thanks for all the feedback on this story! Here's the rewrite. i may toss this Skysabre's way for inclusion in his 'Mirrors Multiplied' just to have a virtuous Genma there, providing contrast to the other ones. And this Genma could clean their clocks, too...
Note that Larry F has taken this over and is producing a version that is a bit different.
The large headed individual intoned solemnly. "I am Uatu, known to some as The Watcher."
A relatively shorter being blinked at this. "No, you're not. You're Toltiir using a puppet."
The large headed individual paused and a really big cartoon anvil came down on the critic.
An arm poked out from underneath the anvil and waved. "And they did it better on that Star Trek episode, too. 'Corbomite Maneuver' or some such."
Another anvil came down, forcing the first anvil even further into the ground.
The large headed individual paused, then gave a totally out-of-character grin before settling back into his role. "Ahem, I am Uatu, the Watcher of Worlds, and among the time lines are many where Genma Saotome sold his child. Sold him to gypsies, sold him for two fish and a pickle, sold him to an okonomiyaki chef, or sold him to the Nymphomaniac Amazons of Planet Playtex."
Toltiir blinked at that, pulled a cue card out of nowhere, confirmed that this was indeed what it said, then shrugged and went on. The card he tossed off to the right where it sliced into a Sopwith Camel, causing the beagle flying it to curse the stupid cat. Toltiir then turned back to manipulating his puppet.
"And yet, things could have been different. Originally, Genma Saotome's scruples and any moral fiber were destroyed while slaving underneath the evil Master Happosai!" (in this timeline, at least. In some he and Soun studied under Happosai because the other senseis promised hard work. If only they'd known.)
"...now I am the Master, Genma!" said a little black-armored Happosai marionette hanging from the Watcher's right hand.
"Only a Master of Lingerie!" a little robed Genma marionette countered, hanging from the left hand.
"Well, I _do_ have my priorities," admitted the chibi-Happosai before the two puppets were banished back to stuffspace.
From underneath two anvils, the demon raged. "Would you just bloody get on with it? Besides, Takahashi owns the Ranma 1/2 concepts, Marvel Comics owns the Watcher and the 'What If' title, and the anvils are on loan from Warner Brothers. Least you can do is come up with a different take on it."
A third anvil dropped down with a mighty clang, causing all three to become buried in the ground.
"So WHAT IF instead of Genma being an amoral, lying, thieving, stinking, misbegotten excuse for a father, he'd rebelled against the depravity and immoral behavior of his former master? What if he chose instead to become as UNLIKE Happosai as he possibly could?"
RANMA 1/2: GENMA ASCENDANT
Genma went into the little Shrine, head bowed and feeling miserable. He tugged on the rope, being answered by the clatter of the bells overhead. In the customary manner, he clapped his hands three times before bowing his head.
"Hear me, o spirits of this shrine. Today I have stolen again. One thing different has occurred though, and now I find myself wondering if perhaps I . . . "
Genma started and stopped again. Not that he believed that any spirits or anything were listening, but it was a way to sort this out in his mind. "I was running out of the village with a load of food and clothing over my shoulder, and one of the villagers yelled out that he recognized me. That I was a servant of the thief Happosai.
"I needed food! But, to think that I could resemble the Demon was enough to enrage me. Then to shame me. Have I become like the Master? Have I followed his road too long?"
The image came, of Genma chuckling at the absurdity of the notion, and walking back to his camp. From there he'd get drunk, eventually meet and marry Nodoka - whose idea of a manly man was very similar to Happosai, and Genma would go on to raise his young son in a rather bizarre manner.
A cat chuckled Somewhere as a second ghostly image of a Genma who sat and took the idea seriously began to firm. "Well then," said Genma after a few minutes of contemplation. "Remembering what hell he put me through, I'll just have to make sure that doesn't happen. I REFUSE to be ANYTHING like the Master! Instead I shall surpass him in every way save his
perversity. Let the Anything Goes style stand for something besides debauchery and panty raids!"
Lightning crackled and a stiff wind blew through what had been still air a moment ago. The last rays of the sun seemed to spotlight down on the old cabinet at the back of the shrine.
"A fine oath," said a gruff voice.
Genma jumped slightly at the voice. Someone had managed to sneak up on HIM?!
It was the shrine's priest from the look of him. The man seemed to look deep into Genma's soul and find much he disliked, but there was a flame burning there now. Yes, there was a chance.
"As I said, a fine oath. If you can walk that path, you will always be welcome at the Masaki Shrine."
"It is my intention." Genma stared back for a moment. "How would be the difficult thing. The training I've had at the hands of the Master was not conducive to a path of virtue."
A ghost of a smile played on the old man's face. "Well then, perhaps there's a chance you can stay the night, then we could speak of many things."
"Many things?" Genma repeated uncertainly. There were certainly many things that he had gone through both before and after meeting Happosai that he never wanted to hear from another person.
"Of virtue and honor, of heroism and glory, of life and death and what comes after. Of bushido and of the Code of the Shih or Chinese Martial Artists. Of rebirth and salvation."
Genma nodded. At least it would get him indoors before the rains hit, and maybe the priest's ramblings would give him an idea on how to proceed in this new path.
By the end of the second day, he had become good friends with Achika and Nobuyuki.
Three years after Genma had left the Masaki Shrine, he found his wanderings had taken him afar. From Japan to the jungles of Thailand, from the streets of Hong Kong to the villages of the Hopi. From the temples of Tibet to a Chinese village of women warriors, where he could consult with the Elders.
"What do you seek here, far from your homeland, outsider male?" A tough-looking, heavily scarred woman demanded of Genma near where an old woman blinked owlishly from atop her cane.
"I seek the wisdom of your Elders."
"Why should we help some Jap scum..." The scarred woman stopped unleashing the old animosity between the Chinese and the Japanese. (It had been around for centuries, and WWII had not served to heal those wounds.) A simple glare from the woman standing on her own cane was sufficient to stop the woman from speaking further. In fact, from where Genma could see, it looked as if the woman were trying hard not to breathe. A serjeant or something similar, Genma
guessed from the reaction, one who had just discovered the General's eye upon her.
The old woman regarded Genma briefly. "What wisdom do you seek here, among the Joketsuzoku? And how would you pay for it?"
Genma frowned slightly. He knew enough of this that he knew that money was NOT the form of payment, not that he had much anyway. They'd ask for services of some kind, but what? "I seek
to put horrors of my past behind me. I seek to walk a path of virtue and enlightenment. I seek to know how to improve myself beyond my Master's teachings. I shall pay any reasonable cost you name. In particular, I seek knowledge of the Saint Technique."
Cologne blinked and translated this for the crowd that gathered. Finally she regarded Genma again. "You seek something very old and not known to many. We shall have to discuss this, wait and you will be sent for."
A year passed before Genma left again, having worked for that year under the Amazons. It had been a harsh time, full of hard physical labor. Not all of which had been unpleasant. This time, however, he was not alone.
The mother, as sometimes occurred within the Amazons, had decided to relinquish the son's custody to his father. With a daughter, this would not have been done, but *was* done sometimes with male offspring. Especially in the cases where no formal challenge, defeat, or marriage had been issued. No, simply two lonely people coming together on a cold night in the mountains. Such is life.
Cue: Raiders of the Lost Ark soundtrack A montage of scenes passed in the scrying field.
Genma carrying the bundled baby into a hidden Tibetan monastary./Genma hacking his way through deep jungle foliage, followed by a small boy./Genma swinging over a deep gorge, a little boy catching it and swinging after his father./Genma re-entering the Amazon Village, and presenting the little boy to his dying mother./The boy learning martial arts from his great
grandmother and playing with his purple-haired cousin./The boy surrounded by books in an English
library while Genma discussed matters of importance with some official-looking fellows./
cue: violins begin to play, a more sadly sweet manner.
/An okonomiyaki cart, where an engagement is refused. A tale of a dead mother and a dying father, leaving a child alone and unloved is sufficient that cart and child are quickly adopted. Two children and their father, travelling across Japan and China./ An eleven year old boy, challenging the Elders for his birthright as an Amazon. Three Trials that he succeeds
at. Acceptence into the tribe, though he could not stay./A cousin of sorts, curious from her half-Japanese relative's tales of adventure, sneaks away to join the group./
cue: '60s Batman theme
/A masked martial artist, tall and strong, biffs and bams his way through a crowd of Faceless Minions. At his sides, doing the same, is a young masked boy, a masked girl who has substituted her spatula for a bo staff, and a masked girl with long purple hair./ A scarred man, holding a hand over one eye, swearing vengeance against the two whose masks have become dislodged during the fight (Genma & Ranma). Genma shaking hands with Detective Le of the Hong Kong Harbor Police. He and the detective sweatdrop as the three kids behind them go into a "sentai group pose."/
cue: James Bond music
/ In snow covered mountains, with a blonde girl about the same age as the others. All four parachuting down, with black parachutes, into some installation with an odd radar dish./ Shampoo, Ukyou, Melissa, and Ranma looking alarmed at Genma, who has just pushed a button
on the wall. All five begin running as a really big round rock begins rolling down the corridor at them./
cue: Star Wars music
/Genma leaving Shampoo and Ukyou at the Amazon Village, before Ranma & his father leave alone again./At the controls of the plane, while the pilot watches with amusement as Ranma starts studying the controls and instruments./Joining a noble cause and opposing a tyrant, just because it is the right thing to do, surrounded by partisans./A small crowd of soldiers in a mountaintop villa, preparing to execute the last group of the rebels and a dark haired girl, being interrupted as an attack helicopter sweeps up from behind the mountain. A grinning Ranma is shown behind the controls./Victory, with a much smaller group of partisans, their arms raised in victory in a blasted out villa that freedom was at last theirs. A dark haired girl seems to be hanging close to Ranma./
The rain came down in a drizzle as they entered the village. Genma seperated from Ranma almost instantly. Even though he had lived here, even though Ranma was now accepted, Genma was still considered an outsider by most. Not all, as many accepted him. In fact, one reason Genma had to make himself scarce in the village was that he kept getting challenged. Genma was strong, well known as a gentle and virtuous soul, and had a reputation as a strong martial artist. If he
didn't make himself scarce, he'd find himself married again before long.
The first thing Ranma did, of course, was try to look up his old friends.
"Who? Oh, it's you, Mousse. Have you seen Ucchan or Shamchan?"
"For Shampoo's hand, I challenge you to a duel!"
"Are you nuts or somethin'? Shampoo's my second cousin, sorta." Actually Ranma wasn't sure what a translation of the relationship was. Cousin was the usual term used. "Shouldn't you be challenging her, or her legal guardian at least?"
"Enough! Are you a man or aren't you?"
"Geez, Mousse, what flew up your butt? I know we've never gotten along, but still. . ."
"You'll meet me at the Cursed Springs in a half hour, or you'll never see your friend Ucchan or my Shampoo again."
"YOU?!" Ranma stared at Mousse's ally and tried to picture how this could have happened. He'd only been twelve when their paths had crossed the last time.
"You and your father have caused me considerable problems, boy." The middle aged man flicked a cigarette stub away. "This is where you get paid back in full."
"Where's Ucchan and Shampoo?" Ranma's eyes swept the area, not spotting them anywhere nearby. There was only the small hut where they could have been held out of the late evening chill.
"Your sister and cousin are safe, for the moment, boy." Scarumanga sneered at the boy before him. In the deepening shadows, the tsuba tied as an eyepatch was an dark blob on the pale face. "Do you know how much embarrassment you caused me, boy? The oyabun was not pleased. However, if I bring you in front of him as a new pet, he may relent and restore me to my previous position."
"It was your own doing," Ranma pointed out. "Me and Pop were hired by one of the parents of the missing girls. Pachinko, minor gambling, the occasional robbery are all tolerated by the police from the Yakuza. Going off on your own initiative with a slave ring, that pushed the boundaries."
"Enough talk, get up there and fight." Scarumanga pointed to where Mousse rested easily on one of the poles.
"How do I know Shampoo and Ucchan are okay?"
Scarumanga whistled. A movement on a clifftop brought Ranma's attention to it. Two figures,
surrounded by four others.
"Don't worry, they're alive. Just drugged."
Ranma nodded, probably the same stuff that had been used on the girls that Scarumanga had been involved with earlier. He didn't even glance at the pocket of his vest that had the transceiver. "Okay, now get them back away from the edge of the cliff, whatever you're planning doesn't concern them."
"No profit in hurting them, true." Scarumanga whistled twice and the figures disappeared. "Now, get your a$$ up there, little boy."
Grumbling slightly, Ranma removed his shoes before leaping to the top of one of the bamboo poles. "So, I'm supposed to fight Mousse like this? This ain't so bad, I've seen similar setups in Thailand and Okinawa."
Scarumanga grinned. "Why do you think they call it the 'Cursed Springs'?"
Ranma shrugged, paying less attention to Scarumanga than to Mousse who was taking a 'Crane'
stance. Mousse had some fair strength and speed, but it had been a few years since Ranma had faced him in combat. Mousse had always resented this overachieving youth to be so friendly with 'his Shampoo' and apparently time had not made the heart grow fonder.
Mousse leapt to the attack, using his long legs to good effect with a series of kicks.
Ranma dodged and flipped, noting that the uneven spacing of the poles made judging distances a little difficult.
Mousse continued to press the attack until Ranma was on a particular pole. "Now, Saotome, our rivalry is OVER!" From the right sleeve of his robe erupted the expected stream of chains. From the left came a submachine gun spitting a hail of bullets.
It had been a long day. Ranma had been hiking, running along mountain trails, and had desperately wanted nothing more than catching up on old times with his friends and relaxing in a hot bath. He would have anticipated spears or chains from Mousse. Guns, which would have been unthinkable for Mousse a few years ago, were completely beyond what Ranma would have expected.
Caught by surprise, Ranma still nearly made it to another pole. His hand clawed the air within an inch of salvation. Another moment and he'd have been able to get out of the field of fire, another inch and he'd have had that moment. A bullet slammed into his chest instead.
Oddly enough, his thought as he fell was not of himself or how much this would hurt. He was instead apologizing to Shampoo and Ukyou for failing them.
Mousse smiled in triumph. Shampoo and that sister of his were always going on about how wonderful or how special Ranma was. Mousse had even snuck into Shampoo's room once to find that HIS future bride had a scrapbook of Saotome's adventures and photographs! Now Shampoo would be his!
"...Shampoo will be mine at last."
Shampoo kept her eyes closed as she slowly regained consciousness. It took all her will not to react when she realized that she had just been handed to Mousse and that he had cupped one of her breasts as he took her from these drug users. No doubt by accident, though he _had_ been getting awfully pushy lately.
"What about this Ranma, boss?" A gruff voice speaking in Ranma's native language. Shampoo had picked some of it up from his sister Ukyou.
"Little Miss Saotome will be no problem. Make sure that she's paralyzed but conscious, then 'play' with her a bit. In fact, you've all done so well, why don't you pass her around a couple times?"
"Gee, thanks boss."
"You dirty bastards, if I could get loose. . ."
"Look, Saotome, see that pan over there? You and your dad are into experiments, ain't ya? Well, I've thought about this ever since I heard about these 'Cursed Springs of Jusenkyo.' You fell into Spring of Drowned Girl, so now cold water turns you from an annoying boy to a pretty young girl. Hot water turns you back. Since the Spring you fell into was a cold one, it might be reasonably assumed that this is why it is cold water that activates the curse, right?"
"Yeah, I get it. So you're heating up some of the Girl water so that you can lock me into this form. Cheez, don't you ever tire of this crap, Scarumanga? What is it with you and the slave trader routine?"
"It's a highly lucrative business, girl. Carries plenty of side benefits, and the finished product is in high demand in a number of locations. Even 'as is' you could be sold to a Thai brothel or cage-bar, where you'd be strung out on so many drugs even you wouldn't know your own name. The really high prices go to the 'trained' models, though. If the oyabun doesn't want
you, hell, I may have my friends put you through their training regimen and then keep you myself."
"Go to Hell, Scarumanga."
Scarumanga smiled a cruel little smile. "You'll be there far ahead of me, girl."
Shampoo finished figuring out the opposition and the situation. Two men with guns, one near her, one further away. Three without guns. Mousse was setting her down on the ground. Ukyou was silent, probably still unconscious. Ranma was over there, bound from the sound of it. Her cousin was now a girl and about to become permanently a member of the warrior gender.
Shampoo waited until she could be sure of when to move. She had other plans for cousin Ranma that required that he remain a he at least part time. So did his "sister" but that could be settled later.
"Hey boss, this Cursed Springwater stuff?"
"If it hits you on the outside, your outside changes, right? This boy got turned into a girl, but he still THINKS like a boy so his insides ain't changed, right?"
"Yes, Tiny," Scarumanga sounded weary.
"So if you got this Cursed Water stuff INSIDE 'em, would it change them inside as well as out?"
There was a sudden pause going through the group.
"Hmmm," Scarumanga hmmed. "Tiny, for a moron, you're a genius."
"Gee, thanks, boss. I think..."
"Let's try this out, first. Drill?"
The unsavory type with the leer nodded, uncapped a small flask, then turned on Mousse and threw it. A moment later Mousse found herself lifted and pinned by Tiny.
"What the hell are you doing?! We had a deal!"
"C'mon, kid, we've got to try this idea out, and you ain't going to be able to rejoin your village with the girl there. I promised you a place in our organization, remember? Well..." Scarumanga chuckled. "The Red Lantern district has some openings. Hey, kid, we're VILLAINS. You make a deal with the devil, you better expect the contract to undergo renovation halfway through the job."
Heated Cursewater was poured over Mousse's head. That she remained a she was duly noted by everyone watching.
"Well, that's one theory. I wonder how your girlfriend feels about same sex pairings." Scarumanga nodded to a subordinate.
"Damnit, stop this right now, or..." Mousse learned the hard way that trying to yell meant that you had to open your mouth, and this was not the smartest thing to be doing at the moment. She spit and choked but Yag held Mousse's nose while forcing a bottle into her mouth.
Shampoo chanced opening her eyes a slit, noticed the gun-wielders weren't paying attention and did what came natural. The ones with the guns were the most dangerous, so they were the target of choice.
"Hiyaaaah!" Her foot imbedded itself into Drill's solar plexus, compressing that area by nearly inch.
A gun started swinging up to cover her, but a spear ended that attempt. The lack of attention of those with guns had been duly noted by other eyes. The Amazons descended in force, having been listening to Genma's transceiver.
During the fight, Scarumanga fled using a smokebomb to cover his exit.
Tiny proved that while he was an idiot, he wasn't completely hopeless, and he surrendered after being surrounded by a lot of women with very sharp objects. He ended up being a slave-farmer, and though often verbally abused and struck by the women (at least at first) - it was still better than he was used to.
Yag, on the other hand, tried to use butterfly knives to cut his way to freedom. He met with Spring Of Drowned Pigeon a few moments later. Yag later discovered that a number of Amazons practiced the ancient art of falconry.
Mousse was still coughing up water, but the looks she was being given were enough to indicate that the girl was going to have a very hard time in front of the Elders later.
A week later, Ranma found himself back in Japan. It was drizzling again, however the umbrella was quite sufficient for the task. "Are you sure about this, father? The Guide says that it only takes a year for the Curse to stabilize enough for me to use the 'Spring Of Drowned Man' and change back for good."
Genma nodded, but was proud of how Ranma took the curse more-or-less in stride. Even now, with quite obvious reservations about the task in front of them, he reasoned calmly and clearly. He had done well in raising his son. Happosai could never have managed such a feat.
"This is it," Genma winced as a car went by and water flew everywhere. A quick glance revealed his daughter sighing, eyes closed, and allowing herself a quick grumble about the only car in sight and of course it would have to splash her. "Well, I'm sure they'll have hot water at least."
The knocking door brought a girl with short hair in a kimono out. "Oooo. Are you Ranma?"
"Yeah, kinda. Sorry, but I just got splashed. Got any hot water? Please?"
"Saotome, my old friend. You look well."
"Soun, you're looking fairly well yourself." Genma motioned. "May we? The weather keeps turning chilly and this drizzle is most uncomfortable."
"This is Ranma!" Soun grabbed the short boy. "Oh, at last, you've come! It's so good to finally meet you! I..."
"Hot water, please," repeated Ranma as Soun Tendo let him go.
"What? What? You..." Soun backed away with a shocked expression.
Nabiki frowned and gave one of the odd bulges in Ranma's shirt a squeeze.
"I'd *really* appreciate some hot water. Please?" Ranma closed her eyes. "And can you please not do that."
Nabiki squeezed and checked the shape and firmness. Confirming what she thought that was. She flicked along the top. "'He' is a girl." No bra either.
"I told you we should have waited. Would *someone* please get me some hot water?"
"There's hot water in the furo," said Nabiki, upset by all this. Why did this girl keep talking about getting hot water? Why did Daddy arrange one of his girls to marry another girl? Nabiki felt the situation was out of her control, and she hated that!
"Actually, I can explain." Genma sighed. This was not going nearly how he planned it. Things had seemed so simple all those years ago.
"Well, at least THAT nonsense is over with," another girl said. "I'd better go show that girl where the bath things are."
"Oh my, father must be so disappointed."
"HE'S disappointed! Some fiance that was!"
"As I said, I can explain..."
"This is all your fault, Daddy, you should have made sure!"
"But Saotome said he had a son!"
"I DO have a son. Let me explain, you see..."
"Some son, she's a C cup!"
"It's quite simple, really..."
"aaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" The youngest girl ran by, grabbed a table, and prepared to run back the way she came.
"What NOW, Akane?" Nabiki rubbed her head. What a horrible day this was turning out to be.
"I was going to wash off while I was in there, but there's a pervert in the bathtub!"
"So, shouldn't you have just beaten him up?"
"I got scared, okay?!"
"Uhm, excuse me." Ranma stepped forward, bowing slightly in apology. "I'm really sorry about..."
There was an opening. Akane was a trained martial artist. She took the opening. The table impacted the young man rather suddenly and brutally.
Genma sighed. Well, there were still other possibilities. Shampoo had declared her interest. Ukyou was quite obviously not satisfied with her relationship to Ranma as a sister. He had gotten along well with Ami over in Juuban when they'd gone to the same juku. There was Melissa in London, Sasha of the Norwegian Amazons, and a few others that Ranma had seemed to hit it off with. There was even that young woman who was now at the Palace, a girl of the rebels that had fought alongside Ranma during that year with the partisans. If the Tendo arrangement was unworkable, then he was sure that Ranma could find someone he could be happy with. It would at least satisfy some of these problems if Ranma were already married or at least seriously
engaged, and if his son could have a happy marriage, well - that would make Genma happy as well.
Genma started explaining the curse to the three girls and their father. How Ranma had been trying to save a friend's life when he'd gotten cursed. How in a year, there was a chance that he could enter the waters of another spring and be cured of his curse.
Seeing some disbelief, Genma demonstrated on the unconscious Ranma then got directions to the kitchen so that he could fix some hot water.
"Ungh. Why me?" Ranma began to stir. "Oh crap, I'm a girl again? When did that happen?"
"You were cursed while you were trying to save your friends?" Kasumi felt some sympathy, this never happened in her romance manga. Well, hardly ever.
"Yeah, my cousin and my sister." Ranma groaned as she moved to a sitting position. "Oh man, what hit me?"
Genma walked in with a kettle and quickly returned his daughter to being his son.
"Cold water turns you into a girl, but hot water restores you?" Soun nodded. "Well, that's not so bad. The life of a martial artist is fraught with peril."
"Tell me about it," murmurred Genma and Ranma in eerie unison.
Soun motioned towards where all three girls were standing and looking dubiously at the new boy. "My daughter Kasumi, she's nineteen. My daughter Nabiki, she's seventeen. My daughter Akane, she's sixteen. Pick the one you want, she'll be your new fiancee."
"Akane seems the wisest choice," Kasumi said. Momentary panic at the thought of being engaged to someone who spent even part of the same time as the same gender caused Kasumi to say something she'd later regret.
"Couldn't agree more," said Nabiki as she got behind her youngest sister.
"ME?! Why should I!"
"Uhm, you needn't act like I'm a leper, y'know," Ranma mumbled. "It's not contagious."
"Because you hate boys, Akane." Nabiki nodded and continued with the pressure, shoving Akane towards Ranma. Akane wasn't having anything to do with it and was digging her feet in.
"Well, you're in luck, Akane. Ranma is half girl."
"You know, this does wonders for my self esteem," Ranma said softly to his father. "This was almost as good an idea as that 'I wonder what *this* button does' crap."
"Me? Marry that pervert? NO WAY!"
"EXCUSE ME!" Ranma began to raise his voice. Being polite was obviously not being considered by anyone else at the moment. "Would you care to explain that pervert crack?"
"You looked at me in the nude, you lech!"
Feeling at least a little satisfaction that he wasn't being ignored, Ranma continued trying to be reasonable. "If you would recall, I clearly placed the Occupied sign out and my clothes were left in the changing room. Since you walked in on me, wouldn't that indicate..."
"It's different when a girl sees a boy! PERVERT! PEEPING TOM!"
"They're already a perfect couple," laughed Soun Tendo.
Ranma stared at Mister Tendo, wondering exactly where this perfect couple was.
"Well..." Genma winced. It sounded like Soun was really set on this idea after all.
"Father, this obviously will not work out. Since the limo's in the area anyway, I'll just give them a call and we can be done with this." Ranma half turned to his father. "This girl hates me already, and for inadequate reason. The other two quite obviously want nothing to do with me. I can go back to college tomorrow anyway."
"Limo," repeated Nabiki. She stopped pushing Akane forward.
"College?" Kasumi looked up and blinked.
"Leaving?" Soun blinked.
"Good riddance! Pervert!" Akane was furious. They were going to engage her to this shapechanging pervert! And he wouldn't even look at her when she had come in!
"Yes, well, Ranma," Genma sighed. "Soun and I made this pledge while we were serving under a horrible Master, to join the two houses. It was a dream that kept us going through some dark times."
"That's right, the houses MUST be joined. It is a matter of honor."
"Is it honor to inflict a lifetime of misery upon your daughters?" Ranma shrugged. "Besides, Father, there are other claims at least the equal of that."
"WHAT?! Genma, what is the meaning of this?"
"Political alliances, rich & powerful, that sort of thing," Genma sighed. Life used to be so simple.
"Limo?" Nabiki repeated again, wanting confirmation. "Rich? Powerful? Political alliances?"
"You needn't worry, Miss Tendo. I'll have the driver pull up in front of the house and we can leave, and we need never darken your door again. We only walked because I really didn't want to waste their resources on something so. . . mundane."
"Excuse me?" Nabiki watched as Ranma pulled out a flip-style cellular phone. Nabiki noted that it was one of those watertight shockproof models with a GPS display. A counter with a yen sign started to flash numbers up over her head.
"Reginald? Ranma. Can you bring the limo by? We won't be staying after all." Ranma sounded vaguely surprised at the other's answer. "You're *that* close? No wonder you were so valuable to Her Majesty's Service, you must be psychic."
Kasumi excused herself to go see this.
"What about our pledge?!" Soun started to bawl.
"Well, there are others with claims too. And some have more ramifications than just two families, as I said." Genma looked uncomfortable. "Since none of your daughters are willing, we'll just have to go to the next claim."
"Oh my, such a big car."
Ranma shrugged and looked a little embarrassed. "Wasn't my idea. After all, the money could be better invested in a wide variety of ways."
"Money?" Nabiki blinked, scooting in front of Akane to ask of Ranma's back as he left the house. Any attempt to foist this boy-turning-into-a-girl thing off on her sister was quickly being relegated to the Really Bad Ideas stack. "What kind of money are we talking about?"
Akane opened her mouth to protest this engagement further (fully expecting that if it came to a choice, she'd be chosen, after all neither Nabiki nor Kasumi could get a date whereas she had to fight her way through hormone-crazed idiots every morning) when she realized she was alone in the house. Shrugging, she happily went back to the bathroom. At least she'd gotten out of this engagement thing.
"But the pledge..." Soun bawled, a river of tears forming.
"It isn't that big a car, Kasumi, though it *is* a Mercedes." The numbers on the Yen counter were now whirling around at high speed and Nabiki didn't want to look at it. She took a good look at the boy instead and *really* started to regret trying to palm him off on Akane. Tall, nicely muscled, looked like he had a really good diet while growing up, his little leather
vest with all the pockets looked good over his embroidered Chinese shirt and matched his pants quite well.
"Even then, it's the property of the Embassy. Still, you'd think something more economical would be more prudent." Ranma sighed at the waste of so many resources. "If we go straight to the airport, I can start the pre-flight inspection on our jet immediately and we can be in New England by tomorrow, and I can register at M.I.T. before it gets much later."
"Economical? Prudent? *EMBASSY?*" Nabiki frowned, she felt like she was a page behind in the script. "You have your own jet? M.I.T.?!" The Yen counter's speed was a blur.
"Saotome? How did you get wealthy?"
"Oh, we helped some rebel forces put down a tyrannic despot, managed to save one of the Royal Family, discovered that there were mineral desposits that nobody had correctly identified." Ranma snorted, and some people had thought that his geology courses had been wasted. They didn't think that now, of course.
"Rebels. Waitaminute, not?!" Nabiki felt faint, she'd read about this. A small mountain nation where a battle had taken place and the vastly outnumbered rebel forces (that should have been wiped out without even being a historical footnote) had somehow succeeded in retaking their country from some organization called Shadowlaw. The nation had changed its name, there was
one of the war heroes designated as the next Heir, and *diamonds* had been discovered on this relatively worthless rock by that same war hero. She licked suddenly dry lips. "Would that be The Grand Duchy Of Fenwick?"
"You've heard of us?" Genma looked embarrassed. "I told them, no reward was necessary, but I suppose the symbolism was good for the people."
Ranma paused at the door of the limo, looking embarrassed. Talking about his problems was just so self-indulgent, he hated being the center of attention like this. "And I keep tellin' 'em, invest in the infrastructure and bring the standard of living up, but they keep pulling stuff like this. Like anybody listens to the Heir anyway, it's just a damn figurehead position."
Nabiki paused, finger up. A little voice started going over the economic projections she'd seen for the Grand Duchy of Fenwick (more yen than the Bank of Tokyo) and the counter came crashing down over her head at the end, now reading "*and you blew it, you dummy!*"
Kasumi caught Nabiki before her little sister hit the ground. "Oh my."
"Well, father?" Ranma looked askance at Genma as they settled into the back seat and the chauffer headed towards their plane.
"I *had* hopes, but as you pointed out, his daughters just would not be happy with an arranged marriage. Too bad." Genma sulked a bit. After their little adventure, they couldn't set foot in the Amazon Village again. Not because they were unwelcome, quite the opposite in fact. They'd narrowly escaped having a large number of Amazons splitting up and piling over the two. "Well, maybe something will turn up."
"You're such an optimist, father." Ranma smirked and leaned back. He wasn't entirely unhappy with the situation. After all, now he could concentrate on important things. Like college.
Nabiki blinked, raised her head, saw the limo disappearing down the street, and screamed.
"WAIT! WAIT! WAIT!"
"That's the way, Nabiki!" Soun called encouragement to the daughter vanishing down the
street, running after the Saotomes. "Go fetch your fiance!"
"Oh my." Kasumi smiled. "I don't think I've ever seen Nabiki run that quickly before." And in a kimono too. Kasumi thought for a moment about English style castles, large and elaborate kitchens, and what it would be like to live in such a large home. Well, if he were in college, he wasn't *that* young. Probably headed to Narita Airport, so...
Kasumi went into the house and calmly called a cab. She had not been a proper hostess and she could insist on the two giving her a second chance.
Well, this was just a brief thing, a quickfic looking at a What If. A moral and intelligent Genma? Ranma and Genma basically taking Jonny Quest style roles, or Indiana Saotome & Son. A brief stint where brother, sister, and cousin go on a "training journey" and do a brief appearance as sentai-style martial artist heroes. (Hmmm. Genma wearing White (Virtuous). Ranma as Red. Ukyou as Blue. Shampoo as Pink or Yellow. Science Ninja Team Pandaman?) Note that Genma doesn't get cursed but maybe if the outfit he put together quickly had a panda symbol or something. Mousse doesn't turn into a duck, and Shampoo doesn't turn into a cat.
Cologne's rather pleased with the abilities and progress of her occasional pupil, even though he's a male. He might be a male, but Cologne feels that Ranma could possibly redeem the gender. A little bit.
The reason the Amazon mother passes on is because this was meant to be a *short* fic and focussing on a virtuous Genma.
No Catfist and he doesn't quite have that edge in the martial arts like in the canon. Canon Ranma vs this version: the longer the fight lasts, the more an advantage this Ranma would be at. He's a lot more used to employing his gray matter. Canon Ranma's stronger and more determined, this one is more intellectually oriented and more apt to find a noncombative solution.
Not that this Ranma's a slouch. He starts out knowing the Chestnut Fist.
Ranma has less official fiancees but a *lot* more interested parties. How many? Dozens. There are political alliances and the like to consider. Shampoo's *very* interested in cousin Ranma. Ukyou's not satisfied with being Ranma's sister, and never has been satisfied with that arrangement. There's Melissa Bond, a lively young London girl who is reminded of her father's good qualities in this Ranma fellow. There's Sasha, a member of the Norwegian Amazons (a split off from the Chinese variety).
Why would any girl be interested in this version of Ranma? After all, he's not the canon Ranma. Well, he's not a Walking Ego, he's virtuous, he's intelligent, he's wealthy and in a position of political power, he's better built because of his diet growing up so taller and more muscular, he knows special manuevers. . . He's also not interested at the moment. Too much he has yet to learn.
He considers Shampoo a good friend, if a little obsessive. Ucchan's his sister. He doesn't see any of the women in his life as a romantic lead. For one thing, they're all too violent.
OMAKE OMAKE OMAKE OMAKE_
"What is this, another Bet fic?" Akane snorted as she looked through the script. "So what is it this time? Do I pull out a gun and shoot the pervert in the tub?"
"Well, if it's a Bet fic, at least I get to say something besides 'Oh my' and act like my brain was shut down from the cleaning fumes." Kasumi reached for another chocolate Pocky stick. "Because some writers base on the end of the manga instead of the beginning, the only thing left of Nabiki or my personalities is the most outstanding traits-turned-cariacture. You know what
would happen if the same thing were applied to you, Akane. The 'psycho-b*tch effect'."
"I'd get to be interested in a few things in addition to money, and it's nice to be able to stretch your role some. Just a moment, Akane. Ah, let's see." Nabiki adjusted her glasses. "WHAT IF Genma, after having been put through Hell by Happosai's training, had decided to become as unlike Happosai as he could?"
"Well, admittedly, THAT would be different," Shampoo shrugged and sat back as she looked over her script. "Oh hell, I show up only briefly, and that's as a 'damsel in distress'?"
"Better you than me," retorted Akane. "Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. I am *so* tired of all the stories where I get kidnapped by some magical prince or other. Why can't I be the one to be the knight come charging in to do the rescue?"
"Out of character," answered Ukyou, Nabiki, and Shampoo simultaneously.
"There was that once you saved him from Kodachi," Kasumi reminded Akane, frowning as she read her script. Maybe she ought to pencil in a few changes. She knew the author would be amenable if it came from her...
"Besides, that was your role in that 'Off Your Noodle' story, which was dropped because of initial response to the idea of Kaori Daikokuji winning that race." Kasumi stirred her coffee with her chocolate stick absently as she read through. "Oh my. Ukyou is Ranma's sister?"
"Gak!" Ukyou spit beer as she took in her own scene. "Oh, sorry, Akane. I never even wake up during the one scene I appear?! Excepting the montage scene? Phooey. That's worse than the Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne fusion!"
"He's rich, intelligent, not that great a fighter, built better, and going to college." Kasumi flipped through to the end. "And it's *not* a 'Kasumi gets Ranma' story? Pity, I'd at least get some good lines."
Everyone flicked back to the last page.
"That isn't necessarily a given, Kasumi. I got good lines and parts in 'Future Tense' and the 'Cat Scratch Fever' revision. Not that anyone noticed." Akane made a dismissing gesture. "At least in this one I get what I want - to be left alone!"
"I think it should be a 'Nabiki gets Ranma' story, after all, he's rich here and knows the value of money. Just imagine how well I could manage a newly wealthy nation's money." Nabiki smirked and regarded the group over the tops of her glasses. "After all, if I didn't maintain some interest in money, everyone would be screaming 'OOC' no matter what my motivational base was."
"I think it should be a 'Shampoo gets Ranma' story. See here, he's been accepted into the
Joketsuzoku." Shampoo pointed to a page. "Though I _do_ want to protest the continuing use of the term Amazon. 'Without breasts' indeed! What do they think *these* are?"
"What?" Ukyou looked up with a puzzled expression.
"The Greek phrase 'Amazon' references the practice of the nomad matriachal tribe that Homer wrote of as removing one of their breasts to be better archers," Kasumi said without looking up. "Not something the Joketsuzoku would normally consider."
"Why do I only get Ranma (not that I want him) when he's an arrogant egotistical jerk?"
Everyone else decided to ignore Akane's outburst, rather than get caught up in this argument again.
"I think it should be an 'Ukyou gets Ranma' story, after all maybe his sister could bunk with him at his new college!"
"At least it isn't like that 'Calvin & Hobbes' crossover," sighed Kasumi.
"I don't know, Genma falling into Spring of Drowned Bad Little Boy With Overactive Imagination seemed kind of fitting," Ukyou flipped around in the script. She had to have a spoken line SOMEWHERE! "And the idea of Ranma falling in Spring Of Anthropomorphic
Somewhat Wise But Mainly Affectionate & Playful Tiger has *some* appeal."
"You didn't have Ranma going into Hobbes mode every time he got splashed," Kasumi rubbed her forehead. "I kept getting pounced on by an overly affectionate tiger begging for cookies."
"I kept getting pounced on by an overly affectionate tiger who thought I needed to loosen up and play more." Nabiki sighed and studied at a section of her script. She smiled a little, remembering the tickle wars in that story. Playing the part of the Ice Queen beginning to loosen up under the tiger's antics had been... refreshing.
Akane smirked. "Hey, after I beat the stuffings out of him, he *stopped* pouncing on me and trying to get all perverted. I came out ahead in that one."
"Well, I wouldn't have minded getting pounced on a few times," grumbled Ukyou. "It certainly would have been a change of pace."
Ranma-Hobbes pounced from his position in the shadows. The Tickle Wars were about to resume.