Series Title: Glory Days
Story Title: Orchid in Full Bloom
Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 is the property of Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Viz Communications and Kitty Productions
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WARNING: This is an adult fanfic so if you are under the age of 18 or you don't want to read a work that contains adult situations and content, like sex and violence, stop here.
Forward: A while ago, a friend of mine asked me to write a Ranma fanfic where Ranma voluntarily choose to be a full girl. In other words, Ranma decides to stay female. Now anyone who has read Ranma fanfics know, this is a common theme in many of them, but in those, Ranma is either forced to be female by some outside influence (as in Girl Days) or Ranma was originally a girl at birth and was forced to be male (as in Genma's Daughter). I have yet to find one where Ranma choose to be female was made of his own free will.
So I'm giving it a shot.
Prolog: The Price
Location: Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Japan.
To the Tokyoites living, working, shopping and having fun in Ikebukuro, the sky above was the typical dark clouds of early spring, ready to wet everything with cool showers. Only the muggy heat of the late afternoon suggested it might be more.
In an ally way near the train terminal there limped a young male. Any passerby could mistake him for a homeless teenager, his clothes looked foreign and covered in dirt, with torn holes in his tight black pants and crimson Chinese shirt. The limp in his walk plus the bruises and newly scabbed cuts caused several observers to avoid him, they believing he could be some gangbanger, a tough who lost the fight and was looking for a place to lick his wounds.
"Why couldn't she stay out of it?"
The rumble of thunder above the boy answered him.
"Come on, you know why, baka," he put words to the reverberating sound, "Akane wouldn't be Akane..." the pain from his ankle hit a new level, "got to find a place to rest."
Saotome Ranma sat on an ashcan next to the dumpster, above him he saw the majestic building of Sunshine City. The lessening of the pain caused him to sigh, "Kami-sama... why did I come here..." he shook his head, "Ile...I know why..." a shallow grin on his face, "son like father."
Ranma's chin pressed into his collarbone, looking like he was asleep, but he wasn't. In his mind he heard the voices of his parents, the words of the many members of the Tendo family:
"Oh, Ranma... how?"
"I am ashamed of you, Boy!"
"How could this happen to my little girl?"
Ranma couldn't remember how he ended up on the local train to Ikebukuro from Nerima, he could only remember a deep feeling of anguish, so great his consciousness was rendered blank of thought. One moment he was kneeling by the body of Akane, where he had laid her at Soun's feet, the next he was leaning against a steel pole inside a passenger car, his ankle throbbing worse than before.
"Oyaji is right... I have no honor."
"Would it have been better had you split your belly before her father da?"
Ranma jerked his head up, his dark eyes catching the glare of the sheet lightning licking the clouds, "Nani..." his growl sounding more ominous with the thunder. The teenager smirked at the sight of a man with long white beard, his hair the color of snow-capped Mount Fuji, his face as craggy granite and his body hidden under old clothes, a heavily patched leather jacket, dark blue pants and worn boots, "You look like shit, ojiisan."
"Na-na...is that anyway to address your elders," the old man stroked his beard, "especially one like myself, offering to help you da?"
"Oi...like I haven't heard that befo..." Ranma hissed sharply as he try to adjust his bottom on top of the ashcan, for a second he had put weight on his throbbing ankle, "I've lost count of old farts offering magic junk too good to be true."
"Indeed... did they offer you something like this da?" He held out his winkled right hand, uncurling his rooted fingers, revealing two rings of plain gold.
"What's this," Ranma's distain darkened his face, "some ring of Yaki Fu zo?"
The sound of dry leaves crackled in the old man's chuckle, "No, I don't blame your doubts from what I have heard of your misadventures...but you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth da."
"Ojiisan...I'm getting tired of your dog and pony show," from the corner of one eye, Ranma saw wet blotches appear in the dirt, "get on with it."
"Your true love died," Ranma's face paled at the old man's statement, "but these two rings can give back her life da."
The movement of Ranma's hand matched the flash of lightning from above, but old man's fingers where just as fast. Thunder shook everything in the ally, causing the teenager to wait until silence returned, "Hand them over, old fart."
"There is a price in using them," those old green eyes looked through shaggy eyebrows, "one only you can pay da."
"The price of half a life da."
"Nani," Confusion held Ranma for a moment before he relaxed. No, half a life didn't mean a loss of half of his lifespan. Anyone could pay that sort of price. The only kind of price only he could pay was, "You're talking about my curse, the Jusenkyou curse."
"Hai," the old man nodded, "you and a few others can pay this sort of price," he opened his fist, "but the pieces of silver are not the counterfeit da."
Ranma shivered at what the old man meant, but not because of shock, because of his male instinct, "Give them here," he held out his trembling hand, "I'll worry later about what I'm losing."
As Ranma felt the cold metal of the bands rest on his palm, the falling rain started to melt his maleness from his body, the battle torn clothes fitting differently to her changing body, getting especially tight over her chest, "Chikusho...I was hoping to stay male a little longer." The redhead looked up only to find the figure of the old man vanishing behind the sheets of falling rain, "Figures the old coot would make a quick exit."
Ranma shrugged, slipping off the ashcan, letting out a gasp, "Kuso..." the redhead grabbed onto the edge of the dumpster, "I was hoping weighing less would help. Hopping on one leg, the petite girl looked about and finally found a discarded piece of tubing, "This is going have'ta do."
One thing being female and a martial artist, Ranma was able to hobble at a good pace, "Got to get back to the train station," she scanned the exit of the ally way, "I hope I can fight my way through the crowd in the station, it's a killer."
Without realizing it, Ranma slipped into a defensive stance, her right foot barely touching the ground, attempting to hide her injury, while holding the makeshift walking stick with both hands, "Ryoga, I don't have time for...why are you grinning na?"
"Ranma!" the redhead froze as Ryoga hugged her. Several thoughts run through her pretty head. Was this a new martial arts attack? Was Ryoga trying to get an advantage of her? Was Ryoga trying to cope a feel?
The joy in Ryoga's embrace wasn't faked, Ranma sensed this from her old martial arts rival, his one strong arm holding the redhead tight while the other arm held the bamboo combat umbrella above them both, his cheek press to her cheek. Like everything the lost boy does, the hugging was taking a little too long. Finally Ranma decided, "Ryoga, if you keep hugging me like this, I'm going have'ta hurt you."
"Oi!" Ryoga immediately released Ranma, "Gomen nasei," his cheeks blushing, "I didn't mean anything by it! I'm just so happy since moving in with Akari and her dad and getting a new job," he motioned toward the cab parked next to the ally entrance.
"You drive a taxi yo?" Ranma lifted his right foot off the ground once more, using the steel pole to help.
"Hai! Isn't she a sweet ride?" Ryoga beamed, but then he noticed Ranma's posture, "What's wrong, Ranma?"
"Mousse," Ryoga frowned at the mentioned of the avian martial artist, "but that isn't here or there," she waved off Ryoga protest, "I'd your help, Ryoga," her fist clinched the gold rings within, "I got'ta get back to the Tendo home, Akane is in bad shape."
Ryoga compassion for Akane showed in his eyes, "What happened? Did Mousse hurt Akane?"
"Indirectly," Ranma replied, "but I got something that could save Akane and I need to get it to her as fast... Nani!" Ryoga swept Ranma up by one arm and ran to the cab, "Ryoga, I can walk on my..."
"Stuff it, Ranma, you're hurt," Ryoga deposited the redhead at the right passenger door, "and Akane needs you." Ranma's mouth dropped open. He knew Ryoga was in love with Akari, yet he didn't expect the pig boy to acknowledge the love between Akane and Ranma. So amazed was Ranma that his ass is swatted by the passenger door when it pop open, "Get inside!" Ryoga looked over his shoulder from the diver seat, tossing a large white towel to Ranma, "Use this to keep the seat dry."
Once Ranma got into the taxi, the door automatically closed, the redhead look over the front seat, watching Ryoga fumbling with the GPS system, "Etto...Nerima is six-four-seven-seven...Tendo home is five-four."
"Is that how you get around zo?" Ranma is amazed as the route lit up on the green-tinted screen.
Ryoga grinned, "Hai, Akari's uncle owns a taxi company and since I'm not much a pig breeder, her father decided to get me this job." Ryoga looked through the mirrors to make sure he had the room, "At first I was scare, you know me and appalling sense of direction," his joy never left his face, "but once I got use to the GPS system and some practice sessions with Akari, I really love it."
Ranma relaxed a little in the back of the taxi, placing her right leg up on the seat so his aching ankle could rest better, "You only need to take me as far as the train station."
"Forget that idea, Ranma, your ankle is as round as a pink melon," Ryoga tossed the first aid kit over his shoulder, watching through the rearview mirror as Ranma caught it, "I'm taking you all the way to the Tendo's home, my treat."
Ranma blinked, not use to this side of Ryoga, opening the white box and getting out the elastic bandage, "Domo arigato..."
After Ryoga got out of Ikebukuro and onto the main road to Nerima, he glanced over his shoulder at Ranma, "How did Akane get hurt?"
"Mousse sent me a challenge, I told him I don't do challenges anymore," Ranma carefully wrapped her ankle, "I told him it wasn't my fault he couldn't earn Xian Pu's love," he grumbled, "but instead of leaving me alone, he sent me another challenge, saying he had kidnapped Akane and would turn her into a cat if I didn't come."
"Hai, Mousse's challenge was to fight him at an abandoned school," Ranma relaxed once more, closing the first aid kit, "which he turned into a maze of death. It was only then I discovered Mousse hadn't grabbed Akane."
"How did Akane end up there?"
"I don't know..." Ranma paused for a second, "I think she found the first challenge...I tossed it in the wastebasket..." Ranma felt a lump of ice form in her gut, "I...I don't know when she got there," her blue eyes look down at the floorboard, tears threatening to spill from them, "I only found her afterwards...amongst the wreckage after Mousse blew up the furnace in the basement."
"Ya da boku!" Ryoga exclaimed, the green taxi jerked to the left when Ryoga overcorrected, "What happened to the dickhead?"
"Don't know, don't care anymore," Ranma answered, tearful eyes as hard as blue sapphires, "Mousse can be the main dish at the Nekohanten for all I care." Ranma sniffled a little, looking out of the rear window, "I...I don't remember much after finding Akane..." she swallowed, "carried her home, gave her to Soun...then I blanked out... the next thing I know I was on the local train to Ikebukuro."
For a while Ryoga said nothing, neither did Ranma, the only sounds within the taxi was from the speaker for the cabbie's short-band radio and the flapping of the windshield wipers. Ranma kept glancing at the GPS screen, noticing Ryoga was sticking to the route without error. As they enter the street leading to the front gate of the Tendo residence, Ryoga asked, "When are you going to marry Akane na?"
Ranma blinked, awaken from her thoughts, feeling the metal bands inside her fist, pulling her in a new direction, "Marriage...ee...sounds like the right thing to do."
The lights of the taxi caught the dojo sign hanging from the wall of the Tendo compound, dusk having come and gone during their journey. From the rearview mirror Ryoga could see Ranma's baby blues sharpen with resolve, "Ranma, would you like me to come with you na?"
"Iie," Ranma straighten in the seat as the taxi stopped, "I already took enough of your time," she smiles at her old friend, "I hope I didn't get you in trouble with Akari and her uncle."
For a moment a different expression showed on Ryoga's face, his eyes taking in Ranma not as a guy who can change into a gal, "Akari will understand and her uncle will take the cab fare out of my wages."
Ranma was a little confused by Ryoga's expression, but her purpose came back to mind, nodding to her old friend while the taxi door opened, "Domo arigato, Ryoga," she used her makeshift cane to help her to stand, "I owe you."
"Iie, I owed you and Akane for helping me with Akari," Ryoga grinned, "so the debt between friends paid."
Ranma looked at Ryoga for a moment before turning away, "Ja ne," she said her farewell, hobbling to the gate while the green taxi pulled away.
In the rearview mirror Ryoga watched Ranma slip inside the compound, "Break a leg...Ranma."
Location: Tendo Residence, Nerima, Tokyo
The windows of the main house were dark, the only light Ranma saw coming from the dojo. Thanks to his hurt ankle, the redhead hobbling made a thump-thump on the wood planks of the covered veranda connecting the dojo to the main house. Ranma shivered in her damp clothes, the rain had stopped but the night air of spring cut into her petite body. Ranma paused at the door, attempting to gather her courage, but as she reached for the door, it slid open.
"Ranma-chan," Kasumi's face was tearstained, her voice husky, "I'm glad you are home ne."
"Domo arigato, Kasumi-chan," Ranma eyes saw the pain in the oldest daughter's gaze, "Gomen nasai, I didn't mean to run out like I did."
Kasumi reached out with her right hand, holding one of Ranma's hands, squeezing it, "It's okay, I'm sure you were deep in shock and didn't know what you were doing."
"Ee," Ranma looked around the taller teenager, her heart skipping a beat at the sight of Akane laying in front of the family shrine in the dojo, wearing her best dress and her face covered by a veil. The martial artist had worried the whole trip back, she worried the Tendo would have Akane's body taken to the mortuary. Once more she was glad the Tendo were so traditional, displaying the body for the family to grieve.
"Iie, Ranma-chan, the priest hasn't arrived," Kasumi thinking Ranma was looking for the Buddhist priest.
The ball of ice returned to Ranma's gut when he saw the scowl coming from Genma and the look of betrayal from Soun. The look of disgust from Nabiki was just as strong, but more so the sorrowful expression from Nodoka hit Ranma harder, the teenager didn't miss the wrapped katana on the ground next to his mother.
"I see you remembered your honor, boy," Genma rumbled, kneeing on the floor next to Nodoka. He was about to add more, when the hand of his wife on his left elbow stopped him. More tears came from Soun at the sight of Ranma, while Nabiki gave her father a large green handkerchief to use.
Ranma cleaned his mind of all the emotions directed at her, politely moving around Kasumi, only to be stopped by the motherly sister, "Let me help you, Ranma-chan." Taking the makeshift cane from Ranma and leaning it against the wall, Kasumi pulled the younger teenager to her, supporting Ranma.
Ranma smiled at Kasumi, "Domo arigato, Kasumi-chan." With her help, Ranma gingerly hobbled toward where Akane lay at rest. Kasumi helped Ranma to kneel by the body on the low table, a white pillow Akane's head rested on. Then Kasumi walked over and knelt next to Nabiki, giving her sister a reproving look. Nabiki rolled her eyes, but the angry look she had been giving the redhead since her return, lessen.
Ranma opened her hand, the two rings sticking to her palm since she kept her fist closed since getting them. Her ears picked up a couple of puzzled sounds from the others, the redhead having to steel herself to keep from looking over her shoulders. Ranma had to concentrate on what she is about to do.
A buzz of sensation ran up Ranma's spine when she slip on the ring, she could feel the golden band's power, the petite teenager could feel its magic merging with her cursed form, feeling pressure building up. It wasn't a painful feeling, in fact it had a pleasant quality to it, causing Ranma to shiver, feeling certain parts of her body reacting strangely to the new magic.
Ranma could feel her emotions cutting loose inside of her, a hot flush roaming the breath and length of her body, causing her to gasp, grab the edge of the table, feeling her nipples burn with irritation against the course fabric of her clinging Chinese shirt, feeling sensuality bloom from between her thighs. Even more so, Ranma could feel something was happening with her mind. The way her nose work, along with her other senses, something was different about them. It scared Ranma, despite all the magic she experienced in all of her adventures, she had always knew she was Saotome Ranma, man amongst men, her inner self rock solid male to the core.
The pressure continued to build inside of Ranma, feeling the trigger held by a hair. Ranma was on the edge of a panic, to rip the ring from her finger and throw it as far a possible. Then her wide baby blues fell upon the veiled face of Akane. For a moment she couldn't think, her brain caught between two extremes. Then something kicked loose inside, the panic fading, Ranma remembering why she came back. More now than before, she understood what the old man told her, the price she would be paying to save Akane.
"The price of half a life."
Ranma was a little surprised Akane's hand was warm when she took hold of it, but her determination kept her from thinking about it. With her right hand she held the other gold ring. The redhead let her mind travel back to when she, Akane and their comrades fought Herb, when she thought Akane had died. Ranma used the memory of that grief to help keep his focus, what she didn't expect was the outpouring of mourning, a gush of raw emotion much stronger than before, feeling it filling her mind, her soul, taking control of her body, causing her to shake as sobs bark from her mouth, tears flying from her baby blues to dot the smooth floor. It took all of Ranma's willpower, "Akane...I love you so much...with all of my heart...my soul..." her voice choked with pain, "I'm so alone without you..." she slipped the ring onto Akane's ring finger, "come back...please...to be with me...forever...as husband and wife."
There was no outward sign of change, no Hollywood special effects or Japanese CGI, instead a strangled sound came from Ranma, her back arching as the pressure within her was suddenly released, her brain flash-fried by multiple sensations, sucking her conscious thought an eye of a needle, leaving the redhead swaying on her knees. In such a state, the petite teenager dizzily watched as Akane sat up on the low table, the veil sliding off her face, her dark eyes blinking like those of an owl.
There were cries of surprise and awe from the former grievers, but neither Akane nor Ranma heard them. A vague look showed in Ranma's face, as if he was watching a dream, her fondest wish made flesh. The blissful state ended when Akane slap Ranma's face.
The sound of the blow echoed in the dojo, Ranma's touching her stinging left cheek, her expression going from joy to surprise to anger, "Why did you slap me?"
"BAKA!" Akane snapped back, "I tried for hours to get you to notice I wasn't dead while you carried me," her fists clinched, "but did you notice? No! You didn't check my pulse, you didn't check my heart, all you did was treat me like a slab of meat!" Then her rage turned on her family, "And did any of you check? No! You don't know how embarrassing it was to have my clothes stripped off, my body washed and then dressed like I was some life-size doll!"
Ranma looked at Akane as she got on a roll, the transformation of the moment from tragedy to exhilaration, caused another emotion to bloom inside the redhead, causing her to grin wider and wider. Akane spotted the grin, "What's with the shit-eating gr..." the tomboy's question stopped short as Ranma yanked Akane into a tight hug. Akane is caught off-guard so doesn't try to break the hold, "Ranma?"
"Akane...okaeri..." Ranma's nose softly nuzzled Akane's neck, hesitantly the youngest Tendo daughter hugged the redhead back "I missed you."