DISCLAIMER: "Ranma 1/2" is the registered trademark and copyright of Viz Communications, Kitty Productions, and Rumiko Takahashi. All rights reserved. "Tenchi Universe (Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki TV)" is the registered trademark and copyright of Pioneer, LDC, AIC, Inc., and Kajishima Masaki. All rights reserved. All other Anime and non-Anime characters who appear in this fic are the registered trademark and copyright of their respective owners. All rights reserved.

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NOTES: This fic was originally a Ranma+Tenchi pairing but there were problems with the story and too many people thought it was too much like "Ranma and Tenchi: Together Forever". I noticed that there weren't many fics where Ranma was stuck as a girl that were really any good, or weren't really badly written Lemons. This idea crept into my head and I started writing. Many Ranma ½ purists have voiced many objections about my stories in the past, but its narrow minded think like that which stifles creativity. Most of my ideas come to me at the spur of the moment. That is where most of my fic ideas come from; spur of the moment inspiration. Originally this story was going to be a Ranma/Tenchi paring. Oh, there "will" be Tenchi elements in the story later on, so don't worry Tenchi fans! So, sit back, grab a Dew and enjoy!

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R A N M A F O R E V E R

by Michael "TheZorch" Haney

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PROLOGUE

"Akane, I love you, I want to marry you, but when I do I want to be a 100% man." he said. "I'm leaving for Josenkyo, when I come back I'll be a whole man again and we'll get married. I promise."

Tears streamed down Akane's face as she let him go. She watched the love of her life walk through the front gates of the Tendo residence with his leather back pack slung over one shoulder. When he disappeared from sight the sudden urge to run after him became overwhelming. Akane leapt to her feet and ran, she ran for everything it was worth. She loved him, she loved everything about him, but most of all she loved both aspects of him. The curse didn't matter to her anymore, but she knew it did mater to him still. Faster she ran, she spotted him on the sidewalk walking away, she increased her speed, but the faster she went the further he seemed to go despite the fact he was only walking. Akane tried to cry out his name to make him stop, but her voice failed her. She could only watch as Ranma faded off into the distance and disappeared completely into a dark void beyond the horizon.

Tendo Akane shot up in her futon, her body covered in sweat, her breath coming in quick pants. She had the dream again, that same horrible dream of Ranma walking away from her and never coming back. She had not had that dream in nearly ten years since Ranma said those words to her in real life and departed for China. He was supposed to return to her to marry her so they could finally enjoy a future together. It had taken almost two years but the constantly fighting couple had finally come to terms with each other's feelings. Akane was twenty six years old now and still unmarried, it was not because she did not try to land a husband, it was because she held so much hope on Ranma one day returning. As time went by that excuse began to loose more and more meaning. Perhaps he had not found a cure at Josenkyo and was looking elsewhere. He had said he would only return if and when he was a whole man again. But, it had been ten years, ten long miserable, lonely years.

Well, Akane was anything but lonely these days. She still had her father who after so many years of living in loneliness finally remarried. Kogame was a beautiful woman, a wonderful cook, and perhaps the best thing that has happened to her father since his first marriage. When they married it was as if something that had been sleeping inside of the Tendo patriarch suddenly awakened. Tendo Soun reopened the dojo to accept students, and there was no end of a supply of them. People in Nerima remembered Saotome Ranma and knew his martial arts were akin to the Tendo style, so the students flocked to the dojo by the dozens. They actually had to turn people away they had so many.

There was also Kasumi, Tofu Kasumi now. She and her husband of five years moved into the Tendo home. It was really Soun's idea for them to share the house, he wanted to try to keep the family together. Ono's clinic was not far from the Tendo residence and the house was larger than his own apartment. The only member of the family who had actually moved out was Nabiki. She lived with her husband of three years, Kuno Tatawaki. Akane was not surprised at that unholy union, the Mercenary of the Tendo clan and the richest mad man in all of Nerima. Of course the middle Tendo sister did not just marry into the Kuno clan just for the money, she and Tatawaki had enjoyed an on again off again romance since high school graduation. Over time the bokken wielding samurai wannabe lost his Akane obsession and began to devote himself totally to Nabiki. The Kuno patriarch, now the former patriarch, was enjoying early retirement in a state run mental institution after the Tokyo school board did a thorough review of child abuse and human rights violations at Furinken High. Responsibility for the holdings of the Kuno clan and all of its business dealings fell to Tatawaki, but in truth it was Kuno Nabiki who ran the whole show. What she did not count on was motherhood, but after the baby came Nabiki felt as if something that had been missing in her life was suddenly fulfilled.

It was because of Nabiki that Akane had begun to have these dreams again. Ever since Ranma vanished the middle Tendo sister used whatever resources she could get her hands on to try and locate him. Year after year she failed, not due to a lack of trying, but do to lack of funds. Now, she had a virtually unlimited budget to work with and had teams of people out looking for Ranma's whereabouts. It was only a few weeks ago that Nabiki and her two year old son Kai came to visit the Tendo home with startling news.

"Hi there, how's my little man." Kogame cooed to the little boy hugging Nabiki's waist after answering the ring at the front door. "Come to grandma." She held out her arms and the little boy reach out to her with a smile on his face. Nabiki smiled warmly at this sight. Unlike other families, the Tendo sisters accept Kogame immediately as their new mother. Her influence had a positive change over Soun, she had literally given them their old father back to them and for that they were eternally grateful.

"Thank you, he's starting to get pretty heavy." Nabiki sighed with relief.

"Well, he is a growing boy." Kogame smiled warmly and tickled the little boy in her arms. The toddler giggle and squirmed.

"I literally had to pry him out of Tatawaki's arms." Nabiki said. "Who knew Kuno baby could be such a good father."

"Well, I knew his mother." Kogame told her as she closed the front door and lead her daughter-in-law into the living room. "She wasn't exactly the best parent, so it is a bit of a surprise that he's so good with children."

"Hi sis." Kasumi called from the kitchen.

"Is that teriaki chicken I smell?" Nabiki asked her.

"Yes, there is plenty if you plan to stay for dinner." Kasumi replied.

"Oh please do, its so good when you visit and your father loves spending time with Kai." Kogame said pleadingly giving Nabiki her trademark "pout" that won them all over instantly.

"Sure, why not." Nabiki shrugged and smiled.

"Is Akane home?" she then asked.

"She and that boyfriend of hers are in the dojo sparing." Kogame gestured towards the dojo. It was no secret that she did not like Ryoga very much, especially after learning about his little secret. P-Chan was not really a secret anymore. After Ranma vanished the pig-brained martial artist started coming around the dojo more often and quickly won Akane's heart, thought a part of her still pined away for Ranma. When she accidentally discovered his secret while on a date she was furious, declared she never wanted to see him again, and punted him into next Tuesday. Six months later the fires died down and a thoroughly humbled Ryoga came to her on his knees begging for forgiveness. It took three more months for Akane to finally accept his apologies, and forced him into what the family would call "The Promise". If she agreed to give him a second chance he had to promise to never again keep a secret from her, and give up his feud with Ranma forever. Years later the two were almost inseparable. It was her hidden desire to have Ranma back in her life that kept Akane from taking the relationship to the next logical step, marriage. That desire was loosing ground to her growing desire to marry the man she'd been dating for six years.

"Then I'll go get them." Nabiki said walking towards the dojo. "What I came here to say concerns everybody."

Under the constant tutelage of Hibiki Ryoga the youngest Tendo sister had become a fighting machine. Akane was still nowhere near Ranma's caliber but was light years better than she had been ten years ago. She was much faster, no where near Ranma's speed though, and lacked his special Amazon training. Ryoga did however, reluctantly, teach Akane the Bakusai Tenketsu "Breaking Point" technique that Cologne had taught him years ago. Because of her personality the Shi Shi Hokadon was useless to her, so Akane was working towards developing her own chi technique. When Nabiki entered the dojo she heard the sound of a body hit the floor, hard. She heard Ryoga's voice, a grunt of pain, then a few seconds later renewed violence. P-Chan, or was that Charlotte, and Akane were exchanging rapid fire blows and kicks at one another as they darted around the dojo floor. For a while, as she watched, neither fighter gave ground and were able to deflect every attack, counter every strategy. It was when Ryoga fainted a strike to Akane's right rib cage that he got the upper hand on her and took her out with a low sweep kick.

"Got ya with that one." he said with a smirk.

"You always get me with that one." Akane replied as he helped her to her feet. Akane spied Nabiki and quickly ran to her. "Sis when did you get here?" she asked cheerfully giving her sister a tight hug.

"Hi Nabiki." Ryoga waved to her.

"Hi P-Chan." she waved back getting a dirty look from the lost boy. "Me and Kai just got here."

"Finally got him away from Kuno, eh." Akane grinned. She was the one who was the most surprised at Tatawaki's transformation from a poetry spouting pervert to Father of the Year. He still spouted poetry and thought of himself as a samurai, but he was one of the most devoted father's anyone had ever seen.

"He bought his son his first bokken and samurai gi yesterday." Nabiki said. "You should have seen him, he was so cute. I'm having the pictures developed."

Akane gasped with delight. "Oh, I wanna see them!"

Nabiki quickly became very serious. "Akane, Ryoga, there is another reason why I came, lets go to the living room." They looked at her with apprehension then followed her to the living room. Nabiki only got this way when there was very good reason. Kogame and Kasumi were already there sipping some fresh green tea.

"Where's daddy?" Nabiki asked as she sat down.

"Oh you know your father, he's off doing something with that friend of his." Kogame replied as she cuddle Kai lovingly in her arms.

"I guess we can tell him later." Nabiki sighed. Ranma's absence had not effected her father's relationship with Saotome Genma in any way. The panda-man was no longer living at the Tendo home though, he was moved back in with his wife.

"So what did you want to tell us?" Akane asked, almost afraid of the answer.

"I found him, or at least I think I found him." Nabiki replied.

Kasumi gasped in surprise. "Oh my, you found Ranma?"

"One of my teams faxed me a report, they were in the region around Josenkyo, Quing Ha province, when they ran into Cologne and a bunch of Amazons of all people." Nabiki told them. "Cologne herself confirmed that Ranma was living in Joketsuzoku and had been for the past six years."

"Amazons, isn't that what that girl Shampoo was whom you said had to marry Ranma because he defeated her in battle?" Kogame asked Akane. The youngest Tendo sister nodded with a dark expression on her face.

"Akane, I just can't believe that Ranma would lie to you and run off with her." Nabiki said reading the look on her sister's face. "He loved you with all his heart." Kasumi nodded in agreement.

Akane sighed and relaxed some. Ryoga gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. "But why is he there now, why didn't he ever call or write?" she asked, her voice quivering with emotion.

"I don't know." Nabiki shook her head. "Cologne wouldn't let any of my people go to Joketsuzoku to see Ranma. She said if we wanted to see Ranma we'd have to go there ourselves."

Akane looked up at this. "She said that?"

Nabiki nodded. "Yes."

"Oh my, it almost sounds like an invitation doesn't it." said Kasumi.

"I may be your stepmother, but you're a grown woman now and if you want to go it's your decision I won't try to stop you." Kogame said to Akane.

"A part of me still loves Ranma, I think I always will." Akane admitted. She saw the look on Ryoga's face and reached out to take his hand. "But so much has happened over the years, so much in my life had changed." she went on. "I want to move on, I want a close to that chapter of my life and to do that I need to find out why he never came back or never tried to tell me what happened to him."

Ryoga squeezed her hand and saw the love in her eyes, love directed at him. "He owes you some kind of answer at least." Letting go of the old anger and hatred for Ranma had taken many years. The lost boy was still cursed, but his life was much better now than it had been when he was younger. At least now he did not have to hide his curse from Akane anymore.

"I can have the family yacht and all the supplies we need for a trip to China in about four days." Nabiki told them.

"We?" Akane looked at her questioningly.

"I'm dying to find out what happened to him too." Nabiki admitted. "For a while I actually had a little crush on Ranma, a few times I felt like kicking myself for practically throwing you at him in the beginning because I wanted him for myself. But, that's ancient history, I'm happy with the way my life has turned out."

"Ono is looking for an excuse to take a vacation from the clinic." Kasumi said innocently.

"You too?" Akane turned to her oldest sister. "Why doesn't the whole family just go."

"Your father would likely want to go as well." Kogame pointed out with a sigh. "I'm afraid he's still hung up on joining the schools."

"Well, he's not so gungho about it like he used to be." Nabiki laughed.

"There's no way he could demand I marry Ranma after all this time, especially not after me and Ryoga have been seeing each other for six years." said Akane then leaned over and gave her boyfriend a kiss on the cheek. The lost boy blushed a bit, in the years since they started dating his shyness towards women had diminished. He still got nosebleeds, but he was getting better. He and Akane weren't intimate, but they had a few make out sessions where they had come very close.

"I don't think your father would be that foolish dear." Kogame smiled back at her.

"What about Uncle Saotome and Aunt Nodoka?" Kasumi asked.

"That's the kicker, I don't think it would be a good idea to let Ranma's mother know anything about this." Nabiki suggested. "Something about what Cologne had said seemed pretty weird to me."

"What exactly did she say?" Ryoga asked her.

"The fax said that Cologne said 'Ranma is alive and doing well in our village, Ranma has lived among us for six years'." Nabiki told them. "She went on to say, 'Ranma has been concerned about the family back home, but circumstances prevented Ranma from contacting them'."

"That doesn't sound weird." Akane said.

"She never referred to Ranma with 'he' at all." Nabiki explained to them. "I find it, disturbing for some reason, and I can't explain why."

"He did go to Josenkyo to find a cure for his curse." said Akane, then she gasped in shock. "You don't think he got trapped in female form again do you?"

"Oh my." Kasumi gasped.

"Sis, you and I both know Ranma, he would search the world over for a cure even if that happened." Nabiki replied. "No, there's something else, something she didn't want my investigators to see."

"You know, the curses are accumulative, that's how Pantyhose Taro got his tentacles." Ryoga spoke up. "Maybe Ranma took a dive in the wrong spring and ended up adding something to his existing curse."

"What you mean is he could have become some kind of freak and was afraid to show his face to anyone but the Amazons." Nabiki frowned.

"No, not even that would have stopped him." Akane shook her head.

"I guess the only way we'll ever know the truth is if we go to China and see him for ourselves." said Kasumi, and her family looked at her with surprise. From time to time the family would be surprised by these little bits of insight from the eldest Tendo sister. She wasn't entirely clueless like many seemed to think she was.

"Ok, I'll have Sasuki prepare the yacht and get our supplies together." Nabiki said. "It'll be a few days so that'll give us time to break the news to daddy and Mr. Saotome."

Akane looked over at the toddler who was dozing off in Kogame's arms. "What about Kai?"

Nabiki giggled a bit. "Kuno baby would kill his own sister for a chance to have Kai alone to himself for a few weeks."

And that was how it began. Akane pulled the covers to the side and climbed out of her futon. Quietly so as not to wake anyone else she left her room and went down the stairs to the kitchen. The digital clock on the microwave said it was only four in the morning. Kasumi would up in another hour to start breakfast for the family. She went to the refrigerator and took out a can of soda for herself. She drank it down quickly and wiped the sweat from her brow. Silently she walked to the dojo and peeked inside. Ryoga and Happosai were both sound asleep on their futons. The diminutive, most evil martial arts master in the world found out about the planned expedition to find Ranma and elected himself to go along. He did not live at the Tendo dojo anymore, he stayed with Genma and Nodoka. Kogame tolerated him when he was around but refused to allow him to live in the same house. Last night was the one excepted she would allow. Of all the women in the world, Happosai respected Tendo Kogame and gave the woman a wide berth. As a master from the Kenishi School of Martial Arts Knitting, Kogame was formidable. When she caught the little lecher trying to pilfer her panties one day she snared him in a web of silk and knitted him into a cocoon in less than three seconds. Nabiki had to love Kogame's sense of justice, her idea of punishing the old pervert was to temporarily glue his eyes open with a special Kenishi clan fabric adhesive and force him to watch twenty-four hours of gay porn movies on pay- per-view. After about the first five hours she had the old man eating out of her hand like a puppy.

"Akane?" came Kasumi's soft voice from the kitchen.

"Oh, did I wake you Kasumi?" Akane asked as she entered the kitchen.

"No, I-I couldn't sleep." she said.

"Me too." Akane admitted. "I'm just nervous, we leave for China today and I'm a little-scared."

"Afraid of what you might find out when we find Ranma?" Kasumi looked at her with a soft smile. Akane nodded. She was afraid to find out, but she needed to know, she needed closure. Once that part of her life was over with she and Ryoga could take things to the next step.

"But I have to know." Akane said.

Kasumi hugged her. She did not like seeming Akane in such distress. Her depression after Ranma's disappearance had been nearly unbearable. After she found out Ryoga's secret it was truly painful, the look on Akane's grief stricken face had pierced the depths of Kasumi's heart through and through. "I know, sis, I know."

The Kuno family yacht was the "Bin Sense II", a larger more extravagant version of the first yacht that wrecked somewhere out in the South Pacific years ago, and resulted in everyone getting caught up in an adventure on Torgenkyo Island. The new yacht had a large outdoor hot tub, marine radar system, GPS navigational system, two-way high-speed satellite Internet feed, satellite phone, fully equipped galley, satellite TV system, a 36 inch plasma display TV in the main living room, six spacious cabins each with its own half-bath and a large communal onsen. The ship did not require sail power like the old yacht, this one was fuel-cell equipped. There was even a wet bar in the living room.

"Bin Sense II" was still docked in Tokyo Harbor at the Tokyo Yacht Club when everyone arrived. The sight of the huge yacht, which to the Tendos and Tofus looked like a diminutive luxury liner, was breathtaking. Sasuki, the Kuno family man servant and self-proclaimed Ninja directed everyone up the gang way. Nabiki was already there making sure everything was ready for the voyage.

"Nabiki, this ship is incredible." said Akane as she looked around in awe.

"It should be, I designed her." Nabiki grinned.

"Hello!" someone called from the gang way.

Nabiki walked to the ship's railing and looked down at the dock. "Up here, you're right on time." she called. A few minutes later a tall woman wearing a blue one piece bikini with matching flower print skirt came up the gang way.

"Its been a long time, Ukyo." Nabiki said giving the girl a hug.

"Thanks for calling me, I wouldn't miss finding out what happened to Ranchan for a million yen." she said.

"Hi Ukyo." greeted Akane. She approached the girl, tentatively at first, then they embraced. Years of old rivalry suddenly faded away.

"You look awesome." Akane gave the okonomiyaki chef the once over at arm's length. After Ranma's disappearance she stopped hiding the fact she was female and let it all hang out. Years of keeping fit helped Ukyo mature into a lovely young woman with an athletic body that men found irresistible.

"Sorry Konatsu couldn't come, but we're in negotiations to open up a few shops in Hong Kong." Ukyo told her.

"So you two finally tied the note, eh?" Akane asked her.

Ukyo shrugged. "Hey, he may be skinny, but he's a lion under the covers, sugar." The three old friend giggled girlishly and hugged each other again.

"Now, I hear rumors that you and Ryoga are an item." Ukyo said giving Akane her playful smirk.

"Its true, we've been dating for six years." she said.

Ukyo gaped at her. "Even after finding out he's P-Chan?"

"That was one of our stormy parts, but things have gotten better." Akane replied with a smile.

"And you!" Ukyo turned to Nabiki. "I knew you'd try to find yourself a rich man, but Kuno?!" Nabiki just laughed it up.

"Kuno baby wasn't my first choice, but he's a sucker for all the romantic stuff and we were both lonely." Nabiki said while shrugging.

"Yeah, and you were the first of us to get knocked up too." Akane smirked at us.

"You had a baby!?" Ukyo cheered the her face became very stern. "You had better have pictures or I'll be very upset."

Nabiki laughed. "Kuno baby insisted on taking hundreds of photos of little Kai. He even had the delivery videotaped."

"I got a copy on DVD, we can watch it tonight." she added.

Ukyo was literally jumping up and down. One of the ship hands noticed and stopped to admire the chief's 'jiggling' for a few seconds. "Oh I have got to see that!" Ukyo cheered. "Its been so long since I've seen you guys, I'm so sorry me and Konatsu haven't stayed in touch more often."

"Its ok, I understand how it can be running a small empire." Nabiki told her.

"Four restaurants in Tokyo, three in Hokido, and two more in Nekomi." Ukyo smiled. "And we'll soon have our first shop in Hong Kong if the negotiations go well, but Konatsu has become a good businessman so I have no worries there."

Several hours later, just past noon, the ship was given clearance to leave dock by the harbor master. Nabiki sent Sasuki up to the cockpit to tell the captain they were ready to leave. Everyone stood out on the deck as the yacht pulled away from the docks and sailed off towards Tokyo Harbor. The voyage would take several days to reach China. They would have to circumnavigate around the main islands then head out over the Sea of Japan towards the Chinese mainland coast. With the GPS system and marine radar the ship could literally navigate itself, but the captain of the vessel was a veteran oil tanker captain. Running the Kuno family yacht to him was a walk in the park and just the right kind of stress-free job someone of his age needed.

Akane and Ryoga stood out on the deck as the sun went down. They could hear Happosai, Genma, and her father singing karaoke songs below decks in the living room. They were singing "Super Freak" by Rick James and totally butchering the song beyond reasonable recognition. The lost boy put his arms around Akane's shoulder, she leaned up against him and put her arm around his waist.

"This is so romantic." she said looking at the spectacular sunset at sea.

"I've seen hundreds of beautiful sunsets like these on my travels." Ryoga said softly. "But not until recently have I bothered to notice them."

"You remember The Promise, right?" Akane asked him. Ryoga sighed and nodded.

"I won't attack him unless he attacks me first." he said. "I promised to stop this feud, but I will protect myself if I have to."

Akane looked at him. "I don't think Ranma would do that. He never starts any of the fights he's been in."

"But he sure does finish them." Ryoga added to her statement.

"That's for sure." Akane laughed, leaned her head towards his and kissed Ryoga's neck. The lost boy pulled her into an embrace. With gentle fingers he lifted her chin and kissed her lips passionately.

"I love you so much Akane." he whispered. "There were so many times that I dreamed of holding you like this."

Akane laid her head on Ryoga's chest and wrapped her arms around him. Her hands felt the hard, bulging muscles under his shirt. Her heart began to pound as the same desire she had the first time they made out seriously rekindled. She felt her breasts begin to firm up, the nipple hardening. She found herself wishing Ryoga was bare chested right now.

"I love you too." she said and kissed him again, adding more passion into the kiss. This prompted a make out session between them, they exchanged quick passionate kisses, their arms roved around. Ryoga kissed his way down Akane's neck reveling in the soft moans she uttered as he did so. The flames inside Akane had reach fever pitch, they roared louder and hotter than they ever had before. Perhaps it was a combination of the romantic atmosphere and the love she had for the lost boy, or perhaps it was sake she had with Nabiki and Ukyo a few hours before. All she knew was that Akane could not take it any longer, she had been holding back for too long, too many times they came to this threshold and never got any further because Ranma's face would suddenly appear in her mind. This time, it didn't, this time Akane wasn't going to hold back.

"Ryoga." she gasped as the lost boy's lips played with one of her earlobes sending delicious electricity through her body.

"Ummm?" he murmured totally entranced in what he was doing.

"Lets go downstairs." she replied softly, seductively.

He looked at her, saw the fire in her eyes. "A-A-Akane, w-w-w-we aren't even m-m-m-married yet." he stuttered.

"Please." she pleaded pressing her body against his. Ryoga could feel the soft round mounds of her breasts, and the hard points that were her nipples.

"A-A-A-Are you sure?" he asked her softly running his fingers through her hair.

"I need you Ryoga, I need this, please." she pleaded again, almost begging this time.

"I don't have protection." he said.

Akane grabbed his hand and lead the bewildered martial artists towards the stairs that lead below. "I DON'T CARE!!" Nabiki walked down the short hallway that lead to some of the cabins and saw Akane usher Ryoga into one of the rooms. She stopped for a second to flash Nabiki a wink, which got her a wink and a thumbs up from Nabiki. Then, Akane rushed into the room and locked the door behind her. No sound came from the room as Nabiki passed it but she guaranteed that would change soon.

"You go girl." Nabiki whispered.

As she walked into the living room, which was a larger cabin turned into a family TV room and entertainment room she was witness to a three person chorus as her father, Genma, and Happosai sang "Angel Is A Centerfold" by the J. Giles Band, and were audibly ripping it to shreds. When the song ended Kogame came forward, she took the mic from her husband and waited for the song to begin. She began to sing Bett Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" in Nihongo, her voice was clear and as beautiful as a silver bell. Nabiki walked over to where Ukyo and Kasumi were sitting, she noticed a tear in the okonomiyaki chef's eye.

"Your step mom has such a beautiful voice." Ukyo gasped as Nabiki sat down next to her on the couch.

"I remember mother could sing beautifully too." said Kasumi. "Kogame is so much like our birth mother in many ways."

"She's really nice." Ukyo commented.

"Best thing daddy ever did since marrying mom was marrying her." Nabiki smiled.

"The old lech looks at her with horror in his eyes." Ukyo noticed. Whenever Happosai strayed to close to the Tendo matriarch he suddenly had a very frightened expression on his face.

"I'll just say this, he has good reason to be afraid of mom." Nabiki giggled.

"About time somebody knocked that pervert down a peg or two." Ukyo grinned happily.

"She kicked him out of the house after the wedding, and he's been living with Ranma's parents ever since." said Kasumi.

They looked over at the diminutive martial artist who was at the bar. He put his had under the beer spout, opened his mouth and pulled the lever.

"Gee, you'd think he's in college or something." Ukyo laughed.

"Hey, that's imported Canadian old man, ease up on it!" Nabiki yelled at him.

The old lecher got up and staggered over to the girls letting out a window rattling belch. "Hey, jush faving zum foon, Nakiki!" he said drunkenly before collapsing face first to the floor. A few seconds later he started snoring like a buzz saw.

"One down, two more boozers to go." Nabiki said looking over a her father and Genma who were having a sake drinking contest across the room. The two men were trying to see who could drink the most before passing out. The big Genma, in human form, downed his fifteenth decanter of sake. Soun was weaving about slightly in his seat.

"Y-Y-Your [BELCH!] turn Tendo." Genma said setting his empty sake bottle down.

"Iz goona bin tiz ere dinkin condest, Sahtoome." Soun stammered, his breath reeked of alcohol.

"Uh, oh, when daddy gets like this he turns on the water works pretty soon." said Nabiki.

"Sahtoome, da schulz wi neber me noined!" Soun said, and sure enough the tears began to flow in earnest.

"N-Nonsense Tendo, w-when we find Ra-a-a-anma, we kun wed'em to Kane, no probem." Genma stammered.

"Sha lubs Rayhuga nall, sha nu wunna mahhi yo bohi." Soun replied, or tried to. "Id opeless nall, gadda faz et. Weh fayed ta git thim tu mahhi."

"Daddy, come on daddy, let me get you to bed." Nabiki said as she helped her father who clearly now had three sheets to the wind and then some.

"Ooh kay." he said happily then tried to stand and nearly fell over.

"I got him, dear." Kogame said helping to catch the drunken man. "This won't be the first time I've dragged your father to bed dunk as a skunk."

"Thanks mom, I'll get Uncle Saotome." Nabiki smiled in reply and help Ranma's father to his feet. The bigger man wasn't quite as out of it as her father was, but he was pretty smashed.

As Kogame took her husband down the hallway they could hear sounds coming from one of the cabins. It did not take a genius to know what was going in there, and Kogame instantly recognized the voice of her youngest stepchild.

"OH KAMI-SAMA, YES, RYOGA HARDER, HARDER, YES, YES!!!!"

"Wah iz dat derr?" Soun asked. "Da zoun lak Kane."

Kogame just smiled and decided to have a good talk with her stepdaughter in the morning. She replied, "Its just a figment of your imagination dear."

"Oh, dat agin, buh wah ah da bink elepants?" he asked as she guided him into one of the other rooms and closed the door.

Three days later the Chinese mainland came into view. Everyone gathered on the deck as the yacht glided into one of the many commercial harbors that lined the Chinese coastline. Nabiki had arranged for them to have docking privileges here, and after paying off the right officials they were allowed to leave the ship without the usual ship-wide search and passport check. An hour later they all climbed into a rental van, a foreign job from Germany, and headed down the road.

Soon they found themselves in the country with beautiful pristine wilderness on all sides. "I didn't know this part of China was so beautiful." said Kogame.

"Its a deceptive beauty, this land is some of the most rugged, Kami forsaken land in the world." Genma replied. "Trust me."

"Not as Kami forsaken as the deserts of Tibet though." Dr. Tofu added. "Now that's rugged country."

"No wonder the Amazons live out here." Nabiki commented.

"So how far til we get there?" Ukyo asked.

Nabiki pulled out a portable GPS and checked their position on the LCD map display. "About one hundred fifty kilometers, part of it we'll have to go on foot." she said. "The people who met up with Cologne said the road up into the lands near Josenkyo are too rough for vehicles. It will likely be dark by the time we get to the Josenkyo valley."

"There's a place about eighty miles up this road where we can rent some donkeys." said Genma. "If the old man running the place is still there."

"That might help, what do you think father?" Kasumi asked.

"Sounds good to me, I haven't had a donkey since our days training under the master." Soun replied.

Tourists going into the mountains around Josenkyo occasionally took donkeys. They were perfect for negotiating the rugged countryside of this region of China. When Soun pulled the van up to the donkey rental place they discovered that the old man Genma spoke of was still very much alive. He rented them ten sturdy donkeys, one for carrying their supplies, and the rest for riding. Soun and Kogame shared one, as did Genma and Happosai, Nabiki and Kasumi, Akane and Ryoga, and Ukyo and Sasuki for a price of two hundred thousand yen. Nabiki paid with a credit card and they were quickly underway.

The trail through the mountains was a rugged one. Kogame hugged her husband from behind tightly whenever they were on sheer cliffs. This made the Tendo patriarch smiled with happiness. The donkeys had made this trek before and knew where to go, but Nabiki lead the way with her GPS receiver. When they crested the top of high mountain peek they could see the valley of Josenkyo below and the light of the sun glistened off the hundreds of the springs below.

"Is that?" Kogame pointed with a trembling finger.

"Yeah, that's Josenkyo mom." Akane told her. "Boy its been a long time."

"Still looks the same." said Genma.

"I always heard of Josenkyo, but I've never seen it with my own eyes." Dr. Tofu said in awe.

"Except for Phoenix Mountain." Ryoga said pointing down the valley. In the distance there was a massive collection of boulders.

"Ranma actually destroyed a mountain, for real?" Kogame asked her husband.

"I saw it with my own eyes when the boy killed Saffron to save Akane and brought down the mountain." said Genma solemnly.

"Incredible." the Tendo matriarch gasped in awe.

"Seems like a million years ago now." Akane spoke up.

"So this is where it all began." Ukyo said looking at the glistening springs in the distance. "Uh, we don't have to go near them to get to where we're going do we?"

"I'm afraid so, Ukyo." Genma told her.

"Just follow right behind us and there shouldn't be any problems." Akane said to her trying to be reassuring.

"Ok, I sure don't wanna end up turning into something with cold water because of this trip." Ukyo gulped as the grouped started moving again.

"It ain't no picnic, believe me." Ryoga told her.

Nabiki had been right, when they arrived at the legendary cursed springs of Josenkyo the stars were out and a crescent moon hung low in the sky. Torches were lit around the hut of the Josenkyo guide's hut. The little man came out to greet them. He was a squat little Chinaman, wearing a pair of thin glasses on his nose.

"Nihao, oh, I remember you." he said looking straight at Genma. "You customer who fall into spring of drown panda, very tragic story that one."

"Kind sir, could we perhaps camp near here for the night?" Soun asked him.

"Hai! I show you safe camp ground, you follow Mr. Customer." the guide said and happily waddled down a path leading down the valley.

The campground, Genma realized, was the very same place he and his son camped the night after they first acquired their curses. The place was well away from the dangerous waters and surrounded by thick forest. The men set about unloading the pack donkey while Akane and Nabiki secured the reins to a nearby tree. Soon Ukyo had a fire going in a fire pit while Kogame took out the cooking equipment.

"I've spent countless nights like this under the stars." said Ryoga.

Akane sat next to him on a log near the fire and leaned her head on his shoulder. Since that night of passion on the yacht the two had become so much closer than they ever been. There was a glow to Akane's face that had not been there before that shined as brightly as the brightest battle aura. For Ryoga the experience had been a rite of passage for him. He lived through seeing Akane totally naked and had made it through the rough sex without so much as spilling a single drop of blood from his nose. Now he knew there were no boundaries between them anymore. No longer were they just boyfriend and girlfriend, they were more, they were lovers, and he soon to be iinazuke.

"Joketsuzoku is just a short distance from here, but it might be safer to approach them in the morning." Genma told them.

"Never sneak up on Amazons in the middle of the night, that's good advice." Happosai said.

"I can't believe we made it this far." said Akane. "We're only miles away from Ranma, its almost unreal."

"We'll see him tomorrow, I'm sure of it sis." Kasumi reassured her.

"I wonder if the guide wouldn't mind if I take samples of Josenkyo water with me for research." Tofu Ono wondered.

"As long as you can collect your samples without getting cursed." Nabiki told him.

"Hmmm. I've heard legends that the springs can actually cause people to fall into them if they are destined to have a curse." Ono said rubbing his chin.

"Oh my, if you do collect some water please do be careful." Kasumi pleaded.

Her husband smiled at her. "I will sweetheart."

"Say, this could be our chance to get cured." said Genma. "All we need to do is find the Spring of Drowned Man."

"That not be good idea." came a voice from behind them. The group turned around quickly in surprise. Standing before them were two Amazons, identical twins by the looks of them. They were absolutely beautiful, almost the spitting image of Shampoo but there was just enough of a difference to their looks that they didn't look exactly like her. Their outfits were similar to what Shampoo used to wear in Nerima, and was just as revealing.

Akane's eyes went wide when she suddenly recognized them. "Ling Ling, Lung Lung, is that you?"

"Akane remember us." one of the twins smiled.

"Matriarch send us, say she see you come into Josenkyo valley." said the other. "Say we stay with you until morning then she come to take you to see Ranma."

"Thank you." Akane bowed to them. The twins bowed in return.

"Sweeto, you two have really grown up to be lovely ladies!" Happosai cheered as he lunged for the twins intending to cop a feel.

"Aiya! It demon the matriarch warn us about!" they cried and drew their weapons in the blink of an eye.

There was a loud clang and the diminutive pervert dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. The twins looked up just as Ukyo slung her oversized Baker's Peel back over her shoulder.

"I see some things never change." she snorted with disgust.

The next morning proved to be anything but a pristine day. The sky was filled with dark, angry clouds and lightning crackled in the air. The twins stepped out into the rain as if they were completely used to it, they were actually, and waited for Cologne to make her appearance. Everyone climbed out of their tents. Ryoga held his umbrella up for himself and Akane. Genma stayed in the rain and reverted to panda form mostly because he was used to after all these years.. Soun, Ono, and Nabiki all had umbrellas to protect them and the others from the rainfall. Before long Cologne came bounding into view riding her staff like a pogo stick while still holding an umbrella. The diminutive matriarch of the Nyanchiczu stopped in front of them and looked them over.

"It has been far too long, Tendo Akane." the old woman bowed to her.

"Where is Ranma?" Akane demanded.

"You shall see Ranma in good time." she said. "Ranma is not a prisoner, Ranma has stayed with us and had been adopted into the tribe."

"Of his own free will?" Nabiki asked.

"Yes, Tendo Nabiki." Cologne told her.

"Its Kuno now." she replied.

Cologne's eyes went wide for a moment then said, "I see."

"I am Tendo Kogame, Tendo Soun's wife." Kogame said in greeting and bowed respectfully.

"So he has remarried, I wondered when that was going to happen." Cologne said cheerfully.

"And Dr. Tofu, I am honored to see a healer of your caliber in our lands." Cologne went on to bow towards the doctor.

"I am honored to be here, honored matriarch." he replied. "Me and my wife, Kasumi."

Cologne smiled warmly at this. "It is good to see this union, the two of you were always meant for one another."

"Thank you, honored matriarch." Kasumi bowed in thanks.

"Hello Cologne baby." Happosai said in a subdued tone.

"Happi." Cologne said with a slight frown. "Its been a long time, perhaps not long enough."

"Nice to see you too." he replied sarcastically.

"Grrroowwf!" Genma growled. His sign read, "Where is my son?"

"We'd like to see Ranchan now." Ukyo added.

"And Kuonji Ukyo is here as well, this is certainly an interesting reunion." Cologne chuckled then waved down the path she just came. "I'll take you to Ranma now."

The procession into the village was slow due to the rain stirring up mud along the trail. Eventually they reached the outskirts of Joketsuzoku. There was already activity in the dirty thoroughfares of the Amazon village as people went out their daily lives collecting water from the village well, purchasing good from the open air market to make breakfast, and any number of other regular duties. The Amazons lead a simple life, they did not have regular jobs they had to attend to for pay to survive. The village worked together like in the days of old gathering food from crops and hunting in the forests for game animals. It was a way of life that had not changed for thousands of years.

The diminutive matriarch lead them through the heart of the village, many villagers stopped to look at them for a moment. Visiting strangers were few and far between these days. Soon they were coming to the other end of the village and headed straight for a great tree that grew in the lower end of the valley. As they neared this ancient, magnificent tree everyone began to notice the complex array of structures hanging amidst the branches.

"Wow, that is some tree house!" Ukyo exclaimed.

"Is that where Ranma lives?" Akane pointed.

Cologne nodded and continued to lead the way. She brought them to a winding ramp of wooden planks that encircled the tree's mighty trunk. The ramp was suspended by ropes that were tied off high above on the huge boughs of the tree. Nabiki estimated they were a good one hundred feet up when they reached the summit of the ramp and found themselves on a huge patio overlooking the valley.

"What a view." said Soun as he looked out over the valley.

"Ranma helped design this home." Cologne told them.

She turned and knocked on a heavy wooden door. For a moment there was no response then the door opened. Tendo Akane found herself looking at Shampoo for the first time in ten years. Soon after Ranma left for China the Amazons mysteriously closed up shop and left. She had always wondered why, now she was going to finally get some answers. It also suddenly occurred to Akane that Shampoo was holding a toddler, a little girl.

"Aiya!" Shampoo said in shock seeing the Tendos and Ranma's father on her patio with Cologne.

"Shampoo, Ranma's family has come for a visit." Cologne told her.

"Is that child Ranma's?" Akane stepped forward and asked.

"Oh no, Rosebud is child of Mousse." she replied with a happy smile.

"Y-Y-You married Mousse." Ukyo said, shocked.

Shampoo nodded emphatically. "Aiya, Mousse good husband, Shampoo was wrong about him long time."

This shocked them. Shampoo had been adamant about never accepting Mousse as her mate. The myopic martial artist had gotten into many fights with Ranma over Shampoo, though a majority of them was due to a misunderstanding and a great deal of undue jealousy on Mousse's part.

"You come in, Shampoo have tea ready." She said and stepped to the side so the others could enter the house. The main part of the tree house was as spacious as the Tendo home back in Nerima. It was single floor deal, but it was large. One of the more interesting accompaniments was the hearth that was built into the room. How they managed to do that without burning the whole tree down none of them could understand.

"Ranma in bath now, I take Akane to go see, yes." Shampoo said in her cheerful voice.

"Its alright, I'll be ok with this." Akane said to Ryoga who squeezed her shoulder reassuringly.

"Ok." he whispered and kissed the back of her head before she followed the voluptuous Amazon out of the room. They walked across a swinging rope bridge a few feet to another building built in the boughs of the great tree. As Shampoo opened the door a thick cloud of steam billowed out.

"This bath house." Shampoo explained and lead Akane inside.

"Ranma, you have visitor." she said.

"Who is it Sham-chan." came the distinctive sound of Ranma's female half.

"Ranma?" Akane said as she walked through the thick clouds of steam and found herself in a room dominated by a huge circular furo like tub.

"A-A-Akane?" came the same voice again. A figure came out of the mists moving through the steaming waters. Akane's eyes went wide as she recognized Ranma in his female form approaching her. She kept much of her body under the water which was churning about as if kept in constant motion by water jets like in a hot tub. It was not lost on Akane that Ranma was in female form, and sitting in warm water.

"Ranma." she said looking at her one time iinazuke in awe and surprise.

"Uh, Sham-chan, can we be alone?" Ranma asked the beautiful Amazon.

"Ok, I go make breakfast for others." she replied.

"Other's what others?" Ranma asked quickly.

"My dad, my step mom, Ryoga, Nabiki, Kasumi, her husband Dr. Tofu, your father, Ukyo, Happosai, and Sasuki." Akane answered.

Ranma suddenly had a terrified look on her face. "You didn't bring my mom did you?"

"No, Nabiki thought it might not be a good idea, and now I see why." she replied. "How long have you been frozen in your female form?"

"Ten years." Ranma told her, then took a double take. "Step mom?"

"My dad remarried, her name is Kogame and she is very nice." Akane told her. "We all love her."

Tears started to stream down Akane's face when she finally blurted out, "Why didn't you ever call me, or write me Ranma?!"

Ranma moved to the edge of the furo and reached out to Akane. She took her hands and looked her in the eye. "I couldn't." she said. "After what happened to me I couldn't face you, I couldn't face my dad or my mom, not even your dad."

"What happened?" Akane asked.

"Josenkyo is a trap." Ranma told her tears forming in Ranma's eyes. "Its a trap and I fell for it hook, line and sinker."

"What do you mean?" Akane asked in surprise.

"Ten years ago I arrived at Josenkyo and found the Spring of Drowned Man with the aid of the guide." Ranma explained. "He tried to cry out to me but all I could think about was getting rid of my cure and going back home to you. But after I came to the surface of the spring I came out, female."

"I found out later from the guide and then Cologne that if you are cursed and you try to reverse that curse by using the Springs of Drowned Man or Woman, or whatever, you will be locked in your cursed form forever." Ranma went on. "She and Shampoo helped me, we traveled the world of four years seeking a cure, but there was none."

"Oh Ranma, I'm so sorry." Akane said squeezing Ranma's hand.

"Now you see why I couldn't go home." she said. "Maybe I should have sent you word that I was alright, but I was too afraid."

"Saotome Ranma, afraid, there is no such thing." Akane laughed.

Ranma face was deadly serious. "There was a time when I wanted to die, when I wanted to take a knife and cut my wrists and be done with my life."

"Ranma." Akane gasped.

"But then Shampoo entered my life, she helped me and gave me a new reason to live." Ranma told her. "She gave me my life back. She and Mousse both."

"How?" Akane asked, already starting to feel a little faint from hearing all of these revelations. She stepped back as Ranma slowly climbed out of the furo. Ranma smiled as Akane's eyes widened to the size of dinner plates. Very slowly Ranma stepped to the floor making sure she had good footing so she did not fall down. She turned to show Akane her profile, and hugged the enormous bulge that was her distended stomach.

"Oh my Kami-sama, y-y-you're-" Akane gasped.

"Pregnant, I'm nine months pregnant with twins." Ranma nodded.

"B-B-But h-h-how?" Akane stammered the question.

Ranma gave her a crooked smile. "Now I know by now you should know the answer to that question, Akane."

Akane suddenly blushed from her shoulders up. "I-I-I know that, but w-w-w-w-who is the father?"

"Oh, that's an easy one." Ranma smiled happily. "I'm Mousse's second wife, and these little gems belong to him." And Ranma lovingly rubbed her hands over her massive stomach. Akane gave off a tiny "eep!" and collapse to the floor.

"Hmm. She took it better than I thought she would.." Ranma whispered softly to the two little lives growing inside of her.

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TO BE CONTINUED....