Disclaimer: I don't own Ranma, I only rent him.
A/N: So that there is no miss understanding, yes this is a BET fic. I have read many of the bet style fics and have found them to be wonderful. The idea for this little change has been keeping me from sleep and I believe that a BET fic would be the most appropriate way to handle this story. This might just be only a one shot.
Enjoy, and please remember to review (It helps me feel loved.)
Prologue: Happosai's Honor
Toltiir turned from the mystical surface of the pool for one last time. It had been a wonderful idea and had kept his, and the other gods and goddesses, highly entertained. But all good things must come to an end. Too many people had been trying to make crazy and outlandish variations and it was beginning to play havoc with the fabric of the universe.
Toltiir was still a little disturbed by that Lion/Man that had recently been spotted by the gods. That cave of his was just plain weird, even by Toltiir's standards. It didn't help much to learn that the Loin's origins came from the.. something... between realities, and as such was effectively invisible to the god's and goddess's radars. His 'cave' was apparently his home as well as a gateway between realities.
The thing had actually kidnapped a couple previously unborn Saotome brothers and placed them in a Canon reality reflection.
Toltiir shifted to a human appearance and started to walk off. Suddenly he felt a presence behind him and turned around.
"Well speak of the devil and he shall appear."
Toltiir looked over the six foot bipedal lion and grinned. The Lion was favoring a smile that Toltiir had come to see on many people's faces lately. It was usually right before a particularly interesting bet was placed.
"If you're here for the Bet, it's been done with for a while now."
The grin didn't waiver. Instead, the lion stepped to the side and for the first time Toltiir saw the woman behind him. It had been a long time since someone had been able to surprise him like this. The woman walked up to Toltiir with longing in her eyes. She got on her knees and bowed before she spoke.
"Please, oh Kami. I have been told of these 'Bets', and I would like to make one. I no that I have-"
"Stand up Mrs Tendo. I don't think that there is a god or goddess in Heaven that would deny you a chance."
Toltiir watched as the woman got to her feet bowing and thanking him. It suddenly struck him what had been bothering him about her. She was mortal, obviously, but she was also still alive. Toltiir looked to the silent companion and in his eyes saw that he knew Toltiir had figured out the woman's secret. Toltiir turned back to the woman and got a good look at her. He decided that he didn't like not knowing what was going on.
He was surprised to learn that she had been brought from a world where it had been Soun Tendo that had died. She saw her life there and the adventures that followed Ranma Saotome's arrival. Toltiir watched as she one day came across the Lion's cave and had been made an offer that, to her world, was meaningless. A chance to...
So that was her Bet. But how was she planning on doing that? Happosai's name spoken in honor instead of fear? And by Soun Tendo no less?
"You realize that this won't change your world in the slightest, don't you? It will just branch off another universe."
The woman looked Toltiir straight in the eyes and Toltiir smiled.
"I don't care. I'LL know that somewhere out there Soun and I are happy."
Toltiir offered his arm and walked the woman to the pool. She watched as the images changed and played backwards. Toltiir half expected her to remove the cancer from her counter parts body completely, instead she seemed to be following Happosai.
Happosai was asleep. He had gotten drunk a few weeks ago and his students had finally shown some backbone. Happosai had entered into a meditative state. He figured a few years would help take care of his hangover, besides his student deserved to spend some time with their families.
Happosai was rudely woken up by a stalactite piece falling on his gut. As he rubbed his stomach and complained about the universe in general, he felt something. Tendo was in trouble, and it felt like his soul was tearing itself in too. That was when he felt how weak Soun's wife's life force was.
The explosion from the front of the cave could be seen for miles around, but nobody was near enough to witness it. Or the blur that was suddenly streaking it's way towards Tokyo.
Toltiir blinked. All she had done was drop a rock. It was as simple and small a change as any that he had seen. He turned to her again, only to notice that she was gone.
"Where did she go? How can she sneak away from a god like me?"
Toltiir looked over to the Lion and saw a VERY disturbing grin. Toltiir looked the beast in the eye and realized that he had been had.
"My name is Dark Fire. I received it from a rather poetically inclined individual with too much time on his hands and more brains than really necessary. I am a personification, much like yourself, but my realm is not heaven. I'm more of an emotion that transcends the multiverse."
Toltiir raised an eyebrow at that. This was the first time that her had heard of anyone getting this guy to actually talk.
"Alright, I'll bite. What emotion are you?"
Toltiir picked himself up from his face fault. If this had been happening to anybody else he would be loving it.
"Dark Fire isn't an emotion that I'm familiar with."
"You would probably know it by a much less poetic name. I ask you, you have been around for a long time. What would you say is the darkest fire that can burn in ones heart?"
As Dark Fire faded from the realm, Toltiir spoke the answer, if only to himself. It made more sense now.
Toltiir turned back to the pool and decided to watch things play out, but first...
Toltiir pulled out a cellphone and dialed a number.
"Hey Urd? Yeah it's me. Oh come on! Listen, hey listen. I need a favor. A bet was just made. I need to know what universe was just replaced."
Toltiir listened and nodded his head as he received his answer. It the universe that was replaced, one Kiechii Morisato had just been murdered by Mara. The result was soon to be a Belldandy that was driven over the edge, but not now. That universe had somehow gotten moved to the top of the replacement list by an outside force.
It was a well known fact that one universe actually did affect the others, if even in a slight way. A lost Belldandy would have upset some major balances. Toltiir silently gave thanks to Dark Fire and mused that he the guy had it pretty bad.
The embodiment of loneliness, always seeking to destroy himself.
Toltiir decided that someone needed to bare witness to this new world and pulled out the chair and popcorn from godspace (Like Hammerspace, but MUCH bigger. Some god's kept pocket universes in theirs). This looked to get a little sad for a bit, but who knows?
Soun was on his knees, praying. His daughters were behind him crying in each other's arms.
After what seemed an eternity a doctor approached him. The doctor looked at the man and gave an internal sigh. He always hated this part, it never got any easier.
"Mr Tendo? I'm sorry, but we've all that we could. The cancer was-"
Soun had found his heart beginning to shatter when he heard the door behind him bang open. When Soun turn, he found the last man he had ever wanted to see again standing before him. Truly, this was an ill omen.
Happosai didn't say a word. He looked from Soun, to the doctor, to the three little girls that were crying their eyes out. He had stopped feeling Mrs Tendo's life force at a distance a little while ago. With everything around him, it appeared as if he had come too late to make any difference.
It is said that the world is truly changed by the little things. Happosai had tried to simply enjoy life for the better part of a century after he had stopped training and became a true Master of the Art. There are a few rules of the universe that Happosai listened to and agreed with beyond anything else. Seeing little Kasumi recognize him and still call him family like that, even with everything going on, touched something in his heart that he hadn't felt in a long time.
One rule of the universe was simple to understand. Kasumi never deserves to cry.
"It'll be alright child. Grampa will make it all better."
Before anyone could move or stop him, Happosai faded from the room. The sound of the door to Mrs Tendo's room slaming shut and locking was heard. It was soon discovered that the ancient master had jammed the lock.
Inside the room, Happosai ignored the screams and attempts to enter the room. The doctors had officially declared her dead, but Happosai could still feel the last of Mrs Tendo's life force. It was fading fast.
Happosai got on the bed and pulled a coin from his pocket. He placed it on Mrs Tendo's chest, just below her neck. He sat down in a simple meditative state and began his work. He soon felt his aura enter her body.
It only took a few minutes to get someone from Maintenance to remove the door. When it was opened, everyone witnessed a sight that hadn't ever before been witnessed, it this universe or beyond.
The monitors were beeping, giving validity to the sight before their eyes. Mrs Tendo was sitting up in bed. She was alive, she was crying, and she was holding the limp body of the once Grandmaster of Anything Goes Martial Arts. As she slowly opened her eyes and turned to her family, she locked her eyes with that of her husband's. Her voice was so quiet, it was as if she word bring truth to her words as she spoke.
"He gave his life for me. He said that it was a Martial Artist's duty to protect the weak. He..."
Soun walked over slowly and placed his arms around his wife. They were soon joined by three other, smaller, sets of arms.
The funeral had been a simple affair. He had tried to contact his friend Saotome, but Saotome had just left with his son Ranma on their training journey. Soun had decided to hand craft his master's shrine. He knew that Happosai didn't have any descendants or any type of family, except his own.
Soun placed the shrine in the dojo and looked at the picture of the master in it. The only other things in the shrine were a pair of his wife's panties, she had insisted that it was only proper to remember who he truly was, and the simple five yen coin that he had used to save his wife's life.
Soun over looked the dojo, and nodded. He would honor his master in his own way, and bring Anything Goes far and wide.
Soun was nervous. His wife had been upset when she learned that Soun knew nothing of this Ranma that one of her babies would one day marry. She had started to look for Genma and Ranma with no luck. She did find Nodoka Saotome and had contacted her over the phone. His wife mentioned the loneliness and sadness in the woman's voice.
His wife had insisted that Nodoka come over for dinner that night and meet her future Daughter in law, it was just as well that they became friends now.
Soun looked towards the door as he heard the knock.
Soun was having a bad day. It was bad enough accidentally learning that Akane had 'Become a woman' last week, but now it seemed that the girl was spending a disturbing amount of time with her Auntie (and future mother in law). All she would ever say about what they did together would be that they were talking about their plans for Ranma.
Akane had an odd smile on her face lately, and last night Soun could have sworn that she heard some kind of buzzing noise coming from Akane's room. His wife told him that he should just leave it be for now. After all, what's the worst that could happen?
Soun collapsed onto the couch. He couldn't believe that bull that the Kuno boy had tried, making a declaration like that about Akane. He was proud of his daughter for handling herself so well, of course. But Soun felt an extra bit of pride at his two top male students as they had gotten fed up and took Kuno's actions as an insult onto the entire school of anything goes.
The boys had been highly injured during the fight with Kuno, and would have easily lost if Kuno hadn't agreed to fight them both at once, but It had been Hiroshi that had been the last one standing at the end. He had helped Daisuke up and towards the nurse. Soun had been called since it now involved his dojo now as well as just his daughter.
Soun had tore into the faculty when they tried to claim he was training loose cannons to roam and attack people. He pointed out that none of his students ever declared the fights, they just ended them. Nabiki had later told him that a few more students, mainly females, had signed up after the incident.
Soun was beginning to think that he was a part of some Kami's twisted for of entertainment. (Toltiir blinked, grinned, and got a soda out of Godspace) First off, it seemed that his two top male students had slept with their girlfriends. That was simple enough to understand, but the girls' fathers had blamed his own beloved Akane as being a bad influence.
Soun had been trying to ignore the relaxed view on sex that Akane had been developing with Nodoka's influence over the last few years. He had been proud when Akane stated that it just wasn't proper to sleep with someone when you didn't plan on marrying them, (Soun didn't realize until later that she didn't say anything about waiting until marriage.) Soun was then witness to two sheepish boys that drew ENGAGEMENT RINGS from their back and admitted to waiting for the right moment. The boys had then pounced on and dragged home to their respective girlfriends' mothers.
Soun had later gone the the girls' homes and vouched for the honor of the boys personally. The fathers' were both enraged, but the were no match for their overjoyed wives with thoughts of grandchildren in their heads. The boys were on probation with their families, but were still seeing their respective girlfriends.
Akane's last comment on the subject was almost too much for him to take.
"It's none of their business if their getting married anyway. Why not just let them have sex?"
Soun somehow felt that the master's legacy would live on.
Soun looked at the postcard that his wife had just handed him before running to the phone to call Nodoka.
They were coming.
Genma was about to knock, when he suddenly felt a chill run down his spine. A slight shaking of Ranma seemed to indicate that his son just had the same reaction.
Deciding that it meant nothing, Genma knocked. Ranma was highly annoyed to discover that Genma had dropped him and fainted. Ranma looked to the door and found two women looking at him, one with dark blue hair and the other one with dark red hair. Ranma stood and bowed.
"I'm Ranma Saotome, sorry about this."
Nodoka woke up slowly to see her friend smiling down on her.
"Welcome back, sleepy head."
Nodoka looked around and saw her husband in the corner drinking with Soun and occasionally looking over at her in fear.
"Where's my son? What happened?"
"Short version? Ranma has a water curse. Cold water means you have a daughter. Hot water, a son. He's very handsome by the way."
Nodoka started looking around again, trying to find where her son was hiding. It wasn't very manly after all.
"He's with Akane in her room."
Nodoka turned back to her friend at this comment.
"I would like to get to know my son."
Something in her friend's smirk made her pause from getting off the couch. Nodoka decided to learn what wasn't being told to her.
"We'd all like to get to know Ranma better, but it seems that Akane has barracked the door to her room. There IS a note on it."
"What does it say?"
Mrs Tendo's grin got a lot bigger.
" 'About DAMN time' "
For the first time since Nodoka had awakened, she started to detect the barely audible sounds that were obviously the source of her friends happiness. Comprehension ran over Nodoka like a Mack Truck.
"WAH! MY SON IS SO MANLY!"
Almost in answer to that was heard Akane's voice.
"Oh Kami, YESS!"
Nodoka started beaming a smile and then fainted again , this time from joy, at her friend's next words.
"And that makes seventeen..."
Toltiir blinked. Carefully put down his soda, popcorn, and nachos. And then burst out laughing so hard it made many cringe in sympathy to whatever could so amuse the Kami of Mischief.
Author's note: Well? What do you think?
Should I keep it going?
Oh, and I am also looking for prereaders.