'Bringing Ranma from China. Genma.'
At those words on the postcard with a panda on it, Soun Tendo started tearing up as he usually did when overstimulated. "At last, Ranma is coming. I must tell the girls."
Ch. 1 Here's... Ranma?
A young woman in the kitchen cutting up watermelon stopped what she was doing and turned around. "Yes, Father?"
"Come into the sitting room. I've got something to tell you all." Soun eagerly told her before running off.
'Oh my, wonder what has him all riled up all of a sudden.' Kasumi thought before washing her hands and doing as she was told.
A younger woman was lying on her bed with a popsicle in her mouth and looking at a magazine. "Hmm?"
"Come down to the sitting room. Family meeting." Soun told her before running off again.
'Haven't seen him this eager since the bar had a two-for-one special. This must be big.' Nabiki thought as she stretched off her mattress.
"Akane. Akane? Where is that girl?" The Tendo patriarch asked himself, unable to find his youngest child.
Said teenager came into the house from a side entrance after a jog and went to the family dojo, eager for a little more in her workout. She changed into her gi and set up some cinder blocks, and then crushed them with a karate chop. "That felt good."
"Y'know, this is exactly why the boys at school think you're strange Akane." Nabiki commented, standing by the entrance to the dojo.
"So what?" Akane snuffed. "Not everyone thinks the world revolves around boys Nabiki." She said the word 'boys' as if it was venomous.
Nabiki turned away with her arms behind her head. "Oh yeah? Well, then maybe you wouldn't be interested in what Daddy has to tell us." She walked away before Akane could ask for more.
'Huh? What does she mean by that?' Akane asked herself, then followed her sister. She met up with her in the sitting room, and sat down with her and Kasumi on one side of the low table across from their father. "What's going on, Dad?"
"Well, I got a postcard from an old friend of mine. He and I were students of Anything Goes Martial Arts years ago and even though we specialized in different aspects of the art and did different things afterwards, we both knew one day it would be good to unite the two branches again. So we decided that in the future, if one of us had a son and the other a daughter, we'd get the two wed so the schools would be united."
None of his daughters said anything, but he could tell they had already put the pieces together. Nevertheless, he continued his explanation. "My friend, Genma Saotome, had one child, a son named Ranma. If one of you three were to marry him, the future and well-being of yourself and the estate would be secure."
"Now wait a minute!" Akane angrily yelled. "Don't we get to have a say in who we marry?"
"Akane's right, Father." Kasumi calmly added. "We've never even met Ranma."
"That's easily fixed. He's on his way here." Soun told them.
"Now?" Akane asked, not liking this more and more.
"Yes. Ranma and his father have been on a training trip for about ten years and are headed this way. They've been to quite a few places, and recently it seems they've crossed into China." Soun explained.
Nabiki sure was impressed. "Wow! China?" 'Must have quite a wallet to afford that trip.'
Akane wasn't so impressed. "So he went all the way to China. Big deal."
"What kind of guy is he? Is he cute?" Nabiki curiously asked.
"How old is he? Younger men bore me." Kasumi wondered. "What kind of guy is this Ranma?"
Soun took a deep breath. "I don't know."
"You don't know?" Nabiki repeated, frowning.
"I've never met him." He confessed casually. Needless to say, this did not help his case, and things got quiet enough that the soft sound of rain starting could be heard from outside.
The sounds of fighting down the street could be heard, and passerbys looked over to see what was going on. Imagine their surprise when they see, of all things possible and impossible, a girl running around in public in broad daylight and the rain in a skimpy bikini, chased by some kind of animal that almost looked like a tiger. The girl turned around to face the creature and took up a combat stance. "Your move, old man. Datcha." No male could take their eyes off her. She wore a tiger-stripe bikini on a killer body and had exotic green hair, with a white bandanna covering the top of her head. All the women around were horrified by her lack of decency and jealous of her figure at the same time.
The animal stood on it's back legs to face the girl. At first glance, one might think it was a fat tiger. But two horns, a green tail that looked more appropriate on an ungulate, and the overall shape and size of the beast made it look part bovine too. It had claws but the foot was shaped more like a hoof, and the roar it made almost sounded more like a 'moo'.
"Is that a tiger?" A random passerby asked the person next to him.
"It almost looks like a cow of some kind." They replied.
The tiger-cow tried to strike at the green-haired girl like a martial artist would, and the girl easily dodged it. "Well I still say this whole thing sucks!" She grabbed ahold of the tiger-cows arm and got a firm hold. "Picking my fiancee for me without even asking me!" She then flung him over her shoulder, grimacing out of either anger or the effort to lift the beast. The tiger-cow stayed still where it laid, looking like it wasn't going to move anymore. "I'm going back to China now. Suck on that old man-tcha." She then picked up a pack that had been by the tiger-cow, flung it on her shoulder, and stated walking away, trying hard to ignore the looks she was getting.
Before she could get ten steps away, the tiger-cow got back up, grabbed an unrooted street sign, and whacked the girl in the back of the head. She was out like a light. The tiger-cow then lifted her onto it's back and started walking away on all fours. It paused to glance back at the spectators, and roared-mooed to get them to leave them be, which they did. Satisfied, it walked away.
The tiger-cow was undisturbed for the rest of the way to it's destination. The sign on the surrounding wall confirmed the address and he went up to the front door and rang the doorbell. The sound must have awakened the girl, for she started moving. Fearing another escape, the tiger-cow dropped her onto the ground and then picked her up by the waist in it's jaws, hoping that the girl wouldn't use her best weapon on him.
The sound of footsteps could be heard and then the door opened. Soun and Nabiki took one look at the animal and bolted, forgetting to close the door. The tiger-cow, ignoring the writhing girl in it's mouth, stepped inside carefully. After turning down a hallway, it came across Soun standing guard before all three of his daughters.
"That's enough you idiot-tcha. You're scaring them." The green-haired girl told the animal, which chose then to deposit her on the floor.
"Umm... who are you?" Soun asked. He wasn't expecting any women to show up today, and he didn't have to hug the girl to discover that was exactly what she was.
"And why the hell are you dressed like that?" Akane asked, more out of shock than anything.
The green-haired girl stood up slowly, fiddled with her fingers, and looked away sadly. "Sorry about all this. I'm Ranma Saotome and my old man wanted me to be here today-tcha."
"Yo... you're Ranma?" Soun asked, and she nodded. "Is your father by any chance Genma Saotome?" She nodded again, and Soun fainted.
Soun came back to consciousness to find he was lying on a futon with a warm cloth on his forehead and four girls sitting around him. Three were his daughters, but the fourth was the green-haired newcomer who called herself Ranma Saotome. He groaned, letting them all know he was awake and not too pleased about things.
"Poor father, he must be so disappointed." Kasumi said, caringly as always.
"He's disappointed? He's not the only one. Some fiancee." Nabiki commented in annoyance, giving Ranma a brief bothered look.
"Don't be like that Nabiki. He... she is our guest." Akane reprimanded.
Nabiki decided to say something to her father rather then her sister. "Hey Dad, don't you know the difference between a boy and a girl?"
"I assumed my friend's son was a boy." He defended.
"Does this look like a boy to you?" Nabiki asked, grabbing Ranma's breast for emphasis.
"Would you stop that?" Ranma asked irritably.
Nabiki pulled her hand away, and noticed that before she let go of the girl there had been a bit of a static shock. She didn't pay it any mind.
"Sorry about that. I'm Akane by the way. You wanna be friends?" Akane said as she stood up, smiling cutely.
Ranma smiled back. "That sounds nice-tcha."
"Hey, you know martial arts?" Akane asked, and Ranma nodded. "C'mon, let's go to the dojo. You can show me how good you are."
Akane led the bikini-clad girl into the dojo, paying little mind to the girl's attire for the time. She was still wearing her practice gi so all she had to do was take up a stance. She noticed Ranma hadn't taken up any. "Well, get ready." Ranma did nothing except stand there with her hands clasped behind her back. Akane shrugged this off and tried to tag her opponent, but Ranma easily dodged it by leaning towards the right. Akane tried again, and Ranma leaned to the left this time. Akane got closer for another move, and Ranma stepped back and leaned backwards, avoiding the hit again.
"What's wrong with you? Fight back!" Akane shouted before continuing her assault, all to no avail. 'Why can't I hit her? Is she reading my moves?'
Akane decided to try something new and went for a low kick, expected Ranma to be unprepared for that kind of dodge needed. However, Ranma jumped up and over, moving almost as if she was gliding. She landed behind Akane and tagged the back of her head before Akane even knew what had happened. Akane turned to look at Ranma, who smiled and gently laughed. Soon Akane started laughing, both girls sounding like they had enjoyed themselves and bonded a little.
"You know, you're good. Better than most I've seen at school." Akane commented.
"Thanks." Ranma said. "You could be better, but I'm just used to tougher stuff because of Pop-tcha."
"Well, I'm just glad you're a girl. I'd really hate to have to lose to a boy." Akane said for no real reason. She noticed a brief look of pain on Ranma's face. "Did I say something wrong?"
Ranma sighed. "What would you think if... well... I was a boy?"
Akane didn't reply right away. "I'd say... you're one feminine boy to have a body like that. By the way, why are you dressed like that?"
Ranma sighed again. "Something happened to my clothes in the rain. Happens all the time lately. I can't stop it-tcha."
"Try some new clothes then."
"I have. It doesn't make a difference."
Akane wiped off her forehead. "I'm going to go hop in the furo. Wanna join?"
Ranma shook her head. "No, that wouldn't be a good idea."
"Why not? We're both girls."
Ranma sighed again. "Got any hot water? You'll understand then. I just hope you won't hate me-tcha."
Akane didn't say anything for a bit, just stared at her. "O... kay, just a sec." She went into the kitchen, where Kasumi had resumed chopping up the watermelon. Nabiki was still chewing out Soun about the difference between boys and girls. "Hey Kasumi, is there any hot water ready?"
"Ranma wants some for some reason."
Okay then. How warm?" Kasumi asked as she reached for a glass.
"I dunno. Use your best judgment I guess."
Kasumi turned on the water and let it warm up. When it reached a warm temperature that she could still tolerate without burning herself, she filled the glass and handed it to Akane. "I'd like to see what she needs it for." Both girls went into the dojo to see what the fuss over warm water was about.
"Here you go Ranma." Akane said as she offered the glass.
Ranma took it, and by holding it could tell it was warm enough. "Please don't freak out with what you're about to see. It's not something I like either." Ranma then raised the glass and dumped half of the contents on her head. Long green hair shortened and turned black, held in a pigtail. The shape of the body and face went from shapely female to strong male. And the tiger-stripe bikini morphed into a red silk shirt and black combat pants. The only thing that didn't change was the white bandanna on the top of the head.
Akane and Kasumi gasped. Ranma had turned into a man.
'Oh my.' was all Kasumi could bring her mind to process.
'He's... a boy?' Akane thought in shock.
The look on Ranma's face showed he was greatly afraid of their reactions and ashamed of his situation. "I know this is bizarre. I can tell you about it, if you want me."
"Are you... really a boy?" Akane asked.
Ranma slowly nodded. "Yeah, this is my true form. Sorry about this."
"What happened? I mean, a person isn't born with this kind of trait." Kasumi asked.
"I wasn't born with this. It happened... can we sit down fer this with the rest of your family? I'd rather not tell the story more than once."
"Of course. I'd go tell them." Kasumi said before walking out.
Akane turned but kept her eyes on Ranma. He feared her reasons for this. "I hope ya don't hate me now and don't wanna think of me as a friend anymore."
Akane could hear the fear and desperation in his voice. "I don't hate you, and I'd like to hear more about this before I make up my mind on anything." Ranma nodded in acceptance, and both walked back into the sitting room.
Nabiki and Soun were brought there, and were very suprised to see a young man this time. "Hey, who's the hunk?" Nabiki asked, practically stripping him with her eyes.
"I'm Ranma Saotome. You'll understand in a bit." Confused, Nabiki and Soun took a seat, Nabiki by her sisters and Soun by the wall. Ranma looked around for the other member and saw the tiger-cow eating the sliced watermelon in the kitchen. "Hey Pop you shouldn't go helpin' yerself to other people's food." He went up to him and used the remaining hot water to get his attention. All of the Tendo's looked on in surprise as the animal became a clothed older man in a white gi with a bandanna on his head too. Soun recognized him as a balder, and maybe fatter, Genma Saotome.
"You shouldn't interrupt someone who's eating, boy." Genma said with a piece of watermelon hanging out of his mouth.
"This coming from the guy who tries ta take my food every time I eat?"
"Quit whining. You sound like a girl!" Genma said before grabbing his son by the collar and throwing him outside.
He landed in the koi pond, there were a few bubbles, and then he surfaced. But he surfaced as a green-haired girl in a bikini, and shook off some of the water. "Big mistake old man! Datcha!" When she yelled, fangs could be seen in her mouth.
"He's a girl again? How?" Kasumi asked.
Genma clenched his fist. "My own son, what a disappointment."
Ranma came up behind him quickly, so quickly that it looked like her feet weren't even touching the ground. She kicked him in the back and sent him flying into the koi pond. Genma surfaced as an irritated tiger-cow. "Who are you to talk? My old man's a cow-tcha."
"Dad, do you know anything about this?" Nabiki asked.
"No, but my friend wasn't always like this. This has to be new."
The tiger-cow looked like it was starting to get bigger. "Oh no you don't. Not here." Ranma said as she pointed at him. A few sparks formed around her hand, and a small bolt of lightning struck Genma's animal form. He spasmed in shock and collapsed unconscious on the ground, looking a little burnt and smoking. Ranma turned to the Tendo's. "Sorry about all that. He was about ta make things worse-tcha."
"What exactly are you?" Nabiki asked.
"Got any more hot water? This could take a while." Kasumi went and got her some more. Ranma used it to become male again, which still amazed the Tendo's to see. "Well, this all started back in China..."