1) The Characters and Stories of Naruto and Ranma ½ are Copyright © Masashi Kishimoto and Rumiko Takahashi respectively, and are used here without permission or license.

2) No claims to the above copyrights are made by the author of this work.

3) This is a work written for non-commercial use ONLY, and is written for the purpose of the enjoyment of fans.

4) This work is the expression of the author, and the depictions of the characters and stories of Naruto and Ranma ½ herein are in no way represented to be a part of Naruto or Ranma ½ as depicted by the original authors and copyright holders.

Beginning Notes: Wow, my third Fanfic. To those of you familiar with my other fics already you may be wondering why I'm starting a new one when I haven't updated either of my other two in a couple of months. My reasons are simple; I'm working on the next chapter for The Dark Side of the Moon but have run into a spot of writer's block that I'm steadily getting over and Alice has been utterly silent when it comes to Dragonfly despite having finished playing through AC: Revelations. You may also remember that in my "Announcement Chapter" I mention that I was working on another fic Idea that came to me when I didn't have a computer. Well, here it is...

Thanks go to CaedesPlerique for pre-reading this for me and being patient with my caffeine induced rants and ramblings as we hammered out the finer details of this fic's background. This wouldn't even be half as good as it is without your help.

Prologue: Choices and a New Beginning...

-o-o-o-o-o-

Pain.

It was the first thing Ranma became aware of as the sensation of 'non feeling' left him as he felt... whatever it was he'd been caught in finally let him go. He didn't know how long he'd been caught in it, but there had been a distinct impression that he was somehow moving 'backwards' during the entire experience.

The next thing he noticed was that he was also extremely tired, as though he'd gone a week without sleep while being chased across all of Japan non-stop by his fiancées. Through the fog of his painful and exhausted state he noticed that it was raining wherever he'd landed, triggering his curse. The grey blur of the sky above was all she could see as she felt, more than saw, the large raindrops slowly drench her from head to toe.

From a distance she could hear the hurried sound of footsteps coming closer and someone shouting, but her sense of awareness was slowly slipping away even as she felt strong hands grip her by the shoulders and a blurry shape move in front of her view of the sky. The last thing she thought before her vision went completely black was, 'Damn it Kuno... What have you gotten me into this time...?'

-o-o-o-o-o-

Awareness slowly returned to Ranma. The first thing he noticed was the massive migraine that felt like it would split his head in two. The pounding was enough to prevent him from thinking very clearly, and he decided that it might be a good idea to keep his eyes closed for the moment, just in case. Continuing to feel out if he had any other injuries to the best of his abilities, the only problem he discovered was that his normal reserves of Ki were bone dry, and there seemed to be something preventing him from drawing in more from the environment. Further thought on his status was hindered by the foggy state of his mind and the pounding in his head.

Deciding that now might be a good time to try and see where he was, Ranma cracked his eyes open slightly and noticed that it was dark, for which he was very grateful. Even so, there was enough ambient light where anything more than a squint would have sent the pain in his head to new heights at the moment. Not wanting to aggravate his pounding head more by moving Ranma settled for squinting at the ceiling as he felt out his immediate surroundings. His view was somewhat blocked by his hair, which somehow came far enough down his forehead to get into his eyes. By the room's meager lighting he could just make out the red highlights, indicating that he was still a she. It was odd, but not totally unexpected, as she didn't know where she was at the moment and unless they knew about the curse, whoever had found her wouldn't know to change her back. The throbbing in her head stopped the redhead from thinking too deeply on the 'how' of her hair being long enough to get into her eyes.

Wherever she was had obviously changed, since she was lying on a mattress with sheets pulled around her instead of a grassy field. The mattress was stiff, but she'd slept on worse over the years and even though the sheets were a bit rough it sure as hell beat using a burlap sack. The hospital gown she was wearing gave her an indication of where she was, but she'd still look for some proper clothes as soon as possible...

Opening her eyes further as her headache faded enough to allow it, Ranma heaved herself into a sitting position. Swallowing hard to prevent herself from throwing up from the sudden vertigo, she was able to take in her surroundings more thoroughly. The only light in the room was coming from a crack under the door to her left, and just looking at it caused her head to pound even more. Turning her attention away from it and letting her eyes adjust to the surrounding darkness she could see that there was a window to her right with its curtains pulled, but she could tell that it was night outside. She could also make out an open door across from where she was, through which she could see a toilet.

'I hope they have hot water...' she thought...

Ranma swung her legs over the edge of the bed before attempting to stand up. Stumbling slightly as her feat touched the ground, she had to steady herself before slowly making her way over to the bathroom. Something seemed to be wrong with her sense of balance, and while enough time had passed where her migraine had been reduced from unbearable to uncomfortable, she still wasn't able to think very clearly beyond her immediate goal.

Reaching the sink, she was too focused on her objective of finding hot water to notice that she had to jump to grab the edge of the counter to turn the faucet on. Also overlooking the fact that she needed to reach in order to put her hand under the steadily heating stream of water, the redhead waited patiently for the change to trigger...

And waited...

Nothing... No subtle full-body-tingle like she normally felt when the curse activated. No sudden feeling of certain pieces of anatomy disappearing while others showed up in different areas...

The water was steaming when she finally pulled her hand out to look at it in shock, before she screamed at the top of her lungs...

-o-o-o-o-o-

A lot can happen in five minutes. This was something that Ranma already knew quite well considering the life she'd lived up to this point, but this had to be close to the top of her list. Nowhere close to her fight with Saffron or Herb, but it was still up there with the day to day fiancée wars...

"What The Hell Did You Do To ME!"

"Miss, Please calm down and explain what's wrong. And also, if you could put the mop down..."

When she screamed she had apparently been loud enough to alert half the building, seeing as seconds later at least three doctors charged into the main room followed by a squad of nurses. It was at this point that she also finally realized that her body was several sizes smaller than was normal, making her panic even more. One of those initial doctors was currently unconscious from the reflexive spinning jump kick she delivered to his head when he reached for her. The other two were currently in front of her with the nurses and several more doctors hanging behind as backup while sporting bruises of their own, testament to their attempts to restrain her after the first had failed...

"Like hell I will!"

Her escape from the room hadn't been easy as she'd needed to knock out at least three nurses just getting to the door. Adrenaline was surging through her system, clearing away what was left of her migraine and providing a much needed boost to help her escape in the absence of Ki. She'd almost been caught at the door, but her smaller than normal size actually helped her when evading the reaching arms.

"Miss, I assure you that we don't want to hurt you, but if you make this any more difficult than you already have, we won't hesitate. Now if you could please calm down..."

Her final escape wasn't clean though. Apparently these doctors had some training in the past, because they were fast enough to catch up to her. She was still incredibly fast. Considering that she knew Cologne and Happosai, the fact that she was about as tall as either of them at the moment didn't mean all that much for her speed, given her training. What did matter was that the adrenaline coursing through her system hadn't been nearly enough to make up for her current inability to use Ki.

The mop she was presently wielding like a spear was commandeered from a night janitor, and used in an attempt to gain some distance between her and her pursuers when she tipped over its bucket and used it to cover as much of the floor in water as possible. It managed to trip some of them up, but not enough and not for long enough to give her more than a little breathing room.

"I'll calm down as soon as you tell me WHAT THE HELL YOU'VE DONE TO ME!"

Shortly after that she had been chased to a waiting room before they managed to corner her, causing the present stalemate. This had been going on for several minutes already, and the few who had attempted to get close to her had either been beaten back or knocked out with her mop. She did allow her assailants to drag off their wounded, so long as they didn't make any moves to try and capture her themselves. It didn't stop her from having the feeling that if these people stopped underestimating her because of her size and really got serious, she'd suddenly find herself having a much harder time keeping them away.

"What in the Log's name is going on here!"

Ok... this was a new voice, and Ranma noticed that a path was opening up through the crowd of hospital staff in front of her to allow an old man wearing a red and white robe and matching cone hat with the kanji for 'Fire' printed on the front through. As he got closer one of the doctors backed up slightly to turn and bow to the man.

"Thank Goodness. Perhaps you can talk some sense into her Hokage-sama..." Even as the doctor said this, Ranma tensed. Her whole focus was directed at the old man as the situation was explained to him, only keeping enough off of him in order to detect if anyone else would try and make a move to restrain her again. They treated him like he was in charge, and despite his advanced years he held himself with a presence that spoke of power and long years of experience. Not as much as the Old Goat or the Ghoul, but enough to set her on edge. She felt her initial adrenaline high starting to wear off and she wasn't anywhere near being one hundred percent to begin with. Without Ki, she would be all but helpless against him if he decided to fight...

He turned towards her with a frown and they engaged in a staring match. His frown only deepened when she didn't even flinch at the killing intent she felt him begin directing at her after a few moments. It was subtle, and relatively amateurish compared to the range of intents she was capable of producing with Ki. Potent as it was though, it wasn't intense enough for anyone who knew what it was to take it seriously, and nowhere near the level she had been exposed to when she fought Saffron. It was more along the lines someone would use to try and punish a disobedient child.

Sometime during the last few minutes before his arrival and during the standoff she had made the connection that she wasn't simply smaller. She was younger. Anyone who was actually her current age of three or four would have been a shivering mess at the intent he was directing at her as the stare-off continued, but she showed no reaction at all. She noticed that everyone else in the room had noticed the sudden change in her behavior. She wasn't panicking anymore, and that put them even more on edge.

"Might I inquire as to what might be bothering you Miss...?" he said, finally breaking the stalemate of wills.

"Nuh uh, you first Old Man..." She said with particular emphasis to the last part, waving her mop threateningly to help get the point across. The threat was a bluff of course, made even more ineffective by her now younger body, but his probe for her name reminded Ranma way too much of the old ghoul for comfort... and if the sudden twitch of his eyebrow were any indication, he liked the name just as much as said 'Old Ghoul' liked hers.

"Sarutobi Hiruzen, Sandaime Hokage of Konohagakure no Sato."

"Saotome Ranma, Heir to the Saotome Musabetsu Kakouto Ryu..." If they were using Formal titles, then she might as well use hers and hopefully rattle them up a little more. She seemed to be successful as murmurs spread through the gathering, though the old man showed no outward reaction. In the meantime she filed away what she had learned from his statement. Hokage must be some sort of position he held, instead of a name like she'd first assumed. 'Pretty high up, considering how everyone seems to differ to him...' Konohagakure no Sato was obviously a place considering it meant 'Village Hidden in the Leaves'. He'd unknowingly answered part of one of her questions, but she didn't let it show. She still had no Idea of where exactly this 'hidden village' was after all...

"Good. Now, Saotome-san, if you could please put the mop down and Calmly allow me to escort you back to your room, we can try and sort all of this out in a civilized manner..."

She was having a hard time not believing him. On the one hand, something had locked her curse and set her body back by over a decade, and the former, at least, likely had something to do with these people. Now that she was calmer and thinking with her head on straight she realized that if that was the case then they obviously didn't know what had happened in the first place considering how they had reacted to her. On top of that, the old man seemed to have a grandfatherly air about him that made it hard not to trust him.

"No funny business?" she hesitantly asked, still not willing to trust him.

"No funny business..." he returned with a smile.

She hesitated for another moment before flipping the mop around so that the handle was resting on her shoulder. She would trust, for now, but she wouldn't trust absolutely yet...

"I'll hold ya' to that Old Man."

-o-o-o-o-o-

The trip back to the room had been rather uneventful as she walked next to the old man. The only real incident had been when someone had reached to take her current weapon of choice from her, only to receive a welt on their wrist for the trouble. Her escort hadn't looked happy about it, but she'd made it quite clear that she wasn't getting rid of it yet. The message was obvious, 'I'm trusting him, but the rest of you, Back Off!'

He had been conversing quietly with one of the doctors the entire way back and the doctor handed him a file folder when they reached the door. Now they were comfortably seated, Ranma back on the bed and the old man on one of the chairs. The mop was leaned against the wall within easy reach of the redhead.

"So, Saotome-san..."

"Ranma." she interrupted.

"Pardon?" he said, slightly confused.

"Call me Ranma... Saotome-san's my mom..." she said, folding her arms in an attempt to get her point across, but only managing to look cute because of her current age.

"Right... Now Ranma, would you mind explaining what that was all about. And also, it would be nice if you could explain how you are the heir to such an oddly named Taijutsu style from a clan I'm unfamiliar with." His eyes had taken on a sharper gleam than they'd had before and his face became an unreadable mask, reminding Ranma of the middle Tendo sister when she was fishing for information.

"Taijutsu? No, I'm a martial artist." She rolled her eyes at the look he gave her that clearly said 'Humor me', "Ok, ok... You want the short version, or the long?" she said with a sigh as she leaned back into the pillow and tried to get a bit more comfortable.

The Hokage raised an eyebrow at her response to his initial question, "Let's start with the short, and if I think I need to know more, you can tell me the rest..."

Ranma shook her head as she collected her thoughts to begin the rather obvious interrogation, "Ok... First of all, I think I should tell ya' that I'm actually eighteen... Don't ask, I don't know myself at the moment." She said, catching her interrogator before he could ask the obvious question, "Second is that I'm actually a boy. How that's possible is I got a curse that turns me into a girl with cold water when I was sixteen while on a martial arts trainin' trip my old man took me on that started when I was five or six. Hot water is supposed ta' change me back, but for some reason it ain't workin' right now..."

The man in front of her simply leaned back into his chair and started rubbing his nose between his fingers like he was getting a headache and she began twiddling her thumbs, trying to look innocent. She could sympathize, seeing as he wasn't the first to have this particular reaction when people learned about her life.

"Ok... I think... I need to hear the long version..." was all he groaned out...

-o-o-o-o-o-

The sun was just starting to peek above the horizon as Ranma finished her story, starting with the beginning of the training trip, glancing over everything except the highlights, before reaching his arrival at the Tendos' home, covering the insanity of the next two years, and finally finishing up on the latest fiasco with Kuno that had landed her here. Throughout the experience the man called Sarutobi Hiruzen sat quietly in front of her and only asked a few questions, like how her father could have thrown her into a pit full of starving cats while wrapped in fish products, or how her mother could have thought to hold her to a suicide contract over something as vague as being a 'man among men' that she'd been tricked into signing when she was only a child, among other things.

"So, this Kuno Tatewaki somehow got his hands on a 'wishing stone' and asked that 'the foul sorcerer', aka: you, be 'banished across space and time', all for his delusion that your female form and this Tendo Akane girl are madly in love with him but bewitched by your male form to be unable to show him their 'love'?"

"Hey! It's not like I wanted any'a that!" Ranma defended as she folded her arms indignantly in front of her. This hadn't been the first time the Hokage had had a hard time believing the craziness that surrounded her life, but she'd think that he would start to have taken her word for it after the third time. Or the eighth... or the...

"It's not that I don't believe you. I am simply wondering how an artifact such as that could end up in the hands of someone as you described him, instead of someone who would have used the power of its wish for something more... sinister." Sarutobi returned while rubbing his chin, apparently trying to think of how what he'd just asked was possible himself.

"Beats me, Kuno's always been crazy. Wouldn't surprise me if it fell out've his cereal box one mornin'..." Ranma shrugged, "Last time he got his hands on somethin' that could grant wishes he got it cuz' he was the millionth visitor to a temple or somethin'... then he used the three wishes it gave him on a bunch a' stupid stuff..."

"Yes, you told me of that incident." the old man deadpanned.

"Right." she nervously chuckled, "Where was I again? Oh right, banished by the insane Kendoist..." She paused for a moment to think, "Well, after I felt myself get caught in whatever his wish had done. It was like I was in a void of... eternal nothingness...? No light, sound, smell, touch. Heck, I couldn't even feel my body, like the only thing there was my mind. Don't know how long this was going on, but the one thing I could feel was that I seemed to be drifting 'backwards'... Next thing I know, whatever it was let me go an' I'm tired and in pain but I can see the sky above and feel the grass under me while the rain triggers my curse before I pass out, wake up here, and freak out when I find out my curse is locked."

The man sitting in front of her took this all in with a slight frown before pulling out the folder he'd been given and flipping through some of the pages inside. "Alright, that fits." She heard him mumble before he looked up and addressed her directly. "Now I think it's my turn for some explaining..." Ranma took this as a good sign when she saw the shift in his demeanor. She was finally going to get some answers...

"I am unfamiliar with this 'Tokyo' place you come from, nor have I ever heard of a country called 'Japan'," he began, causing Ranma to frown, "but you are currently in Konohagakure no Sato, located in Hi no Kuni, and the largest of the Five Great Hidden Ninja Villages in the elemental nations..." he paused for a moment as Ranma took this in and started cursing under her breath as she cross checked the locations with everything she knew about geography and came up empty.

"Two weeks ago," he continued, "I received a report from one of my Gennin teams that they found a child in need of medical assistance when they arrived at one of the training grounds. That 'child' was you apparently." He paused to read over some of the papers before continuing, "From what I have been told, and what this says here, you were apparently in an advanced state of Chakra Exhaustion when you were brought to the hospital. What little Chakra you did have left was slowly 'leaking' away somehow, and there was a foreign energy putting too much pressure on the little amount of Chakra that you did have, preventing it from recovering at all."

"Don't know what Chakra is, but I noticed I couldn't use Ki when I woke up... Wait... did you say that was two weeks ago?" Ranma absently interjected as she rubbed the back of her head in thought.

"Yes... you have been here in a Chakra Exhaustion induced coma for two weeks."

The response caused Ranma to shudder before cursing under her breath, 'Coma? Don't know how that happened or what "Chakra exhaustion" is, but two weeks? That should have been more than enough time for the Old Ghoul to find a way to come and get me. If she can't though...?' Apparently he wasn't done with his own questions yet though.

"You have mentioned this 'Ki' multiple times before. When you told me about the 'Shi-Shi Hokodan' and how you made your 'Moko Takabisha' technique as well as this 'soul of ice' ability of yours... If I might ask, what is it?" the old man was giving her a questioning look, and it took her a moment to realize that he really didn't have a clue what Ki was.

"Ki is life energy," she told him in a tone that said that this should be common knowledge, "It's everywhere, you just need to know how to draw in enough to be able to use it. Though most Ki adepts where I'm from try an' keep a reserve on hand fer' emergencies. Everyone always has some circulating through their system, even if it's only a little..."

'Except for when I woke up...' she thought, 'I was completely dry then...' Ranma's thoughts trailed off again.

The Sarutobi's frown just deepened as her explanation continued, before he began rubbing his forehead, "Foreign energy, right..." he muttered while looking at the papers again, "Well, since you don't know what Chakra is, allow me to explain." Ranma's attention instantly focused to a razors edge, though she noticed that he noticed and was apparently slightly unsettled by the sudden shift. "Chakra is a mixture of physical and spiritual energies that any individual produces. A person can increase how much of either that they produce through training. If you use too much however, it will become exhausted, possibly to the point where you will die in extreme cases."

"But, I don't even know how to use 'Chakra'... how could I exhaust mine?" Ranma said in a whisper. She was troubled by this piece of information. She believed what he said, but what she'd just learned only made it even more pressing that she try and learn as much about Chakra as she could. If she was using it without knowing...

"I'm getting to that..." the old man said impatiently, "But back to what I was saying. You were brought in while suffering from an advanced state of Chakra Exhaustion and your 'Ki', as you call it, was preventing your Chakra from recovering normally, as well as blocking all efforts to provide you with an infusion."

Ranma waited patiently as he shuffled through the papers again while collecting his thoughts, "Standard practice for when something like this happens is to apply a temporary seal designed to expel a broad range of foreign energies, but apparently when they did that there were some unexpected... complications."

"Complications?" Ranma cringed. She didn't like how he made that sound.

"Yes..." Sarutobi continued in a tone that clearly told the redhead that he was only half paying attention to her. He was reading over the papers as he talked, telling her that he didn't know this beforehand. "Apparently the seal used reacted normally, but after its application your body began involuntarily absorbing more... 'Ki'. To prevent this, another more permanent seal specifically tuned to expel the, at the time, unidentified energy was applied."

He hummed to himself as he read over the papers for a moment. "In the absence of your Ki preventing it from recovering, you were able to recover slightly on your own, but you were still hemorrhaging chakra at a rate the doctors were uncomfortable with. When they attempted to identify the cause, another seal that had been applied to you before you were even found was discovered to have been damaged in such a way as to continually draw on your chakra despite being in an inactive state. Further tests revealed that the reason this already existing seal was overlooked at first is due to the fact that it's made from your... Chakra... Circulatory... System...?"

He was looking at her in thinly veiled shock now as she blinked at him in returned non-comprehension. "Chakra Circulatory System? You mean my Ki Paths right?"

It was his turn to blink at her before a thoughtful look came over his face, "I think it might be safe to assume that what you call your 'Ki Paths' and the Chakra Circulatory System are one in the same, considering that that is where the energy you identify as Ki was channeling through your body before it was expelled." Looking down at the folder again, the Sarutobi's demeanor turned grim, "The damage to the seal, by its very nature, extensively damaged your Chakra circulatory system. The doctors did what they could, but a full recovery will still take several years..."

Ranma winced slightly at the news. It was a pain, but she knew that if she could be allowed to use Ki again she could cut that time down to a fraction of its original estimate. After all, she had recovered from injuries that would have taken a normal person months to heal from in a matter of days. Why wouldn't she be able to heal damage that was said to need years to recover from in a few months? At the moment she had a different question on her mind though...

"You've talked about these 'seals' before... How do they work and what do they do?" she asked curiously.

"Many things..." the Hokage said as he took on a lecturing tone, "The shortened description is that they work by channeling chakra through a drawn or carved matrix to produce various effects that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to achieve without them. Seals can do many things, from refrigerating containers to allowing a simple slip of paper to explode with enough force to destroy buildings, as well as many, many more possible uses. The limits of a seal are only imposed by the proficiency of the creator and their imagination."

"So... What'd the damaged seal do?" Ranma asked. She was curious now. These seals sounded a bit like the Sutras and what-not that priests used where she was from. Only these people had apparently taken it to a whole different level and could do much more than spout nonsense about good luck and all of the other fake bylines they used to sell charms to tourists. The priest who had tried to help seal that one Oni had been a little better, but he still hadn't known all that much about what he was doing...

"I don't know..." he said, frowning as he looked over the notes again. "This seal is one of the most complex I have ever seen in my life... I don't think any seal master that I know of, myself included, would be able to reproduce it even should we have the complete formula. The damage suffered to it makes some parts unidentifiable, but..." He paused, looking over the papers more thoroughly again, "I think I can reasonably say that whatever it did involved a transformation of some... kind...?"

The implications set in and pieces of the puzzle previously unknown settled into place. Realization slowly dawned on Ranma, and she did something she probably should have done much earlier. Like, right after he had told her Ki paths had been damaged.

Sensing the Ki in another person only required the individual to possess a great enough command over Ki to be able to use it. The more Ki a person could use, the easier it became to sense the power of individuals around them from further away.

Examining your own Ki Paths was another matter. That didn't need any Ki at all. Instead, it required a certain disposition and way of seeing things, as well as a basic understanding of meditative techniques, that most normal people didn't have. Everyone from Nerima of a certain level of martial arts ability and above had had it by requirement, but Ranma had always had a talent for it that allowed her to sense more than simply how much ki she had, or how much pressure she built up in order to unleash her more devastating techniques. She was able to sense how it passed through her, even to the point of being able to subtly manipulate how it flowed in certain ways that the others couldn't. It's how she was able to heal so much faster than even the other martial artists, what allowed her to learn the Soul of Ice so quickly after learning to control her emotions better, and figure out the components necessary to form a Ki blast when she was making the Moko Takabisha. Right now though...

"No... No way... No, no, no, no..." 'This can't be happening to me!' the redhead mentally screamed. She knew that she was cut off from Ki at the moment, and had been peripherally aware of a strange, weak and insubstantial energy that was filtering through her system that she was beginning to identify as Chakra, given what had been explained to her and how it 'felt'. Now that she was paying attention though, she realized that her entire system was burnt out or otherwise damaged. It was strange, in a way, seeing as the damage actually seemed to pressurize the new energy enough to where she thought she could begin to manipulate it. She refrained for the moment, in difference to trying to keep herself from panicking...

"Is something wrong?" the Hokage asked, snapping her out of her mounting panic.

"No... Nothin's wrong at all... I just figured out why I can't change back..." She managed to force out while faking a smile. He had said that her Ki Paths, or her 'Chakra Circulatory System' as he called it, had been damaged and would take a long time to heal, but the extent of it was beyond anything she had thought possible. Add that to what she had just learned...

"Oh? Would you care to explain then?" he said with obvious interest, but also obviously having come to a similar conclusion as her.

She took in a couple of deep breaths to calm down before answering, "I think... that that damaged 'seal' might actually be my Jusenkyou curse, and until my Ki paths heal... I'm stuck."

A heavy silence filled the room for a few moments before the Sarutobi broke it. "You seem to be taking this quite well now that you know the most likely cause of your problem..." he said in a low voice.

"This won't be the first time I've been stuck as a girl, and this time I know that I'll be able to change back without havin' to jump through too many hoops..." Ranma bit off, "It's just goin to take a little while before that happens..." Her voice was laced with venom, but internally Ranma was frowning. Something didn't quite sit right with her about that statement, but for the life of her she couldn't figure out what...

"Ah yes... The 'cat's tongue' and the incident regarding your 'Prince Herb' and his magic water..." her companion replied, electing sharp a nod from Ranma. He cleared his throat, most likely in an effort to break the tension.

"Now then, back to where we were before..."

The old man Hmmm'd a little, taking up the folder again. "Right then... After they stabilized you and unknowingly discovered your curse the doctors did what they could to heal the damage, but there wasn't much that could be done other than let you recover on your own. You were in a comatose state and the doctors didn't want to risk giving you an infusion of Chakra due to the abnormal means to how you suffered from chakra exhaustion, but it was believed that once you recovered enough you'd come out of it."

"So I just laid in bed for the last two weeks?" She concluded with a slightly disgusted look on her face, having calmed down enough were she could start thinking more rationally again. Idiot father and seppuku contracts or no, she'd been training for so long that not doing any training for that long didn't sit well with her.

"It would appear that way." The Hokage agreed as he looked over the papers again, "Now this is interesting..."

"What?" She asked, trying to not sound too interested. By how he said it, she guessed that whatever was 'interesting' wasn't necessarily bad, but with her life the way it was, it could really mean anything.

"Apparently in the absence of your Ki blocking it your Chakra has grown rapidly from the level we would expect from an infant or toddler, but within the last few days the rate of growth slowed down significantly, so much so that the doctors project that you will have Chakra reserves at a level somewhat below average for someone of your current physical age when the growth finally slows to a more normal pace." The old man hummed to himself again as he continued to read.

"So... all I need to do to let my 'chakra' grow is not pressurize it with my Ki?" Ranma quietly asked, more to herself than to the old man. Her tactical mind was already working out the logistics of having two possible power sources to work with, instead of just the one she knew how to use. These people seemed to know a lot about this 'Chakra' stuff, so she'd need to find someone willing to teach her more.

"It isn't quite as simple as that..." the Hokage said after a few moments, apparently catching onto what she was thinking and bringing her out of her musings. Her only response was to frown and gave him a look that clearly said to explain.

"You will remember that you still have a seal placed on you that prevents you from drawing in 'ki'?" she thought for a moment and remembered he had said something about that earlier before nodding. "Well... Right now, it is the only thing preventing you from slipping back into a coma and... dying..." he said...

Ranma only blinked at him a couple of times before what he said sank in. She had a feeling that he wouldn't lie about this, but...

"Explain." was all she said, trying to use the Soul of Ice to keep her emotions in check. It only partly worked, as there was no subtle chilling effect in the absence of Ki, but it still achieved the other part of its purpose. He shivered slightly at the frigid tone of her voice, but at the moment Ranma could care less.

"Because the seal that apparently makes up the true form of your 'Jusenkyou curse' is damaged, you are steadily losing chakra, sort of like a Hemophiliac would lose blood should they be injured..." he began, looking her in the eyes as he explained, "Despite the fact that your reserves have grown remarkably in the last two weeks, I would feel confident saying that this is only because it did not have to contend with your Ki as your body attempted to compensate for the constant drain it is experiencing. At the moment, you are still only able to produce barely more than enough chakra to keep yourself alive and conscious, and should the seal be removed..."

He paused for a moment, sighing slightly before continuing, "Should it be removed, there is a very strong likelihood that your Ki will once again overwhelm your chakra reserves, hindering your ability to produce chakra again. You would once again be losing chakra faster than your body could replenish itself, and..."

Ranma slowly nodded in understanding as he trailed off. She didn't need him to finish his explanation, and an icy pit began to fill her stomach the more she thought about it. She knew that she had no control over how much ki she would absorb, so long as her reserve was below a certain amount. Normally it wasn't an issue because she tried to maintain a much larger store of ki on hand. Well above that bottom line. Should she get into a particularly intense fight though, one that pushed her to her limits like when she fought Saffron or even Herb, she would drop below that line, and her body would automatically begin drawing on more Ki from the environment without her even needing to think about it. With the normal reserve of Ki she maintained being completely dry...

In the end she had two options. Wait for her body's natural healing in the absence of Ki to repair the seal enough where it stopped leaking, or learn how to use Chakra and train with it until hers was strong enough to compensate for her body's attempts to draw in more Ki...

Both would take years either way she chose...

They sat there silently for a few minutes, taking everything they both had just learned in while trying to figure out what to do next. It was Ranma who broke the silence first.

"So... what now?"

"If I may make a... suggestion?" the old man asked hesitantly.

Taking Ranma's silence as assent he continued, "When the doctors tested you and discovered the seal that acts as your curse, they were able to record its formula here." The Hokage said, laying his hands on the now closed folder, "As I said before, from what I saw it is far more complex than anything even the best seal-masters alive would be able to produce or even duplicate even if they had the formula, and therefore I highly doubt that anyone would be able to find a way to remove it."

"What's your point old man?" Ranma said as she became a little irritated. She knew that she would more than likely carry her curse until she died, but she still didn't like being reminded of it.

"My point is, that it is highly likely that the seal will repair itself enough to become functional again much sooner than it will take to stop leaking. Possibly in only a few months from now even. There is enough information here regarding the functions of the seal that, from what I saw, I may be able to isolate its trigger and make another seal to interface with your 'curse' and seal you in one form or the other."

"What? Like lock me in my guy form?" Ranma asked, letting a little hope enter her voice. Strangely, though, the hope she felt at the prospect wasn't as intense as she would have expected. She'd have to think about that later...

"Possibly..." Sarutobi said, but he was shaking his head, "Considering what you told me about every other potential cure you have tried, however, I rather doubt that it will be that straightforward..." her face fell at this, but he wasn't done talking yet, "I won't know for certain until I have more time to study the formula, so I wouldn't give up all hope just yet... However, even if I am only able to find a way to seal you in your current form, I would suggest accepting it anyway."

"And why would I do that?" Ranma said a little indignantly. She was still on the fence about this, but if he could find a way to lock her as a guy...

Again, the prospect of that strangely didn't have the same mental emphasis behind it as it had before as she thought about it...

"The means through which you came here are beyond anything I know of being able to reproduce, meaning that you will be stuck here for a very long time at the least..." he said in a manner that had a finality to it, "Add to that, that even though Konoha is a ninja village and out job description implies that we expect the unexpected, it is also home to one of the largest civilian populations in the elemental nations, and in general, they are much less tolerant of things that they don't understand... Occasionally violently so..."

The last was said in a growled whisper that Ranma was sure she wasn't supposed to hear, but the message was received none the less. She just wondered what had happened where normal people would react like that. Not even her curse and all of the other strangeness of Nerima had caused what could be considered the 'normal' population to do something violent against the NWC. Anyone who went to Fuurinkan High was exempt from that rule of course, but they were all at least half insane to begin with...

"Either way you decide, once you are cleared to leave the hospital you will be placed into the orphanage here unless someone from your own home manages to find a way to come and collect you before then..."

"Now then," The Hokage said as he stood up after a moment of silence, "I was originally coming to the hospital to attend to some other matters before I was distracted by the scene earlier this morning, and I have spent much more time here than I originally intended, so unless you have any more questions, I need to get going..."

"Right... Questions..." Ranma mumbled as she scratched the back of her head and thought it over... there were a few, but she had the feeling that Old Man Sarutobi would be back sooner or later, and they could wait until then.

"No... I'm good for now."

The old man started chuckling slightly in a knowing manner before nodding and turning to walk out the door, leaving Ranma to her thoughts...

-o-o-o-o-o-

It had been six days since Ranma had woken up in the hospital. The doctors had informed her that since she had come in with such an abnormal case of Chakra Exhaustion they wanted to keep her for a week for 'observation'. The Old Hokage had come and visited her once or twice during that time and answered a few more questions, and she'd learned a little more about the world she now found herself in as well as how the whole 'ninja village' thing worked along with some of Konoha's history. She was convinced that she was in an entirely different world, as she'd managed to convince her only visitor to find a map for her to look at once, and she'd gotten good enough grades in Geography where she knew that she didn't recognize anything. She'd also drawn up a rough sketch of Japan and a slightly larger and rougher one of the continents of Earth for the Hokage to look at and he'd confirmed their shared suspicions...

Unfortunately, in her opinion anyways, she had failed to convince him to bring her some normal clothes to wear instead of the hospital gown. He had agreed to find something in her size that she wouldn't mind for when she was released though...

Ranma stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom attached to the room she was staying in at the hospital, doing something she'd been putting off for as long as possible. She'd be leaving the hospital tomorrow to go and stay in an orphanage for 'an indeterminate period of time' as the Sarutobi had put it once when she'd asked. The old man had hinted that he'd made some progress with her curse seal during his last visit, but it hadn't actually sounded all that promising for certain results. So she figured she had a choice to make...

She was assessing the changes her body had undergone. She was younger; physically maybe three or four years old. She'd already figured this much out but now that she had the time for a full assessment she decided that she was probably closer to four, but not quite yet. Oddly, the only thing that hadn't shrunk with her new age was her hair, which was still bound in a braid by the dragon whisker, but it now came down to her shoulders in a sort of fan before the braid started, reaching about halfway down her back. It was a bit more feminine than she would have normally been comfortable with, but save for the Hokage everyone else thought she was really a girl, and changing her hairstyle might raise some questions at the moment. All things considered, these weren't exactly "normal" circumstances either.

Mentally, she was confused. There was a part of her that held on to all of the memories of when she was eighteen, and with them came the experience to make judgments based off of them that no three year-old would ever be able to make. At the same time however, now that she was paying attention, she noted a distinct difference in how she saw the world around her compared to before. Her already short attention span was now tinted by a childlike curiosity that she vaguely recalled possessing from the hazy, fragmented blur of memories before the Neko-ken. She would still appear extremely mature for a child to someone unfamiliar with her or her situation, but at the same time she didn't act quite the same way she had when she was eighteen either.

She had talked about this apparent regression with the Hokage, and he thought that it may have something to do with the fact that, even though she had the memories of an eighteen year-old, her brain was physically that of an admittedly well developed three year-old. That mixed with the absence of the hormones puberty had drenched her body with meant that there was a very high possibility that she should expect more changes as her younger body finished adjusting.

And that was another thing...

Two weeks of not doing anything had worn away at her conditioning. She was still incredibly fit. Definitely more-so than someone would expect a three-about to turn four-year old to be, but she would still work on getting her conditioning back up to where it was before. She'd made some progress during the last few days, but she wouldn't be able to make any major gains until she could really let loose while not being confined to a hospital room. Granted, she still wouldn't be able to work on the most advanced levels of her mastery of the Saotome style for quite some time, but she would still take what she could get for the moment.

Another mental checkmark crossed her list as another issue came to mind. The transition she was making from exclusively using Ki for her whole life, to having chakra running through her system was... unsettling.

She had decided that the feeling of chakra was 'weird'. There was no other word she could really put to it. Simply the feeling of not having any Ki running through her system at all was strange in and of itself, but when she added in that now a decidedly different type of energy had taken its place...

It was like there were feathers lightly brushing her skin at times, and at others she would feel something that reminded her of being drenched in water on any normal day in Nerima, despite the fact that nothing similar had happened to her during the entirety of the week. Add in the fact that Chakra barely responded to her emotions and it truly became unnerving at times. She had grown used to the ebb and flow of life energy as it rose and fell with her emotions. Now there was simply...

Nothing...

Her thoughts drifted as she continued staring at her reflection until finally coming back to the last conversation she'd had with the Hokage and remembered the real purpose behind this self assessment.

"Think of this as an opportunity to start over." He'd said after telling her once again that he didn't know of a way to get her home when she'd asked for something like the tenth time. "After all, none of the people from your old life are here now, and not everyone gets to relive their childhood..."

"Start over?" she said as she reached out and touched her reflection in the glass. It was tempting. Oh so very tempting...

To take his offer and make an entirely new life for herself here in Konoha would be like the ultimate slap in the face to everyone back in Nerima. But the fact remained, if she did this, which parts of her old life did she want to keep, which ones would she want to throw away, and which ones would she change either for herself or out of spite for everyone who'd ever wanted to coerce or control her...?

She wasn't a person who was prone to deep thinking, but being confined to her room with nothing but low level katas to do unless she was being visited by the Hokage, or the doctors and nurses checking up on her, for the last six days had given her an abundance of time to think about her life. She didn't like a lot of what she saw, but she also realized that at the time she couldn't have done very many things differently with all of the obligations and her own honor confining her to a figurative straightjacket's worth of options. Sure there was her own fair share of mistakes to consider, but at the same time it was also the people around her that had taken advantage of those mistakes who had been controlling the rest of her life without her even realizing before.

The first such situation that came to mind was how Ryouga had taken advantage of her honor in not telling Akane that bacon breath was also her 'precious P-Chan' while the pig proved that he didn't have any honor himself by sleeping in the tomboy's bed without her knowing. Then there were all the times she'd allowed Nabiki to take advantage of her to make a little money, the ten-yen battle being one of the more glaring incidents she could think of. She didn't want to even start with the Amazons and all the times they had attempted to manipulate her in some way, either with or without the aid of magic...

The list went on and included practically everyone she knew save for Doc. Tofu and Kasumi. Even they were guilty of it once or twice and were only spared her opinion of everyone else because when they did it, they usually believed that what they were doing was truly in Ranma's best interests instead of for selfish reasons. In the end Ranma decided that enough was enough if she ever did find a way back to Earth. Her honor was still important to her... But with so many of the people who had surrounded her on a daily basis attempting to control her through dishonorable means and often using her own honor against her...

A knock at the door drew her out of her thoughts. Turning away from her reflection and walking into the main room she saw the door opening to admit the Hokage.

"How are you today Ranma-chan?" he asked with a friendly smile as he walked over to his usual chair by the window.

"I'm alright I guess..." she said without the usual twitch at the 'chan' suffix as she hopped up onto the bed and crossed her legs.

The old man raised an eyebrow at the lack of reaction to the playful barb and her somewhat distracted behavior. She couldn't blame him really. He'd figured out early on that she hated being called 'chan' and they had made a sort of game at it as she rarely called him anything but 'old man' which he equally disliked.

"Remember what you told me about the Jusenkyou Curse seal?" she said after a moment to collect her thoughts. This wasn't going to be easy, but in the end it was Her choice, and that made all the difference in the world...

"That because it was damaged I didn't have enough information to see if I could seal in your male form until your pathways healed enough to allow you to change again?"

The confirming nod he received from Ranma only caused him to frown.

"How hard would it... would it be to lock it as... as I am?" she asked with no small amount of hesitance, swallowing hard. She had to remember why she was doing this. It wasn't an easy decision, and by no means was she making it lightly, but her mental assessments of herself, her life and how she wanted to change them without her father, mother, Mr. Tendo, the Amazons, and everyone else to distract or try and choose for her had been illuminating...

"Am I to assume that you..." He trailed off when Ranma nodded jerkily with her eyes closed tightly as she bit her lower lip. She couldn't keep the tear from leaking out of the side of her eye. "If I might ask... Why?"

"I thought about what you said..." she said, taking in a deep, calming breath. "About how I should... Should see this as an opportunity to... start over."

Her guest waited patiently as she collected her thoughts again and tried to push down the genuine fear that was attempting to overwhelm her. This was a different type of fear from her phobia of cats though. It was fear of the unknown. Fear of what her future held for her that came from the realization that she was the one who controlled her life. Up until now it had been directed by those around her and that had made it somewhat predictable. Before, she was going to marry Akane and inherit the Tendo Dojo where she would teach Martial Arts, among other things. Even though there had been so many different factions attempting to control her life she could still see that that had been the most likely outcome when everything was said and done and the dust settled...

Now though, she was taking her life into her own hands. It was hers to do with as she liked, and even though that realization made her feel liberated, it also was the source of her fear. But she had made her choice...

"If... if I'm going to start over, I want to really start over... I already grew up as a boy once, but I didn't... didn't really have much of a 'childhood'..." She ignored the snort the Hokage gave that last statement. She'd told him about everything, and that included the early years of the training trip. "I... I don't have all that many good... memories as a boy..." She failed to suppress a shiver, "and the few I do have don't really make up for everything I've been through..."

"But..." the Hokage hesitantly began after a moment, "I was under the impression that you hated most anything to do with your female form, most of all being 'locked', as you put it..."

Ranma shook her head, "I've done a lot of thinking over the last few days and... It's not so much that, as much as... as I don't like having the choice taken away..." she paused for a moment, thinking that that didn't sound quite right, but it was close enough for now and the old man urged her to continue.

"When... When I wasn't locked, everyone would always be hounding on me to change back as soon as possible, even... even if I didn't want to at the time..." She managed to choke out through the tears that threatened to spill at a moment's notice, the last being said in a whisper, "When I was locked though, it was even worse because they'd still be after me to find a way to change back as soon as possible even though I couldn't... It... It was never really my choice to be locked or if I wanted to change back in the first place. It was just what everyone either wanted or expected me to do... and I... I never really got used to the idea that I was a... a girl half the time..." Silent tears ran down her face as her willpower faltered slightly and Ranma struggled to get her emotions in check again. The Soul of Ice wasn't appropriate for a situation like this...

"So now that you do have a choice in how you want to lead your life...?" the Sarutobi said more than asked.

Ranma nodded and took another shaky breath. "With the life I had before... I never really figured out who I was, but now... Now I know who I want to be..."

"I want... I want to know what it would take for you to lock me as a girl..."

-o-o-o-o-o-

Ranma was beyond nervous as she followed the man wearing a dog mask and a long, black hooded trench coat through Konoha's streets. It was just after dawn at the moment and she had been released from the hospital less than an hour before. Her current guide had shown up to give her the clothes the Hokage had promised her and lead her to where her curse would become who she was. At least that's how she thought of it anyway...

The clothes were a comfortable and practical loose red T-shirt, brown cargo shorts and a pair of slightly scuffed sandals. They were second hand, seeing as she'd be moving into an orphanage later in the evening and she agreed with the Hokage when he said that she didn't want to be too much better dressed than the other children.

As it stood the only things she had to her name were the clothes on her back, the dragon whisker and the clothes she'd been wearing when Kuno banished her, which were now much too big for her to wear for the next few years.

Looking around she noticed that Konoha was definitely an appropriate name for the city she now found herself in, as there was hardly a space that wasn't occupied by buildings or roads that didn't have trees scattered around it. The air was clean too, telling her that this world didn't have a very heavy industrial presence, but that only made her wonder where they got all of the manufactured things she'd seen so far. In the distance she could see the Hokage monument Sarutobi had told her about with the four heads carved out from the surface of a mountain. It was a bit over pretentious in her opinion, but in the end she didn't think she was one who should really judge.

Her stoic guide remained silent for the most part as they walked through the main road, towards a tall tower like structure with the Kanji for 'Fire' embossed on a circular plaque about half way up. They entered the courtyard in front of the tower and Ranma followed him through the front doors and the halls beyond, moving downward and passing through several checkpoints where she was sure she would have been stopped without her guide, until they stopped in front of a plain wooden door which the dog-masked man opened.

Ranma swallowed as she entered the room and nearly jumped out of her skin before entering a ready stance when the door shut loudly behind her. The room itself was dimly lit by oil lamps along the walls. Stranger still was the floor. The stone surface was covered in intricate runes and strange symbols drawn out into a sort of pattern that she couldn't identify. In the middle of the array was a void roughly a meter in diameter with a stool sitting in the center.

"So this is the brat with the 'curse' you dragged me in here for?" a voice said from the corner behind her and to the right. The unexpected noise in the positively creepy scene made her whirl around, shifting her ready stance to a more aggressive one as she faced the would-be adversary.

The effort to look intimidating was largely lost on the white haired man standing in the corner next to the Hokage, and he simply snorted as he walked up to her and bonked her on the head.

"Doesn't look like much to me though... I don't know why you're going to all this effort Sensei."

Ranma slipped out of her stance when it became clear that these people weren't enemies and let the adrenaline rush slowly drain away as she rubbed her head where the stranger's knuckles had made contact.

"That isn't your concern, Jiraiya." The old man said as he finished drawing another symbol on the floor. Turning to her he asked, "Are you ready, Ranma?"

The redhead suddenly found her throat very dry so she nodded instead.

"Alright then... to begin, you'll need to sit on the stool and take your shirt off."

She did as she was told, crossing her arms to cover her now bare chest regardless of the fact that it would be almost a decade before she hit puberty again. Both men immediately set to work with brushes and ink; The Hokage painting out even more intricate patterns inside the previously void area while the man called Jiraiya started drawing on her skin, starting at the small of her back and working until her whole back and lower torso was covered in symbols before moving down, painting over her pants and exposed legs.

She tried not to shiver whenever the wet brush touched her skin during the whole process, out of fear of messing up whatever it was that they were doing. It seemed to take hours, but eventually the two men reached a point where their work joined in the middle and they stood back, the old man stretching and causing his back to crack loudly in several places.

"Alright Ranma..." he said as he looked her in the eye, "This is your last chance to back out. Once the seal is complete it can't be removed or deactivated without killing you... Are you sure you want to do this?"

She swallowed hard as she locked eyes with the elderly man, trying to work some moisture into her mouth so she could speak. This was the point of no return. After this... there really was no going back...

"Do it." She finally croaked out, squeezing her eyes shut.

She heard the old man walk behind her and Jiraiya back up until he was next to the wall. She didn't dare move out of fear of causing something to go wrong, and for the next few moments all she could hear was her own breathing and the sleeves on the Hokage's robe shifting.

"Fuuin: Jusenkyou Fuuinjou"

For the next few moments Ranma could actually feel the ink flowing over her skin as whatever it was that was happening played out. It all seemed to be centering itself on the small of her back and she resisted the urge to scratch it.

Seemingly as soon as it began, it was over and she let out a breath she hadn't realized she was holding... before white hot pain branded itself across the skin of her back as liquid fire flooded her ki paths.

She involuntarily shrieked at the sudden pain and fell off the stool as she reached around her back to put out whatever fire had been ignited there, only to feel cool, smooth skin under her fingers even as the pain subsided. She sat there on her hands and knees, shivering as the aftereffects of the pain faded away before she saw the Hokage holding out her folded shirt for her to take.

"How do you feel Ranma?" he asked as she took the garment and put it on. It almost sounded like there was uncertainty in his voice, but she couldn't really be sure...

"I feel alright..." she said distractedly as she finished pulling her left arm through its sleeve and pulled the shirt down to cover her stomach.

"Good... now, if you could follow me up to my office we can finalize the paperwork admitting you into the orphanage..."

-o-o-o-o-o-

It was several hours later when Ranma found herself standing in the Entry of the Hokage Tower, waiting for her assigned escort to show up and take her to her new home.

It had taken a lot longer to go over all of the paperwork necessary to admit her into the orphanage than she had expected. Add on top of that, that once they were done they needed to come up with a convincing cover story for her existence. It was nearing four in the afternoon by the time they finished when they had started sometime around nine AM...

"Ah... you must be Ranma." Came a voice to her left. Turning, she saw a young man with short, spiky black hair wearing a pair of aviator's sunglasses and what she recognized as standard Konoha Ninja attire walking towards her. "I'm supposed to escort you to the orphanage..."

"Nice of you to show up..." She quietly said while giving him her patented grin that so infuriated Ryouga, only resized for her new body. He had apparently heard her but didn't show any sign of being put off by her attitude. Instead he just raised an eyebrow.

"Ah... Sorry. I got here as quickly as I could. It's nice to meet you Saotome-kun." He replied with a slight bow. "Now, if you don't mind, there is apparently someplace you need to go, but don't know how to get there..."

Ranma just chuckled as she took his outstretched hand. Years of experience or no, it didn't change the fact that she was now only three years old again, in body at least, if not in mind quite yet. The strangeness of his much larger hand almost completely swallowing hers would still take some getting used to...

They turned and walked out the doors, only for Ranma to pause just outside and take in a deep breath.

Yes... Today was a good day. This was her chance to be who she wanted to be and no one would tell her otherwise...

This was the beginning of her new life...

-o-o-o-o-o-

End Prologue

-o-o-o-o-o-

Jutsu Appendix:

Fuuin: Jusenkyou Fuuinjou - Sealing: Jusenkyou Seal lock

-o-o-o-o-o-

End Notes: Ok, here's the prologue for my new Ranma/Naruto X-over "Amongst the Leaves". Right now I'm just setting the stage for things to come and I have no intention of going over everything that happens between now and the time Ranma graduates from Ninja Academy in detail. It'd just take too long and be too tempting to make Ranma overpowered just to make it exciting enough. That said, if you're paying attention you should be able to pick up on at least the general idea of what Ranma experiences as she grows up again in the next few chapters and even more later on as the story continues. Just remember that not everything is always as it seams and to look "Underneath the underneath" as Kakashi would say.

Now on to Jutsu; I will be putting an appendix at the end of each chapter where I use an original Jutsu, giving the Jutsu's name and a brief description. I will not, however, repeat any jutsu that have already made an appearance in the Jutsu Appendix even if they are used in more than one chapter unless I am asked to.

I don't plan on using too many that aren't already seen in Cannon, but for those I do I would like the input of the readers to help me out. I only have a passing understanding of the Japanese language gained from reading far too much Fanfiction with its occasional dealings with the language as well as watching way too much subbed anime and actually listening to what the characters are saying while I'm reading the subs, so it's fragmented at best and outright nonexistent at worst.

That being said if I use a Jutsu name or phrase that simply isn't right and you have a greater knowledge of the language than I do please leave a review and say something. I will go back and change it when I get the time. Heck, leave a review even if you don't take issue to my poor excuse for an understanding of one of the (In my opinion at least) most interesting languages in the world. Contrary to popular myth, I do actually read my reviews and enjoy doing so. I just don't directly reply to them.