A Ranma1/2 fanfic by PansutoTarou5925
DISCLAIMER: Ranma ½ is the property of Rumiko Takahashi, Shonen Sunday, Viz, and other parties; I make no claims of ownership of any of the intellectual or other properties pertaining to it. Oh! My Goddess belongs to Kosuke Fujishima, Studio Proteus, Dark Horse, and other parties, and I make no claims of ownership of any of the intellectual or other properties pertaining to it, either.
Ranma thought back to the private little conversation she'd had with Hild the previous night. It wasn't hard - hell, her whole life was flashing before her eyes, and she wasn't even one of the ones about to die. The whole earthquake-and-frightening-red-glow thing Hild was doing was probably giving everyone within twenty miles the scare of their lives. At least Hild's light show seemed to be holding the rain at a distance...
Hild and she had retired to their tent, to discuss a few more details of their plan, and also because Ranma was bored and wanted to find out what was in the box the goddesses had given them back in Nekomi.
A hand mirror, bottled water, and a video iPod were not what she was expecting. Chiyeko might like the iPod though. She'd have to ask if they could keep it.
"You know, I'm certain there's a story behind these," Ranma said, closing the box. "and I'm sure you know what it is, but I think I want it to be a surprise."
"I'd like something to be a surprise tomorrow," Ranma said, flopping back on their sleeping bag. She idly poked at mosquitos with tiny needles of ki, using the magical eye Hild had given her to make them explode as if hit by insect-scale antiaircraft fire. "Their surprise attack certainly won't be."
"Are you having fun with that?"
"Boys and toys, you know that," Ranma said, smirking.
"I brought some toys, too, if you want to play with them," Hild said playfully, causing Ranma to freeze uncomfortably. "But you seem fine enough with the one I gave you. So, you're expecting the Amazons to attack?"
"I'm hoping the Amazons attack," Ranma clarified.
"I thought this little tournament wasn't revenge enough for you."
Ranma's smirk returned in full force. "That's why I'm hoping they're dumb enough to try to kill me."
Well, Ranma thought, mission accomplished. Undoubtedly they'd hoped to take her out with one blow and figured that the Musk and Saffron would simply wash their hands of the whole situation and walk away, as she was the only thing out of Nerima they feared. Right?
Wrong. They were getting an education in how wrong from Hild at the moment. Ranma ignored the danger to her friends and her daughter at the moment with a bit of mental effort. Hild could handle that on her own. Right now she needed to blast a path through to Shampoo's kids.
A finger reached out as she landed and lightly flicked the head of an Amazon. It exploded like an overripe pumpkin, splattering Shampoo with gore. She held her ex-fiancee over her shoulder, using her as a kind of shield as she moved through the crowd, twisting and leaping to throw off the aim of any ranged attacks.
Close up was not a problem. Having already seen she could kill or cripple at the lightest touch, her enemies seemed sensibly unwilling to crowd her. Most were fleeing the area as fast as they could, piling up into a mass where the rain vied with Hild's vast aura. She was curious why the rain would stop them, but her blood ran cold as she saw a few unfortunates in the rain, their bodies changing constantly and randomly in the rain. Each new curse washed over the body and was replaced even before they fully changed, so that the features of animals seemed to melt down their bodies in an ever-mutating horror. Bile rose up in her throat at the sight; as bad as Jusenkyo had been before, this unnatural storm was even worse.
Ranma adjusted Shampoo slightly. She still was a bit worn from the previous use, but Shampoo would take most of the damage this time. One quick, overwhelming burst of chi later, and the two burst through the intervening distance with a bang.
They crashed into and through the window of the hut Shampoo had indicated, Shampoo's body flying like a missile to the back. She rolled limply to a stop, her back a mess from air resistance and then the glass of the window, but Ranma hardly needed her help. The guards were more interested in the theatrics outside than in threatening the children, and the split second they spent looking at Shampoo was all the time they needed to miss the real threat.
A few quick taps later and the inside of the hut was gorily redecorated, the mangled bodies of the loyalists torn apart from Ranma's terrible mastery of the breaking point. The two children looked at her in terror, their eyes stealing back to their mother from time to time.
Shampoo struggled back to her feet, her broken arm dangling. "You have someplace safe to take them?" Ranma asked, not really wanting to stay away from her friends a second longer than she had to.
The Amazon nodded. "Yes, but I cannot get them there by myself," she said, indicating her hand. "Take them to the house with the green-tiled roof and hide them there. I will rally the Amazons who did not support Perfume." She winced.
"Good to know," Ranma said, and stepped towards the two children. They were young, half the age of her own daughter, and shrank from her in fear. "C'mon, kids, I've got to get you to safety."
"Go with Ranma," Shampoo said, rifling through drawers for more intact clothes. "I will be back to get you as soon as possible!"
Prodded by their mother, the children warily walked over to Ranma, who picked them up. "We'll do this fast," she told them. "Ever hopped rooftops before?"
The unworthy ground of the Amazon village would have to do for the throne of the Daimakochou at the moment, Hild decided, as she leaned back on her newly-formed seat. Some particularly brave or foolish warriors had attacked her, and were now dead, struck down by lightning. That had stopped, now; none dared approach her, though the Jusenkyo-sent storm prevented them from truly getting away as well.
Her initial white-hot rage had simmered down into a cooler, more deliberate level of hatred. There was a certain joy to be had in savoring the terror of an opponent who had picked a fight without so much as suspecting the depth of troubles in which they'd enmeshed themselves. So Hild would smile, point a finger, and a lance of fire would burst from the heavens into one of the knots of warriors trying to oppose the raging monster that was Taro. Then she would look around casually, pick out one of the other fights raging, and give a little assitance to Ryoga or Saffron.
The village was beginning to burn nicely now, streamers of smoke twisting in the wind as the fires licked outwards from the smashed ruins of collapsed huts. That was the part of battle that spoke to Hild's soul: not the thrill of the fight, but the burning, and the screaming. It reminded her of... home.
A presence flickered into her perception, as a star-print cloth slid down, revealing Ranma. "Having fun?" Ranma asked, her voice trembling slightly - whether from releasing long-suppressed rage in an orgy of destruction, or just pushing herself with her new technique, who knew?
"Quite," Hild answered, her eyes still cold. Between Saffron, Herb, Taro, and herself, was there any real danger of losing? The fight was already starting to wind down, as knots of warriors surrendered.
"Don't kill Shampoo's supporters," Ranma ordered. Hild shot him an angry glance, causing her to shrug. "It's complicated." She looked at the group defending the crippled Perfume, and nodded slightly. "I'm going to finish this."
Hild grabbed Ranma's shoulder. "I want Perfume." The mortal woman frowned cutely and opened her mouth to object, but Hild put one finger on her lips. "Just let me have her. I like handling some people personally."
Ranma nodded. "Fine."
"Arrange these in a triangle and call for the Norns when you're ready," Hild said, pushing the box of apparently random items to Ranma.
The box disappeared into Ranma's sleeve. "I guess they're waiting, huh?" Not that heaven or hell really made much sense to her, really, and she'd known Hild for years. She shoved that aside. What mattered was what she'd get - and that she'd get to rub it in the Amazons' faces. That thought lifted some of the fatigue she felt. A flick of the cloth and she faded from view again, the only hint of her position the motion she'd started making towards her daughter.
A few seconds later, the Amazons in that direction began collapsing from an unseen killer. It wasn't even remotely fair, but this was war, not the martial arts.
Nodding to herself as the warriors broke in a terrified panic from Ranma's invisible assault, Hild herself stood up and walked casually towards the downed Amazon leader. The Amazons defending her grimly readied their weapons and stepped forward. All the Daimakochou did in response was reach up and pull off one of the numerous limiters she wore, and laugh as the sudden surge of power scattered foe and ally alike. With a short burst of will and a precisely sung chord, a glowing red circle appeared in the ground, seperating herself and her prey from any defenders.
"If I remember correctly," Hild said, her voice echoing through the village despite its conversational tone, "you have this quaint custom called the kiss of death." She smiled at Perfume, her eyes glinting red as she strolled slowly forward. The elderly matriarch scooted backwards as best she could, despite her injuries. "When an Amazon woman is shamed by losing to an outsider woman, she kisses her on the cheek and pursues her to the ends of the earth."
Two of Perfume's guards looked at each other, nodded, and lunged towards the Daimakochou. The second they hit Hild's barrier, they were ignited, and collapsed, dead before they hit the ground.
Both were ignored utterly by Hild. "I've defeated and shamed your whole village," she said, still calmly, as she stepped on Perfume's robe, stopping her retreat. "I imagine you must hate me. Don't you?" With one hand, she reached down, grabbed Perfume's neck, and pulled her up. "Go ahead. Give us a kiss."
Perfume took one look at Hild's face - a demented smile, like a psychopathic child who got fire for Christmas - and flinched away.
"Come on, Perfume," Hild taunted. "You're one of mine either way. You do know who I am, don't you?"
"Noooo!" the elderly woman shrieked, her hands shooting out to strike Hild. Before they connected, there was a loud crack, and she fell as limp as a puppet with its strings cut.
"We'll finish this conversation later," Hild said in an amused tone, as the light faded from her eyes. She snapped her fingers and the barrier she'd made faded away. Her eyes fell on the other Amazons. "Now, as for the rest of you..."
They broke and ran into the storm, struggling to run as their bodies shifted and changed in the Jusenkyo-cursed rain, as Hild's laughter chased them away.
Ranma arranged the items in a triangle around herself. A homicidally angry Hild chasing someone who'd attempted to have her daughter killed was one of the scariest things imaginable, right up there with cats, and she didn't want to watch.
Besides, she just wanted to get this over with. Vengeance was all fine and fun to plan, but after seventeen years, actually destroying the village was something of an anticlimax. The iPod flickered to life as she stretched her arms up to the heavens and called out: "Ranma Saotome calls upon you, O Norns, to set right what fate has marred!"
The words were exact - she'd memorized them and thought them over ever since being told them by her... stepdaughter? Strange to think of a goddess that way-
Surfaces rippled and expanded, a bright light shone forth through rapidly expanding portals. Two hands came out of the distorted surface of the tiny electronic device, as Urd emerged from its screen. Belldandy gracefully floated upwards out of the mirror.
Skuld appeared in the sealed bottle, which exploded as she came through her portal. She turned on Ranma with an irate expression. "You're supposed to pour the water in a bowl first, dummy!" she yelled, completely ruining the dramatic moment.
"You should have told me," Ranma retorted, then immediately shook herself, not needing to get into a childish argument now. "Uh - if you don't mind -"
"Jusenkyo's spirit has come out, I see," Belldandy interrupted him.
"Active and spreading," Urd said, taking in the sky with a measured glance. "We should have been allowed to remove it millenia ago."
"You know why not," Belldandy admonished her.
Urd glanced at Ranma, then turned to look at Hild and Chiyeko as well. She sighed. "I suppose I do. You lead us, Bell."
The three goddesses linked hands and began to sing. Even with Hild's dreadful aura of anger, and in the midst of a small-scale war, a certain lightness touched the spirit, a feeling of peace where dread had been before. Then a literal light came - the storm began to break up.
Everyone stopped to listen and watch. Sheer magical power was evident to almost all, and even those without the slightest trace of magic in them knew how unearthly and perfect their singing was, and in no language they knew.
Even Hild stopped, if only to listen to Urd.
The singing continued until the skies had completely cleared. Then it stopped, and the only sound was the crackling of flames in the village. Ranma took a step forward and nearly tripped.
He hadn't even noticed when, exactly, he'd changed back -
"It is done," Belldandy said. "The magic of Jusenkyo is unmade." She took in the burning village and the bodies with her eyes. "But not its legacy."
Anything more was cut off when Ranma let out a loud whoop as the shock wore off. "I'm cured! A man again, at long last!" he yelled, exultant. His finger jabbed out, taking in the Amazons, and then turning into a spinning fist-pump that seemed to take in the whole world. "I never lose! I never lose! Never forget!"
"I'm thinking you should have said something different," Konatsu said. The day had ended, and the fight over; the Amazons had lost, and everyone was digesting the events of the day - especially the formerly Jusenkyo cursed.
"I'm thinking it's disturbing that a man would wear a bikini like that," Ranma pointed out, and splashed his ninja friend. He wasn't expecting Shampoo to have a swimming pool, or that they'd be welcome to stay at her place (or the remains thereof) but then again, he was a martial artist whose girlfriend ruled hell who'd come to fight Chinese Amazons over turning him into a girl, so he couldn't say his life had ever made a whit of sense.. "So, what should I have said?"
"How about 'I am the Prince of all Saiyajins once again!'" Ryoga suggested, getting a laugh from most of those present.
"I don't get it," Shampoo said, being the only one who'd never seen the show.
"It's appropriate to Ranma, except that Vegita didn't have multiple fiancees," Ryoga explained. "Mostly appropriate. Ranma can't blow up the planet."
"Not yet, anyways," Konatsu said, nodding seriously. That got another round of laughter, with Shampoo joining in this time. "So, what are you going to do next?"
"Well, I've defeated a village full of highly trained warriors who wanted me dead. I feel I'm ready to propose to Hild." Ranma leaned back, relaxed in a way he hadn't been for years. Probably because it was his body, finally, even if he wasn't quite used to it after all that time. He looked up. "Hey, Herb! Jump in, the water's fine! Everything's fine!"
Well away from the pool, Chiyeko was sitting on the low wall surrounding Shampoo's house, looking at the sky. And yet, with all her training, he felt right - his aura was the same. It was very unsettling. She was so lost in thought that she barely noticed when Atasuke came up to her and sat next to her.
"I imagine it'll take a while to get used to Saotome-san looking like that," Atasuke said, mirroring her thoughts.
"Yes," she said. She felt tired now. So much had changed in the past few months...
"Can you imagine how bad it was for him, being in the wrong body for so long?" he went on. "He'll probably have to get used to it, too."
Chiyeko thought about that. How weird would it be to be stuck as a guy for years, and then finally change back to yourself. "Yeah..."
"Maybe you should talk to him, you know, cheer him up," Atasuke said, catching hold of her hand and guiding her off the wall. "Can't hide from him forever."
"I guess I can't," Chiyeko said, and smiled at Atasuke. "You know, for a pervert, sure think about people's feelings."
He smirked at the backhanded compliment. "And for a demoness, you're really nice," he replied playfully.
They both laughed as they returned to the party.
"Is that it?" Kasumi said.
Everyone had returned home. Ranma walked into the Tendo Dojo respectfully, Kasumi and Tofu following along, asking questions about the battle. Everyone was fine, no one had died - except Amazons - and the curses were cured.
Pantyhose was still sore about that, but he was outvoted.
He looked around. Third time. He'd arrived at the Tendo Dojo twice before and left not knowing if he'd ever return. Arrived as a girl when he was a teenager, left hunted by Amazons with an infant daughter. Arrived as a woman with her daughter, left not knowing if she'd die in China. Now he came as a man. Third time's the charm. "Not quite it," he said, scratching his head. "Hild and I will be getting married."
"Oh, finally!" Kasumi said, clapping. "Are you going to hold it here?"
Tofu gave her a look of dread.
"Thank you, Kasumi, but no thank you," Ranma said, almost laughing at Tofu's sigh of obvious relief. "I recall planning a wedding here before, and things didn't work out too well." They all shared a laugh. Distance had taken away all the pain of that day, and left only the ridiculousness of it all. "No, we'll do it in secret, so it won't get interrupted. No guests."
"I'll keep the news on, then," Tofu said. "Knowing you, an earthquake will strike, or something of that nature."
"Probably. Can you watch Chiyeko for a bit?"
"Certainly, Ranma," Kasumi said.
"Great! Just keep an eye on her - I think she's starting to return Atasuke's affections."
"I'm not ready to become a grandmother yet," Kasumi said, a steely glint to her eye. "I'll keep those two under control."
They headed back into the house, where the kids were playing video games. "Hey, Chiyeko!" Ranma called out.
"What?" she asked, bored, her attention still mostly on the screen.
"Hild and I will be gone for the next week. Don't cause any trouble for the Onos, all right?
"What?" she said, this time with more attention and incredulity. "We just got back from China!"
"I know, but this is important," Ranma said, then amended himself. "As important as China."
"More important," Hild said, and smacked him across the back of the head.
"We'll be back," Ranma finished. "Don't get in trouble, or your mother will punish you."
A few more minutes saying goodbye and they were outside, headed for the bridge under the canal and (therefore) a convenient place to teleport out. "So, where do you want to go?" Hild asked, her voice low and seductive.
"Someplace hot and dry. I may not be cursed anymore - and doesn't that feel good! - but I still don't like getting wet."
"You were in the pool," Hild noted.
"Pools are different. And besides, it made being cured real. Even Herb got in the pool after a while, as stuffy as he is."
"All right. I've got a place in mind. Ready?"
With that, the world dissolved around him, and swirled chaotically seemingly through him. He swayed violently as it ended, depositing them in a bright alleyway lit by a truly mind-boggling number of neon signs in the street beyond. Ranma stepped out, followed by Hild, and looked over the signs. "Las Vegas?" Ranma said, confused.
"Of course, Ranma, Sin City," Hild said, tracing on his arm with one hand. "So let's get married. You've got a lot of years to catch up on..."
"But mother," Sifu protested, "what good have we done? You're telling me that Ranma will join Hild in Nifelheim and lead the demons' forces at Vigrith."
"And that Chiyeko will be the new Daimakochou, after Ragnarok," Skuld added absently, as she helped Belldandy with her quilting.
"And he's redressed a millenia of wrongs by the Amazons, and had a part in undoing the curse of Jusenkyo," Urd reminded her, passing Belldandy scraps in between taking shots of sake. "You can't forget that."
"Well..." Sifu considered that, and weighed the destruction of Jusenkyo and the overturning of the Amazon laws against the last days. She still couldn't justify it. "You could have just told me. We shouldn't just let someone who'll help take down Yggdrasil join Hild."
"If not Ranma, someone else would," Skuld said, shaking a finger at her.
"Your aunt is right," Belldandy said, sewing carefully. "What Hild wants, she will seek, and she has all eternity to find it. If we stopped Ranma, things would have happened differently, and who can tell what would have happened? Heaven would not chance it, and so fate has us all - what we would do, not what we could do. The Ultimate Force is all, and no one will escape their doom."
"But then why does Hild even bother?" Sifu complained.
"Hild believes - the demons believe - that if only they want enough, the Ultimate Force will act for them." Belldandy paused, and let Sifu think about that, about Hild finding Ranma, and her dream of having a daughter loyal to herself fulfilled.
Sifu saw it. "Are they right?" she asked, worried. She remembered Ranma, vividly, telling the whole world that in the end he never lost, and with every bit of conviction. It worried her. But her mother and aunts just looked at her expectantly. "They're not right, are they? But you just said that fate-"
"When you understand, you'll be ready to be a goddess second-class," Belldandy said, laughing. "Don't worry about it now. Just keep up with your studies."
Author's Note: IT IS FINISHED. Finally. Now I can work on another one...