Subject: [FFML] [Ranma] Choices I: Planned Brotherhood Part I
From: Tail Kinker
Date: 11/25/2005, 1:37 PM
To: ffml@anifics.com
Reply-to:
tailkinker@contrabandent.com


The Choices series is a concept put together by myself and Composer 
(composervivi@yahoo.com), written with the idea of putting a new spin on 
overused fanfic cliches.  The new spin is this:  Rather than whatever 
calamity it is befalling the character accidentally, against his/her 
will, or by simply leaping before they look, in these series, the 
characters so afflicted will *consider* the possibility, actually try to 
think it through, before blindly diving in headfirst.

So be warned:  Old, tired fanfic cliches ahead.  But you might like the 
story anyway.


                            Disclaimer

Ranma  1/2  and the characters and situations within were created
by Rumiko Takahashi, and are owned by Shonen Sunday, Kitty,  Viz,
et al ad nauseum.  They are *not* mine.  Please don't sue me.

                       Tail Kinker Presents

                            Choices I:

                        Planned Brotherhood

                                -1-

Cologne  stared  down  at the letter in her hands, a look of com-
plete disbelief in her eyes.  She'd had this message  for  almost
three hours, and she still could not quite comprehend its import.
It was impossible.  It was inconcievable.

Actually, it was rather expected, and she wondered what had taken
them so long.

The bell over the Nekohanten door rang, and Ranma stepped in.

"Hey, Granny.  I heard you wanted to talk to me?"

Cologne looked up from table.  "Yes, Ranma.  Please, sit down."

Ranma's eyebrow raised.  "'Ranma'?  Not 'Son-in-law'?"

"We have serious things to discuss.  Now is not the time for ver-
bal fencing."

Ranma shrugged, and sat.  "All right.  Elder."

Cologne chuckled.  "No need to overdo it."  She made a final mark
in  the ledger book, snapped it shut, then slid the various bills
and receipts - and that one other document - to the side.   "Now,
as  to  why  I called you here:  I have a choice to offer you.  I
have procured a means to cure your curse."

Ranma raised a hand.  "Whoa.  If the cost is me marryin' Shampoo,
you should know--"

"Yes, I know;  you have finally admitted your love to Akane.  All
it took was a mountain splitting and the death of a God."

He shrugged.  "Well, sometimes, things need a bit of a push,  you
know?"

"Indeed."   Cologne grinned, then set a small flask on the table.
"Know what this is?"

"Uhh..."  Ranma frowned.  "My first guess is that it'd  be  water
from Nannichuan, but..."

"But?"

"But  that's too obvious.  You wouldn't have asked if that's what
it was."

"And they say you're stupid."  She  chuckled.   "You  are  right,
Ranma.   It  is  not  water from the Spring of Drowned Man.  Such
would be worthless, even dangerous, to you."

"Why?  Wouldn't that cure the curse?"

Cologne shook her head.  "No, I'm afraid that there is no  simple
cure  for  the  curse.  Using Nannichuan water would put you in a
worse position than you are now.  Remember Taro?"

"Yeah, he jumped into  a  second  spring  and..."   Ranma's  eyes
widened.   "You  mean  I'd  become--"  A shudder.  "Man, I'm real
glad that the Japanese Nannichuan was shut down."

"Actually, the irony is, that would've worked.   Completely  dif-
ferent magic."

"Nuts."

"What  is  in  this  bottle,  is water from the Spring of Drowned
Twins."

Ranma leaned forward, and studied the bottle.   "Isn't  that  the
stuff that Taro had?  Though he thought it was something else."

"Yes.   Normally,  a  person  who  has been exposed to this water
will, when the curse is triggered,  fission  into  two  identical
twins.   The fissioning is very painful."  She chuckled.  "I know
of one Amazon woman, who has had three children,  and  is  cursed
with  this water.  She has said, on several occasions, that she'd
rather give birth to all three children, at their  current  ages,
than undergo one more fissioning."

"Ouch."  Ranma paused.  "How old are her kids?"

"The youngest is seventeen."

"Ouch again."

"Yes."  She chuckled.  "And since it is still a Jushenkyou curse,
the hot water/cold water rules still apply.  As does the tendency
to be...how do you put it again?"

"A water magnet?"

"That's it."

"Hold on, I just thoughta something."  Ranma frowned.  "Since the
curses combine, wouldn't this mean that a cursed person who  used
this  water would fission into their normal form and their cursed
form?"

"Very good, Ranma."

"This ain't no cure!"  Ranma stood up.  "This just  makes  things
way worse!"

"Not really."  Cologne dropped another item on the table, a long-
handled silver ladle.  "Do you recognize this?"

Ranma dropped back into his seat, a look of dread  on  his  face.
"The Chiisuiton."

"Yes.  Now, can you put the pieces together?"

Ranma frowned, and thought.  "The Chiisuiton would lock my curse.
And that stuff--"  His eyes widened.  "So you use the  Spring  of
Drowned Twins to split my curse, then lock it!  I'd be a man for-
ever!"

"Yes."  Cologne smiled, and waited for the other shoe to fall.

It didn't take long.  Ranma's brow creased.  "But there'd be this
other  me,  a  girl,  trapped in a female body forever."  Then he
brightened.  "No, she wouldn't!  She  could  just  jump  in  Nan-
nichuan--"

Cologne  rapped  him  across  the  forehead  with the Chiisuiton.
"Wrong.  And you were doing so well, too."

"Oh, right.  We'd still be cursed, and  then  we'd  both  end  up
dickgirls  or  something."  Ranma sighed.  "Well, it seems like a
good idea.  Why are you offering me these?"

Cologne rolled her eyes.  "You still haven't thought it  through.
Yes,  there  would  be this 'other you' running around, a girl in
all ways.  Tell me, who would this girl be?"

"It'd be me, of course."

Cologne decided to give him five seconds.  It only took three.

"Wait a minute...that means it'd be me, stuck as a girl  forever.
Me."

Cologne  nodded.   "Yes,  Ranma.   Use  this combination, and you
would indeed be a man forever.  But you would  also  be  a  woman
forever."


                             * * * * *


"I'm home!"

Akane  stepped  out  of  her  shoes,  pulled on her slippers, and
looked around the front hall.

"Kasumi?  Nabiki?"

She walked into the family room, and noted the shogi  board,  un-
used.  She stuck her head into the kitchen.  Nobody.

"Father?  Ranma?"

Still  no answer.  She shrugged.  Well, it meant that she had the
house to herself for once.  Probably they were out somewhere--

Wait.  She glanced out towards the pond, and saw Ranma sitting by
the  pond.   He  was in girl form at the moment, sitting with his
back towards her.  He was rocking back and forth, muttering some-
thing  she  couldn't  make out.  And he was practically radiating
confusion.

She walked up behind him, until she could make out  what  he  was
saying.

"...can't  do  that  to her, even if she is me.  But it's my only
chance..."  She let out a heavy sigh.  "I wish I had  someone  to
talk to about this."

"Will I do?"

He  jumped, high enough to land straight on his feet.  Akane gig-
gled.

"Jeez, Akane.  What the heck are ya tryin'  ta  do?   Give  me  a
heart attack?"

"I'm sorry.  I didn't actually mean to startle you."

"Ah, it's okay."  He waved it off.

"So what's wrong?"

"Oh."  The redhead plopped back down next to the pond.  Akane sat
next to him, smoothing her skirt beneath her as she did.

"I just got back from visitin' the old ghoul.  She says she's got
some things that could cure my curse.  But there's a catch."

"With her, there always is."

"Yeah,  but this one's a doozy.  See, the trick is that she's got
some water that will split my curse.  Make a boy Ranma and a girl
Ranma.  Then she can lock it so we never change."

Akane  considered  this.   "That would work, wouldn't it?  Except
for the girl you still being around."

"Yeah, that's what's eatin' me."  Ranma picked up  a  pebble  and
tossed  it helplessly into the pool.  "'Cause it's real important
to remember that that girl...would still be me."

"I kinda figured that out, Ranma.  I'm not stupid, you know."

"I know.  But I don't think you really get it yet."  Ranma  shud-
dered.  "That girl would be me, in every way.  But a girl, forev-
er."

Akane nodded.  "I think I see."

"So I got a chance to be a boy forever, but part of the price  is
that I also will be a girl forever."

"But  it won't be you, it'll be--"  Akane paused.  "It'll be you.
I  understand.   From  that  girl's  point  of  view,  she   will
be...you."

"Yeah."

"What's the other part of the price?"

"Cologne,  Shampoo  and  Mousse  have been kicked out of the Ama-
zons."  Ranma chuckled.  "Cologne says they're gonna try starting
an Amazon tribe right here in Nerima."

"Well,  they'll  fit  right  in.   Everything  else wierd happens
here."

"Or Juuban."  Ranma nodded.  "The other half of the price is that
I have to join 'em."

Akane scowled.  "You are not going to marry Shampoo."

"No!"   He raised his hands in self-defense.  "Nothin' like that!
It'd be my girl self joinin', as an Amazon warrior."

"Oh."  The thunderclouds receded.  "Well, would that be so  bad?"

"Naw,  that's  the  easy  part."   Ranma sighed.  "What I have to
think about is, is the first part of it worth the cure?"

Akane gazed at her fiance with sudden respect.  "I'm  really  im-
pressed,  Ranma...you  actually stopped to think about the conse-
quences of your actions."

"Don't praise me too much, Akane...Cologne told me  she  wouldn't
give  me  the  cure  unless I could prove that I'd really thought
about it."

"Figures."  Akane chuckled.  "Knew it was too good to be true."

"Tomboy."

"Pervert."

"Heh."  A gleam came into the girl's eyes.  "If I take the  cure,
then I could show you a real pervert."

"NO!"   Akane  jumped  to  her feet, laughing.  "Don't even think
about that, Ranma!"

"What's wrong?"  He jumped up as well.  "Thought  you  loved  me,
even when I'm a girl?"

Akane gave him a shove, and he fell back into the pond.  Since he
was already female, this did nothing  other  than  cause  him  to
sputter.  Akane knelt, and offered a hand.

"So why were you in girl form?"

Ranma  took  her  hand,  and  she pulled him out of the pond.  He
looked away from her, absently wringing the water out of his silk
shirt.

"I  needed to think about bein' a girl.  And I figured I couldn't
think about it unless I was one."

"Okay..."  Akane shrugged.  "What have you thought about?"

"Well, the worst part is that the me that is a girl will be real-
ly  pissed  with the me that is a boy.  And no matter which one I
end up as--"  He paused.  "But that doesn't really  matter,  does
it.   I will be both."  He shook his head.  "Man, this is a tough
one."

"Very mind-boggling, yes."  Akane smiled.  "Wonder why we're tak-
ing it so calmly?"

"Because  after  all  the looniness that's come along in the last
year, this bit is almost sensible?"

"Might be."

"Akane, I think I'm gonna do this.   It's  probably  the  hardest
thing  I've  ever decided, but I'm gonna do this."  He looked up,
and she was startled to see tears in his eyes.  "But I  need  you
to promise me something."

"What?"

"When  I'm  a...girl,  I  need you to give me all the support you
can, okay?  Make sure I don't fall apart.  Because once  this..."
He  held  out  his  arms,  indicating his currently female state.
"Once this is my only form, no  more  man-among-men,  forever...I
don't know what's gonna happen to me."

Akane nodded.  "I understand."


                             * * * * *


"I've thought about it."

Cologne  looked  from  Ranma,  currently  in  his female form, to
Akane, standing protectively close to him.   "I  do  believe  you
have."

"You wanted proof I'd thought, right?  I--"

She  waved him off.  "You brought Akane with you.  Obviously, you
had the common sense to talk to her about it.  No  further  proof
is  needed."   She  hopped  off  her chair and walked back to the
kitchen.

When she returned, she bore the flask and the ladle.  "Akane, the
substance  in  this  bottle  is  very dangerous.  I recommend you
stand as far away as you can get.  Under no curcumstances are you
to touch Ranma until we are complete."

"I  understand."  She walked back to the door, and turned to face
the two.

Cologne raised the bottle.  "This is your last chance, Ranma."

"I know."  Ranma knelt before the old woman.  "Go ahead."

Cologne carefully uncorked the flask, and poured it over  Ranma's
head.

And  Ranma  screamed.   It was the most heart-rending cry imagin-
able, the sound  of  utter  agony.   And  suddenly,  it  was  two
screams,  identical save in pitch.   Akane's eyes widened, as she
saw his clothing begin to strain at the seams.

"Ranma!"  She started to leap forward--

"NO!"  Cologne raised a hand, and Akane stopped, mid-lunge.  "Id-
iot  girl!  If you touch him now, you will suffer the same fate!"

Ranma's clothes gave way, tearing with an unpleasant  sound,  and
two  forms  sprawled away from them.  One, her tall, handsome fi-
ance, the other, the petite girl with whom she'd  arrived.   Both
lay  naked  on  the  floor, the ruined clothes between them.  The
screams had stopped;  both Ranmas were unconscious.

Cologne raised the ladle, and splashed the twins  with  the  con-
tents.   "It  is now safe to approach.  I have locked the curse."
She shook her head.  "Too well I  remember  this  transformation.
Three seconds of unbearable agony."  She sighed.

Akane looked up in surprise.  "You--?"

"No.  My granddaughter."  Cologne looked saddened.  "I would have
given a great deal to have the Chiisuiton in my possession thirty
years ago.  I could have done for her what I did for Ranma."

The male Ranma was stirring, mumbling something under his breath.
Cologne turned, grabbing two bundles of cloth, and  handed  Akane
one  of  Mousse's  white  robes.   "Here.  He will want this, and
quickly, when he comes to."  The second item was a two-piece Chi-
nese suit, similar to the one Ranma had been wearing moments ago,
but in green silk.  "And this one, one of Shampoo's, for..."  She
frowned.  "...for Ranma."

"Ranko."

"Hm?"

The  girl  on  the  floor opened her eyes.  "I'm gonna need a new
name, to go with the new me.  I used the name Ranko before,  when
I  was  hidin' from my Mom."  She sniffed, and slowly sat up.  "I
can't be Ranma anymore, can I?"

Akane stared at the girl, then ran forward and knelt before  her.
"No,  I  guess you can't."  She smiled at the girl.  "But you can
be Ranko.  I'm Akane.  Wanna be friends?"

Ranko smiled a bit.  "Akane, I'm still--"

"I know.  But those were the first words I ever said to you."

"...I guess."  She looked down at herself.  "Guess I should cover
up, eh?"

"Still no feminine modesty?"

"Why  would I need..."  Suddenly tears welled up in her eyes, and
she lunged forward, hugging Akane to her.   "Why...feminine  mod-
esty?"   She  managed a chuckle, though it sounded as much like a
sob.  "Just us...girls here."

She glanced over at the still-unconscious Ranma, a look of  long-
ing  on  her  face.   "It's strange...I thought I'd really resent
him, because he's still a boy.  It was what  I  was  most  afraid
of."  She smiled a bit.  "But I'm not."

"Why not, Ranko?"

"Because I chose this."


                             * * * * *


Ranma  stole  a glance at the two girls walking beside him.  One,
he felt he knew reasonably well;  the other, he  felt  he  didn't
know at all.

Which was odd, considering that that one...was him.

His  former  girl  form  was  clutching Akane's arm like it was a
lifeline.  She'd always been small, but in Shampoo's  green  silk
suit,  made  for a somewhat larger girl, she seemed even more re-
duced.  That, plus the fact that she was cringing.

He turned his gaze to Akane.  His fiancee had an arm  around  the
smaller  girl,  and  occasionally  murmured something reassuring.
Perhaps she felt his gaze on her;  she  looked  up  at  him,  and
flashed him a sad smile.

He sighed, and looked ahead.  He could see the gates of the Tendo
compound;  the sooner he could get the girls  through  the  gate,
the better she'd feel--

He mentally cursed.  Ranko, he told himself.  She's not just some
girl, she's not your cursed form, she's Ranko.   And  right  now,
she's in her own personal hell.

He  was  disturbed  at  a  very deep level;  To him, the girl was
still him.  He couldn't look over at her without a  sudden  lurch
in his stomach.

They  walked  through the gates, walked into the house, and Ranma
was struck with a sudden sense of panic.

I never told Mom or Dad about this...

But long before he could even consider a way to break the news to
them, it was too late.

"Ranma?"  Nodoka had come around the corner from the family room,
and spotted Ranko, still clutched tightly to Akane's arm.   "What
happened to you?  And why are you dressed like--"  She stopped as
she caught sight of him, and her hand flew to her mouth.

"Ranma...?"  She looked back to Ranko, then to Ranma again.  "Oh,
my..."

Ranko  had gone white as a sheet.  Ranma winced;  he knew exactly
what must be going through her mind.

Oh, no, it's katana time...

He cleared his throat.  "Mom, I've got good news, and bad  news."
He  sighed.   "The  good news is that my curse is cured.  The bad
news..."  He waved a hand towards Ranko.

The girl bit her lip, her eyes pleading.

Nodoka looked at the girl, and then back  to  Ranma.   "The  cure
split you in two?"

"Yeah."   He sighed.  "And I know you're real disappointed in me,
but--"

"Disappointed?"  Nodoka shook her head.  "Bad news?  I can't  be-
lieve you'd think that my having my Ranko back is bad news!"

Ranko's eyes welled with tears.  She flew to her mother, wrapping
her arms around the taller woman.  Nodoka laughed,  and  ran  her
hand along the girl's hair.

"...Yeah, Ranko's back."  Ranma grinned weakly.

"I was so scared!"

Nodoka looked down at her 'daughter'.  "Why would you be scared?"

"Because I chose to do this."

Nodoka took a step back.  "What do you mean?"


                             * * * * *


"...And it was only as we walked into the house that  I  realized
that you might not be too happy with this."

Nodoka sighed.  "Have I seemed that terrible to you, dear?"

"Well...it was mostly what Pop had to say."

"That  would  explain  that."   Nodoka  smiled.  "Let me put your
fears to rest.

"In the first place, I want you to know that I am very  proud  of
you."

Ranko blinked.  "Proud?"

"Why, of course!  You were faced with a difficult choice, and you
chose a path that must have terrified  you."   Nodoka  shook  her
head.   "I can only imagine the strain it put you under.  To know
that you'd be a woman for the rest of your life..."

Ranma spoke up.  "To be honest, Mom, I have to say, I  also  knew
that  I'd  be  a  man for the rest of my life.  Kinda coloured my
judgement."

Nodoka turned to her son.  "Yes, Ranma, but you did remember  the
other  side."  She beamed.  "And you were brave enough to face it
like a man."

"Oh."  Ranma looked very relieved.

"Second, while I am certainly not thrilled  that  you  failed  to
mention  it  to  me,  I am pleased that you at least discussed it
with your fiancee before making the choice.

Nodoka turned back to her new daughter.  "And, dear, I am so hap-
py  that  you're back!  We can have lots of fun, like we used to,
cooking and shopping..."

"Yay."  Ranko's voice was flat.  Nodoka laughed.

"Oh, I know.  You never really enjoyed such things.   I'm  afraid
I'll have to resign myself to your being a bit of a tomboy."

Akane snickered.

Ranko glared daggers at her.


                             * * * * *


C&C can be sent to tailkinker@contrabandent.com;  flames will be laughed 
off.  Composer's input on this part was light;  please don't use him too 
hard.  :)

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