It was a beautiful Saturday morning in Juuban, the skies were clear, the birds were singing, there was hardly a cloud in the sky and most importantly, no daimons were running amuck and trying to suck the heart crystals out of anyone. In short, it was a perfect day to go out, with friends or family, or even with that special someone. And it is here that the story begins.
For in the back yard of the Tsukino family, among the many morning sounds of nature, one could hear the sounds of physical exercise being conducted. There were only two involved in this physical exercise, for Usagi was still asleep at this early hour on Saturday, and the parent Tsukino's had gone out to the market nearby for groceries.
One of those two was a tall, brown-haired girl dressed in a somewhat baggy gi. She was lithe, and tomboyish in a way, but it was an attractive tomboyishness that seemed to attract males. The other was a tall, older-looking teenage boy dressed totally in black, with a long pig-tail hanging down to his waist. He was cute, not very handsome, but cute.
To say the two were sparring would have been giving the brown-haired girl too much credit, and the pig-tailed boy too little. It would have been more accurate to say that the brown-haired girl was trying to punch or kick the boy, but was not succeeding to say the least. For the boy seemed to be able to sense where the attack was coming from and dodge it, he had a semi-disinterested look on his face as he avoided the girl's attacks as if it were but second-nature to him.
And it was, martial arts was as natural to him as breathing or eating. He had started learning martial arts since the time he had taken his very first steps, and had gone on an intense training journey spanning ten years that would have broken any lesser man. But he was Ranma Saotome, the Heir to the Anything-Goes School of Martial Arts, one of the best in the world despite his young age. It was a title few could lay claim to.
And the girl currently trying to lay a hand on him was Makoto Kino, one of the students at Juuban High and secretly Sailor Jupiter.
Makoto panted as she stared at Ranma in disbelief, sweat running down her cheeks and plastering her hair to her forehead. She couldn't believe it, all her effort and she hadn't even come close to touching him. Not to mention that while she looked and felt like she had just run a cross country marathon in 20 minutes, Ranma still looked as fresh as ever.
While she knew she didn't have as much endurance in her normal form compared to her Senshi form, she also knew that she was one of the fittest people in school, not just counting girls. She wondered if he was even human sometimes, for it seemed like he did humanely impossible things on a daily basis.
"Tired already?" Ranma asked, landing on his feet, for it seemed to her that he had spent almost the whole time up in the air dodging her attacks as he jumped about. He didn't even seem winded from all that leaping about.
The only answer he got was the sound of Makoto's panting. He sighed, frowning as he did so. Although he already knew that normal people wasn't as fit as Ryouga and him, he didn't think they were this weak. No wonder they were so easily scared of the demons. It was going to take some time to train this girl until she was at least capable of defending herself against several attackers.
"You need to exercise even more, and build up your stamina. As it is, you're too easily exhuasted. Not to mention, your forms while good, still need some more refining, and you're not being flexible enough with them," Ranma said, criticising her fighting style, slowly listing all the faults in them.
Makoto only nodded after each point, mentally trying to remember them all. After all, she was the one who had asked Ranma to teach her some pointers in martial arts so that she could better carry out her duty as Sailor Jupitor.
Finally, after some time Ranma finished. "Did you catch all that?" Ranma asked, looking at Makoto inquiringly. He hoped she did, he'd hate to have to repeat it all over again.
Makoto nodded, although truthfully she had lost him some time after he had said that she needed to be more defensive. She was surprised however when Ranma threw his head back and laughed. Not a malicious, or even mean laugh but a laugh of genuine mirth and joy.
"Hahaha, I guess that was too much to take in," Ranma said finally as he looked at her, merriment in his eyes and a small grin on his face. "Sorry about that, I tend to get carried away sometimes. I hope you don't hold it against me," he said sincerely, a little smile painting his face.
Makoto nodded, unsure of what to do. For this was a side of Ranma she had never seen before, she had never seen him so carefree. For he was usually quiet and less spontaneous, choosing to keep to himself instead.
"Anyway, training's over for today," Ranma said, knowing that there was no use in continuing. Poor Makoto looked like she was about ready to fall over. Although he himself had been pushed and prodded by Happosai many times when he felt like he was going to collapse from pure exhaustion, he didn't think he could push Makoto like that. Maybe it was because she was a girl, or maybe it was because he considered her a friend now, one of the few he had and didn't want to alienate her. Whatever the reason, he couldn't bring himself to push her. "I'd suggest you get some rest, you look like you could use it," he advised, before turning his back on her and walking back to the Tsukino home. *Hm, I wonder if the furo is ready?*
Makoto watched as Ranma walked back to the house, her heart constricting with every step. "Ranma, wait!" she called after him, only to regret it as he turned back to stare at her with those piercing blue eyes. "Um... I was... um," she stumbled to get the words out of her suddenly dry mouth.
"Yes?" Ranma asked, looking at her with his head cocked to one side as he did.
"Um... I was wondering... if...maybeyou'dliketowatchamovietoday!" The words came out in a rush, as she looked at Ranma expectantly, waiting for his answer.
A silence ensued as Ranma stared at her and she stared at Ranma, their gazes locked on each other. Makoto's heart seemed to freeze as no answer was forthcoming from Ranma. *Maybe he doesn't like me? Or maybe I'm not his type??* Makoto worried, as she looked at Ranma, searching for an answer.
"Could you repeat that? I didn't hear you," Ranma asked suddenly, causing Makoto to face-fault. It wasn't totally his fault however, considering how Makoto had jumbled up all the words together in her haste to say it.
Makoto relaxed visibly as she prepared herself to ask him again, the words no longer catching in her throat for she had already overcome her own fear and asked him once; even though he didn't hear her. And fear is never as scary the second time around. "I was wondering if you'd like to watch a movie tonight," she said, surprised at just how calm her words were.
Ranma thought about it for a moment. He didn't really have anything better to do tonight, and Makoto seemed to be hoping that he would go with her. And if there was anything that could be considered Ranma's weak point, it was the opposite gender. "Okay," he agreed, nodding his head slowly. However he couldn't help but feel like he had just put a foot into his grave.
"WHERE ON EARTH AM I NOW!!" screamed one very lost, and upset teenager. He had been so sure that he had gone in the right direction, but now he didn't think so. He didn't remember Japan having so many mountains, or being so cold during this time of the year. He watched as several camel-like animals passed by him.
He sighed as he plopped down on the ground unceremoniously. There was no use denying it, he was lost again. If he kept on missing his training sessions with Happosai-sensei, he wouldn't be able to catch up to Ranma! Already Ranma's skill was beginning to exceed him in some ways and he couldn't allow that to happen. He had to catch up!
While he treated Ranma as a friend, sort of, there was an intense rivalry between the two of them. A rivalry to see whom was Happosai's best disciple, and more importantly who was the better martial artist. So far, Ranma was ahead of Ryouga, partially because Ranma had been Happosai's disciple for longer than Ryouga had, and partially because of Ranma's near-suicidal determination to learn martial arts no matter what.
Rei sighed as she swept around the shrine. This was so boring that she wished that a daimon would attack so that she would have an excuse to drop the stupid broom. It was sooo unfair, she thought. It was a perfectly fine Saturday morning. Pretty girls, such as herself, shouldn't have to stay at home and sweep the shrine. Instead she ought to have been out having fun with her friends, or going on a date with her boyfriend. She sighed, leaning her head on the handle of the broom as she did so. Too bad she didn't have a boyfriend, even though she wished she had one. *No use thinking about it, it's not like he's going to drop out of the sky or something,* she thought.
"Hey Rei," someone said casually from behind her, causing her to start and drop her broom. Whirling around, she saw Ranma looking at her with a bemused smile on his face.
*You must be kidding,* Rei thought, looking up at the heavens. "Where did you come from!" she then yelled, attempting to swat him with her broom for frightening her like that. Needless to say, she didn't quite succeed as Ranma just answered her with an enigmatic smile and dodged her blows easily.
After what seemed like an eternity; but in reality only ten minutes, she gave up, panting slightly as she leaned on her broom for support, scowling in his general direction. "What did you come here for anyway? I doubt it was just to scare me," she said, glaring at him for good measure. Not that she minded his company at all, but he could be such a jerk sometimes.
Ranma smiled, flashing his teeth, the sight causing her to feel like she was melting like butter on a hot grill. No matter what he was like sometimes, there was no denying that Ranma was one of the most attractive boys she had ever met. While he wasn't as handsome as Mamoru, there was a certain charm about him that seemed to attract females. "Sorry about scaring you like that," Ranma said, still smiling. His face sobered as he looked at her with serious eyes. "I was wondering if you know how to make wards."
Rei realised that she had been staring at him and quickly shook herself out of her trance. "Wards?" Rei said. "What kind of wards?" she asked.
"I wanna ward my dreams, and I was wondering if you knew how to make those kind of wards," Ranma asked.
"Of course I can," Rei said, crossing her arms as she mock-glared at Ranma. "But why should I help you after you scared me like that?"
"Because you're a nice and compassionate person?" Ranma tried, looking at Rei to see if his words had any effect on her.
"Flattery will get you nowhere," Rei said.
Ranma swore slightly under his breath, remembering to beat up Happosai next time for giving him faulty advice. "Females always like to be flattered, Ranma. Remember that, once you do that, they'll be putty in your hands," Happosai had said. So much for that idea! *What should I do?* he wondered, if those weird dreams kept invading his sleep, he wouldn't be able to sleep in peace. And while he could go without a few days of sleep, he tended to slower and more careless when he didn't get enough sleep, and that wasn't such a good idea in a region with as many daimons as Juuban. "Well, what do you want me to do anyway?" he asked plaintively.
"Well..." Rei hesitated. What did she want Ranma to do anyway? After a while, she finally thought of something. There was that new movie she had always wanted to watch at the Cineplex... Besides, it was fate after all.
As Ranma made his way from Rei's place, he wondered just how strange it was that Rei wanted to go and watch the exact same movie as Makoto, and at exactly the same time. He shrugged it off as mere coincidence, after all stranger things had happened to him before. Still, he couldn't shake this uneasy feeling he had. He hoped Makoto wouldn't mind him inviting Rei along with them, but then he didn't really see any reason why she would. After all, Rei was her friend after all and how did the saying go, "The more the merrier" ?
"For me?" Minako asked in surprise as she looked at the pair of tickets being offered to her. Taking them tentatively, she looked at them. How nice, they were for the new movie she had wanted to see.
"Yeah, I wanted to go with my boyfriend, but I can't make it. So I want you to have them," Minako's friend said. "So please accept them," she said, before running off, waving back at Minako as she did so.
"Wait! I can't-" Whatever Minako had to say was left unfinished as her friend disappeared from view. She looked back at the tickets in her hand, wondering whom she should invite.
That question however was quickly solved for her when she spotted a familiar figure passing overhead. "Ranma!" she yelled, waving to attract his attention.
It worked well enough as Ranma stopped in mid-leap to look down at her. And crashed right into the building he was leaping to. Or would have, except for the fact that he kicked his leg out to thrust himself away from the building and towards the ground.
"Hi Minako," he said as he landed, smiling as he did so.
"Ranma-kun, are you free this afternoon?" Minako asked, smiling as she did so, a "I won't take no for an answer" look upon her visage.
--1700hr; at Juuban Cineplex--
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!?!" three very surprised teenage girls yelled as they spotted one another.
"What do you mean 'what am I doing here'? I'm supposed to meet Ranma here!" Makoto said.
"Wait a minute, I'm supposed to meet Ranma here as well!" Rei exclaimed.
"And so was I!" Minako said.
"Don't tell me," all three girls said again at the same time, " that he's leading all of us on!!"
Makoto fairly growled, she hated people who led women on like that. If Ranma was truly that sort of guy, Usagi's cousin or not, he'd learn not to mess with the fairer sex.
Rei scowled, muttering under her breath about 'baka martial artists' and uncomplimentary things about a certain pig-tailed male. She couldn't believe the nerve of Ranma, trying to date all three of them at one time, who did he think he was!?
Even Minako didn't look too happy as she looked at the other two girls. *What was Ranma thinking?* she wondered, surely he didn't think he could have gotten away with this. Especially after she had gone to all the trouble of asking him out as well.
It was just at that moment, the unfortunate(or fortunate, depending on your P.O.V) Ranma Saotome arrived. "Hey," he said, waving to them as he joined them.
"Ranma!" the shouts of all three girls and the glare they shot him was almost enough to make him take a step back. Almost.
"What?" he said, looking at them with innocuous eyes.
"What's the big idea of inviting them along!?" Makoto said, stepping forward so she could confront Ranma.
" What's the big idea of trying to lead all of us on!" Rei demanded.
"Lead all of you on??" Ranma said, genuinely confused. He didn't know the three of them hated spending time with each other that much. "But I thought all of you were friends... Don't you like spending time with each other?"
"... We are! But that's not the point! Why did you try and date all of us at the same time!" Minako yelled, upset.
"Date? What's a date?" Ranma asked.
All three girls face-faulted at the same time, along with all the other people who had been secretly eavesdropping on the argument.
"What do you mean you don't know what a date is!?" Rei yelled.
"Well, today's date is the 17th... Is that what you mean?"
"NO!!" It was Makoto's turn to yell now.
"Or are you talking about that fruit that grows on palm trees?"
Another face-fault later.
"No, a date is when a girl and a boy go out together!" Minako said.
"Oh," Ranma said, understanding showing on his face. He wondered why Happosai had never told him about this 'date' thing before, but then Happosai never had been interested in the dating procedure, he preferred to cut straight to the groping and fondling. And he knew better than to follow that advice!
Makoto sighed. "Never mind," she said. It looked like Ranma seriously had no idea where he had gone wrong. She knew she should be angry at him, but his naivete seemed to make him all the more attractive. Similar thoughts were running through the minds of the other two girls. "Let's just go in and watch the movie," she said, grabbing hold of one of Ranma's arms.
" Alright, but I get to sit next to Ranma," Minako said.
"No, I get to sit next to Ranma!"
Ranma sighed, and tried to remind himself that more was supposed to be merrier.
The movie had been fine...initially. The girls had been competing to see who would sit besides Ranma, when one of them had accidentally bumped into Ranma, which in turn set off a chain reaction, causing Ranma to spill his soda over himself. Needless to say, Ranma wasn't pleased.
"Hey, where did Ranma go??" Makoto said suddenly, as she looked around realising that Ranma was no longer with them.
"That's right, where did he go?" Rei asked, turning her head left and right as she searched for Ranma.
"I'm over here," a high-pitched cute voice came from besides them. At least it would have sounded cute if it hadn't seemed so annoyed.
"Ranma?" Makoto said, looking behind her.
"Here!" Makoto realised the voice was coming from below her line of sight and turned her head down to see a short, but buxom red-haired female whom was currently glaring at the three of them. The effect of the glare was slightly spoiled as the girl still somehow managed to look irresistibly cute, almost pouting in a way.
"Who are you?" Minako asked, wondering if this was _yet_ another girl that Ranma had invited along.
"I'm Ranma!" the girl protested.
"You can't be Ranma! Ranma's a male, and you're a female," Rei argued.
"I'm a boy!"
"No you're not!"
"Yes I am!"
"No you're not!"
"Yes I am!"
Makoto quickly interrupted the duo's argument before Rei started to lose her temper. "Look, if you were a boy, you wouldn't have breasts," Makoto said, trying to be reasonable as she pointed at the girl's chest.
"... It's a curse!" Ranma-chan exclaimed, which was followed by several loud hushes as several of the audience turned their heads back to frown disapprovingly at them.
"What do you mean it's a curse?? You should be happy you've got such a nice figure," Minako said somewhat enviously.
"Aaaargh!" Ranma-chan yelled as she felt like tearing her hair out in frustration. "Fine, I'll show you," she said, grabbing hold of Makoto's hand and dragging the taller girl behind her.
"Hey, where are you going??" Makoto asked in confusion, as she tried to jerk her hand away from the strange; and possible insane, girl's. But no matter how she tried, she couldn't for the girl's grip was like steel.
"Where do you think you're going with our friend?" Rei and Minako said as they formed a barricade in front of the girl.
"To get some hot water," Ranma-chan replied as she easily brushed the two away and headed towards the male toilet.
"That's the male toilet," Rei pointed.
"Gee, I didn't know that," Ranma-chan replied sarcastically, as she continued to walk towards it. Once she reached it, she pushed the door open and walked to the sink. "Now watch," she said as she splashed herself with hot water, causing her to transform back into a male. "See?" he said, turning back to Rei, Minako and Makoto, only to discover the three of them had fainted.
Ranma sighed, somehow managing to pick up and carry all three of them at the same time. *Looks like there'll be no watching a movie today,* he thought as he walked out of the cinema, carrying them all the way, ignoring the strange looks he was receiving from the rest of the people in the cinema.
"Damn, what's his secret?" one of the males present said as he watched the boy leave with the three cute girls.
Makoto sighed contentedly, snuggling up to Ranma as they both lay on the soft bed. She blinked suddenly, realising the bed was much harder than usual and that the body she was cuddling up to had definite feminine curves.
She blinked and woke up, only to find herself staring into a pair of dark brown eyes, Minako's eyes to be exact.
"AAAAAaaaaaaaah!!" they both screamed, jumping away from each other, each staring at the other like she was a daimon.
"What's going on?" a sleepy Rei said, grumbling slightly as she awoke. Weirdly enough, she couldn't remember going to sleep.
"Oh good, I see you've woke up already," a voice came from behind Makoto, spooking her and causing her to jump slightly. She turned to see Ranma watching her with a bemused look on his face. Idly, she noted that he had a kettle and a bottle of water slung over his shoulder.
"Where are we?" Minako asked, looking at the trees that surrounded them. "Last I remember, we were in the cinema."
"Well, we were in the cinema...but you girls kinda fainted, so I brought you to the park instead."
Makoto felt like cursing, Ranma had carried her in his arms but she had been unconscious during the whole journey. It felt like such a waste.
"Wait, what about that strange girl?" Rei asked suddenly. "She was dressed exactly like you, and even had a pigtail like yours," she said, pointing to Ranma.
"Well...you see..." Ranma mumbled, twiddling his fingers.
"I know!" Minako said suddenly.
"You do?" Ranma asked hopefully, at least this way he wouldn't have to go through the embarassing process of explaining the curse.
"She's stalking you!" Minako stated. It explained everything, her way of dressing, why she looked exactly like Ranma, even down to the pigtail.
Ranma facefaulted. "Uh..... not exactly," Ranma said.
"Wait, she's your sister!" Makoto declared.
"NOO! SHE'S ME!!" Ranma declared, trying to get a word in as the three girls offered various ideas on who the girl had been. It worked, sorta. There was a stunned silence following his outburst as the three girls just looked at him.
"Ranma..." Makoto said, somewhat hesitantly and nervously. "Are you a transvestite?"
Ranma facefaulted again. "No I'm not!" he denied furiously. "Look, the truth is that I'm cursed to become a female whenever I get splashed with cold water!" To illustrate his point, he splashed some water on himself.
Rei watched in fascinated horror as Ranma's frame began shrinking while his/her chest suddenly expanded, a red tinge spreading over Ranma's hair until it was totally ruby-red. In the span of a few seconds, where a boy had stood before them, now stood a girl. A very cute-looking girl.
"H...How!?" Rei asked, stuttering slightly as she look at the boy-turned-girl in front of her.
"It's a curse okay!" Ranma-chan said. She was about to pour the hot water on herself when she felt someone glomp onto her from behind. She stiffened in surprise, her eyes becoming as wide as platters.
"Oh my pig-tailed goddess, long have I searched for thou!" a bokken-wielding, Shakespeare quoting boy said, as he nuzzled up to his pig-tailed goddess from behind. "Never shalt I let thou go aga-- URK!" the boy said as Ranma-chan quickly recovered and slammed him into the ground. Several times. Hard.
"Who the hell are you!?!" Ranma growled, pouring the hot water on himself as he glared at the boy in front of him, his fists twitching as he yearned to do more than slam the moron into the ground but the restrained himself.
Minako watched as Ranma seemed...almost defensive. She had never seen this side of him before, didn't even know he had such a side since he always appeared to be so confident in everything he did. His tone was that of injured pride.
"Who art thou? And wherefore has my pigtailed-goddess went?" the boy said, as he stood up unexpectedly, he didn't even seem the slightest bit injured from being slammed into the ground.
Ranma opened his mouth when he was interrupted.
"But wait, is it not customary to give one's own name first?" the boy harked, as he whipped out a bokken from nowhere and pointed at the sky. "For I am the Blue Thunder, Tatewaki Kuno, the young and undefeated star of Nerima High School, age 18!" Just as he finished reciting all that, arcs of lightning flashed in the sky. "You may applaud now," he said in all seriousness as he looked at them.
"Hast thou seen my pig-tailed goddess?" Kuno asked. "I have followed her over mountains and valleys, for I am the only one worthy of her!"
Minako sighed, it was soooo romantic, searching for your love in that way. At least until she remembered that Kuno's love happened to be Ranma, and the fact that Kuno didn't really appear to be all that bright.
"I AM NOT YOUR PIG-TAILED GODDESS!"
"Of course not, you are male. The one I seek is a girl, no a goddess! Descended from the heavens to shine her holy light upon me!" Kuno declared. "Ah, I can still remember the day we met!"
SD.Kuno walks along the street, followed by a crowd of giggling girls.
"Kuno-sempai, will you please go out with me?"
"Kuno-sempai, please eat this bento I cooked especially for you!"
"Kuno-sempai, please marry me!"
Suddenly, time seems to stop as the whole world seems to spin as SD.Kuno catches sight of a SD.Ranma-C. It seems like a great big spotlight has fallen on her, and stars seem to spiral around her. SD.Kuno holds his breath.
SD.Kuno walks up to her, and SD.Ranma-C becomes nervous.
"Will thou please date with me?" SD.Kuno asked, kneeling on his knees.
"Oh yes! Yes! Yes!" SD.Ranma-C says, hugging Kuno.
"Ah yes, it was true love at first sig-" The rest of Kuno's speech was cut off as Ranma kicked him into the side of a tree.
" That's not what I remember!" Ranma yelled.
SD.Ranma-C is walking along when suddenly SD.Kuno appears and starts trying to woo her. After listening to his speeches and one attempted glomp later, SD.Kuno is sailing through the air, before SD.Ranma-C fires one more ki-blast at him to knock him out of the sky.
"That's what really happened," Ranma asserted smugly. "Baka brain here tried to hit on me and I uppercutted him into LEO."
"Thou lies!" Kuno yelled. "I see now! Thou art trying to keep me from my pig-tailed goddess! Thou wants her for thyself!"
"Look, you're really starting to piss me off, you moron!" Ranma said, gritting his teeth. He couldn't believe that such an irritating person could actually have been born on this earth, and have survived until he was eighteen without getting killed by the people he annoyed. "Trust me, your pig-tailed goddess wants nothing to do with you!"
"I, the fair and noble Kuno Tatewaki, the Blue Thunder, shall show thee the folly of thy lecherous ways!"
"Hey, are you even listening to me?" Ranma shouted. "I guess not," he mumbled as Kuno came charging at him.
He watched with interest as the Kuno boy got punted away once again. He was a fool, but perhaps he could be useful if properly aided. He smiled as he looked at Ranma and the girls again. *Soon,* he thought. *Very soon. Enjoy your peace while you can.*
Laughing silently to himself, he teleported away.
Suddenly, time seems to stop as the whole world seems to spin as SD.Kuno catches sight of a SD.Ranma-C. When suddenly a great big, 120V 230W spotlight with the logo [Acme] falls on her.
Director[slapping hand to forehead]: Dammit, knew I shouldn't have assigned Mihoshi to props.