RANMA ½ is the creation of Takehashi Rumiko – all rights belong to her and her authorized distributors, Shonen Sunday Comics, Shogakukan, Kitty TV and Viz Communications.
OH MY GODDESS is the creation of Fujishima Kosuke – all right belong to him and his authorized distributors, Afternoon Magazine, Kodansha and Pioneer Entertainment.
ALL PURPOSE CULTURAL CAT-GIRL NUKU-NUKU is the creation of Takada Yuzo – all rights belong to him and his authorized distributors, Movie, King Records and Futaba Sha.
The characters are used without the permission of the above. This fanfiction is in no way meant to infringe upon their legal and financial rights nor does the author in any way benefit financially from this endeavor. This work is done in appreciation to the hours of enjoyment the above creations have given me.
Guest Ki: Prologue
Business as Usual
Ranma groaned, then sighed as a cool cloth was pressed against his head. So cool… The moisture relieved the pain of burns, cleaning the wounds caused by the Happodarikin which that freak, Happosai, used after he drank the Nannichuan.
Ranma jerked upright, awake, alert, heart hammering.
"Akane!" Almost levitating, the martial artist prepared to rush forward, though where to was anyone's guess. A slender hand and a soft voice stopped one fear and raised another.
"She is all right, Ranma. You can see her later."
"Mom?" Turning, Ranma looked up at his — no, her at the moment — mother, who had risen with her as she tried to leave her futon. Panting, she looked down at the ruined tux that now fit so loosely about her. Hanging her head, she fought back tears. So close… Grinding her teeth slightly, she raised her eyes to her mother's face and passively awaited the next act in this comedy of errors.
Her mother looked back at her, searching her face, and nodded. "A man among men, despite being the most beautiful girl in the house." Nodoka Saotome's facade cracked and she wept in the dim room, letting herself be comforted by her shorter offspring.
"Awww, Mom." Ranma patted her mother's back, trying to understand what was expected of her. She could feel her mother shaking beneath her hands. "I'll take care of it; you'll see. I always manage somehow." Though how, right now, was beyond her comprehension.
Not long before, Ranma had been preparing for his wedding. The Nanniichuan, Spring of Drowned Man, had been the overt bribe, a 'wedding present', to bring him to accept Akane as his bride. It would have been the final act in a two-year-long comedy of errors that had strengthened his body and skills, but left his own heart, and the hearts of at least four girls, in a state of painful turmoil. Ranma had gone along with the matrimonial plans in the hope that, with him removed as a prize, the remaining three would be amenable to some compromise that would give them all some peace.
That he might have his own personal reasons for the solution was something he didn't admit even to himself.
"I should never have let him take you," Nodoka wailed. "You should never have had to put up with the abuse you've taken from him! As for these… girls!"
Ranma stiffened, alarmed, the tensing of her skin causing the hair at the nape of her neck to twitch. She was truly annoyed by the whole fiasco, but her mom sounded vindictive; and one thing she did not want was her mom in a vengeful mood stalking the streets of Nerima, katana in hand. She had no idea of her mother's actual skill with the weapon, but she certainly wasn't in Shampoo or Ukyo's class of martial artist. Besides, Ranma did not want any of them hurt. This was not good.
"Mom... Mom, I don't want you to do anything to them, understand? The girls are my problem now and I've got ta find some way ta deal with them." The look on her mother's face made her blanch. "MO-om! You keep talkin' about me bein' manly, and you're gonna fix things fer me? How manly would that be, if I let ya?" She smiled as her mother's face lightened. Now, if only she could get Tendo-san and her old man to back off, too.
"Of course! I should have thought," Nodoka gushed, loudly. "That would be so perfect, so 'manly'!" She hugged the petite red-haired girl in an ecstasy of joy. "I'm sure you could manage to satisfy a wife and three mistresses." The words seemed to echoe in the guest room…
Ranma's hair rose as she regarded her mother. Then there was a pounding in the hall and the door of the guestroom slammed open. Ranma turned, paling, knowing what she would see.
"Rrrraaannma!" Akane stood there in her unmentionables. It was clear she had heard enough of the conversation to come to her own conclusions. She also felt strongly enough about it to interrupt changing to involve herself in the discussion. "How could you?"
Ranma felt an unnatural calm descend at the sight of her, especially the faint blue aura rising from Akane's skin, the tears glistening in her eyes… The redhead turned to her mother, gave a slight 'we-who-are-about-to-die' smile and said, "Can we pick this discussion up later? I gotta get ta the hospital."
Nodoka Saotome opened her mouth to ask why, then gasped, as her son/daughter seemed to vanish. She quickly became aware of two figures flying around the inside of the room.
"It wasn't my idea, Aka-neee!" A fleeing Ranma, heterodyning like a soprano super-train, rocketed past. Following her with a mallet the size of a war drum, came the almost bride.
"Pervert! (SWISH!) Hentai! (WOOSH!) Four-timer! (BAM!)" Akane's last swing missed Ranma but shook the house as it struck a support beam. Ranma took the opportunity to run screaming from the room, Akane hot on her heels. Nodoka leaned over the balustrade and called after them.
"Ranma, you should be chasing her!"
"Ya ain't helpin'', Mom!"
Nodoka went back inside and sniffed, nostalgically. "My son... If only I had kept you, your life could have been more normal. Still... such a perfect solution!" She sighed contentedly. "I wonder which one will be the first to give me a grandchild?"