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A Ranma ½ story
by D.B. Sommer

Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.

All comments and criticisms appreciated. You can contact me at sommer@3rdm.net

Yes, the beginning does seem horribly familiar. Bear with me. It'll get strange then, but bear with that as well.

    "Put me down, Old Man!" A female Ranma shouted from her position over her panda-father's shoulder as he knocked on the door of the house. The rotten old fool. If he hadn't slugged her from behind with that stop sign, she could have made a clean getaway and not have to deal with this whole stupid fiancée situation. She wasn't going to marry some girl, no matter what idiotic promises he had made.

    The door opened to reveal a man in his late thirties standing before them. He dressed in a plain brown gi, had short black hair, and wore a pair of glasses that seemed to be sliding low down his nose. Ranma watched the man push his glasses back up his nose and look the two newcomers over. The stare made Ranma uneasy in a way he could not easily explain.

    "This is… unexpected," the man said in carefully measured tones, not giving the slightest hint that he was startled or scared.

    Genma was quick to whip out a sign. "It's me, Ikari, old buddy. Ran into a problem with some cursed springs."

    "I see. That explains everything."

    Ranma wasn't sure if the man could be human. He didn't sound anymore relieved than he had surprised. Didn't anything disrupt his composure?

    Genma released Ranma and let her stand on her own two feet. Gendou looked the girl over. "You are Ranma?"

    "Ah, yeah."

    "Are you capable of regaining your male form, or is this change of a permanent nature?"

    "Hot water reverses it. I'm fine until I get splashed with cold water, then this happens." She held out her hands helplessly.

    Ranma watched Gendou steeple his hands together as his glasses seemed to take on a sinister gleam. "Excellent. Then the engagement can go on as scheduled."

    Ranma was about to protest, then reconsidered. There was something unnerving about his father's old friend. She would think of a better way of getting out of the engagement rather than simple protestation.

    The trio entered the house, Gendou leading the way. He continued speaking to his companions, directing his comments specifically at Ranma. "I believe you'll find any one of my daughters more than acceptable to marry."

    Again Ranma kept from voicing a protestation. Gendou's presence was overpowering. She decided to accept the engagement for now and figure a way to get out of it later. Some way that would keep her from ending up on this guy's bad side.

    The trio entered the kitchen, where three young women waited for their guests to enter. One wore a pleasant looking dress and apron. The second had on a casual shirt and shorts. The third wore a plain-looking white gi. But their style of dress was not the most noticeable thing about them. Not by a long shot.

    The one in the apron led things off, "he seems so young. younger men are boring."

    "he looks like a girl to me."

    "i don't want to marry him. all boys are jerks."

    Each of girls looked the same. Exactly the same. From their pale white skin to their bluish tinted hair to their red-pupilled eyes.

    "Please tell me you guys are triplets," Ranma said quietly.

    Gendou waved his hand before the trio. "Ranma, I would like you to meet my daughters. Rei, Rei, and Rei."

    "You gave your daughters the same name?" Ranma could barely ask the question.

    "Makes choosing a whole lot simpler, doesn't it, Ranma?" Genma happily supplied with a sign.

    Gendou moved to a closed door located on the opposite side of the room from which they had entered. "If none of these are suitable for you, there are plenty of others you can choose from. As many different kinds of Reis as you'd like."

    He opened the door and out walked a steady stream of girls, each identical to one another save for the outfits they wore.

    "nihao. rei is an amazon warrior. is you a strong man?"

    "ohohoho. i am rei, and pleased to meet you, ranma-sama."

    "hello, sugar. want an okonomiyaki?"

    "AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Ranma cried as he shot up out of bed, drenched in sweat. It took him a moment to realize where he was. It was bed. His bed. A glance out the nearest window showed it to be pitch black outside. He looked to the clock next to him as it revealed the time to be 2:30 AM.

    "Just a dream," Ranma gasped out as he breathed a sigh of relief. That was the last time he watched Evangelion before bed. Anno was an evil man. Just plain evil

    Ranma's bedpartner rose up and gave him a concerned look. "What's wrong?"

    "Bad nightmare." Ranma's heart was finally starting to slow down. That was definitely a way too twisted dream. He hoped he would never have something that disturbing again. Even dealing with Pantyhose Tarou was more relaxing in comparison.

    His companion yawned, then said, "Well, go back to sleep."

    "Yeah. Sorry to wake you there, Kaoru."

    "AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Ranma cried as he shot up out of bed, drenched in sweat. It took him a moment to realize where he was. It was bed. His bed. A glance out the nearest window showed it to be pitch black outside. He looked to the clock next to him as it revealed the time to be 2:31 AM.

    "I hate that waking up from a weird dream only to discover I'm still in a weird dream crap," he quietly brooded. And there was no way he was going to think about the psychological ramifications of having a dream about sleeping with Kaoru Nagisa. Not a chance in hell.

    Just as Ranma was trying hard not to think about exactly what he was currently thinking about, and of course thinking about it harder than ever, he realized there was still one problem. What if he was still dreaming? If that was the case, something very, very bad was going to happen. There was no telling what sort of twisted things his subconscious mind might come up with. He wanted to be awake so he knew it was safe to go back to sleep. Realizing he might be up the whole night if it wasn't a dream, Ranma accepted the fact there was only one way to find out the truth in order to get another moment's rest.

    Looking closely to make sure there were no sleeping companions snuggled up right next to him, he looked several feet away to where there should have been another occupant in the room. Sure enough, there was a huge form bundled up in a set of white sheets that effectively hid its entirety. That figured. If he was out in the open, that would have made things too simple. Knowing he had to confirm the huddled figure's identity, Ranma stood up, went over, and rudely pulled the covers off the snoring figure. It was a panda, just as it was supposed to be. But that wasn't enough. Ranma had to take it a step further to be absolutely certain.

    He kicked the figure in the side just hard enough to rouse him. The panda awakened, though drowsily. Yawning, it sat up and held a sign that read, "What is it, boy?"

    "You're Genma Saotome, right? My dad, cursed to turn into a panda? The one that wrapped me up in fish sausages and threw me in a pit of cats, right?"

    Again the panda held up a sign. "You're not still complaining about that, are you? That was years ago. A real man would have gotten over it by now."

    Ranma breathed a sigh of relief. Now at last he could get some decent sleep. "Just making sure is all, Pop."

    The panda was now awake enough to glower. "Go back to bed, Shinji."

    Ranma's eyebrow began twitching in response. No way. There was absolutely no way. Despite his reassurances, he went to a mirror that was hanging on the nearby wall. By all rights he should have closed his eyes and laid back down, but morbid curiosity prevented him from taking the sensible course of action. Instead, he found himself looking in the mirror. Sure enough, the image reflected in it was that of a weak-willed, spineless jellyfish that wouldn't know a martial arts move from moving furniture.

    "I really hate this," Ranma sighed as he bent his forehead back, and then brought it forward, smashing the mirror with it.

    "AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Ranma cried as he shot up out of bed, drenched in sweat. It took him a moment to realize where he was. It was bed. His bed. A glance out the nearest window showed it to be pitch black outside. He looked to the clock next to him as it revealed the time to be 2:32 AM.

    Shinji Ikari? He dreamt he was that spineless worm? He'd rather be sleeping with Kaoru than be such a depressing putz. Not that he wanted to sleep with Kaoru. Now way. It was just that there were truly some things that went against Ranma's basic nature, and the idea he could be that gutless was real close to the top of the list. Above sleeping with Kaoru. Not that he wanted to sleep with Kaoru. And now he was thinking about something he specifically did not want to think about. Again.

    "I've had enough of this," he said to no one in particular. Looking around the room, he saw that on the surface it appeared just as it was supposed to, but that had meant nothing up to this point. It was probably a dream again. Certainly, there was one surefire way he knew of seeing if he was still dreaming or not.

    Not bothering his father this time, Ranma left his room and headed upstairs. On the way to his destination, everything seemed to conform to the reality he knew of the Tendou household. But there was this unmistakable feeling deep down inside that it was all really nothing more than yet another illusion constructed from the depths of his subconscious.

    Ranma paused in front of Akane's room. There was only one way to find out. Without knocking, he threw open the door and walked right into the room. He made a straight line for Akane, who was lying sound asleep in her bed.

    Without preamble he shook her awake. She was just starting to groggily come around when Ranma took several steps back so that she could get a good look at him.

    "What is it?" Akane started to say, then caught sight of the time on her clock. "I don't believe this. What could possibly be so important that you woke me in the middle of the night?"

    Ranma cleared his throat and announced, "Akane, you're the one I love and want to marry."

    Her eyes widened in disbelief. "What did you just say?"

    "Ha!" Ranma smirked, pointing an accusatory finger at her. "That proves this is a dream. I could never say something that decisive about you if this was the real world."

    Akane blinked twice, then slowly nodded her head. "You're absolutely right. There's no way you could say that in reality. This must be a dream."

    "I knew that," Ranma said, completely satisfied. "Good night," he told Akane as he left the room and headed downstairs, determined to kiss all of these dreams farewell by going back to 'sleep' and waiting for a natural awakening to occur. And he was going to do his damnedest to keep from remembering any of them once he ended up in the real world again. There were some dreams that were just too disturbing to want to be remembered.

    Akane shook her head as Ranma left her room. Or the thing that looked like Ranma, she told herself. Of course he was correct. There was no way Ranma, even as strange as he could be at times, would barge into her room in the middle of the night, wake her up, say he loved her, then declare it a dream and walk out just as easily as he entered. He had been right, and it was a darn weird one too. Akane would be the first to admit she had some pretty bizarre dreams upon occasion, like the recurring one about giving a speech in front of a crowded room full of people while being completely naked and not thinking they were a bunch of perverts for looking at her. But this one was probably even weirder than that.

    Having nothing better to do, and feeling extraordinarily tired for being in the middle of a dream, Akane laid her head back on the pillow and decided to get some more sleep in her dream before she woke up to the real world and had to go back to the same old daily grind.

    As Akane felt sleep start to overcome her again, she found herself admitting that it would have been nice if that particular dream had been reality. But really, it was such a far-fetched thing that it even stretched the bounds of fantasy. The idea of Ranma boldly declaring his love for her was about as likely… as likely as that Shinji boy, in that weird show they had watched before going to bed, growing a spine. Some things were just impossible to believe.

    So Akane drifted back to sleep, a small smile on her face as thoughts of Ranma's declaration running through her mind.


Author's notes: Just a little something that came to me. Probably the closest to a pure WAFF piece that I'll ever do. That's all there was to it. Just a little shortfic here, though I'm sure someone has done a fusion with the Ranma being engaged to any one of a host of Reis concept somewhere out there.

Special thanks to:

  • Kichigai
  • Ginrai
  • Lunaludus
  • Scribnex
  • Jeremy Fogelman

D.B. Sommer

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