company. Scratch that, a LOT of company. A moment later he understood why as Emma intruded into his mind.
"Haagggghgh!" Scott Summers, leader of the X-Men, vomited onto the floor. "Oh my god. Oh no.."
Emma just crouched down while rubbing his back soothingly with a small smile. "Yeah. Why are we married?"
"The whole world! How could Magneto have changed the entire world?!" Scott ranted angrily as Emma turned to Ranma.
"Looks like it worked, and faster too. No downtime," Emma smiled at the boy-turned-girl. "You can stop touching people inappropriately now."
"I did not!" Ranma protested, but the sexy blonde just patted her cheek in an endearing manner before she began to discuss their next steps for the Resistance.
+++One Day Later, New York City – Resistance Hideout+++
With Emma's new method of waking people up and the man known as Tyrone Johnson, aka Cloak, they were able to locate all of the Avengers and X-Men that were isolated and recruit them.
Ranma was in the room looking out the window with Clint Barton, the man whose arm she had pinned with his own arrow. A man she found out that was suppose to be dead, killed by the Scarlet Witch during Apocalypse War. He looked spry for a dead man. The man sensed her gaze and glared at her, she merely shrugged.
Ranma than looked to the rest of the Superheroes and had to admit, this was a lot of firepower in a single room. Sure she went to Xavier's school, but these people were on the front lines of world-ending events. They exuded a different aura. Ranma didn't know why, but she felt a bit giddy at being involved in such a large superpowered brawl.
"Is there anyone in this room who doubts this happened?" Emma Frost, now in her 'White Queen' outfit, asked the gathered heroes.
"Uh Teach-" Ranma tried to get Emma Frost's attention.
"Uh-Oh" Wolverine said at the same time.
Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, also sensed what was wrong at the same time. "Guys, were' about to be-"
The wall of their building was blown inward to reveal the elite guards of Magneto.
"All ya'll get your hands and claws in the air, you're under arrest!" Rogue said, leaning casually on her knee as her teammates stood behind her.
As if by some unseen signal, the two groups rushed at each other. Ranma was already locked onto her guy-form. She only needed to touch him once. However, before she could, Emma Frost activated her abilities and woke everyone up, making all of their eyes glow green. Ranma actually stopped, seeing the same green glow in her male-counterpart's eyes. She should touch him now, but she was curious as to what happened.
When it was over, all of the other guards looked horrified after having awakened. Her counterpart, however…
"How..." Faux-Ranma looked like he wanted to vomit as he gaped at the redhead in horror. "How?!"
"Do you… remember now?" Ranma asked the male Ranma, who was still looking at her in absolute horror.
"No! Get away from me!" the Faux-Ranma suddenly back up in fear. "Don't touch me!"
With that the boy turned around and ran away quickly. Ranma wanted to give pursuit, but stayed behind as Rogue looked at her with a devastated expression on her face. Yeah, that was gonna be awkward to explain. Especially because somehow her male counterpart could touch Rogue, but Ranma knew for certain she absolutely could not.
"So Teach, what happened to my male half?" Ranma asked, looking at the woman who also seemed perplexed.
"I don't know. I found it strange he was here, but… I think he saw your memories, but he doesn't believe it. He should have awakened." the White Queen tried to think of a reasonable explanation.
"I believe I may have an idea," Dr. Stephen Strange spoke up, having gotten a rough idea of what might have happened.
"If my guess is correct, Jusenkyo, being laced with chaotic magical energies, is actually of the same type of energy Wanda wields. I believe that when she recreated reality, your cursed form was unaffected, but not your male form."
"Well yeah, kinda figured that out," Ranma sarcastically replied. "What I want to know is, if he is me, why did he run?"
"I don't think he is you, at least, not up here," Dr. Strange tapped his head. "The real you was protected by your cursed body. The male part of you was probably a blank slate that had to be filled with everything before you were cursed. Extrapolated from whatever experiences Wanda reality powers formed and he is quite different from you. Though he remains you at the core, he is not you."
"Ugh..." Ranma rubbed her temples. "So much magical mumbo jumbo. Next time I'm seeing him, I'm taking him back no matter what."
"Does that mean the two would merge together to become one?" Rogue looked very interested in the conversation between Dr. Strange and Ranma.
"No, I think he will be overwritten," Dr. Strange was surprised as the mutant woman looked crestfallen.
"Why? I remember, so do you. Right, doc? Why wouldn't Ranma-," Rogue looked at the redheaded girl, who glared back, correcting herself. "Why would the other Ranma be overwritten?"
"Because, all of his memories are of Wanda's creation, everything he has experienced is Wanda's," Dr. Strange explained to the two.
"Unlike you guys, Ranma here is a tank of chaos magic. Merging would dissolve everything Wanda's spells put into the male Ranma."
Rogue rushed out of the room, much to Ranma's relief. The redhead was not ready to deal with all the mess her male-half might have gotten up to. She well remembered herself before the curse. She was different, more confident and self assured.
But...it was not her problem.
Ranma looked around the room just in time to see the Headmistress of Genosha Academy give Professor Wolverine a loud resounding slap, hurt clear in her eyes. The rest of the newly converted group was talking. At least when she woke people up they didn't remember their fake lives here. Emma's method let them remember both.
Ranma couldn't decide which was better.
*** Genosha ***
Ranma didn't pay much attention to the strategy meeting as they flew toward Magneto's base on a commandeered plane. Why? Mainly because it did not involve her. All she knew was that it would boil down to a free for all, which was fine by her. But she needed to find her guy form before then. Now that she knew his ki-signature she could find him easily. He was actually close by. Chances were he might even try to kill her because, during that point in time for her life, being cursed to turn into a girl was the single most horrifying thing she could ever imagine experiencing. A loss of control like that was something she was unwilling to give up back then.
"Ranma…?" Rogue came up behind the pigtailed girl, looking apologetic. "I'm sorry that I did not consider your thoughts when… you know."
"I get it," Ranma replied neutrally. "He was a ladies man and you fell for his charms."
"He was just so different from you, the real you that is," Rogue corrected in a fumbling way. "He was a very smooth operator, whereas you..."
"Have foot in mouth disease," Ranma smirked, but turned her sight now onto the girl. "I get it. No hard feelings."
"Do- Do you want to know about his other...?" Rogue asked tentatively.
"No." Ranma firmly replied as she crossed her arms under her breasts. "He's him, and I'm me. I don't need to know. I don't want to know."
"Ah..." Rogue looked down a bit sadly before she placed a hand on Ranma's shoulder and squeezed it. "Good luck."
"Alright people, look alive!" Wolverine shouted as the plane landed. "Ranma, join us when you find yourself again. Literally. Everyone else, you guys know the plan."
The group made their way over to where the crowd was, perched up on a high position overlooking the celebration Magneto was throwing. All were ready to attack on Cyclops' order.
They watched as the ambassadors were introduced one after another in front of the world's media. There were a lot of recognizable faces, some were even surprising. T'Challa was expected, as was Storm. Namor was a stretch, but Dr. Doom surprised them. Finally, they introduced the royal family, House Magnus. The group nodded to one another as they set off a program, causing a hacked Sentinel to fall right on top of the "royal" family.
Of course, it wasn't going to end that easily. Magneto stopped the falling Sentinel a mere foot away from him and with a wave of his hand, broke it into pieces. However because he was focus on that, the Resistance group attacked en masses catching him and his royal guards by surprised.
And so the battle began.
But not for Ranma, as she enshrouded herself in the Umi-Sen-Ken and snuck through the battle lines. Whenever she was close to an opposing mutant that was not a villain she would poke them, making them convulse. She made her way through the narrow corridors and past the royal guards' rooms, until she traced her ki signature to the highest point.
The closer she got, the more she could hear of a conversation, one sided, she realized as she got closer. Most coming from a distressed male voice.
"Please, Lady Magnus, I don't want these memories inside of me anymore! Make it go away! I will be your most loyal servant in exchange, please!"
Ranma heard her fake half pleading in desperation before she decided to drop her cloak. She saw her guy form looking haggard in a way she didn't think she ever seen herself. Her male-self's shoulders were hunched, as if the weight of the world was on it. Next to him was a pretty, brown-haired woman who was playing with two small children. If she remembered correctly, they said the Scarlet Witch children were dead. Which meant that this crazy lady just conjured up imaginary dead kids for herself.
Ranma revealed herself, much to the surprise of the room's occupants, except for the woman. Her face had a dreamy lucid expression, as if she didn't have a care in the world.
'Yep. Definitely crazy.'
"You!" the Male Ranma pointed in fear and anger. "Why are you here?!"
"To take you back, duh." Ranma folded her arms and watched her male-counterpart with a bit of fascination. So this was how she could have turned out had life been different. Unlike the guy from the young-Jean universe, this male Ranma in front of her was still pretty much her.
"I will never let you touch me!" the Male Ranma shouted as he drew out a battle spear of Japanese design, known as a Yari. A moment later, some type of body armor covered all of his exposed skin.
"I'll kill you before you can!"
All throughout the verbal exchange, the woman's creepy children looked back and forth in fascination between the two.
Ranma dodged the first spear strike and barely dodged the second, judging by the fresh graze she had over her face. This Ranma was fast, and he was good, but she was better as she grabbed onto the staff second when he thrust the yari at her again and performed a whirling kick. Unfortunately, he still held onto the spear as he was sent flying against the wall.
The creepy children clapped at her display and Ranma felt the need to give a showman's bow. She sensed the next attack and ducked under another swing. She closed the gap, but he jumped back right away.
"Fine." Ranma went into the Umi-Sen-Ken, much to the other Ranma's panic.
"That's cheating!" one of the freaky children shouted as he leaned on the Scarlet Witch and pulled at her sleeve.
"Momma, she's cheating! Make her play fair!"
The brown-haired woman looked at the boy and sighed. "Okay dear. Illuminate."
"Ah ha! I see you!" the male Ranma shouted just as Ranma had almost closed the distance and was rewarded with a powerful blow that smashed Ranma into the floor, making a small crater and rocking the room.
"How?" Ranma spat out blood but rolled away from the second strike from the male Ranma's spear and took up a more defensive posture. That's when she noticed the stream of light in the room that was clinging to her. She didn't know what it was, but it was drawn to her like a beacon. Of course that would pinpoint her location for her counterpart.
"Just go away and leave me alone!" the Male Ranma shouted as he attacked his female-half, once more inflicting yet another cut. The Tendo spear technique was inherited by him as a dowry gift. It, combined with his family school, made him damn-near unbeatable.
Ranma exchanged a flurry of blows with her counterpart for a solid three minutes before backing away, as she noticed ki energy was building in his right hand. She had some cuts and scrapes on her body, but his armor was beginning to crack, although he had some type of bodysuit on underneath. Just one bit of exposed skin was all she needed.
"Howling Wolf Blast!"
Ranma dodged the blue ki attack and fired off another one of her own, making her counterpart retreat. She then tried to close the distance, but sensed the spear attack coming, forcing her to stop. She tried to attack from another angle by bouncing off the ceiling, but that proved to be almost fatal to her as she had to dodge a heart strike, blocking it with her arms as the spear tip punched into them.
"Ngggh." Ranma gritted her teeth in pain as she was pushed back. She examined the holes in her arms, with blood spilling freely.
The two children that were clapping at the fight reached down to touch the red liquid. Suddenly they let out horrific screams as their bodies seemed to bubble. A moment later, they were rewarded for their bravery by being torn apart as if a bomb was detonated inside of them.
"NOOO!" the crazed witch's eyes opened in horror at what had happened. She then looked at the blood on the ground that came from Ranma. All trace of lucidity gone from her eyes, there was only rage.
"My children! You killed them!"
"Get real, Lady, you ain't never had kids!" Ranma retorted, but got into a defensive position as the Witch got to her feet. Suffocating power was filling the room, affecting both Ranma's. A moment later, a powerful blast destroyed the room, sending both her and her male-counterpart flying out into the battling crowd and landing heavily on the ground.
It was still pandemonium, but Ranma was in too much pain to care. Her body ached all over as she tried to recover. Whatever that explosion was, it was not the standard ki or elemental attack. If there was one thing she was sure of, however, it was incredibly painful. She turned to locate her male-counterpart and gasped in surprise. He looked horrible, as his body was bent and twisted in unnatural angles. His body was also punctured by rocks, and lacerations could be seen all over his body.
Why was he damaged so badly while she was not? Then she recalled what Dr. Strange had told her about being a chaotic magical tank. Perhaps that was what shielded her from the worst of the Scarlet Witch's rage. Ranma gingerly crawled over to her male half and looked down at him. He looked back at her with tears in his eyes.
"Wh-Why am I the f-fake?" the Male Ranma's voice sounded broken, as Ranma took his hand into her own.
"Why couldn't I have been the real one-*"
The magic of Jusenkyo flared as the two bodies were knitted back into one soul. When the light died down, a black-haired pigtailed boy, in red and black Chinese themed clothing could be seen, hunched over and gasping for air.
Ranma Saotome slowly opened his male eyes and stood tall. As he had suspected, he had zero memories from his fake half.
"Hmm?" Ranma suddenly felt something on his face and touched it. Holding his hand out, he saw there were clear liquid on it.
"What the… tears?"
Before Ranma could think too deeply on it, another explosion grabbed his attention as the tower they fell from was wiped out, its debris raining all over the warring courtyard. A woman dressed in red with pink like energy surging all around her hovered down before him.
The enraged Scarlet Witch looked at him with hatred.
"Lady! You're a fucking few bricks shy of a load and need to be put down!" Ranma shouted back as he pointed at her.
"Kijin Raishu Dan!"
Ranma threw a fatal vacuum blade at the woman only to have it intercepted by Quicksilver, who pushed his sister away in time just as he was split in half. His blood painted his twin sister's face, even as the rest of the crowd was stunned by the one-time Avenger's gory death.
"My son..." Magneto, who had apparently been awoken earlier, stared at the pigtailed boy. No, the human who had killed his firstborn.
"Peitro!" Wanda screamed in horror as her brother's blood and flesh covered her. "YOU!"
Ranma threw out another vacuum blade, intending to kill the woman once and for all. One second, that was all it would have taken for his vacuum blade to end the Scarlet Witch made reign. However in that one second, a powerful surge of energy permeated the air and the Scarlet Witch bared her teeth and screamed two word that promised vengeance.
Ranma felt the vacuum blade shatter before his body was struck by something so powerful it tore his body apart at the seams. There was a glow, much line the one from when his body knitted together, as if it was trying to protect him from the Scarlet Witch attack. However, it only lasted a second before it shattered like glass leaving him completely defenseless. He tried to fight it off by channeling his ki, but he couldn't. He lost all sensation and watched as his hands and arms bloodlessly peeled away like an orange skin.
Was this how he was going to die?
'Crap, mom would be so sad. Maybe even pops…'
'Oh no, Celeste, they had just started…'
'Oh shit… who's gonna take care of Saffron? The boy needed a lot of attention and...'
Agonizing pain shot through Ranma's body some more, interrupting his thoughts as his unraveling continued up his torso and shoulders.
'Is this… it?'
In his final moments, as his body was unraveling up to his chest, he swore he saw two yellow-gloved arms wrapping around his neck from behind.
And the world ceased to exist for Ranma Saotome.
**** Epilogue ***
Susan Storm looked down at the child kneeling in front of his father's grave. It was an empty one, there wasn't even a body to bury. The normally-outgoing child was very subdued. In the span of three months he had lost both of his parents. The X-Men did not know what to do with him post M-day, the day when the majority of the mutant population was depowered.
What was once a strong, thriving race was now cut down to hundreds. It was the Scarlet Witch's last crazed strike against her father after she had killed the teenage boy, who's only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Worse still, the mutant witch had escaped punishment, and was now considered kill-on-sight for all X-Men, while the resurrected Quicksilver was a wanted criminal.
Scott Summers had been kind enough to make a grave for the boy next to Jean. It was a sign of respect that he was willing to share his ex-wife in that way. Unlike Jean's grave, however, the boy's grave was filled to overflowing with flowery wreaths from the surviving student body.
Several of the more notable items were three diamond roses embedded into the tombstone. An opened bottle of beer that was placed on top. An odd Star Wars memorabilia figure of Luke Skywalker that looked very vintage. CD's of Dazzler and a poster of a pin up girl, a heavy umbrella and a small wooden mallet. She did wonder why no one fixed the dual scratch marks on Ranma's name, but she was not in charge of the grave keeping.
"Do you want more time, sweetie?" Susan asked. The X-Men were at a loss at what to do with the mutant child. He was Jean's charge and after she passed, Ranma had volunteered. The Saotome's had been willing to take him in, but Jean had registered the boy as an American citizen. All mutants on American soil were now considered a protected species, and thus could not be moved. It was a despicable thing to do, but she could understand why they did it. Only time would tell if they did it with good intentions or evil ones.
Still, the raising of an Omega-Class mutant child in the mists of these world-shattering events was too much for the X-Men to handle. Even their long-time Professor was still missing. Luckily for them, Susan had learned of their situation and quickly volunteered. After all, she was well versed in raising Omega-level boys. At least Saffron would not be alone and could stay with great friends like Franklin and Valeria. Johnny and Ben also adored the boy while Reed was… well, Reed. Kiima, of course, would be wherever the child was. Jean had always said the woman liked to earn her keep.
"Saffron?" Susan prodded again as the child stayed on his knees in front of the graves.
"Do you think mommy and daddy will come back someday?" Saffron looked up hesitantly with trusting eyes to his newest caretaker.
"Oh, honey." Susan hugged the boy tightly as she tried to stop herself from crying. If only it was ever that easy. The boy sensed her answer and sagged softly into her embrace, burying his head in the crook of her arms.
It was about time for them to go now. Hopefully the children would be able to cheer up the little guy. She looked back once more to the gravestones of his two parents.
SHE WILL RISE AGAIN
Then she looked to Ranma's own tombstone.
THE BEST MARTIAL ARTIST IN THE WORLD
Susan allowed a silent tear to drop before she flew up to the Fantasticar
'I'll take care of him, I promise.'
Ending Ost: Dearly Beloved by Ama Lee
AN: Both of my Editors said this was a tear jerker. Was it? Anyway, this was one of thing I felt Ranma had to do before he became a Superhero in my eye. He's already a hero we know that, but a superhero? No he'd have to die for that honor. Cause most X-Men and Marveldom go through it.
I did give the warning feel free to disregard this if you cannot reconcile it with Homo Superior as this was Event Level so had a different tone. IN fact I would credit House of M as the driving force that changed the entire tone of the Marvel universe.
I hope those that have no idea what house of M is, now know why that thing i mention in the Broken Future Arc was heh not a throw away.
AS for this fic itself, sure i could have FLESH it out, but I am not Marvel, I simply cannot release every single aspect of House of M and it's changes. So I just went with a tight focus. In this case, Ranma. A one shot really. But yeah I think this is good enough and I put enough info in there for people to make educated guesses on what the House of M world was like for Ranma.
As always C+C welcome, reviews Appreciated!
THanks you all for liking Homo Superior as much as you did!