Ranma 1/2 manga fanfiction
by Gary Kleppe

The characters of Ranma 1/2 are the creation of and rightful property of Rumiko Takahashi. They are used here without permission. This story may be freely redistributed, but it should not be altered substantially or used for profit in any way. This story is solely the property of its author, and any copying or distribution of this story constitutes acceptance of this.


"Air China flight 6969 for Tokyo is currently circling overhead, unable to land due to inclement weather. We expect to be able to board in approximately one hour. Until then, we appreciate your patience."

"What did he say?" An elderly woman perked up in her seat, looking worriedly about the room. "The plane was shot down?"

"No, ma'am." Shan Pu smiled calmingly. "Just late because of the weather."

"Oh, what a relief. I thought...." The woman trembled a bit. "With this dreadful war going on... I might not be able to visit my son."

"Don't worry. From what I hear, the war is moving to the west. And in any case, neither side is going to shoot down a civilian plane carrying Japanese nationals." At least not on purpose. There was always the chance of being targeted by mistake.

"You're right, young lady." The woman seemed to calm down, flashing a mostly toothless grin. "Are you going to Japan to see family? A boyfriend, maybe?"

"No, ma'am." Shan Pu knew that Tatewaki was attracted to her, but still couldn't count him as a boyfriend. Whether she wanted to pursue a future with him, she could not say. Perhaps she needed to know him better -- though after already being with him for four years, that thought was rather unconvincing. Perhaps she could no longer trust her own heart, after the pain that loving Ranma had brought. "I'm travelling for... business reasons."

"I see." The woman nodded as she stared at Shan Pu. "Do you live here in Beijing?"

"No. I'm from... a village a long way west of here." Shan Pu felt a little self-conscious in her old-style clothes. It would have been easier to follow Elder Lan's suggestion to wear something inconspicuous. But she was proud to be an Amazon, and she would hold on to that as long as she could.

She couldn't help feeling a twinge of resentment towards the old woman. Her village, her people -- who had asked only to be left alone for so many years -- were in terrible danger. Like so many others, the woman seemed content to ignore what was happening as long as it didn't affect her. As far as she was concerned, the Amazons didn't exist; and soon, they might not.

Shan Pu wondered what it would be like to meet up with Ranma and Akane after so many years. She had exchanged a few letters with them, but mail always came slow to the Amazons -- when it came at all. According to what she knew, Ranma and Akane now had two children, Hikaru and Ririko. Someone had said that Ririko wasn't really Akane's child, only Ranma's; Shan Pu was curious as to whether there was any truth to that.

Life in the old days was so much simpler. Shampoo wanted Ranma to be her husband. Amazon law and Great-grandmother were on her side, and she carried out whatever plan seemed like it would help her reach her goal. It seemed like things would stay the same forever. Her life was like the plane overhead, circling its destination, never able to land.

Until the day it ran out of fuel and came crashing down....


Shampoo raced along the streets and walkways of Nerima. Mile after mile of pavement sped by under her legs as she pushed forward. Air burned in her lungs as she gasped for breath. Her legs throbbed with pain. She ignored them and kept moving.

Overhead, dull gray clouds blanketed the heavens, allowing only an occasional glimpse of orange light through. The sky grew progressively darker moment by moment.

Great-grandmother was dying. The thought of losing a loved one might have devastated a lesser individual. But Shampoo was an Amazon warrior. Not just any Amazon warrior either, but the strongest of her generation. No amount of adversity could overcome her.

"Shampoo!" Mousse's voice called from just behind. Shampoo had forgotten that he was running along with her until he spoke. "I know what you must be going through. Tell me how you feel! Let it out, you'll feel better!"

"We need hurry." Shampoo didn't think Mousse really cared how she felt. He had certainly never cared before, when she had wanted him to go away. He was trying to get her to open up to him so that she would trust him, in hopes that that trust might lead to something more between them. He was trying to be nice, but his niceness carried a hidden price, one that she was not willing to pay.

The path they followed led to a dead end at a wall. Without any hesitation, Shampoo plowed into the barrier with a thunderous crash. Bricks and mortar flew into the air like confetti as the Amazon ripped through the wall as quickly as if it had been made of paper.

Ranma's voice sounded from behind. "You keeping up okay, Akane?"

"Of...." Akane gasped for breath. "Of course I am." They were married now. Ranma, who Amazon law and wisdom said rightfully belonged with Shampoo, would now never be hers. He didn't love her. If there was ever any doubt of that, the wedding less than an hour ago had erased it. She had told him how important it was that he come with her. He refused to believe her. When the others accused her of being there just to disrupt the wedding, he stood with them.

Yes, it was clear now. Ranma didn't love Shampoo. Didn't trust her. Maybe... maybe didn't even like her.

How good it was to have the strength of an Amazon warrior.

After Ranma's failed first wedding, Shampoo had told Great-grandmother that she had given up on Ranma. She believed that she had -- until the second wedding. Seeing Ranma with Akane there, she knew that she had been fooling herself. Maybe... maybe she had been fooling herself from the very beginning. Maybe she had never had any chance of marrying Ranma.

She had wanted so badly to stop the second wedding. But an Amazon's duty oughtweighed personal feelings. Great-grandmother had sent her to find Ranma, to bring him to the Nekohanten so that they could speak one last time. Letting the wedding take place was the only way to get him to trust her enough to come willingly. She had to gamble that she could get him there before it was too late.

Why bringing Ranma was so important, Shampoo did not know. But the reason didn't matter. She would carry out her task. If possible. As she rounded the last corner and sighted the Nekohanten directly ahead, she knew that Great-grandmother's time might already have run out.

Three young men stood in front of the restaurant. They turned their heads as Shampoo approached. "There she is," one of them said to the others. "About time! They should've opened an hour ago!"

Shampoo skidded to a stop, sucking in a lungful of air before replying. "Restaurant closed. You go eat somewhere else, all right?"

"Okay," the man said. "Will you be open tomorrow?"

"May not be." Shampoo's head drooped as she reached into her dress for her keys. "Restaurant may not be open again... ever."


The Nekohanten's door swung closed, cutting off the noise from the street. The usual clamor of conversation was absent, leaving an odd silence to fill the air. Nothing was spoken as Ranma followed Shampoo up the stairs.

Ranma wondered for a moment whether he might be walking into a trap. Cologne wanted to hitch him up with Shampoo, and she'd done some pretty nasty things to try to force him -- like giving him the full-body cat's tongue, and teaching Ryoga the Breaking Point. Now Ranma was married to Akane. That had been his choice, and he hadn't done anything wrong, but he still felt like a grade school kid on his way to the principal's office.

Shampoo pulled open a door at the top of the steps. From within, a television announcer's voice droned. "As you can see, the President of the United States is shaking the hand of the new Chinese Premier. Clearly this is a historic occasion, a promise of continued peace and co-operation between two powerful nations."

The four filed into the room. Inside, Cologne lay on a small wicker mat. Behind her stood a thin man, bald except for a goatee. He greeted Shampoo with an understated smile, and she moved over to stand next to him.

"This my father," Shampoo said. "Shan Peine."

"Oh, yeah. I think we met before." Ranma shook the man's hand. "What about your mom? I don't think I ever saw her. Is she back in your village or something?" Both Shampoo and her father directed angry glares at Ranma. He had obviously said the wrong thing. How was he supposed to know?

Cologne looked up. "Greetings, Shampoo, Akane." She spoke with difficulty, as she pushed a button on the remote. The television screen blanked. "Greetings, Ranma. I shall not call you son-in-law."

"Old gh--" Ranma cleared his throat noisily. "Cologne. You... you're..."

"I'm dying," she replied. Her hands and arms trembled as they moved. Her gaze moved slowly and often seemed to lose focus. She had merely worn the mask of age before; now she was now truly elderly.

"I-- I'm sorry," Akane said, her voice displaying genuine sympathy along with unease.

"No need to be sorry for me. I've lived a good life for more than a hundred years. I've been on borrowed time for quite a while. Now that time is up."

"Is there..." Ranma tried to think of something useful to say. "Is there anything, y'know, that we can do for you?"

"As a matter of fact there is." A slight smile crossed Cologne's lips, her voice suddenly firmer.

"Uh... wait a minute here... you're not gonna ask..." Ranma eyed Shampoo suspiciously.

Akane glared defensively at the old woman. "Ma'am, Ranma and I are married. Nothing you say will change that."

Cologne's eyes remained fixed on Ranma. "Is that your final decision?"

"Um, I guess so." Ranma noticed Akane scowling at him. "I mean, yeah! Of course it is!"

Cologne extended a hand. "Then I offer my best wishes to you both."

"Um...." Ranma hesitated a moment, then reached out to gently shake Cologne's hand, still wondering whether she had something up her sleeve. "So... what did you want me to do?"

"Have you ever wondered why I am here? Why the eldest and — until now — greatest warrior of the Amazons has been running a ramen shop in Tokyo?"

"Well, now that you mention it...."

"There are many in this modern world who view our Amazon village with hostility. To them we are a threat, an opportunity, or both."

Ranma leaned in closer, his curiosity piqued. Who was she talking about?

"Our warriors are strong, but none of us -- myself included -- would be able to defend against a full-scale assault with heavy artillery and other modern weaponry," Cologne continued. "We could very well be wiped out to the last woman."

Ranma nodded, wondering if the old woman wasn't just being a little paranoid.

"On the other hand, with me here in Japan, should anything happen to my home I would remain here, where it would be difficult for anyone to cause me any significant harm. Heavy artillery in Tokyo would be a bit... conspicuous." Her wrinkled lips curved into a wry smile. "It would not be difficult for me to determine who was responsible and to take painful revenge against them. With this known, our village has managed to remain intact.

"My passing threatens to change things. Sometime in the future, our village will be in great danger. I do not know when, or because of whom. I do know that when it happens Shampoo and her sisters will need your help. Your fighting skills, as well as your leadership ability."

Ranma couldn't believe what he'd heard. "Leadership ability? Me?"

"Though it has not been developed, the potential is within you. Think about your ability to turn foes into allies. Mousse here, for example. Like so many others, he was hostile to you when the two of you first met. Nevertheless, he went with you into battle twice, against Herb and later against Saffron. I had originally hoped that you would marry Shampoo and lead your friends into combat as her husband. It is now clear that that isn't going to happen."

Ranma and Akane glanced at each other, some odd unspoken communication passing between them. They were married now; even Cologne respected that. The old games that they used to play were over. But what would take their place?

Cologne looked Ranma directly in the eyes. "I want your promise that when my great-granddaughter calls on you to fight for the Amazon people, you will answer."

There was no question in Ranma's mind what his response would be. To use his skills to protect those in need... it was what he had quite literally spent his entire life training for. "I'll do everything I can."

"So will I. You can count on both of us, Shampoo." Akane extended a hand toward the young Amazon. Slowly, hesitantly, they shook hands.

Ranma tried to remember what that TV announcer had said. A historic occasion, a promise of peace and co-operation. That was what he was seeing. It was something that ought to be on TV.


Hikaru Gosunkugi listened through his headphones to the voices coming onto his tape recorder. Ranma, Akane, and Mousse were making their goodbyes, about to leave Shampoo alone with her great-grandmother.

Gosunkugi had snuck into the Nekohanten a few weeks ago and bugged it. It was an enormous risk. If any of them had caught him.... Now, as he stood and listened in an alley two blocks from the restaurant, he wondered whether it had been worth it.

All he wanted to do was to help Akane; to be her protector and save her from Saotome the heartbreaker. He expected to catch Ranma with Shampoo there. For once he was going to play the hero, to show the woman he admired how unfaithful the man she was marrying was.

Now Ranma and Akane were married; Gosunkugi shuddered at the thought of them... together. Then Ranma came to the Nekohanten, but not to cheat on his new wife; rather, to help the Amazons. It was Ranma who was going to be the hero, in a situation that was far beyond the ability of a scrawny voodooist-wannabe to do anything about.

Gosunkugi removed his headphones. He stashed his small receiver unit and tape recorder behind a garbage can, with the tape still running. For now, Cologne was dying. He had only met her a couple of times while eating at her restaurant. Nevertheless he felt he ought to say goodbye. It was all he could do. Maybe he would listen to the tape when he returned. Maybe not.


"Shampoo... while we are alone, there are some things you must be told."

The young Amazon leaned forward in her chair, adjusting Cologne's pillow. "Great Grandmother, you need rest." Voices rumbled from below, becoming louder with each second. Obviously, the rest of the
wedding party had arrived.

"I am well past the point where rest will do me any good." Cologne smiled sardonically. "Please listen. This is important. There is a special cask of water in the bottom shelf of the basement cabinet. It is something that can be of no benefit to any other than myself, but it could cause great harm in the wrong hands. You must make sure that this is not allowed to happen. Pour it into the ocean."

"I understand, Great-grandmother. I go do now." Shampoo began to rise from her chair.

"Not yet. There is much more that I must tell you while I still have time."

Shampoo nodded obediently and sat back down.

"Ranma and his friends are skilled, but even they might not be enough to tip the scales in our favor. There is a secret weapon, concealed by me in the village. The responsibility is now yours. You must use it when and if you judge it necessary. Listen closely...."



"What's weird, Ranma?" Akane asked. They were sitting downstairs waiting, while Mousse busied himself with cleaning the restaurant. The other Tendos and Saotomes had arrived on the crosstown bus, and were now upstairs.

"The whole death thing. Y'know, just between you and me, there were times when I didn't like Cologne all that much. But now that she's dying, it's like I can't think that way about her anymore. Does dying make you a better person?"

"I guess I know what you mean. She and I weren't exactly the best of friends either. Maybe we should all try to be nicer to each other while we're alive." She winced a bit, as if embarrassed by the sappy platitude she'd just spoken.

"Yeah, I suppose. Sometimes it's not easy, though." Ranma smiled inwardly. He and Akane agreed on something -- saw something the same way. Though it surely wasn't going to happen like that all the time, it felt good. If he were the next to die, he hoped that Akane would remember him this way, not as the jerk who kept calling her an uncute tomboy.

He could hear Kasumi's voice from the room above. Kasumi, now there was one person who seemed to somehow see good in everyone. She could probably even find good things to say at Happosai's funeral -- and mean them. Oh my, he founded the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts and developed all of its techniques. Imagine how much work and dedication that must have taken. And he did such a wonderful job training Father and Mr. Saotome! If not for Master Happosai, neither Ranma nor Akane would have anything close to the level of skill that they do. In fact....

Ranma cut himself off in mid-thought, shuddering a bit. That had been a little too easy.


"May I come in?" Kaede poked her head through the door.

"Please do," Cologne said. "I am glad you could come when I asked you to."

Kaede smiled. "Haven't I always?"

Shampoo looked curiously at the Priestess. "You know Great-grandmother?"

"We met long ago," Kaede replied. "It was just after World War Two, if I remember correctly. China was fighting a civil war. The Nationalists were losing, and growing more and more desperate."

Cologne continued the story. "They had heard stories of the Amazon village, and some of the strange treasures contained within. Normally they'd have dismissed such stories as fairy tales spun by ignorant hicks, but as Kaede said, they were desperate. If taking control of a small primitive village out in the middle of nowhere might help them win, they weren't going to hesitate to do it.

"I came to your great-grandmother's village along with certain mutual friends," Kaede said. "With the aid of the Amazon warriors, we defeated the invading troops and convinced both sides that leaving the Amazons alone would be a good idea. That was when I was just learning the art. I was young, foolish, and impudent."

"Things have changed since then," Cologne said.

"Yes." Kaede grinned. "Now I'm old, foolish, and impudent."

"You did cause your share of... trouble. But your dedication to your art was your saving grace. That and your willingness to use it to help our people. I know of no one, then or now, that I'd rather have around in a crisis."

Shampoo's eyes pleaded with the priestess. "You help our village now?"

"Young lady, I'm sixty-nine years old, and I don't have your Amazon constitution. I can't fight the way I did back then. But there is something else that can be done."


"As I said, I am getting... not quite so young. The time has come for my knowledge to be passed on to another."

"Indeed?" Cologne raised an eyebrow curiously. "Have you a candidate in mind?"

"Yes," Kaede said matter-of-factly. "One who is quite near at the moment."

"One of those in the room below? I don't believe any of them has any knowledge of Shinto sorcery."

"Knowledge can be taught. It is the person that matters. The spirit, you might say."

"DIscussion of this can wait." Cologne sat up in her bed. "I need to explain why I asked you here. Shampoo, please excuse us. I need to speak privately with the priestess."


"I will still be here when you return," Cologne said, anticipating the unspoken question. "Please, Shampoo." Her tone was not commanding as it often was, merely imploring. "What I am about to do here may be dangerous."

"Yes, Great-grandmother." With head hung low, Shampoo exited, closing the door behind her as she descended the stairs.


"Shampoo! Is it true?"

"What true?" Shampoo brushed past Mousse, disinterestedly.

"That the Priestess is looking for an apprentice. I heard her talking from down here." Mousse took Shampoo's hand in his. "Just think of it! The two of us can study under Kaede. Together!"

Shampoo shot a glare at Mousse that told him to move his hand or lose it. "She say she have someone in mind for student. Not say who. And what this about you and me together?" She opened the basement door, not looking at him.

"I- I thought that with Ranma married, and... we could go back to China. I mean, if that's what you want...."

"Mousse... you think that we now be married with Great-grandmother soon gone? That all you care about?"

"Well, no, but I... er....

"You just not get it. Not Great-grandmother who not let us be married."

"Then who..."

"It me. I not love you, Mousse. I not want marry you. Years and years I try tell you, why you no listen? Your ears bad as your eyes?"

"I... I'm sorry." Mousse fell into a silent sulk as Shampoo descended the stairs.

She felt sorry for Mousse, but being harsh with him seemed like the only way to get her message through. She didn't love him. She hadn't lied when she'd said that. But deep in her heart, though she didn't want to admit it, she did like him. Hopefully he would find someone else. But that wouldn't happen until he gave up on her once and for all.


"What you're planning is difficult," Kaede said.

"I know." Cologne's voice was a dry, hoarse whisper. "But between the two of us, we have the resources to pull it off."

"It is possible to know the future. But knowledge is a danger in itself. What is known cannot be changed. If you foresee great disaster, then great disaster will occur no matter what you do to prevent it. What was possibility will become certainty." At least it would be certainty for the one seeing it. Whether it would for others... was a philosophical question that Kaede had spent many an hour pondering with no clear answer.

"My friend, I am at the end of my time. There will be nothing I can do to change things in any case." Cologne smiled grimly. "But I will not rest with my curiosity unfulfilled. I must know how things will turn out."

It was obviously useless to argue. "Very well. Let us begin."


Shampoo reached the bottom shelf of the basement cabinet. It was empty.

A mark lay in the dust, barely visible. Someone had been here -- from the look of it, probably just recently.

Shampoo froze, feeling as if in the grip of a cold, clammy hand. She didn't want to go back upstairs. Not if it meant having Great-grandmother know that she was a failure -- at this task, on top of everything else. How could she let that be the last thing Great-grandmother knew before passing away?

She dismissed the ridiculous feeling. Whoever the thief was, he wouldn't get far. But for now, if it really was Great-grandmother's final moments, then Shampoo was going to spend them with her.


Cologne gazed into empty space through closed eyes. Her spirit now stretched ahead into the future.

Kaede sat beside the Amazon elder. Her essence gripped Cologne's, anchoring it, preventing it from losing itself in the folds of existence. She dared not look directly at what Cologne was seeing. For her to see the future would make her unable to change it, and that for her would be like dying herself.

That had always been Kaede's weakness, as well as her strength. She loved being alive. She loved the material world, with all of its pleasures, sensations, and experiences. Others who practiced the way of the Kami were content to stay quietly in their temples while they explored the spiritual planes of existence. Not so Kaede.

Cologne's brow tightened as her mouth opened. "No... not Shampoo. No...."

What was she seeing, Kaede wondered? But she could not know, not yet. She maintained her spiritual grip on Cologne's consciousness.

The sadness in the Amazon's voice turned to desperation. "Hurry... you must not fail...." Then she breathed an audible sigh. One way or another, it was over.

Cologne's eyes opened as her mind returned to her body. Her expression was difficult to read; relief mixed with regret, perhaps. "Shampoo..."

"I'll send her up to you." Kaede moved toward the door. "Goodbye, honored elder. May you be at peace."

Kaede descended the steps. Her mind burned with curiosity over what the future would bring; but she could not know. It was a play that she still had a role in -- one which was to begin now, if a certain person proved agreeable.


Kaede paused on the stairs to listen.

"Ranma, how do you fit that head of yours through the door? You don't know that she meant you."

"Ryoga, you big jerk! Who else would she wanna teach? You? You wouldn't even be able to find her house!"

"So who says it's either of us? Akari's worked with Kaede already! Why couldn't it be her? Or Akane?"

"Yeah, Ranma! Why couldn't it be her or me?"


Kaede looked at Shampoo and nodded her head in the direction of the stairs, indicating for the young Amazon to go up.

"A-actually, it could... could be... any of us."

"Oh yeah? Like you? You been tryin' that voodoo junk for years, and ain't never got it to work."

"Please! Let's all calm down! As he said, it could be anyone!"

"Not quite anyone, kiddo. This is Shinto. You were raised by Chinese Amazons. Different set of gods. Personally, I'm afraid I'll have to decline. There are easier ways to make money."

Kaede decided that enough was enough. She cleared her throat noisily.


Cologne lay in her bed, as her great-granddaughter held her hand. "Shampoo... you face great hardship ahead. I hope you will not lose spirit. I hope... I hope you can forgive this foolish old woman for the mistakes she made."

"Great-grandmother, I...." Shampoo forced the words out. "I the one who should sorry."

The elder Amazon said nothing. She simply smiled -- a smile that told Shampoo that what she was worried about didn't matter. It told her that Great-grandmother knew everything she had done, everything she had failed at, and it was all right.

Shampoo couldn't understand what it was she was feeling. Death was something she had no experience with. She remembered reading books in which the main character died at the end. She could always go back to chapter one, and everyone would be all right again. Now her life was a novel whose pages kept turning ahead, and there was nothing she could do to stop it.

Great hardships. Whatever they were, whatever else the future would bring, Shampoo would have to deal with it. Alone. Great-grandmother, who had wisely guided her through everything for her whole life, would be gone. Who could she turn to for the answers she would need?

"Great-grandmother..." Shampoo held Cologne's hand and looked pleadingly at her. "Please tell me what to do!"

Cologne's only response was silence, and the blank stare of motionless eyes.


Silence. Everyone stared at Kaede, waiting for her to speak.

"Well?" Ranma said.

Kaede stood unperturbed, trying her best to look innocent. "Well what?"

"Well, who's it gonna be? Pick one of us already!"

"I already have," Kaede said. The occupants of the room looked around at each other. The Priestess chuckled inwardly at the tension she was creating among the group. Rarely did she get the chance anymore to have this kind of fun.

Ranma seemed ready to explode. "Who is it, then?!"

Kaede pointed at one of the people in the room. "You."

Everyone turned to look at the designated person, whose eyes widened in surprise.

"Oh my!"