Bitter Memories

Soun: Well, son, you're problem isn't so bad. This is my oldest daughter, Kasumi, she's 19. My middle daughter, Nabiki, is 17. And my youngest daughter, Akane, she's 16. Choose whichever you like, she'll be your new Fiancee.

Kasumi: He wants Akane.

Nabiki: Definitely.

Akane: Why me!

Nabiki: You hate boys. You're lucky he's half girl.

Akane: Me marry that pervert?

Ranma: Aaaaargh!

Ranma's scream derailed the daughter's bickering.

Ranma: This is identical to the dream I had last night!

Kasumi: Oh my. You had a dream about what would happen today?

Ranma: Not just today. The dream started with my arrival here, but it ended years later.

Nabiki: Right, you can see the future in your dreams?

Ranma: Is that anywhere as wierd as my changing gender when wet? Let me think here! The dream ended with me in a rundown dive getting smashed. I was complaining to someone about my second divorce. I wished that I knew what would have happenned before my life became a mess, and then the dream ended.

Akane: Second divorce? You really are a pervert.

[Ranma stares at her coldly.]

Akane: I married the woman I loved, but it wasn't enough. We divorced because we couldn't stand living together, but we never stopped loving each other. We remarried each other out of love, but it didn't last forever.

Genma: You see, son? You should marry who I've arranged for you. Honor is the important thing here.

Ranma: Let me think!

Akane: I'm not going to marry that pervert!

Soun: You must, for the sake of family honor.

[Ranma begins to growl.]

Ranma: Yes, Honor!
[He glares at the 2 fathers.]
Ranma: Marrying for love IS a mistake, honor should be the primary consideration. Besides, I don't love anyone now, anyway. Let's discuss honor! Tendo-san, I've only been a guest here for about an hour. In that time, your eldest daughter announced she wouldn't marry me. Your middle daughter poked and prodded me, and also announced that she didn't want me, and your youngest daughter insulted me for things beyond my control. I find your hospitality lacking, and that your daughters have abrogated your agreement to unite the houses. As you have no intention of fullfilling this agreement, I release you. Pop, lets go!

Ranma: Now son, as a matter of family honor, it's not for you to decide that the agreement is broken.

Ranma: But is it truely a matter of family honor? Or is it just a matter of my father's honor.

Genma: Ungrateful child! how dare you question my honor? Besides, it doesn't matter. Either way, you must obey.

Ranma: Unless you are already forsworn on this subject. Does our family actually have any honor left on the subject of my engagement? My dream reminded me of Ukyou Kuonji. Tell me, pop, about why we left riding her family's yattai? Surely you didn't steal it?

Genma: That has nothing to do with this. Besides, Kuonji-san gave me that yattai, fair and square!

Ranma: All right, why? We were broke at the time. What did you offer him in exchange for the yattai? Or was it a dowry?

Genma: It doesn't matter what I gave Kuonji-san. It has nothing to do with this situation.

Ranma: Then you have no objection to me taking time to contact them and find out from them what it was all about? The Kuonjis, and of course, Kaori's father, Daitokuji?

Genma: How do you know about him?

Ranma: The dream, pop. In it, you had engaged me to 2 other families as well as the Tendo family. If even one of them is true, then you have lost all right to dictate my marriage on the basis of family honor.

Genma: Nonsense. You'll marry a Tendo!

Ranma: But honor forbids me from marrying until I lay to rest these rumors of other engagements. I swear on our family honor that I will not agree to marry anyone until this matter is laid to rest! Tendo-san, if you'd rather not house us until that time, we'll leave tonight. I don't think much of your hospitality, but my father would like to stay.

Soun: Nonsense. This is just a family argument. It will pass.

Ranma: Maybe. When I was young, I thought Ukyou was a boy, but in my dream, she was female, and my father engaged her to me. Pop, what gender was Ukyou? If you lie to me, you'll regret it for a long time.

Genma: Er, male?

Ranma: Fine then. We find Ukyou, and if he's male, I'll consider the engagement. Whatever you've done to their family, you will pay for. Even if I need to be your second. Where is the rest of my family?

Genma: What?

Ranma: Don't be stupid. I must have had a mother, unless you stole me too. If she's dead, I wish to pay my respects. If she's living, I want to know why I haven't seen her for 10 years, and know where she is!

Genma: Son, don't do this. It'll mean both our lives!

Soun: Genma, what are you talking about? Why haven't you seen Nodoka?

Genma: You don't understand! We've got to go!

Soun: Genma, If you leave now, I'll track you down. You know I'll find you. After all the years we trained together, you will stay, and tell us.

Genma: Soun, you don't understand! This is worse than the master!

Ranma: Hey pop, Why don't you and mister Tendo tell us about your master, and what condition you left him? In my dream, he was a disgusting old man, who molested Akane and I repeatedly. You two did nothing to stop him.

Akane: My father would never do something like that you pervert!

Ranma: I didn't say he would, I'm describing my dream. If it was just a dream, then it couldn't possibly be your father. I've never met him before. If it was a glance at the future, then your father's behavior isn't my fault. Someone do something to prove my dream false. Mr. Tendo, why don't you tell us all about your sensei in martial arts, the founder of our noble schools?

Soun: Now son, the master is long gone. There's no need to bring up the distant past.

Ranma: I'e trained with countless masters, but have never been introduced to yours. Did you see his lifeless body, or did you abandon him somewhere?

Soun: He was nearly dead when we left him.

Ranma: Crippled? Or just drunk?

Nabiki: What are you getting at, Ranma?

Ranma: So far everything I've learned from my dream has come true, except that Ukyou was a girl, and we've yet to prove that. I've been taken from my mother, and lead to believe she was dead. The dream said she's alive, and my father proved it by being terrified of her. In my dream, they imprisoned their master while he was drunk, when he escapes he repeatedly attacks Akane and I. They won't say where the master is, but have kept me from him for some reason. They're scared of him. I've even mentioned someone who my father had cheated in the dream. When I mentioned him, my father asked where I heard of him, not who he was. So far, my dream is an accurate predictor.

Nabiki: Well then, lets test this dream of yours.

Ranma: Need more proof? Ok, Akane, are you being bothered by a wealthy idiot who practices kendo? Nabiki, have you ever sold pictures of Akane? Let me predict the future for you: The assassin who chased us out of China will soon show up here. By the laws of her tribe, I am already married to her, only she doesn't realize it. Akane will underestimate her, becoming her enemy. She fights with sword and mace. If Akane becomes a serious obstacle to her, Akane will be dead. Care to ignore this warning?

Akane: Hey, I can take care of myself!

Ranma: She smashes through stone walls when the door is inconvenient. She's trained twelve hours a day for twelve years. She's faster, stronger, more skilled, and will be trying to kill you from ambush. If you want to take those kind of odds, I wont stop you. She's an assassin!

Soun: What do you mean you are already married to her?

Ranma: The moment she finds out that I'm not female, she'll stop trying to kill me, and want me to consumate our marriage.

Soun: Waah! My baby girl is going to face an assassin.

Akane: Daddy! All I have to do is avoid getting in her way. I'll be allright.

Ranma: Will you be able to avoid fighting her? She believes that Japanese women are beneath contempt. She'll show off her skills, say she's better than you, and she'll rub your nose in it constantly. Can you take that kind of abuse?

Soun: Waaaah, my daughter is going to be brutally murdered!

Nabiki: Dad, please! Ok, we have a problem. Ranma's dream is too accurate to ignore, and Akane is already fed up with people who believe they're superior. I'm postponing all talk about the engagement until we either disprove everything Ranma has said, or we've found a method to insure Akane's life.

Soun: Nabiki! You can't do that!

Nabiki: Try me. You wouldn't put the school over your daughter's life, would you?

* * *

Where to go from here? In the dream, he'd married Akane for love. Even though with the benefit of the information from the dream, he could probably do a better job this time around, he's going to do everything he can to avoid liking her. Ukyou holds the spot as number one fiancee, but he's not willing to marry anyone until he knows he can do it without loose ends. He will do his best to avoid falling in love with anyone until after he's married.

If he's forced to pick a Tendo, Akane is the last person he'd choose, and since he knows more about the Tendo sisters than in the original, he wont accept Kasumi and Nabiki pawning him off onto Akane.

He's angrier at the fathers this time. He's already given notice that he is willing to leave the Tendo's, so Soun and Nabiki wont have the leverage of him being a guest. Soun is now in the position of trying to win Ranma over to his wishes, instead of demanding things from him.

Specifically, Soun must devellop more spine towards others. In the original, the only people he orders around are Kasumi and Ranma, he folds for everyone else. Ranma will be judging Soun based on how well he supports his daughters and Ranma himself.

Stories of the original Soun's behavior will make the daughters less pleased with him, unless he goes overboard in the other direction. Expect to see him taking down Kuno a peg or two, and possibly opposing some of Genma's plans (especially when he learns that Genma DID multiply engage Ranma). Instead of ignoring all of Genma's faults, He'll actually occasionally oppose Genma, Taking the tack 'Ranma, even though your father is a complete idiot, there is still an obligation between the Saotomes and the Tendos, that we should find some way of solving.'

Genma and Happosai are unchanged, and unrepentant.

Cologne won't push so hard. Ranma won't lie to Shampoo about his gender, but will send Shampoo back to China to consult the Elders about another outcome.

* * *

Nabiki: Bye, Bye. See you in school.

Akane: Nabiki, wait for me!

Nabiki: You've got to show Ranma the way to school.

Akane: Why do I have to!

[Ranma frowns]

Ranma: Go with her. I'll get directions from Kasumi.

[Genma hits Ranma over the head with a sign]

Genma: [Be nice to them. You're going to marry one of them.]

Ranma: Being nice to them does not include forcing my presence on them when I'm not wanted. Besides, I've been nice to all of them, even after all of the slights and insults I've received. I haven't decided what the most honorable choice is, and I'm not accepting your opinions on the matter.
* * *
[As Ranma walks to school alone, he plans aloud]

Ranma: Ok, the first looney I have to deal with is Kuno. What do I remember about him from the dream. He's a real pervert, practices Kendo, and won't admit defeat from a male. Oh yes, he turns everything around to fit his insanity. I'm not going to throw a fight to get on his good side. Logic won't work. Gotta be something that fits his delusion of being a samurai. He'll never accept me as his superior, and I refuse to be his lacky, so it's either enemies, or friends. Maybe he'll accept me as the annoying brother at arms? That way he's not an enemy, but I don't have to agree with him, and we can fight to improve our mutual skill. As if I couldn't beat him 20 different ways. If this works though, it means I don't have to like him and I don't have to accept ambushes. He'll never respect me until after we fight so I gotta think of a face saving gesture, or he'll never admit it. Something to stroke his ego... *Splash* *drip* *drip* Why me?
* * *
Teacher: Class, we have a new student today. His name is Ranma Saotome, and he comes from China. Tell the class about yourself.

Ranma: I'm Ranma Saotome, of the Anything Goes school of martial arts. I've been training all of my life. I believe my father has set up several conflicting arranged marriages for me, so I'm not seeing anyone, nor am I likely to. If a stranger attacks me, get at least 20 meters away. Some of the people trying to kill me aren't too picky about bystanders. I don't expect the first attack for several weeks.

Teacher: That's quite an introduction. However, being new to the school is no excuse for tardiness. Stand in the hall.

[Ranma stares at the teacher as if he had grown another head]

Ranma: Ok. You actually enforce tardiness, and you allow fights on campus?

Teacher: We don't allow fights in this school.

Ranma: When I came into the school, there were a couple dozen guys that had been beaten up lying scattered over the ground.

Teacher: Well, that's a special case. Go stand in the hall
* * *
[A dull cafeteria knife with a note attached flew through the classroom window, and embeded itself in Kuno's desk. Kuno reads the note. "I'd like to meet with you when you have the time, how about during lunch, or after school? I'll be at the soccer field. Please bring your bokken. Ranma Saotome."]

Kuno: Nabiki Tendo. What do you know about a Ranma Saotome?

Nabiki: Why do you ask, Kuno-chan?

Kuno: I just received a very casual challenge letter from him.

[Nabiki gets a mischevous expression on her face]

Nabiki: Well, he's living at our house, and our fathers want to engage him to one of my sisters.

Kuno: Never! I'll never allow him to steal Akane from me. Why else would he issue a challenge!

Teacher: Kuno! Stand in the hall.
* * *
[Kuno charges across the soccer field towards a waiting Ranma]

Kuno: I shall never allow you to be engaged to Akane!

Ranma: Great! Thanks!

[This takes the wind out of Kuno's sails. His bokken droops, and with a truely moronic expression says]

Kuno: What?

Ranma: I've heard about you, and want to ask your help.

Kuno: Help?

Ranma: I've heard both good and bad rumors about your prowess, and about your love for Akane, so I thought you'd be the perfect person to ask.

Kuno: Someone speaks badly of my prowess? Point out the coward so I may smite him!

Ranma: Let me tell you what I know. You are undefeated in kendo. Only Akane has ever stood against you. The bad things are minor. They say that facing so many opponents who are so inferior in kendo, has made you slightly sloppy in defence, and that Akane uses that slight error to win against you. If I am good enough to be in your league of fighting skill, I hope that someday we might strengthen our skills through sparring.

Kuno: They are in error. My form is perfect, in spite of the many weak fools I have taken on. If you did not come here to fight, why did you summon me?

Ranma: It is a matter of family honor. Will you listen to my tale?

[Kuno is now seated, with a can of soda in one hand, and a bag of popcorn in the other.]

Ranma: My father is strong physically, but weak in spirit. I believe he has engaged me to multiple women without the others knowing. If I were to even date one of them, I'd be dishonoring all the families involved. I'll need your help in severing as many of these ties as I honorably can. One of these engagements was that I'd marry one of the Tendo sisters. I hoped you could help me break that bond so that I don't stain Akane's families honor. Kuno, I need your help to keep them from forcing me to marry Akane, and disgrace her. There is no way I could honorably pursue her, except as a friend, but there are people who will force the issue. For Akane's sake, as well as mine, will you help?

Kuno: I cannot but offer my aid in your predicament. But who are the knaves that dare to risk dishonoring Akane?

Ranma: There are two. I hope you appreciate the sensitive nature of this problem, when you learn that they are my father, and Akane's father. Akane's father truely believes it is for his daughter's benefit. Even though he is wrong, he is trying his best to be honorable, so I can't hold it against him.

Kuno: How do you propose to solve this?

Ranma: I don't know yet. Before we continue this, would you do me the honor of sparring with me? If I am close to your skill level, we might help each other improve. I too have only lost to my teachers. As this is for fun, neither of us are risking our reputations.

Kuno: Very well. You fight unarmed?

Ranma: Musashi fought steel-armed samurai with an oar whittled into a bokken. Should I aspire to less than following his example by going unarmed?

Kuno: He was a great man, but know this, it is possible to smash stone even with a wooden sword, if your skill is sufficient. Let us begin.
* * *
[As Kuno regains conciousness, he hears Ranma's voice]

Ranma: Just as the rumor's have said. Your opponents in the past have hurt you by being so poor fighters. You must regain your edge by sparring with a peer. Come, call me a peer, and we shall improve ourselves beyond what we can achieve alone.

Kuno: It will be a new experience for me. I cannot bring myself to go full out against Akane, and against all others I don't need to. We shall rise in skill until the very gods, themselves, may tremble.
* * *
Nabiki: So, Kuno. How was your fight with Ranma.

Kuno: A match to make the earth tremble. Truely were we meant to meet. He is unlike any I've ever fought. I can hardly wait until the next time we spar.

Nabiki: Spar? I thought you were going to kill him?

Kuno: How could you mislead me into thinking that he wanted to marry your sister? The poor man, to be used so by his own family. Come. You must tell me all about your father's plan to marry Ranma into your family. Can he not see the pain such a plan would bring?

Nabiki: He wishes to unite the two branches of our families schools of martial arts.

Kuno: But through marriage?

Nabiki: Tell me about it. He never even met Ranma before last night, and he had already decided on the marriage! Meeting his father, it wouldn't have surprised me if he were an honorless shiftless fool.

Kuno: No need to worry on that account. He seems to have a delicate perception of the trials of honor. He reminds me of myself, when I was younger.

Nabiki: What happened out there?

Kuno: He asked my help in annulling the agreement between your families. Then he pointed out some of the methods that the fair Akane uses to keep her maidenly innocence through her fighting prowess. With Ranma on my side, soon my approach shall so much dare the field, that Akane will couch down in fear, and yield.

Nabiki: Sometimes I think that no man will ever couch with Akane.

Kuno: Be not afraid, for one day will I call you sister.

Nabiki: I can hardly wait.
* * *
Akane: So, where did you go today during lunch?

Ranma: I was just meeting Kuno. Interesting guy. I kinda like him.

Akane: Figures that you two perverts would get along.

Ranma: Well, I hope you like dating perverts. After he agreed that our sparring match last night did not count as permission to date you, I started pointing out the mistakes in his defence that you used to defeat him this morning.

Akane: What?

Ranma: He's a fast learner. Once he knows the counters to your moves, and learns a new attack, he should be able to defeat you, and claim that date.

Akane: How could you!

Ranma: Easy. He treats me with respect, something that no Tendo has done. Besides, it's painful to watch him leaving such holes in his defence.

Akane: But I hate Kuno!

Ranma: Then you shouldn't have agreed to date him if he wins. I'd start training seriously, if I were you.
* * *
Ranma: So, pop, what have you done to track down my childhood friend Ukyou?

Genma: Soun and I are hard at work on it, right friend?

Soun: What? Oh. Yes, right. Hard at work.

Ranma: Excellent, you do realize that if you want this engagement to happen, you have to find Ukyou, so any delay in finding Ukyou, is a delay of the engagement.
* * *
Soun: Genma?

Genma: Yes?

Soun: We've been playing Shogi all day. Why aren't you looking for Ukyou?

Genma: Er. I didn't think he was serious last night?

Soun: Tomorrow, we'll start searching for him in earnest, right, friend?

Genma: Oh, of course!
* * *
Mob: Akane! I love you. Let me defeat you! Pigtailed girl! Lose to me!

Ranma: Why are your admirers attacking me?

Akane: I don't know. Just stay out of my way.

Kuno: Truely that boorish lot deserved defeat at your hands, lovely ladies. But now you face me.

Ranma: Kuno! Did you put these losers up to this?

Kuno: They but merely sought the right to date with you as I do.

Ranma: I have no intention of dating anyone, whether they defeat me, or not. If anyone attacks me again for that reason, I will break their left forearm before I knock them out. I don't want to date anyone! The idea of going out with someone because they can beat you up makes me sick to my stomach! Just because Akane is willing to go along with this doesn't mean I share her sick fantasies!

Akane: Hey!

Kuno: But why would you object to dating the magnificent Tatewaki Kuno?

Ranma: I'm too disgusted by this display to discuss it now. Ask Ranma when you spar at lunch.
* * *
Kuno: Ranma! You deceiver. Release the lovely pigtailed girl to me!

Ranma: What are you talking about?

Kuno: Nabiki told me of your enslavement of the pigtailed goddess.

Ranma: Why would I enslave my younger sister?

Kuno: Sister? Nabiki said that you two were of one mind and body!

Ranma: She's family. Anything she wants, I want to find. Her enemies are my enemies. I'm closer to her than my own father.

Kuno: Then if she isn't dating you, why does she refuse to date me?

Ranma: Once again it's my stupid father's fault. He engaged her to a violent martial artist without her knowledge. She's vowed that they will never marry, but still she has no desire to date anyone after that fiasco.

Kuno: That cad! Show me her betrothed so I might smite him!

Ranma: No need. The engagement is all but annulled, and that gorilla never came near to hurting her. If you attack, then their family might feel the need to reinforce their claim to save face. Iet this farce of an omiai die a forgotten death. I'll make sure nothing comes of it.

Kuno: Still, I insist you call me at once if there's any help I can lend. As you are her elder brother, I seek your permission to date her.

Ranma: I can not give anyone approval while she hates the idea of dating. I promise to let you know the moment she considers herself ready to date. That is the best I can offer at this time without betraying her like our father did. I hope you understand.

Kuno: It is less than I wished, but truely the only honorable path. I shall have to console myself with her images.

Ranma: Who took those photos?

Kuno: I purchased them from Nabiki, yesterday afternoon.

Ranma: They were taken without her permission. This says volumes about the Tendo hospitality.

Kuno: I shall take Nabiki to task over this.

Ranma: I claim first right as her brother. I'll speak with the head of her clan tonight. How dare they do this while trying to join our families!

Kuno: Your anger exceeds my own. I will leave this matter in your hands.
* * *
Ranma: Mr. Tendo. As it is a matter of family honor, I will give you a chance to convince me why I should continue to live under your roof after your middle daughter has taken pictures of me without my knowing, while I was incompletely dressed, and gave or sold them to people at school?

Soun: Waaah. My daughter is a pornographer.

Ranma: Not quite pornography, but still objectionable.

Soun: Ranma! Please don't leave!

Ranma: Do something about this. If you don't resolve this right now, I will leave.

Genma: Ungrateful boy! You can't leave. I order you to stay!

Ranma: Ordering me to be photographed in indecent attire? Don't you think the police would like to know that you are using your child to start a child pornography ring, and that you are the head pimp?

Genma: You wouldn't!

Ranma: Find a way to satisfy me about this situation, or you can kiss your plans goodbye.
* * *
Soun: Nabiki, have you been taking pictures of Ranma and distributing them at school?

Nabiki: Well, only to defray the costs of having him here.

Soun: They are my guests, and Ranma is here against his will. You can't charge them rent.

Nabiki: I know. That's why I took the photos instead.

Soun: I know I haven't done anything like this in years, but Nabiki, you are grounded.

Nabiki: You're kidding.

Soun: Try me. Give Ranma the negatives and all of the money you've made from him. I'll hold your camera until he forgives you. You're grounded until then, or for one week, whichever is longer.

Nabiki: You can't do that!

Soun: The only reason you're not getting a spanking, is that it would embarrass both of us. If you're going to behave as a child, you'll be treated as one.
* * *
Nabiki: So what would it take to get your formal forgiveness?

Ranma: How about letting me sell similar photographs of you around school?

Nabiki: I think not. What else?

Ranma: Find the idea distasteful? Don't want your classmates learing at you?

Nabiki: OK, you've made your point!

Ranma: Why should I forgive you? I don't particularly like you. Find some way on your own to convince me that you're seriously sorry, and not just sorry for being caught.
* * *
Ranma: Kuno, do you see what you're doing wrong, here?

Kuno: You must be using some trick! You seem to know my moves before they occur! I performed that move perfectly!

Ranma: That's exactly it! You were performing an advanced kata. Katas have their time and place, but if you stick to them in a fight, your opponent will have time to prepare a counter.

Kuno: But the forms are all important in kendo.

Ranma: You've already mastered the standard forms, right?

Kuno: Of course!

Ranma: Then to improve, you must spend some of your practice time inventing new forms.

Kuno: But that's sacrilege! The forms were invented ...

Ranma: The forms were made by the best of their generation, and refined by the best of succeeding generations. It's only sacrilege if you haven't mastered the preexisting forms. At your level, it's your duty to look for areas to improve them.

Kuno: I hadn't thought of it like that.

Ranma: If you take my advice, select the attacks you use most often, and imagine you want to do them in all the wrong order. You want to always have as many choices for your next attack, and vary them. That way, your opponent wont have that extra time to prepare.

Kuno: That makes sense, but it will take alot of time.

Ranma: Trust me, it's worth it. You might want to stop fighting Akane so that your new kata will be a surprise.

Kuno: I could not abandon her. Are you trying to trick me into leaving her unprotected so that you might date har?

Ranma: Gods, no! Listen, I think I've got half a solution to this engagement.

Kuno: You have my complete attention.

Ranma: My father is a lying cheat, as you know. I asked my father about one of my fiancees, and he denied everything. Then I swore on my family honor that I would not be coerced into marriage if he lied.

Kuno: But what if he told the truth?

Ranma: Don't worry, he lied. Even if he somehow manages to conceal his lie, I haven't promised that I'd do anything if he told the truth. I'll try something else then. But when his lie is exposed, then he has no power to force a wedding on me.

Kuno: But if you leave, it would dishonor the Tendo family.

Ranma: I know. That's why it's only half a solution. I still have to find some way to convince Tendo to release me. But once my father's hold is broken, no one will think it odd if I don't marry for several years, so I have time to find the rest of the solution without dishonoring the Tendos.

Kuno: True. Yet as long as this persists, it will inhibit my chance to marry her.

Ranma: I've got another idea. You don't mind if I marry Akane's sisters, right?

Kuno: So long as you don't disgrace their family.

Ranma: Well their only chance to force me to marry a Tendo is to make sure no dishonor falls on either of us. Listen, if anyone else hears about it, Akane's honor will be stained, so I know you can keep this completely secret. I swear on my honor and my family's honor that if I am ever successfully forced to marry a Tendo, I will select one of Akane's sisters for my bride.

Kuno: You'd give me this to hold over your head?

Ranma: Sure. I want you to hold it over my head. The more reasons I have for not marrying her, the better chance I'll have to convince Tendo to accept an alternative. Hell, I'd rather become Tendo's adopted son, than his son-in-law. Nobody could force me to marry my sister, could they?

Kuno: The thought of such an incestuous marriage, is enough to completely kill any desire for sustenance, as my stomach turns over.
* * *
Ranma: So, how goes the search?

Soun: Not well. We haven't found a single Kuonji in Hokkaido.

Ranma: Why are you looking there? Ukyou is from Kansai.

Soun: Genma! Come back here!
* * *
Ryouga: Ranma Saotome! Prepare to die!

Ranma: Well, well. If it isn't the honorless Ryouga Hibiki.

Ryouga: Honorless? You ran out of a man-to-man fight.

Ranma: I waited three days at the place you chose! Then I had to leave to meet other obligations. Surely that's long enough curtesy towards someone who betrays you.

Ryouga: How could I have betrayed you!

Ranma: I treated you as a friend! I helped you get home, when you got seperated from Shirokuro. But you had to get jealous over how much lunch I had, so you set up that stupid duel. You never bothered to show up, and now you try to attack me from ambush.

Ryouga: Shut up! Because of you, I've seen hell!

Ranma: What did I do to you?

Ryouga: The time for talk is over.

Ranma: So, are you going to fight me fairly? Or are you going to try to kill me from ambush, like an honorless assassin.

Ryouga: I'm going to beat you into a bloody pulp!

Ranma: And I'm going to make sure everyone knows your actions, even in your cursed form.

Ryouga: How did you know about that?

Ranma: I had a vision. You think you've seen hell? I'll just have to get the authorities to put you to sleep. They wont even realize that they're killing an assassin. You scream death threats at me? I'll have your balls, your freedom and your life in that order, and no one will punish me for it. I'll show you hell, you bastard.

Nabiki: Ranma, what are you talking about?

Ranma: This bastard can shapeshift into an animal. If he insists on trying to make my life difficult, after all the crap he's already done, then I'll have him put down.

Ryouga: You wouldn't dare!

Ranma: You come here shouting death threats, and don't expect me to respond?

Ryouga: Well, all I was really going to do was beat you into a bloody pulp and put you in the hospital.

Ranma: I've put up with crap from you because I thought you were my friend. You've betrayed me and smashed my trust in you. Why should I treat you with any sympathy?

Ryouga: You really thought of me as a friend?

Ranma: Of course! You were the only person my own age I could ever spar with. Why do you think I spent so much time after school with you? Why do you think I helped you get home? You think it was just because I liked seeing Shirokuro?

Ryouga: But you were always insulting me!

Ranma: And you were always insulting me! My father insults me regularly! Which speaks louder? Actions or words?

Ryouga: But because of you, I had to trek through China.

Ranma: I did what I could to stop that! I waited three days! What makes you think leaving for China was my choice? My idiot father dragged me into that hell hole. My idiot father selected the cursed training grounds! I was a fool for listening to him, and you were a fool for following us. But now you're acting like it was all my fault, and I will not take the blame! I did the best I could for you. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have bothered.

Ryouga: Don't say that. I've got to think this through.

Ranma: I'm currently a guest at the Tendo Dojo. If I gotta leave, I'll try to leave some message there for you.

Nabiki: Who was that?

Ranma: Either a messed up good person, or an honorable scoundrel. I'll let you know when I figure out which one.

Nabiki: Does he really have a curse?

Ranma: He did in my dream, and he used it to betray several people's trust. I won't let him pull that crap. If he tries, he'll see what a real life in hell is like.
* * *
Ryouga: Ranma? Can we talk?

Ranma: For old times sake? Ok.

Ryouga: What happened to you? You used to be so carefree.

Ranma: In China I was cursed like you, and then chased across China by an assassin. Then I was dragged here to be engaged to a violent maniac. On top of this, I had a dream about what my life would be like. I learned that my father has engaged me many times, including to a childhood friend. He stole her dowery. In the dream, you and I fell in love with the same woman, and she made my life hell. Now my father's trying to force me to marry that woman.

Ryouga: A dream?

Ranma: More like a vision. Everything I've learned in the dream has come true. In my dream you had fallen into the spring of drowned piglet, and my father in panda form tried to cook you.

Ryouga: That was your father?

Ranma: Yep, the walking stomach. Real pandas are vegitarian. He has a Jhusenkyou curse, and didn't bother to check if the piglet he caught had one or not.

Ryouga: Wait. Does this mean we're doomed to fall in love with the same woman?

Ranma: No. The future isn't set in stone. I've sworn I'll never marry her, and I'll have this engagement shatterred.

Ryouga: But, how could we both fall for the same woman?

Ranma: It wasn't pretty, and we both acted like bastards. I'll introduce you on one condition.

Ryouga: What?

Ranma: That you'll tell her about your curse. In the dream, you pretended to be her pet to protect her from me. That, more than anything else, makes me mad at you. But you didn't do it yet.

Ryouga: But I'd never do that!

Ranma: If the conditions were right, even an angel can fall. I shouldn't blame you for something you haven't done, but I can't forget it, and all the trouble it caused.

Ryouga: I could really fall that low?

Ranma: Step, by bloody step. The first mistake was not telling Akane about your curse.

Ryouga: But how could I tell someone?

Ranma: If you don't, you risk a hell of your own making. You start on a path of betrayal, and self loathing that ruins your life. I'm not going to be your concience, I'm just warning you. I've seen the future, and it's hell.

Ryouga: But how could I risk admitting my curse to someone I care about?

Ranma: Admit it before you care. If they can't take it, you wont be hurt as much. It's your best shot at happiness.

Ryouga: Can you help me?

Ranma: Last time I saw you, you wanted to kill me.

Ryouga: I made a mistake, alright?

Ranma: Wanna try and start over?

Ryouga: Sure.
* * *
Ranma: Akane!

Akane: What is it, Ranma?

Ranma: I want you to meet Ryouga. He's also a martial artist. In my dream you two were friends. He was the only guy who treated you the way you wanted. The only guy who never did anything perverted. Ryouga, this is the girl my father wants me to marry. In my dream, she was your best friend. Ryouga suffers a Jhusenkyou curse like Pop and I.

Akane: You don't turn into a girl, do you?

Ryouga: No, a piglet.

Akane: Oh. I guess that's alright.

Ranma: You two decide if you want to be friends or not. I'm going out to the dojo to practice.

Akane: So, what do you think of female martial artists?

Ryouga: Both of my parents are martial artists. They both taught me.

Akane: So if we spar, you'll take me seriously?

Ryouga: Sure, but there are alot of attacks I don't use when sparring. Just because I'm willing to take you seriously doesn't mean I'll risk your life.

Akane: Would you have used those attacks on Ranma?

Ryouga: I would have, while we were fighting. I wouldn't while we were sparring.

Akane: Ok, I can accept that. Why were you two fighting?

Ryouga: I thought he was trying to ruin my life. Turns out it was a misunderstanding.
* * *
Kasumi: You have a guest, Ranma-kun. Your father brought her.

Ranma: What the hell were you thinking, you bastard?

Panda: Not my fault.

Shampoo: Ranma?

Shampoo: Boy he is

Ranma: Is, is, isn't it a shame I'm not a girl?

Akane: Oh, it's the first time she's met you as a male?

Shampoo: Ranma, show

Akane: I don't know where she is.

Shampoo: Hiding Ranma, You die, too.

Ranma: That's it! Come with me, I'll show you girl Ranma!

Akane: Where are you going?

Ranma: Doctor Tofu's. I need someone who knows Chinese or this will never be straightened out.
* * *
Ranma: Dr. Tofu, please read this to her in chinese. She won't understand if I try to tell her in Japanese.

Tofu: This is Ranma Saotome. He is male. He visited Jhusenkyo. When splashed with cold water, he becomes female. While he was female, he defeated you on the challenge log in your village. He knows about your law to marry the man that has defeated you. After being hunted by you, he'd rather kill amazons than marry one. If anyone tries to use force, magic, love potions, or threats, to make him marry against his will, he swears on his family honor that at least one amazon will die by his hands. If he is forced or tricked into going back to your village, he will try to kill as many amazons as he can, before he finally dies. If your great-grandmother comes here, she will respect these wishes, or she will never succeed. She should worry more about who will kill the god Saffron from Phoenix Mountain, who will decimate the amazons in a year, and destroy Jhusendo. If you really need to find a husband for Shampoo, Prince Herb of the Musk or Saffron of Phoenix Mountain can defeat her easily, and would probably enjoy possessing her. Herbs two servants have fixations about women's breasts, and will try to see her topless. Please take this note to Cologne, as I understand she can read Japanese.

Shampoo runs away in tears, with the note.

Tofu: That was rather harsh.

Ranma: Anything less would have made my life hell. Besides, she's just an assassin. My other option was to fight her again, to the death. I've never done that, and I don't want to start now.
* * *
Ranma dives out of the way of Cologne, and her staff, as she drops out of the sky, and attacks.

Ranma: What the hell are you doing.

Cologne: I wanted to confirm that my granddaughter's loss to you wasn't a fluke. I wish to talk to you about that note you sent back with Shampoo.

Ranma: What about it?

Cologne: It was very disrespectful.

Ranma: You came all the way from China because I didn't show enough respect?

Cologne chuckles

Cologne: Of course not. You mentioned things in the letter that you shouldn't be able to know. I came to find out how you knew so much, and wether the threat you mentioned was valid.

Ranma: I believe it's true, or I wouldn't have sent it.

Cologne: I see you do, and I'm not accusing you of lying to me. But you could have been lied to, or be in error, and I can't very well tell my people to believe it, merely because a foriegner that none of them have met, told me, and seems honest. At that point, it ceases to be fact, and has turned into rumor or anecdote.

Ranma: OK, I can understand that. I had a dream about what would happen in my life. It told me many things I didn't know about the past, and so far everything checks out. There were too many things for it to be coincidences.

Cologne: Tell me about this dream.

Ranma: That's a bit personal.

Cologne: Feel free to edit out embarrassing parts. I just want to be as sure as you are about the dream's prophetic nature.

Ranma: OK. It was a day before my father and I got here. I dreamed he had engaged me to his best friend's three daughters. I met them while female. The older one ignored me, the middle one groped me, and the youngest one asked to be friends and spar. Later the youngest one barged in on me in the bath. Since then she started calling me a pervert. The older two then shove the engagement off onto the youngest. Then things stated to become confusing, and jumping around. I found out that my father had also engaged me to my best friend from when I was 6. I thought he was a boy, but in the dream she was female. My father stole her dowery and abandoned her. She spent the next 10 years living as a boy, and tracking us down for revenge. Then she decides she wants to marry me after all. Then you and Shampoo and Mousse arrive and make my life a living hell trying to force or drug me into marrying her. Then my mother, who I thought had been dead, shows up. Herb locks me as female for a while, until I thrash him. Saffron steals the fiancee I started to love, and turns her into a doll. He destroys Jhusendo. I kill him, and he's reborn as a baby. I marry the woman I loved. We couldn't live together, so we got divorced. We still loved each other, so we remarried, but it wasn't any better, so we divorced again.

Cologne: So what of this dream has come true? I can tell that you aren't at Herb or Saffron's level. Neither of them are completely human.

Ranma: Everything that happened the first day came true. I described people I'd never met, but that the sisters knew. I told them their habbits. My father confirmed that my mother wasn't realy dead. When I named other people my father engaged me to, he became nervous and evasive. We're trying to find Ukyou and see if she really is a girl. Is there a blind nut named Mousse in your village that chases Shampoo weither she likes it or not?

Cologne: Yes, he is quite a nusance.

Ranma: And sending an assassin after me isn't?

Cologne: I know it may seem strange to you, but it is our laws.

Ranma: Don't ask me what I think of your laws.

Cologne: Be that as it may, you have defeated her. She is obligated to marry you.

Ranma: But I'm not obligated to her. She tried to kill me repeatedly. If you force me, I'll see how many other amazons I can defeat, and this time they wont get back up. Besides, your village only has a year until Saffron decides to destroy it. Why would I bother fighting him this time? In the dream, you couldn't, or wouldn't fight him. I don't care at all about the woman Saffron stole from me in the dream, so if he steals her, someone else will have to save her.

Cologne: Well then, I'm willing to offer you a deal.

Ranma: Tell me the catch first.

Cologne: I want you to promise that you won't reject Shampoo based on how she and I behaved in the dream, but get to know her and judge her on who she is, or becomes, and that you wont refuse to fight Saffron, but will make your decision later.

Ranma: And in return?

Cologne: I offer to train you. You'll get to meet other amazons without the worry of either kisses of marriage or death. I'll grant you exemption from the laws you find odious, and teach you secrets that are property of our tribe, as long as you promise not to reveal them to others. I offer you sanctuary from the man who has engaged you several times if you want it.

Ranma: And the alternative?

Cologne: We make some other deal. Without some other agreement, Shampoo will feel the need to kill or marry you. If you succeed in killing her, other amazons will want revenge. It will be a bloodbath. If you get allies, or attack the village directly, the elders will be forced to get involved, and we make better assassins, than a 16 year old girl who hasn't yet killed anyone in cold blood.

Ranma: What sort of other deal?

Cologne: I don't know. I've made you an offer. If you want to amend it, or offer a better one, I'll consider it.

Ranma: OK, I'll accept. But make sure Shampoo knows not to grab and kiss me, or kill or drug anyone. I may have put up with her in the dream, but right now, I still don't like her. I'll like her even less if that happens.

Cologne: As long as you don't think you can tell her what she can and can't do, I'll convince her that that kind of behavior is unacceptable. No amazon would accept an order from an outsider male, but she will behave herself, or face severe punishment from me. Is that acceptable?

Ranma: I guess so. Hey, that reminds me. Mousse will start trying to curse other people with water from Jhusenkyo.

Cologne: I will make sure he knows that trying something like that will get him tortured and eventually killed. By having a formal agreement like this, you gain the status in our laws of being a visiting dignitary. As such, cursing people would be considered trying to provoke a war. As long as Shampoo doesn't give you the kiss of marriage, her situation is in limbo anyway. It shouldn't be hard to convince him that you two don't even like each other, so you are no danger to him. Even he isn't stupid enough to risk an amazon death sentence, merely because Shampoo's sensei has a male student.
* * *
Cologne: Shampoo, come here child.

Shampoo: Yes? Great-Grandmother?

Cologne: You must give up any thought of giving Ranma the kiss of Marriage.

Shampoo: But the law says ...

Cologne: As long as you delay kissing him you suffer a slight dishonor. If you kiss him, then you must marry him. At this point, the only way to get him to marry you would be by using force. Not marrying him would bring a greater dishonor. Furthermore, he now has visiting dignitary status. As long as he has that, any attempt to force him will be considered trying to provoke a war. Therefor you have the choice of suffering a small dishonor, a huge dishonor, or being killed over a period of a few days.

Shampoo: I see.

Cologne: At some later point in time, you may be able to kiss him, and remove the blemish on your honor, but I don't think you're determined enough to succeed. You'd be better off not even trying.

Shampoo: How could you say that? I'm the best amazon fighter of my generation! I'll do whatever it takes to remove any stain on my honor!

Cologne: You're too impulsive. This would require patience. Even then it might not succeed.

Shampoo: You taught me how to stand motionless for a day! I have patience!

Cologne: This will be harder than that.

Shampoo: I'll do it! Whatever it takes.

Cologne: Then let me explain. Right now, you like Mousse more than Ranma likes you. While I think you two might in time become friends or married, right now he hates you. Even though you were only doing what you were supposed to do. He understands that you had to do it. But that doesn't help. If you try to shower him with affection, he'll see you as just as bad as you see Mousse. If he feels you are stalking or spying on him, he'll treat you like you treat Mousse. If you can't learn his language decently, he'll treat you as too stupid to marry. For now you must make friends with Japanese girls, and see how they behave around boys. You must be on your best behavior whenever he is around. You must never show more affection than he shows you, or you will chase him off. and finally you must never fight or punish someone unless he would think you need to.

Shampoo: I don't understand what you mean by the last one.

Cologne: If someone does something serious, like calling you a prostitute, feel free to cave his head in. But if someone says other girls are prettier, you can't be violent, even if it is an insult to you. You must learn to deal out as much punishment as he thinks you should, and if you're going to make a mistake, err by beeing too peaceful.

Shampoo: But how will he love me if he thinks I'm a coward?

Cologne: For now you aren't trying to make him love you, but to like you. If he likes you, he'll spend more time with you, and that often leads to love. Or sex, but we'll discuss that later. Much later. After he likes you and feels comfortable around you, then we convince him you are a brave warrior. Imagine you fell into spring of drowned twin and were locked into it. The other you would be just as good as you. If she bragged that she were better, you'd get angry. If you pretended you were weaker, she wouldn't respect you. But if you treated her well, you'd have a shieldmate that would make the two of you extremely powerful. Treat Ranma as your equal, and try not to get mad when he claims to be the best, and maybe he'll forgive the times you slip up and mention how good you are. Remember, if you are the best, you don't need to say or do anything, anyone with half a brain will eventually realize it. If you boast, people will think you need to convince them because you aren't good enough.
* * *
Cologne: All right, Shampoo. Ranma will be here shortly. There's something you have to consider. Ranma wants to hate you, and wants you to hate him.

Shampoo: But why?

Cologne: The first is to justify his anger at you. He'll be looking for more reasons to prove to himself that he's right to continue to be angry. The second one is simpler. If you hate him, his life is simpler. Too many crazy things have happened to him recently. If you decided to hate him and go back to China life would be simpler. He's not even thinking about this, it's all subconcious. But because of that he's going to be picking a fight with you. Lets say he screams out `Amazons are weaklings and cowards!' Normally you'd be justified in clobbering him. But he's just talking crazily. We both know it's not true, so humor him. In time, he'll admit the truth. I'd also apologize for trying to kill him.

Shampoo: But I had to!

Cologne: Say something like `I'm sorry I was trying to kill you, I wish it didn't happen.' That's the truth, but if you were to say `I'm sorry I had to kill you.' it will sound like an excuse. If you make an excuse, however valid, it will sound like you are trying to dodge responsibility. You did something. You wish it never happened. Tell him that, and eventually he'll act as if it never happened. Eventually after acting that way long enough, he'll dismiss it as unimportant. At that point, you have achieved the hardest part. Don't say that you were wrong to hunt him. You don't believe you had a choice, therefor he won't believe you. Just apologize for what you honestly can. It may not be the full apology he wants, but a sincere half apology that is believed, is better than a full apology that is thought a lie.
* * *
Teacher: Class, I have an announcement to make. We're going to have a new exchange student. She is being considered for a future role of ambassador or liason, so any opinions she forms might have serious repercussions for all of Japan. I assume you would feel some remorse if she grew to hate Japanese, and this eventually escalated a smaller conflict into a war. So you'll have to be on your best behavior. Unfortunately, she knows almost nothing of Japanese culture, and her Japanese language skills are lower school at best. That's why she's coming here. She is like a sponge, what we teach her here will form the basis for everything she learns about Japanese in the future. Of course, she may never get the post, but I wouldn't risk it. There are three more things that her great grandmother thought it best you should know. She has been treated much like Akane at home, however boys who are fresh or rude with her usually require a hospital stay. Repeat offenders can expect to be fed through a tube, and sometimes broken bones don't always heal correctly. Kuno is expected to need to repeat his grade next year because of his likely actions with her, so some of you may have him as a classmate. She's a martial artist who has demonstrated that she can break a hole in a stone wall without effort, so she has no trouble following through if she thinks she's being mistreated. And thirdly, that is her natural hair color, it's genetic, and runs through her family.
* * *
Ranma: I recognize this. You're Okonomiyaki Ucchan! We've got to go somewhere private to talk. You're here to beat the crap out of me, aren't you?

Ukyou: I'm here to make you suffer, and then kill you.

Ranma: Well, I'm already suffering dayly, but if you'll answer one simple question for me, I'll lie down and let you hospitalize me. What do you say? You can pound me all you want!

Ukyou: I'm going to pound you anyway!

Ranma: Aw, you wont be able to do nearly as much damage if I'm running and defending. Look, answer a one word question, and I'll let you beat my face in and throw explosives at me without dodging.

Ukyou: What's your damn question?

Ranma: I don't want to say it aloud in front of everybody. Here, let me write it down.

Ukyou: A girl, damnit!

Ranma: I knew it! My dad lied to me for ten years over that question. I wondered why he took your families yattai, he told me it was a gift from your father. He reneged on an agreement between our families, didn't he? The yattai was in exchange for some agreement between our families regarding you, wasn't it? After I get out of the hospital, I'm going to get that bastard. Come on, lets go somewhere where there's more room, so you can beat me up.

Ukyou: You, you mean you didn't know?

Ranma: Hell no! You were the best friend I ever had! If I'd known, he'd have had to tie me up and carry me away! I only figured out he was lying a few weeks ago. Oh. Before I forget, I should introduce you to Akane. She's the one my dad is trying to force me to marry against both our wills. Akane, come here! This was my best friend ever. If she's your friend, there's no one better to have guarding your back. Listen, Akane, whatever he does to me, I want you to make sure that everyone knows I agreed to it. I don't want anyone to try and hold Ukyou responsible. If I'm unconcious, I want you to tell everyone.

Ukyou: But how could you not know?

Ranma: My dad's a lying bastard. When I was six, I still believed things he told me.

Ukyou: Why are you letting me beat you up?

Ranma: Cause you were my best friend, and I hurt you. Hell, I've been trying to track you down since I got here! I've been looking in the Kansai region calling Kuonjis.

Ukyou: I've got to think this over.

Ranma: Sure. My offer will still be good. Hey, after school's over I'm going to go home and trash my dad over this, wanna join?

Ukyou: I'll think about it. Bye.
* * *
Ranma: Hey, Mr. Tendo. hold onto my father, would you? He's going to run away from you in a minute.

Soun: Why would he do a thing like that?

Ranma: Because he was lying. He reneged on his promise to unite our families. Because of him, our families will never be joined!

Soun: What do you mean?

Ranma: This is Ukyou. My father engaged us ten years ago, and accepted her dowery. There must be still more families out there. Genma's promises are null and void! I'll be leaving as soon as I'm done hurting your best friend. Kasumi? Do we have any lighter fluid?

Soun: I'm sorry miss, but Ranma is engaged to marry Akane. You have to accept that.

Ranma: It doesn't matter if she accepts it or not. I said I would only consider the engagement if he hadn't lied to me about Ukyou, remember? He did, therefor I can't even consider it. On the night of our arrival, Pop betrayed your family by lying to you, and freed me from my obligation before your whole family as witnesses!

Soun: Genma!
* * *
Kasumi: Oh my! what's Mr. Saotome doing?

Genma: Mrrrfl.

Ranma: Consider it endurance training. He can't move his feet because they're set in burried concrete blocks, and if he tries to sit, or lie down he impales himself in those knives.

Kasumi: And the gag and chains?

Ranma: To keep him from complaining. A martial artist must be stoic.

Genma: Rrrrf! Rrf, rrf!

Kasumi: How long does he have to stand there?

Ranma: We'll do something else after he looses conciousness. I'm sorry about the smell of his burning fur last night.

Kasumi: It's not your fault. I saw it was daddy who actually set him on fire.

Ranma: Still, it was my idea. I didn't realize how much it'd stink, though. Don't worry about making meals for him. He's going to lose weight, even if we have to cut pieces out.

Genma: Mrrrrrf!
* * *
Ranma: Hey Ucchan. I'll have a pork okonomiyaki.

Ukyou: Coming right up. Anything for my fiancee.

Ranma: Ukyou, none of the marriages that Genma set up are valid. I don't know if I'm ever going to get married.

Ukyou: But what about my families honor?

Ranma: You're getting your honor out of pop's hide. You're my best friend, but only I can ask someone to marry me, and right now I don't think I'll ever ask anybody.

Ukyou: But why?

Ranma: Because the happiness doesn't last, and the misery does. You either lose the person you care for most, or you eventually wish you could lose the spouse you have.

Ukyou: What if I say my honor still isn't satisfied?

Ranma: My pop's lied to me all my life. He never gave a shit about me. When Soun's done punishing him, your family can have him. You're my best friend, but that doesn't mean I'm going to marry you. I'm not going to swear that we'll never get married, like I did with Akane, but I'm not going to swear that we will either! I've only heard one believable thing that gives me hope I might marry. All the stories of happy marriages dont ring true.

Ukyou: What was the believable one?

Ranma: I don't remember where I heard it. Some older guy was talking about when he was looking for a girlfriend or wife. He wanted the perfect woman, but he never saw one. Finally he lowered his standards and married someone. Years later when he was recovering from some illness, he woke up, and saw his wife had fallen asleep in a chair at his bedside. He thought over his life with the woman he married, and realized perfection can only be achieved through both effort and time.
* * *
Nabiki: Ok, Ranma. Hows this? I've put you at the head of your families registry. It's legal, and it would take the panda alot of work to try and undo it, if he's smart enough to even do it. I've also found the address of your mother. Is this sufficient to get your formal forgiveness for the photo incident?

Ranma: Thanks! I hadn't thought of that. Sure, lets go tell your father. How did you managee to do that?

Nabiki: Remember this morning, when you and daddy decided not to torture the panda tonight, so he could recover his strength for later? I went to him and promised to try to get him a reprieve tonight if he would just sign some papers. I wouldn't have thought a martial artist would fold so quickly.
* * *
Letter: Dear Mrs. Saotome. I have only recently found out that you hadn't died when I was a child. Your husband had lied about this, as well as many other things of importance throughout my life. He is now paying for his crimes against myself, and the Tendo family. When we feel we are recompensed, he will be sent to the Kuonji family, and then the Daitokuji family to do with what they will. If he survives this, he will be returned to you. I am currently living with the Tendo family, as I try to decide how to best unite the two martial arts schools, after Genma has forsworn himself on the subject of my marriage. I would like to meet you, please arrange a time with Soun Tendo or Kasumi Tendo for when it would be convienient to have you over. I also ask that you bring the family honor blade with you. As the new head of our clan, I feel it is appropriate that I possess it. Sincerely, your son, Ranma.

Akane: That letter isn't very polite, Ranma.

Ranma: It wasn't meant to be. She abandoned me to that idiot when I was a child, and now I find that my father is scared for both our lifes from her. If she threatens me, or tries to get Genma freed, or force me to do something because of Genma's promises, I will fight back. I can press charges of abandonment, or I can remove her from the family ledger, and reclaim from her a large portion of the family's estate. If she's willing to be reasonable, so will I, but I want her knowing my position before she shows up. If she wants to be my mother, I'll welcome her, but if she wants to be my master, she'll find out how well I grew up without her.
* * *
Soun: Ranma, I know your father's an idiot. But there is still an obligation between our two families, that you and I have to settle. I still want you to marry Akane, and unite the two schools.

Ranma: I'm willing to try to unite the two schools, but I will not forswear myself by marrying Akane. I'm not sure if I'm ever going to have a family.

Soun: But you and Akane are perfect for each other!

Ranma: I'll tell you a secret, if you promise to keep it to yourself. You can't even tell your daughters, and I want you to swear in particular that you'll never tell my father.

Soun: Ok Ranma, what is it?

Ranma: Its about my dream. We've agreed that everything in the dream that we've checked was accurate, right?

Soun: Yes, so far.

Ranma: Well things are now begining to be different from the dream because I've had the dream. So the dream isn't what has to happen, but what could happen. It's not the future, but what the future could have been. In the dream I had many fiancees, but I married Akane because I loved her.

Soun: See? that's proof you should marry.

Ranma: In the dream, everyone was miserable. We had no children. We got divorced twice. Both branches of the school came to an end. That is why I swore never to marry Akane. If I do, all of your dreams die soon after.

Soun: I see. Still, it won't definitely happen this time, the future is changing, right?

Ranma: Do you really want to risk ending both schools that way? There should be a way to make both schools stronger without risking killing them.
* * *
Nodoka: Hello, my name is Nodoka Saotome. I understand my son is staying here.

Kasumi: Yes, wont you please come in. Father is teaching him how to play shogi in the living room.

Soun: Nodoka! It has been too long. Let me introduce you to your son Ranma.

Ranma: Hello mother.

Nodoka: Hello son. I've missed you. Your letter came as quite a surprise to me.

Ranma: As did the fact that you didn't die. I was lead to believe that that idiot was the only family I had.

Nodoka: You shouldn't show such disrespect to your father.

Ranma: I've shown him much more respect than he deserves, after the number of lives he's ruined. You can see him later if you like. We have him behind the dojo where he can't get away. In an attempt to rescue the honor of the Saotome clan, I have become its head. This is a bit awkward, as you are still my mother, but I'm sure we can resolve this.

Nodoka: What happened to you? You used to be such a friendly child.

Ranma: Repeated betrayals by family and friends. Being chased through China by an assassin. Numerous curses. A vision of the life that I was being shoehorned into. And a few things I wouldn't mention in polite company. It wasn't until I put my foot down that I was treated with any respect, so now I put my foot down hard. Now I insist that my respect for others be earned before I give it.

Nodoka: Has Genma failed that badly?

Ranma: We think so. We know of at least three families that he's promised me in marriage. When I was six, he abandoned my best friend and stole her dowery. It took her ten years living with that disgrace to hunt him down. The numerous things he has done to me I might someday forgive, but the number of lives he's hurt, especially those in my name, I cannot forgive him.

Nodoka: He promised he was going to raise you to be a man among men, or you both would commit seppuku.

Ranma: And you allowed this?

Nodoka: What choice did I have?

Ranma: Refuse him. Divorce him. Forbid him, Abandon him. Cripple him. So thats why he was so scared of you. He thought my curse wasn't manly.

Nodoka: What curse?

Ranma: It doesn't matter. I am a man, and I will have to challenge anyone who says I'm not.

Nodoka: Are you threatening your own mother?

Ranma: No, I'm giving you a chance to be my mother again. But I've grown up, and I have my own terms. I want your support, I'm not offering you mine. I am the legal head of the Saotome clan, and eldest male, besides your husband, who has lost that right. You wanted a man among men, you've got me.

Soun: Ever since Ranma has come here, he has behaved in a manner that I would be willing to have him as a son in law. In spite of Genma's betrayal, he is still welcome in this house.

Nodoka: You have grown up into a man among men. I never immagined you would become so bitter at such a young age. I wish I never let Genma take you away. May I see my husband?

Soun: Of course. I'm sure you'd like some privacy. All I ask is that you don't break the cement.

Nodoka: Cement?

Ranma: The most humane way we could find to keep him from running away. His calves are stuck in cement, with rebar going into the ground below. We can't keep him under constant surveilance, and he could get free it we only used ropes. We considered body piercings but decided that wasn't humane.
* * *
Ranma: Kuno! It worked! Better than I thought!

Kuno: Your plan to defang your father?

Ranma: That, and more! I'm now the head of the Saotome family, and Tendo seems to be losing interest in me marrying Akane! I think he's going to try to engage me to Nabiki or Kasumi, but it means he's open to compromise.

Kuno: How'd this happen?

Ranma: Well I convinced Tendo that it was my father who betrayed the Tendos. While we were venting our displeasure, Nabiki got him to sign the family over to me.

Kuno: Truely this is good news. Shall we spar?

Ranma: Just a minute. I saw your fight with Akane this morning. What happened? You could have knocked her out four times, and I don't see how you failed to block her last shot.

Kuno: Tis true. You have divined my secret shame. I cannot bring myself to hurt her. Oh, that anyone should be in such a wretched position as I. Unable to defeat her, due to the love that spurns me to fight her. I shall forever suffer.

Ranma: Come on, there are ways around this.

Kuno: Tell me, please!

Ranma: Ask Tendo for the right to spar with him. He's Akane's teacher. You can go all out against him, and if you impress him, you'll have an easier tome getting him to release Akane for marriage.

Kuno: You're right! i should meet my future father-in-law. Will you arrange it discreetly? I wouldn't wish to embarrass Akane before her family.
* * *
Ranma: Hey, Tendo, I've been sparring with someone at school. He's a decent Kendoist. He can't bring himself to hurt Akane, so could he spar with you?

Soun: Well, I don't know. I don't compete often these days. I only spar with people I know.

Ranma: He really doesn't have anyone else. He's surpassed his old teacher, but without decent opponents, he's gained some bad habits. With a little work he could be much better.

Soun: Well. Ok. It is a teacher's duty to teach. I'll do it.

Ranma: He asked if I set this up discretely. He knows Akane and Nabiki, and would be embarrassed if they knew.

Soun: Yes, it would be better if this were done discreetly. Do you think he could get out of class one afternoon? We could spar while Kasumi was shopping, and Akane and Nabiki were in class.

Ranma: Sure, want me to set it up for tomorrow afternoon?

Soun: That sounds good.
* * *
Kuno: Your assumption of the mantle of clan head has inspired me to do so also.

Ranma: What about your parents? You never mention them.

Kuno: My mother disappeared while on a trip, when I was six. My father disappeared when I was ten. Since then, I've been the de facto head, but yesterday evening I assumed the de jure position. My sister didn't take it well.

Ranma: I didn't know you had a sister.

Kuno: Few people do. She goes to a different school, where they can better handle her excentricities.

Ranma: I would have thought this school could handle anyone.

Kuno: Oh no. This school can handle warriors such as us, but my sister has a devious streak, that the faculty are ill equiped to handle.

Ranma: So where does she go to school?

Kuno: Saint Hebereke. But I'm thinking of offering her another school to go to. She feels that an all girl's school ill suits her, and as she's Akane's age, She feels she's old enough to deal with boys on a regular basis. I've heard good things from Kolholtz high school. Frankly even though I love her dearly, I hope she finds someone worth of her interests. When she gets bored, she tends to leave traps for me.

Ranma: What kind of traps?

Kuno: Drugged food, exploding toothbrush, electrified kendo dummies. She can be quite devious.

Ranma: Ouch. What do you do about it?

Kuno: Well, I have hired a firm to keep the training hall, my bedroom and bathroom under 24 hour surveilance when I'm not there. They alert me to anything she does in them. The surveilance didn't do me any good when she pumped nitrous oxide and ether into my room, but they protect me often enough.

Ranma: Wow, how do you protect against gas attacks?

Kuno: I had an industrial strenght halon discharge system installed with breathable air. Unfortunately it blows out the windows when I use it.
* * *
Soun: So, son. Why did you want to spar?

Kuno: Besides Ranma and Akane, I have not been able to find an opponent worthy of myself. Unfortunately, the idea of fighting at full force against Akane is inimicable to me. I believe I have surpassed her, but find myself unable to prove it. As you are her teacher, you should be able to determine my skill, and also provide an opponent who could sharpen my skills. Ranma has pointed out to me the risk of my skills degrading due to the weak showings of my usual opponents.

Soun: That makes perfect sense, lets start.

Kuno: Before we begin, honesty compells me to admit that I had another reason to desire to meet you. I have not yet met another woman so perfect as your youngest daughter. At some other point in time, I'd like to petition you for the right to date her. I have expressed my opinion to Akane, but she is too shy and demure in the area of romance to respond.

Soun: We should discuss this at length later. I think Ranma's refusal to marry her might have hurt her. Someone else's interest might be just what she needs at this point.
* * *
Soun: Ranma, what do you know about this Tatewaki fellow?

Ranma: He's a good fighter, with some bad habits I'm trying to remove. He's obsessed with Akane. He's also the head of his clan, which currently consists of himself and his younger sister. They own the Kuno estate on the other side of Nerima.

Soun: Sounds like a nice young man. I should see what Akane thinks of him.
* * *
Soun: Akane! Welcome home. What do you think of Tatewaki Kuno?

Akane: He's an egotistical jerk! I hate him! I'd emasculate him if he hadn't started wearing a cup!

She storms off to her room, and slams the door. Soun looks wistfull, and smiles.

Soun: She's so like her mother.
* * *
Ranma approaches Kuno for their dayly sparing session laughing uproariously.

Kuno: What causes this mirth, unseemly, which shakes the list'ning earth?

Ranma: The joke is good, extremely, and justifies my mirth. Kuno, are you free this Sunday at two o' clock?

Kuno: I have no plans.

Ranma: Cancel the morning attacks on Akane before Tendo finds out about them. I'm the go-between from the Tendo family, to invite you to an omiai to discuss engaging you to Akane.

Kuno: Are you serious?

Ranma: In one stroke, both our problems are solved. And the best part is that only we three know of it. No one can try to screw it up. Are you going to represent yourself, or assign someone else to speak on your behalf?

Kuno: I shall speak for myself. This is a matter touching on the continuation of my clan, I couldn't entrust it to anyone else. May my ancestors watch over me, and guide me.
* * *
Soun: Kasumi, we're going to have guests around two. Under the circumstances, I suppose we should make it semi-formal.
* * *
At 1:30, Ryouga stumbles into the dojo, and spots Akane breaking bricks.

Ryouga: Finally made it.

Akane: Ryouga! are you the guest daddy was expecting?

Ryouga: He was expecting me? I have been trying to get here for several days. I guess I am.
* * *
At 1:45, the front door bell rings.

Kasumi: Hello, Mrs. Saotome. Wont you please come in.

Nodoka: Thank you. Is my son here?

Kasumi: He's out at the moment, but he promised to be back by two o'clock.
* * *
Kuno: Ranma, I don't mind admitting to you that I am somewhat nervous about this afternoon. If things go poorly today, this would make my pursuit of Akane much more awkward.

Ranma: Don't worry so much. If worse came to worse, you'd be having a forbidden love between feuding clans that would form an epic.

Kuno: How right you are. You really know how to put things in perspective. Shall we go?
* * *

Known problems with this:

Amazons barely mentioned
Ryouga and Ukyou deserve more mention
Nodoka is too quiet, and then absent.
Need a way to bring Mikado, Asuza and Kodachi in

Nabiki could use a bigger role.

Only Kasumi, Ranma, Soun, Kuno, and Genma have the right proportion of screen time

Ranma's curse seems to have been marginalized.

Current goals:

Akane behaving towards Kuno like she does Ranma in the original, with Soun's understanding approval.
Mousse should show up and do something
Kodachi links up with Mikado and hates male Ranma.
Kodachi befriends Ranma female as younger sisters whose brothers have userped the family head position.
No idea when/if/what to do about happosai.

put this somewhere

Soun: Son, I want you to start teaching Akane the saotome Ryu. As part of your effort to unite the schools.

Ranma: I'm not sure if that's a good idea.

Akane: Are you saying I'm not good enough?

Ranma: Mr. Tendo, The methods my father used might have been successful, but they were totally crazy. I want to come up with better ways to teach, but so far, I can't see how.

Soun: Well, son, you could use Akane as a pupil while you figure out how to change things.

Ranma: I guess so. The first thing Pop woulda taught her is the landing of the drunken owl, assuming he didn't just spar with her to humor her. Pop never did like teaching anyone else but me.

Akane: A new technique? I demand you show me!

Ranma: Aren't you listening? The only way I know to teach it is my pop's way, and you'll be trashed violently. I'm not going to beat you senseless!

Akane: I'm a martial artist! You're not taking me seriously!

Soun: Son? If you have no ideas yet how to teach it., then you should teach Akane using your father's methods, and watch her to see how it might be taught better.

Ranma: I think this is a mistake. But, Ok. I'll allow her to try the basic drunken owl a few times, while I look for a better way. I don't promise to continue if I can't find a better way, but I'll show her the basics. The advanced drunken owl is just sadistic, though. No one should go through that. It coulda killed me.

Akane: I'll master the basic and the advanced. You just watch me!

Ranma: Well, you can't even try the advanced until you master the basic. By then I might be able to find a way to scrap the old method. Tendo, I'll need to build something to teach the basic method. Where would I go to buy lumber?

Nabiki: Let me guess. The drunken owl needs a perch?

Ranma: Oh no. a trebuchet.

Akane: What's that?

Ranma: It's like a catapult, but instead of using springs to store up energy, it uses rocks on one end of a see-saw arangement. When the rocks on one arm are allowed to go down, the other end goes up. Akane, how much do you weigh?

Akane: Pervert! That's none of your business!

Ranma: I need to know so I don't make the trebuchet too strong or to weak!

Nabiki: You mean, Akane is launched from this thing?

Ranma: Yep. Saotome Ryu is an aerial school. Before you can learn how to fight in the air, you have to learn how to safely land. So the trebuchet throws the pupil twenty meters into the air toward a mass of trees.

Nabiki: If you're going to do this anyway, I mean I don't think you should. It sounds too dangerous. But if you are going to do it, can I sell tickets? It would pay for the lumber, at least.

Ranma: Only if you make sure that everyone knows that I'm opposed to it, and that Akane is insisting. I think this training method should be sealed, or replaced.

Akane: I can do it! I'll show you all!

Ranma: And let the ticket buyers know that we don't promise how many times we'll do it. We're not doing it for their benefit. If we think of a better way, we'll use that!

Ranma: Sensei, I'd like your advice on a family problem. Soun Tendo wants me to start teaching his daughter the Saotome Ryu.

Cologne: Well, every martial artist has to teach if they don't want the art to die down.

Ranma: That's not the problem. I've told you how my father taught me, and I believe some of the training methods were a bit ... excessive?

Cologne: Some danger is necessary if the student is going to be able to handle actual risks in combat.

Ranma: Yes, but. This is Akane, and she's agreeing to do any damn fool thing I say, before I tell her what it is! I think teaching her the advanced version of the 'landing of the drunken owl' could kill her. There's gotta be a smarter way to teach it than pops's method.

Cologne: How does that one go?

Ranma: You want the long explanation or the short one?

Cologne: The short one will do.

Ranma: Tie her arms to the opposite legs, blindfold the student, minorly concuss him, and fling him twenty meters up into some trees.

Cologne: And what age did your father try this with you?

Ranma: When I was four. It's pivotal to the Saotome Ryu

Cologne: Well there are two ways of redesigning it. One is to make it less dangerous. A safetynet comes to mind. The other is to find a completely different method to teach the same skills.

Ranma: The real problem is the fall when you fail to grab the tree. You're dazed, and in pain, and that makes it tough to land well.

Cologne: You do realize that if you throw someone in the air, when they're at their highest point is when they'll be going slowest. It's easier to get them moving at that speed closer to the ground. Keep in mind that for it to be effective, you've got to make the student hate failing as much as if they did fall sixty feet, but without the danger.

Ranma: I'm splitting the training for the basic drunken owl into two parts.

Akane: Don't you dare. I can do it the way you learned it.

Ranma: This is my school. I'm the sensei. If you want to learn it, you'll learn it using the methods I teach you. I'll accept advise and suggestions from your father, and even from you if you phrase them politely. But from now on, the basic drunken owl landing of the Saotome Ryu will be taught in two parts. Students that cannot even master the first part will not be taught the second. Is that understood?

Akane: Ok. What's the first part?

Ranma: You need a harness so that we can tie a rope to ot behind you, as near to your center of gravity. Then we let you swing down and try to grab onto a perch. Also, you're going to be wearing a motorcycle helmet whether you like it or not!

Akane: That doesn't sound too tough.

Nabiki: How high a swing are we talking about?

Ranma: 10 meters, and the perch will be obscured until she's almost on it. Akane will be travelling at about 50kph when she hits it. Is that masochistic enough for you? I wish I had a second student you could spar against, We could make half of the rope a bungee cord, and give you a taste of arial fighting while you're still learning to jump and land.

Nabiki: If you removed the perch, and came up with a safe way of stopping and getting down, that could be fun.

Nabiki: Ranma, Daddy, we have to talk.

Soun: What is it, Nabiki?

Nabiki: You know how I'm pretty good at judging odds at sporting events?

Soun: Yes, you have a good eye for that.

Nabiki: If we don't do something, I give Akane an 80% chance of being seriously injured, even if you were to forbid her from learning the drunken owl. There's even a chance of death.

Soun: My baby!

Ranma: This isn't the time for tears. If we want to change things, we've got to think straight! Why do you think it's that high, Nabiki? I thought I guaged it pretty well for her skill level.

Nabiki: She's trying to find out how to build her own trebuchet.

Ranma: Damn it! I knew she was stubborn!

Nabiki: You've seen one being built. How hard is it?

Ranma: It's the simplest thing in the world. it's just a bloody seesaw with stones at one end. Any idiot could make one with two logs and some rope. The hard part is making one you can aim! If you can't aim it precisely, the odds of injury go through the roof! Ok, Nabiki, you're the sneakiest one of us. How do we stop her?

Nabiki: We can't stop her. All she'd have to do is convince someone else to build it for her, and then give us the slip once, and use it. We need to slow her down, and at the same time dangle something else for her to work on instead. She wont change her mind if ordered, but she'll forget this if something else more pressing comes up.

Ranma: What if she had someone to compete with? I wanted to find her a sparring partner, but there aren't any good choices.

Soun: What about Kuno?

Ranma: I'm sorry, but he's the worst choice. He holds back when Akane is around, and I need one student with a cool head who'll tell me if something is too dangerous. Akane would stick a tanto in her belly if she thought I might have trained that way. Shampoo is out too, she'd make mince meat out of Akane. Ryouga might work if he were always around.

Nabiki: She has no reason to do it, but how about Ukyou?

Ranma: She'd be good. If Ukyou were unarmed, and Akane wasn't angry, Akane would be in Ukyou's class. Akane and Ukyou are just acquaintences, so there's no hatred or love between them.

Soun: Would she do it?

Nabiki: I could talk her into it, I'm pretty sure.

Ranma: She's a good friend, and I still owe her alot. I don't want her tricked into this.

Nabiki: Tricking her wouldn't be any good. I could trick her into helping once, maybe twice. We need her help on a long term basis. That means presenting her with all the facts, but presenting it in an order where she'll favorably consider helping. If I get her to agree, daddy, I need you to formally thank her when Akane isn't arround, and let her know that the Tendos realize we owe her one, even if Akane doesn't realize it.

Soun: If she can keep any of my daughters from serious injury, she has my thanks.

Ranma: Remember, in order to keep Akane from serious injury, whomever Akane gets for a sparring partner is going to have to beat her up occasionally. In order for this to work, you have to acknowledge the fact that it's in Akane's best interest for Ukyou to beat her up. It's my job to see that nothing happens that they can't heal up from, but Akane's sparring partner has to be willing to cause her pain.

Soun: I know. I know. I just can't stand thinking about it.

Ranma: The alternative is to have Nabiki or Kasumi do it.

Nabiki: No thank you very much!