Ranma sat in the floating bath above the Masaki shrine, veiled from the outside world by the illusion created by the Great Washu, or Washu-Chan depending on what mood she’s in when you talk to her. He lay in one of the hot pools with a towel over his head contemplating his life to this point and where he wanted to go with the rest of it. He had to make a decision that would put his life back in an even greater amount of chaos then it was right now. Absently, he twirled a gold ring in the fingers of his right hand. The ring was the same that his and Akane’s fathers had tried to make him give her at that Christmas party which seemed so long ago.
Akane. I know I love her, but things have been at least relatively peaceful between us since I came back from the dead. Of course that just may be the effect being dead has on someone who loves you. I can’t believe I’m actually able to think those last two sentences without freezing up. I remember a year ago I would have been asking myself whether she even liked me and whether I cared more for her then anybody else that had been kidnapped. The ring flipped between his fingers again, glinting from the lights overhead. I know we’re going to get married. The proof ate Akane’s cooking and almost died. I still can’t believe that my son would have such a weak stomach. He shook his head twice, violently. No. That’s my father’s thinking. My son is not weak. Or is that ‘he won’t be weak’? Man, time travel stuff is confusing.
“Hey, yen for your thoughts.” The ring in Ranma’s fingers disappeared as Tenchi sat down in the same pool just a couple feet away. “You look like you’re somewhere else. Is the place any less hectic than our lives? Maybe we could take a vacation there.”
“Just thinking about…stuff.” The pigtailed martial artist contemplated the boy. Here was the first friend he had ever had that hadn’t tried to kill him first and would actually listen to what he had to say. Within hours of meeting him, he had told his entire life story and had even spoke some of his thoughts at the time. Of course, the fact that their lives had been so similar helped as well. In the span of a few days they had become good friends against common problems.
“What kind of stuff? Thinking about whether you’re going to ask Akane to marry you or not?” Tenchi leaned his head back and put a warm, wet towel on his forehead. Heaving a deep sigh, he settled back against the edge of the tub (pool being a more adequate description) making himself comfortable.
“Yeah. I just don’t know what it will set off if I do. Shampoo is already here. I can’t get rid of the feeling that if I ask her to marry me that Ukyou and Kodachi will show up soon after, all trying to get their claws back in me.”
“Oh come on. You’re just being paranoid. They won’t find you just because you propose to Akane.” Tenchi chuckled at bit.
Ranma raised an eyebrow. “Wanna bet? I’m willing to bet that the minute I take a knee, they’ll all burst through a wall and ruin the whole thing. Akane will mallet me and I’ll be pulled apart by the other girls trying to pull me three different ways.”
“I don’t think Akane would mallet you for that! I mean she only mallets you now when you insult her, which you probably shouldn’t do if you’re trying to marry her.”
“I know. We’ve just been insulting each other for so long before what happened at Juuban that it just slips out.” Ranma sighed, wanting to change the subject. “What about you? Which of the girls do you want to end up with?”
Tenchi shook his head. “I don’t know. Mihoshi is too, uh, ditzy. Washuu would just want me as breeding stock and experiment material.” Ranma shuddered at that. “Sorry about that, I won’t mention it again. Anyway, I think Sasami has a crush on me, but she’s way too young. I’m sure she’ll outgrow it over time. It really just comes down to Ayeka and Ryoko.”
“So which one do you want?”
The pony-tailed boy looked around quickly for any female eyes or ears, seeing none, he responded. “Well, Ayeka and I have connected a couple times, but she gets mad so easily. Ryoko can be pretty nice when she tries, and she’s a lot better since she was joined with Zero, but she is just too wild. I couldn’t live with the amount of energy required to keep her from running rampant. I don’t know if I could settle with either one. Sometimes I wish I could mix and match them.”
The pigtailed boy snorted. “Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. You’ve got to take them as they come.”
“Of course if I went to Jurai as the prince-heir, I could marry them both, but they would destroy the planet trying to one up each other. I don’t really know that I could choose either one of them. Can’t I just be a regular guy that meets a regular girl without any super powers?”
“Sorry man, but once you get locked into a life like ours, you’re stuck for life.” Ranma shook his head. “Two wives? Man, you’d either be luckiest man in the world, or the stupidest. Of course if I chose two, I’d still have two more trying to latch onto me. That’s just not an option.”
Tenchi sighed. “A part of me wishes that none of this stuff had ever happened to me. If I hadn’t of let my curiosity get the best of me, I’d still be a normal teenager. I wouldn’t have to worry about being a prince, or princesses, or pirates. I’d just be worried about how I’m going to pass my next class and whether some girl I thought was cute had any feelings for me. I’d be blissfully ignorant of anything off this planet.”
“Sorry man, but with great power comes a great amount of chaos.”
At that precise moment, the entire floating bathhouse shook like an earthquake, and an enormous shape cast a shadow that covered the entire valley.
Ranma raised one eyebrow, but otherwise showed no reaction. “Case in point. You think they’re here for you or me?”
“Me.” Tenchi sighed. “It’s grandfather’s family coming for another visit. Wonder how things will go this time.”
“How’d things go last time?”
“They tried to take Ayeka and Sasami back to Jurai, but they stayed because I defeated the champion prince that great-grandpa brought to marry to Ayeka.”
“Wow. You beat a galactic prince?”
“Not really.” Tenchi paused for a second. “Mihoshi crash landed and drowned the guy out.”
“Oh. So are you going to have to beat him again?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Shouldn’t we be like, I dunno, getting in our best clothes or something?”
“Nah. We’ll just take our time. I’m sure Misaki wants to say hello to her daughters, and trust me, you don’t want to be around for it.”
About the time the massive spacecraft descended from the clouds, Pan was up and away into the sky to meet the new threat, aura blazing the whole way. She was halfway to the ship before Ryoko appeared in front of her. The cyan-haired pirate teleported in with her arms crossed casually. “Hold on, sport. It’s not an invasion. It’s just your in-laws.”
Pan’s aura dissipated as she came to a stop in mid-air. “In-laws? What the heck are you talking about?”
“Those are Yosho’s parents arriving. I imagine that they’d be a little ticked if you put a hole in their spaceship.” Ryoko smirked a sly smile.
“You mean he really IS a prince?”
Ryoko’s smirk took on a playing twist. “Bagged yourself a real good one.”
“Yeah, if he wasn’t a million years old, like some old ghoul I know.”
“Oh, do I know them?”
“I’m looking at her.”
“Why you….” Powerballs formed in Ryoko’s hands as she prepared to deal out some punishment on the uppity Saiya-Jin. Pan’s aura jumped up to match the power gathering.
“This will feel so good. First I’ll take care of you and then I’m going to get those old fogies on the ship to take Yosho away from this planet so I can be free to pick up where I left off with Tenchi.” Pan cracked her knuckles and neck.
Ryoko chuckled as she sensed the Jurai royalty being transported to the Masaki residence. “Maybe you should meet those ‘old fogey’s’ before you start thinking you can push them around. Besides, why would you want to start at zero again with Tenchi, because kami knows that you never got as far as Ayeka or me.” She grinned with a self-satisfied air about her.
Pan reared back and threw a haymaker towards Ryoko’s face. The space pirate disappeared before the punch could land. The Saiya-Jin looked around with a scowl on her face, trying to find where the pirate had gone. She zipped across the sky trying to find the other girl.
“PAN!!!” Akane’s voice came from below. “COME DOWN AND MEET AYEKA AND SASAMI’S PARENTS!!!”
Pan stopped in mid-air as thought struck her. My in-laws if I marry Yosho... Ayeka’s parents…Yosho and Ayeka were supposed to get married before he ran away from Jurai…Yosho and Ayeka brother and sister…EEEWWWWW!!! Suddenly she wasn’t that eager to meet the parents. “CAN IT WAIT? I’M BUSY!!!”
“NO! GET DOWN HERE!”
“Damn.” Pan cursed under her breath. “Might as well see what kind of whackos show up this time.” She powered up and shot down toward the house. She came to rest in front of the back door. She made her way to the front room in time to see the funniest thing she had ever seen in her life, Ayeka hugging some woman with blue-green hair yelling, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” in a high squeaky voice. Pan abruptly fell on the floor laughing.
Pan rolled on the floor until she felt a pair of eyes on her. She stopped laughing and looked up to meet the eyes of the woman that Ayeka was hugging. Under the glare in those eyes, she suddenly felt distinctly uncomfortable in her own skin. Under the penetrating gaze of those smoldering eyes, Pan couldn’t move a muscle or even take a breath.
“Nobody…mocks…my…little…Ayeka!” Each word was punctuated with enough anger to make anyone cringe, even Goku. Of course Goku did always submit easily to Chichi’s ‘requests’.
Sasami dug behind a bureau and pulled out a piece of poster board with some words scribed on it. “Here, Pan! Read this!”
Pan, still cowed by Misaki’s glare, took a furtive glance over the elder’s shoulder. She read the sign as fast as she could under the circumstances. “I’m…sorry…pretty…young…lady.”
“That’s more like it!” Misaki glare became a brilliant smile. “Come to me!” She scooped up the teenager in a bone-crunching hug, even for a Saiya-Jin.
Pan groaned. I think I’m going to die from parental affection.
Back in the baths Tenchi stood and went toward the exit. “That should have been plenty of time for any disasters. We can probably head back to the house now.”
Ranma leaned back against the side of the pool. “You go on. I’m going to enjoy the peace for a little bit longer before I have to face new problems.” He thought for a second. “Should I wear anything special? I didn’t really bring any clothes fit for royalty. Of course I don’t own any clothes worthy of royalty.”
“Just wear your usual and make sure it’s clean.” Tenchi smirked as he started dressing. “They’re not that formal when they come to our house.”
“Cool.” Ranma leaned his head back. “Have fun.”
“I’m sure fun won’t be on the agenda for a while.”
Back at the house other introductions were being made. Funaho and Azusa had joined Misaki in the living room. Akane and Shampoo were being introduced. Akane made a polite curtsy and tried not to wince when she heard the emperor of Jurai’s name (visions of kleptomaniac skaters running through her mind).
Misaki beamed when Sasami introduced the youngest Tendo to her. “You can cook for them, right? Then Sasami can come home with me!”
Despite Akane’s leaps and bounds in the culinary arts, the room took a simultaneous flinch. Sasami’s voice didn’t waver. “Oh she isn’t here for Tenchi. She’s here for Ranma.”
“Tenchi’s new friend. He’s really nice. He and Tenchi should be here soon.”
Shampoo bowed to all of them in turn. The Amazon started when she heard that the seemingly young and attractive woman was Katsuhito’s mother. “Aiyah! You is Pan’s mother-in-law! You must come and meet with tribal elders!”
Funaho turned a raised eyebrow in the young Saiya-Jin’s direction. She took in the jeans, t-shirt, and barely styled hair under a red bandanna. “Reeeally…I never knew that ‘Katsuhito’ was into such young women.”
“HEY! It’s not like that! He isn’t my husband, fiancé, or even boyfriend!” Pan shouted.
“Then why did this young woman say that I was your mother-in-law?” Funaho turned a questioning glance once again to Pan.
“Old man defeat sister Pan in combat. Is Amazon law, they is married!” Shampoo supplied with a cheerful smile.
Pan’s eyebrow twitched in irritation as Shampoo got more ‘helpful’. “That’s enough, Shampoo. I’d rather not have that mentioned EVER AGAIN!”
Funaho chuckled. The girl had spirit! “Maybe my son has been alone too long. It will be nice for him to have a woman in his life again. I never did get to meet his first wife, or my granddaughter.”
“Pan give you strong granddaughters!” Shampoo’s nearly vacant smile went on despite the look that could level mountains that Pan was giving her.
“Stop…helping…” Pan growled.
“Where is my son? I’d like to talk to him about his new ‘wife’.”
Pan harrumphed. “The old man is sitting in his office in the shrine. He’s probably having to take a nap from all the excitement.”
Funaho smiled warmly at the young Saiya-Jin. “I’ll go look in on him, but we’ll definitely have to talk before we leave.”
Pan sighed and slapped her forehead. “Just great.” She turned and glared at Shampoo.
“What?” The lavender haired Amazon looked back innocently.
“Hello, everyone!” Tenchi called as he walked into the room.
“Hello, Tenchi.” Azusa’s voice took on a vicious growl. “I’ve been expecting you!”
“Wha?” Tenchi asked just as the front door slid open.
“Hello again my arch namethis!” A lanky man in Jurian dress with pink puffy hair came in with flourish and a shower of rose petals. His speech had a distinct lisp when he spoke. “It is I! Serio! Come to reth-que the fair princethethis from thith pitiful lair of filth and refuth! Ho-ho-ho!”
Akane’s eyes went wide in fright. “It’s like a male Kodachi!”
Serio pulled his waistcoat open to reveal his sword hilt. “The lath time you were fortunate that the fair lady luck wath on your side.” He strode forward in a walk that would have been considered menacing when done by almost any other man. His walk brought him beside Washu’s door. “Nothing can thave you now from my wrath!”
Predictably, Washu’s door swung open at that moment, smashing Ayeka’s would-be suitor into the wall behind it. Ranma strode though, not knowing what or who he had just planted into the wall behind the door. “Yo. Did I miss anything?”
Akane twitched. “What were you doing in Washu’s lab?” Her voice clearly said that he had better have a good excuse.”
“Oh that crab-headed midget changed the door from the bath to go to the experiment section of her lab again. I keep telling her I don’t want to be an experiment!”
Funaho and Misaki giggled at the antics. Azusa looked at the strange new boy. “Why would Washu want to experiment on you?”
Ranma rolled his eyes. Might as well get this out of the way now. “I don’t know. Maybe because I do this!” He dumped a convenient glass of water of his head, quickly becoming a her.
The new arrivals gaped at the transformation. Ranma smirked. “Juraian royalty, meet Jusenkyo curse.”
Misaki put a hand over her mouth. “Oh my! There have certainly been a few new things since we were here last!”
“That’s not all, mother!” Ayeka exclaimed excitedly. When her mother turned a glare at her she quickly corrected herself. “I mean, we found some other neat stuff, mommy!”
The blue-green haired elder smiled again. “What else is there, little Ayeka?”
“I’ve found members of the North Moon Kingdom alive and well on this planet! And I also found out what our ancient family talisman does!” She held her henshin rod above her head. “Jurai Power! Make Up!” With a flash of light and fanfare, Ayeka spun in place as her kimono changed into the uniform of the Senshi of Jurai. She posed. “It’s an ancient relic of the East Moon Kingdom! The Jurian Moon Kingdom!” She looked down at her outfit. “Of course I wish it wasn’t so revealing…”
“You look so cuuuuute!!!” Misaki hauled her eldest daughter up into a massive hug.
Everyone else in the room sweatdropped. “Most people try to keep a secret identity a secret.” Akane mumbled under her breath. “At least she didn’t tell MY secret.”
Funaho decided to excuse herself from the gathering. “Well, you all catch up. I’m going to have some words with my son.” She left the house and made her way up to the Masaki shrine house, where Katsuhito was meditating in his office. She didn’t even bother to knock as she sat down at table in the office. He put a cup of tea in front of her and settled down to sit facing her. With a quick glance to make sure the door was closed, power swirled around him and he transformed from an old man into a man in his early twenties.
“Hello mother. It is good to see you again.” His voice now sounded only a tinge more mature than Tenchi’s. His face was round and as handsome as his mother’s was beautiful. His hair was a raven black like hers as well.
Funaho smiled at her son. “It’s good to see you remembered to drop your disguise around me this time.” She took a long sip of her tea. “I just met your charming young bride. She certainly has a wild look about her. Something that will have to be refined is she is going to be a member of the Jurian royal family.”
“Uh, well. He he.” Yosho chuckled nervously. “It was all some misunderstanding. See, I knew about the whole marriage thing, but I forgot when she tried to attack me. I thought I’d give her a sample of Jurian combat, but I guess I got carried away.” He scratched the back of his head nervously. “See, there’s no reason for marriage, just a poor memory. I’m sure we can get this all ironed out.”
She took a long sip of her tea, and sat the empty cup on the table. Yosho quickly jumped to refill the empty cup. “So you’re telling me that it was all a mistake that you are now married to that energetic young woman down there.”
“Yes, I’m sure we can find some precedence to call the whole thing off.”
“Now why would you do that, and evade responsibility for your own tendency for showing off.” She took another sip of her tea, as cool as a cucumber.
Yosho swallowed hard. “You mean for me to go through with the marriage?” He asked in a choked voice. “She’s…”, he did some quick math in his head. “Over six hundred and ninety years my junior!”
Funaho smiled a patient mother’s grin from the other side of the table. “You always did have to show off. Even when you were training in the palace, you always had to show everyone that you were a far superior fighter to everyone else. I think it’s time that you finally learned the lesson in humility that I’ve tried to teach you so many years ago.”
“Mother. You can’t be serious.” Yosho’s voice was even, but his eyes showed disbelief.
“As a heart attack. I think that it’s time you learned not to show off so much.” She sniffed and put her nose in the air. “Maybe this time, you’ll remember to talk to your mother every now and then.”
Yosho smiled as he sat comfortably back at the table. “This isn’t about my showing off.”
“It isn’t?” Funaho responded with a hint of mock surprise in her voice.
“Not at all.” Yosho took a tip from his own teacup. “This is about grandchildren. You just want many like every other mother in the known universe. Although, I believe that does not justify marrying a girl as old as my own grandson.”
The raven-haired woman shook her head. “That’s not it all, Yosho. This is about you. You’ve gone how long without a wife? Over twenty years? There’s also the question of how could you only have one descendant after all those years?”
Yosho rubbed the back of his neck slowly, trying to keep the tension down. “To tell the whole story, I was actually injured badly after defeating Ryoko, and with my ship destroyed, I didn’t see that I would have much life to live. My tree took several hundred years to take root and repair itself and restore power to me. Of course the fact that it could do it all was a miracle of Ryoko’s gems. When I awoke, young and healthy, I decided that I would wander the Earth, learning all I could about my mother’s planet of birth. I wondered the Earth for another three hundred years. I met great masters like Muten Roshi, Khon Lon, Happosai. The list was endless. I gained great knowledge of this world and what it had learned since you had left it so long ago.” He noticed his mother had a stern look on her face, her arms were crossed and she was tapping a finger on one elbow. “Something the matter?”
“What you mean to say is, you wandered the Earth for several centuries learning more and better ways to fight, and only in the last century did a woman finally tame you. And apparently not well enough.”
He coughed. “She was a very special woman. She was a student with me under…”
“Enough. Tell me why I shouldn’t sanction this marriage between you and the young woman down talking with your father and my adopted sister?” She continued to tap on her elbow.
“Because the loss of my first wife is still fresh on my heart and I don’t think I could recover so soon?” He offered as meekly as he could manage.
“It’s been twenty years, you’re practically immortal, and time heals all wounds, and…” She slammed a fist on the table. “I WANT GRANDCHILDREN!”
“I knew that was coming.” Yosho grumbled under his breath.
“I heard that.”
“Sorry.” He answered quickly.
Funaho stood and smoothed out her kimono. “In fact, I think you should come to Jurai as soon as you are formally married. Better yet, I think a proper Juraian wedding should be in order for the first prince. All that should guarantee that I get to play with my grandchildren before I die.”
“You’re a long way from dieing mother.” Stated Yosho matter-of-factly.
“That’s beside the point. You WILL reveal yourself to this young lady, and you WILL take responsibility for your own foolishness and MARRY her as soon as possible.” She glared down on her son. “Do I make myself clear?”
Many men have led great battles against tremendous foes, but there is one foe that all self-respecting heroes have backed down to, the mother. “Yes, mother. Perfectly clear.”
She grinned a cheerful, gloating smile. “Now put your face back on and let’s join the others. We’re going to be staying for a few days, so I intend to spend as much time with my future daughter-in-law as possible.”
Yosho again became the wizened old man (in appearance only, as we’ve plainly seen) and stood to escort his mother back down to the house.
“What was the girl’s name again?”
“Any relationship to Son Goku?”
He started briefly and stared at her. “Grand-daughter actually. How do you know that name?”
She patted him on the head and continued walking down the hill. “Few can dispose of a galactic tyrant like Freezer and not be known throughout the universe. I suppose an offspring with Saiya-Jin and Jurian heritage would be very powerful.”
“You have no idea.” Yosho shook his head as the realization of the paternal side of Ryeka’s heritage came to his mind. You can’t run from the inevitable. Of course she’ll kill me if I just simply drop my disguise in front of her.
They arrived in time for the madness known as dinnertime at the Masaki shrine it was hard to tell where some of the diners hands were when they moved so fast to secure a full stomach for their attached bodies. After the exciting meal, Funaho took Pan aside and began to teach her how to act in the court of Jurai.
“I don’t know why you’re trying to teach me. I’m not going to marry that old man. How can you get any grandchildren when he’s as old as he is?” Pan asked indignantly.
“You never know. Old men can sometimes surprise you.”
Pan rolled her eyes. “Why do people keep saying that?!”