I wrote this in December, and it was my first published peice of fiction, let alone fanfiction. Looking at it now, I still like the story, but... I can't read it flowing well. I decided to write this version, and I think it flows a lot better, as well as implementing advice from the reviews of that previous version, which you can find on my profile under My Stories. I won't take it down, so you can read it whenever. The advice was Show, Don't Tell. I've implemented this into my own description.
A picture speaks a thousand words, so a thousand words will paint a picture.
Ranma One Half is copyright Rumiko Takahashi, Viz Media, Kitty Films and Fuji TV. I make no benefit from this writing other than personal well-being and fatigue from writing so late. If you are an official type and know of anyone I've missed, my deepest apologies. Just don't set Kuno on me.
A Chance At A Cure
Ranma walked down the beaten track, looking for a familiarity. Rocky outcrop after rocky outcrop gave him false hope as he rose over another hill, only to see it continue. Cursing the false summits, he ploughed on, holding the straps of his rucksack. Nearing another rise, Ranma set himself up for the disappointment of another false summit, and nearing the top, froze.
He'd made it to the top of the mountain, only to find himself on the edge of a sheer cliff. Looking out across the panorama Ranma held his breath, admiring the beauty of the landscape. The mountains in the distance set the perfect backdrop of the forests of green that covered the land. In the distance, a small village could be seen, the perimeter walls clearly visible.
Ranma smiled. "The Joketsuzoku," he sighed. "If I'm near the village, I'm near Jusenkyo." He looked back down, tracing the ground for any sign of the cursed pools, eventually spotting a lone stick of bamboo, ridiculously high. The air caught in his throat.
It was about 20 miles away, and Ranma could almost feel the pull of the Pools Of Sorrow, luring in unsuspecting victims. Ranma leaped off the cliff, ignoring the fact it was a sheer drop, and using his abilities of basic air manipulation, he controlled his descent, landing softly on his feet, barely disturbing the grass and leaves.
Without pausing, Ranma broke into a sprint, rushing towards the magical waters that would – hopefully – cure him. Within 30 minutes, Ranma had reached the pools, marvelling at how they looked the same as when he'd been here fifteen years ago, with the stupid furball. Walking over to the cabin that would house the guide, he knocked on the door.
"Hello?" came a female voice in English.
"Hi, I'd like to inquire about a cure?" Ranma asked through the still-closed door. He waited for a response. Eventually, a series of clicks and snaps of locks being opened and a gradual opening of the door itself revealed a teenage Chinese girl, no older than eighteen. "Plum?" Ranma asked.
"Honoured visitor!" Plum said, recognising the man who had saved her at Jusendo many years ago. "Come in, come in!" Ranma obliged, walking through the doorway as Plum held it open. Inside was a modest home, with a bed in the corner and a wood-burning stove towards the right-hand side of the room. Ranma started taking off his shoes, before Plum interrupted him. "No need for that, Mr. Visitor. Is not neccecary."
Shrugging, Ranma relented. He was tired, and would probably set up his tent outside to gain some rest before heading back to Japan. Sighing, he sat at the table as Plum handed him a cup of herbal tea.
"So, Mr. Visitor," Plum started. "What bring you back Jusenkyo?"
"I came for a cure." Ranma stated simply. "It's been about fifteen years since I fell in Nannichuan water, and it's getting annoying, to be fair. Every storm, every visit to the bathhouse, every walk down the street, I get splashed with water and I end up getting strange looks. I've had enough. I want to jump into the Nannichuan and be rid of this."
Plum nodded. "Is understandable. You want Nannichuan pool?" She asked. Ranma nodded.
Outside, Plum led Ranma to the right pool, before leaving him to it. In her years as a resident of the pools, she'd seen people come and go for the cures, and they almost always wanted a bit of time alone before finishing the curse.
Ranma gazed into the murky waters, sighing at his reflection. He could feel the pool calling to him, as well as the nearby pools calling for a new victim. It was the nature of the ponds to tempt the unfortunate into their depths.
Do I really want to lose my girl-half? Ranma asked himself. Dammit, of course I do! I'm sick of switching genders every time it gets wet. I've had enough.
Ranma sighed, and remembered what he had waiting for him when he got home. Ukyou, Ryouga, Akane, Nabiki, Kasumi, Kuno… Well, maybe not Kuno, but still his friends and family. His beautiful children, Ataru and Shinobu waiting as well, eager to resume their training.
A rumble of thunder passed overhead, as rain started falling, almost on cue. Ranma sighed, as she looked down at her reflection in the pool again, to get a look at the face she would never see again – hers.
Wait, what? Ranma thought. Her reflection in the pool was still male, and it was smiling. The pools showed you what their curses were? Oh, how that could have saved so many a lot of bother. A simple look would show you. Ranma chuckled a little at the irony.
Ranma decided her choice, tensed her legs…
And jumped away from the pool.
She'd just remembered the good times she'd had as a girl. The disguises, the teasing, the ice-cream… That kiss.
"I Hate you, Ranma!"
Ranma flew through the air, landing in the Koi pond, emerging back out with her fiery red hair, looking extremely annoyed. "Whadja do that for!?"
"You never told me about Ryouga, that's what!" Akane screamed from the porch. "You never told me that he was P-chan!"
"Bushido prevented me, you know that!"
"Screw you and your honour!" Akane screamed again. "At least Ryouga had the decency to tell me!"
"HE SLEPT IN YOUR BED!" Ranma screamed.
"And I'll have you know, Ranma, he never did anything improper. How many times have you led me on, only to do it for your own gains? The Warrior suit is a prime example! Ryouga always looked away when I was changing!"
Ranma sighed. Akane was using undefeatable logic. It was a lost argument.
"As far as I'm concerned, Ranma, we never were engaged! Go marry Ukyou or Shampoo!"
It was best to get away from Akane for a while. She decided to go to Ucchan's for a while, as she'd never go to Shampoo for shelter. Ukyou would understand. She always did.
A few hours later, Ranma and Ukyou were at the cinema, watching an action flick with lots of martial arts. He was back in his male form, and the two friends shared popcorn and drinks. To anyone watching them, they looked like a cute couple. As the film ended, Ranma and Ukyou left, only to suddenly get caught in a downpour.
"Kuso…" Ranma cursed.
Nevertheless, the two girls walked back towards Ucchan's, where Ranma would be staying for a few nights to get away from Akane. The days passed, and the two friends shared stories about their pasts, swapped jokes and sparred together. At the end of the week when Ranma had decided it was time to go back to the Tendo's, he gave Ukyou a hug for her help. It was raining again, and Ranma sighed as he changed in the water.
"Thanks, Ucchan. You being there for me really helped me focus on my life." Ranma said. "I'm gonna talk to Akane and try and settle things down." Hugging her lifelong friend, Ranma smiled. "If you need anything, just call me."
Ukyou held back a tear. "You got it, Ranchan."
Ranma smiled, starting towards the walk home. She smiled as she remembered the week she'd stayed at Ukyou's, and thanked the Gods that she was blessed with such a good friend.
Ukyou let her tears flow freely as she watched the man she loved walk back towards her home. That's why I love that man, she thought. Because he's so honest and kind, and friendly.
I can't let him go.
"Ranma!" she cried. Ranma stopped and turned around, taken aback by the sight of her best friend crying.
"Wha? Ukyou? Are you OK, what's wrong?" she asked, concerned.
"You know you said that if I needed anything, to call you?" Ukyou asked. Ranma nodded. "I need you, Ranchan. I love you."
Ranma didn't know what to say. She was used to Shampoo saying she loved him, but she doubted it was true. How can a law make you love someone? Ukyou said it a lot, too, but to see her say it with her eyes red from tears, looking directly into hers, the irises overflowing with pure raw emotion, it was nigh on impossible not to believe her. Any doubts she may have had were destroyed when she felt her lips touch his.
She was kissing Ukyou.
And for some reason, she couldn't stop. She kissed back, realising her love for Ukyou was real, not just platonic. She poured every dreg of emotion into the kiss, savouring the contact she had so badly craved during her training years without realising it. She felt Ukyou pouring such emotion in as well, and could sense the love, passion, anger and regret of his friend. The love for him, the passion of her love, the anger at not being completely honest with herself and the regret of trying to kill him when they first met again. Ranma sensed it all, and sympathised, the only way she knew how at the time – keep kissing.
Eventually, the pair broke contact for air. Looking directly into each others eyes, they saw each other's feeling reflected back at them.
Ranma suddenly realised what had happened, where she had been going and the possible repercussions for it all. "I-I'd better go," Ranma stammered, before running off.
Ukyou stood still, looking after the man she loved, and she knew loved her back. More tears fell, and the Okonomiyaki chef retreated back into her restaurant to make her dinner and cry more. The tears weren't sad, they were happy.
"Mr. Visitor ok?"
Ranma shook her head, clearing her mind of the wonderful memories. She was still rather near the pool, and she carefully walked backwards away from it.
Maybe it was the curse trying to save itself, maybe it was Ranma's own decision. The answer was one that Ranma would search for during the rest of her life.
Nevertheless, she had made up her mind. She couldn't lose this body, it held too many memories. Memories that were important to her, like that kiss, as well as several elaborate and exhausting nights a few years later, after getting married.
As Ranma walked back towards the hut, she asked for some hot water. Sitting down at the table inside, she resumed her memory of that day.
"Taidama!" Ranma called out to the Tendo home. Noting the lack of an "O-Kaeri" back, she guessed everyone was out. Heading to the kitchen to get some hot water, Ranma wondered where everyone was. If Pops broke the heater again, I'll hurt him. A bath is what I need now.
To get to the kitchen, you had t pass through the dining room, and as Ranma walked through the room, she paused as she noted everyone at the table. Soun, Genma, Akane, Nabiki, Kasumi and also Ryouga. "Hey, what's up?" she asked.
"Ranma," the Tendo patriarch started. "It has come to my attention that you stayed with Ukyou the last week, correct?" Ranma nodded, wondering where this was going. "Ohh, my poor baby! Cheated on by her own fiancée, now the schools will never be joined!"
"That's not what happened!" Ranma insisted, a blush forming on her cheeks as she recalled what had happened outside the restaurant. "N-Nothing happened between me and Ucchan, I swear!"
Akane made a little "Hmph" sound, crossing her arms and looking away from Ranma. Ryouga, who was sitting next to her, casually put an arm round her shoulders and gave her a little squeeze, calming her down. Akane looked into his eyes and smiled, whispering a thank you. None went unnoticed by Ranma. "Well, it looks to me like Akane's found someone else herself." The redhead said. Akane and Ryouga blushed. Akane found her voice, however.
"I'll have you know, Ranma, that Ryouga is much more of a man than you'll ever be."
Ranma snorted. "Yeah, he's still a guy when he turns into a pork chop."
Akane ignored the smartass comment. "During the week you've been at your girlfriends, I've gotten on with Ryouga much better than you ever could. Wanna know why? He tried."
Ranma chose not to reply. Chances are her uncanny ability to land herself in the excrement would end up with half her body through the ceiling.
"Akane?" Ryouga said, speaking for the first time since Ranma entered the room. "Akane, there's something I must tell you."
Akane suddenly switched to Ryouga, all smiles. "What is it, Ryo-kun?"
"Akane, I've not told you this for so long… since we met, to be exact. Ever since you took me in as your pet pig, I've had… feelings for you. It's only since last week when you accepted my curse that I've realised that those feelings are true and as real as the sun in the sky." Ryouga took a deep breath, steadying himself before delivering his final sentence. "Su Ki Da, Akane. I love you."
Akane sat there in shock. Did her friend just tell her that he loved her? Next thing you know, pigs would fly. It was a bit too much.
Ranma however, was not frozen. With a lightning fast movement, Ranma poured a nearby glass of water over Ryouga and punted him into the sky. "YOU SICK PIG!" she shouted after the quickly disappearing figure. "YOU DON'T DESERVE AKANE!"
Well, so much for that, thought Akane.
Kasumi picked up Ryouga's empty clothes, before feeling something in the pocket. Taking the item out, she looked at the small black box in her hand. Opening it slightly, she gasped, and quickly closed it. "Akane-chan, I think you ought to look at this."
Kasumi handed the box to Akane, who opened it and also gasped when she saw the contents. Gesturing for Nabiki to come look as well, she passed the box to the middle Tendo sister.
"Whoa, that's one big rock." Nabiki said. "I'd estimate about 12, 000 US dollars. It's probably from America, anyway."
Ranma, by that time, had already guessed what the contents of the box were, and was at a loss for words. She didn't know what to feel anymore. Akane or Ukyou? The question ran through her mind endlessly, and she was split. Akane from honour, which was such a strong feeling in Ranma it felt like death by not following it, but Ukyou for love. A love so strong, that it overwhelmed the honour.
She needed some time.
Ryouga and Akane had gotten married six months later.
"Mr. Customer, water is ready." Came the voice of Plum.
Ranma grasped the handle of the kettle and poured it over herself, thinking whilst her body became his. He'd come to Jusenkyo for nothing. He couldn't cure himself when there was so much in his life from the curse…it just wouldn't work.
Ranma thought of all the people the curse had introduced him to. Shampoo, Mousse, Cologne, Taro, that weird Martial Arts Tea Ceremony couple, Mikado and Asuza… The list was actually quite big.
Wait… Mousse and Shampoo?
Ranma sat bolt upright and ran to her pack, grabbing two flasks big enough to fill a western bath to shin height. Running back outside into the drizzle, she came back to the drowned man pool. Carefully dipping one of the flasks into the pool, careful not to get her fingers wet, she filled it to the rim and sealed it carefully, whacking a sticky-label on it, and writing 'Nannichuan'.
"Plum, where is the Nyannichuan!?" Ranma shouted to the hut. The teenage girl indicated the pool, and Ranma grabbed the second flask, plunging her arm into the water, not worried by the enchanted water in that particular spring. When the flask was full, she sealed that as well and labelled it 'Nyannichuan'.
Securing both flasks to her rucksack securely, she decided to head out tonight to the Joketsuzoku. Bidding farewell to Plum, Ranma headed up the track that would take her to the amazon village.
A few hours later, Ranma stood outside the brick and mud home of Shampoo and Mousse. Knocking smartly on the door, she pulled a thermos out and poured it over herself, before returning the container to the appropriate part of his pack.
The door opened, and Ranma found himself on the receiving end of that familiar glomp around his person. Smiling, Ranma said: "Hello, Shampoo."
"Aiya, Ranma!" Shampoo shrieked. "Come in, come in, please! It's been so long!"
Ranma smiled, walking in. "Your Japanese has improved." He commented.
"Hai, living with Mousse will do that. You know that he is fluent." Shampoo replied, showing she was still learning a bit. "Anyway, come in to the living room. I sense you have something to tell us!"
Ranma chuckled. What he was about to do would be so selfless, Genma would have been disgusted. Walking into the main living room, Ranma saw Mousse leap up and give a bone crushing hug to the other man. "How have you been, buddy?"
"Good, but not as good as you two will be in a minute." Ranma said, teasing them. "You two got married, yes?"
The two nodded. Ranma knew this. He'd been best man AND maid of honour in the traditional western ceremony. Awkward was not the word he'd use to describe it.
"You two are still cursed as well, yes?"
Again, the Chinese couple nodded.
"And you want to be cured, yes?"
The nodding was a lot more vigorous this time.
Ranma chuckled. "Consider this a late Wedding present then." He said, lifting the flasks that were clearly labelled for the springs of drowned man and woman respectively.
20 minutes later, after several gallons of water were used to test the cure, Ranma made his goodbyes, saying he had a flight to catch from the nearest airport. After exchanging contact details, the two chinese and the Japanese bid farewell, and headed home.
As Ranma beat another path along another beaten track, he smiled. Walking along a cliff, he could see the springs, calling him.
"Not today, I'm afraid." He said to the wind.
Ranma Saotome left for home, to his loving wife and two children. Not cured, but instead more appreciative of the magic.
Hope you enjoyed.
Much Love, SOTG.