Merry Christmas, From Nabiki
Disclaimer: "Ranma 1/2" was written by Rumiko Takahashi. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world and all mankind (according to us Christians, anyway). It is NOT merely a time for presents or just to reflect on "good will towards man" as almost all the major Christmas movies and specials would have you believe, the lone notable exception being "A Charlie Brown Christmas."
Nabiki Tendo was in tears as she lay in the fetal position on her bed in her college dorm room on this early December afternoon. An open letter, smudged with her tears, was on the top of her desk. She had considered getting drunk, but she felt she deserved the pain she currently felt and also felt no need to impair her mind as she considered what she needed to do.
How had it all come to this? The source of her troubles was of course the untimely passing of her mother when she was a little girl. In the same way her father had shut down, her older sister Kasumi had been forced into becoming a surrogate mother unable to live her own life, and her younger sister Akane had developed anger management problems, Nabiki had also been negatively affected. In her case, she had closed off her emotions and focused on making sure their family had enough money to survive. She had motivated her father as much as she could and did what she could to earn money herself. In time, this had led to her becoming a cold and greedy b****, one who would do almost anything to make money, even sell photographs of her own little sister to an obsessed stalker.
In high school she had been known as the Ice Queen and a vicious mercenary, controlling the sale of all relevant information in the chaos of Nerima as well as taking bets and setting up betting pools on practically anything she could. She had expanded upon her enterprises when she had begun attending Tokyo University earlier this year. While she had done nothing illegal, she had stepped further and further away from ethical considerations. With the letter she had received today, she now finally understood how far she had truly fallen.
The letter had been written and sent by Ranma Saotome, the arrogant martial artist who had been her second favorite target to manipulate behind only Tatewaki Kuno. She honestly had nothing against him personally other than the annoyance of his smug attitude at times. She even considered it a miracle that he had turned out as well as he had after spending ten years being raised solely by his b****** of a father Genma.
However, circumstances had not been favorable for him to earn any of Nabiki's respect when he had moved in with her family two and a half years ago. Not only did his arrival also include the arrival of his deadbeat, freeloading, idiot father, but his father and hers had forced him into an arranged marriage engagement with her sister Akane. With neither of them happy about being forced into marriage and a bad first impression, they started fighting and bickering with each other and could never get along with each other for any decent length of time. It hadn't helped matters that the two of them were also the most sought after love interests in Nerima, constantly being harassed by other suitors and rivals.
For many months, Nabiki had been convinced that things would never work out between the two of them. Eventually, she had realized that despite their fighting and insults, there were times that they showed that they really cared about each other with hints of romantic tension. In a rare display of helpfulness, Nabiki had even taken it upon herself to help settle a fight between the two of them by temporarily taking Ranma on as her own fiancé (while making some money along the way, of course).
After nearly two years of glacial development of their relationship, the two of them had finally had a breakthrough during a dangerous adventure in China. Apparently, Akane had nearly died, and Ranma had confessed his love upon thinking he had lost her. Their fathers had nearly ruined things, though, by attempting to get them married shortly afterwards by dangling a cure for Ranma's curse as an incentive. Unaware of the recent development in their relationship, Nabiki had sabotaged the wedding attempt by inviting all of their crazy rivals, under the impression that the two of them were nowhere near ready to get married, which also resulted in Ranma's cure being destroyed. Later, she had been informed by a crying and very angry Akane about how Ranma had confessed his love and that she had agreed to the wedding not just because of the dangled cure but because she was also in love with him. At that point, she had felt guiltier over her conniving conduct than she ever had before, but she rationalized her behavior as being justified with the information she had at the time.
Thankfully, the disaster didn't destroy their relationship but actually helped it grow. Not long afterwards, the two lovebirds managed to find some time alone to have a serious talk about their relationship without any of their usual arguments, insults, or denials. The result had been an official marriage proposal by Ranma, an acceptance by Akane, and their first kiss (not counting when Ranma had been in the Cat Fist or when they used tape during their portrayal of "Romeo and Juliet.")
That summer, under the guise of a training trip, the two of them had simply eloped and spent a week on a honeymoon to avoid the various complications from last time. Ryoga had thankfully been very understanding and took the opportunity to get closer to Akari. Ukyo had been upset for a while but eventually calmed down and accepted that Ranma could only marry one of his multiple fiancées and had chosen the one he loved. The Amazons were not happy but were forced to concede defeat. Cologne returned to China, while Shampoo was forced to remain in Japan for a few years as punishment to run the Cat Café herself while trying to salvage a friendship with her former airen. Mousse, of course, also stayed behind to be near Shampoo. The Kuno siblings had both refused to accept the marriage and continued to be just as annoying as ever, especially since Tatewaki had failed too many classes to graduate with the rest of his class, but they were used to it, and the Kunos had never been any more than minor threats, anyway. Shortly afterwards, Happosai finally passed away from old age, naming Ranma as the new grandmaster of the Anything-Goes style of martial arts in his will.
Nabiki was genuinely glad that her sister and brother-in-law had finally found happiness, as her family was the one thing she truly cared about, enough to occasionally convince her not to step over the line when some of her business dealings concerned them. This was why the letter Ranma had sent had finally convinced her once and for all that she needed to change her ways.
The Tendo-Saotome compound had been attacked by the Yakuza, who had been looking for her! Thankfully, everyone was alright; as Ranma, Akane, Soun, and Genma had managed to subdue and capture them all, and the police had even managed to track down and capture the rest of their cell, thereby putting her in the clear.
However, it could have easily turned out a lot worse. As it was, the house and dojo had sustained heavy damages, while Akane had been injured (though not severely), and Kasumi had come within centimeters of being killed at one point in the fight.
Ranma hadn't minced words in his letter and had announced that while the rest of her family would eventually forgive her, he no longer considered her family and would have nothing to do with her from this point forward. Although not related by blood, Nabiki had come to think of her brother-in-law as a member of the family even before his marriage to her sister and not just because he lived with them (as proven by the fact that she refused to think of Genma the same way), and it hurt that he had effectively disowned her. Thinking back, she now realized how badly she had hurt him over the years and how terrible her actions appeared from his point of view.
Of course, the real problem was that she had inadvertently threatened the safety of her family. She had gone too far, and it would get worse if she continued down this path. Previously, she had rationalized her behavior by thinking that jerks like Kuno were no real threat and that Ranma and Akane could handle any other unintended consequences of her actions. However, she now understood that even then she had crossed the line and had simply gotten lucky.
Through her betting pools and photograph sales, she had done nothing but encourage the morning battles Akane had suffered through. If Akane had made a misstep and lost one of her morning battles, what would that crowd of perverts done to her? If Kuno hadn't been honorable enough to hold back against her or had wanted more than just to date her, what would have happened? Just a few weeks of the battles had caused Akane severe emotional distress and added to her anger management and male trust issues. If Ranma hadn't shown up and put a stop to it, how would she have been affected by months of such treatment?
She also thought about how she had interfered in Ranma's and Akane's blossoming romance. Seeing how happy they were now that they were finally together, she wondered how much sooner they could've worked things out if not for her. While most of their problems were their own or their fathers' doing, Nabiki had also contributed to the chaos. Did she really need to solicit bribes for her silence whenever they wanted something kept secret? Did she really need to eavesdrop or videotape them whenever they had an intimate moment, which would then usually ruin that moment? Did she really need to sell information on the couple to their other fiancées and suitors, effectively sicing them on the poor pair? How much grief and chaos would've been spared if she had instead actively worked with the couple to keep certain information quiet and helped them get rid of their excess suitors?
She was also reminded of her biggest mistake, the time she had gone out with Kinnosuke Kasha-o. She had nearly ruined her entire family financially with that debacle. While she had been able to get him back and set things right, it had been a close call. Although she had no way of knowing that he would charge her family for their extravagant night on the town, it had been her acceptance of all the excessively expensive things they did on their date while attempting to make him foot the bill that had allowed him to do so. Plus, if she hadn't had such a greedy reputation, Kinnosuke wouldn't have been interested in her in the first place.
With these thoughts, Nabiki knew she had to change and had to do it now. No, she didn't just need to change. She also needed to make things up to her family and others in Nerima for her past mistakes. She already had a lot more money than she needed to get through college. It was now time for her to spend it. She got up and began making plans. Hopefully, she would have everything ready by Christmas. The first thing she did was to call home and find out just how much to reimburse them for the repairs and Akane's medical bill. While her family thought it was unusual for her to offer the money herself, they were going to force her to do so anyway and felt that Nabiki knew she would have no choice but to fork it over. She quickly wired them the money. Next, she called a travel agency and bought a plane ticket to China for the day after her last final of the semester...
It was the afternoon of Christmas Day, and the various members of the Tendo-Saotome household were relaxing after an exciting morning of opening presents. Ranma and Akane were snuggled next to each other in the tea room. Ranma was enjoying the quiet moment, but Akane was a little anxious.
"I wonder where Nabiki is," she wondered out loud. "She said she would be spending the holidays with us, but we haven't heard from her since she reimbursed us for the damages after we were attacked a few weeks ago. I'm starting to get worried."
"Pfft, don't waste your breath on that greedy mercenary," replied Ranma. "I'm sure she's just fine swindlin' some elves or blackmailin' a soup kitchen or somethin'."
"Ranma!" complained Akane. "Don't talk about her like that! I know you've given up on her, and she's definitely made some mistakes, but she's still my sister and welcome to visit whenever she wants."
Just then the doorbell rang. Ranma and Akane went to the door to find Nabiki waiting outside with a pair of suitcases.
Ranma's face fell into a sneer. "Whataya doin' here, Miss Tendo?" he asked frostily.
Nabiki winced at the cold tone and the unfamiliar form of address. "I came to spend Christmas with my family. Is that alright?" she responded calmly.
"Ranma," interceded Akane, "be nice. You don't have to get along with her, but you can be polite while she's here. It's Christmas after all."
"No, he's right," admitted Nabiki in a flat voice. "The way I've behaved has been intolerable, and it could've gotten all of you killed." She sighed and continued. "I can't afford to let that happen again, and I've now realized how much of a monster I've become since Mom died. I've given up on all of my old mercenary tactics and will now only make money in ways that won't harm others unless they deserve it. I understand if you have a hard time believing I've changed, but just let me give everyone their Christmas presents, and then you can decide if I deserve forgiveness or even wish for me to stay in this house."
Ranma was still looking at her with displeasure. Nabiki looked into his eyes and handed him a thick envelope. "Ranma, you deserve my apologies more than anyone else. You've made my sister happier than she's ever been since before our mother died, and I've done nothing but cause you grief. I've added up all the money I've ever made off you and Akane in blackmail, bribes, and the pictures I've sold. It's all here in this envelope. There's enough to get both of you started at college. Once you have your degrees, I look forward to seeing the two of you restore the family dojo to its former glory."
Ranma's jaw dropped with shock. He opened the envelope to indeed find it filled with high denomination yen notes. 'I think she's serious,' he thought. 'If I can forgive the likes of Ryoga and Herb, who am I to deny Nabiki the same chance.' He fixed Nabiki with what he hoped was an intimidating glare. "If you've really changed, I can give you a second chance. However, I'm gonna be watchin' you to make sure ya keep your word about givin' up your questionable business practices." Ranma's face then lit up with a smile. "Welcome back, Nabiki, and in more ways than one."
Ranma led the way back into the house. Akane was about to follow her husband when Nabiki grabbed her arm. "Akane, I need you to come outside to receive your present. Come out into the yard and close your eyes." Akane shrugged and did as she was told. A few seconds later she found herself absolutely drenched with water. "Nabiki, what was that for?" she complained as she wiped her face clear of excess moisture and saw her sister holding a large, now empty cask.
Nabiki grinned. "You know how you've told me about how you've fantasized about using Instant Nannichuan to make love with Ranma's girl side, but Ranma won't do it both because he has no sexual interest in a man's body, even if it's really you, and because he refuses to take any risk of getting pregnant even with protection?" she said in a voice quiet enough not to be overheard.
"Yeah," drawled out Akane, not seeing where Nabiki was going with this.
"Well," continued Nabiki, "that was water from the 'Spring of Drowned Female Hermaphrodite.' When a human female falls in the spring, the only change is that she grows an extra appendage as an extension to her clitoris and urinary tract that responds sexually just as it does on a man, while it leaves the rest of her, um down there, unblocked. In other words, I've given you a Jusenkyo curse to grow a wiener while otherwise remaining female. I tried to get water from the 'Spring of Drowned Man' for Ranma and the others, but it was part of a small area of Jusenkyo that was flooded while I was there."
Akane reached into her panties and froze in shock at feeling the confirmation of her new Jusenkyo transformation (as she did not consider this to be a "curse"). Once she regained her senses, she squealed happily as she showed Nabiki what she now had after making sure there was no else around to see. "Dang, that's impressive," complimented Nabiki. "Between you and Ranma, I'm thinking Jusenkyo has a perverted sense of humor when it comes to the gender related springs. Anyway, why don't you go find Ranma and try it out? By the way, the guide says not to pee beforehand if you want to give Ranma the full experience." Akane blushed at what this implied and ran back inside.
Ranma was in the kitchen talking to Kasumi and his mother about what Nabiki had said and done when Akane ran in and poured a glass of water over his head. "Akane, whadya do that for?" complained the now female Ranma. "Come with me, dear," commanded a wet but excited Akane. "Nabiki's just given me the best present ever! Besides, we both have to get out of these wet clothes." Akane dragged a very confused Ranma up the stairs towards their bedroom, as Nabiki walked down after having deposited her suitcases in her room.
Nodoka watched them go with a suspicious look on her face. "What present did you give to Akane?" she asked Nabiki.
"Oh, just something to help her and Ranma get closer," replied Nabiki mysteriously. "If the two of you would come outside, I could use some help bringing in your presents."
The two women followed Nabiki out to the front gate to find a delivery van parked outside. "I hired this van to bring over a few large items," she explained. They went to the back of the truck and opened it to reveal three large casks, all carefully tied down, and the fastenings for a fourth cask. "Be very careful with them," warned Nabiki. The three of them each grabbed one and lifted them outside. Nabiki paid the driver, and he drove away.
Kasumi looked more closely at the three casks. One was labeled "Nannichuan," another "Nyannichuan," and the third, "Akanenichuan." "Oh my, this is Jusenkyo water, isn't it?!" exclaimed Kasumi.
"Yes, it is," confirmed Nabiki. "I recently traveled there to personally collect it, and yes I was able to avoid getting cursed myself. If I had accidentally fallen in, I would've considered it punishment for my behavior over the years, which is why I did it myself."
"The Nannichuan is for Ramna to cure his curse, isn't it?" asked Kasumi.
"Actually, no," contradicted Nabiki. "As I already explained to him and Akane, the 'Spring of Drowned Man' was inaccessible to me. That cask is actually mislabeled in order to teach Uncle Genma a lesson. He's way too comfortable as a panda. This cask is actually specially treated water from the 'Spring of Drowned Girl.' Take the cask up to the guest room you share with your husband, and the fool will certainly use it on himself as soon as he sees it," she told Nodoka.
Nodoka looked conflicted. "I know Genma has his faults, but should we really be tricking him into changing his curse?" she asked.
Nabiki sighed. "I thought you might say that. I know he's your husband, but I have to be honest with you. The way that man treated Ranma on their training trip was nothing short of child abuse. Jusenkyo wasn't even the worst thing that happened to Ranma." She handed Nodoka a thick envelope. "In here is a full report of everything I've been able to learn about what Genma has done between the time he left home and the time you discovered Ranma's curse, from things I've personally witnessed, things Ranma and others have said, various police records, and other sources of public information. Pay particular attention to the part about the "Cat Fist" training. You're already aware of Ranma's fear of cats, but this explains why and how dangerous that fear really is for both himself and others around him."
Nodoka was shocked that anything could be worse than Jusenkyo. She took the cask up to their room then settled down in the tea room to begin reading.
Back in the front yard, Nabiki and Kasumi each carried one of the remaining casks back inside, where Nabiki directed Kasumi to bring them into the bathroom.
"So who gets these other two casks?" asked Kasumi.
"Actually, they're both for you," answered Nabiki. "However, first I need you to answer a question honestly for me. What do you think of Dr. Tofu?"
Kasumi blushed. "You're right, I do like him a lot. Although, that foolishness act he likes to put on, while cute, bothers me sometimes. I just don't know if he can take me seriously. There's also a rather large age difference between us. Do you really think he'd be interested in me? He's never said anything."
Nabiki shook her head in disbelief. "Kasumi, Kasumi, everyone except you already knows that the doc is crazy about you! He only acts like that when he's sees you or hears your voice, and not because he wants to. He can't help himself from becoming delusional around you. He's literally incapable of making the first move, so it's up to you to tell him how you feel and ask him out."
Kasumi's face lit up at this news. "Well, it would be more proper for the gentleman to make the first move, but I suppose I have no choice in this situation." Kasumi's face fell. "But how am I supposed to talk to him if he loses his mind around me?"
"That's where these things come in," explained Nabiki as she patted one of the casks. "Use the Akanenichuan water to make yourself look exactly like Akane, or at least how she looked several months ago, but it shouldn't make a noticeable difference. You can then go see Dr. Tofu as 'Akane,' and you'll be able to talk to him about how he feels about 'Kasumi' without him freaking out. Once you're convinced, explain who you really are (with some way to prove your identity) and how you feel about him and ask him out. Hopefully he'll remain in enough control to listen and arrange the date. Once you have it all set up, Ranma can work with him to help stay somewhat sane during your date and go from there. Afterwards, come back home and use the Nyannichuan water to remove the curse."
"Oh, thank you, Nabiki!" exclaimed Kasumi as she gathered her younger sister in a hug.
"Merry Christmas, Kasumi," replied Nabiki as she returned the hug. "If anyone in this cursed town deserves to be happy, it's you."
As they walked back to the kitchen, Nabiki pointed out, "You'll need to borrow some of Akane's clothes before you can start on my plan, and I think it could be a while before it's safe to enter the newlyweds' bedroom." They could both easily hear the passionate moans and cries coming from upstairs. "I really should offer to pay for soundproofing their room."
Nodoka came into the room with the report in her hand and a small frown on her face. "Is it just me, or are both of the voices upstairs female? It's not proper or manly for Ranma to do that as a girl."
Nabiki frowned. "Auntie Nodoka, it's not your place to control what another married couple does in the privacy of their own bedroom. With all the problems Ranma has had because of his curse, I personally think he's entitled to have some fun with it besides scamming extra scoops of ice cream. I know that if I had a husband with his condition, I'd certainly like to 'experiment' every now and then."
Nabiki's face twisted into a mischievous grin. "Besides, there more to it than you think. For Akane's present, I cursed her with water from the Spring of Drowned Female Hermaphrodite. They're now enjoying themselves in reverse without Akane actually switching gender." Nodoka's face paled at the realization that her manly son was currently undertaking the penultimate female role. She conceded to herself that it really was up to him and at least there was no danger of him fulfilling the ultimate female role.
Nodoka walked back to the tea room to continue reading. As she read, the noises upstairs eventually stopped, and a little while later she noticed Akane leaving the house. Once she finished, she wished she was still thinking of what Ranma had been doing rather that what she now knew Genma had done. She was so mad that she barely controlled herself from shouting out or drawing her katana. She walked out to the yard where her husband and Mr. Tendo were playing (and cheating at) shogi.
"Genma dear," she called in a suspiciously sweet voice while trying hard to keep a smile on her face. "I thought you might want to know that Nabiki's here, and she left a present for you in our room." Nodoka grinned as Genma's greed caused him to head straight for the stairs.
A minute or so later, a unfamiliar female scream of terror rang throughout the house. Soon there were footsteps on the stairs that revealed the almost comical figure of a middle-aged, overweight, bald woman dressed in Genma's clothes. "Nabiki, what have you done to me?" she shouted as she ran to the kitchen for a kettle of hot water, only to scream even louder when the water failed to restore her manhood.
Nabiki chuckled. "Why Mr. Saotome, or should I say Ms. Saotome, I thought you might like to find out firsthand what it's like to be a weak, useless woman. On the bright side, since baldness is usually a male trait, you'll probably be able to grow some hair now."
Genma growled. "Enough fooling around, girl. Why can't I change back?"
Nabiki casually examined her nails. "Well, you see, while I was in China collecting Jusenkyo water, I tracked down this fascinating culture called the Musk Dynasty. Normally they don't care too much for outsiders, but when I explained that I knew Ranma and wanted to do him a favor, Prince Herb himself was only too glad to help. It seems he really respects your son, unlike your fat a** once I explained all the problems you've caused in Ranma's life."
"Anyway, besides arranging for the legal shipment of my casks of Jusenkyo water and sending his bodyguards Mint and Lime along to help with deliveries, they let me borrow a couple of interesting artifacts. The water I gave you was all scooped with the Chisuiton or locking ladle. You're stuck like that."
Genma's face took on a look of horror. "I'm not that cruel, Ms. Saotome, continued Nabiki. I have some water from the Kaisuifu or open water kettle locked away in a safety deposit box. It's up to Nodoka to decide when you've learned your lesson as to when I retrieve it."
Genma fell to his knees in the "Crouch of the Wild Tiger" at Nodoka's feet. "Please, Nodoka dear. You don't really want me like this, do you? If nothing else, you're punishing yourself with your husband unable to, um, 'perform' his duties for you.
Nodoka scoffed at the pitiful sight in front of her. "Genma, Nabiki told me in advance what was in that cask, and I fully agreed with tricking you into using it. How could you teach our son the Cat Fist or do any of the other foolish things you've tried with him over the years?! Thanks to you, our son is an affection starved, emotionally challenged, gender bender with a terrible case of ailurophobia that causes fits of dangerous temporary insanity and was previously stuck with multiple arranged fiancées! If he didn't possess enough moral character, wasn't so strong-willed, or if you hadn't gotten incredibly lucky with one of those arranged marriages, I fear to think of how our son could've ended up if he had even survived! As for your husbandly duties, I got by just fine with over ten years of abstinence, so I can certainly handle a few months or longer without your presence in my bed." Nodoka was now red in the face as she finished yelling at her foolish spouse. As Nodoka had finally finished yelling and was now fingering her katana, Genma thought it best to exercise the Saotome Secret Technique and beat a hasty retreat back to her room.
A little while later, who appeared to be a beaming Akane reentered the house and headed for the bathroom where Nabiki was standing guard over the remaining cursed water. "Nabiki, it worked!" she exclaimed.
"That's great, Kasumi," replied Nabiki now that she was sure of her identity. Let's get you changed back, and then you can tell me all about it.
Kasumi stripped out of Akane's clothes and took a quick shower with the water from the remaining cask, immediately regaining her natural body. As she dried off and redressed in her normal clothes from the pile she had placed them in earlier, she told Nabiki about her visit and how she got Dr. Tofu to ask her out for New Year's Eve. "It's just so exciting!" she finished with a contented sigh. "Anyway, I'd better return Akane's clothes to her." She picked up the discarded pile on the floor. "I had to take them without permission, as Akane and Ranma were both fast asleep. I imagine they wore each other out playing around with Akane's gift," she commented with a giggle.
With the dangerous cursed water out of the way, Nabiki took the empty casks out to the garbage, and then went in search of her father. He had been the most difficult member of the household to "shop" for, but she finally figured out what to do for him.
She found him out in the yard putting away the shogi board and pieces after the interrupted game. "Dad," she called out in what she hoped was a soft and firm voice.
"Yes, dear?" replied Soun.
"I know you miss Mom, we all do, but it's time to move on. I'm in college, Akane is married and will soon enter college as well, and sooner or later Kasumi will also move on. In fact, she has a date for New Year's Eve. Face it, we're not your little girls anymore, and it's about time you found something to do with your life beyond playing board games with Mr. Saotome, maybe even try dating. It would also be a big help if you could find a job to help with household expenses, at least until Akane and Ranma are ready to reopen the dojo."
Soun sighed. "I understand what you're saying Nabiki, but I just don't know what I can do at this point. It's been years since I've tried socializing outside of the house. I wouldn't know what to do or say anymore, especially where it concerns women. As for a job, let's face it, I'm no longer qualified to run the dojo, and who would hire a depressed, out-of-shape old man like me?"
Nabiki grinned. "Well, it's a good thing you have me to help get you off your lazy butt and back into action. Do you remember Miss Hinako?"
"Akane's English teacher?" queried Soun.
"Yep, that's her," confirmed Nabiki. "I happen to know that she's quite attracted to you. She has some social problems of her own, and I bet she'd really appreciate it if you tried to talk to her during our Christmas party tonight."
Soun was stunned silent. An attractive younger woman like her was interested in someone like him?! Maybe there was hope for him after all.
Nabiki continued, "As for a job, don't sell yourself short. You're still highly respected around town, especially among your former students. In fact, one of them, Mr. Ichiro Matsui, has an opening for a security guard at his bank and would give you strong consideration for the position. I told him you would call him to set up an interview at your earliest convenience. You will call him, won't you?"
"Yes, of course," agreed Soun quickly at the threatening look on Nabiki's face.
Nabiki's face softened. "Here, Dad," she said as she handed him a book. "I've gone through all of our old pictures and put many of them together in a special photo album for you. The first half of the book is from when Mom was still alive. The second half is from after the Saotomes arrived. You may not have always been there for us after Mom died, but you did well enough for things to turn out just fine."
Soun began weeping at the kindness shown by his daughter.
"Oh, Daddy, you embarrass us when you do that," Nabiki admonished. As she walked back to the house, she gave one last parting shot, "Just a word of warning, if you ever actually get married to Miss Hinako, make sure she always has her bowl of fish with her in the bedroom." She entered the house leaving a very confused Soun sitting outside.
At the Tendo-Saotome Christmas Party that evening, several guests approached Nabiki to thank her for various gifts:
"Thanks for the GPS unit," said Ryoga happily as he approached Nabiki with Akari on his arm. I was able to lead Katsunishiki here without getting lost once!"
"Enjoy, Ryoga. You deserve some more happiness in your life now that you've stopped blaming Ranma for every little thing that's gone wrong for you," replied Nabiki. "Maybe in a few years you'll need to swap out that Shi Shi Hokodan of yours for a ki attack powered by a positive emotion."
Nabiki turned to Akari. "What about your gift? Did you decide to use it?"
"Oh, yes!" squealed Akari excitedly. "Of course Ryoga thinks I'm nuts to purposefully curse myself with Drowned Piglet water, but you know me. I love pigs, and now I get to be one! Best of all, I can now give Ryoga-dear an extra-special honeymoon once we get married." She giggled at the thought while Ryoga's face turned extremely pale. "Come along, dear. You got to spar all afternoon with the tiger-man who delivered Nabiki presents, so now you're going to dance with me."
As Akari lead Ryoga to the dance floor, Ryoga quickly whispered, "Nabiki, I'm scared."
"Aiyaa! Shampoo thank mercenary girl for Nyannichuan. Now Shampoo finally cured!" exclaimed a bubbly Chinese Amazon with indigo hair."
"Sure thing, Shampoo. As long as you don't try anything funny with Ranma and Akane, I'm willing to forgive and forget. Just don't call me 'mercenary girl,' anymore. I've given up on that whole thing," replied Nabiki.
Shampoo sighed. "No worry, generous girl. Shampoo not like it, but Ranma no longer airen now that he marry violent girl. Shampoo go home and find new airen once punishment is over."
Nabiki grimaced. "I think I almost prefer 'mercenary girl.'"
"Shampoo, come dance with me!" shouted Mousse as he glomped Shampoo from behind. Surprisingly, not only had he found the correct target, but his glasses were nowhere to be found.
"Did you have to pay for stupid Mousse to get laser-eye surgery?" asked an exasperated Shampoo as she walked away while trying to extract herself from her over-exuberant suitor. "Now Mousse be more too, too annoying than when he blind."
The next to approach Nabiki was Ukyo. "Nabiki! Thanks for straightening things out with my father. I've been worried sick about what I was going to say to him once Ranchan married Akane instead of me. I'm going to visit him and my extended family for New Year's, and I'll even be wearing a dress, just as I am now," the okonomiyaki chef said as she showed off her stunning off-the-shoulder gown.
"It was nothing, Ukyo," Nabiki replied with a smile. "I merely had to point out to him how you, Ranma, and Akane were stuck in a no-win situation through no fault of any of you. It was Genma who screwed everything up with a little help from your own father for pushing him into it after having already been warned about a pre-existing engagement."
Suddenly, a kunoichi appeared out of nowhere. "Mistress Ukyo, would you do me the honor of a dance?" asked a blushing Konatsu.
Ukyo smiled. "Alright, but only if you pour some hot water on yourself first."
"I see Konatsu is enjoying his, or should I say, her present," commented Nabiki as Konatsu left to fulfill Ukyo's request.
"Yeah, a Nyannichuan curse is like a dream come true for him," replied Ukyo. "He can dress up as a real girl just about any time he wants, and he's still able to learn about his proper gender and find a special girl in his life, whether it's me or someone else."
"Getting a soft spot for him now that Ranma's off the market, huh?" asked a grinning Nabiki.
"Well, he's a good guy, and I certainly have no room to complain about gender issues after chasing after Ranma and doing some crossdressing myself, so I've decided to give him a chance," explained Ukyo. "Oh, here he comes. Bye!"
"Miss Tendo, it was you who sent those videos to the superintendent, wasn't it?" asked a smiling Hinako Ninomiya as she approached Nabiki while holding the hand of a very nervous Soun.
"You got me, teach. How'd he take it?" she replied with a grin.
"Well, let's just say that he's ordered a full review of Principal Kuno's administration since his return from Hawaii. Odds are we'll have a new principal by the beginning of next term. Also, thanks for leaving my, um, unorthodox disciplinary methods out of the videos."
"No problem. Despite your issues, you're actually pretty well respected, and not just because you're the hottest teacher in the school," replied Nabiki.
"Thanks, I think," said Hinako. "Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to see if your father here knows anything about dancing." Soun gulped as Hinako led him to the action in the middle of the dojo.
Eventually, everyone got tired of dancing and gathered around the Christmas tree in the corner of the dojo as Ranma called for a toast. "To Nabiki: she is a greedy, manipulative b****, but she did get us some nice gifts."
"Don't worry," Nabiki chimed in, "from now on I'll no longer use my powers for evil, unless that is some b****** deserves it."
"I wouldn't have it any other way," remarked Akane.
"Merry Christmas, Nabiki Tendo!" everyone shouted. Snow began to fall outside as everyone looked out the window and hummed the tune to "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing."
In a far-off region of Northwestern China, a lone Japanese swordsman stood on guard. Suddenly, he spun and sliced at an attacking...rhythmic gymnastics ribbon?
"Ho ho ho! What are you doing here, brother dear?" asked Kodachi Kuno.
"I could ask you the same question, my twisted sister.," replied an annoyed Tatewaki Kuno. "If you must know, the mercenary Nabiki Tendo hath sold me information that the vile fiend Ranma Saotome hath spirited my fierce tigress away to this very location."
"I have also been told by that Tendo wretch that my Ranma-darling could be found here. No doubt that blue-haired trollop has taken him against his will just as she holds him prisoner in marriage," replied Kodachi.
"You take that back!" shouted the older Kuno sibling in rage. "It is the fiend Saotome that holdeth the fair Akane Tendo in the chains of matrimony."
"Make me!" shouted Kodachi as she jumped to the top of one of the bamboo poles overhanging many freshwater springs.
"I follow!" shouted Tatewaki as he leapt to the top of another pole.
Having heard the disturbance, the Jusenkyo Guide ran from his hut just in time to hear two splashes of water. "Aiyaa! Why can't honored customers wait until after Christmas to get cursed?!"
Author's Notes: Merry Christmas Eve 2013, everyone! I had originally started writing this for Christmas last year, but I ran out of time and decided to put it off until Christmas this year.
I'm no biologist (nor woman), so I don't know if the effects I listed for the "Spring of Drowned Female Hermaphrodite" are anatomically possible, but it was too fun of an idea to pass up. I might eventually reuse the idea in another story.
It's up to your imagination as to which curses the Kuno siblings obtained at the end. I'd love to hear your ideas in your reviews.
It's probably a stretch for the Jusenkyo Guide to mention Christmas, but I couldn't pass up using that line to finish the story.