Ranma 1/2: New Challenges
Transitsions Part 3
Parental Responsibility




Nodoka glanced over at her husband who was currently a panda
and playing shogi with his old friend Soun. She frowned, shook her head,
then stepped back into the kitchen to help Kasumi with the evening meal.
Lately she had been wondering what to do with her husband. He may have
been the cause of her son's condition (she didn't really think of it as
a curse) to intermittently became female, but he did raise Ranma to be a
man among men. Even if her son's social skills were a tad poor at times.

She sighed. And he had been spending more and more time as a
panda. She didn't know exactly why, but she suspected he was in some way
trying to avoid responsibility. After all, he did hide as the panda when
she first showed up. He had been trying to save his hide from the
seppuku pledge, not that she would've made him go through with it.
Despite the mistakes her husband made, she did still love him. She just
wished Genma would open up to her like he did before he left on the
training trip with their son.

"Auntie Saotome?" Kasumi called. "The stir fry is ready. Are you
okay?"

Nodoka smiled. "Yes dear, just have a lot on my mind." She
frowned. "Kasumi dear, what are your plans for the future?"

Kasumi blinked innocently. "I-I don't know," she said, a bit
confused. "I never really thought about it."

"Isn't there some man you've had your eye on?" she asked. She
remembered Nabiki telling her about a Dr. Tofu.

Kasumi visibly blushed. "Well, there is one. But it wouldn't be
right at this time."

"Is it this Dr. Tofu I've heard about?" She got her answer when
Kasumi blushed and turned away. "I see. Well, I won't push anything, but
you should consider this. Ranma and Akane will be married soon and will
take over the dojo. That means you need to find your place in the world
and maybe a man to share it with. It was honorable for you to take over
the duties of housewife for your mother, but you've done enough."

"Aunite Saotome, I," she fumbled a bit for the words. "I am
happy doing the cooking and cleaning for the family, but, sometimes I do
get... these feelings. Like I want something more, but..."

"It's okay dear, I understand." She smiled warmly. "The time
will come for you to make a choice. We'll talk more later. Now, let's
get dinner served, shall we?"





All through dinner, Genma felt his wife studying him. He didn't
know what was on her mind or what she was planning, and that scared him.
He knew he was failure, if not in her eyes, then in his own. Oh sure,
she had accepted Ranma as a man and the threat of seppuku was gone, but
he knew he didn't face the problem of the other reason why he left.
That was another reason why he couldn't face his wife when she showed up
at the Tendo dojo.

He finished off his meal, and for once, didn't fight with his
son for more. That seemed to be fine with Ranma. He took a moment to
study his son and tried to decide if he had done the right thing. At the
time, it seemed right, but now he wasn't so sure. If it wasn't for what
his own father had told him about his family line, he might've stayed
home with his wife and trained Ranma there. He probably woudn't have
turned out to be one of the greatest martial artists if Genma had kept
him home, but the family might've been happier.





Both parents noticed their son and his fiancee had been more
quiet and withdrawn than normal. Well, Ranma had been quiet, and that
had the effect of keeping Akane quiet since she usually only blew up
when Ranma said or did something. Now, she just seemed to be slightly
withdrawn ever since the wedding fiasco a few days ago. She also seemed
a bit worried about Ranma. Nodoka had already tried to talk to both of
them, but they both insisted nothing was wrong.

Genma, unsure of how to deal with emotional issues like this,
simply kept out of it. He only knew that the two houses had to be joined
and Ranma and Akane seemed to be the ones to do it. Of course, his track
record for pushing the two to marriage had been less than perfect. The
only other thing he knew was the Art.

His wife also knew that the two kids needed each other. Even
she could see they loved each other, but how long would it take them to
admit it? She also knew somehow, that they should get to together. Chalk
it up to female intuition, a premonition, or even that half-remembered
dream she had one night, but something told her that the two belonged
together.

She sighed as the family broke up and headed their seperate
ways. Genma went back to the game board with Soun and Ranma and Akane
promptly disappeared; whether together or not. One way or another, she
knew things couldn't last and it was getting close to the time of having
a serious discussion with her husband, to get some issues cleared up.

As Genma played, he also realized that sooner or later, he'd
have to talk to his wife and tell her everything.





"Hello, what can I do for you?" the young man with glasses asked
the copper-haired woman as she entered the clinic.

"Hello, Dr. Tofu," she said. "My name is Saotome Nodoka."

Dr. Tofu smiled. "Ah, Ranma's mother. It's a pleasure to meet
you. Both he and his fiancee were regular customers of mine before I
left."

Nodoka pursed her lips and tried to think how to approach this.
"Doctor, would you mind if we sat and talked awhile?"

Tofu checked his notebook. "Sure, my next appointment isn't for
another hour. Have a seat." He gestured to a pair of chairs and poured a
couple cups of tea, handing one to Mrs. Saotome.

"So, Doctor, I've been told you took care of the Tendos and my
family for awhile before you left."

"Call me Tofu. And yes, Akane was quite the active girl, always
getting into scuffles. Then Ranma showed up and it was him showing up in
my office for the injuries."

Nodoka frowned. "Was he getting into fights?"

Tofu laughed. "Not really. Most injuries were fiancee-based.
The rest were caused by fights, but I've known Ranma not to fight unless
he has to and only against people who can defend themselves. You should
be proud of your son."

Nodoka was inwardly relieved. If I had any doubts about my
son's manliness, they're gone now. "Thank you, I am quite glad my son
turned out well, despite being raised by my husband alone. Now, I must
admit I had somewhat of an ulterior motive for visiting you."

Tofu raised an eyebrow. "Oh? And what's that?"

"There is a woman we both know who has helped the family over
the past several years by giving up a life for herself in exchange for
service to her family's needs," she explained. "Now it seems like soon
there will be an opportunity for her to be free to pursue her own life.
I understand she has feelings for a certain young doctor and was
wondering how that doctor felt?" She hoped he'd understand, and by his
looks, he did.

Tofu put down his tea and visibly calmed himself. "Th-this is
about Ka-Kasumi, right?" She nodded and he sighed. "This is part of the
reason I went away. I-I do care about her very much. We had an
understanding. The Tendo's needed her very much, more than I did. She
was also a little young. I helped where I could, but I was beginning to
lose hope, but then your son and husband arrived."

Nodoka sipped her tea. "Ah, the marriage arrangement."

Tofu nodded. "It soon became clear Ranma and Akane had feelings
for each other, and would eventually be married. At least that's what I
hoped. Then Akane could take over the household chores and..."

"And Kasumi would be free to pursue a relationship with you,"
Nodoka finished.

"Yes. It was easier for her to hide her feelings, but I had to
put on a little bit of an act," he admitted. "Still, it became so bad
that I decided to take trip. As the Australians call it, a `walkabout.'
I wanted to make sure of what I felt, while at the same time learn as
much about healing from others as I could."

"So, did you find what you sought?" she asked.

The doctor smiled. "I did. I still love Kasumi, but the time is
not right."

"The time will come soon Tofu-san, and all I can say is you will
know it when you see it." She stood up. "I must thank you for your time,
but there are some more errands I must run. It was a pleasure talking to
you."

Tofu stood up and walked her to the door. "The pleasure was all
mine. You do have a wonderful family, and I can only hope to have a
family as good as yours someday."

She held his hand, then began to walk away. "I'm sure you will.
Sayonara, Tofu-san."





The week passed and the weekend came, and Nodoka decided it was
time for the talk. Soun was out for another city council meeting, Nabiki
was gone checking one of her business ventures, and Kasumi was was
taking care of a female friend for the night. Ranma was out with a pair
of friends and that left Genma and Akane. She decided that now would be
a good time to talk about the person they all had in common, Ranma.

She found her husband watching TV and grabbed him to go look
for Akane. They found her outside and what Nodoka saw, scared and
confused her.

Ranma was curled up on Akane's lap and Akane was petting his
head. Did she also hear... purring? Ranma looked up as soon as his
parents saw him and jumped off his fiancee's lap, hissing on all fours.

"Wh-what's wrong with our son?" Nodoka gasped as Ranma hissed
and swiped at them, backing them up.

"Auntie Saotome!" Akane called. "Just back up slowly and he
won't hurt you. As for what's wrong with him, you can ask the man next
to you."

She turned. "Genma? Would you care to explain this?"

Genma visibly sweated. "Well, you see No-chan, I..." He
swallowed and Akane sighed.

"He tried to train him in a technique called the Nekoken," Akane
answered. Then she went on to explain the particulars of the training
and Ranma's new condition. She also mentioned how he didn't fully read
the manuel. Nodoka looked quite surprised and worried.

Genma tried to sneak away but... *SHING* (for any who don't
know, that's the sound of a rapidly drawn katana). "We are going back
inside right now, Anata, and we are going to have a nice long chat."

He hung his head. "Yes, dear."

She turned to Akane. "Will he be alright?" She gestured to the
pacing Ranma.

Akane nodded. "He'll come out of it, just leave him to me. It's
probably best you leave right now anyway."

Nodoka nodded and dragged her husband off, and Genma became
convinced his life was over. Oh sure, he thought he did the right thing,
but would his wife see that?

Once they entered the living room, Nodoka pointed to spot by
the table and Genma promptly sat down there. She took a spot opposite
him and set the wrapped katana down between them on the table. For
several minutes, she just sat and studied him.

Finally, she said, "I trust you have a VERY good explanation as
to why you felt it neccesary to do that to our son."

Genma gulped. "Ah, yes dear, I do. I needed to make Ranma the
best martial artist in the world..."

"He's afraid of cats, Genma!" she interrupted him. "And he
becomes one mentally if that fear builds up too high! What could have
possibly been worth doing this to him?"

There was silence for a few seconds, then Genma spoke again.
When he did, it was quiet. "The Nekoken is a near-invincible form of
martial arts. It has to be taught at a young age for it to be effective.
Already he has used it to defeat several opponents he wouldn't have been
able to otherwise." He sighed. "I did know the risks when I started to
train him, but knowing what he could face in the future, I thought the
benefits would outweigh any negatives."

He looked up at her and felt a little better that she was
waiting for him to fully explain. Maybe it was time to tell her. "While
on the road, we stopped in and trained at dojo. This wasn't unusual as
we trained at every dojo we came across. While the master of the dojo
and I watched Ranma fight, he spoke to me. He told that Ranma had great
potential and that potential would need to be realized if Ranma were to
survive the tribulations he sensed that were ahead for our son. He then
asked me if I was willing to do whatever it took to train Ranma to be
the best. Naturally, and maybe foolishly, I said yes.

Genma looked down and sighed. "He gave us a training manuel and
a guidebook. He said that if I had the courage and could face the
responsibility, that I should use them. The two objects were the Nekoken
manuel and the guidebook to Jusenkyo."

"So let me get this straight," she said. "You followed the
directions of someone you didn't even know and now our son becomes both
a cat and a woman." She shook her head. "What else would he have become
if this `old man' had given you more scrolls?"

"You don't understand, Nodoka. After the Nekoken training, I
went back to the dojo. It wasn't there! I talked to the locals at the
nearest village and they said they had never heard of it! I think we
were given those manuels for a reason. I think it might have something
to do with my family curse."

"Our family curse now," she corrected. "I became cursed as well
when I married you."

He nodded. "I know, and I wish I could've found a way to lift
that curse while I was away." He looked down. "I failed you in that." He
looked back up and decided to play his final card. "But I believe Ranma
might be able to change that. By now you've heard about all the strange
things that go on in his life, and all the people he helps. Since
Jusenkyo, wierd things have been happening more and more. I'm no
fortune-teller, but I think all these things are happening for a reason.
Strength through adversity, or something like that." Now to find out if
she believes me...

Nodoka didn't say anything for quite awhile as she slowly
digested this information. Do I believe him? Ranma does lead an
interesting life and he has helped so many people. She sighed. "Genma,
what am I going to do with you? I know you did what you thought was
right, even if it was a little foolish and misguided. I guess time will
tell if you are right, but that doesn't mean I totally forgive you for
your actions.

She tapped her fingers on her lips and thought for awhile. "You
will have to atone for this and I believe I know how. While I have heard
of Ranma helping people, rarely have I heard you doing this. So, you
will know accompany Ranma whenever he goes off into dangerous
situations. You will make sure he comes out of them and the same goes
for his fiancee and their friends. You are a martial artist as well, and
it is time you rediscovered what that means. No more cowering or hiding
like a panda. I accept your body turns into one, but you will act like a
man no matter what your body may be. Look at our son; he may turn into a
girl, but he is more of a man than you. Do you understand?"

Genma looked down, resigned to his fate. "Yes dear. You are
right; many of my actions have been dishonorable and it is time I do
something to restore my honor."

"I'm glad you see that." She stood up. "Now, I am going to bed.
You will be welcome to join me when I determine your actions have proven
that the man I fell in love with is still in there." She began to walk
away. "Oh, and you may want to get Soun to help you in this. I think it
would do him good."

Then, Genma was alone and he sighed. Overall, he thought it
hadn't gone too bad. There was still a chance for him to regain the
honor he had lost, and the love of his wife, whom he discovered he still
loved. And if he could get Soun to once again fight by his side...

Was I correct in what I did? he asked himself. At the time,
the decision seemed so easy and obvious. To make the boy the best
martial artist I could, that was my goal. To train him in Musabetsu
Kakuto, and to make him into the honorable man I felt I couldn't be.

He walked over to the window, looked up into the starry sky,
and chuckled. A martial artist. Maybe it's time I practiced what I
preach.


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Author's notes:
I know a lot of people don't like Genma, and even I thought he was quite
the insentive jerk. But then I wanted to get deeper into the characters
and see what made them tick. To that end, I wanted to better understand
Genma, and the way I went in my story hopefully may explain some of his
behavior. For instance, he did marry Nodoka and they had a son. That
tells me they loved each other some time ago. And why do you think he
was afraid of his wife and the seppuku pledge? After all, if he was
truly honorless and didn't love her, I don't think he'd care about her
opinion, or be afraid of her.

I can't explain away everything, and he still has some faults (in the
Ranmaverse, who doesn't?), but that just makes him human. He is greedy,
but then again, so is Lina Inverse.

As far as Genma's family curse goes, that's something that will be
explained later.