Author's Notes: Last chapter, people. It's been a long and winding journey… but we're finally here tonight… (mumbles in petulant continuance about not being as good as Guy Sebastian in singing) Gah, sane mode now!

I thank you all for bearing with me and this story (and its painfully slow updating pace) and its ever-changing summary. This one's my first Ranma multi-chapter fic, and almost two years after I made it, I read it again. My nose scrunched up. God, my second year high school self surely didn't know how to write! But I guess time just passed me by, and with the help of my growing age and maturity (hah.) and your wonderful reviews, it sort of… got on track.

Thus, this final chapter is dedicated to all the readers and reviewers of Changed Overnight.

Disclaimer: It's been almost 2 years, darlings, but still I know that Ranma 1/2 will never EVER be mine. But this plot is mine, though, and to the person who plagiarized CO… may you get incurable writer's block!


Changed Overnight

Chapter (oh, lucky) Thirteen: A Happy Life

"Sorry, autograph signing won't start for about half an hour," a lanky man holding a clipboard explained to the huge crowd, mainly made up of men, outside the building.

The men – of all ages, from twelve to… who knows – all groaned. The females bickered with the tall guy who blocked the entrance. "We've been waiting for two hours!"

"I know that, but you can't possibly miss her when she comes, can you?"

"You better make sure, because this," an impatient guy said, holding up a CD cover entitled Oranges and Strawberries, "is her first and last album. And I," he stopped dramatically, his chest puffing up, "am her biggest fan. If I don't get this signed, I'll sue you!"

The tall crowd control man opened his mouth to say something in reply but was interrupted by sudden rapturous shouting and screaming. He whirled around and saw the once little teenager he's been working with for one and a half years, all smiles, looking tall and beautiful in white pants, a white sleeveless buttoned-up blouse and a white long-sleeved jacket, casually elegant and glowing as always. While she hurried to the door, her long bluish black hair gracefully swished behind her.

"Sorry for the delay, Makoto!" she said to the head of crowd control as she uncapped her felt-tip pen. When she reached the exit of the building, the crowd of ecstatic fans began presenting posters and CDs and photos for her to sign.

"It's not like you to be late!" the thirty-year old Makoto uttered loudly in an effort to be heard amidst the noisily excited fans. "They were butchering me here!"

The center of attention returned a newly-signed photograph of herself to a high school student in uniform, and then accepted a CD cover from a curly-haired woman. "I just called home and the conversation prolonged a little," she explained, signing the CD cover and handing it back to the owner.

After almost an hour of watching the girl sign different things (a few guys even went far as to have requested her to sign their lower abdomen), Makoto let out a lungful of air and ordered the crowd control staff to carry the travel bags sitting inside the building as a white limousine pulled up on the street.

"Take care, okay?" he said, giving the girl a tight hug. "I'm going to miss you, you impossible, amazing woman, you. Don't misbehave or anything."

She laughed. "Makoto, I'm not the nineteen-year old girl you met one and a half years ago, you know."

"But we won't be seeing each other for… a very long time. I won't have any crowd to control anymore."

They broke the hug and she smiled at him. "I'll miss you, too. And Mr. Akemi, Mr. Etsuko, Mr. Yukari, Ms. Okazaki… all of you. We already shed tears last night in the farewell party, didn't we? Don't make me bawl here in the middle of the street…"

Makoto chuckled and ushered his friend into the limousine. "Off you go, little girl. I'm pretty sure that the Hentai Horde you were telling me about are waiting for you at the Nerima Airport, so take it easy and don't beat them up… apply your charismatic skills and just wave and smile, okay?"

"Are you kidding? After almost two years of not seeing them, I miss beating those guys up."

"And your fiancé?" he asked excitedly.

Her beam brightened.

"You'll have lots of great sex and lots of pretty babies?" he asked more excitedly.

They both laughed. "Yes," she replied breezily, "and I'll invite you to the wedding!"

"You should! So… uhm… well…" he murmured awkwardly after sharing a good laugh with her, "goodbye."

"Bye, Makoto," she bade, blowing him a kiss as he closed the door to the limousine, which began its short trip to the Tokyo airport.

She was all alone in the backseat of the limousine. And the damn driver was playing her rendition of When You Say You Love Me in the speakers. It was a song she heard playing over a million times! Not that she was getting sick of it, but maybe listening to L'Arc-en-Ciel for a change will do her good.

After a few minutes, the limousine arrived at the airport. Since she was wearing a white jacket with the collar up so that her neck was covered, she knew that nobody would recognize her when she donned a white hat that sheltered her face. After the staff had finished unloading her things from the limo and loading them on the plane, she patiently waited in line to get inside.

Finally, after taking a seat near the window, she sighed contentedly. I survived, she thought happily. It's not that I hate the fans, but all I want is peace and quiet right now.

A man had just taken a seat beside her. She locked her gaze at the small window beside her, praying that the guy wouldn't recognize her and make a commotion. After ten minutes, the man apparently hadn't noticed her (she thanked her hat), so she sighed in relief as the plane took off from the airport and smoothly flew in the sky.

She glanced shortly beside her to see who the man was. Maybe if he didn't know her, she could engage in a conversation with him so she wouldn't spend all two hours inside the plane shutting up and making her saliva froth. Gross.

She saw that he was wearing an Armani suit. Respectable… maybe the president of a multimillion dollar company? But she couldn't see his face. Turns out, he was reading Japan Vogue, a very famous magazine. A very famous magazine where she happened to be on the cover.

She had several full pages about herself in it, as what she had seen a few days ago when Makoto bought her a copy. This was just a part of the long article:

"Akane Tendo, balladeer, soul singer and dancer, and winner of the Best New Artist Award in the Japan Music Awards last year, has just announced in a recent press conference that her album, Oranges and Strawberries which sold millions of copies, is the first and the last one she'll ever make. Many fans – Akane zealots, as what many call them – were very disappointed and saddened upon hearing this news, but they eventually understood when the soul star herself explained her very valid reasons.

Nerima's very own Akane Tendo was first discovered by Mr. Hiro Akemi of Turquoise Records when she was sixteen years old during a dance program wherein all the high schools of Nerima had participated. This was then followed by a stunning singing performance in a party afterwards. Miss Tendo was then offered a record deal a few months later, but she refused and said that her studies came first. Thus, when she graduated high school, a more beautiful and talented Akane Tendo was once again offered a record deal by Mr. Akemi. She accepted it.

Some careers took many years to build, but Miss Tendo's took only a year and a half. Her exponentially increasing fame was nothing like Japan had ever seen – she took the country by storm. She won a handful of musical awards and earned the title "Princess of Soul". In the past interviews, she had told us that she was very happy with her lifestyle, although she didn't deny that she truly missed her family and her fiancé (martial arts instructor Ranma Saotome, founder of the Saotome School of Martial Arts, a school with a growing number of branches in Japan) in Nerima.

This, and her desire to take up further studies in college, became her reason for ending her musical career that seemed to gain success overnight. But this didn't stop the people of Japan from appreciating her music, and now that she has stopped making albums, the number of fans are still growing. Truly, Akane Tendo's music will remain in the hearts of the Japanese people."

She cringed, and then carefully adjusted her hat so that it obscured every inch of her face from the man.

"You can't hide from me, Akane Tendo," the man muttered.

She cringed some more, pretending to not hear him.

"I can't deny that I'm hurt, Miss Tendo," he said. Akane heard him close the magazine, but she didn't move an inch. "We haven't seen each other for a while… but that doesn't give you an excuse to not talk to me anymore. You just made my heart bleed."

"What?" she asked worriedly, dropping her hat and facing the guy whose 'heart was bleeding'. And the moment she saw him, her confused face quickly transformed into a blissful, thrilled one. Her smile was so infectious that the man couldn't help smiling just as wide.

"Greetings from the Hibiki Hot Springs and Spa. You are entitled to one day of relaxation, free of charge. Complimentary packages will be given, consisting of the finest soaps, shampoos and body scrubs. And because you look exceptionally beautiful, you will also receive a basket of oranges and strawberries freshly picked from the Tendo-Saotome Farm."

"Ryouga!" Akane broke her silence. She suddenly didn't care about peace and quiet anymore as she hastily pulled Ryouga into and close embrace, one that almost completely blocked the air passage to his lungs.

"A-Akane…" he managed to choke out, "c-can't breathe…"

She quickly withdrew. "Sorry!" she squealed, unable to contain her enthusiasm. She looked at him. His hair was a little longer than she remembered, and he wasn't wearing the patterned bandana anymore… although he still wore the same fanged smile. She took hold of his hand and squeezed it tightly.

He squeezed back. "How are you?" he asked just as excitedly.

Her eyes still gleaming with delight, Akane decided that the last thing she needed was the people on the plane recognizing her, because if that happened, she couldn't have a decent conversation with the guy she hadn't seen for almost two years. "Rich and famous, thank you very much," she squeaked in an effort to abate her elated voice. "Oh, Kami-sama, I couldn't believe we'd ever meet again… here of all places!"

"Hehe… yeah. The moment I saw you on the plane, I knew I had to suppress shouting your name! You made me suffer for fifteen minutes, do you know that?"

"I am so sorry… I thought you were an Akane zealot…"

"So that's what your fans are called now, eh?"

"Yep," Akane giggled. "Aagh, I missed you so much, Lost Boy…"

"Don't call me that!"

"What, are you scared that your wife'll hear me calling you that name? Where is she anyway?"

"Akari left Tokyo a week before today. There was a bit of trouble in the Nerima branch she had to fix, and since I was the main owner of the spa chain, I had to stay for the National Spa Association seminar."

"Wow, you're really making it big, aren't you?" she marveled. "How many branches do you have around Japan, anyway? It's been almost two years… I need to catch up with the latest news!"

"Five branches. Two in Tokyo. And no," Ryouga said a bit embarrassedly, waving two hands in front of him, "the business is not really that big… maybe… just a little…"

"Oh, you can't fool me. I know how spas work and how much they earn in one day… I go to them all the time. I usually go to the gym first, then the spa… and relax. I need lots of that."

"So you're usually stressed out, huh? I heard you went on a tour for a few weeks straight; that must have drained you. But," he said, looking at her closely, "you look prettier than ever. Wow, your make-up artist must have finished off a whole stick of concealer to hide those eye bags…"

Akane lightly punched his arm, which she noticed was as hard as rock. "No, silly, it just happened that I slept well last night. I didn't use any make-up today, except lip balm."

Ryouga looked at her more closely. "Really pretty!"

"And you don't look half bad, too," she remarked.

Ryouga raised an eyebrow. "Half bad? I've been working out everyday for five years and that's all you can say?" He removed his black Armani suit so that what was left on his torso was a thin white shirt, and then he flexed a brilliantly muscled arm. "This isn't half-bad?"

She poked the muscles. "WOW," was all she could say. "That's so macho. Wow."

"Wow is right," he agreed proudly. Then, putting back his suit, he frowned slightly. "Forgive me Akane, I need to go to the men's room for a minute… my bladder is maddeningly complaining…"

"Sure, go before you wet yourself…" she bade, laughing at her macho friend, who childishly stuck his tongue out before getting up.

Almost five minutes passed, but Ryouga hasn't returned from the men's room. Akane wasn't worried; she enjoyably thought of the poor guy losing his way around the plane and the stewardesses ushering him back to his seat… And so she began to absentmindedly hum, of all songs, When You Say You Love Me.

Until she stopped suddenly when she saw a very familiar black figure looking very disgruntled, sitting on Ryouga's seat.

"P-chan?"

"Bwee," the little black piglet replied flatly, staring emphatically at the back of the seat in front of him.

She thought she was hallucinating. She was so SURE that she left P-chan back in Nerima. And if in some impossible, twisted way, he really found his way to this airplane, he wouldn't be a piglet… he'd be a big black PIG! Because it's been two years!

Before Akane could snap out of her frantic thoughts, P-chan poked his head in the aisle and after having found what he was waiting for, he hopped off the seat and started walking, ignoring the stares of the other passengers in the plane.

A minute later, Ryouga came back to his seat.

"Ryouga, did you just see a black piglet walking in the plane?" Akane asked, her voice tinted greatly with confusion and doubt.

He raised an eyebrow. "Uh, no. Why?"

"I think I saw P-chan… he sat on your seat and then left…"

"P-chan… as in the pet piglet you were always telling me about?"

"Yes."

"It's been two years, Akane. P-chan wouldn't be a piglet anymore… he'd be a really big pig," he explained, repeating the words that previously ran through Akane's head. "Ranma's probably feeding him now in Nerima." He put a hand on her head. "Must be all the stress, Princess of Soul."

"R-right."

And she still has no clue, Ryouga thought to himself. It had registered to him a few years ago that, no matter how destiny tried to reveal the truth to Akane, his identity as P-chan will never ever be found out by her. If things became crucial, he doubted that pouring a cold bucket of water on himself in front of Akane would make her realize the truth. And so this particular fear of his had ebbed, making his life much, much better and less neurotic.

After more than an hour of catching up with each other's lives, Akane and Ryouga heard a voice from the speakers, telling the passengers that the plane was going to land in five minutes.

"You better don your hat, Princess," Ryouga advised.

And after twisting her hair in a bun, she did.

Several moments later after a rough landing, the two found themselves exiting the airplane. Ryouga helped Akane with her luggage ("Akane, all these bags are big enough for six people to own!") and together they looked for familiar faces in the airport as they descended on the escalator.

Well, it was Ryouga who scanned the crowd for Ranma and the Tendos. Akane kept herself hidden under the white lacey hat.

From afar, the sharp-eyed Nabiki shook her head. "We'd better tell Akari the bad news. Ryouga's got himself a mistress."

"What?" Genma Saotome and Soun Tendo chorused. They followed Nabiki's manicured nails that pointed towards Ryouga, looking slightly happier than the usual while carrying a number of huge bags. He was accompanied by a lady dressed in white. A broad, white lace hat covered her face from their view, but they could tell that she was… very pretty.

A few seconds later, Ryouga spotted the family and met up with them.

"Hello Saotome-san, Tendo-san and Nabiki," he greeted, putting the heavy bags down. He shortly put an arm around the shoulders of the mystery lady in white, whose head was tilted down. "Where's Ranma?"

"The boy went somewhere a minute ago, didn't tell us where he was headed to," Genma answered, adjusting his glasses and taking a closer look at Ryouga's companion.

"So how was the trip, Ryouga?" Soun asked.

"Rough take off, smooth flying, rough landing. As always. How's the farming business?"

"Booming!" the Tendo patriarch replied. "With all the women in Japan dieting, fruits are in demand. Genma and I still can't believe the income flooding in!"

"That's very good news!"

"Does Akari know about her?" Nabiki asked, her eyes flickering with suspicion upon the mystery lady. "Don't you want to introduce your guest to us?"

To her surprise, the Lost Boy smiled widely. "Introduce? She doesn't need introducing – you all know her already."

The mystery lady tilted her hat a little so that the three could see her face.

"Hi, I'm Ryouga's mistress, Akane Tendo," she said brightly, an amused smile playing on her face.

"AKANE!" the three yelled happily. Nabiki immediately embraced her sister while Akane clutched her father's hand. Genma patted the hat on her head. "Kami, sis, you looked like a supermodel when you came down the escalator," Nabiki remarked.

"My child! The Princess of Soul!" Soun cried as his youngest daughter hugged him.

"Not too noisily, Dad, we don't want the people to form a crowd around us," Akane explained, pulling away from the hug. She looked around, making sure that her hat was still obscuring her face from view. "Where's Kasumi?"

"Cooking at home for your homecoming. You ought to be glad, sis, Kasumi's really in demand in her restaurant, it's a wonder how she even found the time to cook at home!"

"Oh, really? Wow, everybody's in demand and rich now!"

They all laughed. "Good things happen to good people," Ryouga proclaimed. Everyone nodded in agreement.

Akane looked around for a second time. "Where's–"

"Oi, Ryouga, I see you're home… and you didn't get lost, ain't that just nice!"

The five of them turned around to see Ranma Saotome, taller and more handsome, still in his usual red polo shirt and black pants.

"Shut up, Ranma," Ryouga said, rolling his eyes. "Who are you waiting for?"

The pigtailed martial artist looked at Nabiki, Soun and Genma. "They didn't tell you? We're waiting for Akane. Her flight's… hey, her plane should have arrived just now, same time as you. Wasn't she in your flight?"

"Nope, didn't see her."

Ranma frowned. "Maybe some zealots saw her and crowded all over her."

"Maybe, maybe," Nabiki agreed in an unnaturally pleased voice.

"Damn zealots," he muttered.

"You miss her so much, Ranma-kun?" Soun Tendo asked, arm in arm with Genma.

Ranma took a quick glance at the escalator and faced the family. "So much? So much doesn't even describe it!" he said, his face burning with something they couldn't place. "She called me a few hours ago, and hell, hearing her voice made me miss her more! I can't stop myself, I'll take her there on the floor the moment I see her…"

"Ranma, the Princess of Soul wouldn't want to lose her virginity on the floor of the Nerima Airport with all the people watching," Ryouga informed. "Go get a hotel room first."

"That's why I got two limos," Ranma explained. "One for the two of us and one for the rest of you."

"I doubt she'd want to lose her virginity in a car, neither," Nabiki uttered.

Ranma snorted. "Of course I won't do that. She said to wait for the honeymoon. Remember that, Ryouga?"

The fanged boy raised his eyebrows, remembering the night when Ranma intruded into the bathroom where Akane had almost dipped P-chan into the bathtub of warm water, the night when she was kidnapped by the Chinese bimbo and the deranged gymnast. "Yeah, I do…" he said reminiscently, a smile stretching on his lips.

At this point in time, Ranma began pacing back and forth in front of the family.

"Nervous, boy?" Genma asked.

"Hell, yes!"

"Oh, I'm really sorry… I forgot to introduce you my guest!" Ryouga suddenly exclaimed.

Ranma stopped pacing and for the first time noticed the hat-wearing lady dressed in white who was standing beside Ryouga all along, her head bowed down. Ranma must have been that nervous as to not notice her.

"Really pretty, isn't she, Ranma-kun?" Nabiki asked temptingly.

"Y-yeah, but Akane's prettier," he said, point-blank. "Akane's not that tall, she'd have to wear heels to be as tall as that lady. Besides, I haven't even seen the person's face."

"Ranma, don't be rude!" Ryouga scolded. "She can hear you, you know!"

"I was just tellin' the truth!"

"Oh, just shut up. Ranma, this is…" he stopped, appearing confused, and then looked at the lady. "What did you say your name was again?"

She took a step forward so that she was standing right in front of Ranma. "Hi, I'm…" She slowly removed her hat so that her hair elegantly flowed down behind her at the same moment when the wind chose to blow. The scent of berry from her long, silky hair wafted into Ranma's nostrils. She smiled. A very beautiful smile. The most beautiful smile he'd ever seen in two years.

"Akane Tendo. Your fiancée. Nice to meet you."

And Ranma just stood there, stunned, his sky blue eyes wide and his mouth agape.

Akane looked confused, but her smile was still on her lips. "Ryouga," she called, not moving nor taking her eyes off the man in front of her, "it seems that Mr. Saotome doesn't–"

She didn't get to finish her sentence, because Ranma abruptly pulled her close and wrapped his arms around her, causing her to drop her hat. He buried his face in her soft hair and relished the feeling of embracing her, a feeling he hadn't felt for a very, very long time. Besides, if he didn't hide his face in her hair, he was afraid that the whole family would see him cry on the spot.

He felt her hands crawl up his back, pulling her closer to him. She felt how stronger he was, how bigger his muscles were, developed over the years of practicing and teaching martial arts.

And then there was fanatical screaming.

The zealots had found them.

Male voices shouting. Kuno's voice stood out.

The Furinkan Hentai Horde joined the chase.

Without a word, Ranma lifted Akane up, one arm carrying the back of her knees, the other carrying her shoulders. Escaping the noise, he rushed her outside where two limousines were waiting for them. He positioned Akane inside before going in himself, leaving the Tendos, his father, and Ryouga to carry the luggage to the other limousine. Their transport had started the engine and drove away from the screaming fans.

"You," Ranma said, his breath hot and heavy, leaning towards Akane, "are the most evil fiancé on this planet." He lightly brushed his lips against hers. "How could you just stand there while I suffered like a…"

She didn't let him continue as she closed the small distance between their lips. Their eyes closed. She immediately got out of her white jacket, which she threw on the floor of the car. Both of them skillfully shifted so that Akane was fully stretched on the wide backseat covered with black leather. She wrapped her arms around the pigtailed martial artist who was on top of her. His hands roamed her sides. She kissed him again. He kissed her back. Soft, feather-light, tingly, nice, painful longing for more. Suddenly his lips were tightly pressed against her soft ones, followed by his tongue dancing on them. She sighed blissfully, permitting entry. She tasted like honey. He tasted like oranges.

He pulled away to breathe in, and he exhaled heavily an almost inaudible "I love you," down her neck. She whimpered, her eyelashes fluttering open and close. She sighed the same thing. His tongue traveled from her neck to the spot behind her ear to her earlobe. He nibbled. Akane felt heavenly pain all over her.

Unconsciously, she folded one of her legs up. Ranma groaned. Akane's knee just slipped between his two legs and her leg rubbed against him. Akane realized it and brought her leg down, and another groan escaped her fiancé's lips. She smiled impishly. Men, she mentally laughed.

He bit her naked shoulder. She drew in a sharp intake of breath. His hands slowly undid the first three buttons of her top. His lips and tongue danced on her neck again, nipping. Lower, her collarbone. Lower, her chest. Lower… she gasped. He smiled. Women, he thought amusedly.

She unbuttoned his shirt, wanting to be equal. He quickly shrugged his clothing off, eager to feel Akane's smooth hands on his body. Her eyes widened. "Ranma," she gasped, uttering her first word in minutes upon seeing her fiancé's firm, muscled, spectacularly sculpted chest and abdomen, "You… you're…"

"Sexy?" he suggested, a mischievous bad guy grin splitting across his face before he leaned down and took her lips again. Her hands explored every inch of his perfectly chiseled torso while his tongue explored every inch of her mouth, memorizing every curve and space.

They didn't notice that the car had already stopped in front of the gates of the Tendo residence. A short-haired Kasumi waited for the driver to open the door to the backseat. And when he did…

"Oh my," Kasumi breathed.


"A toast!"

"Yes, a toast!"

"First of all, to Soun and Genma's farming business!"

Cheers!

"To Kasumi and her restaurant!"

Cheers!

"To Nabiki and her empire!"

"Empire? What empire?"

"Her empire, Akane. She's got businesspeople working for her now."

"Oh."

Cheers!

"To Ryouga and his Hot Springs and Spa chains all over Japan!"

Cheers!

"To Ryouga and Akari, and their two twin boys!"

"You have KIDS?"

"Yes. Three months old, both with fangs and an excellent sense of direction."

"Wow!"

Cheers!

"To Ranma and his school of martial arts!"

Cheers!

"To Akane and her successful career!"

Cheers!

"To Akane and her decision to go to college!"

Cheers!

"To Ranma and Akane, and their marriage!"

CHEERS!

"To Happy and his large haul tonight!"

Huh?

Six people and a panda turned to the direction of the croaky voice.

"Oi, who let that wrinkled prune in here?"

"WHO'S A WRINKLED PRUNE?"

"YOU are, hentai old man!"

Rumble. Rolling. Food in the air. The panda catching the falling food in his mouth.

Akane giggled.

She had known her family since she was born. She had known Ranma, Ryouga, Uncle Genma and Happosai since she was sixteen. Until she graduated high school, she bore with their bickering, fun, noise, destruction, drama, murderous enemies, and etcetera.

She started loving Ranma when they were sixteen. It was the most painful age of her life. But in the end, it proved to be one of the most fulfilling. For four years, their relationship had been all about sparring and love and hugs and kisses and occasional name calling. For four years, they didn't worry about anything. Not the amazons because they had left for China. Not the Kunos because they were just plain deranged. Not Ukyou because she was a friend. Not the Jusenkyo curse, because Akane had already fully accepted that part of Ranma.

The day she signed Mr. Akemi's contract, Ranma didn't talk to her and spent the whole Saturday in his room.

The next day, he sweated it out in the dojo until he couldn't move because of exhaustion. He still didn't talk to her.

The third day, he silently walked on the fence while they went to school. He still didn't talk to her.

The fourth day, the same thing happened on the way to school. On the way back home, she slapped his cheek without warning. She didn't apologize. He still didn't talk to her.

The fifth day, Akane went ahead of Ranma to school. Both journeyed alone.

The fifth night, Akane was on the rooftop, gazing at the stars. Ranma joined her. They talked.

A few hours later on her bed, Akane slept comfortably in Ranma's arms.

The day Ranma and Akane wore their togas, Akane cried. She stopped in the middle of her valedictory address and resumed the rest of her speech shakily and encouragingly and with satisfaction. At the end of the address, everybody present at the graduation cried. Her father, two sisters, uncle, teachers, friends, principal. Ranma didn't cry.

The day Akane was about to go to Tokyo, her family accompanied her to the airport.

Among the family, Ranma cried the hardest, followed by P-chan. Ranma kissed Akane breathless before she went to her flight with Mr. Hiro Akemi himself.

The day Akane made her first phone call from Tokyo to Nerima, Ranma suddenly acted like the telephone was his most prized possession. His heart ached badly, and Akane's voice eased the pain. Soun and Kasumi cried, and Nabiki too, even though she hid it. Ranma didn't cry.

The day Kasumi heard her little sister singing in the radio while she was teaching the cooks working in her restaurant, she quickly called the whole family. They listened and became proud and gleeful.

The day Nabiki was channel surfing and saw her little sister's music video on television, she told everybody she knew. Investments poured in all of a sudden.

The day Ranma was told by a ten-year old student in his dojo that Akane Tendo was the most beautiful girl in the world and the most wonderful singer in Japan, Ranma bought his own mobile phone and called Akane to tell her about it. She was tired from a concert tour, but Ranma's voice relieved her aching bones.

The day Akane won the Best New Artist Award in the Japan Music Awards, all of Japan tuned in to the same show. She made a performance after that, and her lovely voice reached even the rural places of the country. The Tendos, Saotomes, and Ryouga celebrated in the dojo for Akane's success.

The day Ryouga got married to Akari, Akane was all apologies because she couldn't come. Ryouga said it was okay, but Akane felt horrible. So she went to the best cake shop in Tokyo and bought the tallest, most beautiful and elegant wedding cake there was. She had it delivered to the wedding in Nerima. Akari was in tears when she thanked Akane over the phone.

The day the Hibiki Hot Springs and Spa opened its first branch in Tokyo, Akane knew that it was no other Hibiki. Ryouga had said that he was promoted from being a lifeguard, and he just kept being promoted. Akane quickly guessed that Ryouga owned the spa, and so she entered it and found out it was true. But no matter how they tried, Ryouga and Akane cannot find any vacant spot in their schedule, so they didn't meet up.

On Christmas and New Year holidays, Akane couldn't come home because of her tight schedule. Instead, she greeted them on television while hosting a nationally-watched show that night.

The day Genma and Soun bought their land, Akane congratulated them. They started planting and the seeds started growing. Soon, it was harvest time. Less than a week later, all the fruits had been sold. Everybody celebrated.

The day Akane called to say that she was coming home, everybody rejoiced.

The day Akane came home, she decided that time appeared to fly so fast. It seemed like yesterday when she started her dance lessons and – what was her name? – Aiko-sensei had taught her some moves. She and Ranma argued like a cat and a dog. It was excruciating. And then they apologized and got together. And the next thing she knew, she became the Princess of Soul, an overnight success.

That's silly, she told herself. Five years' worth of time happening in one day? Impossible.

But one thing kept tugging at the back of her mind. It never left her alone.

Everything… everything just changed overnight.

Time is gold.

And right after deciding that because time is gold, she should value every moment with Ranma as he slept soundly, embracing her on the bed… she told herself, more confidently than ever, Even though my life isn't exactly perfect…

She gazed at his handsome face and gave in to the temptation of kissing his lips.

His embrace tightened as a mild smile became evident on his features. She rested her head on his chest and closed her eyes contentedly.

I'm happy.


Many thanks to: UnheardSymphony, Kinai, Aisha C, GeminiST, Palmtree, Kaoru-chan6, SquirrelnoShi, nightwarp, Cyndi1, independen-and-happy1373, Daide, Phantom Crossing, I8u2, consequences, DarkBlueHated, rosch, mimma, Percy 'Leari and Jo, Lady Mokodane, Candlelight Chaos, inu-dbz-1/2, glazedlookineyes101, Albert, Rorax, tomiie, Clavira, Mortanius, Andi-chan, Omi-Hana, bakaforlove, Mensa-13, Kitiara, Nyx Vasquez, animefan55, Anthraxus the Decayed, L-Chan, gigi, Tenshi no Hana-chan, Hikariness and Kawaii-cha, lordofpies, akanefan, Koala Kitty, Paradisefairy83, Story Weaver1, ShadowBakaSama, no-name, Killiara, Pinkie and the Brain, Lexi, mlink, apie, Jim Ohki, SilverBullet23, celest4, a, kenkaoever, saiyuki-cat, Blue hills, Inu'sHardcoreBitch3, Ketsu-Paire, fallenone, darcchaos, saphira12, mike, Krizz, Bárbara Guevara, dante hunter, Domie womie, amy, mysticalnightstalker, Rachel, blue faery, mdizzle, Miko Miko Nurse1, xfalsetruth06x, AttackingHentaiChibisLoveFluff, neo82, heartdragon(akane10)(0 susan), susan, Little Girl in the Hat, A.Nonymous, Expired Doughnuts, misakichi1, nma, solsanches, Jace3, WolfGirl123, chocolate, hashiba42, Mukira, kenshinlover2002, Puppkid, Darth Hawk 32, thereviewergirl, elssfdsdf, and ss4-link.

Very special thanks to: The-Shadow002, Den Scurman, WiNd, and the anonymous reviewer Yue, whose words of encouragement, assurance, and praise completely moved me.

Phew, I spent a lot of time copying and pasting those names!

Oh, and about the soul singer thing? I'm sure most of you have heard Noriko Hidaka (seiyuu for Akane Tendo in Japanese) sing. She's good. (",) It was her voice that I imagined singing throughout this fic. I suggest you listen to "The Ballad of Ranma and Akane", "Secrets of The Heart Split in Two", both from the Ranma 1/2 soundtrack, and "Innocence" from the Rurouni Kenshin soundtrack. (",)

And the kissing? They're about 20-21 years old. Give them a break, they know what they're doing. ;)

For the info of anybody who cares, I started this a very long time ago… this is just a product of my childish imagination (so predictably, it didn't really have a plot). I sort of abandoned it halfway, and… well, as time passed, I became really OC and cringed every time I saw its stale status. So with the help of a lot of willpower and chocolate, I resumed writing when I became a bit older and gave it a plot (kinda). Again, thanks for forgiving my laziness and weirdness, and lots of gratitude for reading. It's been a blast writing this soap opera, such an emotional ride that made me laugh and sniff and bang my fist on the table in frustration.

Remember that no life is perfect, and what's important is you're happy. Do what makes you happy, be with people who make you happy… and you'll surely enjoy life. It won't just pass you by until you can't remember anything anymore… when you're happy, your life would seem to change overnight from bad to good and you won't end up losing your memories in between. I hope to see all of you very soon!

Always,

Trevelyan Duke