In the many timelines involving one Ranma Saotome, there are a string of near-constants. He will visit Jusenkyou, whether alone, with his father, or in a group of people. The time of the visit varies similarly, however it is a rare, rare timeline where he does not visit the valley of springs at least once. Linked with the first, once he has visited Jusenkyou the odds of him being cursed also near one hundred percent.

He will almost always visit Nerima, whether he wants to or not, even if Genma has to drag him kicking and screaming. Once there, he will be made aware of an arrangement between his father and an old friend, usually one Soun Tendo, though there were many other possibilities. And once in Nerima, he would find it extraordinarily difficult to leave.

There were many other things as well, ranging from foolish training techniques to the Amazons, diverse as the powers that tweaked those timelines for their own amusement.

And then there was that one. Konatsu. Every time, every time he was introduced to the mess, it had almost the exact same result. Even the timelines where things had widely diverged from baseline, you could eventually find him happily slaving away for the Kuonji girl.

For some reason, one of the powers was particularly irritated at that, moreso at the realization of how astronomically unlikely it was for there to be not one exception to the rule.

And so, it created the exception. And it wasn't at all difficult. Just the slightest of tweaks, and the shifted target of an instructor in a foul enough mood that someone was going to be getting detention, and the Kuonji girl was locked down for tetime of the initial meeting.

The aftermath of that was interesting to watch, albeit relatively close to baseline still. However, with Konatsu giving Ranma a similar level of devotion to that which was typically reserved for Ukyou, the pair were all but unstoppable once the initial kinks worked out. Ranma had a training partner at his level who was always there, rather than wandering off for days or weeks at a time, leading his skill to skyrocket well above baseline levels. Konatsu, for his part, was pushed well beyond normal levels in his own right, spending his time in training rather than menial labor.

The vast majority is a tale for another time, but by the time of the Saffron Incident, also a staple of Ranma timelines, rolled around, the pair were formidable enough that they took the Phoenix-King on without having to resort to encasing themselves in ice to avoid his flames. They matched him... defeated him. With, admittedly, the dubious assistance of Ryoga, who hadn't cared overmuch which one of the combatants his hurled boulders impacted.

This was not actually a unique event. In Saffron's long lifespans, he had been defeated several times before. However.... every time, the victor had had a significant advantage. Being fully half Dragon or more, of the musk lineage... magical items... there was always something that allowed them the win, without which they could not have hoped to survive. This, however.... This was the first time that any amount of people had faced him, with nothing but their own skill and ability, and so much as survived the battle.

The Amazons knew this as well, and suddenly were leery of them. It was only a matter of days back into Japan before Cologne showed up at the dojo to state that she was giving up the whole 'Son-in-Law' matter as a bad job all around. It wasn't much longer that the Nekohanten packed up for a move back to China, with a polite, but wary invitation left for Ranma to visit at any time.

Ukyou, on the other hand, didn't know or care about any of this, but without Konatsu's assistance, her own plots towards Ranma's hand were futile, and ended up driving him further and further away. She eventually gave up in disgust and declared a blood feud before heading out on a training trip.

This left the stage pretty much clear for Ranma to marry Akane. Not that he really wanted to. What little spark there had been on that had been well snuffed out with how she had ended up treating the crossdressing kunoichi. It wasn't like she could help it... she was just hardwired by now to crush what she deemed 'perversion', and apparently once the pity wore off, Konatsu seriously qualified. Ranma, however much he could take abuse of himself, couldn't take watching someone pick on others.

Still, it just seemed like the thing to do after he had rescued her, again. Fortunately, the Kunos had intervened, and the pair had finally come to their senses in the ruins of the attempted wedding.

After that... more fiancees had begun crawling out of the woodwork. Much more. Ranma had previously been under the impression that being sold into marriage was one of his father's last resorts, that he had only done long ago, in desperate situations. Not so. It seemed he was more like a credit card found dropped on a sidewalk.... it had been Genma's answer for everything. Hungry? Trade Ranma for food. Out of Sake money? Swap a bridal contract for it. There were girls from all over Japan tracking them down.

The last, absolute last straw, however, had been when he'd caught Genma walking out of the Kuno Estate with a wheelbarrow of cash and he just knew how it had been earned.

He'd finally torn himself free of Nerima then, leaving plenty of clues behind to hint that he was headed for Jusenkyou again. Following that up, he'd tracked down Ryu Kumon, and bartered the unsealing of the Yama Sen Ken Genma had created in exchange for a couple small favors. Inside a day, Ryu was headed for China, having swapped his own dusty travel gear with Ranma's silk tangs and wearing a pigtailed wig, fully intending to lead people on a wild goose chase for as long as possible, then when caught eventually admit that Ranma had put him up to it.... to give himself time to disappear into America.

That last bit had been Konatsu's idea. Actually, the whole Ryu thing had been Konatsu's idea, along with a good bit of the Jusenkyou hints. Ranma's plan had just been to disappear into the night without a word to anyone, ignoring that they'd track him down soon enough.

With Konatsu's tweaks, it worked like a charm, and after removing his name from the Saotome family register, it would be all but impossible for them to get official help in hunting him down. Once you were off one of those, you didn't get back on it, though if you were fortunate another might accept you.

Finding jobs hadn't been too hard- Ranma had a great deal of waitressing experience, and Konatsu had learned a lot of actual tea ceremony at the 'Tea House' he'd been raised in, though they were all part-time efforts as they passed through areas. In the end, the career of choice would be in police work- Ranma, because it struck a chord with the martial artists 'defend the weak' mindset, and Konatsu simply because that was what Ranma wished to do.

Of course, there had been a lot of discipline problems. Ranma's personality was simply arrogant and grating enough that none of the instructors at the academy could stand him, and being able to back himself up with skill simply made things worse.

Since normal measures of vengeance didn't phase him one bit, an alternate route was chosen, and he was assigned to a specific department well before graduation. Konatsu would have been sent elsewhere, having far fewer issues with superiors, but had faithfully, and illegally, altered his own records to follow Ranma.

The train lurched, carrying two passengers bound for the Department of Abnormal Phenomenae Containment.

xxx

A.N. Okay. Defender? Flopped. I'm pretty sure I tried to push it too hard too fast, with not enough background or something, and the plotline shattered on me. That, or I shouldn't have tried to plan things out ahead of time.

(Note that the most well recieved and longest stories I write are actually the ones I start just for my own amusement and lols, and fly by the seat of my pants....)

So yeah. Mark II. Let's try this puppy again. Oh, and I'll probably write a prequel of sorts, starting from the mentioned divergence earlier with 'Natsu. Eventually. Just so's you know.