Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and all associated characters are the property of Rumiko Takahashi and are used without permission. This fan-fiction isn't intended for commercial use but is rather a tribute to Ranma ½. Inspired by the late Robert A. Heinlein's short story "All You Zombies --" (published 1960).
Where I Came From
Nodoka was meditatively sipping tea when she became aware that Cologne was sitting opposite her, a pensive studying expression on her face. She smiled warmly at the old crone and asked, "yes?"
Cologne sighed and paused for several long minutes before responding. "Out of curiosity I decided to research Ranma's ancestry. I discovered something rather odd, there is no birth record for either you or Genma."
Laughing lightly, Nodoka responded, "of course not. The names Genma and I took when we each set out on our own in our teens were not our birth names." She held up her hand to forestall any questions and continued, "Genma's story is his own to tell. Mine, however, is rather simple. I was discovered wandering the streets and suffering from amnesia. The authorities estimated my age at sixteen based on medical data and they issued me identification on that basis."
She smiled to herself in fond memory. "A few years later I met Genma, we courted and married. Several years later Ranma was born and the rest, as they say, was history." Her face saddened, "just like my son and Genma are now."
Cologne winced, "I'm truly sorry about what happened to Genma, but he did have that coming. He should have known better that try to cheat me." She paused, "about Ranma though, do you know what happened to him?"
A flash of anger briefly illuminated Nodoka's eyes. Oddly enough it did not seem to be directed at Cologne. "Nabiki" she muttered. Seeing the puzzled expression on Cologne's face she explained, "Nabiki is what happened to Ranma. She doesn't know that I know, but I do and you do deserve to know too. For Shampoo's sake if nothing more."
Upstairs in her room, Nabiki froze in place. She was home from college for summer break and idly practicing her eavesdropping skills more from habit than need or interest.
Nodoka bowed slightly to the older woman, "thank you for curing Genma and Ranma of their curses." At the others acknowledging nod she continued, "but that is also where this part of the story begins. After you cured them, Soun threw a party for them. All of them, even Ranma, got a bit tipsy."
The old woman snorted. "Drunk, you mean."
Smiling slightly, Nodoka continued, "well, Nabiki was angry that Ranma was cured without her permission. Seems she considered the curse her personal cash cow." Nodoka shrugged her confusion at this point. "I don't understand that at all, but that is the only explanation for what happened. She found Ranma intoxicated and decided to use the situation for a little 'fun' and revenge. She had taken up hypnotism and used it to convince Ranma that his real name was Genma and that someone was trying to steal his identity." She grinned as she added, "surprisingly, it was slow going until Nabiki pulled out some very old photos of Soun and Genma. She told Ranma that with his new glasses, he looked just like he did in that old picture."
"Was that what happened?" asked Cologne. "I mean, we all now know of the aftermath. I heard that Ranma bumbled his way into Happosia's room, then demanded to know where his friend 'old buddy Soun' was. He spotted the fragment of the Nanban mirror that Happi had on his floor, picked it up, compared his face with the one in the photo and then did one of the most stupid things he's ever done." She snorted in derision, "and that takes some doing considering some of the stuff he's done. But as a drunken tear slid onto the mirror, he wished, 'I wanta meet my friend Soun again' and then he vanished."
Nodoka nodded as a tear slid down her face. "Yes, but the story doesn't end there. There is a reason why Ranma never came back." She glanced at Cologne to make sure she had her attention. "I heard the other half of the story from Soun after Genma took Ranma and left me. I didn't connect the two pieces until after Ranma failed to come back to us. Soun said that Genma once told him of accidentally killing some drunk that attacked him shortly before Genma and Soun first met. Apparently, Genma reversed a throw, but the other man took it badly and it broke his neck. Genma ran before he could be connected to the body. I'm guessing that it was Ranma."
"Such a waste," sighed Cologne. She looked up at the younger woman, "how is it that you've never confronted Nabiki about her part in this?"
Nodoka idly slid her palm across the table, wiping at dust that wasn't there. She smiled sadly and said, "because it doesn't matter. Nabiki is trivial. She does harm, yes, but she'll never acknowledge it because she is as blind to others as this Kuno boy she disdains."
In her room, Nabiki flushed with anger as she snarled, "trivial am I? I'll show you differently, just you wait."
"Trivial? I'm not sure I understand, Nodoka."
"Elder, it's like this. If the Tendou's were to lose Kasumi, they would mourn for years. If it were Nabiki, they would get over it in a few weeks, a month at most. Already her youth is fading and the only man she'll possibly ever get is one that she buys." Nodoka sighed in frustration; "not even causing Ranma's death has fazed her. As far as being a 'person' of worth, she is not. She is thus trivial, dangerous yes, but unimportant in the long run."
Cologne shook her head in disbelief, "she destroyed your family for mere fun and profit, and yet you do nothing. I do not believe I could be so calm about it."
Nodoka grimaced, "what else can I do? There is nothing that will restore Ranma, and to take action against Nabiki's careless greed will only hurt those that Ranma did care for. He considered Kasumi his sister, and he did care somewhat for Akane."
In her room, Nabiki slowly turned to the mirror and gazed at herself. A single tear slid down her face as she tried to deny Nodoka's words.
Cologne frowned at the younger woman and then asked, "dear, did you ever regain your memory? Do you know who you are, where you came from?"
Puzzled, Nodoka replied, "why do you ask?"
The elder Amazon grimaced, "I have trained in the martial arts all my long life. I can distinguish one person from another by reading their chi and yours hints to me of an impossible story. A story I cannot believe, yet I have no choice." She sighed, "I was hoping you would be willing to tell me."
Nodoka poured them both another cup of tea. They sat there in companionable silence and just as Cologne was preparing to leave, Nodoka spoke again. "I owe you." She smiled at Cologne in a smile so reminiscent of her son, "Ranma always thought well of you and he was never able to repay you for teaching him." She rose to her feet and remarked, "I've never told my story to anyone else, perhaps it is time I did so. Come let us seat ourselves outside in the shade and enjoy the breeze while we can."
"Not to mention getting away from any potential ears," snickered Cologne.
In her room, Nabiki snarled as she moved to gather a parabolic dish. They were not going to have secrets from HER.
On her way past the kitchen, Nodoka paused and then picked up Kasumi's portable radio/CD player.
As the two mothers seated themselves under the plum tree next to the koi pond in the Tendou side yard. They sighed in unison in appreciation of the pleasant day and gentle breeze.
Nodoka started the CD playing and adjusted the sound so that it masked their voices. Nabiki stalked back to her room in frustration.
Nodoka grinned at Cologne as she remarked, "that should ensure our privacy." At Cologne's answering smile, she continued, "Ranma could also read ki signatures. He once remarked to me about how unusual it was that Genma, he and I had such similar auras. I suppose it could be because we were related, yet there are differences, and that doesn't explain why Genma and I had ki signatures that were so similar."
"A ki signature is dynamic. Its basic form never changes yet the texture changes with age and ability. All this I know, but there is something more, Nodoka."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes," Cologne grinned, "I believe you came out here to confirm it. No?"
"I have always liked and respected you. May I have your word not to repeat what I tell you, Cologne?"
"You have my word as an Amazon Elder, Nodoka. This conversation is your secret."
"Where should I start? You know of Ranma's life and how he was taken from me shortly before his sixth birthday, then trained for ten years under Genma before coming here. I believe you know most of the events in his life during the four years he lived here."
"Yes, Nodoka, I know of that and now I know how he perished too. But that is not what I wanted to know. Nodoka, where did you come from? What is your history?"
Nodoka laughed lightly, "come now Elder, you of all people should know that no mother can tell her life without talking about her family!"
Cologne snorted in derision but smiled too. "Ok, tell it your way then. I believe you were previously telling me how he perished due to Nabiki's misplaced sense of vengeance?"
Nodoka smiled a small, sad, secret smile to herself before stating, "no, I was telling Nabiki some mostly unrelated events that her imagination would lead her to that conclusion." She laughed at the surprise on Cologne's face before she continued, "Nabiki created Genma, he never existed save as a hypnotized version of Ranma that was sent backwards into the past to meet Soun for the first time. Ranma truly believed he was Genma. To obey Nabiki's command, he had to forget all he knew as Ranma. He acted out Genma's life according to how he believed Genma to be."
"Lord NO!" Groaned Cologne, "so when I punished Genma for reneging on his promise to me . . . what in the world happened if he was really Ranma?"
"I was hoping you could tell me about that Cologne," replied Nodoka.
Cologne sat back against the tree and sighed as she absently massaged her temples. "Lets see, it was almost three years ago that I offered to cure all the Jusenkyo curse people in the area 'IF' those involved would agree that Ranma and Shampoo were married. I got agreement from Genma, Ranma, Mousse, Shampoo and Ryouga before I started the process. I warned those involved that the cure was magical and that if they broke their part of the bargain, the magic would rebound and not only lock them into their cursed form but remove all their memories of having an uncursed form as well."
"But I don't understand, Genma vanished instead of just becoming a permanent panda."
"I'm sorry Nodoka, give me a moment to think this through," whispered the aged amazon.
As Nodoka returned to the kitchen to replenish their tea and fetch some cookies, Cologne pulled several volumes of Amazon magical lore out and laid them about herself. She began cross-referencing the spell she had used to cure them to other references on Jusenkyo magic.
Finally she sighed in frustration as she slammed the volumes closed and returned them to storage. "I don't believe that idiot. Sometimes I think Ranma was the personal embodiment of Murphy's Law. If there was a way for something to go wrong in his life, he found it. Or rather it found him."
"So, Elder, what did you find?"
Cologne grimaced but answered, "I found that the magic spell that I used to cure them with was a time bomb for Genma, Ranma, whatever. Since he was already married to you before either Shampoo or Ranma were born, then the magical condition that was bound to his cure was flawed." She sighed and then apologized, "I should not have invoked the penalty on Genma anyway without verifying that it was his fault. It was just that, based on past dealings with the man, I assumed that when he told me that Ranma had vanished using the Nanban mirror and not returned, all I could see was another scheme on his part to deny me my son-in-law."
'Humm, do you have any idea what happened to him then?" Asked Nodoka with amusement edging her voice.
Cologne frowned in irritation, "because of the binding magic flaws, Genma would have been sent backwards in time to when there binding elements no longer existed. That means before Ranma was born since he was older than Shampoo. He would have been locked in cursed form as well."
Nodoka nibbled on a cookie before she innocently asked, "which cursed form?"
Cologne was sufficiently startled that she slopped a bit of tea into her lap. As she brushed the fabric she glanced at the younger woman. She froze when she saw the amusement dancing in the others eyes.
"Yes," replied Nodoka. "Genma was locked into his original cursed form, that of a girl. In the same way that Ranma physically matured into Genma's form, 'Ranko's' form also matured. The binding magic did wipe all uncursed memories from Genma just as you intended to do, that included all of Ranma's and Genma's male memories too. It sent him back in time to before Shampoo's parents got married." She smiled sadly, "that's how I ended up in the past with no memories of who I was." She giggled, "it also explained how I was attracted to Genma when I first met him. After all, if you can't love yourself, who else can possibly love you?"
Cologne sat there in shock before she mumbled, "then you and Genma had Ranma who grew up to become Genma and then you who . . . my head hurts," she moaned.
"Yes, pardon me a moment," said Nodoka as she rushed into the house in response to a strident summons. She returned a few moments later to sit next the older woman. As Nodoka opened her blouse and began to nurse her son, she remarked, "after I had Genma declared dead, it was a simple matter to convince Soun that the only way to fulfill his and Genma's pledges to unite the house's was for him to marry Genma's widow, namely me." She snickered, "after all, 'I' did make that pledge did I not?"
For the first time in nearly two hundred years, Cologne fainted.
Nodoka chuckled. When Cologne revived, she continued, "like I said before, I spent two years in an orphanage learning how to be a girl." Nodoka grimaced, "they stressed and I mean stressed making an effort to fit in. That was when I started dying my hair black. A few years later, I met and married Genma, a few more years and then Ranma appeared." Her eyes got very sad when she added, "when Genma took Ranma, the stress broke all the blocks. I suddenly had Ranma's twenty years followed by thirty more years of Genma's life plus my last ten years as a woman all thrust simultaneously together in my mind." She sighed, "I spent almost two years in a mental hospital before I finally made sense of it all. By that time it was too late to prevent the cat-fist training or what happened to Ukyou. So I made plans for the finish to this whole charade." She grinned, "I learned something from Nabiki, I used my vague memories of the future to make a few key investments that resulted in me now being almost wealthy."
"But" Cologne pause and started again, "but who are you?"
Nodoka smiled, "I'm not Genma, he was only a stereotype in Ranma's hypnotized mind but I'm not Ranma or Ranko either anymore. I am Nodoka Tendou."
"Wh . . . where did you come from?"
Nodoka grinned a Ranma type grin, "I am my firstborn better half," she smirked.
Cologne started to chuckle, finally she could no longer contain it and burst out into guffaws.
Urd, half-divine, half-demonic and the goddess of the past, smirked to herself as she reviewed Soun's file on her laptop. "Well, that's not how Dad would have done it, but, well, I guess your unofficial wish did happen eventually." Her mischievous chuckles were cut short as her screen momentarily blanked out to be replaced by the message,
Author's notes . . .humm, I wonder what the wish was?
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C & C to