Dual Destinies
The characters of the Nerima gang are the products of Rumiko 
Takahashi. All other anime personalities belong to their respective 
creators. Dual Destinies is written purely for entertainment.
<>: Thoughts
                                  Chapter 21
                                Starting Over
     Genma Saotome had been on the run for over six days now. He had 
managed to elude his former best friend Soun Tendo four days earlier, 
but since his only home was the Tendo dojo, he had no where to go. As 
a result, he had been living in an abandoned building that was one block 
west of Furinkan High, with nothing but the gi on his back. For the first 
time in his life, all of the Saotome patriarch's crimes had resulted in 
serious repercussions for the father of the Ranma twins.
     Genma sat contemplating in a room that hadn't been inhabited in 
several years. The fat martial artist's stomach rumbled with its usual 
insistence to be fed. However, with not a single yen to his name, 
Genma found himself going on an involuntary diet. He had considered 
getting a job, but after that short period of working for Dr. Tofu, Genma 
had found that he really didn't have much talent for earning income. As 
a result, he was now forced to fast for a while, until he could think up a 
way to get back into Soun's good graces. 
     The Saotome Patriarch sighed as he remembered the times he had at 
the dojo. He had eaten very well at the dojo, and no one could compare 
to Kasumi's fine cooking. He had spent long and lazy hours with Soun, 
playing (or rather cheating) at shogi. He had considered going to his 
wife's house, but remembering that promise of seppeku, not to mention 
that she was royally displeased with his past actions, had made him 
dismiss the idea.
      <It's all the fault of that ungrateful son of mine! Genma thought 
darkly. I thought I had it made when he became twins! And after all I've 
done for him, he should thank me! I taught him everything he knows 
about the arts! I took him to great training grounds! I looked out for his 
welfare by getting him engaged! All I've done in the last ten years was 
for his benefit!>
     The former husband of Nodoka, (although he doesn't know that yet) 
then began to rethink things. <Okay, so maybe the Cat Fist didn't turn 
out the way I expected. And I suppose Jusenkyo wasn't a good idea. But 
the engagement was the best thing for him, right? And if that meant I 
could retire with Soun and take it easy for the rest of my life, then all 
the better! After what I had to go through with that lecher Happosai, I 
think I deserve to be taken care of!>
     Genma fumed some more about his recent misfortunes and then 
came to a conclusion. The only way for him to get back to the way 
things were, was to somehow get one or both of engaged to Soun's 
daughters. With that in mind, he decided to confront his progeny at the 
high school.
     The two Ranmas and Ukyo, were walking together with Nabiki and 
Akane towards Furinkan. After the events of yesterday, Akane insisted 
that she had fully recovered from her ordeal and was ready to return to 
school. The others were doubtful, but the determination in her eyes told 
them that Akane intended to get on with her life, despite the shambles it 
had become. The twins had decided to keep an eye on her, just in case 
she needed support or comfort. As they approached the school gates, 
Akane turned to the twins.
     "Ranma… both of you. Can you do me a favor?"
     Ranma Blue and his twin looked at Akane with concern. "What kind 
of favor?"
     "You know that those boys are going to come out and fight me for a 
date, right?"
     "Sure. Now that we're not engaged, you've got to expect that." Ranma 
Red stated.
     Akane winced a bit at the reminder, but then quickly composed 
herself. "Well, when they do appear, could you… stop them? I've been 
out of practice for over a week and I think it's time I put an end to all 
this nonsense. I should have done this when it first started."
     "What are you going to do?" Ranma Blue asked.
     "You'll see. All I want you to do is to stop those boys. Don't hurt 
them too much. I just want you to make them stop long enough for 
them to listen! Okay?"
     The twins looked at each other, then shrugged as Ranma Red 
answered, "Okay."
     "What are you planning sis?" Nabiki asked in a concerned tone.
     Ukyo was also mystified. In the past, Akane almost never asked 
Ranma for help. She was either too proud to admit that she needed 
assistance or was too mad to ask for it. She was always quick to jump to 
a conclusion and use her fists to solve a problem. Now, she was 
actually going to talk it out? <Has her experience in the Kami Plane 
made her change?>
     As soon as they came to within ten feet of the school gates, the 
hordes of the FAD, (Fight Akane for a Date) came charging out of the 
main building with various sports equipment and other blunt objects. As 
usual, they were screaming out their… challenges of love.
     "Akane! I love you!"
     "Please date with me!"
     "Go out with me!"
     Needless to say, they were going to be no more successful today, 
than any other time. In any case, both Ranmas couldn't stand to see how
 pathetic they were and went into action.
     Ranma Blue stepped forward and began focusing his ki. His brother 
knew his intentions and told the sisters and Ukyo to step back.
     Just as the crowd of hormone-driven boys came within fifty feet of 
the gate, Ranma Blue made a circular motion with an arm and released 
his attack.
     Unlike the original technique, Ranma Blue did not have to draw his 
opponents into a spiral. Focusing his cool chi against the hot chi of all 
those present, he had created enough of the temperature imbalance to 
cause several smaller whirlwinds to appear. Each mini-cyclone sucked 
up five to six of the boys and tossed them about with the same force as 
the one single whirlwind would have. This improved version was very 
effective against multiple targets, as it did not have to rely on drawing 
all of his adversaries into the same spiral.
     When the technique ended, nearly half the would-be suitors for 
Akane's affection were sprawled out on the ground. The other half of 
the group took one look into Ranma Blue's irritated expression and 
backed away slowly. It was then that Akane stepped forward.
     "WILL YOU ALL KNOCK IT OFF!!! I am sick and tired of this 
happening every morning! I didn't like it the first time around! If you 
wanted to take me out on a date then JUST ASK ME!"
     There was a collective blink among everyone as they tried to make 
sense as to what Akane had meant by that statement.
     Akane looked at the confused expressions and nodded. "You heard 
me right. If you want a date, just ask me for it. I may say yes." 
     The twins let off a sigh of disgust the moment they heard Kuno's 
voice. They looked to the side and sure enough, the poetry-spouting 
kendoist was strutting toward them with bokken held at the ready.
     "I, the Great Tatewaki Kuno, the Blue Thunder of Furinkan have 
already dictated the terms that no one may date with…"
          "SHUT UP KUNO!" Akane roared in a tone that made even the 
normally dense Kuno take notice. She then stomped toward him and 
grabbed his wooden sword out of his hand. Breaking the blade over her 
knee, she tossed the pieces at the feet of the older boy. Her face took a 
terrifying expression as she said in a deadly tone, "It's your fault that 
this happened in the first place! Who are you to decide who I'm 
supposed to date?"
     "But my love! I only wish to look out for your best interests!"
     Akane reared back and slapped him on the cheek. Since she had put 
in the same force as she used to do when she knocked Ranma into orbit, 
the blow staggered the kendoist. Kuno had taken punches in the face by 
Ranma-chan before, but had shrugged them off as 'love-taps' from his 
pigtailed goddess. At first he assumed that the same thing was 
happening with his Tendo tigress, but the look on her face seemed to 
indicate otherwise. As his cheek reddened from the slap, Kuno listened 
in disbelief as Akane vented her frustrations over the past year.
     "It wasn't in my interests that you made up that stupid rule! Heck, I 
don't think my opinion even mattered! You have got to be the most 
irritating, insufferable, arrogant and egotistical BASTARD THAT I 
     The crowd gasped as they listened to Akane's description of 
upperclassman Kuno. They remembered back to the times when she had 
been bickering with Ranma. They had always known that she really 
didn't mean any of her harsh remarks. This was different though. For 
some reason, they could tell that she meant every word.
     "My love! You don't know what you're saying! I know! You must still 
be under the spell of those foul demons…"
     "SHUT UP!" Akane roared as she delivered another slap to Kuno's 
other cheek! "Don't start making up excuses or blaming someone else 
for something that you can't or WON'T understand! I'm going to tell it 
to you straight! I DON'T LOVE YOU! After all this time, I've decided 
     The Ranma brothers and Ukyo winced at that statement.
     Akane continued with her denouncement of Kuno. "You have been 
after me since I enrolled here and so far, I've had to endure your 
stupidity and high-and-mighty-ways! Since when do I have to be beaten 
by someone in order to have a date?"
     "But my love!" Kuno protested. "How else would one prove himself 
worthy? I had to make certain that you remained pure and unsullied by 
common hands!"
SINGLE!" Akane cocked her arm back and let loose with a haymaker 
that sent Kuno back ten feet. The kendoist was taken by surprise by the 
amount of force put into the blow as he found himself flat on his back 
and looking up at Akane's enraged face.
     <No! this cannot be! The foul sorcerer twins must have placed her 
under a spell, which makes her not recognize her one true love! I must 
free her…>
     He never got to finish that thought as Akane kicked him in the face. 
Apparently, she recognized the look on Kuno's face, which made her 
even more disgusted. "I assure you Kuno! I'm thinking very clearly! In 
fact, I've been thinking clearly for the first time in a long time! All 
that's happened to me has made me realize that I need to take control of 
my life! So far, everyone else has been making decisions for me! My 
father arranged a marriage that I had no say in! You had every boy in 
school fighting me for dates! I had been letting these things happen 
because I hoped that things would get better! But now I realized that 
nothing is going to change until I do something about it!"
     Akane paused for a moment before adding, "The last couple of weeks 
has also made me realize what I wanted out of life! I want to be able to 
make my own choices and live my life the way I want to! I want to find 
out my potential and see what I can really do! But most importantly, I 
want to find SOMEONE TO LOVE!"
     Kuno's expression brightened at those words, "Does that mean…?"
     "NO KUNO!!!" Akane screamed as she stomped her foot. "Whoever 
that person will be, it will not be YOU!!! You're nothing but a pompous 
and self-absorbed jerk! You can't even decide on one girl! You've been 
after me, the pigtailed girl, Nabiki, Ukyo and Kami-sama only knows 
how many more! Why would I want a fickle jackass like you?"
     Ukyo couldn't help but smile at the 'jackass' reference.
     Akane continued on. "I want someone who loves me for what I am, 
and not because he beat me in combat or was engaged to me before I 
was born! I want someone who understands me and wants to be with me 
because he truly cares about me! I'll admit that I'm far from perfect, but 
if that person really loves me, then it wouldn't matter!"
     It was then that a lot of the tension from Akane's face melted away as 
she recalled her past relationship with Ranma. She turned toward the 
crowds, who hadn't taken their attention off her since she started her 
introspection. "By the time I realized what I wanted… it was too late for 
me to see that I had that with Ranma. I'll admit it now. I loved him. I 
know he loved me too at one time. Despite the fact that we argued a lot, 
he was still there for me. I hit him a lot, but he still stayed with me. I 
would tell him to go off and die. He still stayed around. I told him that I 
didn't need him to protect my honor, but he did anyway. I would feed 
him my bad cooking and … he still hung around."
     Akane lets off another tired sigh as she said tiredly, "At times, I 
would ask myself why we even put up with each other. Now I know that 
it was that we really did love each other deep down. I don't have anyone 
to blame, but myself that the twins aren't engaged to me anymore. I 
really screwed up because I didn't realize that for a relationship to work, 
both people have to give as well as take. Ranma had been giving, and all I 
had been doing was taking. I took him for granted. I blamed him for all 
my problems, even if he had nothing to do with it! I assumed that he was 
a conceited jerk, and I never even thought that he may be hurting inside 
     With another long sigh, Akane came to the point. "I know that I've 
missed my chance with Ranma. I can't change that. They're in love with 
Ukyo and Shampoo. I want them to know that I'm happy that they've got 
a shot to getting what I wanted all along. But that doesn't mean that I 
can't try to find my own way to happiness! To that end, I'm telling you 
all!" Akane's expression brightened a bit. " The rule to beat me for a date 
is hereby NULL AND VOID! I couldn't care less if you didn't know the 
first thing about martial arts! You want to date me? Just come up to me 
with flowers and say, 'Akane, will you go out with me?' This applies to 
everyone! I want you all to know the REAL ME!"
     With these words, there was a resounding cheer among the male 
student population of the school as they gave her hoots and applause. 
There was also a standing ovation among the female students as well.
     "You go girl!"
     "Tell it like it is sister!"
     "About time someone put their foot down!"
     "You are woman! We hear you roar!"
     "Way to go Akane!"
     Of course, Kuno openly protested at this development. He got up 
and screamed, "I WILL NOT ALLOW THIS!!! I, THE GREAT 
     As soon as he started his tirade, he was surrounded by a huge mass 
of very annoyed adolescents. Kuno suddenly saw that he was being 
given not-so-friendly-looks. He then realized that the reason that his 
rule had been followed before, was because they had feared and 
respected him. Kuno had beaten up several boys in the beginning to 
enforce his edict. Since Saotome was the only one who could beat 
Kuno, the other boys had given up their pursuit of Akane. But now, with 
the dissolution of the rule and Akane's whole-hearted encouragement to 
the others, Kuno found himself in a dangerous situation. For one thing, 
he was outnumbered a hundred to one and Akane had broken his sword. 
He barely had time to say 'uh-oh' as the mob descended on him like a 
school of sharks in a feeding frenzy.
     The screams of pain echoed throughout the schoolyard as the Kuno 
was pounded on repeatedly by the groups of angered male students. 
Akane couldn't help but feel that justice was being done. <Serves that 
jerk right! I don't belong to him or anyone else!> With a satisfied smile 
and new confidence, the youngest daughter of Soun Tendo strolled into 
the school building. 
     Still standing at the gate, the two Ranmas and Ukyo were in awe. 
They never thought that they'd see the day that Akane had started to 
grow up. They were very impressed. Smiling to one another that Akane 
was indeed on the road to recovery, the trio followed her into the 
     By the end of the school day, Akane had been approached by no less 
than two dozen different boys, who wanted to go out with her. She had 
received flowers, candy and many other tokens of appreciation. She 
took this new change in stride and she found this new attention toward 
her to be… unnerving, but somehow satisfactory. Gently telling them 
that she would consider going out with each of them, she took their 
gifts and had them put in her locker. 
     She had also become the role model for just about every girl in the 
school. She was no longer seen as the temperamental and violent 
Akane, but rather the strong and 'take-charge' Akane. The youngest 
sister was the recipient of countless compliments, praises and phrases 
of encouragement. Every female student and even some of the teachers 
admired her for taking a stand.
     Nabiki was also proud of her sister's new attitude. Of course, the 
middle sister was still doing her usual mercenary business. After all, 
she and her siblings have to support themselves now, despite the fact 
that Nodoka insisted on caring for them. Since their father had 
disowned them, Akane's older sibling did not feel that it was right for 
them to be living off someone else's house. That reminded her of 
Genma Saotome. She shuddered at the thought and was secretly glad 
that his sons had decided not to follow in their father's footsteps. To 
that end, she had decided to follow her baby sister's example of taking 
control, and had considered searching for a part-time job. 
     Akane could no longer be counted as a stable income generator, 
since all the boys now had equal opportunities to woo her. However, 
Nabiki wasn't concerned about that. After watching Akane go through a 
wild roller coaster of hard emotions and experience death twice, she 
was glad that her sister was finally beginning to look ahead, instead of 
dwelling on the past and lamenting over things that could not be changed.
     There was only time that day that Nabiki saw Akane sad. It was during 
the lunch hour when she spied her sister gazing wistfully at Ukyo and 
Ranma Blue. The couple had been engaging in an intimate conversation 
as they ate lunch. When Shampoo had arrived with her fiancée, Akane's 
mood became a little sadder. The middle sibling had approached her in 
an attempt to console her, but Akane bravely wiped away her tears and 
said that she was okay. Although Nabiki didn't believe her, she respected 
Akane's wish to be given some space.
     Of course, Kuno still could not believe that the other boys were now 
getting closer to her than he ever did. He had tried many times during 
that day to stake his claim on Akane, but this proved to be extremely 
painful. The Ranma brothers would pound on him and warn the kendoist 
to leave her alone, or the other boys in the school would gang up and 
stomp him into the ground. In any case, Kuno had gotten beaten up 
more times in that one day than he had in a month. However, he 
maintained that this was only a minor setback and was still confident 
that he would eventually win Akane's heart. (And you thought it wasn't 
possible that Kuno couldn't get any dumber).
     Akane was whistling a happy tune as she entered Nodoka's home and 
went to room that she shared with her sisters. Nodoka and Kasumi were 
sitting on one of the beds and were engaged in quiet conversation as 
they folded the laundry. 
     "Why hello Akane! Welcome back! Did anything happen at school 
today?" Kasumi asked pleasantly. Her eyes then widened as she saw the 
armloads of bouquets, candy boxes and other trinkets.
     Akane blushed a bit as she replied. "You might say that Kasumi."
     Ranma Red and Ranma Blue were pleasantly walking toward the 
outer school gates with Shampoo and Ukyo. They had been delayed for 
a little while, as they had to haul Kuno's burned body to the nurse's 
office. Apparently, he had the misfortune of stating his intent to beat up 
all rivals to his beloved Akane's heart, in front of the Chemistry Club. 
They weren't fighters, but they did carry a torch for Akane. Furthermore, 
they did know their high explosives! Kuno had been on the receiving end 
of five beakers full of tri-nitro-toluene (TNT), two pounds of C4 
plastique, and some homemade gunpowder!
     As they approached the exit to the school, the twins suddenly 
stopped as they sensed the presence of someone familiar. The two 
Ranmas frowned as the determined who it was.
     "What is it Ran-chan?" Ukyo asked.
     "I was hoping that we'd never see HIM again." Ranma Red sighed as 
he took a stance.
     "Damn." Ranma Blue agreed.
     Genma Saotome stepped out from behind the tree that was near the 
front gate. He had a bucket of water in one hand and a devious 
expression on his face.
     "What do you want old man?" Ranma Red said in a neutral tone.
     "Boys, it's time that the two of you came to your senses! You were 
promised to marry a Tendo before you were born and the two of you 
will follow through!"
     "And who's going to make us? You?" Ranma Blue scoffed.
     "Show some respect to your father!" Genma said as he slowly began 
to advance toward the twins. "That engagement was for the sake of 
     Both twins snorted as Ranma Blue said, "That engagement was made 
for the sake of your stomach! Come to think of it, all of those 
engagements that you made was for your fat belly! In fact, everything 
that you did since we were born was for your appetite! The Daikokus, 
the Kuonjis, those three other families AND the Joketsuzoku!"
     "In a way, " Ranma Red continued. "We have to thank you for a 
couple of things."
     "That's right." Ranma Blue nodded in agreement. "If you hadn't taken 
that yattai, I never would have eventually fallen in love with Ukyo." 
     "And if we hadn't eaten that first prize at the Amazon village, then I 
guess I never would have met Shampoo."
     "Funny how that works out!"
     "Yeah! I guess that's destiny!"
     Both Ranmas shared a hearty laugh, which only made their father 
steamed. "Stop it! I've had enough of your silly notions and I think it's 
time I taught the both of you the error of your ways!" Genma reared 
back with the bucket of water and then launched it. 
     Both of the former Saotomes easily dodged the water, but they were 
not Genma's intended target. The contents of the water splashed both 
Ukyo and Shampoo. It was then that both twins became horrified at what 
occurred next.
     They had expected Ukyo to be sopping wet and Shampoo to become 
a cat. What they did not expect was to see two boys wearing Ukyo and 
Shampoo's clothing. Both of the former girls sputtered from the 
sudden bath and then looked at themselves and each other in shock. 
Shampoo had gained an extra two inches in height and her hair had 
changed from purple to black. Ukyo looked like herself, and saw that 
although she looked pretty much the same, her bust was gone and she 
noticed a certain… addition in her anatomy. Shampoo also noticed her 
change in bust size and she was suddenly uncomfortable in her pelvis.
     Both Ranmas turned on Genma with rage. Grabbing the fat martial 
artists by the front of his gi, they both screamed, "WHAT DID YOU 
     Genma had a smug look on his face as he replied, "A day after I got 
away from Soun, I met a wandering Chinese monk who happened to be 
carrying some magical water. This wasn't Jusenkyo water, but rather 
water that came from a floating island called Togenkyo. It seems to turn 
any living thing to permanently become a man. At first I thought to use 
it to cure my own curse, so I stole it from him, but that wouldn't have 
solved all my problems. I then decided to use it to get the two of you to 
come to my way of thinking!"
     "YOU BASTARD!" Both Ranmas yelled as they cocked back their 
fists and prepared to pound their father into a coma.
     "Go ahead boys! Bash me up if you want, but you do know that you 
can't marry those girls…boys now!"
     Ukyo and Shampoo were still in shock over what had happened as 
they watched their fiancées prepare to knock Genma into the next 
millennium. It was then that a bright flash of light behind the twins.
     Soren and Taron approached their champions with silent steps. The 
two Ranmas were so intent on delivering massive punishment to Genma 
that they didn't even notice their approach. They stopped within three 
feet of their pupils and waited.
     Ranma Blue and Ranma Red decided that energy blasts were not as 
satisfying as physical blows so they each launched a very hard uppercut 
to the father's chin. Genma went into orbit.
     It was then that Soren placed a hand on the shoulder of each twin and 
said, "Calm."
     Both Ranmas lost all tension as their feelings of hatred for their 
father faded away to serenity. They turned to face their mentors and 
Ranma Red said, "Why didn't you stop him?" His voice was tinged with 
     Soren nodded as he said, "There's no need to be upset!"
     "Why shouldn't we be upset!?" Ranma Blue snapped. "That bastard 
turned our fiancées into guys! Permanently!"
     "It's time for the next phase in your training." Taron stated.
     "WHAT?!" Both Ranmas shouted.
     "Oh, we think you'll like this part of the training." Soren said with a 
smile. Taron nodded.
     "Huh?" Both Ranmas said.
     Both immortals raised and arm toward the towards Shampoo and 
Ukyo and fired off a white blast of energy. The two were enveloped in 
the blinding flash. When the light faded away, the two looked down at 
each other and themselves. They used their hands to feel their chests 
and squeezed their legs together. Finally, they looked at their 
respective Ranma to confirm their discoveries.
     Each Ranma glomped onto his fiancée and held her tight. They could 
feel the soft, supple bodies of their FEMALE, future wives again. Not 
caring that it was improper, they each reached out with an open hand 
and… made certain. The two girl gasped at their forwardness.
     "Ran-chan! Can't you wait until after we're married?!"
     "Aiya! Is okay for fiancée to touch Shampoo's chest, but not in 
     Both twins became very embarrassed and quickly apologized to their 
intended spouses. Turning their attention to the immortals, both 
pigtailed martial artists gazed at the Soren and Taron with unspoken 
     Soren's smile became more pronounced as he answered their gaze. 
"The next step in your training. Curse Removal."
Ten minutes later…
     "So what you're saying is that the effects of Togenkyo water can be 
reversed? It's not permanent?" Ranma Red said after a short explanation.
     "That's right." Taron replied. "Now, by normal standards, the waters 
of Togenkyo is considered irreversible. Luckily for you two, Shampoo 
was already cursed by Jusenkyo. Her Curse of the Drowned Cat had 
weakened the effect of the Togenkyo water.
     "But what about Ucchan? She wasn't cursed by Jusenkyo." Ranma 
Blue asked.
     "True." Soren agreed. "However, we needed her to be female as well. 
We also detected traces of cat magic from another source inside 
Shampoo. I suppose that was leftover from the time Ranma saved her 
from that Ghost Cat."
     The Amazon shuddered a bit at the memory.
     "Thus, it was a simple matter to transfer those traces to Ukyo to 
weaken Togenkyo's hold on her." Taron finished. "As of now, your 
fiancées are 100% female. And when we say one hundred percent, we 
mean it." With these words, Taron waved his hand and a small cloud 
formation formed overhead. It then began to rain.
     Shampoo instinctively looked for cover as she knew she would 
become a cat. Then the surprise came. She had taken no more than a 
dozen steps when she noticed that she was still human. Looking down at 
herself, her eyes widened as she saw no traces of fur, whiskers or a tail. 
She then began to jump for joy.
     "Aiya! Shampoo is cured! No more cat!"
     She then ran back to Ranma Red and leapt into his open arms. The 
red-shirted Ranma spun her around as they celebrated their freedom 
from Jusenkyo. Ranma Blue and Ukyo held each other as they watched 
the two cavort in the rain. Life was good. When the two settled down, 
the immortals finished with their explanations.
     "While we were fixing the damage that Genma caused, we decided to 
exorcise the effects of Jusenkyo as well." Soren explained. "Curses can 
come in one of three forms. Magical, elemental or a combination of 
both. Jusenkyo and Togenkyo are examples of the third type. In this 
case, it took the both of us to remove it."
     "So that explains how you two were able to separate us!" Ranma Blue 
     "You got it!" Taron said. "I worked on the physical aspect, while my 
brother took care of the mystical part."
     "What about the Cat Fist?" Ranma Red inquired.
     "As we said before, the Cat Fist is really an arcane ritual. Since it had 
a magical foundation, I was the one to exorcise it from you." Soren 
     "Cool!" Ranma Blue said.
     "Hey!" Ranma Red said as he realized something. "Does this mean… 
we could learn to remove Jusenkyo curses too?"
     "You catch on quick!"
Five hours later…
     At the house of Nodoka, Kasumi was feeling quite light-hearted. Her 
sister Akane seemed to be taking control of her life, and Nabiki had 
discussed with the eldest sister about getting an honest job to help 
support the three of them. Although she was still saddened at the fact 
that their father had not contacted them, the changes that her two 
siblings were undergoing had been encouraging. All things did not seem 
as bleak as before.
     Kasumi watched her sister Akane practice the back yard. She had 
gone into her training with new enthusiasm since she had returned from 
the Kami Plane. In the past, Akane would only train to keep fit. She 
never really had a reason to improve unless one of her former rivals 
goaded her into it, or Ranma would tease her. Now she was training not 
only to better herself, but also to find inner control. Her movements 
weren't as choppy and random. Instead, they flowed together smoothly 
and with good force. Her expression was also one discipline and 
determination, not anger.
     The older sister was so engrossed in watching her younger sibling 
that she did not notice Ranma Red and Ranma Blue come up to her. 
With a startled gasp, she turned to the twins. "Oh my! When did you two 
get here?"
     "Just a few minutes ago." Ranma Blue replied. "We wanted to check 
up on how Akane was doing. Shampoo and Ukyo are in the kitchen with 
Mom. So how is she?"
     Kasumi turned her attention back to the girl practicing. "She seems 
to be getting better now. By the way, she told me what happened today 
at school."
     The twins smiled at the memory as Ranma Red happily said, "Yeah. 
We couldn't believe how she told Kuno off like that. Not that he didn't 
have it coming for a long time."
     "It was about time that Kuno was told that Akane doesn't belong to 
anybody. Especially him!" Ranma Blue agreed.
     The three watched Akane for a time, admiring her perseverance and 
discipline. Akane had not noticed that she had an audience as she went 
through the more difficult katas. For a full ten minutes, no one spoke. 
Finally, Akane had finished her routines and stood in a ready stance. 
Her eyes were closed and her breathing was steady. 
     "Not bad Akane. You're getting better." Ranma Blue commented.
     The former daughter of the Tendo clan quickly turned to the sound 
of the voice. Her eyes softened as she saw the twins. Taking a deep 
breath, she quietly asked, "How long have you been standing there?"
     Ranma Red shrugged as he replied, "Long enough to see that you're 
taking your martial arts more seriously now? You want to spar?"
     Akane blinked. This was the first time ever, that Ranma had asked 
HER if she wanted to spar. Then again, with all the changes that had 
taken place, she should have been expecting some surprises.
     "Y-you really want to spar?"
     Ranma Red nodded as he stepped into the yard and took a stance. 
"Let's see what you've got!"
     Akane stared at Ranma Red for a long time, trying to figure out his 
motives. At first, she lapsed into suspicion, thinking that he would only 
dodge her attacks and tease her. Then she remembered Nabiki saying 
that both Ranmas were different from the one she had known for nearly 
a year. Nodding slightly, she also took a stance. Ranma Blue and 
Kasumi watched in silence as they waited for one of the combatants to 
make the first move.
     Akane charged in and threw a hard right. Ducking under the blow, 
Ranma Red used a sweep of his left leg to knock her off her feet. Akane 
tumbled to the ground, but then rolled away to get some distance. 
Getting back up, she tried a series of short jabs at his face. Ranma Red 
easily blocked each blow and then grabbed one of her wrists. Before 
Akane knew it, she was tossed over his shoulder. She landed on her rear 
with a thump, which hurt her pride more than her posterior.
     Silently swearing, she got up and tried a few roundhouse kicks. 
These also did not connect, as her opponent evaded each attack, then 
got inside her defense and struck with an open palm to her stomach. He 
did not put any considerable force in the blow, but since she was off 
balance from her last kick, it was enough to knock her to the ground 
     "Ooof!" Akane was once again on her bottom. Before she had time to 
react, Ranma Red grabbed one arm, rolled her onto her stomach and 
twisted her arm behind her back. The other arm was also pinned down 
and she felt his knee pressed against her back. She then found herself in 
the same position as Shampoo had been in when Ranma Red challenged 
     "You give?" Ranma Red asked quietly.
     After a minute of futile struggling, she sighed and responded, "I… 
     At the dinner table, the group became involved in several discussions 
over the past day. Shampoo and Ukyo told Nodoka of their run-in with 
Genma, which alarmed her as she could not imagine Genma to be so 
cruel. She then swore that Genma will commit seppeku if he should 
cross her path. Kasumi and Nabiki were in quiet discussion as to what 
to do about their situation, while the Ranma twins were talking to Akane 
about improving her fighting skills. 
     "Akane, you really should concentrate more on defense and speed, 
instead of relying on just power." Ranma Blue stated.
     "I… know." Akane admitted. "I guess I've always relied on punching 
first. No wonder Shampoo and Ukyo could beat me. I just never stop to 
think about the fight. I would always get angry and… "
     "It's not so much that you can't fight. You do have some great 
potential." Ranma Red declared.
     "I-I do?"
     "Sure!" Ranma Blue said as his brother nodded. "It's just that you've 
never been given much of a chance to develop it." He then took on a 
sheepish smile. "I guess we didn't help things when we teased you and 
kept on dodging."
     "It's all right. I know that you two didn't mean it! It's just that, I've 
lost so much time and I improved so little over the past year! With all 
the craziness that's happened, I was too busy either fighting with you, 
fighting with the other girls or some other trouble would pop up. Dad 
wouldn't train me much, since he was so wrapped up in uniting the 
schools and…" Akane's mood became sad as she thought about her 
     Both twins became sympathetic as they understood what Akane was 
feeling. They then made a decision.
     "Hey Akane! We still got about three days or so. If you want, we 
could help train you every morning before we go to school!" Ranma 
Blue suggested.
     "You'd do that?" Akane asked in surprise.
     "Sure!" Ranma Red said with enthusiasm. "We may not be engaged 
anymore, but that don't mean that we can't be friends! Besides, I don't 
think Kuno is going to give up on you and we can't be there all the time 
to keep him in line!"
     "So how about it?" Ranma Blue asked.
     Akane thought for a moment at their offer before nodding.
     "May I have your attention please?" Nodoka said as she used a spoon 
to tap the side of a water glass. As soon as all those present settled 
down, the mother of the Masaki twins spoke. "It has come to my 
attention that Soun Tendo still has not contacted his daughters yet. It is 
with great sadness that we must all assume that he has truly disowned 
Kasumi, Nabiki and Akane. To that end, I wish to offer my condolences 
to his children."
     All three sisters bowed their heads as they too had come to the same 
conclusion. Tears began welling up in their eyes as they continued to 
listen to Nodoka Masaki. Ukyo and Shampoo also had tears of 
sympathy for the sisters.
     "I also wish to speak to all of you on some other important matters." 
Nodoka continued. "Since Soun Tendo has left his children to fend for 
themselves, I have taken it upon myself to draw up the necessary papers 
and they are now ready. With their consent, I will adopt Soun's children 
as my own. They shall bear the name of Masaki and shall become the 
sisters of my sons."
     Everyone in the room did a collective blink as the news sunk in. In a 
way, it was ironic. The children of the Tendos and the Saotomes would 
be united, but not in the way that Soun and Genma had intended.
     Turning her attention back to the three sisters, she spoke to them in 
a motherly tone. "It shall be your decision whether or not to accept my 
offer. I will not hold anything against you, should you decline. 
However, I feel that all of you have been put through enough hardships. 
These last few days have made me consider the three of you like 
family. I would be honored to have you as my daughters."
     Kasumi, Nabiki and Akane had been rendered speechless. They had 
been presented with a chance for a new life. A chance to live normally. 
In essence, a chance to start over. Each girl considered the offer 
     Kasumi thought about the last few days. Being with Nodoka and not 
having the burden to care for an entire family had been a welcome 
change. For the first time since her mother died, the eldest daughter 
was free of the overwhelming responsibility. She could now associate 
with others her own age. She no longer had to worry about the welfare
 of her sisters, as Nodoka had already started to take up the burden. 
Nodoka had in fact, become the mother figure for them all. It would be 
wonderful to truly call her… mother.
     Nabiki found herself seeing it from a businessman's point of view. 
Nodoka was very wealthy. The middle daughter would not have to 
engage in her mercenary ways. She could be free to make… friends, 
perhaps even start a relationship with someone. She would no longer be 
known as Nabiki the ice-princess, but Nabiki Masaki, the person. 
Looking into Nodoka's warm expression, she silently cursed herself 
for thinking in terms of financial gain. Here was one of the nicest 
people in the world, willing to adopt a disowned child and her sisters 
with no thought about getting anything in return. How could Nabiki 
saddle her with the burden? Yet… with Akane taking control of her life 
and Kasumi seemingly free from her isolation, why shouldn't she try to 
make something of her life too?
     Akane was the most dumbstruck of all. The thought of becoming part 
of the same family as the twins sent her for an emotional loop. She had 
loved Ranma and was just getting over the fact that he was marrying 
someone else. Two other people in fact. Not only would she be close 
to them, but she would also have to associate with Ukyo and Shampoo. 
Her former rivals. She was still uneasy about them and had only begun 
to tolerate them.
     Despite the fact that neither Ranma would be her husband, she knew 
that they would always be there for her. Their rescue of her from those 
demons were proof enough. They had supported her through her trials 
and tribulations. They would always defend her and consider her as their 
closest friend. Akane could smile at that. Furthermore, the events of 
today had also shown her that she could move on. She could have a 
chance to be happy. What did it matter that she would no longer a 
Tendo? She was still Akane! That was what was important.
     The twins, their fiancées and their mother waited in silence for the 
former Tendo girls' responses. After a long moment that seemed to be 
an eternity, the three sisters looked at each other and gave one another 
a knowing smile. Turning to Nodoka, Kasumi decided to speak for the 
three of them.
     "My sisters and I have come to a decision… Mother."
To be continued…
Author's Notes
     Yes, I know I promised that this chapter would deal with the other 
characters, but I just couldn't get the ending of Chapter 19 out of my 
head. It's true. The Saotome and Tendo lines have ended. Next chapter, I 
promise that the other characters will be described in detail. I'm sure a 
lot of you are wondering where Ryoga and Mousse are and what they 
have been doing. And I'm sure the big question is WHERE IS SOUN???
     The scene with Genma was a drastic attempt to break up the 
engagements. We'll be seeing more of Genma as well.
     For those of you who think that Genma was acting out of character, 
just remember, things have gotten desperate for him, now that he's been 
rendered homeless, divorced and alone. Also take into account, he's 
done a lot of bad things in the past, without regarding the feelings of 
others or the consequences of his actions. I feel that what has happened 
to him so far was only the start of his well-deserved punishment. If I 
was Ranma, I would have renounced the Saotome name a long time ago 
with a father like that!
     As for Akane, what do you think? Is she finally taking control of her 
life? Has she truly recovered from her experience in the Kami Plane? 
Is she finally GROWING UP? The reason I did that scene with Kuno 
was to show people that she doesn't have to take the crud that life 
throws at her. She can also show that she's strong both in character and 
convictions. In the beginning, I often wondered why she never put a stop 
to it sooner!