Martial Arts Motherhood Challenge
by Juliet Carnell
based on Ranma ½ by Takahashi Rumiko
This story takes its inspiration from my short story 'Spirit Walk' which you can find elsewhere on this site. Rather than a continuation of that story, this one picks up many years later to explore some of the side issues it raised. For the detail oriented among you, it takes place about ten or eleven years after the end of the series and sometime in our own near future.
I've done a good deal of research into the science behind this, but I don't claim it to be exhaustive. So if anyone can point me to better references, please do. This story will contain some talk about human reproduction, so if you haven't had 'the talk' with your parents yet maybe you should.
I make no apologies for the pairings mentioned in this story. Takahashi-sensei made it pretty clear throughout the series just who was going to wind up with whom and I have simply taken her lead. It's a conservative approach, but I'm definitely more interested in telling a story here than satisfying fantasies.
I hope you enjoy this! I'm expecting about eight chapters in all, but it could be more if I get on a roll. I look forward to all of your comments, so please take a moment to let me know what you think.
The dream began harmlessly enough. Ranma was sixteen again, the same year that he and his father had returned to Nerima from China, and he was locked in battle with Ryouga. At first he didn't recognize which battle, they had so many back in those days, but then the sequence of events became increasingly disjointed and changed more rapidly than he was comfortable with.
He soon realized that it was becoming a nightmare, but there was little he could do to stop it. Events were flashing through his mind like telephone poles seen from a bullet train. He tried desperately to lock onto one, to ground himself in some way so that he could understand what was frightening him so much. He caught sight of Akane and clung to that image…
Four tiny figures ran into the room and swarmed around Akane. None of them had faces, just blank white globes where their heads should be. --- "I just ate some of Akane's crappy cookin' and took a bath. Then I ended up here talking to a coyote spirit thingy." --- "What are those things? They're not gonna hurt her, are they?" --- "That's easy, I need to find the Spring of Drowned Man, the Nannichuan, and I need to find it quick!" --- The coyote chuckled, "Of course they won't hurt her, they're the spirits of her unborn children." --- "Well for one thing I usually don't come into this place as a guy" --- "They will continue to be with her until they are either born or she dies." --- Akane swung the huge mallet down landing it squarely on top of Ranma's head and his unconsciousness body sprawled lifelessly across the seat. --- "They don't have faces because they have not yet chosen their father." --- Ranma swung a wild roundhouse kick at Ryouga that was easily blocked, but it threw both fighters off balance and they tumbled into the pond together. "Oh yes, that was poetry in motion!" --- Two of the spirit children separated from the others and ran to Ryouga. Their faces began to take on color and in an instant two little fang-toothed children stood at his side. The coyote laughed, "They've chosen a father." --- Suddenly Akane rushed past Ranma and the coyote out into the garden, "Ranma you idiot! What have you done now?" --- One of the spirit children seemed to notice him and tapped the other on the arm. It pointed right at Ranma and then the other one nodded to some unspoken question. Smiles formed and then noses, eyes and black hair followed in quick succession. They now appeared to be two beautiful twin boys. "Did… did they just pick me?" --- Ranma watched his female self enter the ice cream shop wearing a pair of pink coveralls that had originally been Akane's. "I hate those coveralls!" --- "Yes warrior, they have chosen you. If the girl also chooses you they will be born and become your children.
The dream had become as familiar as an old friend and as frightening as the worst of his old enemies. He tossed and turned in his sleep, but he couldn't wake up. Not until she appeared, not until the random sequence of events brought him face to face once again with his tormentor…
Suddenly there was the sound of soft mewing coming from every direction. Ranma looked around at the darkening forest with some anxiety. --- Sitting on top of the cash register playing with a kindama was another faceless spirit child. "That is not one of Akane's children. Pay it no mind." --- "You are a great warrior Ranma Saotome, you will make the right choice." --- A smile appeared on the little spirit's face, then a nose and a long braid of flaming red hair. Finally eyes of the most intense blue Ranma had ever seen appeared and the little girl winked at him. --- "Humans only make one or two choices that have a direct effect on the course of their lives." --- She sprang into the air and leapt clear across the room in a single bound coming to a handstand on Ranma's head. He could feel only the barest impression of her tiny hands. --- Ranma was plummeting towards the bottom of the volcano's crater, Akane falling by his side. "I have to destroy it!" --- "The spirits of children do not attach themselves to men." --- "Whichever one you choose, the other will cease to exist." --- One by one the faces of the spirit children faded away until they were once again without form. "They have lost all hope of ever being born. They are trapped now between this world and the next and they will never be free until the mother they chose is dead." --- "No!" Ranma fell to his knees "Not m-m-my little girl!" --- "What use do you have for the unborn spirit of a child who foolishly attached itself to you because of your curse?" --- "What did you expect? That I would only show you what you seek and not make you see the consequences of finding it?" --- "Don't become so focused on the big decisions in life that you forget to make the little ones." --- "Mama no baka!"
Ranma sprang up out of the bed and straight into Akane's strong arms. Sweat was rolling off of him and the tank top he always slept in was soaked with perspiration. "No… no… no…" he mumbled incoherently.
"Ranma!" Akane shouted to him, "Wake up! You're having a nightmare. It's just a dream. Wake up!"
"A-A-Akane?" Ranma stammered. His chest ached and he was breathing too fast. He forced himself to calm down, forced himself to release the tension built up in his muscles. He slumped forward into his wife's arms and sighed deeply. "Akane…"
"I'm here Ranma," Akane said soothingly as she held him close and stroked his long hair, "I've got you. You're safe now. Was it the cats this time?"
"No…" he said. His breathing was almost back to normal now, "It was the spirit walk again."
Akane looked troubled, "That's five nights in a row Ranma. This has got to mean something."
"It means," he said with a weak grin, "that I should never let you make the curry."
Akane took the hand she was using to stroke his hair and raised it above her head. When she brought it back down, a kindama had appeared in her palm. With a smirk, she used the toy mallet to tap Ranma lightly on the head, "Baka! I'm serious Ranma, for five nights now she's come to you in your dreams. How long are you planning to ignore her?"
"I'm not ignoring her Akane!" Ranma said in frustration, "I just can't do what she wants me to do. I'm a guy. No matter how long I stay female or how comfortable I get with the curse, there's just no way I can sleep with a man. Even if I could force myself to, I'd never hurt you that way. You're the mother of my two sons and my one true love. To be unfaithful to you would be the most unmanly thing I've ever done."
"Would you rather deny me our only daughter?" Akane said harshly, "If she were mine to bring into this world I would agree with you, but she's yours Ranma, yours alone. If you truly want to prove that you love me you'll give our daughter a chance at life."
"I… I can't do that Akane," Ranma said miserably, "I don't know how."
o o o
All characters in this story are a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead is purely coincidental.
This work is copyright © 2006 by Juliet Carnell, it is not public domain and all rights are reserved. This work is not for publication. This work may not be reproduced, distributed or sold in any format or media. This work may not be included in any collection without the express written permission of the author. The reader may make one printed or electronic copy of this work for personal use.
Characters and story elements that have appeared in 'Ranma ½' are copyright © 1987-1996 by Takahashi Rumiko and are used here without license.