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[FFML] [Ranma and Tarou Challenge] Children of the Future

From: "C. Jones" <guilty@arn.net>
Date: 1999-09-22 06:19:33+00:00

Now how on earth are we going to pull this off?
Hmmm...

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Children of the Future

------------------------------

The devastation was omnipresent.

Everywhere she looked, Ranma saw those same pinkish-
grey piles of dust.

The victims.

A few months had passed since the first radio reports of
the virus had come out of the United States. Now, all that
played on any of the radio stations were silence and static.
There were a few television stations still operating. When
Ranma bothered to fuel the generator, all she could see were
self-updating satellite maps, left up by broadcasters who
didn't know what to do, and 'technical difficulty' signs.

Ranma had even quit grieving for Akane and her mother;
after seeing so much of the silent devastation, she was simply
numb.

She knew of five individuals who had survived the virus.
All were Jusenkyou victims. Ryouga, Mousse and her father had
been locked in their cursed states, just like her. Shampoo
just *happened* to have stayed human for the first few days of
the plague. When Ranma realized that the virus seemed to lock
the curse, she attacked Shampoo in a valiant kind of
desperation and tied her down in the basement of the
Nekohanten. She fed the girl by hand and let her drink warm
water through a straw, lest the curse be activated
accidentally and Ranma's last source of real human contact be
taken away. Shampoo even began to accept her involuntary
confinement after a few weeks.

Eventually, a water main broke due to lack of
maintenance and flooded the Nekohanten, changing the Chinese
girl into her cursed state. Apparently, little enough of the
virus remained in the air to lock the curse, because Ranma was
able to change the girl back with warm water.

After the seventh month, Genma, who could still
communicate via his written signs, brought up the necessity of
finding more humans. They could eat for as long as they
cared to by hunting the now wild cows and pigs in the hills
and forests, but there was a very strong chance that Ranma and
Shampoo were the last two human females left on the face of
the planet.

If they could find even a single man, then humanity
could eventually rise from the ashes.

Ranma didn't even protest the idea.

Eventually, winter set in and Ranma and Shampoo, along
with the rest of the Jusenkyouites abandoned their search to
hole up inside Furinkan high-school for the colder season.
Heat was very hard to come by, since there was no electricity
that didn't come from Ranma's emergency generator.

The second winter passed. So did the third.

Ranma and Shampoo lived as husband and wife, even if
they were both female.

It was during the fourth winter that they heard it.

It was a scuffling outside the school building, which by
now was their permanent home.

Ranma, Shampoo and pig-form Ryouga went outside to
investigate. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground,
but that didn't even faze the strong hearted individuals.

The noise was coming one of the stores across the street
from Furinkan. The three approached cautiously, knowing that
it might be nothing more than a dumb wild animal.

Animal yes. Wild or dumb, no. What eventually walked out
of the store with a large pack full of supplies looked like a
cross between a bull, a crane and an octopus.

"Pantyhose," Ranma addressed the creature.

Tarou responded with a low mooing sound.

Ranma couldn't help but shudder when she looked into
Tarou's eyes. They were not the vicious, angry eyes she knew
from years previous, but broken eyes. Eyes that had seen so
much death that they would almost rather be blind.

Ranma knew the expression fairly well. She usually
stared it in the mirror each morning.

After a few seconds, Ranma turned as she heard a quiet
meowing sound.

Having mostly overcome her fear of cats after long
association with Shampoo, Ranma had no real trouble staying to
see what was making the noise.

Instead of a cat, it was a young woman dressed in tied
together rags, perhaps seventeen or eighteen years old. She
had thick, tawney hair and yellow eyes.

She was also visibly pregnant.

The young woman meowed again, nuzzling up against the
cursed beast but keep her nervous eyes on Ranma and Shampoo.
Tarou moo'ed back comfortingly and gently extended his free
claw to wrap around her shoulders.

"She not a real person," Shampoo realized. "She cat
cursed with Nyannichuan."

Tarou nodded and sat his pack down. He began to scratch
in the dirt with one claw.

'SHE WAS BORN A CAT, BUT THIS IS MY WIFE, MI-CHAI.'

While Mi-chai could obviously not speak Japanese, she
meowed in introduction as she recognized her name being
written out.

Ranma and Shampoo introduced themselves as well as
Ryouga and offered the couple what comforts they could
provide.

Tarou, not the same brash, violent young man that Ranma
had known, bowed graciously and led his wife after the two
into the school.

It was after dinner of wild beef and vegetables from the
garden used to be the soccer field, that Tarou opened his pack
and pulled out several small bottles.

Using a marker and paper taken from one of the
classrooms Tarou explained that they were bottles of
nannichuan and nyannichuan. He didn't understand why, but they
would break the lock the virus had put on all the curses,
returning the individual to their previous cursed state.

Genma growfed loudly, without making any real move.

Both Ryouga and Mousse looking longingly at the bottles,
but made no move towards them.

Tarou continued to explain that he had traveled over
most of Southeast Asia and had yet to find a survivor that was
not Jusenkyou cursed. Besides Mi-chai, whom he created from a
stray cat that began following him outside the ruins of
Beijing, he had met two Joketsuzoku, a man and a woman both
cursed with loahniichuan, spring of drowned tiger, who were
doing their best to stay pregnant and have as many children as
possible, two Musk Dynasty women who were living together in
the Musk palace, and an ancient hermit in Vietnam who had
visited Jusenkyou in his youth.

Further, the bottles were theirs if they wanted them.
Tarou tired of carrying them after three years.

Ranma opened one and poured it over Ryouga. For the
first time in nearly five years, Ryouga stood on two legs. He
kneeled and began to weep.

Mouse was more stoic, but moved nonetheless.

Genma refused a bottle, stating that there was less pain
in being a panda. He felt that life would be easier for him
remembering the kindness rather than the absence of all those
that had been taken from him. Being reminded of being human
was the last thing he wanted, since it would make those
absences all the more poignant.

Finally, Ranma poured a bottle over her own head. The
now-male Ranma and Shampoo wept together.

When they asked if Tarou had used one yet, they learned
of his true fate. Since he had a combination curse, the waters
of Nannichuan had no effect on him, even when he bathed with
them and drank them.

Those assembled couldn't help but stare at the obviously
pregnant Mi-chai.

'HER CHILD WILL BE HUMAN,' Tarou wrote. He was certain,
he explained since he had already fathered children on both
the Musk women at their bequest.

Mi-chai meowed softly and cradled her swollen abdomen.

That evening, Ranma and Shampoo created their own
contribution to the future of humanity.

At Ranma and Shampoo's invitation, Tarou and Mi-chai
joined their little family.

Mi-chai's lack of language skills stemmed directly from
an almost complete lack of human contact. She learned both
Japanese and Chinese in quick succession over the winter.

When her daughter was born early the next spring, she
named it 'Sakura' in knowledge that, like a cherry blossom,
her birth signaled new life for the world.

Shampoo gave birth to a son. Genma finally used a bottle
of nannichuan so that he could speak to his grandson.

When the harvest of the large garden finally came, both
Mousse and Ryouga informed the rest of the family that
they were leaving for Jusenkyou. They hoped to find wives
along the way, but if not, they would take the animals they
admired most and use Nyannichuan to create wives for
themselves as Tarou had done.

It was the day after they left that Genma spoke to his
son in earnest while they were sitting on the makeshift fence
around their garden.

"It's been a long five years, hasn't it, Son?"

Ranma nodded, bouncing his giggling son on his knee.
"It's been hard, but we've gotten through it."

"It has been hard, it will continue to be hard, for
probably the rest of our lives," Genma stated seriously.

Ranma agreed. "It will be *very* hard. That doesn't mean
we can't build a new happiness, though." Life had aged Ranma,
but it had also given him wisdom.

"Something I want you to consider then," Genma began,
"Is that a wider a gene-pool a population has, the better it
fares and the quicker it grows. I learned that rasping chickens
on a farm I worked on as a youth, but it applies to us, too."

"So, you thinkin' of going to Jusenkyou and findin' a
wife, too?"

Genma nodded seriously. "I could never replace your
mother, but even an old man like me is allowed a little
happiness. Would you really mind having a younger sibling or
five?"

Ranma shook his head and smiled. "Nah. I can't go with
you though. In case Ryouga and Mousse don't make it back in
time for planting season, I'll have to do it all by myself.
Besides, we really can't travel with the kids an' all."

Genma nodded. "There's another aspect of the saying I
just quoted you, Son. With all the combinations possible
between you, Shampoo, Tarou and Mi-chai, you have quite a few
sources for genes here. It may be distasteful, but you need to
consider what you'll be giving to your children."

Ranma paused in his bouncing, realizing the full extent
of Genma's suggestion.

"It's a minor thing," Genma stated quietly after the
silence had passed between the two.

Genma left for Jusenkyou the next day. Later that day,
Ranma called a family meeting to discuss the implications of
Genma's suggestion with three of the people in the world he
had grown to love most.

Mi-chai was the first to agree. Shampoo followed a
second later, saying that inbreeding would be difficult enough
to avoid. Strength of body, mind and spirit would be the most
important things they could pass on to their children and
grandchildren.

After several hours of thought, Tarou came back to the
family group and told them that he agreed as well.

"It'll take some time to get used to the idea," Ranma
admitted, "but what can I do? If I can be a father, then I can
be a mother, too."

Tarou laid with Shampoo and Ranma laid with Mi-chai.
With the love of friendship, they created two new lives to
inhabit the empty, empty world.

Their children now numbered four. The four parents,
despite all their myriad differences, were as close as could
be. Mousse returned the next winter with a blue-haired young
woman and her new baby daughter. Mousse's wife, whom had
named herself Mulu, was a nyannichuan cursed swan.

The family of four explained what they had done, and
offered to include Mousse and Mulu in their plan.

Mousse was hesitant at first, but saw the love that the
four shared. He and Mulu promised that they would 'help expand
the genepool' just as soon as the five young children were
just a little older.

Genma returned with a pregnant young wife late in the
winter. Noko, in remembrance of his first wife, was a panda,
also cursed with Nyannichuan. He agreed with Mousse in the
assessment that it was best to wait a few years before having
more children.

That spring, Ranma and Tarou had a long talk. They had
become friends, brothers even, since Tarou had come to Japan.
They had worked the fields together, chopped wood together.
They had even given each other step-children.

Ranma knew that for him, the time had come.

The couplings between the two saw Ranma as a girl, of
course. There was simply no other way for them to conceive.
Neither Ranma's nor Tarou's outward shape made any difference
in the conception of their child. Two loving, caring souls had
joined to create a new soul. Unsurprisingly, once Ranma had
finally become pregnant, she could no longer change back. She
paid the fact no mind, certain that she could resume her
normal form once her child was born.

Five years later, Ranma and Tarou, both older and
wiser, took a break from their tasks in the field as they
watched their daughter play catch with Genma and Noka's
young son.

"We've created quite a little girl there," Ranma noted
quietly, watching the beautiful, dark-haired young girl toss
the baseball to the younger boy.

She squealed in delight as the little boy caught it for
the first time. She ran over to congratulate him with a strong
hug and a kiss on the cheek.

Tarou mooed back in response and continued to turn weeds
out of the earth.

Ranma sighed wistfully as he turned back to his work as
well. He had lost so very much, but he had gained so very
much.

Neither he nor Tarou wore the same expression of guilt
and loss that they bore years earlier. Ranma knew that, if he
had to, he would not change what happened for anything. His
family, Shampoo, Mi-chai, Mulu, Noka, Genma, Tarou, and all
their children, were worth any cost.

Epilouge:

After a few more years, Ryouga and his wife, Reicha, a
Russian woman who had fallen into Spring of drowned falcon,
eventually brought their horde of children wandering back into
Furinkan, and were welcomed with open arms.

In the decades that came, the extended family found
other survivors, Jusenkyou victims, or the children of
Jusenkyou victims. By Ranma's fiftieth year, they were using
rebuilt shortwave radios to reestablish communication between
all the tiny villages that had sprung up around the world
around Jusenkyou victims.

By the time Ranma died, a little after his hundredth and
tenth birthday, Jusenkyou was no longer known as the Accursed
Pools of Tears to the steadily growing population of Earth.
Jusenkyou was known by all as the Spring of Life.

Because of the Cursed Pools and the closeness felt by a few
lost individuals, humanity survived.

* * *

Although they each have wives, the major point of this story was to get
Ranma and Tarou together as guys (and a monster, in Tarou's case), raising
a daughter Ranma conceived by Tarou as a girl. It's a 'last people on the
face of the earth' story, but I think it answers Lurker's challenge
tastefully. I feel that the only unrealistic or mechanical part of the
story is the virus that wiped out non-cursed humanity. Tarou could still
impregnate human women because that was the only part of his body really
changed by the Nannichuan after his curse was locked by the virus. For the
sake of the audience's sanity, I'll never *ever* write the lemon scenes
this would entail.

Now, Shampoo and Tsubasa? Not even the end of the world could bring those
two together.

(Actually, I've always thought that both Tsubasa and Konatsu would match up
well with Azusa, if you're writing that kind of story.)

C.

* * *

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