A Ranma crossover fanfic
Started - 1 February 2003 Completed – 12 June 2003
Last revised - 10 May 2004 Reason - typos
Characters are from Ranma ½, Sailor Moon and Ah, My Goddess. They are used without permission or profit. This is a form of literary tribute to the original authors and no copyright infringement is intended.
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Chaotic Future . . . by . . . Cloud Dreamer
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Chapter seven - Twin Destinies
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Belldandy sighed in frustration. Keiichi was so nice but he was rather clueless. Coming from her; that was pretty bad she surmised.
She answered the door only to find someone she least expected. "Ranko-chan! I'm so glad to see you again." She hugged the short girl and then welcomed Shampoo and Nodoka. "Hello Shampoo and Saotome-san, please come in. It's good to see you all again. But what brings you here?"
"A wedding to plan," was Ranko's cryptic reply.
"Mine?" She asked hopefully.
"You mean that baka still hasn't proposed?" Ranko asked then paused before adding. "What would you say to a double wedding; you and him and then me and Skuld too?"
Belldandy didn't know whether to be happy or shocked. Her composure deserted her for the first time she could ever remember. Finally she nodded, then started nodding frantically the more she thought about the idea.
"Bell, is Skuld here?" asked Ranko hopefully. When Belldandy shook her head, Ranko continued. "Can you find him, or arrange for me to see him?"
Belldandy thought a moment then replied, "let me see if Urd is here. If so, then we can use a spell special to the Norns and contact him no matter where he is. It will be a full image spell, almost like being in the same room together." Ranko grinned acceptance of the idea and Belldandy rose to start this quest.
Ranko thought a moment then strode into the garage area. Sure enough just as she'd thought and hoped, Keiichi was there working on one of his bikes. "Keiichi, Bell is awfully sad because of you." She opened up with the big guns at point blank range. His armor was pretty tough so drastic measures were necessary.
Shaken to the core by the barrage, he could only stutter, "What, what are you talking about Ranko? RANKO! WOW, what happened?"
Ranko smiled, "I'm here to talk to Skuld about when our wedding date is. Belldandy is sad that her little brother is getting married before she is even though she's been 'engaged' for much longer. Her guy is apparently a thoughtless, clueless selfish wuss without sufficient balls to ask her. She was really, really hoping to make it a double wedding but, well, I guess her dreams are pretty much shot now."
"Double . . . you're marrying Skuld?" Keiichi lost the ability to speak for a few moments, then sighed and said, "Ok, I'm a wuss. But it scares me to ask. What if she says no?"
"Keiichi," softly advised Ranma, "If you love her, you owe her the chance to say yes."
Keiichi sighed; stripped off the outer coveralls he was wearing, washed his face in the utility sink and then reached up to a small box hidden on the shelf above the sink. He opened it and showed Ranma the simple diamond engagement ring within.
Ranko grinned and said, "She'll love it. Trust me, she'll love it even more because she already loves you."
They walked into the room where four women were discussing Ranko's plans. Keiichi had eyes only for Belldandy. He marched into the room stiffly, eyes fixed and almost unaware of anybody else. He knelt before Belldandy and hesitantly asked, "Bell, I know it's asking an awful lot of a goddess like you. But . . . but would you marry me?"
Belldandy stared stunned at the ring he held out to her; with trembling hands she fumbled for it and shakily slid it onto her finger before collapsing into his arms crying.
Seeing the panicked expression on his face, Urd smiled and reassured Keiichi. "She said 'yes'."
"YES! Yes, I said yes. Oh, Keiichi, you've made me so happy." A now laughing Belldandy gushed as she hugged and kissed her now official fiancée.
Ranko was impatient but held it in. This was Belldandy's moment and Ranko respected and owed her enough to not diminish it at all. Her own moment would come soon enough.
Finally, Belldandy leaned over and kissed Keiichi again, blushing as he blushed. Urd snickered and then the two goddesses turned to Ranko. Belldandy smiled warmly and said, "Thank you Ranko, 'little sister'." Both goddesses smiled warmly at Ranko's pleased blush.
Urd walked into the center of the large room and began to sketch out a magical circle. Belldandy joined her in drawing the required runes as Urd began to speak. "Ranko, normally we can use this spell so that one of us calls the missing member of the Norns while the third member sort of 'steers' or powers the ring. It usually won't work for anybody else but us, but I think that since you are still bonded to Skuld, then you can be the one to make contact while both Bell and I do the empowering. With both of us doing that, the image should be much more tangible than usual."
Ranko smiled tentatively, her heart in her stomach. Shampoo walked over and hugged her. "You is Amazon. Go get airen. You is worth it."
Ranko hugged her back and softly said, "thank you shield-sister."
Shampoo smiled and gently shoved Ranko toward the ring.
Shortly after Ranko entered the magical ring, Urd and Belldandy began to chant in unison. There was an abrupt flash of light and then all those in the room could see an image of Ranko in a room full of guys. Gods specifically, gods guzzling booze, playing cards, telling coarse jokes and all the other stuff guys do when there are no gals around to impress. Now there was one, and she was indeed impressive since Aphrodite's fashion bracelet had once again absorbed a hefty dose of empowering magic. One had to look twice to make sure Ranko wasn't wearing wings since she appeared so angelic.
Up in Asgard, Thor was throwing one of his near famous 'bachelor parties' despite his nominally being married. Many of his guests also fit this category. The locations of these parties were closely guarded secrets from the female gender. Everybody froze when Ranko's image appeared in their midst.
Pan was the first to speak, well sort of. He let out a long wolf whistle, grinned and started to approach Ranko with a leer when he abruptly vanished through the floor. This impressed everybody since the flooring was marble. The oversize mallet wielded by a glowing Skuld left no doubt about how it happened. Thor grinned and gave his student a 'thumbs-up' for good style.
Ranko ran an icy eye over the ranks of rather 'rank' gods before settling on Skuld. All the gods present pulled in belly's, swept empty bottles out of sight, squared shoulders, straightened out clothing and generally turned 'innocent' eyes toward Ranko. All of them memorized her heavenly beauty and most of them blushed whenever her eyes met theirs.
An aisle appeared between her and Skuld. He hesitantly walked so that he was a few feet in front of her and softly greeted her. "Hi Ranma, I didn't expect to ever see you like this again. I took your advice and tried to become just one of the guys since that is what I'm going to be from now on."
She smiled warmly at him and many of those gods present envied Skuld. "Skuld, it's Ranko, not Ranma. Come home. We have a wedding to plan; a double wedding with your sister Belldandy." She reached out as if to caress him and softly whispered, "I love you tomboy."
Skuld reached out as if to touch her hand, both of them stopped before their images touched. Skuld whispered back, "I love you too. You're a jerk sometimes, but you're my jerk and I love you."
Ranko smiled and then asked, "I know, can I see my ring now?" Shampoo and Nodoka giggled together at Ranko's deviousness. Urd and Belldandy almost lost their focus.
Thor suddenly roared and slammed his hammer down on the oak table, splintering it into a dozen pieces immediately drawing all attention to himself and away from his student. Meanwhile Pan's shaky hand appeared out of the hole next to Skuld and placed a ring in Skuld's hand. He whispered, "Guy's stick together; even when one of them is really a goddess."
Skuld nodded imperceptibly, "thanks" he whispered, "I owe you."
Skuld quickly studied the ring and then opened his hand and said. "Will this do?"
Ranko had arched an eyebrow at Thor, but quickly turned back to Skuld at his soft question. Both eyebrows arched as she saw the ring. It was one of those rings made up of three interlocked rings that were separate yet could not be removed from each other. Each band was of gold, yet two of them were alloyed to present either a silvery or reddish color. At a point where the gold band was in the center, three stones were mounted. A pair of smaller rubies flanked a large diamond.
Ranko smiled and said, "Good save. See you soon. Oh, the rest of you are invited to the wedding. Bye." And then she faded out.
Skuld started to wander out toward the door but was stopped in the doorway by Thor's laughing voice. "Boy! You do realize that you're 'pussy-whipped' don't you?"
Skuld smiled, "Oh, yeah, I sure hope so." He grinned at all the other gods and said, "It's great too and all of you know it. You're just jealous and wouldn't be here if it happened to you." With that he turned and left.
Pan spoke for all of them as he crawled out of the hole, "Gods, he's got that right." Everybody else just nodded in agreement.
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Ranma and Skuld sat together on one of the low walls of the temple. Both were looking at each other a bit nervously since they were discussing wedding plans and both were male at the moment.
Ranma finally reached out a hand toward the cup of water sitting between them only to have it intercepted by Skuld. "Please don't, I know that this version of you is your true self and you don't especially like being a girl. Me on the other hand, I'm still enough of a girl at heart that I'm kind of turned on by you." Skuld paused and with a blush admitted, "Maybe I'm a pervert but I'm also turned on by you in girl form too."
"Do you mean you swing both ways?" asked Ranma.
"Actually," confided Skuld, "I really haven't ever 'swung' at all. But you are the only one who has ever caught my attention that way; in both forms too!"
Ranma nodded, "Yeah, I think I know what you mean. You're the only guy that I've ever even thought about that way." He paused a moment, "Of course it helps that I remember you as a girl and sort of still think of you that way. Humm, well that's not completely true. I think of you as a 'tomboy', somebody really special. The fact that you're a guy right now sort of doesn't matter since you still look almost the same, just a little bit more buff than last year when you first got changed; well other than that beard."
Skuld held out an arm and said as he flexed a muscle, "Thanks to you and Thor, I'm actually getting into shape." He paused and added, "I wonder if it will carry over into my real form?"
"Probably," guessed Ranma. "It seems to for me, but then I have a Jusenkyo curse and that might be different than what Kami-sama did to you."
Skuld sighed and then said, "So how do the wedding plans sound so far?"
Ranma hesitated a moment then sighed and drenched himself with the water anyway. "It was just too weird to be talking about being a bride while a guy." Ranko explained. "I think the plans are great. You don't think anybody will mind that I don't want my pop there?"
"Actually," smiled Skuld at the cute girl, "I know several sisters of mine and a few others as well who would most certainly object to being anywhere near that jerk at a special time like this."
Ranko grinned, "Good. I know my mom approves of that. So what else do . . .HEY! . . . What are you doing?"
Skuld didn't say a word as he deftly leaned Ranko backwards over his lap and quickly captured her lips in a kiss as she grabbed hold onto him to get her balance again.
Ranko initially froze with the contact of Skuld's lips on hers, then she softly smiled, relaxing her lips as she returned the kiss while her grasp on his clothes turned into a hug.
Inexperienced, their first mutual kiss was hesitant at first but both enjoyed it. As Skuld started to release Ranko, she snuggled into his chest instead. She softly said, "I think Thor has been giving you other lessons as well, hasn't he?"
Blushing yet very happy, Skuld nodded; "Yeah, he thought that I might need it sometime in the future."
"Thank you." She whispered, "I needed the reassurance that this was the right thing for us." She sighed softly, "It just feels ssoooo right to do this."
He hugged her closer and grinned like an idiot. 'I was right,' he thought to himself. 'Ranko couldn't be forced, his/her life proved that. But she could be wooed by just being there. Just consistently being a friend is all it took.' He held her a little tighter and she snuggled in a bit. 'Her loneliness was her only real weakness.'
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Urd frowned as she watched Nabiki in the monitor. 'Darn, and here I thought she'd learned her lesson.' Urd was also very unhappy with the reactions of both Ukyo and Ryouga as Nabiki revealed (for a price) that Ranma was going to get married and to a god to boot. She paused, 'how did Nabiki even find them anyway? Oh, at Ryouga's home.'
Urd got up and began to pace her office, fragments of plans swirling in her mind. They all had misery for the three mortals in common. Urd was about to embark on an impulsive response to them when she happened to see her reflection in the mirror. She was startled by the black energy swirling about her. 'That almost reminds me of Mara', she thought.
She shuddered to a stop and slowly sat down. 'What I was planning was also something that reminds me of Mara', she realized. 'Darn.'
Getting herself under control, she sought out her younger sister. "Bell," she paused hesitantly and awkwardly. "Bell, could you help me figure out a problem?"
In an echo of recently absent behavior, Skuld taunted; "HA, the old bag finally admits to needing help!" Skuld would have said more except for the quiet question that Ranko asked.
"Skuld, remember what you told me about insults? Does that mean you want Urd as an enemy?" She added, "I hope not since I consider her a friend."
Urd heard the question too and stifled her own angry response. Skuld swallowed embarrassedly and apologized, "Sorry big sister. I didn't mean it. Is there something I can help you with?"
Urd bit back her sharp response and said instead, "Maybe. Let me explain the problem and see what advice y'all can offer." She then explained what she'd seen and gave examples of her response. Bell's response was a restrained "t'sk, t'sk," but who she was chiding was uncertain.
Ranko began to fume, muttering, "Why can't they just leave me alone? Why couldn't they be my friends and be happy for me? It's not fair!" She started to snarl only to be pulled into an embrace by Skuld.
"Shuu, it's ok. We just won't invite them to the wedding. There's nothing that they can do. Just let it go." He crooned holding the betrayed girl closer. She shuddered a few more times and then hugged him back.
Ranko shuddered in Skuld's embrace. On one hand 'his' early training made 'him' want to resist being in this situation. On the other appendage, she craved loving attention and caring friendship. She sighed and consoled herself with, 'it's really ok, after all, Skuld is actually a girl.'
Skuld spoke slowly, "Urd, I don't think that Ranko and I should help with this at all. Our motives would be suspect and I have to admit that right now that some of the things that I'm considering might cause me to lose my license permanently."
Bell thought about it for a moment and then suggested, "Urd, you are right to ask for help but I think it shouldn't be us. I think you should put the problem in the master operations log, schedule a problem resolution meeting and see who shows up and what their suggestions are."
Urd thought about it for a moment before saying, "But that would admitting that I need help solving this problem."
Belldandy cocked her head and asked, "But you've already done that. What's the problem now?"
Urd scuffed her foot a bit, but then sighed, "Ok, I'll do it then."
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Skuld stood nervously before Kami-sama's desk.
"So, I hear you got engaged," the over-deity observed.
"Yes father," he weakly responded. This summons was not expected and he was a bit apprehensive.
"I'm pleased with the responsibility you showed both when you refused to release the lock on Ranma's curse for his sake and then again released it when the danger to him was past. You never abused the situation to try and force Ranko to comply with the conditions to release your gender change lock." HE paused a moment and continued, "on a related note, I'm also pleased that you ceased hindering Belldandy and Keiichi. Why was that?"
The young kami, hesitated then confessed, "After what you said to me, it seemed wrong to get in their way if I was somehow doomed to end up in the same type of relationship."
"Doomed?" HE sighed, "Child of mine, is that how you feel? Are you just using Ranko to meet My conditions? Is that all she means to you?"
Skuld shuddered, "I really didn't think it would happen even though I tried to subtly encourage it. I knew from reading Ranma's file that he could not be forced. I really didn't think it would happen." He finally glanced up and almost defiantly faced his father. "Something strange happened, something unexpected. I fell in love with the idiot and I would do anything for him or her. Even not marry her if that was what she wanted or needed. I love her, him too."
"I'm proud of you; your second class license is reinstated. Tell Urd and Belldandy that I think fondly of them as well."
Skuld staggered out of the office, stunned.
HE grinned at Skuld's yell of sheer delight moments later as the kami of the future finally took off running to share the news.
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Urd looked about the room studying the attendees. Fortunately there were a lot fewer than she feared, unfortunately several of the ones she least wanted were there anyway. She started off the meeting by passing out copies of Ranma/Ranko's life for them to read.
Two days later she stumbled out of the meeting room. She had to stop every hundred meters or so to catch her breath. Who knew that hysterical giggles could be so debilitating or so much fun. 'Whoa,' she thought to herself, 'and I thought I had a warped sense of humor. Those guys are crazy, but it was approved. Oh, this is going to be so much fun and revenge, revenge for Ranma will be so very sweet in the end.'
As she sat on a bench just outside the temple trying to compose herself before she entered, she noticed a tall myopic Chinese boy wandering by.
She grinned, 'Yep, there he is, the final player has shown up just in time for his cue in a few months.'
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Mousse was searching for his beloved. He had left the village without permission, indeed against specific instructions forbidding it so he was pretty much on his own as he did not dare go home again. But he just couldn't let his beloved get married. As soon as he'd heard that Saotome and Shampoo were busy making wedding arrangements, he'd literally flow to his love's side. Well, sort of, he was sure she was somewhere near here.
Shampoo shuddered as a cool wind seemed to warn her of impending changes. A college brochure fell open on the table before her.
Akane let the wind dry the tears from her face as she finally began to face who she truly was. The theater and psychology classes were helping her to deal with facades and self lies in a most unexpected way.
For some strange reason, Nabiki found herself looking at baby clothing. 'Weird,' she thought to herself, 'and I don't even know anybody who is expecting.'
Ryouga was happily pulling the cart despite the heat while Ukyo and Konatsu rode upon it. He paused in confusion as he saw the sign,
"Jusenkyo, two kilometers ahead"
'Odd,' he thought to himself, 'I didn't think there was one of those in Nerima. I wonder why it was in Chinese?' He turned the curve and shivered slightly in the newly falling snow.
Kasumi happily ensconced herself in her new world, worry free and oblivious still it seemed in some ways.
Dark and forbidding storm clouds swirled about the Kuno mansion, which was a bit odd since it was cloudless in the rest of the city. Gos threw down his latest effort at magic and stomped it just as lighting blasted Kodachi's prize rose garden.
= = = = =
Urd hesitantly faced her father. "All Father, I am come as summoned." She blanched as she noticed that the far wall was displaying a recording of 'The Challenge Dance' from about five months ago.
"On one hand, I'm not particularly pleased that the world was treated to such a divine performance, since it's a time for both kami and demons to be in the background instead of the foreground as in millennia past." HE paused and continued, "On the other hand, I am very pleased that you invited your half-sister Mara to participate. That one simple little thing has done much, very much to reduce the tensions between the heavens and the underworld."
Urd blushed and softly replied, "She was my sister; as a kami I thought I should let her know I cared for her despite her actions."
HE smiled at her, "Tell me what prompted you to take charge of heaven's efforts on Ranma's behalf."
A soft smile graced Urd's lips, "She deserved it after all the cr . . . ah, bad stuff that had happened in his life up to that point." She shuddered, "Not to mention what his future life was potentially going to be."
"You followed the rules this time." He considered her a few moments and then observed, "Following the rules was never your strong suit in the past. As I recall, you typically said something about the rules getting in the way of both the fun and what needed to happen. Tell me about that change."
A large gulp was heard from Urd's direction. "Ah, well," she sighed, "it was sort of strange. In the past I was doing what I wanted and, yeah, the rules did sort of get in the way of my fun and what I felt needed to happen. But, I don't really know. Somehow it was different this time. This time I was focused on doing what Ranko needed and wanted instead of myself. The rules just seemed to help every step of the way." She turned a broad smile to Him, "in truth, I don't think I've ever had so much fun in my entire long life."
"Well done, well done indeed." With that HE handed her a set of earring-limiters. "You'll be needing these now. They are required for all first class goddesses stationed on earth."
Urd couldn't help herself, she hugged her ole man. HE just grinned and hugged her back.
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The day of the wedding dawned serenely; the scattered clouds a canvas of pastel colors. A beam of sunlight speared the temple where the Norns and their friends were making last minute preparations. The beam had an odd appearance as if it was a stream of liquid light being poured out. The light stream washed the temple clean of debris and age, refurbishing it immediately. It swept over the grounds of the temple, healing the plants and bringing the flowers to full bloom. It lapped at the outer walls, restoring, strengthening and warding them.
Mara saw the stream from the heavens and sensed the wards. She backed away from the temple fighting her nausea, yet vaguely wishing she could be there too. Ryouga walked up to the temple gate and made a sharp turn away from it never noticing that he had altered directions. Nabiki waked past it four times unable to read the address she sought and not realizing the high walls shielded the temple she sought to invade.
Urd silently appeared just behind Mara as she was wanly looking at the temple in the near distance. "Sis," seeing she had the demonesse's attention she said, "I wouldn't mind you being there but it is probably best that you aren't. On the other had, well, when and if I ever do get married, will you be my maid of honor?"
"But what about your sisters Belldandy and Skuld?" protested Mara.
A finger over her lips silenced Mara as Urd replied. "You are also my sister."
Unfamiliar tears seeped from her eyes as Mara happily nodded.
Urd grinned and handed her a small TV, "I set up a remote camera so that you could watch; sorry, gotta go now," and with that she vanished into the small screen.
Just before the ceremony, Ranko asked Belldandy for a favor. "Bell, could . . . would you lock my curse for me again?" Seeing her questioning look, Ranko explained, "It's my honeymoon. I don't want my guy form to spoil it for Skuld, please?"
Belldandy cheerfully complied with an understanding smile.
The wedding ceremony was in the western style mostly. Shampoo was Ranko's maid of honor while Urd was Belldandy's. Thor stood proudly as Skuld's best man while Keiichi's sister insisted on being his best man. Ranko had arranged for Rei's grandfather to officiate for them even though the ceremony was not Shinto.
Instead of a wedding dress, Ranko wore an Amazon pantsuit of fine silk enhanced by Aphrodite's bracelet so that it seemed to be patterned in shades of pure white. At first it appeared to be merely all white but on closer inspection one noticed the faint images of a dragon and a phoenix delicately traced out in fine silver thread. She was glad she had allowed her hair to grow longer so that it fell just past her waist in true Amazon style.
Belldandy wore clouds and sunshine, that's about all one can say by way of description of her heavenly gown. The guys; awh, who cares what they wore as they were there only for background decoration anyway. Most of the guests were from Asgard except for the Sailor Scouts and a few others like Cologne, Kasumi, Nodoka and Keiichi's parents.
The ceremony went very well with no interruptions. The gifts were incredible but none more so than the one from Kami-sama. He made Ranma and Keiichi immortals for the sake of Skuld and Belldandy.
Belldandy took Keiichi to heaven, in more than one way. As far as the details of their honeymoon, only they know them.
Urd arranged for Skuld's and Ranko's honeymoon. With her newly regained first class powers, she used her domain and sent the two of them into the past for a couple of months or so. Of course, being Urd, she also spied on them a little bit too.
Both dressed in shorts and tank tops, Ranko and Skuld nervously held hands as they scanned the landscape. Both of them were telling themselves that the cause of the nervousness was that there just had to be critters out there where ever Urd had sent them. It really had nothing to do with the situation, nope, nothing at all. So what if they had just gotten married earlier in the day and the honeymoon hadn't happened yet. Nothing to be concerned over, nope, nothing at all.
Ranko noticed a table with a couple of chairs next to a huge refrigerator in the meadow just below and to their right. She pulled Skuld toward it and when they got to it, they noticed the note on the table. Recognizing her sister's handiwork and writing, Skuld hesitantly opened the note and read it.
This is my gift to you; a trip to Hawaii, but not just any ole Hawaii, but an unspoiled one. This is Hawaii almost fifty thousand years ago, long before mankind found the islands and despoiled them. It's just the two of you, enjoy yourselves, have fun.
Love, big sister Urd
PS, the refrigerator has a 'replenish' spell on it, don't worry about food.
Ranko was entranced. She stared at the colorful birds, amazed at the way they were totally fearless of the humans, a few even perching momentarily on them. Skuld whispered, "It's one of the few mortal paradises. There are almost no land based predators of any size, no mammals other than seals."
Ranko grinned and teased, "Yep, just bugs, birds and us, huh?" Seeing both the hesitation and the longing in Skuld's eyes, Ranko smiled and wrapped her arms about the god. She turned her face up and he kissed her . . . much later they woke up in each other's arms. Tired and naked but sheltered from the sun by the palms and cushioned by the grasses and ferns.
Skuld turned over and watched Ranko's sleeping face for a moment. He noticed the tear making its way down one cheek. He reached out to wipe it away and she grabbed his hand and pressed it to her cheek.
"Ranko," he asked. "What's wrong, why are you crying?"
She sighed and replied. "A little bit because I'm so happy; a little bit because a dream died and a little bit more just because."
"A dream died?"
Ranko nodded, "All my life, I thought I'd be a guy the first time I . . . huh, well you know." Seeing the flicker of hurt in Skuld's eye, she sat up and embraced his back as he started to turn away. "But it's OK, because it's you. It's you, and you DO understand. 'Cause you had a dream too. You thought you'd be a girl on your honeymoon." She giggled, "Who knows, maybe in a year of so, we can try this again, make our childish dreams finally come true."
Skuld turned in her arms and embraced her as well. "Yes, I do understand. I envy you, you know. You had a choice." This time the hurt was in Ranko's eyes. Skuld held her as she hesitantly struggled to get loose. "Ranko, if this is the price I must pay to be 'yours', this is a price I will always choose to pay. I'm so glad that you chose me. I would rather be male and in your arms than a girl in anybody else's arms ever. I'm so glad you chose me." Skuld hesitated and softly added, "After I fell for you, it was you or nobody for me. That's what I meant by not having a choice."
Ranko sighed as she snuggled into the embrace that refused to release her. "Confusing ain't it? Love makes no sense at all at times." She grinned impishly up at her husband. "That was fun, let's do it again!"
Skuld blushed but before he could say anything, Ranko pulled him on top of her as she laid back on the sweet grass.
Much, much later, Ranko hesitantly asked Skuld, "Do you think I'll make a good mommy?"
Skuld sighed and hugged her closer, "Much better than I would. I saw how you worked with those children at the hospital rehabilitation center. Your patience with their shortcomings was amazing. Our children will adore you. I wonder how much of a father I'll be?"
Ranko's voice quavered as she asked, "What are we going to do when you get cured?"
"We'll be back to normal." Skuld shortly replied. "How boring, it also means I really won't get a chance to be a father." Skuld's eyes were closed as he whispered. "I don't know if I want a kid if it means being normal again; at least not soon. No matter how much I like your boy form and how much I want to be a girl again, I don't want to lose times like this either."
Ranko kissed the tears away that Skuld didn't even realize were falling. "You'll always have me, both of me. I promise."
"I wish I could promise that this form of me would always be there for you, but that's not a promise I can make." Skuld shrugged and grinned, "Well, might as well make the most of it, heh?"
Ranko grinned mischievously, "Only if you can catch me." The naked redhead was gone in a flash, streaking over the meadow and taking a running dive over the falls into the deep pool below.
Skuld grinned, stepped into a nearby pool and rode his media to the pool below and tagged her as she surfaced. "Tag, you're it." He then vanished into the water again; grinning a few moments later as he peered around the edge of the waterfall. Not seeing any sign of his bride he stepped out into the open a bit more.
The air shimmered beside him as Ranko released her 'hidden thief cloak' technique. "Gotcha; tagged," she snickered as she shoved him into the rapids. She then vanished from sight again.
A month later found Ranko and Skuld walking hand in hand down the beach. Both were tanned a deep brown and neither was dressed except for the palm leaf hats they wore. In fact they had not worn their clothes since removing them the first day, a situation that bothered neither of them. Ranko's hair had fallen out of its braid and tended to shroud her upper torso with its sun faded strawberry blond locks.
Each day they wandered the island, playing games and in awe of the natural scenery and each other. Their bed was a thick mat of ferns and grasses and they rarely slept under the same tree twice. In the early morning and each evening, Ranko would work out with Skuld, teaching him a little bit more martial arts while refreshing her own skills. During much of the remainder of the day, Skuld would share some of his knowledge of the world about them, whenever the two of them weren't eating, sleeping, giggling or whatever. Skuld was actually beginning to be worried about Ranko's interest in the 'whatever'; he prayed that his stamina would hold out.
Most days followed the same pattern, after cleaning up breakfast, the two of them would pack a lunch, then Ranko would hop into Skuld's arms and he'd jump into a pool of water and they would ride his media to a random exit point on the island. Twice they had exited in the midst of surging rapids and lost their lunch amid giggles as they battled the unexpected watery maelstrom.
Urd found them sleeping in each other's arms in the early dawn six months later. She brought them home from their honeymoon only two days after they had left local time.
Belldandy's honeymoon had lasted a year but they had arrived home a day after they left so that Keiichi didn't have to miss any of his college classes.
Ranko stretched as she looked at the bedroom she now shared with Skuld in the temple. She already missed Hawaii and it had only been a day since they had left. A startled look crossed her face and she made a mad dash for the bathroom.
Belldandy had a pensive look on her face as she watched Ranko wash her mouth out trying to rid herself of the vile taste of bile. She cast a scrying spell on her sister-in-law and was startled at the results. Her "OH, MY!" echoed throughout the temple.
"What!" yelped Ranko, "What's wrong?"
Belldandy hesitantly pointed at Ranko, "You . . . you're . . ."
"Sick," Ranko answered, "Yeah that much I know. I must have caught a stomach bug or something. No big deal. A day, maybe two and I'll be over it."
"Ranko," sighed the now exasperated goddess. "Try a couple hundred or so days, and even then it's just beginning."
"Huh?" She looked pensively aback to where Skuld lay sleeping, "I hope he doesn't get it then if it's that bad." She smiled lovingly, "He can be such a wimp at times."
Belldandy couldn't help it; she collapsed on the floor in near hysterical giggles. Finally noticing the worried look on Ranko's face, she rose and embraced the other girl. "Ranko, Skuld can't catch this from you." She paused in thought a moment, then added with a snicker, "at least not yet; maybe next time."
"Catch, next time?" Ranko pulled out of Belldandy's embrace. "Bell, what are you talking about?"
By this time, Urd, Keiichi and Skuld were sleepily standing around wondering what all the fuss was about. None of them were very happy about being awakened so early. However, before any of them could say anything, Belldandy answered Ranko's question.
"Ranko, you're pregnant." She grinned at the shocked faces surrounding them, "AND it's twins too."
The only thing that prevented Ranko from hitting the floor was that Skuld fainted first and she landed on top of him.
= = = = =
Ranko grumbled, her mother was 'mothering' her again and it was driving her up the wall. And did that baka of a husband help? NO! Well, yeah, he was helping to mother her to death too.
Ranko slowly strolled into a part of the temple grounds that was well shaded by the old tall trees that surrounded that part of the yard. The grass was long and lush underneath her bare feet.
Setting herself, she closed her eyes and smoothly moved into the relaxing forms of Tai Chi. As she silently lost herself in the graceful moves she could feel the tension seeping out. Even the twins could seem to feel it as they finally stopped kicking her this morning.
She smiled slightly to herself as she made that observation. A month ago it had been an exciting event when she'd first felt their movement. Man, the novelty of that had worn off quickly.
As she finished up the final moves, she opened her eyes to see a blanket spread out on the grass. Not too surprising, her husband was sitting there, a breakfast tray beside him, patiently waiting for her.
She walked over to him with only a slight waddle, kissed him and said, "Wait, I'll be back." Then she hurried away with that peculiar gait that meant, 'outta my way, I gotta GO now.'
A bit later she slowly wiped the last bits of her meal from her face and leaned into Skuld's chest. He gently held her as he stroked her hair; soon enough she drifted off to sleep cradled in his arms on the blanket in the deep grass in the cool shadows; just another weekend in the current life of Ranko and Skuld.
From the porch, a line of 'in-laws' from both sides nodded approvingly.
School was the pits. Oh, the first half of her senior year had been alright as she had only barely started to show by the time the first half of the term had started.
The reactions of her classmates were varied. The boys had universally lamented that Lil' Red's heart had been taken by somebody else. The girls were generally all excited by the opportunity to be a part of her motherhood by association. A few made disparaging remarks, but not twice. Ranko had more than enough guardians willing and able to 'correct' those types of social errors. That was providing that Ranko didn't pound them first. Sometimes the guardians went ahead and took action anyway afterwards.
But now that the last half of her senior year was starting, well, it could have been worse, much worse. The school guidance counselor had made arrangements for an 'experimental multi-talented self paced group' to be set up. It consisted of Ranko and the four Sailor Scouts in her class with Sailor Pluto herself in charge of them. The chairs were comfortable and Ranko was allowed to dose whenever she needed to. But there was no slacking off on the school work; surprisingly the experimental setting was working wonders for both Usagi and Minako while both Ami and Makoto were doing just as well as usually.
There were a few problems at first. Surprisingly enough, Ami turned out to be the first one. She got into the habit of setting up her Scout computer to monitor Ranko during class. Every once in a while she would be heard snickering to herself, 'Ah how cute,' as she watched the display of the twins. This turned out to be very distracting to the other girls who immediately attempted to crowd around and see it too.
Eventually, Setsuna set the computer on HER desk and watched it during the few quiet moments in the class.
Shampoo had started attending college at the same time, but she timed her classes so that she could escort Ranko to and from classes every day. Usually one of the other girls did as well. The time gates didn't seem to show any threats to Ranko but the Amazon and the Scouts weren't about to take any chances. Shampoo reported that she really enjoyed her theater classes and she was getting a lot of attention after she was recognized as one of the dancers from 'The Challenge Dance' a half year ago.
Ranko loved her mother. But there were times when she almost dreaded going to visit her. It was the main reason she choose to dwell in the temple with Skuld instead of the two of them moving in with Nodoka.
Ranko did have to admit that she missed her dojo and the temple was a bit crowded at times. But the sense of tranquility and the open grounds were something she needed now more than a training hall.
Ranko was sitting in a garden swing that Skuld had made for her under one of the largest trees on the temple grounds. She was too uncomfortable to go to school so the class had been coming to her these past ten days. The twins were healthy, that she was already very sure of. She sighed, 'just two more weeks' she whimpered to herself.
Belldandy approached her with a large lemonade and a couple of cookies on a tray. As Ranko reached for them she felt a flow of water around her ankles. Looking down in embarrassment, she stuttering apologized, "I'm sorry about that, I think they must have kicked my bladder once too often."
Quietly giggling, Belldandy leaned in and kissed her on the forehead. "No, that's not it."
"It's somebody's birthday, a pair of them in fact. Come on, let's get you to the hospital," she suggested as she sat next to Ranko.
Ranko looked confused for a moment, then excited, and finally terrified. She clung to the goddess, tears leaking. "Wha . . . what am I going to do?"
Belldandy just held her and soothed her, "You'll be Ok, come on let's get you up and on your way."
Many hours later at the hospital, Ranko almost angrily squeezed Skuld's hand in half as with a final push she delivered the second child, a girl. The child's wails eerily harmonized with her elder brother's.
Ranko exhaustedly snarled at her spouse, "The next kid we have, you're going to be the one doing this. YOU hear me?"
The delivery nurse chuckled, "It's odd, almost half the new mother's make that threat. I've never seen it happen yet." She shook her head, "but this is Juuban so maybe I'll be surprised one day, heh?" She didn't notice that Skuld's face had paled.
Ranko contentedly watched the babies sleeping beside her. She had nursed them to sleep after granting Skuld the 'pleasure' of changing them. They were ten days old and friends and relatives were starting to gather. It would soon be time for the christening ceremony.
Given who they were, the Norns had opted to create their own ceremony. Standing in the open meadow like part of the temple yard that she loved, Ranko held her first born, a son while Skuld held their daughter. Facing them as representatives of both family and heaven were Urd and Belldandy.
Ranko began, "Elder sisters, I present to you the newest members of our family. This is your nephew, our son Tenma."
Skuld completed it, "friends and family, I present to you our daughter, Kikuko." With those words Skuld shifted to female. Apparently the fact that Ranko was now immortal didn't affect the lifting of Skuld's gender problem.
Shocked, the two new parents could only stare at each other, wondering. Prompted by something unknown, Urd and Belldandy stepped forward and each took a child to hold and bless.
A light mist blew in on the couple from a very localized late summer shower and Skuld shifted back to male. Ranko and Skuld were suddenly in each other's arms crying with both joy and relief.
A few days later, Belldandy released the lock on Ranko and shortly afterwards Ranma took his wife Skuld out on her first date.
= = = = =
Urd's 'problem resolution plan' that she and the others had come up with turned out to be particularly effective. This was a bit surprising as it incorporated some input from the underworld as well.
Ukyo had sworn revenge for being led on and had left town with Kanatsu and the cart to train. Along the way she had met with Ryouga who endorsed the idea of revenge. The two of them decide to train and travel together. So far, so good, but it was not to last. Major changes started to happen after Nabiki had told them about 'Ranko' marrying a kami. They had sworn angrily and vowed to ruin the marriage. Didn't happen.
Surprise, one of Urd's love potions actually worked, too bad it wasn't Ukyo. Talk about being in his own reality, Ryouga fell in love with Konatsu. They married and Ryouga still hasn't figured out his wife's secret. He's still fainting at even a hint of intimacy after three years of marriage. Both these lonely and hurt people now have each other; besides, Ryouga is very good at pulling the cart which Ukyo gave them as a wedding present after teaching Ryouga how to cook. Cologne had snuck a few packages of instant 'girl water' to the bride at the wedding so who knows how that will eventually turn out.
On a side note, learning that dear Ranma-chan was pregnant; Happosai threw a tantrum and dragged Soun and Genma off on a 'training trip' with him. They accepted Ryouga's offer to help pull the cart through some steep hills in exchange for free lunch. Ryouga and Konatsu returned later with some odd tale about this strange land where all the girls were actually robots. Of the three old farts, nothing was ever seen again.
Happens that Akane really did hate boys and the reason she malleted Ranma when Shampoo glomped him was jealousy. She wanted to be glomped by Shampoo. Turns out that Shampoo really did have a thing about kissing girls as well as guys. The kiss of death was only a cover. They became a couple, Akane took up theater and Shampoo was her agent and they found success when Akane became business manager for super model Shampoo. Shortly after they became an official couple, Cologne slipped Akane a box of instant 'boy water' packages with the comment that her granddaughter really liked guys too. The pair also founded a worldwide network of dojos that taught a hybrid version of Amazon Wu and Anything Goes under the guise of aerobics studios.
With Akane and 'Ranko' unavailable, the True Blunder was left in the lurch until Ukyo made the mistake of wearing girl clothing to celebrate her 'freedom' after the near scare with Ryouga and Konatsu. You know how blood calls to blood? Turns out that blade calls to blade too. They 'sparred' around for a year and then eloped.
They got a particularly effective revenge on Nabiki. She had a chance to get in on the ground floor but declined. But with Ukyo's business sense and culinary talents and Kuno's wealth, well, let's just say that every time Nabiki saw a new 'Ucchan's' franchise open up with that 'Million upon Millions Served' sign, she mentally kicked herself again. Oddly enough, Kuno's image went a long way toward making Ucchan's Okonomiyaki almost a household name; sort of the way 'Colonel Sanders and Kentucky Fried Chicken' did. Strangely enough he seemed to be saner because of the adulation.
Mousse glomped Shampoo and seduced her when she didn't resist by immediately pounding him, only it was Kasumi frozen in shock. Turned out he was an honorable man and they actually seem happy now; I guess that since they were both somewhat blind to the world around them, it makes sense. He took a job as an entertainer/bartender in a posh night club and put Kasumi through Medical school.
With her world going crazy, Kodachi decided to marry her best friend. They put her in a padded room when she showed up at the city clerk's office with Mr. Green Turtle though. Sasuke once again rescued her and in desperate appreciation, she married him. There have been unconfirmed sightings of the couple since then and it is rumored that that his screams still echo in bowels of the Kuno Mansion.
Gos decided to 'rescue' Akane and accidentally made an effective magic love powder. He put it in a spring loaded folded paper 'bomb' in a letter, but it was fate that Nabiki was the one to confront him with it when it went off in their faces. Unfortunately, it only lasted a month, but by that time, they were married and she was pregnant, with triplets, the first of three sets in the next four years before she got her tubes tied. When she held the first child to her breast, she finally released her anguish over her mother's death and her tears washed away the old Nabiki, her kids adore her and everyone agrees that she is definitely (still) a mother.
Gos became a nationally recognized paranormal expert. His job kept him away from home and his nine daughters not nearly as much as he wanted.
In desperation those first years, Nabiki took over the dojo and turned it into day-care real estate office instead. She parlayed her family's momentary notoriety into college scholarships for the nine kids and she still had enough left over to hire two full time nannies to help her out.
Urd sat before the Yggdrasil monitor and watched the system as it processed the operations plan review. She was surrounded by Belldandy, Skuld, Aphrodite, Thor and a host of other kami. They watched as the pale blue background of the screen faded to gold and these words appeared.
"Operational Plan complete and approved – Well, done – Kami-sama."
A wild party broke out as the file saved and closed itself into the permanent archives.
= = = = =
Pluto sighed as she finally fit all the pieces together a year after she'd gotten the first clues to this puzzle from the Norns. Thank goodness the time gates were stable again since Urd and Skuld had been restored to their former status. She slowly crept to her bed for a week of lazy days and healing nights. She was going to need all her strength to explain this mess to the other scouts.
Rei frowned at the cryptic note that Setsuna had left on her desk at home. 'Oh, well,' she thought to herself, 'I guess I might as well start calling everybody for the meeting that she wants me to arrange.'
Later that week, Pluto made her appearance just as the perennially late Usagi arrived. She down-powered and began without preamble, "I finally figured out what Kami-sama did to Crystal Tokyo. I thought I'd let you know, not that we can do anything to change it. But I saw no point in keeping any secrets about what is going to happen as it affects us now."
Usagi whined, "I thought you said that He wouldn't do anything to affect the Silver Millennium?"
Setsuna clarified, "That's true as far as direct intervention is concerned, but then everything He did was indirect rather than direct. In short, what He did was use the goddess Skuld to save the life of the mortal warrior Ranma Saotome, whom you've all met." She rubbed her head before continuing, "Ranma Saotome is one of those rare persons who is a nexus of destiny. They have the power to change history if they live long enough. He was originally fated to die later this year at the hands of his wife but now he is the wife of Skuld, god of the future and the future is totally screwed up as a result."
"HE's the 'wife'!" screeched Usagi. "How is that possible?"
"Forget that!" asserted Haruka, "If he's the crux of the whole timeline change, can't you do something to make sure he dies young or better yet never gets born?" Haruka really missed the hope of Crystal Tokyo.
Pluto cast a distasteful glance at her and shortly replied, "No. Doing that is even worse. Ranma grew up to eventually kill the immortal Phoenix God Saffron several years ago. Saffron was reborn as a different person, but without Ranma's intervention, the earlier incarnation ends up conquering the world and two of the scouts become his concubines." She grimaced as she pointed to Usagi but grinned as she pointed to Haruka. "He takes the princess as a prize, but he takes you, Haruka for spite just before casually killing Michiru after forcing her to watch." She added, "Even with all your power, you scouts couldn't defeat him. And I'm forbidden to directly attack him."
Michiru shuddered and then asked, "I thought all our problems were caused by that redheaded girl that Skuld almost killed? That was your friend Ranko wasn't it? The same one that we ended up defending I believe."
Pluto snickered slightly, "Yeah; turns out that that was the female form of Ranma Saotome. Seems that he ran afoul of some ancient transformation magic; when he is splashed with cold water, he becomes a girl. Hot water changes her back into a guy. It's made his life miserable." She grinned a bit, "When the goddess Skuld attacked 'her', Skuld had already locked Ranma's curse. Because of all that, Kami-sama changed Skuld into a guy. But because the change wasn't really all that obvious on Skuld, very few mortals realized what had happened, meaning me in this case." She sighed, "At least until I met Skuld in the time gates; even then I still didn't know what had happened but the beard was a dead give away that Skuld was no longer a goddess."
Pluto's explanation was interrupted by several expressions of surprise. Usagi was the one who managed to get the comment out though. "What do you mean, Skuld was a goddess. I thought everybody knew that Ranko's boyfriend was a guy named Skuld. Oh, wait is this maybe the same goddess Skuld who was supposed to make me her avatar and . . ." She ran out of steam at that point.
Pluto glared at her once future queen and continued, "Yes, it is the same person. I recently found out that Kami-sama also told Skuld that he would remain in that form until Ranma bore him a child. That poised quite a problem for Skuld since he had not only alienated Ranma but he had lost his powers as well and Ranma was stronger than him in any case."
"Oh how romantic" sighed Minako, "two lover's fated to hate each other forever."
The others looked at her weirdly for a moment, then Pluto continued yet again. "Well, somehow it happened that they did get married almost a year ago. In fact, we all were invited to the wedding. I just didn't realize the significance of it then. A couple of months ago they had a set of twins. In about four years they will have a second set of twins. These four kids help their parents totally obliterate any hope of Crystal Tokyo happening."
Seeing the frown on Haruka's face, she forestalled the anticipated suggestion by saying, "And don't even think of suggesting that we mess with the kids. They are, after all, Kami-sama's grandkids." Haruka slumped in final defeat.
"I wonder what they will look like?" mused Sailor Moon.
Pluto pulled out two family photos. "That I can answer thanks to the time gate now that it's working a lot better now." As she held out the first photo she said, "Here's the happy couple with their eldest kids when they turned 16." Everybody studied the photo of redheaded, seemingly demure Ranko and the taller but still slim Skuld still sporting a short beard. The two kids were a redheaded girl and a black haired boy. The girl was a slightly taller but petite reflection of her mother while the slim boy with the athletic build towered over his father.
"Here," Pluto slyly continued, "Is a photo of the happy parents when the younger twins also turned 16 four years later in about 20 years from now." The assembled sailor scouts studied the photo, looked aback at the first, then the second and . . . didn't have the faintest idea of what was happening until Pluto clarified with a snicker. "After the couple regained their birth genders, well, they had another set of twins, same parents, but different mother and different father."
Makato got this dreamy look on her face and then she sighed regretfully, "The guys look great. It's too bad that they are younger than us." Several of the other scouts nodded in agreement.
Pluto grinned broadly and remarked, "You know, these four kids all have something in common with you girls." Seeing their puzzled expressions she slyly added, "They are all immortals just like we are." She mused out loud to herself, "I wonder how much difference a couple of decades will make after the first century or so?"
Pluto glanced back fondly at the second photo. She had found that she was going to be these kids' godparent and she already thought they were really neat even though she hadn't met them yet. She could hardly believe she was indulging in a bit of matchmaking for kids not yet even conceived. She chuckled at the scene of a matured Ranma towering above his tall but elfin wife who had her arms loosely wrapped about their black haired second daughter while their redheaded second son stood next to the two gals, a bit shorter than his father but with the same athletic build. The twins were of nearly the same height.
Hotaru hesitantly asked, "Mama-Setsuna, what did these kids do after they were born that changed everything so much?"
Setsuna sighed and said, "They were instrumental in helping their parents stop the 'big freeze'. Something that I didn't even think was possible. Without that, there was no 'millennium sleep' and resultant chaos for Sailor Moon to rescue the world from and gain their universal support for a new government."
Venus sighed, "So what do we do now if we aren't going to rule the world?"
Pluto grinned, "What all the rest of the super powered heroes of the world do. Serve the world instead of ruling it. Make sure the 'bad' guys don't take over the world and meanwhile just enjoy the ride." She grinned, "In other words, get a life."
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Author's note: Additional Ranma fan-fiction can be found on my Web Pages.
C & C to cloud (underscore) dreamer2000 (at) yahoo.com
Web-page - www.geocities.com (slash) cloud (underscore) dreamer2000
And - mysite.verizon.net (slash) cloud-dreamer/index.html
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