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DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to the wonderfully, creative,
brilliant mind of Takahashi-megami-sama. I'm not worthy!

The Legend of Drunken Panda
Part 1 - Leaving

Genma moved a shogi piece on the board in front of him, then
glanced out of the corner of his eye and smiled slightly. Ranma and
Akane were sitting on rocks by the koi pond, talking peacefully in low
tones. The sight made him happy inside, and he took a moment to get
Soun's attention from the game to point out the two.

His old training partner smiled back and nodded sagely,
apparently just as happy that the two were getting along; for the moment
anyway. Both were tempted to try something to help the process along,
but Soun had eventually decided to back off on any attempts to hook the
two of them up to let them sort it out on their own, and Genma had
reluctantly agreed. And it seemed to be working, as Akane and Ranma had
been getting along slightly better since they returned from China.

Genma took a another full glance at the couple, and Soun took
the opportunity to move three pieces.When Genma's attention returned to
the board, he knew right off something was strange.
"Wait a minute, Tendo, that piece wasn't there before," he said,
pointing out a keima piece.

Soun looked innocent. "Why, of course it was, Saotome. You just
must not have noticed it before."

Genma grunted something that Soun chose to take as acceptence.

In truth, both knew the other cheated, but neither was
particularly upset about it inside. When you had played so many games
and knew each other so well that you
knew what the other was thinking, it got quite boring and difficult to
play a game. Hence they had, by unspoken accord, taken to cheating every
once in awhile. It livened up the game and constantly reinforced a
lesson they had learned when younger: "If you leave yourself open, you
deserve to get cheated."

As he took his own turn, moving a kakugyou three spaces to take
a fuhyou, Genma reflected on how peaceful it had been today. Sadly, he
knew it couldn't last.

The ringing of a bicycle proved that.

Without taking his attention from the game, he could picture
the scene that was going on just a few yards away, and would later
realize that these events would the catalyst that led him to do
something he would have rarely considered otherwise.


"Hey, Shampoo, cut it out!"


"Akane, it aint't what it looks like!"

[The boy has used that line so many times already,] Genma
realized, frowning. [He should expect that it won't be any more
successful now then it had been before. How long will he let things go
on like this, until he makes a stand?]

"Why not pervert-girl go away so Shampoo can spend spend with
husband? Akane never treat Ranma right, not like Shampoo!"

"Hmph! Well maybe I should leave you two lovers alone!"

"Come on, Shampoo, knock it off. Akane!"

[Hmmm, I'm surprised Akane hasn't hit either of them yet,] the
elder Saotome mused, moving his oushou one space. [She must really love
my son, to give him a bigger chance this time.] He absently wiped a tear
from his eye, as his emotions turned more towards frustration at his
son's actions, or lack thereof.

Soun glanced over at the increasing disturbance and frowned,
while Genma took the opportunity to move four of his own pieces at near-
Amaguriken speeds. "Saotome, do you think we should..." He left the
spoke thought unfinished.

Genma shook his head. "My son got himself into this. It's his
responsiblity to get himself out of it." [If he can, though it's
becoming increasinly obvious that perhaps he lacks the courage to do

"Ran-chan, I brought some lunch and thought we could - Hey! Get
your paws off my fiance, you Amazon hussy!"

"What spatula-girl doing here? No invite you!"

"Well, this is my house and I don't remember inviting any of
YOU! And would you two at least get a room!"

"Um, hiya, Ucchan. Come on, Shampoo, let go!"

"You heard him, you bimbo!"

Genma and Soun sighed, knowing what was coming next.


"No hit Airen! If spatula-girl want fight, she fight Shampoo!"

"Bring it on!"

"Would you both just take it somewhere else if you're gonna

The clash of weapon against weapon echoed throughout the yard,
but gradually decreased in volume. Both Genma and Soun noted this as
meaning the fight was moving away.

"And you! This is all your fault! Why don't you do anything
about those girls?"

"Akane, it ain't my fault! They just keep comin' after me!"

"Whatever, Ranma. I'm going to try and get some homework done."

The two fathers heard the distinct stomping of Akane trudging
into the house and up the stairs, followed by the opening and slamming
of a door. Soun glanced up at the ceiling with tears in his eyes, crying
over yet another fight.

Genma moved two more pieces, then declared, "Checkmate, I win!"

Soun's attention was instantly back on the board. "What? How?"
He sighed, realizing he had been defeated, this time. "Well, another
game, then?" In preparation, he began organizing the pieces once more.
To his surprise, Genma stood.

"Not right now, Tendo," he replied in a gruff voice. "I have
something to take care of first." [I'm just about fed up with the boy's
actions. Maybe I should beat some more sense into him.]

Soun blinked. "Ah well, later then."

The Saotome patriarch lumbered out to the pond, where he found
his son in female form sitting on a rock, as he expected. He knew Ranma
sensed his approach, although she didn't acknowledge it. Several moments
of silence passed.

"Boy, that was pretty pathetic, even for you," he said at last.

"Shut up, Pops," Ranma retorted darkly. "A lot you know. Ain't
nothing I can do about it. `Sides, most of it is your fault."

"That's where you're wrong, boy," Genma told him, crossing his
arms over his chest. "I thought I taught you better than that. Akane is
your fiancee, whether you like it or not, and you owe it to her to treat
her right. After all, you'll both be married someday."

"That's what you want!" Ranma turned on her father, her voice
raising. "What about what I want!? What about Akane wants!? And Ukyo,
too! The whole engagement mess is your fault!"

"I seem to remember a certain girl fighting and defeating an
Amazon all by herself. How would that be my fault?" Genma's voice was
carefully even. "So, what are you going to do about it, boy?"

"I told you, there ain't nothin' I can do about it!" Ranma
turned her back to her father.

Genma nudged his glasses up with a finger. "And I told you,
that's where you're wrong. But as long as you stay locked in this `poor
me' attitude, you'll never figure it out. I can't believe I raised such
a whiner for a son. Have you learned nothing? Can you not think for

Ranma snorted. "Like you're one to talk. You're always thinkin'
of yourself."

"Yes, I do, don't I?" Genma shrugged. "So what? We're talking
about you."

She laughed. "It don't matter. I still can't do anything even I
wanted to, without someone else makin' my life hell."

Genma half-smiled. "So, are you saying you want help? Should I
solve your problems for you? Am I going to have to hold your hand until
one of us dies of old age?" He paused to let that sink in.

Ranma appeared to be thinking it over, then laughed again,
bitterly. "I can take care of myself, old man. I suppose I learned that
much." She turned and pointed a finger at her father accusingly. "But
that doesn't change the fact that most of my problems come from you! It
should be your responsiblity to fix them!"

He grinned, raised his hands, and set his feet apart, assuming
a stance in anticipation of what was coming, and said in a low voice,
challenging voice, "Why don't you make me, boy?"

Ranma frowned, knowing she was being baited, but not caring. In
a rage, she crossed the distance between them in the blink of an eye and
began trading shots almost faster than most people could follow. Genma
took the attack in stride, pivoting and slamming an elbow into his
female son's gut and tossing her across the yard.

Ranma twisted in mid-air and landed on her feet, surprised her
father had gotten a hit in. Where had she gone wrong?

"Come on, boy, you should know better by now," Genma told him,
sounding disappointed.

Ranma frowned, then charged back in again. Her attack was more
calculated this time. She had shorter reach and strength, but she was
also faster and a smaller target. Against her father's bulk, she figured
it would be enough.

Genma hid the smile that was starting to appear, as Ranma began
to show the tatctical thinking that the elder Saotome had driven into
him from a young age, pushing Genma back and delivering several hits.
Still, he wasn't out yet. With a mighty shove of his powerful legs, he
propelled himself into the air.

As expected, Ranma followed him, her ascent a lot faster than
his. Instead of striking with his legs, Genma tucked them up and flipped
as Ranma tried to hit them, only managing a couple of light blows to his
lower thighs and back. Continuing to turn in mid-air, he struck out with
his own fists while he was temporarily oriented upside-down. Ranma
brought her hands up to block, but that also covered her eyes, allowing
Genma to complete the flip and brings his powerful leg smashing into
Ranma's stomach.

Ranma careened into the pond as her father settled down on one
of the rocks and shook his head. "Pathetic, I-"

The pig-tailed girl exploded out of the water, fist extended.
Genma was nearly caught off-guard, but recovered and attempted to leap

Or tried to.

For some reason, his legs gave out as Ranma struck his face
with a powerful right cross, then flipped over him while grabbing an
arm. With no purchase and dazed from the head blow, Genma was helpless
as Ranma twisted and slammed him into the concrete wall of the Tendo
yard. His body slid to the ground with a *thud*.

He finally came back to his senses, and noticed that Ranma was
only breathing moderately hard, her fists pulled back and body turned
slightly sideways in a modified defensive stance.

Genma tried to stand, but his legs still wouldn't respond. "H-
how... what did you... do, boy," he said while taking gulps of air.

Ranma smirked and dropped out of her stance, crossing her arms
and assuming a cocky pose. "Same thing Tofu did to me shortly after we
came here. You should be fine in a couple of hours."

[Pressure points], Genma realized, then grinned and smacked his
lower back once. Ranma's jaw dropped as she stared at her father
standing up, somewhat shakily.

It was Genma's turn to smirk. "I haven't quite taught you
everything, boy. A man has to have some secrets left, or else the
student might just become better."

Ranma shook her head, her hair tossing water droplets.
"Whatever, old man. I beat you. I've been able to beat you for a long
time now."

Genma grunted and looked down, knowing inside it was true.
Ranma had surpassed him, had even beaten him in her female form. He may
have a few tricks and surprises left, but it was quite clear that Ranma
was far superior to him... physically.

His head came back up, noting that at least his son appeared to
be feeling better. "Very well, I'd be lying if I said otherwise." Genma
began to walk toward Ranma, and stopped when he was right beside her,
speaking without looking at her. "Your... accomplishments have made me
proud, Ranma."

The pig-tailed girl stood there, speechless. Had her father
just complimented her? And used her name? It wasn't too unusual for him
to do either, but both at the same time?

Ranma nearly missed the backhand from her father due to her
shock, and she tilted her head just in time so it grazed her ear, as
opposed to taking off her head. She twirled and caught the next strike,
holding her father's arm with both of hers and kicking her way up his
chest. The last kick was delivered to his face, and sent the older man
stumbling backwards when Ranma released the arm.

Inwardly, Ranma was seething. He had tried to trick her! "That
was dirty, old man. `Course, I should have realized you'd pull something
like that!"

Genma recovered and nodded. "Never let your guard down, boy.
And be very careful about who you choose to trust. You may be better
than me now, but you still have a lot to learn, and I'm not talking
martial arts. If you can't figure out the conflict around you and take
control, it will always control you."

"You're creepin' me out, pops," Ranma said unevenly. "I have no
idea what you're talkin' about. But if you mean the engagements, Akane
and Ukyo are still your fault."

"You will marry Akane, boy, that concerns family honor." His
head dropped as he turned to enter the house, offering one last phrase
before disappearing inside. "And I meant what I said before."

The retort, "Lot you know about honor, Pops!" died on Ranma's
lips with that last phrase.

[Did he really mean it?] Ramna shook her head and shivered,
deciding not to think about. Her clothes were waterlogged and she was
cold. [Too weird,] was her last thought as she headed inside to take a
warm bath.

Genma sat up on his futon and looked around. The moon shone
bright and full through the guest room's single window, casting a pale
light upon the contents within. Only the sounds of crickets could be
heard outside, but they were drowned out by the light snoring coming
from his now-male son, sleeping on the futon beside his.

For once, Genma had not gone to bed as a panda, knowing he
could think better in his natural form. And he had done plenty of
thinking since his fight with his son earlier that day. He had not
planned on falling asleep, but somewhere along the line it had claimed
him, though it was a light and troubled slumber. It hadn't lasted very
long before those troubles on his mind brought him back to wakefulness.

He looked down on his son, sprawled across his bed, and felt a
measure of pride. Ranma had truly turned out to be one-of-a-kind. He had
become the best martial artist Genma had ever seen, and at such a young
age, too! Happosai and Cologne were arguably better, but they were old,
and it had taken them most of their lives to get that kind of power. In
perhaps a few more years, Ranma would surpass them completey.

If he could deal with the stress of his own life.

Genma frowned at that. He thought his lessons had made it clear
to Ranma, through their near-constant combat and contests. If you wanted
something, you had to fight for it. If you didn't give it your all,
someone else would take it from you. To the elder Saotome, this was how
the world worked. If someone wasn't working for you, they were working
against you, and comrades that worked for you were few and far between.
People who had the power, did what they wanted. Apparently, Ranma had
yet to figure this out, outside of actual combat.

There was a possible solution to that, but for once, Genma was
unsure of it. He had acknowledged that he had perhaps made some mistakes
while he raised the boy, but Ranma had come through it, just like he
knew his son would. Genma had wanted the power when he was young, the
strength and martial ability that ensured no one could control him, and
so had wanted his son to have that same power as well, if not more.
There was still quite a bit he wanted to teach the boy, but he wasn't
sure how to do so, since it seemed Ranma didn't listen to him much
anymore; especially since the boy was now stronger then him. It just
meant that Ranma figured Genma had nothing left to teach.

[Maybe this trip will be necessary after all,] he decided. So
set on a course of action, he stood up and began to pack as stealthily
as he could.

His thoughts turned to his wife, sharing a room with Kasumi.
Theirs hadn't exactly been a love match, but in his own way, he did care
about her and believed she felt similarly about him as well. Still, he
had been young at the time they were married, and settling down wasn't
in his blood, then. He had tried to stay around and take care of her;
for several years he had tried hard. But as the months passed and their
son was born, Genma became increasingly aware that he couldn't really be
the husband Nodoka needed. And the road continued to call, the siren
song making him feel that the house was too confining. Figuring it was
best for both their sakes, he took Ranma away to train.

Genma had sent money back when he could, knowing the simple
investment fund her father had set up wouldn't be quite enough to
support her. But now her house was in shambles and neither of them had
the money to rebuild it. He grimaced, knowing that the problem was at
least partly his fault.

[But maybe it's something I can correct.] Having trained Ranma,
he was ready to settle down now. But perhaps there was something he
should do first.

After sketching out a simple note, Genma shouldered his pack
and took one last look at his son. He knew he might never return, but he
hoped by the time he was done, his son would be as proud of him as Genma
was of Ranma.

Moving more quietly than a mouse, Genma opened the window,
slipped out, and disappeared into the night.

Ranma awoke peacefully the next morning, and he reflected
momentarily on why that felt so strange, while he stretched his arms and
yawned. Then he realized it was because his father hadn't woken him up.

"Hey Pops, we trainin' today or what?" Not getting a response,
Ranma blinked his bleary eyes open and turned to his father's futon...

To find it gone.

"Pop?" Ranma shrugged, realizing his father must have already
rolled up and stored his futon in the closet. "Huh, must be downstairs
or somethin'."

Paying it no mind at first, Ranma dressed and headed
downstairs, taking in the sweet scent of breakfast drifting out from the
kitchen. "Mornin', Momma, Kasumi," he said to the two ladies in the

Nodoka wiped her hands on her apron and turned to her son.
"Good morning, Ranma! How did you sleep?" She reached out to hug him,
and Ranma reluctantly let her.

He shrugged as he pulled back. "Just fine, I guess. Pops didn't
wake me up like he usually does. He been in here this morning? He was
acting strange yesterday."

His mother shook her head. "Maybe he just went out for a
stroll. He always was an early riser, you know. He'll show up soon. He
wouldn't miss this." She gestured towards the prepared food.

"Maybe." Ranma headed out of the kitchen. "I guess I'll just
have to go warm up without him."

"Don't take too long!" his mother called. "Breakfast will be
ready soon!"

Apparently, his father wasn't in the living room either, Ranma
discovered, nor outside. Something about this disturbed him, but he
couldn't quite put his finger on it. As he went through a relatively
simple kata out in the yard, he could hear the grunts and kiyahs of
Akane working out in the dojo, and he smiled when he imagined her
working out her aggressions on imaginary opponents.

Ranma grew increasingly-well, not worried, but something close
to it-when his father failed to materialize for breakfast.

"Anybody seen Pop this morning?" he asked before taking a
mouthful of rice mid-way through the meal. For as long as he could
remember, his father had always been around. It was starting to feel odd
to have that presence absent.

"Now that you mention it, it was been rather quiet," Soun
commented, then smiled. "I wouldn't worry about it, though. Your father
probably just had something to take care of."

"I ain't worried," Ranma said hastily. "I was just curious,
that's all."

[Hmmm, Uncle Saotome is gone?] Nabiki's mind piqued up. [I
wonder if he's up to something? Maybe another plot to get my little
sister and Ranma hitched?] She usually dismissed the dumb panda, but she
also knew that he had a devious mind at times. Not as good as hers, but
she knew he wasn't as stupid as he looked. She made a mental note to
look into it later.

Akane searched her fiance's face from where she sat beside him.
"Are you sure you're not worried?" she asked with a small smile. There
were times when she could read him, and times when she couldn't. This,
she thought, was one of the former.

Ranma swallowed the last of his meal and gulped down the rest
of tea. "Of course, I ain't worried! Would you just lay off!"

"Well fine, be that way," Akane huffed and turned back to her
own breakfast, then added, "jerk."

Ranma stood and bounded out of the dining room, then up the
stairs to grab his school stuff, eager to be away from everyone else for
the moment. Of course he wasn't worried! Why would he be?

Akane and Nodoka watched him go, then turned to look
questionably at each other. Sensing the older woman was about say
something, Akane finished up and excused herself, so she could grab her
school stuff as well. She knew Nodoka was going to suggest something to
the effect of going after him, but it was obvious to Akane that he
didn't care or want that at the moment.

But as she headed back to the stairs after grabbing her
bookbag, she noticed the guest room door slightly ajar, and Ranma
kneeling inside. Curious, she opened the door a little wider and was
able to glimpse Ranma reading a piece of paper. She debated with herself
on whether she should just go, or enter and see what he was doing. He
obviously knew she was there, as the door had made enough sound when she
slid it open.

"Come on, Ranma, we've got to get going to school if we want to
make it before the bell," she told him, hands on her hips. "Especially
if Kuno decides he wants to fight this morning. I don't know about you,
but I don't want to hold any buckets today."

His response was not what she expected. "He's gone, Akane." His
voice was flat, unemotional.

Her eyebrows furrowed. "What? You mean, your father?"

He nodded slightly and handed her the paper. Akane took it
hesitantly and read it:

Ranma -

I've come to a decision. As there is nothing more I
can teach you at the moment, I have decided to take
a trip to tie up some loose ends. I don't know how
long I'll be gone, or when I'll return, but I don't
expect you to slack off in your training. I'll test you
when I return. Remember what I taught you when
you turned seven. I've also left a note with your
mother. Don't search for me (though I know you
wouldn't anyway).

Genma Saotome

"What does it mean?" Akane asked, handing him the note back.

Ranma stood up and shrugged, shouldering his own bookbag.
"Don't know. At least I won't have to see his lazy butt around here for
awhile, nor deal with his boring lectures." He shrugged again. "Maybe he
caught wind of a creditor, or something, that had tracked him down here,
and he decided to make a run for it."

"You don't think that's why he left?"

"I don't know, and I don't care," he replied nonchalantly while
heading for the door. "And we better run if we're gonna get to school on

"Hey wait!" Akane called after him, as she sprinted down the
stairs after him. "What did your father teach you when you turned
seven?" She caught up to him outside, and ran along side him.

He frowned. "Nothing I didn't already know."

Ranma poured on the speed and Akane began to fall behind as she
tried to keep up with him. "Ranma! Come back here!"

On a hill in the outskirts, overlooking the small ward of
Nerima, a solitary figure stood, sheltered in the shade of the trees. He
didn't know long he'd be gone, or even if he'd come back, so he wanted
to catch a last glimpse to remember all the good times he had been
through here.

[Well, boy, it's time for your last test,] he thought to
himself. [Whether you make it or not now, is up to you.] He turned and
started into the woods. [But maybe I can do one last thing for you.]

Disappearing into the foilage, Genma Saotome set out on his
last journey.


Author's notes:

It seems whenever I set down to write something, I end up starting
something new, instead of continuing the stuff I already have.

Anyway, this is my attempt on a character that rarely gets much time in
the spotlight in fics. In keeping with my stance that there is more to
each character than appears, and that all have a story, I decided to go
with one that most fics pass over, or give light treatment to.

This will also be my attempt to explore Genma, and explore other's
thoughts of him, particularly Nodoka and Ranma. I'll be going by manga-
Genma, so if you feel what I have portrayed doesn't match some aspect
you see in the manga, let me know, so I can try to deal with it. For
now, some of his motivations will be hidden, but will be revealed later
on. And by that time, hopefully his character will mesh well with what
you see in the manga.

And yes, I stole the title off another movie, but this doesn't have
anything to do with that. Especially since I haven't seen the movie. I
just thought it sounded good as a title!

As always, any thoughts or C&C is appreciated! Thanks!

Brad aka Kaiphantom
"Look Otaru! It's a lumpy funny lumpy lumpy!" - Lime