You can guess the won't wear a fuku, and also no tuxedo. He won't be some re-incarnation. He is just... Ranma. I want to avoid numerous stuff that became the norm in these crossovers but that actually is pretty stupid. I also will make it clear that while Ranma and the Senshi learn new techniques, I won't sink to the insane levels of the canon, where it became an absurd arms race in the later parts of both series. It's a common weakness in anime series that the power level increases to ridiculous levels. (In my opinion, DBZ is the worst offender in that regard in the anime world) I will try to stay on Earth and try to give everything a bit more realistic feeling (as much as it as it is possible) but don't worry... hilarity will still ensure!

Needless to say that I will slaughter the canon of both series, but I guess you expected this. Also I don't have any rights to both series, but I guess you know that, too.

So finally the first chapter. I'm sure I already have broken some unspoken rules for this kind of crossover.

Note that this is the updated chapter, it is significantly better from the original one, as my writing skills have improved a lot over the years.

Chapter 1: The Day when everything changed

"Stop your whining, boy! It's not far anymore!" Ganma snapped to his son.

"Stupid old man..." Ranma grumbled, while they walked through the outskirts of Tokyo. Not far, my ass! I DID see the city plan, we have to go through half the city, he silently added.

His father still hadn't told him why exactly they were returning to Tokyo; why their training trip had to end so apruptly. But on the other hand, after what had happened a little over two weeks ago, Ranma really didn't feel like travelling any longer.

He knew for years already, that his father is a liar and thief, something that had really hurt his opinion of Genma. And what respect he had once held for his martial arts powers had vanished when seeing again and again the sheer craziness and incompetence that his father displayed when trying to teach these skills. Most of it was utterly useless and the only effect was, to make Ranma tough enough to endure this madness. If not for his own skill at learning the art... No, Ranma had lost all respect for his father long ago.

The stunt at the Pools of Sorrow, that had been the last straw.

Alone the idea of being cursed to turn into a GIRL made his innards turn into knots. He tried to push away the mere thought of what it meant. He'd alway been proud of his masculinity, so this had hurt double. After the first confusion he had asked the guide if there was a pool of drowned man. The guide had said yes, but shot down the idea of using it for a cure right away by saying that it would only cause the curses to mix, making them permanent in the worst case. The idea of becoming a hemaphrodite, not eintirely man or woman, had made the prospect of being a part-time girl somewhat more acceptable.

The following stupidity on their way back to Tokyo caused by his old man had killed any doubts that Genma had lost all credit with him. So in a way he was glad that his father had decided to go to Tokyo to settle down. But he had a feeling that the old man again wanted to drop a bomb into his lap, as he had done so often before. Some stupid sheme that in the end would blow up into their faces. Another thing that had made his opinion of his father less favorable each time it had happened.

But even before this disaster at the pools, he had become unrestful.

Martial arts was his life, and he really enjoyed it, feeling the intense need to become the best there is. And he felt proud at what he had accomplished. But for some time now, he felt a growing emptiness he couldn't really describe. The art wasn't fulfilling him anymore. The art was still a very important thing to him, and propably would always be, but he started to wonder if there was more to life than just that. It felt like something was missing from his life, but he didn't know, what. He only knew that whatever was missing, it started to hurt his enthusiasm for the art.

Genma meanwhile had different thoughts.

The boy starts to become too rebellious. Good that he soon will have no chance but to obey with his honor at stake once we are at Soun's house... he thought.

He didn't like Ranma's growing independence in the slightest; not after putting so much work into him over the last ten years. Despite Ranma practically being unable to survive in a modern society (a side-effect which Genma didn't regret), the threat of his son running off had grown considerably, especially after he got cursed. But once at the Tendos, Ranma would be left with no choice but to play along, that was the plan. And should everything go right, he wouldn't have to worry about the future. The only minus was that he wouldn't be able to see his wife again, but that was only of small importance to him. And he was sure, she would understand.

Genma didn't even remember anymore that this was the corruption speaking. He had lost the battle even before leaving to the training trip, where it had overwhelmed him totally, with Nodoka's calming influence gone. The once kind and caring man was gone, surpressed by the ingrained behaviour beaten into him on his own training trip. The Genma of the present was greedy, impatient, a liar, cruel, and yet a horrible coward. An small part of his mind, almost muted out, sighed that maybe not meeting Nodoka was better, as her heart propably couldn't shoulder the grief over what had become of her husband and son.

And the corruption actually feared Nodoka, as her very presence was like poison to it, helping the good side of Genma to return to the surface.

Genma's inner monologue stopped, when he noticed something on the ground. Picking it up, he looked quite pleased with his catch, a leather wallet. "Ho-ho, looks like we can fill up our pockets."

"Pop, you're disgusting." Ranma knew the honor code of the martial artists and tried to live it, but he also knew that his father had forgotten the rules of honor, watching him going through the contents of the wallet. "And we wouldn't be broke, if not for your big belly."

"Why do I have such an ungrateful son...?" Genma grumbled. Most of the stuff was useless, like identification papers, and he threw it away. He pocketed the Yen bills, then pulled out the last item. "Tokyo Transport Authority. Two one-way tickets."

Genma was known to say that everything, regardless how ridiculous, helps the art. But he also was incredibly lazy and would never turn down something of worth. Looking first to the tickets, then to the near train station, he decided that his lazyness would win, getting with public transportation to Nerima sounded good to him. "Come, boy! We take the train."

Ranma shook his head. That was his father's lazyness speaking; he shyed away from any real efford if he could. "What, Pop? Can't take some walking? What about 'a martial artist's life is full of hard work'?" the sarcasm in his voice was all to clear, it was one trait everyone would develop in Genma's presence.

"Quiet, boy! I did decide!" Genma barked, not wanting to hear anymore of it.

Ranma shugged, he had the feeling that his pop, who sometimes managed to make the most normal of situations turn into an almost-deathtrap, would again mess up royally. Well, if that happend, he would do what he learnt was the best: try to get out of the line of fire and watch Genma's ass getting roasted. It had worked several times.

Little did he know that fate was screaming in anger right now. Its last chance to throw Ranma into a life of total chaos was gone. Not only would the train protect him from a temporary rainshower, thus helping him to keep his form, but also he would end up in a place that certainly was not Nerima. A simple wallet lost by someone had never come at a better time.

He was actually going to the right place.

After ten years, he would return home.

...later, in the Minato ward...

Nodoka Saotome read her grocery list for the final time, before putting it into her purse while walking through the Minato ward to the grocery shop. She had been so occupied with her book that she had only now remembered that she still had to stock up her nearly empty fridge. Not that there was too much to stock up, since she was living on her own without anyone else in her house.

Her empty house.

The spirit of the house had never been the same ever since Ranma had left. A constant undercurrent of sadness hung over her home. Something irreplaceable had been lost to it all these years ago, and the wound had never healed. Her empty house was also berating her constantly with its emptyness for her bad decisions which had led to her current situation.

Remembering this made her once more aware of the heartarche that she felt for years.

And to think that I hadn't even missed him until I met Saeko... Thinking of her friend made her remember one of the most difficult times of her life.

It had been nine years ago, when she had fallen off a ladder and had spent weeks in a hospital with a badly broken leg. One day, the doctor who treated her, Saeko Mizuno, had asked her why no one visited her. It was odd for her that despite Nodoka being marked in her file as having a family, no one came. At first she was reluctant, but slowly she started to trust her and told her why her family didn't visit, all flavored with her warped views on this and the world in general. With each minute Dr. Mizuno had looked more disturbed.

The breaking point had been when she'd told her about the seppuku contract.

Dr. Mizuno had looked shocked, disgusted and... with pity to her. But instead of turning away, she had offered her friendship. Only much later had she admitted to her that she had seen a woman whose life was essentially ruined, but who was completely oblivious of that very fact. And she really wanted to help her, feeling that she had to do so.

What had followed had been a hard year.

Saeko had been set on opening her eyes to reality and pull her out of the circle of people that strengthened her warped woldview. It was a difficult process. After several months in which she'd carefully introduced her to new ideas and managed to make her open up somewhat, Saeko had started her attempt to break through this armor of extreme conservatism and traditional upbringing. It had almost cost their friendship and resulted in lots of shouting and anger. Nodoka'd felt betrayed that her friend would question some of the basics of her worldview.

But then Saeko had come up with the suppuku contract and asked her point blank if she could really force her only child to commit suicide in cold blood. This had made her stop, and some things did have sunk in over these months.

The idea of killing her only child over something as vague as manliness... Thanks to Saeko the final consequences had penetrated her mind. She had pictured it in her mind, and the harsh reality of what the contract meant caught up to her. She'd seen it in her mind's eye. Her standing in front of a young man whose face she was unable to see, the floor covered in an ever-growing puddle of blood. Blood spilling out of the wound he'd caused to himself, the tanto still stuck in the wound. This final consequence, which she'd alwas known but never really thought about, did it.

Horrified by herself and that she actually had had wanted to go through with it without questioning it, she broken down, crying on Saeko's shoulder for what felt like hours. Without the pink glasses of a warped woldview, her willingness to force her child to kill himself had scared her to no end. And she had then felt that she was a bad person, and a really bad mother, falling into a deep depression. In mere minutes she'd went from being sure of being righteous to feeling as if she was the lowest of the lowest.

Again, her friend had been there for her. And with her now willing to listen, the shock had been enough to break the final resistance. She was gently guided out of her depression and she turned away from the circles that had encouraged her behaviour. Saeko was a true friend, helping her to get her life back into order, and making her open up to reality.

She even had made her again taking up her art of the sword, which she had stopped participating after meeting Genma. She had improved much over the years, won in the woman's devision of several kendo tournaments. The trophies decorating the family room were witness of how far she'd come, while the prize money insured that she wouldn't need to leech on the special account set up by Genma any longer.

But all this didn't bring back her son.

After her "awakening", she had tried to find him, but the only thing she found were reports on things that Genma had done, none of them positive, some form the police. She knew what it meant, her fear had come true and her husband had fallen prey to the corruption. She was sick with worry what this would mean for her son, growing up in such an environment. She knew, allowing Genma to take him away was her biggest failure. She had symbolically burned this damn contract and strewn the ashes onto her garden, but she knew that it wouldn't release her from her loneliness.

A weekly post card from Genma (which of course had no indication from where it was sent) showed that at least they were still alive, but three weeks ago, that also had stopped. That had increased her fear of what her husband had done this time that he wouldn't even write her anymore, regardless how made up the usual contents of these cards was.

She was almost there, the shop was near the Azabu Juuban station, right next to the tracks.

"Stop complaining, boy!"

She stopped dead cold when hearing this voice from around the corner. She hadn't heard it for years, and it sounded different, harsher and deeper than it used to be. Yet there was no doubt for her who it belonged to. It was the voice of her husband. Genma? Could it be?

"Stuff it, Pop! It was you who decided on which train we should take!"

She felt her heart starting to beat faster. That was the voice of a young man, and he had called the other man his father. I have to know! Walking around the corner, she stopped again when witnessing a confrontation between a father and his son in front of the train station.

A confrontation caused by pent up frustration.

Ranma felt annoyed. Of course his father had messed up and took the wrong train, resulting in them ending up in the wrong ward of Tokyo. That was quite a feat, as Minato and Nerima were on opposite ends of Tokyo. His father was unable to read even a simple network plan; and now his old man barked at him for it. This did not help to improve Ranma's opinion of his father.

"It's your fault alone. So don't blame me for it!" he added, pointing a finger in accusion to his father.

Genma meanwhile felt that his son's little rebellion started to get out of hand. He hadn't suspected that his rebellious streak already run this deep. He would now show him his limits before carrying him off to Nerima. Once there, the engagement would bring Ranma back in line. "You asked for it, son! You act like a girl! It's time to show you your place!" That said, Genma thew off his backpack.

Despite his anger, some nervousness was also present, which he hid well. As soon as he'd left the train, something at the back of his mind told him to get the hell out of this place, that he was in grave danger. Ranma's little rebellion however had priority at the moment. He ignored the voice at the back of his mind, telling him that this place seemed familiar, instead preparing to give Ranma what in his mind he'd deserve.

"Bring it on, old man!" Ranma snarled, letting go of his own pack.

Now he would stuff the old man's mouth, his limit reached with that last insult. He could endure much, but he hated people making fun of his curse! It was embarrassing and humiliating, so making fun of it was a bad idea. That, and he would never back down from a challenge. He was just about to take the first strike, when...


Both turned to the source of this enraged scream, their confrontation forgotten for the moment, to see a middle-aged woman with reddish-brown hair, wearing a sky-blue kimono, looking in ice-cold anger to Saotome the elder. Ranma noticed that his father went as pale as a sheet as soon as he saw her, something he only did when really scared. Ranma knew right away that this meant his father felt that he was in mortal danger.

"Genma Saotome!" Nodoka hissed, while slowly approaching the man that was her husband. While she was excited that this young man was most likely her long-lost son (which also made her again feel guilty for not seeing him growing up), her anger at Genma was right now bigger. It overrode her motherly pride of seeing how Ranma had grown into a strong man for the moment.

Genma now knew why the surroundings looked familiar. Minato ward was where the Saotome house was located, and that was exactly what he had tried to avoid: bumping into his wife. He knew that once she'd learn of Ranma's curse, both their lives were essentially over. After all, being cursed to turn into a girl was hardly manly. At least she hadn't her sword with her at the moment, meaning he at least would get to live a little longer.

" hello No-chan," he stammered.

"Don't No-chan me, Genma!"she hissed, silencing him.

She had now no doubt that Genma had changed, alone by looking how fat he had become, looking nothing like the warrior he used to be. The once muscle-packed and agile man looked as if he'd aged much more than just 10 years and Nodoka had no doubt than he was completely bald beneath this bandana.

"Pop, is that again someone you scammed? It's getting old," Ranma complained, not recognising his mother, although he felt that he should know this woman. He looked to her. "Did he steal from you, or did he break his word?"

Nodoka was taken aback. Her son didn't recognise her? Of course it was ten years ago, but she didn't look much different and Genma could have shown him pictures. Sadness now added to her anger. "Genma, this is Ranma, right?"

Genma knew, lying to his wife right now would bring him into an early grave, so his cowardice won by a far margin. "Yes."

"Why didn't our son recognise me?" her voice became frosty. Thankfully her friend had helped her with anger management, otherwise Ganma would now have a number of angry red handprints in his face. She'd save his punishment for later, now she wanted answers.

Genma struggled to answer.

Ranma meanwhile blinked. The whole situation confused him to no end. First there was this woman who his father clearly recognised, and then she was claiming to be his mother? He feltthat couldn't be right. "I, your son?... But Pop said Mom died 10 years ago. That's why we went on our trip in the first place."

"You told him that...I... died...?" Nodoka took a number of steps backwards, onto the road, trying to get distance between herself and Genma, so that she wouldn't do something she would regret later. The sheer shock at this relevation had drained the color from her face.

Ranma was still confused, but then again, he knew his father. And as loathe as he was to say it, he didn't put him above doing something like that. Looking at her a little longer he made comparisons to himself, since he knew that he didn't resemble his father at all. The family resemblance to her however was undeniable, especially when comparing it to what he looked as a girl. There was a very big possibility that this was indeed his mother.

He grew angry when thinking about how much this must hurt her right now. Even though he had been just exposed to the idea of still having a mother, he already felt protective of her. Oh yes, Genma was in for a beating as he had never experienced before.

"Pop, I'll...!"

-BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAPP- -sccrreeeeeeeetcchhhhhhh-

The blaring of a horn ripped him out of his thoughts, and in horror he saw a big truck driving directly towards his just-found mother. It was trying to stop, its brakes working on the limit to make it stop, but the sheer mass made the stopping distance too long and it surely would hit her with enough force to kill her!


It was instinct. He jumped, pushed her out of harm's way. That of course put him into direct danger! He tried to reinforce himself with his lifeforce, as he had been taught to do to make himself extra tough and durable. However, there wasn't enough time to completely do this and the last thing he felt before everything turned dark was getting hit very hard. Mercifully it happened so fast, he didn't feel any pain.

"RANMA!" Nodoka screamed in terror when she saw her son getting hit full force by the slowing truck. He was thrown through the air like a ragdoll, landing hard on the road further away, while the truck finally stopped.

No! I can't lose him again! Running to him, she was taken aback by the blood, and on first sight she saw that at least one leg was badly broken. But... he was still breathing. She had to fight to not go into full panic. This was far too much like her nightmare where Ranma would commit suppuku. There was so much blood...

"Great kami!" Looking up she saw the driver of the truck, who had jumped out of his vehicle, looking shocked at what had happened. He ran back to the driver's door. "I call the ambulance!"

Nodoka looked up to Genma, who also looked really shocked at what had just happened, then back to her gravely injured son. "Please don't leave me... I have so much to make up to you... I don't want to lose you," she begged, tears running freely down her face.

...Minato central hospital...

Nodoka looked like the whole world rested on her shoulders, while she waited for news. Ranma had been wheeled into the emergency room over an hour ago and since then they had heard nothing. It was made worse by the fact that Genma had said nothing all the time, only looking nervous to her. She again wondered how much he must have changed in these years (in a spiritual way, although looking at his bald head he had changed on the outside as well). Right now she was sick with worry over her son. Reunited after so many years only get threatened to be seperated forever.

She wondered if that was karmic punishment; to be finally given what she'd desired so much, only to be cruelly reminded that life was a very frickle thing and remind her once again, that her son could be taken from her forever, something that years ago she'd actually been will to do by her own hand.

Looking to Genma, she saw him avoiding her eyes. He seemed uncomfortable in her presence, which she deduced was a clear sign of fear and possibly guilt. Unlike her, he'd never been good at hiding his emotions. For now she would lay off, but as soon as Ranma was safe (and she didn't doubt that he would recover) she would grill her 'dear' husband for answers.

Finally the door opened, and a doctor walked out. Nodoka recognised her friend Saeko Mizuno. It seemed that she'd been on duty when Ranma had been brought in. However, the blood on her green surgery suit looked a little disturbing. "Saeko. Is he...?"

"Don't worry, he is going to be alright. However, he did recieve his share of injuries that will take quite some time to heal. It's a wonder... normally I would have expected him to get hurt much worse. Judging by the description of the accident it should have killed him," Dr. Mizuno told her in a calm, reassuring voice. She knew everything concerning her son still was an emotional topic for Nodoka.

Nodoka let out a breath of relief. Ranma would recover from his injuries. Then her mind caught up with Saeko had said. "How bad is it?"

Saeko hated it to tell her friend the extend of Ranma's injuries, but she felt that she should be honest with her. Stripping off her gloves and trowing them into the trash bin, she listed all of Ranma's injuries. "His left leg is badly broken in multiple places, as are two of his ribs. He's got very bad bruises and a concussion. We had to stitch the wounds where the impact was worst and treat numerous other skin injuries. However, he was lucky. No organ damage, no injury to his head or spine. With time he will make a full recovery."

She let out a sigh. "A wonder that he came out of it with only these injuries."

"That's no wonder at all."

That was the first thing Genma had said since the accident. It also sounded quite arrogant as well. "Better explain yourself..." Nodoka demanded, her eyes seeming to burn holes into him; something which he ignored.

"We martial artists of great skill learn to use our ki to reinforce themselves and form shields to protect us harm. That's why we can do the things we do." He snorted. "Seems the boy got sloppy. All the training wasted...owwww!" Genma's rant was cur short when his wife pulled down his head by the ear... hard. Only now did he realise that he shouldn't have said the last thing in her presence.

"Genma..." The growl made it clear that Nodoka was losing her patience.

"That loss there is your husband?" Seeing her friend nod, Saeko found that this man had changed a lot from the photos she had seen. But after all she had heard from her friend, of the things she got word of, it didn't surprise her much.

Right at that moment, the doors opened up and Genma's suffering was interrupted for the moment when they saw Ranma being wheeled out, deep asleep under the influence of the sedatives. He looked really bad, almost half of his visible skin an angry purple. And even then, he still looked so peaceful. They were silent until he'd been wheeled away.

Saeko looked hard at Genma, the woman's deep blue eyes holding a depth that was frightening to Genma. "I guess he will have much to tell you, and I shall write down everything." It sounded like a threat.

Nodoka pulled Genma along by the ear, which was quite a feat since he was taller than her, until they reached Saeko's small office. Once inside, Nodoka let go of his ear while Saeko locked the door. Genma gulped when his wife looked him hard into the eyes. He was a skilled martial artist, but the hard eyes promised big trouble shouldn't he fully cooperate with his wife and start talking. Nodoka had changed, so much he could feel. She no longer was the submissive wife. While still a woman with dignity, the years living alone had hardened her. And despite how powerful he was, even in better days he hadn't had the strength to go against her.

His survival instincts kicked in and he fell to his knees. Fear for his life right at the moment was overriding all his pride. "I talk! I'll make a full confession!" The sheer fear overrode the temptation to lie to her, him hoping that telling the truth would result in mercy. At least he hoped that she'd show him mercy.

"I expect no less from you," Nodoka said, while sitting down in one of the chairs. She felt that this could take quite some time, as ten years were a long time. More than enough time to commit countless stupid things.

She couldn't have been more right.

...hours later...

"I really wonder how your son managed to not end up as a cripple in a wheelchair after what he had to endure for years," Saeko said in sheer astonishment while she and Nodoka stood by Ranma's bedside to wait for the teenager to wake up.

Ranma looked worse injured than he actually was, wrapped in bandages, his leg in a flexible cast. That the cast was flexible had a good reason, namely Ranma's curse. A regular cast would have been murderous should he change, as his reduced height would cause bad complications. They'd relayed that information at the last second, preventing a complicated removal of a hard cast. The curse, which they hadn't believed in until throwing some cold water on Genma, was the crowning of an incredible story of greed, stupidity and sheer incompetence that Genma had revealed to them in his long confession.

A close second in his stupidity was what he called the neko-ken, something for which both woman had almost strangled him. The mere idea that he had done this to a child of six years... Numerous small, old and faded scars were silent witness of his suffering in this horrible pit. They wondered how Ranma had survived this horror in the first place, especially with his mind still intact, although they also now knew that should he get pushed over the edge he would become very dangerous.

The whole thing had been especially bitter for Nodoka, as Ranma had loved cats as a child. Maybe it was a blessing that Ranma's own cat, whom he'd loved dearly as a child, had died three years ago of old age. She also would have to hire someone to remove all the wallpapers in Ranma's room, as they had a cat-motif on them.

Lots of other insane training methods had followed, with each of them capable of being lethal. Multiple engagements that were impossible to honor, including one stolen dowry. Genma had commited a great number of small crimes, running quite a tab. They had been thankful that his latest and yet first engagement-sheme had been foiled by mere coincidence. And while Nodoka was proud of family honor, she couldn't support the engagement with the Tendo family. Genma's stupidity had caused the agreement to be void at the very moment he'd made a second engagement. All the other engagements were essentially null and void, as Genma then already had lost the authority to do so by then.

She knew it would be her responsibility to call the Tendos and tell them these news. Not something she was looking forward to.

"You have enough reason to divorce that fat bastard. Why did you decide not to?" Saeko then asked her friend. She herself had developed a very negative opinion of Genma Saotome. "The evidence is stacked against him and the courts would fully agree with you. It would be his dishonor alone."

"I actually considered it. But I have a reason why I didn't," Nodoka explained. She was very hurt over how much to the worse Genma had changed in these years, feeling guilty that she had inficted this hell on Ranma by allowing Genma to take him. "Genma himself actually warned me years ago that something really bad was lurking inside him. He knew this could happen to him. I want back the man that I married, and I will get him back... But he will first feel what I think of what he has done. Don't think I will let this get unpunished."

Saeko shook her head. There were some things about her friend, she would never understand. While Nodoka had finally learned to live in the modern world, some of her views still were a little bit anachronistic. "I still think you're doing an error."

"That from you... I remember how you and your husband were close from divorcing before you found a way to make everything work," Nodoka remarked.

Seako knew that she was no role model for marital issues, so she felt she shouldn't comment on it any more. Right then she saw Ranma stir. "Oh, look, your son is waking up!"

Said Ranma felt like shit.

The last two things he did remember was the radiator of a truck wanting to get him better known and a sharp pain that followed. After that there was nothing but darkness. Since he felt horrible it meant that he must be still alive, since the dead obviously couldn't feel like shit. Learned habits kicked in and he took inventory of his body and its injuries.

Bandaged up... chest hurts, propably broken ribs... left leg in weird feeling cast... and my head is still ringing... he mentally listed.

All of it was stuff he had had before, but not all of it at the same time. Forcing his eyes open, he was greeted with the faces of two woman. The first he didn't know but her doctor's coat made it clear what she was. The second woman however he did recognise as his newfound mother. The simple idea of her made him fear that it wasn't true.

"Are you...really my Mom?" his speech was still hampered by his tiredness.

Nodoka couldn't fault him for being insecure. Not after ten years in which he had thought that she had died. She took hold of his hands to assure him, having trouble to hold her own emotions at bay. "Yes, Ranma, it's really me. After all these years my prayers were heard and you returned."

"Ahh... Mom, please don't cry... I feel sorta guilty that I did something wrong whenever a girl cries." While he would surely need to get used to the fact that his mother was back in his life, he knew that a crying girl, even and especially his mother, made him feel bad.

She knew she should control her emotions better, but this control had fully slipped. "I can't help it. They are tears of joy... When you were taken from me, you were a mere boy of six years. And now you you've grown into a man. It was my ignorance that made me miss seeing you grow up. You knew nothing of me, yet you didn't hesitate to save me. Even in this short time... you already made me proud of you."

Ranma blushed. His father never had given him such praise, never said that he was proud of him. What his father hadn't managed in ten years, his newfound mother had done in mere minutes. "I'm bad with words. I know nothing of you... and you know nothing of me."

Nodoka needed a second before she understood that her son was sad that it had come this way. He didn't know how to react since he knew next to nothing about her and he obviously still didn't fully understand the ramifications of her being back in his life. "We'll have more than enough time to learn of each other... And actually I do know of what you did all these years after we made your father confess everything."

That was news to Ranma. Normally his father was the most stubborn person in the world (after him) and wouldn't reveal anything he didn't want to. Not even when pressured with injury. His respect for his mother rose up quite some notches for managing the seemingly impossible: to get Genma to talk. "Uhm, actually where's Pop? I don't see him here."

"Right now he his lying on the floor of my office, recovering from the bruises your mother gave him after he was done with confessing," Saeko added from the side when seeing that Nodoka didn't want to answer that.

Ranma looked questioning to his mother, wondering who exactly this other woman was. A normal doctor wouldn't be so nosy and surely would not stay while they were talking. So there had to be more to it.

"Ranma, this is Saeko Mizuno. A doctor and dear friend of mine for years. She is one of those who treated your injuries," Nodoka introduced her friend to Ranma.

"Hi. Guess a friend of my Mom can only be all right..." Only then he remembered that his father had confessed everything. Did that mean she also knew about...? He looked back to his mom, a little pale. "Eh...did he tell you...?"

Nodoka knew, she couldn't avoid it any longer. "Yes, he told us that you have a curse that changes your gender, although we haven't seen it yet and don't plan to for a while because of your injuries." Seeing him wince, she felt confirmed thaat this was a very sensitive topic for him. "This isn't something I'll hold against you, I love you in either form."

"We know that this must be very difficult for you. Which young man wouldn't be horribly embarrassed and disturbed by turning into the opposite gender?" Saeko added, hoping that this would reassure Ranma they wouldn't see his emotions over the issue as a weakness.

"Completely motified would describe it better..." Ranma almost whispered.

Nodoka knew that this was the sign to change topic. "Your father also told me about these mad training methods, including the worst..."

Ranma felt like hinding under the bed sheet, his two most embarrassing secrets were known to his mother. And while relieved that she didn't mind his curse, her knowing of the neko-ken was like lead in his stomach. "Oh joy... Why didn't you kill Pop for it?"

"I was tempted... But then I decided that this would be too much of a mercy. Son, I don't hold it against you... And believe me that you'll always be my son, regardless of what you look like. Never doubt that," she tried to reassure him.

She would never tell him that before her 'change' she propably would have disowned him over the whole thing. She thanked all gods that they'd allowed he to become a better person, or metting Ranma again would have ended in disaster.

Despite still knowing next to nothing of his mother, he couldn't help but to like her. She was so understanding and didn't either make fun of his problems, nor did she turn away from him -a reaction a big number of people on his journey back to Japan had, when seeing the curse first hand. Then he again looked embarrassed. "I don't even know your name."

Nodoka again felt like strangling Genma. That her son had even forgotten her name spoke against her husband. "It is Nodoka, dear. However, I'm not offended if you continue to call me mother or Mom."

Ranma didn't know where to start with his questions. He wasn't good with words, he also wasn't well adapted to interacting with people, a fact he had no idea of. He wasn't used to feeling emotions like this, so he tried to conceal them since Genma had drilled into him that men don't show such weak emotions, although his father had nothing against showing these emotions himself.

However, before he could think about what to ask, he felt a need arising.

Great, now of all times... he groaned inwards. Nature tended to make itself known at the worst moments."Uhh... can you help me get up? Before we talk I have to take a leak."

"I fear you won't get out of this bed for a while with your ribs as broken as they are at the moment. You can't even sit up without the danger of making it worse," Saeko shot him down. She then looked to Nodoka. "We knew this would come up. Should I call the nurse...?"

Nodoka thought about it for a second. "I don't think this will be neccassary today. I'm his mother so it won't be toubling for me to do this." That said, she grabbed a weird looking, empty bottle from the bedside.

Ranma eyed this bottle questioning. Right now he had no idea what this was for. "Mom?" His eyes went wide when he watched his mother pulling the lower bed sheet to the side. "Mom, what are you doing?"

Needless to say that after this was done and these two started talking, Ranma's face sported a blush for at least half an hour after this demonstration of how his mother wouldn't hesitate to do something necassary, and what this bottle was for. It didn't help that she said that she had changed his diapers so many years ago.

It only made it even more embarrassing. morning, Tendo home...

It was a typical morning in the Tendo home in the Nerima ward of Tokyo. Mostly. The atmosphere in the house was right now a mixture of disappointment and relief. Yesterday the father of the three Tendo sisters had dropped the bomb that one of them would get engaged to the son of his old friend Genma Saotome. The girls weren't happy with the idea of getting forced into a marrige, especially to a complete stranger.

The father Soun Tendo had also said that his friend would arrive with his son on that day.

That had been yesterday and these two hadn't turned up. Everyone reacted different to this new development.

The father, Soun Tendo, had become worried and close to tears. After his beloved wife had died ten years ago, leaving him with no male heir to carry on their martial arts school, his agreement with Genma Saotome had become his anchor of hope that in the end the school would be saved from extinction. While he loved his daughter Akane, he doubted that she was fit to take over the school. And now Genma and Ranma hadn't shown up. He worried if something had happened to them.

Kasumi, the eldest daughter, was a bit disappointed that she had prepared everything for guests that hadn't shown up. While she had her eyes on someone else, she still had hoped that this Ranma would be a mature young man. Because if he was, she would follow her duty for the family. While she was willing to sacrife a lot for the family, even she had her limits, as seldom as these were, so she wouldn't consider an engagement to someone younger than her or of questionable character.

Nabiki, the middle daughter, was miffed that she had made herself extra presentable for a possible dumb hunk who she could use at her disposal, only to be disappointed by him not appearing at all. Unlike Kasumi she would have taken up the engagement even if the guy was not suitable to her tastes, mostly just to get something out for herself. Duty to the family be damned, she had seen it only as an opportunity to get a good piece of meat to order around, extort and use to get some steam out of her system, nothing more.

Akane, the youngest daughter, was relieved that this boy hadn't turned up at all. Ever since some dumb boy named Kuno from the year above had issued an even dumber decree that no one at school could date until she was defeated by a boy in combat (no doubt he thought of himself) and used violence to make sure that no one dated, a good chunk of the male population tried to fight her every morning, most in pure desperation. She didn't want to cause serious injuries, but this already went on for weeks, with no one lifting a finger to stop it, and by now her nerves were laid bare.

She propably would have beaten this Ranma into a pulp in her upset mood, so maybe it was fortunate for both of them that he hadn't turned up.

-riiiiiiiiiiing- The telephone interrupted the silence. Kasumi answered it. "Hello, Tendo residence... Oh yes, we expected them... My father? A moment please... Father, it is for you, a Mrs. Saotome."

Soun dashed to the telephone when hearing this name. Genma never had mentioned his wife to him, but he must have been married to have a son since he doubted his friend would have accepted an offspring out of wedlock. He didn't know what to expect for this woman. Maybe Genma had taken a little detour to his wife? Yes, that soundd logical to him.

"Yes, this is Soun Tendo speaking... Oh, really, they did arrive!" That answered the question, so his friend and his son did arrive in Tokyo. "What happened? Oh...that's too bad. Will he recover?... Good. While you call, there is something else..." He got interrupted and paled. "...Oh, but... Please, you can't do that! The schools have to be united... He did what?..." Soun started trembling. "No, no! Please no..." Then Soun started to cry, unable to talk any longer.

Kasumi took the phone from his hand. When her father had one of his episodes, as seldom as they now were, he'd become completely impossible to reach. "I'm sorry, but my father is unable to answer right now..." She listened to what the woman on the other end had to say. "This is what happened?... Oh dear, I hope he'll get better soon... Oh, that explains his reaction... Good, I will relay it. Can we still expect you here? ... I understand, not until Ranma is well enough... All right. Good-bye."

Both of her sisters looked questioningly at her, wondering what news this woman could have told their father that he would react this strong. Nabiki arched an eyebrow, she hated to be in the dark, while Akane impatiently drummed her fingers on the table.

"All right, what was this about?" Nabiki finally asked.

Kusumi looked a little sad. "Mrs. Saotome said that her husband violated the terms of the agreement by making several other engagements as well, essentially breaking a vow of honor and thus nullifying all agreements in the end. Poor father didn't take it well. She would have come to tell us personally, but her son had been in an accident and she doesn't want to leave him alone in the hospital for too long. Oh, I hope he will be well."

"Oh, too bad," Nabiki shugged, then went on with the task of getting ready for school. She propably would make quite some pocket money with these interesting news.

Akane also didn't feel sad in the slightest. These news meant that at least that problem had solved itself. That propably was the best for everyone concerned, with exception of her father. But it only made her mood a little better, since she would still be facing the gauntlet again today. It would be only a matter of time when this would escalate into something with serious results. And even Akane knew that should this happen, the cowards in the school administration couldn't look away any longer.

But she hoped that it wouldn't come as far as her doing something she would regret.

"Oh Saotome, how could you?" Soun wailed, feeling like his friend was leaving him in the rain. "Now the school is doomed to die out."

"HEY! What about me?" Akane hissed. She was always angry when her father didn't think of her being able to carry on the school. That he felt unable to take her training any further for years now felt like a big insult to her. "If you would help me to get better instead of wailing all the time that I'm your little girl, you wouldn't have a problem with securing the school!"

"But I need...a male heir..." Soun sobbed during his crying, not wanting to tell the real reason, that he didn't think that Akane was fit for being a sensei.

"You shouldn't have said that, daddy," Nabiki remarked sarcastically, while walking to the door with her school bag and bento in her hands. She knew that this would have come one day and she wanted to be out of the house when her younger sister would blow up over this.

Akane couldn't believe it. She'd suspected something like this for some time buthad always convinced herself that it was just her father being too soft on her. And now she got confirmation that he'd possibly never intended for her to seriously learn the art at all, propably having speculated to marry him off to this Ranma and become a housewife.

"I can't believe it! I'm not good enough for you?" she screamed into his face, her own face turning a deep red from her anger. She was livid! "So all my trainig until you stopped was just a sham until you could marry me off?"

"A...Akane..." Soun stammered.

She didn't want any of that, her frustration and anger now pouring out. "No, you now listen to me..."

Kasumi felt helpless while watching Akane screaming in anger at their father, who again started wailing, this time over his daughter yelling at him. For a long time she had seen the rift between Akane and their father slowly growing. Him not wanting to train her to the truely advanced levels, and her growing anger over being treated like this only because she was a girl. And as much as she had tried, nothing had mended this rift, which now was deeper than ever.

She feared that Akane's growing anger would get her into serious trouble.

...some hours later...

Nodoka and Saeko waited for the man to come out of Ranma's room. He had been in there for over an hour now.

They knew that it wasn't really fair, but after yesterday they felt that such a tactic was only in Ranma's best interest. During Nodoka talking with him yesterday, the more she had learned about Ranma the more concerned she had become about his well-being and his future. Especially since Ranma seemed oblivious of most of the problems. In the end she had intercepted Saeko before she clocked out, telling her everything, unsure what to make of this.

Saeko had suggested that someone with a professional psychologial training should speak with her son. Of course without him knowing this fact. Ranma otherwise would be deeply hurt and block off every attempt to talk to him. Also it had to be a man, because as Saeko put it: "men under themselves are more likely to talk freely".

It seemed to have worked, considering how long he already was in there.

Finally the man left the room, dressed like a normal caretaker. He closed the door, then looked to the two woman. "Good thing your husband isn't here. I never before saw someone who was raised by a parent with such incompetence."

"At least we now have the opinion of an expert..." Saeko remarked.

Retreating to Saeko's office for some privacy, they were curious what exactly the verdict would be. As soon as the door was locked, he started talking. "After everything you told me and after what Ranma said, I can get quite a good picture. He was easy to talk with and I found out a lot from stuff that he said on the sidelines," he told them.

He then looked to Nodoka. "Mrs. Saotome, first and formemost the good news: your son is enjoying a good mental health and actually he's quite intelligent, even if it doesn't look that way on first sight. But growing up in the company of your husband has caused more damage than you can imagine."

"Please, I can take it..." Nodoka already had a suspicion that it wouldn't be good news.

"Your son will have serious problems to fit into a modern society. His father has done such a poor job of raising him that a number of concepts are totally alien to him. He has serious trouble to express his emotions as he thinks that is unmanly. He learned to fight, but not how to solve problems without violence. His school attendence has huge gaps and he will have serious trouble to get into the grade that corresponds to his age."

"You might be surprised to hear that he is tired of travelling around and feels that his life is unfulfilled. He is unhappy with his current situation and would actually appreciate a normal, even a ittle boring life in a stable home."

He took a breath. "Then there is his curse -which I wouldn't have believed if not for a demonstration on his father- which is difficult for him. He didn't say it, but he is terrified and embarrassed by it, especially since he is totally ignorant of the female body." The curse had been really shocking, and he still had a hard time to accept it as a fact.

Nodoka looked ready to cry again. "And what can we do to help him?"

"He needs a stable surroundings, a place where he can root into. Find him a tutor who can help him before he takes the entrance exam. He is intelligent, only needs to learn how to use it for school, instead of getting bored during class. Be understanding and patient with him when you explain something that's new for him, explain social skills to him. And try to gently get him used to the fact that his cursed body is also him and that it is a healthy female, something not to be afraid of. Try to tell him that he will always be himself, only that he now has a second body with its own rules, needs and secrets which he should accept and explore without embarrassment."

He sighed. "I'm sorry if that's all I can say, but for a detailled analysis he would need real sessions. And I doubt he would agree to this." He then excused himself.

"A stable, warm home, I can offer. Also patience and helping him to get used to this bizarre curse, which I still have to see. But I do not know how to make him accept a tutor and take school serious. He told me he finds school boring and a waste of time." Nodoka already felt that the coming weeks and months would be difficult for all of them.

"Try to appeal to his ambitions, that works for most men. You say he wants to become a martial arts sensei? Make it a challenge for him. Tell him that to be a licensed sensei, he needs a college degree in physical education, and that everyone would laugh at a sensei who is ignorant of things that everyone should know," Saeko suggested.

Nodoka thought about it. "I guess that will work. But where to find a tutor that is willing to help him AND capable of teaching him things without making him bored?"

Saeko had to admit, that was quite a problem. "Someone who can... Nodoka, you know of my daughter Ami, right?"

She nodded. The girl was known to her. A very polite girl, but something about her was a little strange. "How couldn't I? I met her a few times. No offense, but she is strange."

"Yes... as loathe as I am to say, but I fear I didn't raise her as well as I could have. My Ami is so smart, always the best. She didn't even need all that extra learning and the cram school. She would breeze through the school work with no trouble. But she is so utterly alone... has become so fixated on learning in her loneliness that this is now mostly what she does nowadays. Learning, learning and even more learning... it has become almost the only thing in her life and I fear what will happen once there isn't anything to learn anymore," Saeko said sad.

"And you think she will be the right one to help my son?" Nodoka wondered.

"It will be for the best. Ami is a very kind girl with more patience than anyone else. And both our children need interaction with someone of their own age. Hopefully that will finally break that vicious circle when she won't be able to visit cram school any longer," Saeko suggested.

Nodoka knew that while she would be there for him, Ranma really needed friends of his own age. So maybe it could work out. "All right, I give it a try as long as you can convince your daughter as well." the same time...

Ranma felt the ki pulsing through his body. One of the things he did learn was to use his own life energy to accellerate the healing of injuries. He again thanked the monks for teaching him this technique while forcing his father to work on the fields to pay for the damage done earlier. The stay at the monastery had been one of the most pleasant ones in the last year and the monks actually had even told him that he could be so much more than just a fighter.

The only drawback of the techinque was, that it was really exhausting. However, he was determined to get out of this bed as fast as possible. He could live with a broken leg, he would still have his mobility. But these broken ribs chaining him to the bed was too much for him, especially after realizing what it would mean to be forced to stay in bed.

His thoughts wandered while he concentrated on healing his broken ribs.

My Mom... She is really nice, no comparision to Pop. Wonder why she married the fat slob in the first place? The way she's walking, I wonder what kind of art she is practising?... Man, I bet Pop is now in for it, seeing how riled up Mom became when I told her some of the stuff he did. Not that he didn't deserve it... And what will I do, now that I won't travel anymore?

He had no idea what to do once his injuries were healed. Now that the journey was over, he felt sort of empty, unsure what he would do. Mom mentioned school... Why should I? It's boring and I don't need it to become a good martial artist.

He fingered his hair, which was in a pony-tail instead of his usual pigtail. Thank all goodness that he had avoided this strange soup back in China, otherwise he would have propably ended up bald. Of course Genma had tried to get his hands on it to cure his baldness, resulting in him getting literally kicked into the nuts by its owner and wailing like a girl (ironic in that he always accused him of this).

Wonder if that crazy girl is still after me... Nah, guess we lost her at the port... he thought, remembering that girl who was out to kill him. The one that had the name of a hair-care product. All these chicks in that village were crazy... Good that I don't want return there.

Right now he had an opponent he didn't know how to battle: having no idea what path he would go.

to be continued...

Next Episode:

"Meeting a new Friend"