Hugs and Kisses.

Disclaimer: These characters are not mine. They belong to the wonderful Rumiko Takahashi and her licensees (Viz Communications in North America). This work is strictly for the non-profit enjoyment of fans. No copyright infringement is intended.

Mousse woke refreshed to the new dawn. It was funny, sometimes he would just wake up, feeling really ready for the day.

Dressing quickly he stepped out of the room, smiling more as he saw the Dried up monkey/Honoured elder, heading towards him. A second good thing about waking up so well was he normally was outside of his room and ready before the old hag could wake him with a blow to the head.

"Come on Mister part time, prepare to open for the day."

Shampoo listened to the steps of Mousse and the heavy “thunk” of Great grand mother's staff reverberated as they descended the stairs. When she heard the preparations beginning in the kitchen, she slipped her door open and slipped into the ancestor’s room.

She gazed over the items and relics of her family line, quietly stepping over to the chest beside the dresser.

With silent hands, she opened the lid, and lifted the gauze lining. Leaning in she began to with draw her goal. She allowed the long red cloth snake to uncoil as she brought it out.

Shampoo whispered a silent prayer as she held up the patterned head of the Snake of Kuan-Yin, the goddess venerated in her village for blessings of fertility and childbirth, and gazed into the blue crystal eyes. She knew full well she was breaking tribal law to use this without Cologne’s permission, but she was scared. Speaking the words of command, she felt the cloth begin to coil around her feet, sliding up her legs.

She had been expecting a visitor nearly two weeks ago and hoped the Snake would show it was late. But deep down she knew if she was desperate enough to break tribal law, the Snake would show the presence of another.

As the coils reached her midriff, it contracted around her. She held the head, gazing at the eyes for several moments as the coils spasmed around her. The coils fell limply down to here feet. The eyes turned red.

Tears fell down her cheeks.

Cologne looked across at Shampoo as she bounced into the kitchen. She was obviously upset about something, her bounce and smile far too forced.

"Niho Great grand mother, is busy morning?" Shampoo refused to gaze up at her ancestor, busying herself looking to see it there was a delivery.

"Not really. We have a delivery if you’re up to it?"

With a nod, Shampoo grabbed the order and moved out the back to her bike, mindful of her Great Grand Mother's eyes.

Shampoo made it about half way to the delivery address when she had to stop. The moment she was out of Great Grand Mothers sight, the tears had started again.

Leaning the bike against the fence, she sat down and wept into her hands.

Finally she wiped the tears from her eyes. With a smile on her face she remounted her bike.

"Airen be so happy."

Akane looked over at Ranma as he practiced in the yard, his muscles gleaming under the sunlight as he punched the post, slowly increasing speed as his knuckles bashed the bound rope target. Sipping a gulping a mouthful of water to sooth her dry mouth, she reached for another block to stack up for power training.

The ringing of the bike bell made her look up again, expecting to see her fiancé ground under the wheel of the delivery bike of his over endowed psycho stalker from China, but surprising both herself and Ranma, the Amazon landed softly on the grass before spryly walking to the pigtailed young man.

Akane wasn’t sure what they were discussing but when Ranma’s legs collapsed, dropping him in shock to the ground, she got worried. When Shampoo placed her hand meaningfully over her stomach, she got terrified. But it was the devastated look on Ranma’s face when he looked past the blue haired girl to her, his head not shaking, not denying it.

The victorious smile on Shampoo’s cute but tear-streaked face said it all as she stroked her stomach.

“What the hell did you do Saotome?!” screamed a furious Nabiki from the open doors into the house, the rest of the families gathering as Akane dashed past them without looking back.

Ranma didn’t rub his cheek. It still stung from where Kasumi had slapped him.

Nabiki’s vile words of his betrayal of Akane reverberated in his ears, Soun’s yelling near incoherent as he tried to come to grips with what happened. His father unhelpful, his mother trapped between disappointment and somewhat respect as he prepared to do the honourable thing, to not repeat his father’s mistakes.

He looked once at Akane’s door as he shouldered his pack. He had heard her crying inside when he had come up, now her sister’s were in there with her, trying to make her feel better in the face of this colossal screw up to his life. He couldn’t even blame his Pop for this one. He knew the risks…

He slipped the note under the door and walked for the stairs. He didn’t look back as he put his shoes on at the door, walking for the gate, away from this life to his new one, his eyes welling with moisture, knowing Shampoo was back at the Cat Café preparing for them to leave.

The blow to the head knocked him out the gate against the opposing wall.

“You’re SORRY!” Akane screeched, holding the note he had just left her. “And just what are you SORRY about?! It isn’t like we’re married! It isn’t like you ever loved me!”

The pain in her voice was palpable, but old habits were still ingrained. “Shows what you know!”

Her face twisted in anger and she kicked at him again, but he blocked her blow, not dodging this time.

“Say it!” she demanded, tears running down her face as her assault stopped. “Say how you feel coward? Don’t deny it now that it doesn’t even matter!”

His shoulders slumped, and he nodded, but Akane still had to wait for nearly half a minute for the reply.

“Fine, I love you. You…”

His voice trailed off, emotions rolling through each of them.

“Why Ranma, why her?”

Her hoarse whisper shook his body, neither able to look at each other, neither wanting to end it here.

“I, it wasn’t like I had a choice...”

He could feel the dark stare she had on him now without seeing it.

“You had no choice but to have… to f…” her flat voice spiked with rage again. “HER! Why the hell HER?”

That made him look up, anger making his blood pound in his ears. “For you! I had no choice! She had the water and you were going to die!”

“Excuse me? You impregnated that slut for me? What water? Do you mean at Jusenkyo?”

He nodded, guilt making him take her anger like blows, “I had to do something, you were a doll, she had the cure.”

Akane frowned, “Wait, when I was a doll. And Shampoo had you tied up?” “That’s when…”

Akane held up her hand, trying to sort through the strange memories of what she recalled through the altered perceptions of being a shrunken doll, “Ranma, I know what was happening then, you didn’t…”

“I did,” he said simply, blushing badly, arms out like he was hugging an unseen figure.

Her mind suddenly recalled Ranma blushing after Ryugonzawa, holding her hand. How flustered he got when they nearly kissed after the ice skater kissed his girlform.

Ranma stepped back as she leaned forward, eyes on his face, frowning, no longer angry. Something bad was going to come out of her mouth, he could feel it.

“You never… Ranma how does a girl get pregnant?”

That made him blush more, his eyes dipping down her body making her suddenly warm before he looked away with a shrug, “You know, hugging and kissing and stuff.”

“On no Ranma, you tell me how? Exactly how?”

He looked at her, red face showing confusion.

“Kitchenwrecker get away from father Shampoo child!”

The cry made Ranma’s head drop, but Akane moved between the advancing amazon and her fiancé. “Oh no you don’t. I was there as a doll Shampoo, Ranma’s pants never came off! That isn’t his child!”

With a thunderous crash the Saotomes' and Tendos’ crashed into view from hiding behind the gate to the Tendo yard. Akane ignored them, eyes focused on the Amazon.

“Is Airen’s seed in belly! Too too strong child!”

“Saotome you fie…”

With a crash, Mousse’s opening stopped, Cologne’s gnarled old hands tripping the blind boy into a face first fall as the two Chinese jumped into view from a nearby roof.

“Greatgrand mother! What you do here?”

“So you are pregnant?” she asked somewhat rhetorically. “I suspected such Greatgrand Daughter. Who is the father?”

“Airen! Airen is father!”

“No he isn’t you hussy, he’s just gullible!”

Cologne spat rapid fire Chinese, Shampoo paling, and slowly lowered her face, speaking just a few words in their native language as well, whatever she said made Mousse fall over, his face ashen. The old ghoul wobbled slightly on her stick.

“What do you mean you aren’t sure?”

“Maybe Mousse.”

His eyebrows rose so fast, Mousse’s glasses popped to the top of his head, half his lips twisted up hopefully. The surprise on his face made Cologne look suspiciously at Shampoo, who brought out a familiar bottle of shampoo.

“Shampoo no want him think it mean anything.”

Groaning at the abuse of one idiot by her idiot heir, Cologne held her eyes on Shampoo. “Maybe Mousse?”

The longhaired Chinese girl nodded. “Saotome,” she admitted.

Cologne looked hopefully to Ranma’s confused face, even as Mousse sprang to his feet, arms back, moving to attack. “You dare defile my Shampoo!”

Whipping her withered old frame around, Cologne’s cane cracking into Mousse’s skull, knocking him out. Landing without apparent effort, her eyes appraised Ranma for signs of recollection, then turned back to Shampoo. “Why did you use the Xi Fa Xiang Gao to wipe Son in law’s memory of your union?”

Akane looked nervously at Ranma’s confused face, doubt making her fear his involvement with China girl, but even as she began to suspect this maybe a trick by Cologne, she heard Shampoo’s faint whisper.

“Only Mousse no memory, just order Saotome no remember after. Shampoo not with Airen.”

Her finger pointing at the gate, all present turned following the indication. Soun, Kasumi, Nabiki, and Nodoka all had to bodily turn to look at the man standing behind them. Genma coughed gently, uncomfortably. Cologne looked open mouthed at her descendant.

“Shampoo have phoenix egg control of Panda man. Told wash back, good hands… Ordered to forget.”

The sound of the Saotome family blade being drawn turned eyes to a furious wife. “Husband, we must talk.”

A goofy grin on the bald old mans face, appearing at a memory he hadn’t been allowed to recall till now, vanished as quickly as it had appeared, “Now No-chan, it was for the boy. I was just trying to get her to stop interfering with the boy and Soun’s girl.”

Soun nodded for his best friend’s argument, part of him wondering at his friend’s wife’s anger, considering her manliness issues when it came to her son and his girls. Kasumi and Nabiki winced, both recalling Nodoka complaining about how before her husband had left on her son’s training journey and now after being reunited they had been trying to get pregnant again without success.

Trying not to laugh, Akane calmed herself, looking directly at Cologne. “So the kiss of marriage is off?”

“Don’t get cocky Miss Tendo,” the old woman returned, her eyes rolling as her warning just made the teenaged girl blush red, “You may have a new stepmother in law at the very least.”

With a bow, Akane fought the smile on her face, “Thank you. I’ll make some room for Shampoo in the guest room.”

Cologne frowned, but quickly hopped to her grand daughter to hug her descendant, not wanting to upset the girl as Nabiki cracked a laugh at Akane’s inference.

“Come on idiot, you got a lot to learn!” Akane stated dragging her fiancé by the pigtail past her family towards the house, ignoring her future mother in law chasing the panda around the yard with a sword.

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