I borrowed the characters from Shogakukan, Takahashi Rumiko, Kodansha, and Takeuchi Naoko. If they ever learn of it, I hope they say nice things.

presenting
at long last
a story by
Suika Roberts
inspired by
Webdragon's
Nullifier 122

[-rse?][Nullification][one hundred][twenty][two][potion?formula?]

Epilog

Saotome Ranma, called Ranka by most, these days, settled back against her intended and smiled, sunlight warm on her face.

Tendou Akane enters Utchan's Okonomiyaki with a determined stride, pauses just inside the curtain, then comes the rest of the way to the counter.

'Ukyou?' she asks, holding out her hand.

'Akane?'

'I've come to ask you something,' she slumps a little, 'Sorry, and I spent so much time practicing this too,' she straightens, 'I've got a proposition for you.'

'A proposition?' Ranma asks, stepping up beside Ukyou and wrapping an arm around her waist.

'Yes,' Akane smiles hopefully, 'I would like your hand.'

Ukyou holds one out, the one not wrapped around Ranma's shoulders.

Akane takes it, wrapping her hand about the fingers so the back and knuckles are up, 'And Ranka's.'

Ranma holds out a hand, and Akane grips it her her left, the same way as she has Ukyou's, 'Will you marry me?' she asks, looking at the each in turn.

Ukyou blinks, and nearly flinches.

Ranma just stares.

'You don't have to answer right away,' Akane says, and leans forward, giving each hand a kiss before letting go of them both.

Ukyou and Ranma don't even glance at each other before grabbing Akane's hands.

'I-' Ranma starts.

'We-' Ukyou does too.

They look at each other, and Ranma gives a crooked smile before continuing, 'We don't know if we could do it, since we both get kinda jealous, but maybe it could work, so, if you want to test the waters, for a little while, we'll go along?' she looks at Ukyou for confirmation, who nods.

'Yay!' Akane squeeks, and leans over the grill to try and hug them both, but bounces back quickly when she nearly burns her belly.

Ranma shakes her head, pillowed on Ukyou's lap, and smiles, 'That was rather a nice daydream.'

'Yes,' Ukyou agrees, 'It'll never happen, though.'

'Nope. I like how they're in color.'

'What? How did your daydreams go, then?'

'They were sorta grey, but I could feel things, people, myself, movements, and words.'

'Ah, so that's where the kinesthetics came from.'

'Kinesthetics?'

'Sense of one's own body position and movement.'

'Ah. Were the smells yours, too?'

'No, I'm not sure where those came from.'

*Ah-Choo!* Akane tries to be discreet about wiping her nose, "That was a nice little daydream. I'll never get the courage to do it, though."

Once upon a time, and a very good time it was-

'Ranma! This is all your fault!' a female voice yells.

Akane looks up from the book at the commotion. A quick glance convinces her that Ranma is once again at the center of the action, but not, this time, the instigator, despite what the girl in the outsized clothes and somehow familiar bandanna seems to think.

'Shanpuu!' Mousse yells again, tossing another waterballon, 'Stop dodging! I'm trying to cure you!'

The fortunate member of the chemistry club sits down, clutching her new busom, and crying, Akane thinks, tears of happiness, unlike the poor American transfer student, who's short blonde hair is glistening in the sun as she stands, eyes wide, immobile, stunned.

'I'm over here!' Saiyuu calls, 'Put your glasses on!'

'Shanpuu!' Mousse looses another balloon, 'I love you!'

'Wrong boy!' Ranma growls, her slight frame dripping wet.

Akane's heart tightens in her chest, and her eyes dart to where Ukyou and Ranka are also watching from a safe distance.

'This Chisuiton water -'

Everyone but the transfer student scrambles backward, having been around long enough to have heard that story.

'Put your motherfucking glasses on!' Ranma yells, her voice strident.

'Ranma?' Mousse sounds confused, 'Weren't you cured?'

'I WAS!'

Mousse reaches up to pull his glasses down, and dumps the cup of water down . . . her front in the process. Everyone who knows about the blind boy stares, and so does the transfer student. She's even taller than she was as a boy, nearly two meters, slender, long curved horns sticking out of her long black hair above her ears, her skin even paler than his had been, something large straining her robe at the back. After a few seconds the garment concedes the battle, and a pair of great white wings burst free.

She finishes putting her glasses on, and takes a look at Ranma, who's being comforted by Saiyuu and Tachihiko, then looks around the yard, at the three still wet young women, at Ranka who's held protectively in Ukyou's arms, back at Saiyuu and Tachihiko, who are leading Ranma away, snippets of comforting and salacious whispers escaping, and sits down, her horned head dropping into her hands as she starts to cry.

Now Akane is only slightly better at handling a girl's tears than Ranma, so very shortly she finds herself next to the cursed boy.

'What's wrong?' she asks.

Mousse looks up at her, 'Isn't it obvious?'

'I can't say as it is,' Akane sits down beside the winged girl, 'You were cursed before, and Shanpuu has always been indifferent to you-'

'I'm even uglier than before-'

Akane makes a disbelieving noise.

Mousse continues, 'And I'm a girl, even if I get unlocked, part time.'

'And that is a problem why?'

'Shanpuu doesn't like girls.'

'Not anymore,' Akane corrects, 'I'm more surprised by Ranma liking boys, even though his two are really girls.'

'Who is the other one?'

'Kodachi. If you ask nicely, they may let you join them, if you're willing to put up with their being boys,' Akane makes a face.

'I always liked the way Shanpuu was so boyish,' Mousse says.

'Shanpuu? Boyish?'

'I wasn't very good at boy things, cooking, cleaning, childcare, sewing, and got picked on for it, and for being good at fighting and hunting and other girl things. Shanpuu always looked out for me, and she was good at boy things, pretty, a good fighter. She wasn't very good at saying what she means, but I suck at that, too.'

'She's always been pretty blunt about how she feels about me.'

'If she really doesn't like me, why didn't she let one of the other women have me? I mean, Razor's husbands are all meek little things, but she doesn't beat them anymore, and she's good to her kids, boys and girls both, and Mug's only old enough to be my grandmother.'

'She didn't let a husband-beater or a dirty old woman have you, so she must like you?'

'You know how Japanese girls get all "Christmas Cake"?'

Akane nods.

'An Amazon boy who's not married by seventeen is in a similar fix.'

'That's awful, why do you put up with that?'

'Why do you put up with a society that demands its best citizens be married and out of the workforce by twenty-five?'

'That's different, and I don't.'

'Oh?'

'I'm a lesbian.'

'What's that?'

'A woman who likes women.'

'Isn't that most women?'

'I mean sexually.'

'So do I. Shanpuu is, was, one of like three women back in the villiage who didn't.'

'Wow. What about the boys?'

'Don't know, don't much care.'

'Isn't that kind of a double standard?'

'Men tend to be much more discreet, since their wives tend to get all bent out of shape when, like last year, with Bowl and Basin's husbands, they don't get along. Of course, with Bowl and Basin, they were very close when they were younger, and had a falling out over some other girl who neither of them ended up with, so after a lot of nastyness their husbands got them talked around, and the resultant reunion kept the neighbors up for days, so that really isn't a good example,' Mousse smiles, her cheeks dimpling and a tiny blush bringing a bit of color to her white cheeks.

Akane smiles back reflexively, reaches out, stops, continues at Mousse's wide-eyed look, cupping one porcelain cheek.

Mousse blinks, 'Why?'

'You're so pretty,' Akane closes her eyes and blushes, totally missing the poleaxed look on Mousse's face.

'No I'm not! I've got horns, and wings, and a tail, and I'm white as a corpse, and my tits are too big, and . . . and-' Mousse goes silent as Akane presses her thumb to Mousse's lips.

'You were pretty as a boy,' Akane smiles again, 'I was rather sad you were a boy, in fact, when I first saw you,' her fingers stroke Mousse's cheek, who leans into the touch, eyes half closing, 'And now,' Akane's smile turns into a lascivious smirk for just a moment, 'Those lovely green eyes aren't all that's drawing attention.

Mousse blinks, looks around to see half the school still watching, then flushes a blotchy pale pink, rises to her feet and vanishes in a few beats of her swanlike wings, her shredded robes fluttering and gapping open.

Akane stares after her for a few moments longer. 'Oh well,' she sighs, then walks to her first class.

A couple minutes after that, the transfer student looks up from where she was staring at the front of her shirt, 'Help?' she asks plaintively. But everyone has left already.

'Mousse,' Saiyuu addresses the winged girl, sprawled on his old cot at the Nekohanten, nude except for a towel and her wings, one of which is pulled over her head, and the other covering her butt and most of her back and legs, the tip of her thick grey and green striped tail curled around the front edge.

'What?' she almost sighs the question.

'You should talk to Akane,' Saiyuu leans against the wall, 'She called us to ask about you.'

'Why didn't she call here?'

'Because she doesn't want to talk to Great-Grandmother, something about not wanting to experience three hundred years of Amazon history.'

'She didn't.'

'She did.'

'She should hide - you don't turn down an elder unless you're sure they're joking.'

'She was, but she doesn't know that yet, so she called us, and I am to tell you to get dressed and go visit her.'

'Why?'

'She's totally smitten.'

'Why?' Mousse stands, and drops her towel, 'I'm hideous.'

Saiyuu blinks, 'That's not the description I would use,' he shifts and adjusts his pants.

Mousse doesn't notice, 'I keep hitting my breasts with things, my horns catch on everything,' she turns, 'I've got feathers all down my back and the top of my tail,' Mousse points with the tip of her thick, python-smooth tail as she speaks, 'My wings are some combination of duck and crane, I can't speak right, and I've got scales on the back of my neck!'

'You've got green and grey stripes in the feathers on your back, which match your snakey tail.'

'See!'

'It's utterly adorable. If I didn't love you like the little brother I'd always wanted, I'd be so tempted now,' he shifts again, 'So put some clothes on, I don't want scary sibling incest dreams, OK?'

'What?' Mousse turns around, gets a good look at Saiyuu, and wraps her wings around her body, 'Sorry.'

'Don't be,' Saiyuu shrugs, 'It's my hangup,' he shifts again.

'Have you always felt this way?'

'Pretty much.'

'Then why didn't you tell me?'

''Cause I didn't know how,' he shrugs again, 'It's Kodachi's fault, I'm sure.'

'How?'

'She's the one who understood this emotional crap. Ranma and I suck at it.'

'Oh?'

'How else could she act so crazy without going crazy for real?'

'Are you sure she didn't?'

'Pretty sure.'

'If you don't want to see me, you should probably step out.'

'I should probably get over it.'

'Yes, but not today. Out.'

'Yes, Princess.'

'What?'

'You're the eldest girl in your family, and you haven't tested yet, Ojousan.'

'But I'm not -'

'Locked?'

'Oh,' Mousse stares down at the robe in her hands.

'Hey,' Akane greets Mousse, taking in the sight.

Mousse's outfit leaves a lot of skin exposed due to her wings and tail, and the fact that clothes aren't comfortable over feathers.

'May I?' Mousse asks after a few moments, gesturing inside.

'Oh, sure, come on up,' Akane blinks out of her daze and steps back out of the way.

Mousse turns around at the foot of the stairs, 'Akane?'

Akane blinks again, closes her mouth with a click, and hurries after.

'Am I that horrible to look at?' Mousse asks when Akane reaches her, 'And where do you want me?'

Akane blinks at the percieved innuendo, then answers, 'Not at all, your butt, . umm, your back, is very distracting, no, pretty, that's it, pretty.'

Mousse smiles at Akane's cute blush as she stumbles over her words.

'And if I've not scared you, you can come up to my room.'

'Fine,' Mousse says, and precedes Akane up the stairs at Akane's gesture.

Akane stands at the bottom of the steps, watching, until Mousse reaches the the landing, then hurries after while Mousse watches, bemused.

'You really like looking at my butt, don't you?' Mousse emphasizes her point with a touch of tail to Akane's cheek.

Akane smiles at the gentle touch, 'It is a lovely shape,' she allows, grabbing Mousse's tail and stroking the smooth scales, 'They're soft,' she says, 'I thought they'd be hard.'

Her tail wraps around Akane's wrist, 'They're like python scales,' Mousse agrees, 'Very soft.'

'Come along,' Akane says, wrapping her other hand over Mousse's tail before climbing up the last flight of stairs.

Mousse follows willingly enough.

'So,' Akane starts after a few minutes of awkward silence, both of them watching her pet the soft, fat tail wrapped around her wrist, 'Why did you come by?'

'Um,' Mousse's thick, pale skin doesn't blush well, 'You're cute, sexy, helpful, and you told Saiyuu to tell me to visit,' she glances down, then continues, 'And I kinda wanted you to kiss me, the other day.'

'I'm sexy?' Akane scoffs, 'Says the girl with lovely long legs, a perfect butt, and a lovely busom.'

'Even with the tail?'

'Especially with the tail,' Akane brings her wrist up to place a chaste, closed-lip kiss on that appendage.

Mousse uncoils her tail from Akane's wrist and gently pulls it into her own lap, 'It isn't a bad tail, but I don't, it doesn't,' she pauses, 'Women aren't supposed to have tails,' she manages after a bit.

'Why do you have a tail?'

'Jusenkyo.'

'I knew that much! Details!' Akane orders, a little laugh in her voice.

Mousse smiles, 'I'd heard Shanpuu had gotten cursed to be a boy, so I went to Jusenkyo, found the proper spring, got a cask filled, dropped the second one in, and had to fish it out. Fell most of the way in, jerked myself out, managed to sit my dumb ass down in spring of yeti riding bull carrying snake and crane, and I still had to get that second cask out of Nyanniichuan,' she shrugs, 'Could have been much worse.'

'Why didn't you visit Nanniichuan while you were there?'

'It wouldn't have worked - I wouldn't have found it, or I'da fallen in some other spring on the way out, and I don't ever want to be unable to fly.'

'That must be nice.'

'Even as a duck, being able to fly was wonderful, now,' a look of pure bliss flits over her face, 'Nothing compares.'

'Nothing?' Akane asks.

'Nothing yet.'

Akane leans over, cups Mousse's cheek in her hand, and kisses her gently on the lips.

Mousse's eyes drift closed and she leans into the kiss, her hands coming up to tangle in Akane's hair, her tail and wings wrapping around the smaller woman's body.

'So?' Akane asks.

'That was very nice,' Mousse smiles, 'Could we do it again?'

Akane smiles, stands, pivots so she's pressed right up against Mousse's demurely pressed together knees. She leans forward and kisses Mousse again, her hands cupping the taller woman's shoulders.

Mousse whimpers prettily, her knees parting as she pulls Akane close.

Akane breaks the kiss for an instant, moaning and pressing closer. Mousse's wings wrap around her, and their lips meet again, hands sliding a little lower as Akane's toungue slips into Mousse's mouth.

Mousse first lightly cups Akane's butt, then squeezes it, kneading lightly at the firm, padded flesh. Akane moans, pressing closer, her hands sliding around to cradle Mousse's breasts, enjoying the warm, soft weight overflowing her hands. Both of them gasp when her fingers brush hardened nipples.

Mousse breaks the kiss, pressing Akane back by her hips, soft feathers trailing over Akane's bare shoulders.

Akane shudders, blinking, a little dazed, 'Why?'

'Too fast,' Mousse says, her breath sharp and rapid, pupils dialated, long black hair mussed.

'Too fast?' Akane asks, taking another step back, her fingers trailing down Mousse's arms to take her hands in her own.

Mousse gives her hands a squeeze, 'I'm not- I won't- I don't want to mess this up, this is the second time I've had a girl who actually liked me-'

'That's not true,' Akane says, continuing without noticing Mousse's stricken look, 'Lots of girls think you're pretty, thought you were pretty as a guy. Several of my friends, classmates, anyway, were scared off by the obsessive way you were about Shanpuu.'

'What?' Mousse asks, disbelieving, 'Really?'

Akane smiles and knods.

'Wow,' Mousse smiles, clutching Akane into a hug, 'Thanks.'

'Don't mention it.'

Mousse pulls back, gives Akane a quick, closed-mouth kiss, then gets to her feet, 'Call me?' she asks.

'Sure. When?'

'Whenever,' Mousse waves, climbs onto the windowsill, 'Soon.'

Akane steps up to the window and goes up onto her toes to kiss Mousse, 'I will,' she says, her fingers lingering on Mousse's face.

'Shanpuu's great-grandmother was joking, so you can just call,' Mousse says, 'I'll talk to you then.'

'I'm looking forward to it.'

'So am I,' Mousse says, then leans backward out the window, shoving off with her feet and spreading her wings.

Akane watches with a smile on her face as Mousse flies off.

- fin -

log:
2004/Dec/29:started paper draft
2005/Jan/2:started typing in. Couple scenes aren't in the paper draft, so they may change more.
2005/Feb/4:finished typing in. The loose ends are, mostly, tied. Heh.
2009/Aug/2:Mauled for posting to ff.n