Purple Haired Mountain Majesty

DISCLAIMER: you know this stuff already. Ranma 1/2 characters by Viz and Rumiko Takahashi, though this is an Alterniverse that goes off in a *very* different direction than Takahashi-san mapped, but then this author has a different definition of affection than Takahashi-san.

chapter two: Where's Ranma?

The violet-haired Lorekeeper apprentice cocked her head to the side, enjoying the profile of her husband as she asked the question of the old panda. "Is Ranma mother in Ne-ri-ma, then?"

Genma grunted slightly in a vaguely affirmative manner.

Ranma fidgeted, a little uncomfortable with the constant attention.

Shampoo sighed deeply. Her husband was shy and had a huge number of weird ideas imposed on him by his culture. She couldn't even get him to share a bath with her. Pfeh. Cuddling could not be done in public. How boring!

Shampoo was of a warrior culture, for all that she was a Lorekeeper (Junior Level). Seize the moment, love while you can, for tomorrow's battle might be the one that ends your life.

Shampoo tried to come up with a safe conversation topic. She'd quickly found that Ranma wasn't comfortable speaking about feelings, that he did NOT think playing dressup in his cursed form would be amusing, and that he was definitely not on familiar ground with anything that did not deal with martial arts specifically. He also hadn't seen his mother in over ten years and apparently didn't remember her at all. Which was strange, but he'd had a few hits to the head over the years.

"So, Ranma, what you want do after we get to you mother's house? We go have fun, yes?"

Ranma seemed to be studying the clouds mostly. "Uhm, I dunno. I think it's gonna rain."

--------

Genma watched the two and winced.

Shampoo was affectionate, cute, fairly obviously interested in his son, and making allowances for him being raised in a different culture. She was going slowly, but it was obvious that she had hooked Ranma and was just slowly reeling him in.

This would never do.

Genma had interrupted the two whenever possible, had shouted at and berated his son, and had done everything he could think of to drive a wedge between the two. Except telling either of them about the Tendo arrangement.

Though last night, a single question had introduced a tiny niggling uncertainty into Genma's desire to unite the Tendo and Saotome clans. The question had been simple, just Ranma asking Shampoo exactly what a "Lorekeeper" was.

A Lorekeeper was a bit of a Historian, with some Healer and Loremaster involved. The main duties of a Lorekeeper was in trying to keep the lore of the Amazons: their history, culture, and laws.

The doubt was due to the sort of income Shampoo could generate. A fair understanding of Chinese Medicine, accupressure, accupuncture, moxibuxtion, and holistic medicine. Support from her village. From hints the girl had spoken of, she knew secret Amazon martial arts techniques. In fact, due to her lung problems, she tended to rely on them. Ranma could become an even better marial artist associating with Shampoo.

All this, balanced against what Soun Tendo might have accomplished with HIS daughter. Or might not. Hence Genma's dilemma.

Shampoo said something about their promised visit to his mother's house, and then going off to have fun together.

No, this would *never* do.

The functionary head of Clan Saotome (Nodoka had been appointed the real Head Of Clan sometime after Genma had gone to train with Happosai) frowned thoughtfully. There had to be a way to seperate the two before reaching the Tendo household. Ah! That would work!

"Ranma," said Genma, "do you really want to meet with your Mother like that?"

Ranma blinked and seemed to examine himself, trying to figure out what his father was looking at.

Genma chuckled inwardly. The boy was so easy to manipulate. Of course, that had been one of his own goals over the years. "We'll camp over there tonight, then use the bath house to clean up before we go see your Mother."

"Unnn. Shampoo could use washing road dust off too," the purple haired monster that threatened his meal ticket for life chirped agreeably. "What is Mother's name again anyway?"

"Nodoka Saotome," responded Genma then winced. What if this girl could track down... but no. She was clearly too much of a ditz to find someone in a metropolitan area. There was something about that idea that troubled him, but his plan was perfect. Like all of his plans.

Nothing could go wrong.

----------

In a house over two districts away:

Nodoka turned the postcard over, looking at the panda on one side, before returning her attention to the words on the important side.

"Hi!

"Shampoo got the address from Ranma's father's pack. Want to
give BIG Ni Hao welcome to Ranma's Mother. Shampoo is Ranma's
fiancee. Get Genma to take us to meet Mother. Is only proper
for us get meet. Sorry Japanese not goodly.
-Shampoo"

and scrawled beneath that in a barely legible handwriting:

"Wow! I got a Mom! Hi Mom!
-Ranma"

Tears washing her cheeks, Nodoka hugged the postcard to herself briefly. Her son was returning, and he had a fiancee! This could be a manly thing or it could be not. She'd have to see when the two arrived.

------------

In a house two districts away from the previous:

Soun turned a postcard over that was identical on one side to the one in the possession of Nodoka Saotome (it being a 3/10 yen deal and Shampoo had ended up paying for them) while weeping even more than Ranma's mother was. "At last, at last. Ranma will be here."

"Hi. Bringing Ranma from China. -Saotome."

Yes, that was definitely Genma's scrawl.

"Oh! How I've waited for this day!" Soun declared this to the postcard. Fortunately the postcard did not reply.

He had to get his girls. One of them would be getting married immediately! If not sooner! "Oh happy day, callu callay," Soun chortled in his joy! The Tendo family legacy would be secure!

-------------

"Shampoo got bad feeling about this," a certain purple-haired Amazon whispered to her airen. "Shampoo think that Ranma's Father have something sneaky planned."

"You worry too much, Shampoo," Ranma assured. "It's an honor thing, and the old man is always stressing honor to me. Besides, we're already in Tokyo."

"Maybe you is right, Ranma," conceded Shampoo. "Shampoo still feel something wrong. Maybe we share tent again?"

Ranma frowned, remembering how he had slept in his cursed Shampoo-twin form one night in the same tent as Shampoo. Only to wake up in a barrel being sent over a set of waterfalls. Ranma had spent over an hour tracking the two down, Shampoo had been tied and gagged and Genma had been running off with her.

Okay, maybe Pop had some weird plan going after all.

"Yeah maybe," Ranma allowed. "You gonna do that shampoo thing again tonight, Shampoo?"

Shampoo shook her head. "No. Only do once per week now. Dull cat phobia take much work. Have to taper off gradually."

"Oh, okay," Ranma nodded. This was something Shampoo did as a Healer and Lorekeeper, therefore it was *not* (strictly speaking) martial arts. Therefore not something he was that interested in, though it did look handy.

Shampoo sighed. This was SO slow. She'd quickly learned that her airen was not that comfortable with open affection. Yet by taking it slow, and being trustworthy, she'd become his friend. He flinched every so often at the term "airen" - which meant beloved, but Shampoo wasn't quite ready to discard THAT occasional reminder that they weren't simply two buddies hanging out. Still, some males spooked easily. Lilac's Douglas, for example, had required six months of courtship before the two had "gotten together" - though maybe modern Japanese were less reluctant than their mid-Century American equivelant.

"What is that?" Shampoo asked, changing the subject, and pointing. "Why building have statue like that?"

"It's a..." Ranma blanched as he realized that Shampoo was pointing at a love hotel. "Errr. Uhm. It's kinda complicated."

Shampoo waited patiently for a few moments. "So? What is?"

Ranma was *not* a complete idiot. Shampoo had declared her interest early on, then backed off when he'd started freaking out. Ranma had a sudden image of him telling Shampoo what a love hotel was, then Shampoo physically dragging him off to "test it out" followed by...

"Why Ranma turning all red like that? You no feel good?" Shampoo quickly reached up and placed her hand on Ranma's forehead, checking for a fever.

Ranma was quite aware that he was being pressed up against by a very curvy and cute young lady who would be interested in doing the old caveman routine, reversed. Clubbing him over the head and dragging him off by the pigtail into that building. What happened after that, he wasn't too clear (having sporadic social contact and missed large chunks of schooling) but he was pretty sure it would be one of those life-changing experiences. Like the Catfist training sort of.

Shampoo checked Ranma's eyes then felt his neck to check lymph nodes. Everything felt ok, except that Ranma was shaking a little now. She decided it must be excitement about meeting his mother, so she smiled and tried to be reassuring. "Is okay, Ranma. Shampoo sure this go well!"

"Well of course!" Ranma blustered. Like he wouldn't be. Whatever it involved. What?

Shampoo nodded with a happy grin. "Shampoo absou... absu... Shampoo real sure. Ranma very strong and healthy." How could a Mother not be glad to be reunited with such a son?

Ranma *really* began to feel panicked now. What was she planning on doing? All it would take was one word from him about that damn love hotel and she'd be doing something unspeakable to him right there in the Park!

"Ranma need to relax some, you no look so good," said Shampoo, beginning to worry now. Meeting his Mother caused this reaction? What were the Japanese customs in such a situation? Maybe if he got a massage? "Shampoo know how relax you, sit down over here."

Genma had been listening and had actually gone even further down the same path as Ranma's speculation. How to keep Shampoo from dragging his stupid and honorless son off for a night of screaming passionate jungle love?! Ah, that might work! "SON! TIME TO TRAIN!"

"YES SIR!" Ranma literally leapt at the interruption.

Shampoo watched the two go off to spar and shrugged. "Well, if that get Ranma to relax. Is a good thing. Shampoo guess."

-----------

The ticking of a clock was heard through the house.

"What do you mean, you've never met him?" Nabiki asked of her father. "You've engaged us to someone on the basis of what his father's like?"

Soun winced, remembering Genma. Picturing Genma (at the age they started training together) as a groom and trying to picture one of his daughters as the bride. "Well, no. It's a matter of family honor, you see..."

"So when is this *BOY*," Akane managed to put a fair amount of loathing into that word, "supposed to get here?"

"He'll be here any time!"

The clock continued to tick away.

"Whatever," Nabiki got up, smoothing her kimono as she did so. "If he's cute, I've got dibs."

"I don't care WHAT he looks like," Akane said, turning her nose away, "he's a BOY. I. HATE. BOYS."

"Oh dear," Kasumi said into the silence as Nabiki went upstairs and Akane stalked back to the dojo. "I suppose I should get back to dinner."

Soun briefly looked about, and seemed to realize that there was only one daughter present. "That's it, then. Ranma will marry you, Kasumi."

Kasumi winced. "Uhm, Father, what if he's younger than me? I mean..."

Soun nodded. "It'll be alright, Kasumi. Father knows best."

Kasumi experienced the sort of stomach-dropping sensation that you normally need a roller coaster ride for. "Oh dear," she repeated. Then thought about it carefully. "Actually, Father, I have a better idea."

-------------

Nodoka cleaned and polished. There had been no date set on the postcard, merely an intention to visit. So that she could meet her son's fiancee no doubt.

If there HAD been a time and date set, she would have embarked on a cooking frenzy. As it was, she had very modest means, and didn't want to spoil food. Therefore, for now, restraint.

--------------

Her cloak settled around her as she stood on the very tip of the peak of the tower.

"Shampoo... Soon I will find you. Soon. Then, Shampoo, I shall destroy your happiness!" The woman drew a sword from within the all encompassing robes and held it above her head. "I swear to visit the vengeance of the heavens upon you!"

Lightning struck.

Unfortunately, standing on the peak of the tallest building, holding a metal longsword aloft, during a thunderstorm, is *not* a particularly intelligent move.

The woman fell to the ground, twitching.

"Well, maybe later," said Reikei before she passed out.

--------

"Where's Tao Kun?" Cologne spoke to Aloe, though she could see Sugar and Spice trudging up the road behind him.

"Tao Kun is slow. Therefore he moves at his own pace to return here. As for Shampoo, she is in Nerima with her husband-to-be and his father, they seek the approval of his mother before the two consummate their marriage," Aloe spoke with his head bowed in respect. Though Lilac, *not* Cologne, was the Elder who was Master of his Crafthall. "Besides, this 'Luan Ma' is aptly named - he is skittish and will need to be calmed and led gently."

"Ah, and this 'wild horse' can eventually become a fiercely loyal husband when he has been tamed to Shampoo's hand," speculated Cologne. "Good enough. Did you see Reikei?"

Aloe looked up, startled. "She is not here?"

Cologne merely shook her head from side to side once.

"This is bad," was Aloe's assessment. "We left the two to report back, and because this Luan Ma seemed to be penned in by our presence, raising his anxiety level."

"Understood," said Cologne simply. "I cannot leave the village at this time. I must train Seikei's replacement. While Shampoo is my favorite great-granddaughter, she is not a martial artist and cannot be my heir with her health so fickle. Therefore someone else will have to look after her. Sash perhaps? She speaks Japanese."

"Isn't she the crazed mangaphile who is always going on about some odd Japanese thing?"

Cologne pursed her lips. "Maybe Sash would *not* be the best choice. Tao Kun, if we send him, might make it months from now. You, Sugar, and Spice may be our best choices."

"Sugar and Spice are likely to embark on a husband-hunt soon after they get there," Lilac didn't mention that she thought it likely that the two buddies-for-life would end up sharing a husband. They shared nearly everything else anyway.

Aloe let out a deep breath. In the Village, strength was the main thing that women found attractive about men. Except in cases like Tao Kun where he had more than enough strength, but was also sufficiently large that the average (5' and change) Amazon saw it as a physiological problem. (One pundit had made a reference to twenty pound babies.) So a gentle Healer wasn't considered that good a catch. "Well, I've got nothing here that I can't put off for a couple of years while we give Shampoo a better a chance. I might be able to study more of that Western medicine while I'm there..."

Lilac and Cologne indulgantly smiled as Aloe started muttering plans for a long stay.

"What of Mousse?" Lilac broached the potential sticking point to her superior on the Council.

"Mousse is reluctant to hurt Shampoo, Shampoo has no affection for Mousse. Even if he defeats her somehow, she can still reject him. And will." Cologne shook her head. "He is still out training in some new application of Hidden Weapons. His obsession with Shampoo may cause problems, but we will see."

"And if nothing else, we can try sending Rouge." Lilac smirked. There wasn't much that could scare Mousse. Rouge, who wanted Mousse to become her husband after suitable "training" was one of those little things. Everyone else treated him as a joke, mainly because he insisted on not wearing his glasses and ended up proposing his love to various livestock. Rouge was the exception. What she wanted Mousse to do was something to terrify lesser hearts.

Cologne winced. Rouge was *not* something she wanted to get out. Better they be thought to be barbarians than to have Rouge giving anyone an impression of what a modern Nichieju was like. "Last resort. Definitely a last resort."

----------

Shampoo woke up coughing weakly but smiling. It had been nice to spring the extra money and sleep indoors. The air kept warmer normally, which didn't irritate her lungs as much as cold air, and all too often there were other hazards to sleeping in a sleeping bag regularly.

Today they would get to go see Ranma's mother. Once they got her approval, as she had told Ranma, they could be engaged without necessarily being married. Ranma didn't want his freedom curtailed, and Shampoo could see his point.

No point in settling down until they'd both had a chance to experience life.

Unfortunately the first thing she saw was a panda kicking her out the window, carrying a burlap sack over his shoulder.

Shampoo had enough time for a ~but he promised! On his family honor he wouldn't do that again!~

The purple haired Lorekeeper landed on the street and spent a moment getting her bearings again before she raced back up to the room. There was no sign of Ranma or his father.

Shampoo went to the roof next, looking in all directions. Still no sign of panda with a burlap sack. Or even Genma and Ranma.

Growling slightly, Shampoo returned to the room and picked up her pack. She'd kept it nearby, so Genma hadn't had a chance to go through it. Pulling out an address, it was obvious to Shampoo that she had to get there ahead of Genma Saotome.

---------

Genma RAN, only stopping when it was obvious that Ranma was not going to quiet down. After grabbing a handy street sign and beating the sack until it stopped moving, Genma slung it again and continued heading for the Tendo dojo.

His son was getting along with a girl. All his careful plans would come undone if Ranma didn't marry a Tendo and became the greatest martial artist of his generation. His son had a Great Destiny to fulfill! (Of course, that Great Destiny was taking over the Tendo Dojo and making sufficient money that Genma never had to lift a hand in his life again.)

Mind you, there *was* some temptation to just let nature take its course with that Amazon. Practitioners of Chinese Medicine could make a fair amount of money. But no, he couldn't be sure of controlling the situation with that gaijin.

Soun and he could handle Ranma, the boy acted a wild horse like his name, but he'd always gone through whatever hoop Genma had for him. He'd protest and squirm and get verbally abusive, but Ranma was quite aware that Father Knew Best and would eventually do the right thing.

Ah! This was the place! Tendo dojo. His future began with

*splash!*

The panda stared at the old woman who was apparently using a fire hose to wash her walk off.

Grunting, Genma decided to ignore Mrs Yamane and just go ahead on in. Besides, Ranma might wake up and take exception to missing breakfast. He'd forget the Amazon after meeting Tendo's daughters.

Afer all, when had Genma ever been wrong?

--------

Shampoo looked over the card, then to the house, then back.

Throwing a quick brush through her hair, Shampoo checked her dress and makeup. As Ranma's fiancee, she had to make the right impression. Japanese kimono, check. Light makeup, check. Her backpack carried instead of worn, check. From what little she had observed, not counting Ranma and his father who were obviously more well-traveled than average, the Japanese were full of themselves. Err. Make that very concerned with their own cultural heritage with a touch of Western mixed in. Sort of like a seasoning, Shampoo had thought.

Shampoo was quick to knock on the door, then stand back away. She'd seen this in that mall. They did the bowing and everything just so.

The door opened. Shampoo bowed. "Pardon this one. Is home of Nodoka Saotome?"

"Yes, I am. Can I help you?"

Shampoo looked up and smiled. The woman had a weapon in her hands. They ought to get along quite well. "My name is Shampoo. I am your son's fiancee."

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just a second chapter of PhMM. Probably add a third eventually, though it's not really on the slate for now.