Hamlet: You are welcome. But my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceiv'd.
Guildenstern: In what, my dear lord?
Hamlet: I am but mad north-north-west.
When the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.

Once again Nodoka sits in Mr. Yanagawa's office, although this time she's much less demanding in her outlook. "What do I have to do to get Ranma released to my care?"

"There are a number of problems, all of which have to be addressed before that can happen. Not all of which can be fixed by you alone."

"Please tell me what they are. I'm willing to try to fix what I can!"

"Well, the most obvious one is the Seppuku contract. Genma clearly believed that Ranma had failed to become a 'man among men,' and while Ranma and I believe he has succeeded, we both agree that you might feel he's failed due to events in his life beyond his control. We need your assurances, preferably written, that you'll accept Ranma 'as is.' and that the seppuku contract does not apply to him in any way. Seeing as he had not been told what the contract was until 10 years after he finger-painted on it, his signature would likely be inadmissible in court, Ranma's lawyers have told me."

"Ranma has lawyers?"

"Appointed by the state, to differentiate what crimes were caused by Ranma and what crimes were caused by Genma, and what if anything other people are legally allowed to demand from him. The seppuku contract could only be valid if either Ranma understood it at the time of the signing, which is clearly not the case, or Ranma was responsible for his father's promise, which I'm confident the court will rule against when Genma is brought before the court."

"Even if the contract had been explained to Ranma, which it wasn't, the wording of the contract is sufficiently vague, that it could be regarded as entrapment by you. You get to decide what constitutes a 'man among men' and fail to elaborate it either in the contract or to Ranma at the time the contract was written. You could, for example, decide that a 'man among men' must be at least three meters tall, and demand his death for lack of height. Trust me that you will want to have publicly destroyed the contract before you see the lawyers that determine if you are an accessory to Ranma's abuse."

Nodoka shudders, "I'll gladly give you all copies of the contract, and let Ranma destroy them. I'll also write up a document freeing Ranma of all expectations."

"Next, we have to deal with Genma. You'll have to distance yourself from Genma. Genma has apparently done nothing but harm to Ranma physically, socially, mentally, and to Ranma's honor. You'll have to show us that you are willing to protect Ranma from all of Genma's actions at least as well as we are doing."

Nodoka smiles slightly, "This morning I had Genma declared ronin, removed him from the family registrary, and filed papers for an uncontested annulment."

This shocks Yanagawa. "Uncontested annulment? For it to be uncontested, Genma had to agree, and he still hasn't been caught."

"The police haven't caught him yet, but he will be turned over to them by the people who caught him as soon as he's made a few more efforts to separate his misdeeds from Ranma. I have here a list of crimes he's committed that he's been able to remember, some of them in Ranma's name. I'm not sure, but I think that this is equivalent to a confession, as he's signed it on the bottom. His signature and hanko-stamp predate the annulment and casting out of the clan. I'm in the process of copying his diary, and collating a list of dates and places that might yield further information."

"I wasn't expecting an annulment."

"It could be contested with DNA-testing, proving that Genma really is Ranma's father, but I don't think Genma will have the chance to do that. Legally, my marriage to Genma was never consummated due to 'extreme male impotence' and Ranma was a 'youthful indiscretion' with an unnamed third male. And Genma signed it." Nodoka giggles. "I don't know why, but having that go on his record gives me more pleasure than kicking him out of my clan."

"That will help alot, but we still need to protect Ranma from other clans, from the Tendos to clans we haven't heard from yet that might demand Ranma fulfill his father's promises."

"Even if Genma committed seppuku it wouldn't protect from all of the claims."

"The major ones are easily handled. The Kuonji and the Tendo claims were made after they had full knowledge that Genma was a man of dubious character. Ranma's lawyers are drafting injunctions against those families to be issued after Genma is convicted. In theory they could be overturned, but in order to do so, Kuonji senior and Soun Tendo would have to admit that they knew Genma was a lying thief, and still wanted him in their family, effectively dragging their name through the mud, and not guaranteeing that they would gain anything anyway. Ranma, himself, got rid of the Amazon's claims, and the Daitokuji's gambled away their claim, as weak as it was, before we got involved."

Yanagawa continues, "The problem is protecting him from claims he knows nothing about."

Nodoka reminds "He's still vulnerable to claims made against the Saotome School of Anything Goes as long as he's a student and Genma's the master. The grandmaster of the school is Happosai, and only he can declare a new master of the school."

"The grandmaster of the school has been a wanted man for over 20 years. If Genma certified that Ranma were a master of anything goes, Ranma could start a third school of anything goes, for example 'the aerial school of anything goes' leaving Genma as the only practitioner of 'Saotome school of anything goes'. Happosai could contest it, but not without risk to himself."

"Genma is pathetically eager to please at this point; I think he'll voluntarily sign a teaching license for Ranma without noticing it isn't for the Saotome School."

"The last obstacle is the courts. Genma has to be convicted, which is inevitable once he gets to court, and the prosecuting attorney's office has to decide whether to prosecute you as an unknowing accessory. I will put in a good word for you, and list all of the things you've done to protect Ranma, but it's inevitably up to them if it should go to court. If it goes to court there's every chance that the case will either be dismissed, a suspended sentence, or community service. Any of those would allow you to be reunited with Ranma."

Yanagawa suggests, "You should consult with your lawyers. It's usual in cases like this to plea bargain. Such cases involve a formal admission of guilt with a pre-agreed punishment, like community service, rather than the expense and risk of a full trial. It's also much faster."


Meanwhile, back at Furinkan High school, Kuno appeared, dressed in a cloak that covered him head-to-foot, with the exception of a pair of white gloves, and a white mask. An ill-concealed bokken strapped to his waist could be seen tenting the fabric of the cloak in a manner which, if viewed from a certain angle, was quite lewd.

Ill-concealed disposable lighters set to their highest settings made twin jets of flame form above his hands, which were spread wide apart, as if waiting foe someone to run into his arms for a hug, and to get their hair burned off as a result. "Vampire Princess Pig-tailed girl! We must go and send the Shinma masquerading as a Hawaiian principal to the Underdark!"


"Ranma, things are going well in separating you from the consequences of Genma's actions; and your mother is cooperating. She's agreed that the seppuku pledge doesn't apply to you, which means at some point soon, you're going to have to show her the effects of the curse."

"I knew it was gonna happen eventually, I just don't want her fainting or nothing when I show her."

"The fainting is usually the result of excessive shock, especially of having your world turned upside down all at once. Unofficially we know she's got Genma locked up somewhere, and is waiting before she turns him over to the authorities. She must have an idea how Jhusenkyou curses work by now. I recommend breaking it to her in parts. Let her come to grips with each part over time before meeting you."

"Sounds like a plan. What do you recommend?"

"I'd send her a message saying only that you have a Jhusenkyou curse, and offering her photographs of both your forms. I'm not even sure she knows what you look like, so I'm sure she'll want the photos. This will give her time to accept what she thinks is the worst, you turning into some weird animal, while she comes in. Then, when she sees the photographs, she'll have time to accept that the worst didn't happen, only the weirdest. Finding out that she already met you in cursed form. She should be startled, but relieved. Then when she meets you, she won't faint, just ask you lots of embarrassing questions. But all mothers do that."

"OK, but I'd like the photos to be normal photos. Most of the photos of me in my cursed form have been used to blackmail or for perverts to obsess over. It should be just me in both forms, standing up, wearing my ordinary clothes."

"There's a photo shop in my office building that's used primarily for passport photos where we can get them made cheaply."


Genma was sweating in his chains. He has long since unlocked his forbidden techniques to escape. His vacuum blades had made short work of the chains, and tried to sneak out while invisible, but he discovered that having Nodoka swipe the katana through the open doorway when he was trying to get out of the room, cutting him, had a side effect of bringing him out of his invisibility technique.

Genma was fighting for his life. Well, he was begging for his life. So far, he still held out hope that he could emerge from this, and fix things so that Ranma had to fix it. That meant he had to avoid the two actions that would guarantee the death penalty: Telling Nodoka about Ranma's curse, or injuring his wife while trying to escape.

The first he had to avoid because he didn't realize Nodoka had voluntarily rescinded the seppuku pledge. As long as she didn't make him commit seppuku, he could beg and plead his way out. Eventually.

The second, he only briefly considered. With his vacuum blades he could get by Nodoka, but not without seriously injuring her or killing her. He still had feelings for Nodoka, even if he was too selfish to truly love her, and he had sealed those techniques for a reason. He was a petty thief and con-man, and therefore not pursued by the police very stringently. That's how he survived for years. But if he killed someone, he'd become nationally known. And in foreign countries it's nearly impossible to trade things that don't belong to him, things like his son. He might have to even learn a second language! And besides, fleeing the country would leave no way to fix this.

He couldn't even kill her and frame someone else! There were video cameras in here, and he thought he saw one outside. The cops would pin him to the scene of the crime even if he attacked while invisible, and if he only wounded her while escaping, she'd go to the police.

Nodoka, on the other hand was not quite as scrupulous with the law while questioning her husband. No one would fault her for her use of withholding deliciously smelling food to 'torture' her husband, or the death of a thousand paper cuts administered with the katana. Genma never understood her threat to make him 'unique', although he feared it none-the-less. The word Nodoka actually used wasn't 'unique', but 'eunuch.'

It was the drugs that Nodoka resorted to that might get her in trouble. It was the sodium pentothal to loosen his tongue, and the animal tranqs when she had to go out.

Still, Genma never hinted that Ranma was cursed, lest his wife ask for clarification.

All of this proved for naught when Nodoka was finally offered photos of Ranma in his normal and cursed form.

Unbeknownst to Genma, Nodoka didn't dare kill him, or even 'permit' him to commit seppuku. Nodoka needed him alive to give to the police. But Nodoka knew the police weren't going to be fussy over what condition he was in.


"Ranma, What do you want to do about Soun Tendo and his daughters? From the stories that you told, he's not going to give up, just becuse he doesn't have Genma's help and he loses any legal right to compel you. His drugging you and his daughter shows he doesn't care much about legality, so he'll likely ignore the court's ruling the engagement's solely Genma's responsibility."

"Unfortunately, he's a bully. The only way to make him back down is through superior cruelty. Luckily he's a true bully, collapsing at the first sign of serious opposition."

"So what would make him collapse, without the threat of physical violence?"

"I can force his hand, but not until the court rules Genma's promises are non-binding. I can threaten to publish his biggest shame if he doesn't accept the court ruling."

"But all of the members of the community over 25 already know all about the Hamster and the kumquat story."

"No, this is something else. What's the Hamster story?"

"Well, Soun was already engaged, it was about two months before the wedding, when ..."


"... looked like an extremely mobile erection, before it bit the vicar on his unmentionables."

"Oh, man. I wish I could have seen that!"

"It was over a year before his sermons mentioned St. Francis of Assisi, and even then it was in reference to oxen and donkeys, never the little creatures of the field."

There's a good deal more snickering, before he asks Ranma "Well, what about the Tendo daughters?"

"Kasumi's no problem at all. Nabiki and Akane have wounded pride, and will try to strike back at me. Kasumi is the only one in the family who doesn't hold onto a grudge for dear life. Akane's more or less defanged, as long as the restraining order's in effect. Nabiki's the dangerous one, because I can't predict her. She usually goes for threatening to make Akane mad at me, or blackmailing me for money. She did threaten to tell my mom about my curse, but that won't help her at all."

"So nothing she's done in the past will work, but she's clever enough to find something new. Any way to knobble her?"

"Only if I can come up with some means to make her help me out of enlightened self interest. Oh, sure, I could get her arrested, or threaten her, but that'd be really wrong, and probably cost me Kasumi's good will. I'm gonna have to just react to whatever she tries. If it gets too bad, I can suggest mom talk to her. I think a threat of retaliation from mom would go much farther than anything from me. She's also my fallback for keeping Soun in line."


The next day, in class, Ranma makes an announcement. "Yesterday afternoon, our vice principal was convicted for collusion of child abuse, and contempt of court. He received a two year suspended sentence, making him a convicted criminal on parole. His parole stipulates that he can't work with children, at least during his parole, so he'll have to either resign, or go back to jail. Unfortunately, it looks like the principal will escape this scandal unscathed. Better luck next time."


In Mr. Yanagawa's office, Nodoka sits, stunned, looking at the two photos. "Tendo Ranko?"

"Genma Saotome insisted that Ranma hide, afraid you'd make him commit seppuku. The Tendos supported the deception. Ranma tried to tell you several times. This is the first time he's succeeded."

"He just waited until I gave up the contract."

"Not so. He and I had a long talk about the contract, and whether to tell you about the curse. I told him the contract wasn't legally binding. Ranma said he had to keep his promises. I pointed out that if he committed seppuku, you'd be charged with murder. We decided not to tell you about the curse until it were clear whether or not you'd be considered a competent parent. While the courts haven't decided on your compliance of child abuse, Ranma has decided to trust you. That's why he sent you the pictures."

"When can I see him?"

"As soon as Genma's in police custody."

"May I use your phone? I need to report the location of a fugitive."


That lunch, Ranma decides to play 'taunt the Akane', hopefully distracting Soun and Nabiki from any effective resistance. "Akane." Ranma sings out in an irritating manner. "You know how you're always asking why Ryouga and I fight all the time?"


"Well, Ryouga's too embarrassed to tell you, and I'm honor-bound never to tell anyone. But I bet Nabiki knows, and she really should have told you. I know Soun knows, and he's actually honor bound to have told you, but for some reason he hasn't."

"So tell me!"

"I'm honor bound not to tell anybody. You're going to have to ask Ryouga, or your family. Although I doubt you'll get Soun to do anything except cry. He's keeping secrets again, just like he never mentioned we were engaged until the day I arrived. If you can't get him to admit it, I bet Nabiki could get the information."


Nabiki corners Ranma and says "OK, Ranma, give!"

"You want more information on the vice-principal's conviction? I've told everyone pretty much all I know."

"Don't play cute. Why are you and Ryouga always fighting?"

Ranma sighs. "Don't you Tendos listen to anything? I told Akane twice that I was forbidden on my honor from telling."

"Well, Saotome honor isn't worth much, is it?"

"Mom thinks highly enough of it to defend it with her sword. Shall I tell her you've insulted it?" Ranma continues before Nabiki can respond "Perhaps you're unaware that Genma is ronin, and not my father, on several levels?"

"When did that happen?"

"You don't need me to figure that out. It's public record."

"What about the engagements?"

"That's still undecided. But don't worry, your father and Kasumi will be two of the first to know."

"You don't dare cancel the Tendo engagement. Our family honor is at stake."

"Of course not. I don't want your honor stained. However, as I've said before, family honor is a double edged sword, and everyone's been waving it at me from all directions, and until now I've been taking injuries to protect all of you. But that's over, and I'm not gonna save you from yourselves, just as I can't save Akane from arrest if she violates the restraining order, and attacks me. You're running out of time to get your own house in order."

"Our house IS in order!" Nabiki pauses a moment and adds "Well, except for daddy."

"Exactly. The disciple of Happosai, who provided him with free room and board at least up until a few days ago, while telling the town council he was hard at work trying to catch the panty thief. Your father knows why Ryouga and I fight, and by saying nothing, shames himself and Akane. If I could break this vow not to speak, the Tendo's honor would be trash. I wonder if you can patch it up before Ryouga gives it away by accident?"

"You can't be serious."

"If this were the old days when honor meant as much as your father seems to pretend, it could lead to BOTH Akane and your father having to go ronin or commit seppuku. And I've been beaten up by Akane many times because I tried to fix it. Now it's your turn. And you better remember that when you get to the truth, and Soun and Ryouga try to blame me for something out of my control, but in theirs, that if Akane comes looking for revenge from me, she'll be doing time in jail. I'm sure someone as clever as you can get the secret from your father, keep it from becoming general knowledge, and keep your sister from automatically blaming me?"


A furious Nabiki enters the bar, spins the tipsy Soun Tendo around to face her and says "We are going somewhere private to talk. You are going to answer my questions fully, or you will never be able to speak to your daughters again."

"Waaah! My daughter hates me."

"I told you you'd be dead to us if you didn't agree, and instead of agreeing, you're crying. This is your last warning. Stop crying and follow me right now, or you'll never speak to any of your daughters ever again! This is bloody serious," Nabiki cursing was unusual enough to shock Soun, "and if you can't pull yourself together right now, then the Tendos are better off without you."

Nabiki turns and walks out without looking at what her father was doing. Soun follows after like a whipped dog. Nabiki leads him to a bridge over a canal, and turns to Soun and says "You're keeping a secret from us, and it's damaging Akane's honor. You are going to admit it to me, or I'll show Kasumi and Akane my evidence that you care nothing about your daughters and their honor."

Soun looks honestly flabbergasted. "I don't know what you mean."

"I'll give you a hint. It involves Ryouga. Ryouga and Akane's honor. Ryouga is too embarrassed to tell anyone." Soun begins to realize what Nabiki's talking about. "Ranma knows but can't tell due to a promise he made. Ranma's tried to stop it, but always winds up getting beat up over it. But you've tarnished your honor by not saying anything. Well you're going to tell me now."

Soun says in a quiet voice, almost to himself "Are you talking about how I haven't said anything about Akane and Ryouga sleeping together?"

Nabiki barely manages to avoid shouting. Her experience in ferreting information has shown that she had to pretend to have already known that, so to get more information from her father, she needed to answer with either a definite positive or negative answer. She wasn't sure this was what Ranma was talking about, but it was something she had to know more about, so she said "Yes. You're going to tell me all about it."

"Well I didn't make the connection until it had been going on for months. Ranma had been trying to stop it from the beginning, and he was definitely jealous. It helped drive Akane and Ranma together, and since Akane didn't realize it, she couldn't yell at us."

"And why did it take you months to make the connection?"

"Well I only saw Ryouga change once, when he jumped into the furo while I was in it to change back to normal."

Nabiki's mind finally had the piece it needed. Her thoughts ran "Ryouga turns into something else. Akane doesn't realize she sleeps with Ryouga, so he sleeps with her while transformed. Akane sleeps alone, or with P-chan. Ryouga is P-chan." Nabiki's voice became colder, "So to make Ranma jealous you didn't tell Akane that her pet was really Ryouga. And because of it, he's slept in her bed, listened to her secrets, watched her undress, and nuzzled her breasts. And on top of that, since half the school knows of Akane's pet, if Ryouga's curse gets out, you'll have allowed her honor to be publicly smeared. Did I leave out anything?"

"Akane's honor?"

"She'll be known as the girl who slept around with her fiancee's enemy. She'll be called a slut. A harlot. And you couldn't be bothered to protect her."

"But. But that wouldn't happen. People won't find out."

"They will if anyone with half a brain sees Ryouga get splashed with water. Daddy, you idiot! One of us is going to tell Akane tonight. I'm not going to join such a shabby cover-up that's bound to be exposed, and can't be concealed. So tell me is there any honor in Soun Tendo left? Are you going to admit everything to Akane or do I have to?"

"You can't! She'll kill me. How much do you want to keep quiet?"

"There isn't enough money! This can't be kept quiet forever! I'm telling her tonight after dinner. Let's see if you have the guts to find her and tell her all of the truth. Not just that Ryouga's P-chan, but that you kept it from her. If you have any honor left you'll find her and tell her yourself." Nabiki turns and walks away.


"Where's P-chan!" Akane shouts by way of greeting upon arriving home from school.

Nabiki smiles. "I didn't think Daddy had the guts to tell you."

"Yes daddy came to school, and told me he just saw Ryouga getting splashed with cold water and turn into P-chan!"

Nabiki's voice drops. "Daddy lied to you." Akane's anger was derailed by confusion and by how furious Nabiki was. "You mean Ryouga's not P-chan?"

"No. I mean he didn't 'just find out.' He's known all along Ryouga was P-chan. He would never have bothered to tell you if I hadn't found out today and promised to tell you tonight. Daddy didn't care what that molester did to you as long as he could use it in his plans to get you and Ranma married. Daddy didn't care that if anyone at school found out about it. The whole school would be saying Akane fucks her fiancee's enemies.' Daddy didn't care that someone was spying on his daughter, and nuzzling her cleavage, as long as he could use it to manipulate his family. Soun Tendo has no honor. None. Luckily only Ranma and we know it."

"No." Akane's face was a mask of horror. "There must be some mistake. You're wrong. You must be! He wouldn't do that to me."

"He told me, himself this afternoon. Ranma verified it. Daddy..." Nabiki pauses, "Soun Tendo has no honor, and can't be trusted not to harm his daughters. I'm not about to throw away my family name to disown him. But I'm damned if I'm calling him father!"


The next morning, as Akane and Nabiki walk to school, they spot Ranma. Akane, still angry, hurt, and feeling betrayed by Ryouga, Soun, and Ranma, screams "Ranma!" and starts to charge him intent on violence, until she's tripped by Nabiki.

"If you do anything to Ranma" Nabiki hisses, "You'll be going to jail. If anyone asks why you attacked, everyone will learn about P-chan, and you will be known as the biggest whore in the jail. You will go to school, and you will leave Ranma to me. Understood?"

Ranma overhears all of this, and after Nabiki shoos Akane to go to school ahead of them, Ranma turns to Nabiki and says. "Nice save. You did leave Akane believing she had a right to be angry at me."

This pushes Nabiki's patience over the edge. "Of course she has reason to be mad at you! You put your honor over her own!"

"After all of the clues I dropped? I risked my honor for her, something neither Soun nor Ryouga gave a damn about. Both of them trashed Akane's honor, and then took advantage of my attempts to protect Akane. And all along Akane hit me for it. The head of the Tendo clan dismisses Akane's honor as worthless, yet I'm supposed to throw away my own for hers?"

"You're her fiancee!"

"Only because of my honor. I should have thrown away my honor because of a commitment based on my honor? Don't make me laugh. I keep my promises. You're mad because Ryouga and Soun played you for a fool, for months. You're mad because I figured it out months before you. But don't take it out on me. Thank me for helping your family out for months, and punish the ones who held your honor cheap."

"Thank you? Why the hell should I thank you?"

"You say I should have thrown away my honor to tell you and Akane? I could have equally thrown away my honor and told the whole world how Akane sleeps with her fiancee's enemy. After all, she was always beating me up for things that weren't my fault. Soun always blamed me for everything, and you made my life hell. I can think of hundreds of reasons to expose the lack of Tendo honor, and only my promise to keep your secret. Why if I revealed Soun's lack of honor, I'd be free from having to marry someone who beats me constantly."


"Soun Tendo?" a suited government employee asks.


"I have some legal papers for you to sign."

"What is all this?"

"This is a legal writ stating that since you knew that Genma was a habitual thief and liar when you made your agreement to join the schools, that Ranma Saotome is not responsible to uphold Genma's promise. There is also a copy of the statement making Genma ronin, and a further statement that Ranma Saotome is no longer a member of the Saotome School of Anything Goes."

"But what about our pledge! The schools must be united!"

"The ronin Genma is the only member of the Saotome School of Anything Goes. He is currently under arrest, and awaiting trial. If your daughters wish to marry him, you'll have to make arrangements with the prison warden."


Ryouga turns a corner, and runs into his arch-rival, "Ranma, I've found you at last! For what you've done to Akane, prepare to die!"

"You've forgot about the restraining order already?"

"How dare you hide behind something like that!"

"Never-mind. There's something about Akane you've got to know."

"What happened? Is she alright?"

"Soun told Nabiki about your turning into P-chan."

Ryouga turns white, and then Ranma adds "Then Nabiki told Akane. I kept your damned secret. Now you can no longer dishonor Akane by sleeping and spying on her."

"I'll kill you!" Ryouga screams.


The top three newspapers ran stories on the gender role reversal of an old tradition. One paper had the headline "Head of family overthrown"

The story goes on to describe how a once-powerful clan, reduced to a father, mother, and three daughters under the age of 10, lost the mother, at which point the head of the family went from honorable behavior to living off of his daughter's efforts. The disciple of the panty thief that had terrorized Nerima was actually on the civic council in charge of catching the pervert. And while he was failing to catch his master, he was giving him free room and board, even going on raids with him, and turning a blind eye while the pervert molested his daughters.

But when the daughters learned that their father, in order to advance his own ambition, had given permission to a boy to sneak into the bed of one of his daughters and molest her, the de jure head of the clan removed the de facto head, and made him ronin, removing Soun Tendo from the Tendo registry.

When asked to comment on the break from tradition where a clan head was kicked out of a clan, the middle daughter replied "The traditional manner of handling a clan head that became so corrupt would have been assassinating the clan head, and making it look like an accident, or seppuku. But we felt that this was more in keeping with our advances in civilized Japan."


When Ryouga awoke from Ranma's Hiryu Shoten Ha, he was in the local prison hospital, which annoyed Akane and Nabiki beyond belief. They wanted to take him to the vet.


Over Dinner, Nabiki announces, "We now have a major problem. If we do nothing, we'll lose the house within a year."

Akane screams "What! How could that happen?"

"Inheritance tax. The Government can now claim over 50% of everything which was once Soun's and is now ours. He was hoping to get around that by making the house and dojo a wedding gift, but as that plan's fallen through, we either have to raise a ridiculous amount of money, or sell the house."

"I knew it. You're just trying to butter me up into accepting some embarrassing plan to make money off of me!"

"Yeah, right. There's no way I can raise that kind of money. If I could, I'd have bought my own house by now. There are only three choices, and they all stink."

"What are they?"

"The first is doing nothing. In a year the government will seize the house, and we'll be homeless. The second is to sell the house, and move into an apartment. We'll have a decent amount of money left, probably enough to send all of us through university. The third is the middle ground; sell off the dojo, and the backyard, but not the house. Then with another mortgage on the remaining property, we should survive."

"No! You won't sell my dojo!"

"The dojo has no teacher, and no students! We can't afford to keep it."

"I don't care! You can't sell it! It's mine!"

"It's the government's! Unless you can raise twenty to thirty MILLION yen! You couldn't make that kind of money even if you robbed a bank! The dojo is gone! The only question is whether you want to use the money from the dojo to save the house! Even then it might not be enough!"

Akane yelled, "This is all Ranma's fault!"

Nabiki responded, "This is Soun's fault! He had over-mortgaged this house, lived beyond his income, draining the insurance money capital. And threw away the honor of the only person licensed to teach Tendo School of Anything Goes. He failed to train you to the level of Master, so you can't teach. The Tendo School is a DEAD school thanks to him. The house is in financial risk thanks to him. He's screwed things up beyond my ability to fix. There's no way we can keep the dojo. Do you want to use it to save the house, or do we move out?"


The Tendo daughters sit down for tea at Nodoka's house. Ranma comes in, bearing the tea set and sits down next to Nodoka, facing the girls.

"Kasumi asks where do we go from here?"

Ranma answers "Wherever we want. With the engagements annulled, there's nothing any of us have to do. We're free."

Akane snipes "At the expense of our family."

Ranma laughs. "You didn't have a family. You had three people living together, being bullied and guilt-tripped by a fourth."

Akane shouts "How can you say that!"

"When we first met, everyone shoved the engagement on you! Did your sisters even know you were in love with someone else at the time? Did anyone in your family act to stop Kublai Kuno, and his horde?" Ranma turned to Kasumi, "Did anyone help you with the chores? Help you to get out and meet people you might date? Did your father do any of the things a father should do to allow you to live your own life, or did he just take you for granted, like an unpaied servant?" Ranma turns on Nabiki "And how about you? Did your father care what lengths he drove you to keep the family afloat? Did he thank you for all you've done, or look for steady work to supplement your investments? Did he ask you if you could afford two permanent guests before he invited us? Your family died years before I showed up."

"Daddy loved me!"

"Daddy loved cute little Akane-chan. The little girl who wanted to grow into a martial artist, like daddy, but who was too precious, and fragile to train. Daddy loved the little girl who would always need daddy to protect her. Daddy never bothered to even meet you."

Akane's ready to clobber Ranma when Nabiki said "He's right, Akane."

Akane's head whips around to look at Nabiki; Akane's face a mask of betrayal. Nabiki continued "He never trained you properly. He never took anything you said seriously. If you disagreed with him, he thought it was a phase. He treated you like a five year old, and then when Ranma showed up, he treated you like a possession. After momma died, he stopped loving anybody."

Akane starts weeping, as Kasumi tries to comfort her. Nabiki turns to Ranma, and asked "What about the restraining order on Akane?"

"That stays. She still has her temper. She still thinks about hitting me when I say something she doesn't like. There's no reason she should be allowed to hit me."


Ukyou runs up to Ranma "What's this about reporting my dowry stolen!"

"If it were a dowry, it would have been presented to me and my bride to start our families. Unfortunately, it was stolen by the ronin, Genma."

"Ronin? When did that happen?"

"Shortly after my parents signed a paper annulling their marriage, and saying that Genma was never my father."

"But what about our engagement?"

"Your father should have received a notice from the courts pointing out that when he made the arrangement with Genma, he knew Genma was a liar and a thief, and had already engaged me. The court has ruled that under those circumstances, the engagement never took place. Your father can refute it in court, but only by admitting publicly that he wanted a thief to marry his six year old, or that he was too stupid to realize the man who stole food from him repeatedly, was a thief."

"But what about my honor?"

"You're free to do whatever you feel you need to do to restore your honor from the two men responsible, your father and Genma. But as I was only Genma's scapegoat, I'm innocent. Genma is in prison awaiting trial. I offered you before to be either your friend or your fiancee. Now I'm only offering friendship."

"I spent ten years chasing you!"

"Your father and Genma will have to recompense you. I did nothing to make you chase me! I'd have stopped you if I knew. I can't take responsibility for something I was powerless to prevent."

"But I love you."

"And I like you. I'm not in love with anyone, though. And I'm not engaged, married, or dating anyone. Do you want to be my friend?"

"Then I'll propose to you. Ranma, will you marry me?"

"No. I'm sorry it has to be like this. Goodbye." Ranma turned, and began to walk away.

"Wait!" Ukyou shouts desperately. "I'd like to be friends."

"I'd like that too."

At that point, Ukyou collapses crying into Ranma's arms, and Ranma lets her cry her old dreams away.


Soun's biggest shame, according to Ranma, is the housing and helping of Happosai, while simultaneously on the council responsible to stop the panty thefts. The community might look down on Soun's attempts to pimp his daughters, but to not only accomplice the thefts from everyone, but to effectively prevent anyone from doing anything to stop Happosai, puts him in the same categories as corrupt cops, and traitors.

And his price for betrayal is so low. He doesn't even get thirty pieces of silver.

The hang-up for writing this story (the reason besides my personal life that this story wasn't finished 2 years ago) was a scene where Nodoka, reunited with Ranma tried to impose her rule over something minor, and Ranma blew his lid.

When I came back to this story, it became obvious that Nodoka and Ranma wouldn't be together, until Nodoka's delusions of adequacy broke.

I'm not going to continue this story. There's no need to show Shampoo and Ukyou trying to win Ranma's love like normal people. If I wanted to write that, I'd do a Maison Ikkoku fic.

This story revolves around the idea that Ranma's simple, predictable nature was aiding everyone, and protecting them from the consequences of their own actions. While they blamed him, they ignored the ways Ranma kept harsh reality at bay for them.

I enjoyed writing the madness bits. Unfortunately, with the introduction of Yanagawa, a plot crept in. With all of my current stories having something of either a dark, or a revenge nature, I'm starting another story designed to never have a plot. Ranma, with wit, and a sense of humor, enjoying life, while all his enemies, family included, struggle in vain to make his life hell. At 1.5k words, it's not worth posting yet. If/when I know it'll survive, I'll start releasing it.

Now I've got to work on the Bitter Memories Rewrite.

Please comment and critique this story. I'd like to improve, and feedback improves my drive to write more.