Saburo walked into their new home in Juuban, and threw his school bag down on the couch. It aggravated him that he had a shadow while at school, but was actually glad that Gregory had stayed in the faculty lounge the most of the day. It was almost a shame that he couldn't invite Tigar back to study, without having his father put in a request through diplomatic channels. "Taidama," he called, not really expecting an answer. Of course it wasn't like in New Jersey, where he could tell one or both of his parents were home by the cars in the driveway.

"How was school," Ranma asked, from the kitchen.

"For the first day, not bad," Saburo said, as he walked into the kitchen. "Uh, Mom, how come you're wearing your gi?"

"I'll be teaching at a local Dojo. Besides, I need something to do while everyone is either at school or work." With the exception of her time with the Amazons, Ranma never sat at home, idle during the day. High school, undergraduate studies, work, her Masters program at night; all were the result of her 16 years of marriage. When she had some time to herself, Ranma'd think about what might have happened if she hadn't been to Jusenkyo, or her transformation was dependent on the temperature of the water hitting her, like in Tenchi Nibonnoichi. At which point, she'd wind up telling herself: "I'd probably would have wound up with Pops mooching off my hard work running a dojo, and married to some uncute, violent tomboy because of some idiotic pledge that Pops and her father made, probably while drunk." Which usually resulted in the final thought of: "Damn, I'm glad that didn't happen to me."

"Oh, ok," Saburo replied. He understood just how much his mother loved to teach. If it wasn't as physical education teacher, it was as sensei of the Summit High School Martial Arts Club, or working with the Union County (NJ) Police teaching a women's self-defense class. "I ran into Tigar today."

"Oh?" Ranma raised an eyebrow, in a very Spock-like fashion.

"Yeah. Seems she's in my class." Ranma nodded, as though she hadn't been told last night about her eldest son's wife.

"Taidama!" Came the shout from the twins, as they came rushing in, ending any chance for Saburo and his mother to speak about his day. At least he didn't have a chance to tell his mother that he was sent out in the hall with buckets of water for being late to his class after lunch or the reason why.

"I'm gonna practice," Saburo said, as he went to his bedroom.

Ranma sat down on the couch. "He's confused," she said quietly. "He doesn't know what to do about Jenny and Tigar. And if he's anything like Tenchi in that anime, God help him if that fat fool for his grandfather suckered anyone into arranged marriages." She had conveniently forgotten about what her mother told her when they were at Misawa.


It was close to seven when Marx walked through the door. It wasn't intentional, but his first real day ran far longer than expected. Who'd have thought that his old wingman was a stickler for staff meetings? At least, for the time being, Marx was keeping his investigatory body a quiet secret; with only his immediate staff knowing about it. Unfortunately, someone like Commander Lowe could make the whole thing an untenable situation. "I'm home," he called. He didn't hear anything, until he felt his wife's arms snake around his waist from behind. Ranma could be very quiet when she wanted to be.

"Hello, stranger," Ranma said. "You're not going to do anything perverted, are you?"

Marx twisted around and kissed his wife, before answering. "That all depends on you, love." He began kissing along her face, then down her neck to that sweet spot where her shoulder and neck met.

"For Christ's sake, you two; get a room!" Their eldest son said, as he walked into the living room, to watch some TV. "I swear you two are worse than some of my classmates at Summit." Saburo stalked back out of the living room, trying to banish the mental image of his parents making out. There was the hollow thump of a head hitting the wall. Repeatedly.

"Well, at least it wasn't your mother that caught us," Marx said, blushing.

"No. Mom would be giving us advice and cheering us on. Man, I never knew she was a pervert until she came over to visit," Ranma replied, her face as red as her hair.

"You'd think she'd be happy with three grandchildren to spoil. So, what's for dinner?"

"Saburo found this really good okonomiyaki place not too far from here. I was thinking we could go out for dinner."

"Do you think they really want okonomiyaki two nights in a row, aisuru?" Marx asked, as he loosened his tie. As much as he was enjoying his new job, wearing Class-Bs all day was already wearing thin. At least as Operations Group commander, he had the ability to wear whatever the duty uniform was that day, usually BDUs or, more often than not, a flightsuit. But his responsibilities required the Class-Bs, since after his first meeting of the day was over, the rest of his day could be filled with various other meetings. A diplo-dunce position was simply another hole punched in his card, as he climbed the ladder of rank, should he suddenly find himself on the list for Brigadier General. He made colonel three years ago, and would probably retire a colonel, since he wasn't "political" enough to make flag. Besides, if Cortalano pulled some strings after Marx left New Jersey, there'd be no way in the nine rings of Hell that he'd get his flag rank.

"Probably not. What about soup and sandwiches then?"

"Simple enough," he replied. "I'm going to take a long soak and get out of this monkey suit."

Ranma's eyes sparkled as she got a perverted thought. "Do you remember that snowy December morning when I started training you in the Art?" She whispered in her husband's ear.

"Yes," he drawled.

"Well…I'll wash your back, if you wash mine," she said with a mischievous smile.

"Aisuru, the kids are here. Maybe we can send them to your mother's for the weekend, after Saturday's half day." Ranma gave her husband those big, beautiful blue puppy dog eyes while pouting cutely—Musabetsu Kakutou Marx-ryu Puppy Dog Attack. Thing is, she used it on her husband so many times; Marx was becoming desensitized to it. "Saturday, ok?"

"Oh, okay," she said, still with a pout on her face. "I'll go fix dinner then." Marx watched as his wife walked back to the kitchen, before he headed to their bedroom to change and grab his bathing supplies.

As the furo filled, Marx reflected on his sixteen years of marriage to his wife, as the best decision he ever made. After three years of blissful marriage to his first wife, she'd died when her car was hit by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 287, outside of Morristown. He'd been on duty at Teterboro, before it's acquisition by the Department of the Air Force, with his tank platoon from the 2nd Battalion, 102nd Armor Regiment, NJ Army National Guard. They were providing security at the airport in the wake of the terror bombings of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

After a night of listlessly wandering around the house that he and his wife owned, Marx went to the local Air Force recruiters, and convinced the former airman turned officer to try to qualify for undergraduate pilot training. And, with the only exception his eyes, he passed the flight physical. But with the services being pulled in multiple directions and insufficient numbers of men and women joining as pilots, the flight surgeon at MEPS waived the requirement, provided he start wearing contacts when he flew.

Released from the National Guard to active duty, Marx was on a plane to Sheppard AFB by the end of September. While there, that was where Marx received his unfortunate nom de guerre—"Scooter". His instructor saw him walking into base exchange with his issued nerd glasses and started laughing. "Lieutenant," he said between guffaws, "you look very Scooter-ish. From henceforth, you shall be known to all as 'Scooter'." The captain that was Marx's instructor didn't even have the courtesy to wait until the next day, when they were debriefing, but spat it out right there, where everyone and their mother could hear it. The next day, the normally quiet and reserved lieutenant aggressively pursued his instructor over the ranges of northern Texas, but the callsign stuck.

As he was finishing up UPT, the dream sheets—requests for schools and future assignments—were handed out. Marx had fallen in love with the F-15 when he was an airman in Iceland, and put both Eagle and Strike Eagle down on his sheet, along with his other dream aircraft, the B-52. His scores in ACM (Air Combat Maneuvering) kept him out of bomber training, but weren't high enough for either of the Eagles. The squadron had moved into the ready room, and listened as the assignments were handed out. "Scooter, Luke Air Force Base, F-106," the senior instructor called. Marx was both intrigued and disappointed that he missed his shot to be an Eagle driver, but was going to be in the 106.

It was the best decision the Air Force ever made for Marx, since he was assigned to Misawa after graduation from Luke. And then eventually met his wife.

"Chris," Ranma called, pulling him out of his reverie, "dinner's almost ready."

"Alright." He climbed out of the cramped tub—one thing they did when they got back to New Jersey was to have a decent-sized soaking tub placed in the master bathroom—and toweled off. Throwing on the physical training uniform he brought in with him, he headed out to the dining room, where the phone was ringing.

Chibi-Chris picked it up. "Moshe, moshe Marx-ke…Konbanwa, obaba…Hai…" He set the phone down. "Mom, its Grandma."

"Hi Mom," Ranma said, after taking the phone from her son. "…Saotome/Tendo agreement? Wasn't that Baka-panda's thing?...Ok, okay. We'll go on Sunday…Okay, Mom, I know. I'll make sure everyone is dressed traditionally. Are we going to pick you up at your house, or are you going to come here first?...Ok. Love you too, Mom. Ja." Ranma hung up the phone, sat back down, and started banging her head on the table. "I am so going to thrash that damned panda the next time I see him."

"What was that all about," Marx asked, his grilled cheese sandwich halfway to his mouth.

"Do you remember when we met Mom, and got me restored to the Clan registry?" She asked, picking ramen noodles out of her hair.

"Vaguely," Marx replied, setting down his sandwich. The kids were looking at their parents, trying to figure out what was going on.

"Well, that call was to remind me about an obligation I have to my Clan, to unite with the Tendo Clan."

"Surely you're not serious," he asked.

"I am serious," she replied. Apparently she was, since she didn't finish the traditional line. She looked around the table, her husband following her gaze.

Both pairs of eyes settled on their eldest son. Saburo looked back at his parents. "Oh no! Oh hell no!" He said, his hands moving automatically to making warding gestures. "Look, I've got enough girl problems as it is, with Jenny and Tigar. I don't need another girlfriend or even a fiancée!"

"Saburo-kun," Ranma said, "We'll meet with them first, and decide from there. Okay?"

"Maybe," Saburo replied morosely, before returning to his food.


After his father dropped Saburo and his shadow off at school, the teenage Marx walked into school, with his head hanging low. Last night's revelations were, at best, disturbing. He was already torn between Tigar and Jenny, and didn't need another girl thrown in to the mess that his life was becoming. At least he didn't have any rivals here yet, so that was a good thing.

"Nihao, Airrren," Tigar said, as she walked up to him.

"Nihao, Tigar," Saburo replied.

"Something wrrrong, Airrren?"

"No…yes," he replied sourly. "Mom told me about an obligation my fat panda of a grandfather created last night. I'm supposed to unite my family with my baka grandfather's training partner's."

"I can see wherrre that would cause a prrroblem, Airrren," Tigar said sympathetically, as they walked into the classroom. Their homeroom teacher, informed by Setsuna of their status, shuffled their seating assignments after the rest of the class strolled in, allowing the Amazon law husband and wife (currently suspended, as per Elder Xian Pu) to sit next to each other.

The day proceeded slowly for Saburo, as his mind was on other things besides schoolwork, like what kind of family his prospective fiancée's was like. Knowing his luck, they'd be uncute, violent tomboys with a crybaby for a grandfather, who have no skill whatsoever in the Art. Even though with his dating Jenny, who was by no stretch of the imagination a martial artist, there wasn't family honor riding on that relationship. And Tigar, while a superb martial artist was an Amazon, and Saburo really had no desire to renounce his American citizenship and become a second-class citizen.

The lunch bell finally interrupted his musings, and ushered in his favorite period. The teenage Marx vaulted out the window, and found his tree unoccupied again. Tigar strolled up to him, like a cat on the prowl, her tiger-striped tail swishing behind her as her tufted ears lay flat against her head. "Yes, Tigar?"

"Why'd you leave me up therrre, Airrren?"

"I prefer the express route, Tigar," he replied smoothly. "Besides, my School is an aerial school. You should know that."

"Trrrue," the catgirl replied, as she sat down. "But you still shouldn't leave Amazon wife behind like that. Stupid male." There was a smile in her voice as she said it.

Saburo raised an eyebrow. "That's so? Need I remind you who beat you on the Challenge Log last summer?"

"That was a fluke, Airrren," she countered. "Afterrr we eat, would you like to sparrr?"

"Certainly," the heir to the Musabetsu Kakutou Marx-ryu said, as he opened his bento.


The Inner Senshi, as well as the rest of the school, sat watching breathlessly, watching Saburo and his catgirlfriend spar. The pigtailed martial artist was bouncing from tree to tree, like a super ball doped up on heavy doses of amphetamines. "Wow," Makoto said, "I want to be able to do that." Minako nodded in agreement.

"All you have to do is ask his mother," Setsuna said from behind Usagi.

The odango'd blonde looked behind her, at the Senshi of Time. "I wish you'd stop doing that. It gets old after awhile."

"Who's his mother," Makoto asked.

"Ranma Marx, head of the Musabetsu Kakutou Marx-ryu," Setsuna said. "She's teaching at a small dojo in Juuban."

"I've heard rumors that there's a sister school in Nerima—the Musabetsu Kakutou Tendo-ryu," Ami said. "And that that particular school houses the perverted founder of both schools."

"The Marx school is an offshoot from the original, and now dead Saotome school. The founder of the Saotome Ryu is currently in custody in the United States for kidnapping an American citizen."

"Who was kidnapped?" Makoto asked, her interest piqued.

Setsuna motioned to the hyperactive martial artist. "Your classmate's mother," she simply said.

"Oh wow!"


Knowing what was coming for Saburo, the week seemingly dragged hour by hour until Sunday arrived. Dressed in kimonos, the family arrived in Nerima, at the Tendo Dojo. As they rang the bell at the gate, Nodoka looked at her eldest grandson. "Saburo-kun," she said, "calm yourself. If things do not go well, then we'll hold off until the next generation."

"Mom, I don't know why you want to go through with this," Ranma said. "I mean this was one of that baka panda's wild schemes, probably just to live off all of my hard work."

"I know dear," Nodoka replied. "But your father dragged the family name through the mud when he was on that training trip with you."

"Then why didn't you move us back to the Sakai registry, Mom? Even in spirit I'm sure Grandfather would have approved."

"I don't know. Even though Father was a renowned fighter pilot during the war, and a successful businessman afterwards, he carried the stigma of being a survivor of the war. I guess it was just something that I didn't want you to have to deal with, Ranma."

Ranma glared at her mother, but could understand the reasoning behind her decision not to transfer back to her grandfather's registry. She was about to respond, when the gate opened. A woman, about three years older than herself, with chestnut hair was standing there. "May I help you," she asked. "Oh, Auntie. How are you?"

"I'm fine Kasumi," Ranma's mother said, making the introductions. "My daughter, Ranma; her husband, Christopher; my grandchildren, Saburo, Nodoka, and Christopher."

Ranma looked at the eldest Tendo daughter. There was an air of calm about her, which if she had been able to stay even partially male, Ranma would have liked to have gotten to know and maybe even marry her. "Sorry about this," Ranma said, her hand reaching up behind her ponytail.

"That's quite alright, Ranma-san. Please come in. Grandfather is waiting in the tea room." Kasumi led the Marxs in to the house. Sitting at the table was Soun, his long hair now gray, Akane Kuno, her husband Tatewaki, their daughters Kimiko and Natsume. Kasumi sat down next to…Ami! Saburo's surprise was clearly evident on his face. Fortunately, Tatewaki was quiet, and not posturing. Maybe it was because he knew what was at stake here, maybe it was because his sister-in-law had a quiet talk with him, or maybe it was because his wife's latest creation dissolved his vocal cords. Of course when dealing with Kuno, one can never quite figure out what's going in his mind anyway.

Soun cleared his throat. Hoarsely, from years of cigarette smoking, he made his introductions. "My daughters, Akane Kuno and Kasumi Mizuno. I regret my middle daughter has dishonored her family by choosing…an alternate lifestyle. My granddaughters Kimiko and Natsume Kuno, both age 11, and my granddaughter Ami Mizuno, age 16." He fixed his gaze on Saburo. "Pick any one you want, son, and she'll be your wife."

"Ano…" Saburo replied, his mind shutting down again.

Ranma fixed Soun with a glare. "What exactly did my father agree to, Tendo-san?"

Soun wilted under the glare. "When we disposed…er, graduated from our training together under the same master…"

"Who lives with you," Akane muttered, "and is a pervert"

"Anyway," Soun continued unperturbed, "we agreed that when we had children, we were to wed them (Although I could have sworn Genma had been busy cheering that he had a son, not a daughter). However, since it has had to wait until the younger generation, it is time to fulfill this honorable contract."

Saburo's mind came back rebooted and came back online, he looked at the three girls before him. Two hadn't even hit puberty yet, and the third was his classmate. He really didn't like his options. And both Tigar and Jenny were going to be so pissed when they found out. Tigar especially, since she was his Amazon-law wife. "Ano…Tendo-san, I guess if I have to choose, I choose Ami."

In unrestrained and illogical righteous fury Akane stood up and shouted: "What! My daughters aren't good enough for your snot-nosed son? I am, after all the Heir to the Tendo School, not Kasumi! I've been training them for the past five years."

Ranma looked at the angry Tendo. Knowing Pops, she thought, I'd probably had been engaged to this violent, uncute bitch of a pseudo-martial artist. "If you would like, Kuno-san," she said calmly to Akane, "we can decide your daughters' worth by combat."

"Agreed," Akane said a little too quickly. "If one of my daughters win, your son will be engaged to her."

"So it will be two against one?" Akane nodded. "Good. And if my son should win, then the engagement will remain as it is." The Marx matriarch looked at Soun again. "Tendo-dono, I ask permission to use your Dojo for this Trial by Combat."

"Yes, of course," Soun replied.

"We begin in fifteen minutes?" Ranma asked. Akane nodded. "Very well then. We will meet again in the Dojo in fifteen minutes." With that, Ranma and her family stood, and retreated outside.

"Mom," Saburo asked, as he warmed up, "unless her daughters are holding their power back, Ami has a better shot at fighting me."

"What makes you say that, Saburo?" Ranma glanced at her husband, as she warmed up with her son. Marx was shaking his head, the whole time while rubbing the bridge of his nose.

"Remember when you taught me how to read power levels?" Ranma nodded. "They're weak, unfocused. It's as though they haven't really been trained in anything other than up to 1st Dan karate."

"So you're going to win anyway?" Saburo nodded. "Well, try not to act too smugly about it when you do win."

"Ok, Mom." Saburo and his family walked into the Dojo. Akane and her daughters were there, dressed in gis.

"You're going to fight in that," Akane asked, referring to Saburo's kimono and hakama.

"Hai, Kuno-san. My mother taught me that when it is time to fight for real, you do not have the luxury of changing into a gi."

"Your funeral," the Heiress of the Tendo School remarked.

"Are we going to talk all day, or fight," Saburo remarked, sliding into a neutral stance, one capable of taking on two opponents. He was glad that he sparred with the siblings, as well as being taught multiple opponent techniques by his Amazon cousins.

"We fight," the Tendo twins said at the same time. They charged, and before anyone could see anything, it was brutally clear that the Heiress of the Tendo School hadn't taught them anything, as her daughters lay unconscious on the polished hardwood floor of the Dojo.

Saburo looked like he had never left his stance. But the sequence of events went like this: the twins charged at the same time, Saburo hit one, then the other in pressure points that paralyzed them and resumed his neutral stance. "Unless there is another challenger, I win," he remarked quietly, "and my choice still stands."

Akane stood up. "I challenge you, Marx-san."

Saburo looked at his new challenger. "Would you like to make this a challenge for the Dojo's sign," he remarked.

Akane looked over to her father. With the barest of perceptible nods, Soun agreed. "Yes. For the School."

"Very well then, it's your funeral, Kuno-san."

"AAAAAAAH-erk!" Akane charged, swinging wildly. Saburo moved with all the grace of his mother (who would have been doing the same thing when they first met in other universes anyway). That is until he got bored with her strong arm tactics and general lack of skill.

Moving faster than a pissed off rattlesnake, Saburo hit every nonlethal pressure point on his challenger. Akane's jaw and major muscle groups locked up, and then went limp as she was hit with a paralysis pressure point, and dropped like a ton of bricks to the hardwood floor. Of course it might have been a little too over the top when her bowels and bladder released, causing Akane to soil herself.

Ranma looked at Soun, as tears came to his eyes. "Tendo-san," she said, "the Musabetsu Kakutou Tendo-ryu is no more."

Kasumi was shocked that this sixteen year old boy was able to defeat her sister, who took on the Horde O' Hentai every day at Furinkan. Ami looked at Saburo. "I take it you learned all this from sparring with Tigar?"

"That and what my mom taught me. Musabetsu Kakutou Marx-ryu also incorporates Amazon Wu Shu as part of the school; which includes the use of moxibustion, acupressure, pressure points and ki control."

"So, I guess since my family's school no longer exists, the engagement's off," Ami said, hesitantly. While it was true that she was a bookworm, she also would have loved to throw it into the faces of the Dateless Duo that she had a fiancé, and would have liked to have tried to make the arranged marriage work. Of course, then there was Tigar to worry about and the obstacle corollary of the Marriage laws.

Saburo smiled at the hidden Senshi of Mercury. "We'll see," he said.

Ranma, after receiving the Dojo's sign from the still crying Soun, raised an eyebrow at her son's antics.

His father, though, was a little more direct, in a manner of speaking. Marx was pounding his head against the wall. "What god did I annoy to deserve this much chaos in my life," he repeated over and over. Up in Asgard, a certain self-proclaimed Goddess of Love was chuckling her shapely ass off, to the mirth of her coworkers.