Disclaimer: I don't own the AMG! Series, nor do I own Ranma ½, so Please don't sue me. Please?
The beginning of the end.
In the heavens, beyond what human eyes can perceive, lies the realm of the Kami. Heaven, Asgard, Valhalla, Paradise, Nirvana, call it what you will. But all those names basically mean the same thing: This is where the Gods and Goddesses live. And currently, the foremost of those Gods, was really, really, mad.
Kami-Sama, Lord God of Creation, was watching the life of one Ranma Saotome.
HE was watching Ranma's life; his triumphs, his failures, and all of the abuse heaped upon him. Kami-Sama watched as Ranma's father engaged him to one woman after another, and occasionally men, for no other reason than to produce the greatest fighter in the world. HE watched as they settled down in an area of Japan that once was a breeding ground for lesser demons and evil spirits. He watched as one by one, almost all of Ranma's so-called friends were taken over by the evil energies of the area; making a normally sweet, if a little jealous girl into a raving psycho-bitch, turning a promising young Kendo student who idolized the ancient Samurai into an obsessive nut case. But the greatest injustice was taking one of the most innocent and pure of women, and turning her into a reality-blind house-slave.
And yet, throughout it all, Ranma simply accepted it. He endured all of the abuse, all of the torment, and all of the injustice, because that was the way he was. Ranma may have gotten a little angry from time to time, but it was quickly over and done with. He may have gotten a little jealous from time to time, but that, too, was quickly resolved. Well, Kami-Sama was going to put a stop to that! And he knew just the way to do it, too...
It was a typical day at the Tendo Dojo, Ranma was thrashing Genma, Akane was playing With Ryoga/P-Chan, Kasumi was serving tea, and Nabiki was scheming on how to use all of this for her personal, gain. Ranma and Genma were trading blows faster than the eye could normally see, and throughout all of that, not a word was spoken. Oddly enough, no body commented on this deviation from the norm, too wrapped up in their own delusions to notice. With one final throw, Ranma knocked his oh-so-loving father into the Koi pond, and ended the match.
"Honestly, P-Chan, you'd think that Ranma would have gotten tired of showing off by now." said Akane.
"I ain't showin' off, Akane." responded Ranma, "Just 'cause you can't do the stuff I do don't mean that you can-" The rest of Ranma's statement was abruptly cut off as Akane malleted him into the sky.
"Hmph, that'll show him not to make light of my skills." Akane snorted in her totally unfeminine way.
Ranma was still sailing through the skies when he noticed that his landing zone seemed to be a little... off. It was shimmering, like the road does when it's hot outside, and the shimmer seemed to be following him as he twisted and turned to avoid it.
Resigning himself to being subject to yet, another, Amazon wedding scheme, Ranma began to sub-consciously strengthen his mental and emotional walls. However, when he hit the ground, it seemed to sort of splash around him and he found himself in a completely different area than he expected.
The room, if one could describe it as such, was black on one side, and white on the other. Ranma, himself, stood exactly in the middle of the room, one half in light, the other half in darkness. Aside from the monochromatic color scheme, the room was completely featureless. No doors, no windows, and no light other than what seemed to be ambient.
Before he could take a step, Ranma stiffened and felt two more presences enter the room. They stood on opposite sides, a man on the side of darkness, and a woman on the side of light.
In unison, they spoke, "Hello, Ranma. I'm here to make you an offer."
Ranma, who had been on his guard eve since the road swallowed him up, hadn't relaxed on iota. His suspicions in high gear, he hesitantly responded. "What kinda offer?"
The male figure, shrouded in darkness, answered. "One that will allow you to seek revenge upon those who have wronged you."
The woman bathed in light, responded as well. "An offer that will allow you to completely re-define Honor."
Again, in eerie unison, the spoke. "And all you need to do is accept."
Ranma looked at them, each in turn, weighing and judging based on their respective power levels. The man was far, far more powerful than he, but it all felt tainted and dark. The woman was just as powerful as the man, but strength was of purity, and light. They both were regarding him with half expectant, half eager looks and seemed to be waiting for a response from him.
Ranma decided that more information was needed, before accepting either offer, or flat out refusing both of them. So, he decided to ask them a simple question, and hopefully get a simple answer.
"First of, before I accept either answer, I ain't sayin' I will, mind ya, what are you?"
Both the man and the woman looked a little amused by this question, but chose to answer in complete honesty, each believing that Ranma would choose to go with them.
The woman answered, a small smile upon her lips. "I am a goddess, I strive to help mortals achieve paradise. Accepting my offer will ensure you the position of a God of honor, so speaks Kami-Sama himself."
The man, a cruel smirk twisting his face, looked at Ranma and replied. "I am a Demon, I strive to bring mortals into ruin and despair. Accepting my offer will allow you to become a Demon of revenge, authorized and notated by the Dark prince himself."
Still cautious, Ranma asked them another question.
"What if I refuse both of ya?"
Both the Goddess and the Demon looked a little stunned by this, and answered in a slightly disbelieving tone.
"Umm... well, We Gods and Goddesses would have to accept that answer, to be honest."
"Err... actually, us Demons would more than likely try again and again to get you to accept our offer. But, if you could refuse three times, then we would leave you alone."
"Be aware, though, refuse and you will go right back to where and what you were: a prize being fought over and abused by the ones you trust."
"Can either of you do anything about my curse?" Ranma asked them.
Both figures peered intently at him, as if scrutinizing the very fiber of his being.
"Interesting..." they finally spoke.
"Ranma," the Demon began, "would you like to know why no cures have worked for you?"
"Sure! That'd be great! But it don't mean that I'm accepting yer offer , ya know."
"Of course..." the Demon said, "Anyway, the reason that no cure exists for Jusenkyo is that it actually bonds another soul to the victim's. And because of that, the magic alters the victim's body to accommodate the new soul. So, because of the other soul, you can never be free of Jusenkyo's whims."
Ranma seemed to digest this information for a moment, before reaching a decision.
Looking at both figures in turn, he began to think about his words for a moment before speaking.
"Is there any way to separate us? I mean the other soul and myself. Also, what will she know, as far as I'm concerned?"
The Demon paused for a moment, before responding. "To be honest, I don't know. She could know everything, and be your age, or know nothing, or be reborn as a child, it's hard to say. Honestly, there's only one way to find out. And that's to separate the two of you."
The Goddess decided to put her opinion in at that moment.
"In all fairness, I would suggest that you and her separate, and try living together for a while. See if that doesn't fix a few of your problems, before deciding which, if any, of our offers to decide upon."
Ranma paused and considered her words for a moment, before nodding his head in agreement. "I'll do it. Go ahead and separate us."
The Demon and the Goddess raised their hands, and in unison, began chanting. The Demon in a harsh, guttural tongue and the Goddess in a smooth, silvery one. Motes of light began to gather around Ranma, and even as he felt some of his Ki drain away, he saw a body begin to form next to him. Obviously female, with flaming red hair and sapphire blue eyes, it was unmistakably his cursed from. She turned to him and smiled; speaking the words he had subconsciously learned to fear.
"Ranma, I love you."
This is how things ended in Nerima, not with a bang, nor a whimper. They ended as they began, in the silence of a rainstorm. As with the day, almost a year ago, the rain came down in silencing sheets, obscuring all from sight. People, long since inured to the chaos of Nerima, hurried to and fro on various errands, comfortably ensconced within slickers and secure under umbrellas, all the while ready to react to the slightest hint of danger. Or rampaging martial artists.
Once again, two figures emerged from the rain, unprotected from the deluge. Once again, one is larger than the other, and once again the sounds of an argument can be vaguely discerned above the sounds of the rain.
"...I think we should!"
"No, we should not! You may be my other half, in all most every way imaginable, but that is something we simply cannot do! You know the rules as well as I do!"
"Rules be damned, I want Revenge!"
While these words were a common occurrence in Nerima, the usual target of them had been missing for about two weeks, so the various passers-by turned to look out of curiosity. What they saw both surprised and horrified them. There, in the midst of them, stood both forms of the Bringer of Chaos and Destruction, Saotome Ranma.
Those who hadn't already run were seriously considering it at this point, and the next words out of the girl's mouth made the choice for them.
"Dammit, Ranma! I love you, I really do, but this good nature of yours is really starting to get on my nerves!"
Ranma sighed, and ran a hand through his now silver-white hair.
"I'll tell you what, Ko-chan, if any of the Wrecking crew decide to start something, you can finish it." At this, the girl started smiling in an evil manner. "BUT!" and her face fell a little, "ONLY those who have wronged us in the past, and only to the extent that they have wronged us. Do you understand? My sphere won't allow such breaches of Honor beyond that, understand?"
Bouncing around like a kid on a sugar high, the girl nodded enthusiastically.
"Yeahyeahyeah, I got it! Oooohhh, this is gonna be soo much fun!"
Ranma just sighed and thought back to when they began this journey together.
Shortly after accepting the respective offers, Ranma and his girl- half, called Hiko, began training in their new powers and responsibilities. Magic was quickly mastered by Hiko, while all things martial were absorbed by Ranma as a sponge soaking up water would. That is to say, rather quickly.
It was in the third year of training, Asgard time, when Ranma and Hiko found that as powerful as they were separately, together they were nigh unstoppable.
They found this out when challenging a group of "lesser" demons who were threatening an alternate reality.
HIko provided covering fire with her magic, while Ranma took up a divine sword and ripped into the small army like a thresher through wheat. Their tactics were flawless and perfectly executed, and they were able to dispatch the enemy group in quickly.
It was shortly after the battle, while Hiko was healing up most of Ranma's injuries that Ranma decided to ask a question that had been dancing around in his mind for quite a while now.
"Ko-chan," he began, "when we were first separated, you said that you loved me. Now, I've been told that a lot by people seeking to posses or control me, and I was wondering what, exactly you meant by that?"
Suddenly aborting the spell, Hiko stiffened and thought for a moment.
"Ranma, you how Jusenkyo works, right?"
"Well, shortly after your dip, and our bonding, I awoke. That's not really a good description, but it's the closest I can get. Anyway, I watched while everything happened to you, all the fiancés, the challenges, the pain and humiliation, and the loneliness. I watched you bear it all stoically and always try and make right what was wrong. I watched as you tried to avoid falling in love with Akane, and I watched as little by little you did. I have seen to the very depths of your soul, Ranma, and I fell in love with the person I saw there. Even if I had never been able to get separated from you, I would have fallen in love with you, nonetheless. While we may not have known what true love is supposed to feel like, I know what I feel, and it tells me that you are the most important person to me, and I would do anything to make you happy or keep you safe."
Ranma stiffened slightly at this revelation, but chose to hold his tongue at it, hoping beyond hope that she wouldn't ask him to be her fiancée.
"All I ask of you, Ranma, is please don't reject me. You are all I have in this world, and even if you can't accept my love, at least allow me to be near you. Please, Ranma, please don't reject me..."
Silent sobs wracked her small frame, and hot tears fell against Ranma's back.
And despite his misgivings, he knew that no matter what came, she would always be there for him. She would listen, and never judge. She would welcome him with open arms, and never turn him away.
And in that single moment of revelation, his heart made a choice.
Ranma's reverie was quickly broken by Hiko's gentle nudge in the ribs.
"Ranma, we're here."
Standing before them, silent as the rain, were the gates of the Tendo Dojo.
Taking a deep breath, Ranma raised a hand, and gently knocked on the gate, bidding entrance to the home beyond.
Kasumi's smile is a wonder of nature, even beyond its constant presence, the effects it had on those around it are nothing short of miraculous. Able to lift the heart and spirits of even the most jaded and battle-hardened fighter, her simple smile kept the family hopeful. But lately, that smile has been somewhat forced and empty, ever since two weeks ago, when Ranma didn't come back from his flight.
Of course, everyone thought that he'd be back in a few hours, with that same smirk across his face, bragging about beating someone else. Or, in Akane's case, from being perverted with his floozies, or picking on Ryoga.
But, he didn't return.
Hours became days, and still no sign of Ranma. The Fiancé brigade had come and gone, leaving their mark on the poor, long-suffering house, demanding information on Ranma's where-abouts. Nabiki, naturally, had her information network hard at work looking for him, but to no avail.
Days became weeks, and he still hadn't shown up. Every day, the fiancé brigade came by and demanded results, even after Nabiki telling them that no Ranma in sight meant just that, no Ranma in sight.
So it was, shortly after the last day of the second week would come to a close, that Kasumi was startled by a knock on the gates. Cautiously opening the door, she looked out and unsuccessfully stifled a gasp. There, with a few minor alterations, were both sides of Ranma.
Noting the shell-shocked expression on her face, Hiko spoke up.
"Hello, Kasumi, may we come in?"
Nodding dumbly, she stepped out of the way and bid the two of them entrance into the house. After entering, and securing some towels to dry off with, the male and female Ranma looked around the front room. Genma and Soun were frozen mid-play in another game of Go, Nabiki was sitting on the couch, staring at them, and Akane, while holding P-Chan were simultaneously doing a very good impression of a fish.
Ranma looked around, amusement clear in his eyes, and spoke.
"I suppose that you'd all like some sort of explanation?"
The assorted idiots nodded.
"Well, it works like this. I'll talk, after everyone else gets here. There will be no interruptions, or we will be leaving. Is that understood?"
Again, the idiots nodded.
"Alright then," Hiko said, "Kasumi, if you could please call the crew together? In the mean time, I must get some dry clothes on, and see about getting my husband out of these wet ones." She casually turned to Kasumi and smirked. "Really easy on the eyes, and an amazing warrior, but he doesn't have the sense to come in out of the rain." Ranma shot out an indignant "hey!" at her comment.
Despite herself, Kasumi giggled at the situation.
Phone dialing commenced, while Akane began boiling in her righteous anger. How dare he do that! How dare he make her worry and then come waltzing back with a bad dye job and his girl half on his arm! How dare he even think about adding another girl to his harem! Well, that pervert was gonna get his, for sure, and then she'd deal with that red-haired demon!
Ironically enough, Ryouga was thinking the same thing. But, then again, that nothing new, is it?
About thirty minutes later, the crew had assembled, the amazons using the door for a change, and was sitting quietly after the warnings from Nabiki about Ranma leaving if so much as a peep was heard. Then the crew heard voices coming down the stairs. It was indeed both Ranma and Hiko, and both were dressed in red and black silks, Ranma in his usual tunic/kung-fu pants combo, and Hiko in a very fetching cheongsam. Ranma's silver-white hair made him look a lot more mature and Hiko had grown to the point where "cute" didn't apply. Words like "aw-inspiring" and "breathtaking" were appropriate, as was "knock yer tongue in the dirt hot" from Ryouga. But, then again, he spent a lot of time abroad.
" Casual observation, eh Ko-chan?"
" Defiantly, Ma-chan."
Ranma's cleared throat got everyone's attention right quick in a hurry.
"Before we begin, let's get one thing straight. I am not on the market, so to speak. " Before anyone could speak, he raised a hand and calmly reminded them that they had given their word to hear him out before speaking, and were they really so dishonorable that they'd go back on their word?
"At any rate, perhaps you all remember a day about two weeks ago when Miss Tendo malleted me away for making a very reasonable, if somewhat rude, statement?" Receiving nods, he continued." What happened was that Kami-Sama himself decided to intervene in my life. It seems that my file, yes, the almighty has files on EVERYONE here, had somehow escaped his attention for all these years, and he decided that having me on one of the sides was better than having me dead within the year."
Here he paused for a moment to let that all sink in, and smirked at the confused looks they began giving him.
"Continuing on, my impromptu flight ended with me coming-to in a strange room, one half white, the other half black. It would seem that Kami-Sama also sent a couple of representatives to explain the deal they were offering. Before I accepted anything, I had my cursed form split off of me and made her own person, and here she is." Ranma lifted a hand and indicated Hiko, who flashed a classic pin-up pose for a moment.
"I'm certain that you're wondering who made the offer as well as what it was, aren't you?"
More nods from the idiots.
"The Goddess Ameterasu Omikami and the Demon-Lord Onno Tongou made the offers for the respective sides, and the offer was to join their ranks, becoming either god or devil. So, we decided to split the offer. Hiko went with the dark, and I went with the light."
"Now, before you start screaming denials, I want you to consider two things. 1: we completely vanish for a time, with no clue of anyone seeing us, 2: we are both MUCH older that when we left. Now, can anyone come up with an explanation, or can I finish?"
Ranma took a deep, steadying breath, and spoke again.
"I am Ranma Omikami, God of Honor first class, unlimited license."
Hiko smiled up at everyone, and it was not a nice smile either.
"I am Hiko Omikami, Demoness of Revenge, first class, unlimited license."
Broadening her smile a touch, Hiko spoke on.
"And, we are here to rectify a few past mistakes made by the panda. This is also a sort of vacation for us, so attacking me or Ranma will be met with swift and painful retribution. Are we clear?"
The assorted NWC crew began bobbing their heads like maniacs.
Well, all except Akane, that is. Basically, she started fuming at the way that everyone was fawning over Ranma's girl side, and just accepting what he said as the god's-honest truth. Well, she'd show them! She wasn't gonna take this laying down! So, she set down P-chan and did the single most idiotic thing in her life, to date.
"You! I challenge you for the right to Ranma!"
Author's Ranting Corner:
This is a revision of one of my earlier works, I changed a bit of the formatting, altered a name, and tweaked a little here and there. Personally, I think that the improvements are good, but I'd like your opinion as well.