Ranma 1/2 manga fanfiction
by Gary Kleppe

The characters of Ranma 1/2 are the creation of and rightful property of Rumiko Takahashi. They are used here without permission. This story may be freely redistributed, but it should not be altered substantially or used for profit in any way.


"I shall be at your abode in half an hour. I look forward to meeting with you and Saotome Ranma again after these many years."

"I'll be happy to see you too, Upperclassman Kuno. Goodbye. See you soon."

Akane hung up the phone, amazed at what she had just said and even more amazed that she had meant it. In the old days, she would have looked forward to a visit from Kuno about as much as a root canal. But he'd sounded quite reasonable on the phone, not at all like the dolt who used to pledge his love to her three times a week.

The guests would be arriving shortly. Akane began one last check through the house to see if anything needed to be cleaned. Magazines, normally scattered, stood in neatly arranged piles on the freshly-swept floor. With both of her sisters moved away, Akane was the woman of the house, and though she was far from the perfect housekeeper that Kasumi had been, she did her best to keep the place reasonably tidy.

The life Kasumi had chosen had surprised everyone. Akane had expected her to be married with a family of six by now. Nabiki, on the other hand, was doing what everyone had thought she would be: making money, working for a company in the United States.

Satisfied that everything was presentable, Akane sat in the living room to relax. She was alone in the house at the moment. Ranma was taking the children over to Mrs. Komori's place for babysitting so that they wouldn't get in the way.

Dad was at the grocery store. Akane's food didn't usually inspire the immediate bad reactions it once had, but it still left a lot to be desired in terms of taste. She worked on it when she could, but improvement was slow and difficult. So her father did most of the cooking, and he had become pretty good at it.

Soon Akane would join a group of old friends and acquaintances to help defend Shampoo's village. Shampoo was the one who had wiped her memory, had fed her a hypnotic mushroom that made her hug Ryoga and Kuno, and launched lots of other schemes in hopes of taking Ranma for herself. If the Amazon had asked for help at that time, Akane might very well have told her to go to hell. Even now, she felt a touch of resentment. Her life was about as close to predictable and comfortable as it had ever been, and now here were Kuno and Shampoo returning to drag her and Ranma into something that either or both of them might not even survive.

But the Amazons were in real trouble, and Akane couldn't just ignore it. What would be the point in keeping the school going if they did that? Besides, at least she and Ranma had a choice. At least they would be able to go back to their relatively predictable and comfortable existence after it was over. That was something that Shampoo might never be able to do.


Akane had always expected that there would be some big romantic moment in which she and Ranma would admit their love for each other. She often pictured in her mind how this would happen. Sometimes the imaginary scene would end with him telling her it was all a joke and that he could never love an uncute tomboy like her; but sometimes it wouldn't.

When the two of them actually made the final decision to become husband and wife, it wasn't at all what she'd expected.

It was late in the evening. Ranma and Akane had just been to the Cupid Cafe, where something yet unknown had caused Ranma's female side to be in love with Upperclassman Kuno. Now they sat in Akane's room.

"Man, that was scary," Ranma said. "It was like I was a whole different person. I just can't believe I... with Kuno... what I was thinking of..."

"It's okay, Ranma. Whatever Kuno did to your girl side, it's bound to be a temporary thing." She hoped she was right.

"Maybe. This time, anyway. I been in love before, y'know. With Cologne. Ryoga, too. Maybe there's more I forgot."

"There are, Hinako and Kodachi," Akane volunteered, hoping it would get him to lighten up a little. It didn't.

Ranma rolled his eyes. "Who's it gonna be next? Gosunkugi? Tsubasa? I just can't wait."

All Akane could think to do was change the subject. "What are we going to do? About the marriage, I mean. We need to decide what to do before our dads force us into something we don't want."

"If you don't wanna marry me, that's okay. You don't gotta."

"That's not what I meant! I'm just saying that the decision ought to be ours! Not anybody else's!"

"Yeah, well, I guess if I have to get married, it wouldn't be so bad. With you, I mean."

Akane didn't know how to take that last remark. It could have been one of the nicest things Ranma had said to her so far. Or not. "Nobody has to get married, Ranma." She couldn't resist adding. "You're not pregnant, are you?"

"Very funny." A little hurt showed through in Ranma's voice. "I could marry someone else if I wanted, y'know."

"You think I care? Marry Kuno if you want!" The remark came out harsher than intended.

Ranma turned away, looking down on the floor. That had been the wrong thing to say.

"I'm... sorry..." Akane sputtered. "I didn't mean... I just meant that... if you don't mind... then I don't."

Big romantic moment?

Close enough.

Akane and Ranma decided then that they would get married, but that they would wait until after they both graduated from high school. They also stipulated that they were going to be the ones to make all of the arrangements this time. If it was going to happen, it would be done their way. Their fathers accepted these conditions with only a little grumbling.

As the wedding date approached, they realized they would need a place to hold the ceremony. For obvious reasons, they didn't want to get married in the Tendo house or any of the other old familiar places. They needed somewhere new.

Now, on a Sunday afternoon in May, they were convinced that they'd found what they wanted.

Ranma and Akane stood in the foyer of Romance Villa, an old vine-covered stone chapel; an impressive structure, though several cracks showed in the walls.

"So, what do you think?" The owner was a pretty young woman of about thirty who said her name was Yukari. Her grandfather, she said, had founded Romance Villa when he was young, nearly a hundred years ago.

"I like it," Akane said. "The price is very reasonable compared to the other places we've checked."

"As I said, that one price is for everything." Betto, Yukari's number one assistant, was an attractive if sour-faced man, about the same age as his boss. "It includes clothes rental, and the reception after the ceremony."

"The best thing is, it's all the way across Tokyo from where we live," Ranma said. "None of the crazies we usually deal with will show up. We'll take it."

"Great!" Yukari opened a book and started writing down information into it. "There's no problem with availability on the date you mentioned. There's only one other wedding scheduled then; the Ondori wedding, in the morning."

"Ondori? That wouldn't be Ondori Koichi, would it?" Akane hoped it wouldn't.

"Who?" Ranma asked.

Yukari looked at the listing in the book. "Why, yes, that is the man's name. A friend of yours?"

"Just someone I knew a long time ago. Not important."

Ranma's dubious stare suggested that he didn't completely believe Akane's denial, but he didn't say any more.

Akane and Ranma spent more time finishing arrangements with Yukari and Betto. They then departed, walking toward the bus stop.

"Man, I hope nobody's gonna bomb this wedding or anything," Ranma said. "Though most of the people who would've aren't gonna now, I guess. Even the Kunos have both left town."

"True, but it can't hurt to be careful. I want this to be finally over and done with." If that was at all possible. She remembered a saying that said that no plan could be foolproof if there were ingenious enough fools around.


Hikaru Gosunkugi watched as Ranma and Akane boarded the bus.

He had listened to their conversation from a block away, using an amplified directional microphone. Evidently Ranma didn't consider him to be on the list of people who could disrupt his wedding. He had probably forgotten that Gosunkugi even existed. He wouldn't be the first to have done that.

Gosunkugi wanted Akane to be happy. He would have gladly stepped aside and let Saotome marry her, if only he could be sure that she would be treated right. But he knew that Ranma was the type who would be unfaithful to her at the first opportunity. If she was going to get hurt, then she had to be stopped from marrying him.

But how? Maybe Ranma had been right. There wasn't much Gosunkugi could do to interfere with his wedding. The best he could do would be to try to find someone who could.


Weeks passed without major incident. Preparations for the wedding were finalized.

Ranma and Akane occupied much of their time with martial arts training sessions. The Thursday afternoon before the wedding saw one such sparring match between the two come to an end.

"That's enough training for now," Ranma said.

Akane sat on the floor, her back resting against the wall. She wiped the sweat from her head with her sleeve. "How..." She paused to catch her breath. "How did I do?"

"Not bad at all. You managed to block my last wave of attacks. Your counter-strikes need a little work, though. You're not gonna be in a class with Shampoo for a while, but all in all you're improving a lot."

Akane sighed, frustrated at that last comment.

"Uh, I didn't mean.... Look, you can't expect to be as good as someone like her without a lot of work. She's been training pretty much her whole life. You didn't start until you were older, right?"

"Actually, I did. But I stopped for a long time."

"Really? How come?"

"I just did, that's all."

Akane could barely remember the first time she tried martial arts. It was when she was five, or maybe six. She would watch her father, then later when no one was watching she would try to imitate everything he had done. Someday, she thought, she'd be the strongest martial artist that there was.

She kept her interest in martial arts a secret, until one day when her mother walked into her room at the wrong time. Akane thought that her parents would be mad at her for keeping a secret from them.

"Soun, come look! Little Akane is a martial artist like her father!"

"Can it be true?" Soun came running up the stairs. He was crying. "Daddy's little girl? I'm so happy! The school has an heir! Oh, what joy!"

From then on, Akane studied under her father. Every day he gave her a lesson that would last an hour, sometimes twice that long. Her mother would watch, smiling and cheering for her when she did something right.

On the fourth day of Akane's training, her mother gave her a sheet of paper. "This is to show your progress, Akane-chan. Every day that you complete the lesson your father assigns, I'll put a star on your paper. When you fill up the whole thing, you get a special treat!"

Day after day, Akane did what was required of her. Day after day, a star would be added to the piece of paper, and her parents would tell her how wonderfully she was doing. She loved the attention she got.

Until one day. No more praise. No more stars.

No more mother.

Akane didn't do much after that. Her reason for training had been yanked out from under her. Sometimes she would start again, trying to get her father's attention. "Daddy, look at me! Look at me!"

"Oh, I'm so happy!" Soun would always exclaim. "Think of how proud your mother would... your mother..." This would be followed by a typhoon of tears.

It was many years later that Akane rediscovered the reason she had been doing martial arts in the first place. Not for approval or attention. Because she wanted to do it. Because she liked doing it. Though she missed her mother terribly, the truth was that training with Ranma was so much better. He didn't try to push her into it, to control her with carrots and sticks. He let her decide to train of her own free will.

"What is it, some big family secret or something?" Ranma asked. "C'mon, you can tell me."

"No, nothing like that. Don't worry about it, okay?"

"Fine, whatever," Ranma grumbled. "I don't really care whether you train or not, y'know!"

Akane kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you, Ranma. I appreciate that." She walked out, leaving behind a very confused fiance.


Kasumi's voice carried through the Tendo home as Ranma came out from the dojo. "Akane! Telephone!"

Genma and Soun looked up. The dinner table, around which they sat, now housed a Monopoly board. Nabiki, returning home on summer vacation from business school in America, had brought the game so that Soun and Genma could have a change from their usual shogi.

Kaede rolled the dice. "A ten. That puts me on the Short Line, which I own. Your turn, Mr. Tendo." The old shinto priestess had been a frequent visitor to the Tendo household after helping Ryoga and Akari at their wedding. Why she wanted to hang around there wasn't clear, but Ranma was happy to have her there. She had told him that with a lot of research she might someday be able to do something about his Jusenkyo curse.

Akane, still in her gi, stepped over to answer the call. "Hello?" she said into the phone. "Oh, Koichi. H-Hello. Yes, I saw your name at Romance Villa too."

"Goodness," exclaimed Kasumi. "Is that Koichi?"

Ranma moved next to Kasumi. "You know this guy?"

"Er... thank you, the same to you and your fiancee," Akane said, brushing a lock of sweat-soaked hair away from her eye.

The dice clattered. "A six!" Soun plodded his token along the game board.

"Koichi was Akane's friend in junior high school," Kasumi said to Ranma in a quiet voice. "You know, as in boyfriend. He was such a nice boy!"

"No kiddin'? I thought Akane hated boys."

"That was later. They broke up. I'm not sure what happened."

Soun groaned in dismay as he stared at the game board. "Pennsylvania Avenue. That's Kasumi's. I owe twelve hundred and fifty dollars rent."

Kasumi turned, nearly blushing with embarrassment. "Oh, I'm sorry, Father! I only put up those buildings because I thought the red color went well with the green!"

"Lunch tomorrow? I suppose that would be okay. Anywhere except Otaku Bell. Yes, that would be fine. See you then." Akane hung up the phone.

"You're gettin' together with this guy?" Ranma asked.

"Just for lunch. He's just an old friend from junior high." Akane sounded a little nervous, maybe defensive. "He probably just wants to talk over old times."

"Hey, no problem." Ranma didn't want to sound jealous. Still, he wanted to know who this person was. "Maybe I could come along, y'know, to meet the guy?"

"You're supposed to go to Ryoga and Akari's place tomorrow, remember? You need to bring them to the wedding rehearsal."

"Oh yeah." Ranma caught a whiff of his own odor. "Uh, listen, I better go clean up and change clothes before dinner."


Ranma went up the stairs to his room, gathering a change of clothes. Then he went into the bathroom and disrobed, heading for the tub.

He didn't know what to make of this Koichi business. Akane's ex-boyfriend? Who ever knew that she had one? It was one heck of a coincidence, him showing up now. Whatever he wanted, it surely wasn't anything good.

He plopped himself down in the bath, letting the warmth of the water permeate his bones. Why couldn't people like Koichi just leave him alone and let him and Akane make their own decisions? He had thought that things would get better after the Kunos left town. Was this guy here to replace them? Maybe it was an inevitable law of the universe, like the ones he had learned about in science class. The law of conservation of jerks.

Maybe, Ranma thought, he ought to visit Mr. Ondori Koichi in his girl form. He might learn something important about this guy that way. Or he could talk to Nabiki. She could probably find out everything there was to know about Koichi, for a price. Or...

Or he could just do nothing. Trust Akane to handle whatever was going on.

Now there was a plan. Cunning in its simplicity. It was the clever plan to end all clever plans.

But would it work? Or would Akane and Koichi end up the ones married next week? And even if they didn't, would Ranma have to keep going through this every time Akane went off somewhere with another guy? It was like being a pet, left alone at home, wondering whether its owner would ever come back again. He'd thought that getting married would make things better. If it wasn't going to, then maybe the whole wedding thing was a mistake.

Ranma stepped out of the tub. He toweled himself off and started to dress. He wouldn't do anything... for now. Tomorrow, he wasn't sure about.


Akane sat in the living room. The newspaper text in front of her was meaningless scribble, words that she saw but paid no attention to. All she could think about was the phone conversation she had just had. Why? Why had she acted the way she did?

So many times she had blown up at Ranma. Now here was someone else, someone who she had been angry at for years, and with good reason. Why hadn't she told Koichi off like he deserved?

She had trusted him. Perhaps even... loved him. Not the kind of love that she'd seen in most of her classmates at the time -- love which made them want to fondle each other's bodies, and which general -- which, from what Akane had seen, generally didn't last much longer than a few weeks. No, it was the kind where his smile, or the touch of his hand, made her feel so contented, so... special, like being in a little world of their own together.

Of course, it was a lie. He had been dating another girl all along -- and doing a lot more with her than just holding hands. What had seemed so special to Akane was just another conquest to him. And when she found out and confronted him about it, all he did was shrug and tell her that she couldn't understand, that a guy had to do what a guy had to do.

Akane's fist clenched with determination. If Koichi tried to take advantage of her like that again, he'd be in for a surprise. The gullible little fool that he had dated in high school didn't exist any more. Yet, somehow, that thought was hollow and unconvincing.

The sensible thing to do would be to just not go. But that would be like admitting defeat. It would be like giving out licenses to walk all over her -- not only to Koichi, but to Ranma, and everybody else. No, she would have to go, and just handle it as best she could.


Ranma's foot slapped into the middle of his pop's backside; his pop pivoted, landing face-first in the bowl of rice he'd been eating from.

"Whss th uhduh, buhy?"

"C'mon, Pop." Ranma put up his arms and planted his feet in a defensive stance. "You always say that a martial artist has to be ready to fight anytime, right?"

His movements unhurried, almost leisurely, Pop slipped into a combat pose. Ranma advanced, scanning intently for any hole in his father's defenses. A sparring session was just the thing he needed to keep him occupied, keep him from running off and finding Akane and Koichi and doing something stupid.

The two martial artists leapt to the attack. Spinning his body in midair, Ranma lashed out with a battery of quick chops. His father's arms swept frantically up and down to block the attacks.

Pop caught Ranma in the ribcage with a kick. "I understand, boy."

Ranma bounded across the room, landing on his right foot, facing his father. "What do you understand, Pop?"

"You've got the pre-wedding jitters," Pop said, leaping high for position. "It's only natural."

Ranma flew into the air to meet his pop's charge. "Whaddaya talkin' about, old man?"

"Let me tell you about a friend of mine, boy." Pop let loose with a rapid-fire series of punches. "Like you, he was scheduled to be married, and, like you, he had his doubts."

"Were his initials 'Saotome Genma?'" Easily blocking his pop's rather predictable attack, Ranma spun in midair and countered with a fist to his opponent's midsection.

"This friend's fiancee, you see, was a sweet girl," Pop continued, "but, at times, she could be rather... temperamental. A violent maniac, he sometimes called her." His foot caught Ranma unexpectedly, sending him hurtling towards the ground. "And when she thought he was being stupid, she didn't hesitate to let him know."

Twisting, Ranma hit the ground rolling, blunting the impact. "No kidding? Mom was really like that?" Ranma wasn't sure why learning this surprised him so much. Though his mother had come close to killing him for being unmanly, it was the warm, kind side of her that always stuck in his mind.

"It's always the same. Take it from me, boy." Pressing his advantage, Pop plummeted down, both feet slamming into Ranma's skull. "One has to accept the bad with the good. Hold out for the perfect wife, and you'll a long, lonely wait ahead of you." He bounded to the floor, a self-satisfied grin plastered across his face.

"I gotta admit it, that makes sense," Ranma said. "I guess it's like that old saying goes."

"Which old saying?" Pop bent his head to look down at Ranma. "'With age comes wisdom?'"

"Nope." Ranma's legs suddenly flipped upwards, catapulting his pop through the opened doorway. "I mean the one that goes 'Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.'"

A loud splash resounded from outside. Ranma smirked.


"So tell me about yourself," Koichi said. "You're graduating from high school now, right? What do you plan to be doing afterwards?"

"Well, I'll be going to college." It was the first chance Akane had had to talk about herself. Koichi had spent all of the time up until then talking, mostly about his bride-to-be. Akane didn't know what she would tell him about the man she was marrying; fortunately or not, he hadn't asked. "Then Ranma and I will carry on the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts."

"Running your father's dojo? Couldn't you make more money doing something else?"

"I suppose so... but someone has to carry on the art. It's not the kind of knowledge that can be written down and saved in a library, you know? As soon as no one is practicing it, it's dead."

Koichi's wide-eyed expression indicated that Akane's words were Greek to him. "Anyway, let me get to the reason I asked you here."

Akane's stomach muscles tightened involuntarily.

"You know as well as anyone how unsafe a dojo like yours can be. There are all sorts of criminals, maniacs, and crazy people out there. Even a martial artist like yourself isn't equipped to protect herself from all of them."

Confusion ran amok in Akane's mind. He was offering... what? For her to move in with him?

Koichi handed her a business card. "I work for the Tsumaranai Security Company. For one low price, our company could install our deluxe model security system in your home. It can give you that early warning that could save your..."

Akane suddenly laughed, as the tension she had been feeling drained away. This is why he had called her?

Koichi stared back, puzzled.

"I'm sorry..." She forced herself back to a serious expression. "I'm sorry, but you're talking to the wrong person. My sister handles things like this. Just call my number and ask for Nabiki. She's in town now, lucky for you."

Akane said her goodbyes, making the obligatory suggestion that they ought to get together soon, and departed the restaurant leaving Koichi with the bill for the food. She had wedding preparations to attend to.


Koichi smiled wistfully as he pulled out his credit card. After all these years, Akane was still the same idealistic little girl that he knew from middle school.

He checked his watch. Time to return to the real world. He had to get back to work, then meet Emonoko for the wedding rehearsal. He had never imagined that he'd be able to marry someone like her. Not only was she beautiful enough to turn anyone's head, but her father was the head of Akubi industries. With a little luck, he would soon make vice-president.

Yes, Akane had grown into a pretty young woman, but she certainly wasn't in a class with Emonoko -- nor with most of the other women he had dated over the past few years. Still, he'd always remember her. She was the one he had really liked.

Not that that mattered. There were certain things that a guy had to do. Akane wouldn't understand. Sometimes Koichi felt like even he himself didn't understand.


Soun and Genma strolled proudly into Romance Villa, each toting one end of a keg. "A wedding just isn't complete without the sake, eh, Saotome?" Soun said.

"You said it, Tendo!"

Mousse followed behind the two fathers. "At last, the day is finally here! Ranma will marry Akane, thus ending the hold he has over my beloved Shampoo!"

"Just remember what your job is, son. You wait out here. If anyone shows up to interrupt the wedding, you make sure they don't get in."

The boy struck a proud pose. "You can count on me, Mr. Saotome."

"I'm Tendo. Please, please keep your glasses on. We can't afford any mistakes here."

Mousse slid his glasses down over his eyes. He saw Akane nearby, with her friends Sayuri and Yuka. Nearby, Kasumi and Nabiki chatted with Nodoka and Kaede, the aged priestess. Ranma stood across the room with his friends Hiroshi and Daisuke, and with Ryoga and Akari.

"Don't worry, Tendo." Genma gave his old friend a pat on the back. "This place is all the way across town. What's the chance anyone's going to find us here?"

The cask that the two men had been carrying abruptly sprouted arms. These were followed by legs, then a head. "A wedding!" He rushed toward Akane. "I'll kiss the bride! I'll kiss the groom too, after a splash of water! I'll kiss all the women! I love weddings!"

"You old freak!" Ranma swung at Happosai, but the old man easily dodged.

Suddenly, Kaede got a good look at the diminutive sensei. "Happy?"

"Huh?" Happosai turned, then gaped in shock. "YOU?!"

"Happy!" Anger crept onto Kaede's face. "How dare you chase after these women? You promised to marry ME!"

"I did not!" Happosai ran around the room, headed for the door. "Keep her away from me! She's crazy!"

"Happy, wait!" Kaede headed out the door, then stopped as Happosai was already long gone.

Ranma was the first to react. "Hey, you got rid of him! Way to go! Uh... you were just pretending, right? You don't actually... like that..."

Kaede smiled wistfully. "He's not a bad person, deep down."

"Love is blind," Akane said quietly to Ranma. "And deaf, and...."

"And no sense of smell," Ranma finished for her. "That old turd's had about one bath in the last three years."

"Excuse me," Yukari interrupted, "but it's time we started getting ready. Akane, please come with me to the bridal changing room."


Akane stood as Yukari zipped up the back of the dress. Its creamy white fabric shimmered in the light, flowing delicately and gracefully from her shoulders down to the ground. Ranma couldn't call her a tomboy now. She felt as soft and feminine as anyone could ever be.

She thought about the boy from her past whom she had seen yesterday. Up until then, she hadn't realized how angry she had been at him deep inside.

She thought about the man she was marrying. He often insulted and provoked her; but he didn't deserve the way she sometimes treated him. Did she subconsciously try to hurt Ranma, to get back at Koichi?

Whether that was true or not, one thing was finally clear. Ranma wasn't Koichi. True, he could be insensitive, but she could trust him when she needed to. Maybe, just maybe, she would find the courage to show him those sides of her, the ones that had lain dead for far too long.


A man walked into the foyer area of Romance Villa. "Hello. I'd like to get married, please."

"I'm sorry," Mousse said proudly, "but I cannot marry you, for my heart is given to darling Shampoo."

"I'll be with you in a moment, sir." Betto turned toward Mousse with an annoyed glare. "He wasn't talking to you! Couldn't you sit somewhere out of the way?" He returned to his customer.

Mousse took a seat in the far corner of the room. By now the wedding would be well in progress. There was nothing to do but wait. No one was likely to try to disrupt the wedding.

The door opened again. "Can I help you, ma'am?" Betto said to someone. Mousse pushed his glasses back into position so he could see who was there -- then wished that he hadn't.

"Voodoo-spike boy say Ranma here. I need talk with him. It emergency."

"I'm sorry, his wedding ceremony is going on now. You can't..." Betto was interrupted by Shampoo's pressure point strike. He slumped to the floor, unconscious.

Mousse froze. Why did it have to be her?! Shampoo. The woman he loved more than anything else in the universe. Since he was a child, he'd always wanted to fight alongside her as her husband. How could he possibly fight against her? Yet if he didn't, she'd ruin Ranma's wedding.

He closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath, trying to summon all the courage and determination that he had. This is it, Mousse, he said silently. The most critical moment of your life.

"I'm sorry, Shampoo." He jumped in front of her. "But I can't let you do this."

With a contemptuous glare, she tried to push past. "Get out of way, Mousse."

With amazing swiftness, he grabbed her by the wrist. "In your heart, you know that to stop Ranma's wedding would be wrong. I know that deep inside you know that, Shampoo. For it is I who truly loves you."

Shampoo struggled, but Mousse's hand was as immovable as the mightiest mountain. "Love... me?" Slowly, hesitantly, she looked up at him. "You... you really mean?"

"Yes." Removing his glasses, he gazed hypnotically into her eyes. "I do."

She threw herself into his embrace. "Oh, Mousse!" They kissed...

By the time Mousse's eyes opened and his attention returned to reality, Shampoo was gone, and the doors to the chapel were wide open.


"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today..." The priest was a small pudgy balding man. Akane was fairly certain that she had seen him trimming the hedges the first day she was here. Nevertheless, she had checked and found that he was in fact licensed to perform the marriage ceremony.

Romance Villa's low prices obviously meant they had to cut a few corners. The organist was terrible. Akane recognized her as also being the cleaning woman. But it didn't matter, not really. Things between her and Ranma would finally be resolved; that was what mattered.

Akane smiled quietly as she looked at the man who would soon be her father-in-law. While all of the other elders had on formal Japanese kimonos, Genma wore an old-style western suit complete with top hat. If he had had a mustache instead of his glasses, he would have looked exactly like the man on the Monopoly board.

"If anyone can show just cause why these two should not be married," the priest continued, "let him speak now, or forever hold his peace."

"Ranma!" The doors burst open. Shampoo zipped in, running toward the wedding party. "Ranma! You need come quick!"

Soun glared at the Amazon. "What are you doing here?"

Shampoo ignored him. "Ranma! Please, come with me right away. You wait, will be too late!"

"Hello, Shampoo!" Kasumi smiled. "How nice you could come!"

"Give it up, Shampoo." Akane sneered. "It's over. Ranma is marrying me."

"This not about that!"

"Young lady." Nodoka's voice was calm and commanding. "This is a gathering of the Saotome and Tendo families, and invited guests. It is not proper for you to intrude here without permission."

Shampoo didn't answer. She just looked toward Ranma, her eyes desperately pleading with him.

Akane also said nothing. It was time for Ranma to make a decision. Was he going to play Shampoo's game -- whatever it was this time -- once more? Or would there finally be an end to it?

"Damn it, Shampoo," he said, "whatever it is, it can wait. I'm marrying Akane now."

"I... I...." Shampoo looked all around the room, as if searching for a friendly face. Except for Kasumi, who still smiled blissfully, the Saotomes and Tendos stared at her coldly. Kaede, Ryoga, and Akari glanced nervously around the room; the priest seemed completely confused; and Hiroshi and Daisuke gazed at the Amazon's legs.

"I sorry, Ranma." Shampoo bowed her head. "I sit quietly, let you get married."

"You will sit outside, young lady," Nodoka said.

For Akane it was nothing short of unbelievable. Shampoo, the most stubborn person she had ever known, had backed down. Given up. She only hoped that her rival hadn't come to warn them of some real disaster that was imminent. Would the headlines tomorrow read Nerima invaded by killer demons while martial artists busy at wedding?

Without warning, Mousse ran into the room, carrying a small bucket of water. "Shampoo! I'm sorry, but I can't let you break up the wedding!" He flung the water.

"Aiee!" Shampoo jumped up in a frantic attempt to dodge as the water splashed. "What you doing here, Mousse?"

This was even more unheard of, Akane thought. Mousse standing up to Shampoo? Who'd have thought it could ever happen?

Mousse knelt down with his head between his knees. "Oh, darling Shampoo, I'm so sorry! Please forgive me!"

Akane groaned. Ah well... as someone once said, when a donkey flew, you didn't blame him for not staying up very long. "Mousse." She prodded the whimpering boy.

"Huh?" Mousse looked up.

"You missed."

Shampoo was still human. "Stupid Mousse!"

Mousse stood up as his gaze panned over, to Ranma, who glared at him with extreme hostility. Wet. And female. "Um... oops," Mousse said feebly.

"Oh my. I'll get some hot water," Kasumi said.

"Does this mean we need to delay the ceremony?" the priest asked.

"No!" Ranma shouted frantically as he grabbed the priest by the collar. "We're going to finish it, do you hear? Now! Before something else happens!"

"Uh, very well...." He quickly opened a book and began to recite. "Do you, Tendo Akane, take this... this..."


"... this man..."

She did.

He did, too.

"I now pronounce you man and wife," the priest said. "You may kiss the bride."

For a moment, Akane and Ranma hesitated, staring at each other. Then their lips met. It was a clumsy, awkward kiss, with no more physical sensation than if they had accidentally bumped foreheads. But during the kiss, for a brief moment, his hand slipped together with hers, and she felt that special kind of love once again. Other kinds would soon follow.


No, there never was any big romantic moment. But somehow, Ranma's willingness to marry her even in his girl form said more about his real feelings than any poetry could have.

Once, Akane would have told Shampoo to go to hell.

Now, as she waited in her home for everyone to arrive, she was prepared to go with her, to hell and back for the sake of the Amazon people.

Akane wasn't sure when she first began to trust Shampoo. Maybe it had happened when she came out of the chapel, after she and Ranma were finally pronounced woman and wife...


Shampoo sat in the foyer, ignoring the groveling Mousse, as the wedding party emerged. She looked anxiously up at them. "Ceremony finished now?"

"Yes." Akane had to admit, Shampoo had done as she had promised. "Thank you for... for waiting." Thank you for not trying to destroy my wedding the way you did last time, she said to herself.

"Then Ranma come, please!" Shampoo looked at the others. "Akane too. All you come quickly!"

"What about the reception?" Genma asked.

"What is it, Shampoo?" Ranma asked. "What the heck is going on?"

"It Great-Grandmother. She need you come right now Please!"

"That old ghoul? What does she want?"

Shampoo gazed back with eyes that were truly haunted. "Great-Grandmother is dying!"