Continuing Tales

Destiny's Child

A Crossovers Story
by Fire

Part 1 of 26

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Destiny's Child

It took little more than a single splash for Genma to realise that for once he should have listened to the local guide. His sixteen year old son, his pride, his only reason for living in a cold, hard world was now his daughter. When he saw the girl bearing an unmistakable resemblance to his son, he almost fell into the pool beneath him, which would have meant getting wet for the second time this morning. Listening to the girl scream tore his heart and he leapt to the ground, pulling her from the pool. When he saw the furry paw which he used, he bellowed in anger.

The Guide stepped up, looking splendid in his lacquered bamboo armour. "Oh, sir, you fall into Nyanniichuan, Spring Of Drowned Young Girl. Very tragic story of girl who drown in spring 1500 year ago. Now whoever fall into spring take body of young girl. Very tragic-- urk!"

Checking that Ranma was all right, Genma grabbed the guide. Ranma was just as shocked by the events as Genma, an acceptable excuse for some trauma. Ranma was strong, and anyone could see that one day he would be a man among men. Lifting the large man another couple of inches off the ground, Genma stared him in the eyes. 'How do we cure my son?' What came out was the guttural growls of a angry Panda.

The guide gurgled and gasped. He may have tried to answer, but the way that Genma held him was slowly choking all the air from him. Genma relaxed his grip, and the guide tried again. "Oh, Mr Customer, sir. Is no cure. Very tragic-- wargh!"

This time the guide flew across half a dozen meters. No cure. That was what the guide said: no cure. Looking down at his son, he could understand why the boy was weeping. Genma would have sacrificed his own life for the art, and he would have sacrificed his son's too. Sacrificing you manhood: that was another matter. All his life, Genma had told Ranma how women were weaker than men. They were there to be treasured, cherished and protected: Ranma was a man, he should be the one doing the protecting. Even if Genma was a Panda, he was a male Panda.

Genma picked up his son... no, daughter... no, son... and carried her to the guide's hut. Perhaps some tea and some time to think. Genma had a son to be proud of, and he was damned if any magic pool would take him away. 'I'm sorry, Ranma. So sorry. I will find a cure, Ranma. I will.' "Growl, rargh rargh, brarrr!"

They ended staying there for two days. When Genma recovered from his anger with guide, they discovered several pieces of important information. The curse was activated and dismissed by water temperature. Each curse was water sensitive, and each chose it's own focal temperature in some unknown way. Starting with cold water, the guide worked on Genma while Ranma watched. The guide would ladle some water from his large cauldron and pour it on the animal. If the change did not occur, he would wait for the fire to heat the water, then try again. It was not far above body temperature - say a warm bath - when Genma finally returned to human.

Ranma took a bit longer. Again they started with cold, then kept working their way up. When the water was hot enough, Genma stole some for tea, and they all drank some while the small girl recovered. The guide had dampened the fire and recommended that they wait for a while before continuing. Ranma nodded gratefully, then went outside to douse her head with cold rain water to relieve the pain. When she returned, the red flush was beginning to fade from her skin, and they sat for dinner.

"Mr Customer, Sir. Is very tragic, but water to change you back must be very hot. You wish to continue this tomorrow?" Both Genma and Ranma nodded. The path of a true Martial Artist is fraught with peril, and this was just another one. Ranma knew that he was a man, and would one day make his father proud. If it meant that he needed to pour scalding water over himself, then that is what he would do.

The guide talked late into the night, explaining the origin of their curses, and the tragic stories associated with them. He also told them of the true perils associated with the training grounds.

Despite the best efforts of the people which lived near here, the Kami responsible for the pools seemed to choose their victims, and little could stop their destiny. Obstacles, fences and barricades might last for years while no visitors came. Then in the space of day, a storm would destroy the fences, and when the weather cleared, someone new would arrive to be cursed.

If you were not destined to be cursed, you could never so much as approach the pools, let alone fall in by accident. The guide had seen a party of travellers come to admire the place where a friend had been cursed. Because of rains that day, the ground was muddy and not one of the people could come within ten meters of a spring without falling over. The person who had been cursed, they had seen the guide but had not heard a word that was said... until it was too late.

The Kami of the springs hungered for victims, so the Kami consumed. Maybe the gods just liked to have their sport.

The guide did not know of any cures, but he could tell Genma of some other people within the area which may. The way to find them was hard and dangerous, certainly no place for a twelve year old girl. Looking at the guide, Genma snorted, his son might look like a twelve year old girl, but he was a true man in his heart. "Why are you the guide here? Who provides your food? Why should you help us?"

The guide sighed and sucked on his pipe. "Oh, Mr Customer, Sir. Is very tragic story. Twenty year ago, I fall into Spring Of Drowned Jusenkyo Guide, now whenever I get splashed with cold water, I take on body and soul of Jusenkyo guide which drown there 4000 year ago."

"So why don't you pour some hot water on yourself, and leave this place?"

The guide turned his head and pointed to the left side of his face. Dimly, in the flickering fire light which they sat in, they could see old scars. The scars were healed over now, but it looked like he had been badly injured once. "I try, Mr Customer, I try. When first I get this curse, I try. Heat water as hot as possible. Bubbling and steaming, I pour it, burn self very badly, but I free. I no more Jusenkyo Guide. It sunny day then, but as soon as I step outside, it rain. I become Jusenkyo Guide again.

"Mr Customer, cursed springs need Guide, so springs get guide. Ever since first guide drown in spring, 4000 year ago, new guide come and replace when old guide die. Everyone nearby give me food, housing, clothes so I stay alive. If I alive, no new Guide needed. Is good reason why springs called cursed."

That night Ranma slept fitfully. The water they had been trying had been painfully hot. Not hot enough to burn, but bad enough to be painful. What if he was stuck like this for the rest of his life? There were further things which the Guide had said. His spring was a special one. The Guide had never known anyone to fall in it before. It was also the only spring which included some mention of age in the curse. His father had fallen into the spring of the Drowned Panda, a physical body spring. There was the spring of the Drowned Virtuous Man, and the spring of the Drowned Raging Hentai; these were mental springs affecting only the mind of the person who fell. The spring of the Drowned Jusenkyo Guide affected mind and body. His was the spring of the Drowned _Young_ Girl. Whenever he entered his cursed form, he would be a twelve year old girl.

When Ranma woke, it was to the thought of his real body ageing invisibly under the curse. While he never aged a day as a girl, he would one day fall over dead, his male body decayed, decrepit and no longer able to sustain life.

A morning rain had reverted Genma to a panda, but heating the water for tea and Ranma's testing allowed his to change back. Eventually the water was hot enough to try again. The first time the guide tried, Ranma gritted her teeth, and held the table when the painfully hot water cascaded over her. The second time caused her to gasp in pain. When she stayed a girl, Ranma dashed outside and dunked her head in the rain barrel. Eventually the pain subsided, and she returned.

Genma looked on his daughter with pride. Ranma had shown dauntless determination in the acquisition of the Art, and now he showed the same determination in retrieving his manhood. What more could a father ask of his son? The third try did work. While Ranma screamed in pain from the near boiling water, he rose in stature, and again took his place in the world of men.

With thanks to the Guide, the pair eventually headed off for the next stop on the quest for Martial prowess. They lasted all of about four hours before a midday shower soaked them to their skin. The small girl and her panda wandered miserably through the forests of China.

* * *

When Genma led them into the Japanese town, he explained to Ranma their latest reason that they were here. Genma was in his human form, but Ranma was still a young girl - it had been almost a week since he was last a man. "Ranma, my boy. When I was your age, I trained under a great master with another man, Tendo Soun. My friend Soun has raised his own family, and it was our intention that our clans should be joined to ensure the future of our Art. Son, today you gain a wife."

Ranma grabbed her father and threw the heavy set man end over end. Genma landed in a small peasant's hut, it's thatched roof shaking and dropping pieces from the impact. Pulling himself from the debris, Genma heard his small, girl-shaped son curse him and saw him start to leave the town.

Running up to her, Genma took her shoulder and spun her around so he could shout in her face. "Boy, this is a matter of family honour. By doing this we can ensure the survival of the School of Anything Goes Martial Arts. It is your destiny and your duty!"

Snarling, the little girl took the meaty hand which held her shoulder and turned under it. Applying a pain hold, she levered him up and tossed him at the well. Bits of stone fell around him, but Genma again rose. Bellowing at the watching town's people, Genma chased after his errant child. "Don't try and stop me Pop. I'm going back to China."

With the time for subtlety over, Genma kicked at a tree, knocking off a large branch. With a heave, he threw it high in the air. All Ranma noticed was her father charging in for another attack on her. The battle was brief and decisive: they had traded blows for all of five seconds when the large branch landed exactly on Ranma's head, knocking her cold. "There's more tricks to this old man than you know yet, boy."

The Saotome's arrival at the Tendo's was a quiet matter indeed. Ranma was chastised and sullen, and Genma contemplative. The only noise was the sounds of birds, some farm animals, and the smithy a few houses back. Needless to say, Tendo Soun was delighted to see his old friend, even if he did bring a young daughter. It had been years since they had last met, and since letters were so expensive, it meant that the friends had not been in contact for over a decade.

After a quick round of introductions, Soun and Genma sat down for a private 'men's talk'. Kasumi and Nabiki, the eldest sisters retired from the room, silk kimonos whispering quietly. Akane looked at the young girl who had been introduced as Ranma. She was obviously uncultured from her time on the road. Apparently she thought she should stay there while their parents discussed important matters. Before she left the room, Akane spoke to her. "Hello, my name's Akane. We have a dojo out the back where Father trains students. Would you like to see it?"

The small girl nodded, so they retired from the room. Akane changed into a Gi for training, and ushered the girl outside. The Tendo house was quite opulent, a testament to the quality of her father's teaching. Not only did they have their own bath house, but they also had a large attached dojo for training.

When they sparred, Akane was stunned at the prowess which the child displayed. Surely she could not be more than twelve, but the small girl showed skill and experience far beyond her years. Eventually Akane conceded defeat, and the two retired inside. After a bath, the family and their guests gathered; the two patriarchs smiling at their children. Soun Tendo was the first to speak, while Genma watched over the kettle boiling on the open fire.

"Daughters, this is my dear old friend, Saotome Genma. Beside me, he is the greatest practitioner of the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts. When our two families are joined, the future of Art will be assured. "Kasumi, as you are already promised to the village's healer, we shall exempt you from this arrangement. Nabiki, between you and Akane, we shall have a wife for Ranma."

The Tendo girls stared at him in shock, until they burst out laughing. Not only was the idea of marrying a complete stranger ludicrous, Ranma was both a little young, and quite obviously female. The laughter died down when Genma stood and lifted the kettle. He walked over and stood next to his daughter.

"Akane, Nabiki: my son and I were tragically cursed while in pursuit of the finer points of Anything Goes. While we expanded the School's knowledge and skills, we suffered greatly. While Ranma is cursed with the body of a girl, he is a man in his soul. His is a fitting heir to the Tendo name."

With that, he poured the scaling liquid on his child. Ranma shuddered and gasped in pain, but managed to hold in the scream. The sturdy, well muscled man which he really was stood forth and was now apparent. Everyone was shocked at the magical transformation. Kasumi briefly made a hex mark in the air, trying to ward her from whatever evil had possessed the small girl and made her a man.

When he had recovered, Ranma bowed to the girls again and re-introduced himself. He had just settled back, sitting on his folded legs when Akane brought the table smashing down on him. "You pervert! We took a bath together! How could you?"

The fathers chuckled. So the match had been made that easily. They would hold the wedding tomorrow.

Two month's later, they were still fighting on a daily basis, and again Ranma spent most of his time in his girl form. The pain of the hot water made changing a great burden: something not to be done casually. Akane was a dynamo of aggression and bottled emotions. Each day they would fight, more often than not Akane would end up knocking the smaller girl over the town and out into the surrounding forest.

When Kasumi moved out to marry the town healer, the house became a louder and more dangerous place to live. Unrestrained by Kasumi's caring touch and soothing words, the children's emotions would flare again and again, while their fathers watched from the sidelines. Nabiki relished the extortion of her sibling, especially once she had gained the favour of one of the Samurai which the Shogun employed to keep peace in the town. Worse still, Akane would insist on cooking for days on end, until the entire house was bedridden from nausea and stomach cramps.

Nabiki's Samurai lived in a large house on the other side of the town, but they had met through a common tutor. The success of the Tendo dojo had allowed Soun to spend freely, and he had bought his daughters the best education available for a girl. Ranma, Akane and Nabiki all studied under the tutor, along with three other young adults from the town. Among these was a certain Kuno Tatewaki, an up and coming Samurai.

By the time Nabiki married Tatewaki, she was feeling like she was doomed to become an old maid. Already her twentieth birthday had passed, almost four years after she had first met the warrior of her dreams. When he finally proposed, Nabiki's cry of 'yes' could be heard throughout the district. The wedding was a massive affair. Although he had appeared only slightly wealthy, Kuno had hidden his true value, preferring to marry for love. His family was held in high esteem by the Shogun, and Nabiki was elevated to a noble status.

By the time of her wedding, Akane and Ranma had begun to settle some of their differences. Now they could go hours without trading an insult, and sometimes a whole day would pass where they would not fight.

The Tendo dojo continued to grow in stature and fame. With the two living masters of the Art of Anything Goes living and teaching there, people came from many kilometres, drawn by the fame it possessed.

It was in Ranma's twenty third winter that the plague struck their town. It was fast acting and vicious, and anyone affected by it was almost certain to die. Within days of the first symptoms showing, the afflicted would suffer from diarrhoea and vomiting. From there they would continue to suffer fluid loss until they eventually died. Making special exception for the crisis, Ranma had changed back into a man, still young and healthy. Much strength was needed for digging graves and burning the infected houses.

Three days after their first student had been affected, Ranma sat there cradling the man in his arms. Once Keiichi had been a great warrior. He was training so that he would be worthy of being one of the Shogun's elite warriors. Now he was a withered husk. Tears fell down his cheeks when Ranma looked up and spotted his wife. "Why does it have to happen? He had such promise. His honour was impeccable. Why do the Kami claim his life so young?"

Moving the body from his arms Akane held her husband and offered her sympathy. With the pain of his curse, it was rare for them to hold each other like this. While he made the sacrifice at least once a week (and often more) so they could try for an heir, Ranma seldom had time to just hold her while he was a man. Gathering him in her arms, Akane lifted him to his feet and they left the dojo.

"Kasumi oneechan came past this morning. There are another twelve people sick this week. What are we going to do?"

Ranma patted her head. Every day she became more beautiful in his eyes, and when he thought of her looking like Keiichi, his heart was gripped by an icy fist. "We will do what we must. Come, let us tell our fathers. It is time for the Tendo dojo to move to a new location."

The news was not met with happiness by the two ageing masters. Genma still acted like a man half his age, but Soun had recently left the tasks of training students to Genma and the children. Soun coughed once and spoke with the firmness which came from being the family's leader for decades. "No. This has been the site of the Tendo dojo since 1432. We will not desert it. This is were I was born. This is where I will die."

The next two weeks saw many of the town's inhabitants leave. Nabiki and Tatewaki left when recalled by the district's Lord. They would never abandon their position, but no criminal would risk their life in a plague stricken town. Some of the students of the dojo left, but since the new acknowledged Master of Anything Goes was teaching daily now, most deemed it worthy of staying.

For the last few years it had been Genma and Akane which took most of the classes. On occasion Ranma would teach or train with the students, but only when he was in his man form. No respected warrior would tolerate fighting with a twelve year old girl. Since he only aged when he was a man, Ranma still looked young, around seventeen. Even so, his skill in the Art had surpassed his father, and all bowed to him when he entered the dojo. His consistent presence was a signal event in the dojo.

When Tendo Soun died from the plague that week, Ranma entered the dojo with his body and placed him on a unlit pyre at the far wall. When the class came in, they found the two masters of the Art kneeling and facing them. Ranma eventually spoke when all of their students were in attendance.

"This town has been cursed by the Kami. It was Father's words that this dojo would be where he died, and so it shall be. It is time for all of us to obey the dictates of the Kami and leave this cursed town. We will be re-establishing the dojo in the north. Almost three hundred kilometres to the north of here there are a set of natural hot springs. All who wish to learn are invited to go there in three years. "All I ask is that you travel our nation and learn the Martial Arts. When next we meet, you shall teach, and I shall learn. With your assistance, we shall continue to develop the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts."

Ranma and Akane held each other closely as the dojo burned. Genma stood their and cried silent tears for his life long friend. Soun's funeral pyre burned brightly in the night. With the fire went over a hundred years of heritage, and the body of the greatest Sensei that decade. Some may have known more, some may have been better fighters, but Soun had been able to teach without peer. He had spread the Art to hundreds of young people, and aided the Shogun's forces many times in teaching his greatest soldiers.

Needless to say, it rained buckets for the following month. As a twelve year old girl, Ranma had speed, strength and endurance beyond anything which could be expected, but she was unable to match the pace set by the fully grown adults she travelled with. Consequently it took almost a whole month for the trio to reach their destination.

Building a new home was a labour of love. Ranma could use one of the boiling springs to change his form with ease, then he and Akane would smash trees or chop wood to build their new home. As a Panda, Genma had massive strength, which he used to move objects no human could hope to shift.

In six months, the Tendo Dojo of Anything Goes Martial Arts was reborn.

Despite the availability of easy hot water, and the frequent efforts of the loving couple, Akane was still without child.

She stayed that way until the day Genma died. He was an old man of fifty two when it happened. Chibi-Ranma was preparing dinner, and Genma was digging in the garden in Panda form. With a look of amazement on his fuzzy face, the panda jerked upright and grabbed it's chest. When Genma spontaneously reverted to human form, Ranma raced out.

He grieved for two weeks at the loss of his father. Classes were cancelled, and it was only Akane's strength which brought him through. By this time, Akane had moved into the full bloom of maturity, and Ranma believed - and told her - every day she was everything to him. It was only when he lost his father did he truly appreciate what he had in his family. His father had been there for him every day of his life that he could remember. His sage advice and reckless, hearty humour had seemed such a burden before. Now their absence was a hole in his heart.

As always, Akane filled that hole. In the months that passed following his father's death, the couple grew even closer. Akane too felt his loss, because there had always been the hope that one day she could present him with a grandchild. The one thing in her life which she should have been able to succeed at - especially given the fertility of her sisters - she was as much a failure as when she cooked.

People still came to train at the Tendo dojo, but as time passed, the numbers dropped. Akane was no longer able to handle the advanced classes she once could, and people refused to learn from 'Tendo Miyagi' the girl they said was her daughter.

The year of 1641 brought it's own difficulty. Although a revered family, students no longer came to the dojo, unless it was to learn the wisdom of the elderly matriarch which lived there. As the rumours spread of her isolation, bandits also learned. Since her only known companions were her young granddaughter, and a young man, the obvious conclusions were reached. If a man young enough to be her grandchild was living - and by all accounts, sleeping - with her, it meant that he must have some pressing reason. What reason could be more pressing than the inheritance of whatever wealth she had obviously amassed?

'41 and '42 saw the defeat of not less than thirty bandits, who attacked in groups of between two and ten. Quickly the story of the legendary might of the young warrior prevented any more attempts on the gold they believed was there.

Six years later, Ranma lay in his bed, cradling the frail form of his wife. Until the last two years, Akane had aged gracefully and slowly. Recently, the years had begun to show. While he looked like a nineteen year old - never ageing in his cursed form - she showed every hour. Now she lay in the cold bed. Not even the raging fire, or the proximity of his body could warm her any more. The old woman looked at her young husband.


"I'm here, Akane. I'll always be here for you."

"I'm sorry, Ranma. So sorry. I failed you."

He smoothed her grey hair (it seemed like yesterday it was thick, and so black it was almost blue). "Shhh. You never failed me. No man could ever ask more from his wife than the love you have given me."

Akane coughed a couple of times and tightened her grip on his hand. She hardly had the strength of a child now. "I always wanted to give you a son. A son which would be as proud, and strong and handsome as you."

Gripping her tightly he kissed her face tenderly. "Akane, my life was complete from the day I met you. You are my life and my soul. I will love you always."

Akane repeated the words of love and rested. She died some time that night.

Three days later, Ranma left the ashes of his heart and home. For decades he had wished for the cure to his curse. Perhaps if he had been a full husband to Akane, they could have had the child she wanted so much. Now he simply wanted the cure so that he could be able to grow old and join her some day.

Destiny's Child

A Crossovers Story
by Fire

Part 1 of 26

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