AN:  For consistency's sake, Haruka and Michiru are the same age as Ranma.  Everything I ever learned about Bishoujo Sailor Senshi, I learned by reading fanfiction.  So sue me for any and all OOC goodness that'll appear.  By the way, I don't own any of the characters in here except for my own.  The cast of Ranma ½ and Bishoujo Sailor Senshi are being perverted for my own amusement.  Viz, Ms. Takahashi, Ms. Takeuchi, Bandai, Toei Animation, and DiC can attempt to sue me, but since the military doesn't get paid very well, they ain't gonna get much.

Uranus the Magician, from The Planets by Gustav Holst


Nerima Ward, Tokyo

Ranma was having a bad day.  It was, to be blunt, the worst day in the young martial artist's eighteen years.  The boilers at Furinkan were being repaired, so no hot water.  That wasn't too bad, since he was barely able to avoid getting wet through most of the day.  That is until his fourth class when the science lab blew up again, so the sprinklers throughout the school kicked on.  No hot water meant Ranma-onna for the rest of the day.  He couldn't be sure if he'd get hit with cold water again to change back.  He'd forgotten his lunch, and was forced to eat what concoction that Akane had "enhanced" in Home Economics (Something simple like spaghetti); of course his "loving" fiancée threw a fit (and a mallet) when he passed out from food poisoning.  Throw in one wannabe samurai/college student spouting bad poetry and asking Ranma-onna out on a date, and you now have the recipe for an explosion of epic proportions. 

She walked through the gates of the Tendo compound, and nodded to Kasumi as she hung the laundry out to dry.  "Konnichiwa, Ranma.  The kettle's already hot on the stove."

"Thanks Kasumi."  Walking into the house, Ranma was presented by his usual dilemma.  He had feelings for the eldest Tendo that went beyond mere friendship, or even as siblings.  But she was in love with another man, an American gaijin, one of the other Tendo houseguests stationed at Yokota with the American Air Force.  In a way, though, he was happy for her.  At least with someone like Lt. Marx, she wouldn't have to put up with the same crazy life that Ranma had.  No martial artists challenging him, no kidnappings, no fiancées, none of the day to day chaos that marked the life of one Ranma Saotome.  At least that was what he hoped for Dai Ryuujin no Nishi.  Pouring the water on himself, he returned to his regular form, and trudged upstairs.  "I hate my life sometimes," Ranma muttered as he walked past Nabiki's room.

"Why's that, Saotome?"

Ranma jumped.  He was so engrossed in his sudden bout of self-pity, that he didn't hear the Ice Queen, home for the weekend from Todai.  "Oh, nothing, Nabiki.  Just thinking out loud."  She grabbed the martial artist's arm and pulled him into her room.  "Hey, what are you doing?"

"Shut up, Saotome," Nabiki said as she closed the door.  "I saw what's gotten into you today.  I know you need a break, Saotome.  If you don't, you're going to crack under the stress.  I don't want to be around when that happens.  And frankly, I don't want my family around when it happens.  So I'm going to help you escape.  If you leave tonight, I'll cover for you."

Ranma reached into his pockets and began pulling out yen.  For the first time that he knew her, Nabiki put her hand on his wrist, stopping him.  "I know you think you love my sister, Ranma.  But she's a violent maniac.  And you bear the brunt of her violence whether you are at fault or not.  She'll never be the martial artist that you are, and is extremely jealous of that."  Ranma nodded, as he remembered the number of times his fiancée had hit him with a convenient hard surface or Mallet-sama.  She smiled at him, without a hint of the usual gleam of when she's scamming him.  "And," she sighed, "I love you."  Ranma went slack-jaw, until she hit him in the shoulder.  She meant what she said, but she really didn't want Ranma to know that she had a crush on his cursed form.  "Not like that, you baka.  I love you like a brother and a sister.  Despite the chaos that you and that gluttonous panda of a father brought to our household, despite the moneymaking schemes that I used you for, this is on the house.  You don't need to pay me to do this."

Ranma gave her that smile—the one that makes all the girls weak in the knees—and Nabiki was not immune to it.  "Thanks Nabiki, I'll make it up to you somehow."

"Just do this for me, Saotome-kun.  Just let me know how you're doing, when you get there, wherever you are going."  Nabiki gave Ranma her cell phone number and a calling card.

"I will Nabiki," Ranma said.  He turned and left her room…and right into his "loving" fiancée.

"Ranma, what were you doing in oneechan's room?"

"N-nothing Akane."  The flustered martial artist stammered.

"Bullshit, Ranma.  I'll bet you were doing something perverted with her."

"Ranma and I were discussing something about the debt that he owes me," Nabiki said, rescuing him.  "I've already got someone."  She smiled at her baby sister.  "Besides, he's not my type."

"What do you mean, 'Not my type'?"

"75 thousand yen, Imouto-chan.  I value my privacy as much as the next person."

"I…I can't afford that."

"Then I'm not saying.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date to get ready for."  Nabiki spun on her heel and went back into her room.  Ranma had, during the discussion, taken the opportunity to slip away using a Saotome Secret Technique.  This left Akane standing there, her jaw on the floor.

Later that night, long after everyone had gone to bed, Ranma slipped out of the room he shared with his panda of a father, and made his way over the gate, his rucksack slung over his shoulder.  Only one person was still awake to notice him leaving.  "Damn you Ranma Saotome," Nabiki said quietly, turning away from the window as a tear slipped down her cheek.  She looked at her ledger and, with a red pencil, crossed out "Saotome, R. - ¥500,000".  "Damn you for ever coming into my life.  And damn me for not accepting the engagement."

Juban District, Tokyo

It was a gorgeous Saturday morning that found Ranma in front of his home.  Cautiously, the pig-tailed martial artist made his way into the yard, remembering what would happen if his mother found out about him.  But that was why he was here.  The whisper of a vaguely familiar ki signature tickled the back of his mind as he walked towards the front door.  Ranma spun around just in time to catch the katana blade in his hands.  "Mom?"

"Ranma?"  Nodoka said, letting the pressure on sword lighten.  "What are you doing here?"

He released his hold on the sword blade, and let his pack slide off his shoulders.  "I needed to get out of Nerima, Mom.  To get away from Akane, and everyone, before I did something that I'd regret."

"How so?"  His mother asked, as she led him into the house.

Ranma gave a sardonic chuckle.  "I've become too good, Mom.  It's like I can beat someone with just one punch or kick."  His next statement was said without pride or ego, just as fact.  "I'm the best martial artist in the world.  No thanks to Oyaji and his 'ideas'. But the pressure that made me the best hasn't let up once.  I was afraid I was going to crack and hurt someone close to me."

Nodoka had walked her son into the house, listening to what her "darling" husband had done to their son while on their training trip.  From Jusenkyo and the curses down to selling him for a bowl of rice, pickles, and two fish; the Neko-Ken training had turned his mother green, and the Amazon problem was also blamed on the panda's stomach.  All the fiancées, the suitors, the madness that is Furinkan High; with a cup of cold water, he demonstrated his curse…and waited to feel the sting of cold steel through her neck.  (AN: If you really need to know, go rent the series. ^_^)  His mother actually smiled at her son turned daughter.  "You look so much like your twin sister, Ranma.  I don't know why I didn't recognize you all those times you were hiding as 'Ranko'."

"Sister?  I have a twin sister?"  Ranma asked, after he picked himself up off the floor. 


In the middle of a practice race she had led for several laps that virtually guaranteed her the pole, a certain blonde tomboy started on a sneezing fit, causing her to lose control and spin out in the infield.  Her crew chief got an earful of curses over the radio, some which would make a sailor blush.


Nodoka nodded.  "Yes, you do."  His mother sat down, placing the Saotome katana on the coffee table.  "Your father never wanted a daughter.  Genma was elated when he found out that I was having twins.  I never told him that the doctor told me that I was to have fraternal twins.  He immediately went out with Soun and toasted his good fortune.

"Nine months later, when you and your sister were born, Genma was a little more than disappointed.  He was furious; accused me of infidelity.  Especially when you have the mop of raven black hair, and your sister is a blonde.  Demanded a paternity test right then and there.  And apologized three days later when the results showed that he was indeed fathered both of you.  But then he wanted me to give your sister up for adoption."

"So what happened to her?"  Ranma asked, the shock that he has a sister receding.

"She was adopted by the Ten'ou clan, here in Juban.  Her parents and I kept in touch until they died in a car accident.  I lost touch with her after then."

"Wow.  I have a sister.  Mom, who was born first, me or my sister?"

"You haven't even met her yet, and you're interested in a sibling rivalry?"  Nodoka chuckled as her son gave her an eye.  "Your sister was.  That was what got your father started about you two not being his."

"I still can't believe that I have sister."  Ranma said again, in a bit of a daze.  He was shaken out of his daze by remembering to do something.  "Mom, I need to use the phone."  Nodoka nodded, pointing into the kitchen.  Her son went in and dialed up Nabiki.  "Nabiki, its Ranma…I'm at Mom's…I have a favor to ask…Just add it to my debt…Don't tell anyone in the Wrecking Crew where I am…Yeah, you can let Christopher-san and Kasumi know, though…Ok, so it's a couple of favors, do what you usually do… Thanks a lot.  Bye."

"What was that all about, Ranma?"

"I usually have to use Nabiki's services to disappear from time to time.  If I go out on a training trip, I usually don't get any training done at all."  Ranma sat heavily on his mother's couch.  "Because Akane will come because she thinks she'll be able to cook for me.  Oyaji and Mr. Tendo'll come, dragging Kasumi along with them so they don't have to suffer Akane's cooking.  Kasumi will bring her fiancé with her so she doesn't get lonely.  And then the rest of the Wrecking Crew'll follow also.

"Last time I was on a training trip, all I got out of it was a sore back, thanks to Ryouga.  And a sore head courtesy of Mallet-sama."

"I see," Nodoka said quietly, as she stood.  "Ranma, I have some errands to run.  Why don't you get reacquainted with your home."

"Sure Mom.  Thanks."

"'Thanks'?  For what Ranma?"

"For not invoking the seppuku pledge when you found out about my curse." 

Nodoka looked quizzically at her son.  "Why would I do such a thing, Ranma?"

"Because I'm cursed to spend half my life as a girl; I'm not the 'man amongst men' that you wanted me to be."

"Ranma, I made that pledge so that your father would keep himself in line.  I was wrong about that, but you have turned out for the better, even with, what did you call him…ah yes 'that damned panda', as your only role model."  Nodoka smiled at her son, told him that there was food in the kitchen and went out.  The smile, though, didn't have much amusement to it.


Haruka Ten'ou walked back into the house she shared with Michiru, Setsuna, and Hotaru.  She stalked into the living room, her face covered in soot and dirt, still growling about losing the race.  Michiru looked at her lover.  "What happened," she asked Haruka.

The blonde tomboy replied succinctly.  "I lost.  I lost control and spun out into the infield.  Managed to get back into the race, though, and place in the top ten for tomorrow's race.  But I still didn't do as well as I was until I started sneezing.  And you know how much I hate not doing my best."  Haruka flopped down onto the couch, and let out an exasperated sigh.  "It was almost as if someone was talking about me."

The aquamarine-tressed violinist smiled.  "You know what you need, lover, is a nice long soak in the furo and a rubdown.  It'll relieve the tension from the race.  Besides, Hotaru is studying with Ami and Setsuna is…well, somewhere."

Haruka grinned.  "I wash your back, you wash mine?"  She asked, the hint of a tease in her voice.  Michiru's reply was whispered in her ear, causing Haruka to smile bigger.

*          *          *

Setsuna sat before the Gates of Time, her head in her hand, nursing a migraine of Jovian scale.  Something was not right with the time stream, and she was feeling it.  She looked up in time to see the image in the gates go fuzzy for a moment, then clear.  She scanned ahead to Crystal Tokyo and saw that the future was secure, but almost not in the way she had been planning and conniving and scheming since the downfall of the Silver Millennium.  The Guardian of Time scanned further and saw…him.  "Oh no," she muttered.  "It can't be him."  She saw an infamous pig-tailed martial artist talking with Uranus…who had grown her hair out into a pigtail as well, so the two looked like twins.  Her eyes grew as large as saucers when she saw her future self walk into the scene and begin talking with the pig-tailed martial artist.  Setsuna also caught the glint of a gold wedding band on the third finger of her right hand.  "Dear Goddess, I didn't."  The way her future self was looking at the pig-tailed martial artist confirmed her suspicions.

The Senshi of Time teleported back to the house in Juban and walked out of her room, massaging her temple.  Her migraine had gone from Jovian to Solar with what the Time Gate showed her.  It didn't help her that when she scanned back in time, her meeting up with the avatar of Chaos would help to bring forth a slightly different Crystal Tokyo.  Walking past the furo, she heard Haruka and Michiru enjoying each other's company.  Shaking her head, Setsuna slowly made her way down to the kitchen to find the aspirin.  Swallowing the pills dry, Setsuna went into the living room and settled down on the couch.  Ignoring the sudden squeals of fan service delight coming from the bathroom, the eldest Senshi closed her eyes, and tried to will her migraine away.  Even with Stravinsky's Firebird playing in the background, the noises of her two housemates was just too much for her pounding head.

Walking down the street, Setsuna was lost in her thoughts as to just why she was destined to be with "him".  Her migraine began to clear as she breathed in the fresh air, and let the sun rejuvenate her.  So deep in her thoughts, she didn't notice the red light or the Mitsubishi Fuso tractor-trailer bearing down on her until the air horn started blaring.  The Senshi of Time froze and looked up at her impending demise.  How ironic, she thought, to have survived millennia, only to be taken out by a tractor-trailer.


Ranma was walking down the street, getting his bearings for Juban.  He'd seen and felt a tractor-trailer blow by him, but ignored it, until he heard the air horn.  The pig-tailed martial artist saw what was about to happen and leapt into action.

Aerial combat is a Saotome School specialty, which also lends itself to spectacular rescue attempts.  So it was no surprise that Ranma leapt into the air, to cover the remaining forty or so meters between himself and the front of the truck.  Bouncing off buildings, poles and cars like a crazed Ping Pong ball, brought him to the green-haired girl—no, not a girl; definitely a woman.  He swept her up in his arms and leapt over the truck, to a nearby roof.

Setsuna braced herself for what would be the last sensation of her life—the impact of the tractor against her body.  She closed her eyes and imagined the painful kiss of the steel bumper and grille, the flow of the air as her soon-to-be lifeless body flies through the air.

She felt a pair of muscular arms wrap themselves around her body, and the feeling of weightlessness as they flew through the air.  She snuggled deeper into the firm chest, enjoying the feeling, yet still a little concerned.  She felt the movement stop, and she opened her eyes.  A pair of blue-gray orbs looked down on her with concern.  "Um, are you alright?"  The owner of those eyes asked, cautiously.  Setsuna nodded, not quite trusting her voice. 

Ranma set her gently on her feet, leaving a hand on her shoulder to help steady the young woman he had just rescued from certain death.  She looked back at him, and a smile crept on to her serious face.  Ranma replied with his own nervous smile—the one that makes all the girls weak in the knees—and Setsuna was falling for it as well.  "Thank you…" Setsuna said, trailing off.  Please, don't be him.  Goddess, please not him.  The Kami, however, were not as forgiving as the Senshi of Time hoped.

"Ranma.  Ranma Saotome, of the Saotome School of Anything Goes Martial Arts.  Pleased to meet'cha."  He put a hand on the back of his head, and scratched the base of his pigtail. 

"Setsuna Meiou.  And the pleasure is mine, Ranma.  Thank you for rescuing me."  Setsuna's crimson eyes betrayed nothing about what the future would hold.  Behind her eyes, the Senshi of Time was suffering from her frayed nerves.  Between what the Time Gates showed her and almost being turned into road pizza, then being rescued by the one who was supposed to be her fiancé, the calm façade was beginning spider web.

"It was nothing.  'The duty of a martial artist is to protect the weak.'"  He replied.  The phrase sounded like he'd heard it before.

She looked down at the street below them.  "Ranma, how do we get down?"

The pig-tailed martial artist gave Setsuna a nervous smile, then swept the Senshi up in his arms again.  "Sorry 'bout this," he said.  With a start, Setsuna started to squirm out of his arms as Ranma ran towards the edge of the roof.  "Don't move, just relax.  Besides, who said we were going down?  Which way is your house?"  She pointed to an approximate location; she wasn't too sure with directions looking at rooftops of Juban.  Ranma nodded, and they leapt off the roof.  Setsuna wrapped her arms around his neck as the feeling of weightlessness returned.  The two of them bounced across the roofs of Juban, back towards the house Pluto shared with the rest of the Outers.


"Man, its good to be home," Ranma said to no one in particular as he walked into his mother's house.  He paused in mid-step.  Wait a minute.  I haven't been here even a full day, and already I think of it as "home" and not the Tendos.  What's missing to make this a home anyway?  His stomach made itself known in its known.  His feet automatically responded by taking the young martial artist to the kitchen.  As he fixed a light snack, his mind continued its musings.  Oh yes, I haven't had to worry about Akane hitting me over a misinterpreted comment, Oyaji and Mr. Tendo haven't bugged me about the agreement or my honor.  Ryouga hasn't found me yet, and is probably somewhere in Africa by now.  Shampoo and Ukyo haven't a clue as to where I am.  Life is good.

Nodoka walked into the house, and was immediately and pleasantly assaulted by the aromas of Ranma's snack.  Entering the kitchen, his mother saw the remnants of enough food to feed a pro football team.  "Oh…Hi Mom," the pig-tailed martial artist said sheepishly.  He started to sweat, since his mother caught him doing something she might consider "unmanly".

"I didn't know you could cook, Ranma."

Her son's hand shot straight up to the base of his pigtail.  There were unfortunate circumstances, since Ranma forgot that he had a raw egg in it.  "Um, I didn't tell you because I thought that you'd think it 'unmanly' of me," he replied, egg yolk now running down the back of his neck.

Sighing, Nodoka replied.  "Let me guess where you heard that—from your father, correct?" 

Ranma nodded.  "His cooking was never the greatest, so when I was able to, I started cooking.  Baka Panda'd tell me I was girly, and would make a good wife for some salary man.  Of course it didn't stop him from eating what I cooked."

Nodoka muttered something disparaging about her husband's ancestry, before continuing.  "My son, a manly man is not only an excellent fighter, but a man who is well versed in many disciplines.  The Art is just one discipline; being able to cook or discuss literature or the act of pleasuring a woman all fall under being a 'manly' man.  And it seems to me that your idiot father only focused on the Art.  And we will rectify that."

Nodding, Ranma tried to hide his blush.  Genma never bothered to give Ranma "the speech", and now he was going to get it from his mother.  He also tried, with a little more success, at ignoring the oozing feeling of the egg yolk under his silk shirt.  "Oh, I get your point, Mom."  He squirmed a little, causing the yolk to slide further down his back.  "I, uh, I need to go get some egg off my back."  He motioned to the remaining spread of food.  "I think I left enough.  Feel free to help yourself Mom."

"Of course, my son.  Enjoy your bath.  But we will have that talk."  Ranma could feel a drop of sweat forming on the back of his neck that could float an aircraft carrier.

In a different part of Juban, another person lay on her bed, reflecting on the events of the morning.  Handel's Water Music playing in the background allowed her a pleasant focus for her reflections.  There was a knock on the door.  "Setsuna, are you alright?"  Haruka asked, sticking her head through the door.

The green haired Senshi looked at her housemate.  "I'm fine.  I just need some time alone."

The blonde tomboy entered the room.  "Uh huh, sure.  I know that look.  Would you like to talk about it?"

Setsuna rolled over and faced the window.  Sighing, she said, "The Time Gate showed me something that I didn't think would ever happen to me.  I was scanning ahead to Crystal Tokyo, because the time stream didn't feel right.  I saw you talking with someone in the Palace; a pig-tailed martial artist."

"What's so depressing about that?"

"As you were talking to him, I—I mean my future self—walked into the picture, and I saw a wedding band on my finger."  Setsuna unconsciously rubbed the finger where she saw the ring, almost as if she'd lost it.

"So you got married.  Big deal, it happens when two people fall in love."  Haruka said as she sat on the edge of the bed.  "Why has that got you worked up?"

"Three reasons, Haruka.  One, I was never supposed to get married.  Two, he's an avatar of Chaos.  Where ever he goes, something is bound to happen, for good or ill."  Should I spring the third reason on her?  Pluto asked herself.  I shouldn't; since I don't even know really what their relationship is, even though they might be twins.  I'll have to look up how Haruka was reborn as a twin.

"That's only two, Setsuna.  What's the third?"

Setsuna sat up on the bed and looked at the blonde tomboy.  "That…is a secret, Haruka."

"Don't tell me you've been reading Rei's manga.  And does this mysterious avatar of chaos have a name?"

"No, I have not been reading Rei's manga.  And his name is Ranma Saotome."

"'Ranma Saotome'?  'The' Ranma Saotome?  He's like some martial arts god."  Haruka began enthusiastically bouncing up and down, like a kid on a sugar high about to meet her idol.

"Haruka, could you please calm down?  I'm not Michiru, so you don't have to try to entice me," the Senshi of Time said. 

"Sorry, Setsuna."  Haruka stopped.  "I heard he took down a kami to save one of his fiancées."

Setsuna's eyebrow went up.  "One of his fiancées?"  When I find him, I am going to give him such a thrashing, that he'll remember it long into the next millennium.

"Yeah.  Supposedly he has four fiancées."  Haruka shook her head.  "Of course, those could be just the rumors spread by disappointed fans of his.

"So how do you know he's Ranma Saotome?"

With a sigh, Setsuna sat back against her pillows.  "I went for a walk after what the Time Gate showed me.  I…was distracted and didn't see the tractor-trailer that almost hit me.  He's the one that rescued me.  We introduced ourselves…on the roof of a nearby building…and chatted very briefly.  Then he brought me home.  And we talked a little more.  He filled me in on some of his life."

Haruka was ecstatic.  "I can't believe you actually talked to Ranma."

Setsuna arched a green-colored eyebrow.  "Haruka, you sound like Makoto or Minako, going on about some guy."

"Hey!"  Haruka said, defensively.  "I'm not like one those love struck Inners mooning over every guy."

"No," Setsuna countered with a smirk, "you just do it with every girl.  Does Michiru know?"

The blonde raised her own eyebrow.  "Are you feeling alright Setsuna?  You just made a joke."

"I'm feeling fine, Haruka.  I do have a sense of humor.  I just choose not to exercise it all the time."

Haruka snorted.  "Sure.  Anyway, are you going to see him again?  And do you think he's a threat to Crystal Tokyo?"

"I don't know.  I don't even now where he lives.  And for all I know, Haruka, he probably doesn't even remember me.  And since I saw him in Crystal Tokyo, I doubt he's a threat to the future."


Sitting in the bathtub, Ranma sneezed.  "Bless you," Nodoka said as she walked past the bathroom.

"Thanks Mom," the pig-tailed martial artist said, as he sank further in the tub.  Already his mother's influence was overriding ten years of his father's training.  In just a few short hours, since Ranma entered his home, he'd become more polite, better mannered.  His thoughts though, were pointing towards the emerald haired woman he'd saved earlier that day.  He closed his eyes and remembered the way she looked as the tractor was bearing down on her—utterly fearless, as though she was ready to meet her maker.  He remembered how soft she felt in his arms, the way she smelled of jasmine, the way her ruby eyes captured his soul.  "Kawaii," he said quietly.  I doubt she'll even remember me, even if I go over to her place.  He sank deeper into the tub, until just from his nose up was above the water.  The hot water soaked out the frustrations and aches from this afternoon's rescue.  Baka!  Why can't I ever have a normal conversation with someone?  Besides she has a cuter smile than Akane.  What the hell am I going to do?  Do I really love Akane anymore?  Mallet-sama is beginning to frighten me now.  Feh, listen to me.  Akane'd really think I'm a pervert for thinking this.  I need some advise on this.  Ranma stood, got out of the tub, and toweled off.  Dressing in his trademark red Chinese shirt and black pants, he went to track down his mother.  Which wasn't hard, when Ranma heard the sound of a whetstone against a steel blade.

"What can I do for you, Ranma," Nodoka asked, as she saw her son leaning against the entryway to her room.

"Mom, I've got a problem."

"Is it a new fiancée that your father sold you to?"  There was a hardness in her voice that reflected her katana.

"No, no, no, nothing like that," Ranma said, as he held up his hands in a warding gesture.  "Well…there is a girl involved though."  Nodoka motioned for him to sit and listened while her son told his not-so-tragic tale from earlier that day.

"Ranma," Nodoka asked, "do you love any of your fiancées?"

The pig-tailed martial artist looked at his mother and sighed.  "Ucchan, well, I've always thought of as my best friend and a guy.  Marrying her would be like marrying my bro…er, sister.  Shampoo is too…bubbly for my tastes, and living as an Amazon husband would be the death of me, since Amazon males can't train in the more advanced techniques.  Akane…" Ranma suppressed a shudder.  "Akane has too many strikes against her for me even considering marrying, Mom.  She hits me with the nearest convenient blunt object, misunderstands anything I say, can't cook, can't swim, can't fight, and doesn't even know that Ryouga is P-chan.  And for some odd reason baka oyaji and Mr. Tendo think I love her, just because of the fight with Saffron.  I thought I loved her once, after I killed Saffron, but she has too many checks in the minus column, and not enough in the positive.  Gah, I sound like Nabiki talking about my debts."  Ranma was inwardly shocked at how easily he said "love", now that he didn't have to deal with the insanity of the Tendo house, or the fathers.  "As for Nabiki and Kasumi, I like to think of both of them as my big sisters.  And Kasumi is in love with an American stationed at Yokota, and I'm not Nabiki's 'type'.  Whatever that means."

"I thought so.  A manly man is one who sees than an abusive relationship, which has tried to be corrected several times, should end it as quickly as possible.  And your father and Tendo-san haven't been helping, forcing you and Akane to get married at the drop of a hat, just to end the other engagements.

"Let me ask you something, my son:  Do you think that you might fall in love with this girl that you just met today?" 

Ranma sat there, collecting his thoughts.  He looked at his mother.  Nodoka sat there with the family katana resting across her knees, the blade reflecting the dim lighting.  "Mom…I don't know.  It's like…I can't get Setsuna, that's the girl's name, out of my mind, my thoughts.  There's something about her that captured my heart after I rescued her."

Nodoka smiled.  "You have my permission then to court her."  And maybe I'll finally get some grandchildren to spoil now.  "Now then Ranma, about your schooling…" The pig-tailed martial artist groaned.