Ranma 1/2 Fan Fiction ❯ Prologue: We're Off to China! ( Chapter 1 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Genma Saotome was not a happy man.

In only a few hours prior the balding man was sitting in his his old friend Soun’s living room, pack in hand. His son, Ranma, ran through the yard outside. Soun lay under the quilts made by his late wife Kimiko, a disheveled mess of a man. To Genma it was a horrible sight to see. Under normal circumstances his old friend was a happy and carefree sort. So full of life trough the years even with the Master. Genma slowly hummed to himself. He, too, would be a mess of a man if he had woken to find his wife’s still body lying next to him. Kimiko had died suddenly and without warning the previous night. A heart attack claimed her quickly and without pain, leaving behind her husband and three daughters.

« I’m so happy you could come », Soun mumbled, his voice doing a small job of staying strong. « I can see by the pack you have there you were ready to take Ranma on that trip you had talk so much about. »

Genma nodded, « It was no trouble old friend. This trip can be delayed for a while. »

Genma said these words, but far back in the recesses of his mind he wondered. Why did the woman have to go now?! He was quite literally out the door with his child when his wife ran outside to meet him and deliver the news.

But the trip could wait.

There was time, if only for a little while.

« How are your daughters? », Genma inquired.

Soun hunched over slightly at the question. « Kasumi and Nabiki are fine. Kasumi seems to have filled her mother’s shoes. » Soun paused to chuckle. « This morning she made breakfast for all of us. Said it was her job now. It was actually very good. »

Soun remembered the small meal his oldest daughter had brought him. It was the catalyst which brought him out of the shock he had been in. Soun managed to hold in the tears until after his child had left. Once she was gone, however, the eyes watered and flowed forth.

« Nabiki seems to have taken a liking to money. That should come in handy since I don’t have any since for that sort of thing. »

Genma gave a soft smile, « We never had time to learn. We were always busy training with the Master. »

« To true, old friend », Soun agreed.

There was a long silence that stood between the two men filling the air like a dense fog.

« And Akane? », Genma urged to end the lack of noise.

« She…I worry for. Akane seems to take her grief by being angry at everything she sees. I fear she will become something terrible. »

Soun’s eyes once more began to water at the thought of his youngest in jail, or worse.

« I don’t know how to calm her. »

Genma sat in the quiet, for he had no answer. Having never had a girl himself Genma was at a loss as how to help his friend. All he had was Ranma, the boy who, outside, ran though the yard, unaware of the horrors of loss.

« I’m sorry Soun, but I’m not sure how to help you with that type of problem. If it were a boy I would say take him on a training trip. That should take the anger out. »

« That’s it! »

Soun turned his head to fully face Genma and look him directly in the eye.

« Genma, my old friend, I cannot take my daughter on such journey because I have two other daughters here, at home. But you! You could take my daughter with you and your son on the training trip of your own. »

To say that Genma Saotome was shocked was a small understatement. It was obvious that Soun had fallen into another one to his swaying mood swings. Genma had seen him do this around five times since his arrival alone. These swings were what made Genma wary of the man’s decisions as he was not all in his right mind.

« Soun! », Genma began, « old friend, I don’t think taking your daughter with us on a training trip would be the best solution. I mean think of the time. Ranma and I will be gone ten years. Think of being ten years without your daughter! »

Soun reached forth to clasp his companion of the shoulders.

« Ten years is plenty of time Genma! Akane will love it too, with all the martial arts training and fighting her anger will be worn out in no time. Then she will be the best of the martial artists…next to Ranma of course. »

Soun gripped Genma with the iron fist of a desperate man.

« Genma please help me take care of my daughters. I don’t know how to raise anyone by myself and you will have to learn with Ranma anyway. »

It was true, Genma would have to learn to raise Ranma all by himself. But the thought of some little girl trailing along…

« Genma! », Soun’s voice brought the man out of a thinking glare.

« Soun that sounds like a wonderful idea », Genma quickly lied, « but Nodoka would… »

« She can stay here and help me raise Nabiki and Kasumi! », Soun quickly supplied.

Genma could see the man was a depreciated human being straining on his last reserves of will. The shock of his wife and the responsibility he now carried for his daughters had already pushed Soun to a dangerous place. Genma was treading on a thin wire and he had enough mind in his head to realize that fact.

Genma had no hope, but to agree.

« Sure, I could take Akane with us. I’m sure Ranma could have a bit of company along the way. »

To reassure his friend Genma managed to summon a tiny smile to his face.

Soun’s face was overcome with joy. In a leap, reminiscent of his happy day’s before, Soun cried out for his youngest daughter.

Genma thought to himself. Maybe the trip wouldn’t be ruined. Maybe the girl could cook for them or look after their belongings while he and Ranma trained in the ways of the art.

Yes. Maybe the trip could even be benefited from her accompaniment. Genma face turned in a disgusted fashion as he try and imagine the positives. It could be alright.

**********

It was a long and heartfelt goodbye for the Tendos to their sister and daughter, with much crying and hugging which left Genma at odds with his decision.

Ranma, though, being young, was ecstatic to learn another companion would be journeying with his father and himself. It was hard to stop the young boy from attempting to start a conversation with the young crying little girl. Kasumi and Nabiki were especially heartbroken to learn of their sister’s departure being as they were too young to understand the reason.

It had taken a while to convince Akane that this was the best of decisions.

Genma’s own tentative voice was no helping in the matter.

For Akane a month away from her family was quite a large amount of time. Ten years to the small child seemed unfathomable. The final convincing point was the conviction that she would be able to do martial arts everyday.

All who knew Akane could tell martial arts was within her very bones. As her father before her, the small child gravitated towards the path of strength and will as any normal child towards candy. So it came as no surprise when the child was offered more of the delicious treat she accepted, if reluctantly.

Foods were brought out as a token of gratitude given to the martial travelers for their journey along the way. With a few quick hugs and many tears from sisters and father Akane left with the old man and his son along for the ride on their treacherous journey.

**********

Genma Saotome needed to pee, horribly. The nearest public restroom was many miles behind them. With the long droughts of water he had taken from his canteen there was little he could do to hold it in. Now, in the middle of a small town near the the edge of the ocean there lay a public restroom to which Genma gladly used.

Outside, the two young children sat waiting for the older man to return, his pack laying close by.

« Hay Ranma? », Akane turned to face the boy sitting to her left.

« Hm? »

« What’s in the bag your pop takes with us? »

Now Ranma was a naturally inquisitive child by nature. It was a trait that later provided him with the need to diversify his techniques. So, to pose such a question to the young boy was an invitation for an answer, no matter if one was needed or not.

« I dun know. He keeps takin’ our food out ‘a there. »

Ranma hoped up on his feet.

« Let’s look! »

Akane too was an inquisitive child which too would later cause her to diversify her skills as well. But, Akane also had a small since of when to leave things alone. It wasn’t enough to stop the boy from finding answers, but enough to stay behind and maybe voice her opinion.

« I don’t think your pop wants use looking in there. »

Ranma was already on top of the bag and fiddling with the straps that held the top together. The the sack fell open from which Ranma began to pull random items. Out of it came tent stakes, pots, cups, sleeping bags, and…

« Hey Akane what do you think this is? », Ranma called to the girl who stood behind him peering over his shoulder.

Akane shifted to take a better look at the item which Ranma held in his small hands. It was a sheet of paper, yellowed with age. On one side there were drawings and lines of undetermined length.

« Oh! », Akane gasped, « I think its a coloring sheet. Daddy used to give me one to draw with when I was bored. »

« Drawing? », Ranma gave a skeptical look at the young girl. His own father had never given him such a thing. Normally he was simply told by Genma or his mother to be quite in a rather forceful tone.

« Here », Akane yanked the paper out of the boy’s hands, « let me show you. »

**********

Genma walked out of the restroom refreshed and revived with an empty bladder. It was lightly cloudy which suited him just fine. The shade would provide him and his companions a great deal of relief in the hot summer months.

He took a deep breath in savoring the days ahead for training.

It was a good day.

Genma rounded the corner where the other two stood waiting for him only to stop as his mind took time to process the scene before him.

The laying on the ground were the two children and scattered around the two children lay all the many maps he had bought, trade, and, sometimes, stolen over the course of five and one-half years. Many were more ancient than the temples to which they pointed and all had detailed markings made by Genma himself planning the course of his ten year trip.

Now as he looked down upon them all scattered around the streets of the small ocean village he could see various smily faces, stick figures, and a few sun drawings etched in dark red pen on…each…and every…one.

Genma Saotome was not a happy man.

A roar of unfathomable rage escaped the throat of the older man shocking the younger two into stoping their current works of art. Ranma was the first to face his father.

« What’s the matter pop? »

Genma gave his son a hard stare with eyes turning red. Ranma stepped back away from his father.

« What happened to my maps? », Genma asked to the both of them.

The children stood back in fear, Akane behind Ranma.

« Maps? », came Ranma.

« These things here! », Genma yelled at the two pointing to the various sheet of paper now beginning to scatter in the air.

« We thought they were coloring sheets », Ranma answered his father.

« Coloring…sheets », Genma stuttered not able to comprehend the logic behind the four-year-olds’ way of thinking.

« We haven’t gotten to one yet », Akane supplied attempting to curve the man’s anger.

« Were! », Genma yelled again, this time his anger pointed at the younger girl.

Akane quickly scooted from behind the safety barrier that was Ranma to retrieve the only map they had not touched.

It was one of the oldest maps Genma had been able to locate. The maps had to be old as the more recent no longer showed many of the training grounds and temples located in the country.

Genma reached down to snatch the map out of the girl’s small hands scanning the map quickly with his eyes. It was the last of places he had planned to visit on the journey, to be taken when Ranma was older and more able for the task. But, it could easily become the first if necessary.

Genma thought to himself. Yes, the trip was still salvageable. Just a few changes and a little more work.

Genma turned his head back up to the two, completely frightened, young figures. With a loud almost manacle voice Genma Saotome declared to them all his decision…

« Children, we’re going to China. »

Chapter 1: We're Back From the Great Beyond