(Back at Ikkoku, Kyoko and Yusaku are in Kyoko's room. They are relaxing and sipping beverages.)

Kyoko: ... so Ms. Liang was really Ranma all along?

Yusaku: Yeah, using a fake name to catch the killer.

Kyoko: So I guess she, I mean he, will be leaving. Mermaid flesh, cursed springs, I never dreamed such things existed! I guess I'll be glad to see things get back to normal around here. (She notices Yotsuya peeping in through the door, which had been left ajar. She slams it shut on him.) Well, as normal as they ever GET around here...

Yusaku: I got off pretty lucky. Only a few bruises.

Kyoko: The doctor said I didn't have a scratch. Isn't that strange? I thought that murderer had almost finished me. Yusaku, were you really going to kill him? (takes a drink)

Yusaku: I don't know. It was like I lost control of myself. I've never wanted to kill anybody. But when I thought about you dying... nothing else seemed to matter. What was it like when you were... almost dead?

Kyoko: I don't remember it too well, but it was the oddest thing. I was headed toward this bright light. It gave me such a warm feeling, I felt sure I was coming home. Soichiro was there, I think. Then I remember somebody pulling me away, back away from the warmth, back into the cold. I think it was you, Yusaku! You pulled me away from the warmth!

Yusaku: Geez, you make it sound like I did a terrible thing!

Kyoko: It was only a dream. But I remember in the dream, feeling a warmth between the two of us. It made me want to come back.

Yusaku: Kyoko, I...

Kyoko: (inches closer to Yusaku) Yusaku...

(Kyoko starts to kiss Yusaku. Yusaku notices the cup of hot liquid she had been drinking from.)

Yusaku: <Shampoo's tea. It makes her this way. Ranma told me about it.> (He pulls Kyoko's face away and shakes her) It's the tea. Snap out of it, Kyoko. I'm going to get some rest, see you tomorrow. (He leaves, bumping into Yotsuya who was trying to listen on the other side of the door.)

Kyoko: <I don't understand. I thought that was what he wanted. And what does he mean about the tea? I ran out of tea today, this is just hot water. What was I about to do? What was I thinking?? I'm a married woman! Soichiro! Please forgive me!!>

(A little later, Ranma returns to Ikkoku, finding Yotsuya and Akemi in his room. They are eating some kind of fishy food.)

Ranma: "Akane, I was wrong. You were the one who beat that guy, so thanks..." No, maybe I should say it a different way. "Akane..." (Notices Akemi and Yotsuya) Shouldn't you guys be up in Yusaku's room or something?

Akemi: Nah, we can bother him anytime.

Yotsuya: Would you care for some? (indicating the fishy food) I believe you are recently familiar with the various possible effects of this substance.

Ranma: You mean... that's the mermaid stuff? No way! You couldn't eat that junk. Anyone who did might turn into one of those monsters!

Yotsuya: Unless one already knew what effect the substance would have on oneself because one had ingested it many years ago.

Akemi: Hey, get some water. I wanna see him do that sex change thing.

Ranma: You're telling me that the two of you... ate that stuff a long time ago? That you're those kind of people who can't die? You're puttin' me on! Maybe I should find out by cutting you and seeing if you heal!

Yotsuya: Your code of honor would not allow you to attack a defenseless foe. Besides, there is a simple way for you to prove that this is not mermaid flesh. Eat some of it.

Ranma: (Taking some of the fish but hesitating) <He's gotta be lying... but what if he's not? If he is lying I'll look really stupid... but if this really is that mermaid junk, I might die right away, or turn into one of those monsters forever... I... I...> (he puts the food to his mouth but before he can eat it he faints. Akemi eats the piece Ranma was about to. Shampoo enters the room with Mrs. Ichinose.)

Shampoo: (To Mrs. I.) Not worry. Amazon flu remedy work every time. (notices others) Aiyaa, you not leave any fish for Ranma! I bring deluxe fish dinner for Ranma like I promise because he win second set of tennis match. Why you eat it all?

Akemi: We offered it to him, he wouldn't eat any.

Yotsuya: I believe he lost his appetite. He has been under considerable stress.

Akemi: Maybe he'll wake up if we splash water in his face.

Mrs. Ichinose: Can't let him lie around all day like some kinda bum. This is a good neighborhood.

(Up in Yusaku's room, he is looking at the mermaid's heart crystal which has lost its glow.)

Yusaku: Sorry, Soichiro, old buddy. It looks like you aren't coming back after all. You can't say I didn't try. Kyoko, someday you'll kiss me like that and it won't be because of some drug in your tea. You'll do it because you really want to. Someday.

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Thanks go to Rumiko Takahashi, of course, for creating the characters and the universe(s) that I'm doing unauthorized things with. Thanks also to the many great fanfic authors whose works are collected in the archives. The enjoyment I got from all of your work motivated me to try one of my own. Thanks also to people who E-mailed me after the first few parts of this appeared on rec.arts.anime.creative, especially Ronald Chan whose input was particularly useful.

My intent here was to do a crossover that was as faithful to the original flavor of the three series as possible. As such I wanted it to end without destroying or changing the status quo of any of the series. It seemed more of a challenge and more in the tradition of Takahashi-sama to ALMOST wreck the status quo, hence the near-miss ending with Kyoko and Yusaku (not to mention Soichiro almost being brought back -- but not quite).

An explanation of the Chinese names: "Liang" means two (of something); it's an MI tradition that residents' names have something to do with their room numbers. "Ye ma" with the right intonation is "wild horse", which is what Ranma meens in Japanese. "Qian" means "money". "Yu Ren" means "fool" (and sounds a little like "urine" as an added bonus). "Chu Mai" means "betrayal". I do need to make a disclaimer here: I've been friends with some very nice Chinese women in the past. On the small chance that any of them should ever read this, let me make it quite clear that THE CHARACTER CHU MAI DOES *NOT* REPRESENT ANY OF THE REAL CHINESE WOMEN I HAVE KNOWN (OR ANY OTHER REAL PERSON FOR THAT MATTER). I just needed to make up somebody really rotten to send our unbalanced friend Yu Ren off on his killing spree.

I am not trying to end the mystery of what Yotsuya's job is. I thought the "domestic surveilance" idea was intriguing enough to be worth mentioning, but I don't really believe it. Personally I agree with Ranma's final conclusion, that he was lying and doesn't really have a job, he just wanders out with his briefcase now and then to keep everybody guessing. But only Takahashi-sama knows for sure.

I've heard tell that there is some prejudice in Japan against Chinese. How widespread this is I'm not sure. I decided to make Kyoko's mother prejudiced in this manner, to ridiculous extremes in fact, mainly because it didn't make any sense at all for any of the other regulars.

The two Ryoga interludes are scenes from The Fire Tripper (a Takahashi one-shot) and One-Pound Gospel (a Takahashi series). I hope you'll let me know what you thought of this fanfic.