An Unlikely Crossover:
The Boys From Gundam Wing Meet the Boys From Ranma 1/2
(and some of the girls meet each other too :-)

By Jaelle

With apologies to everyone


Disclaimer: I own none of these characters. Tragically, the warped imagination is all my own. This story is not intended to infringe on the rightful copyrights of all those that DO own these characters.


Key:

*Thoughts*
<In Chinese>


"It's destroyed, we've done it!" Quatre exulted, witnessing the destruction of the death satellite.

Created by rebels, this armed-to-the-teeth facility had been on the verge of annihilating both earth and the colonies when the Preventers - Sally Po, Lucrezia Noin, Lady Une, Zechs Merquise, and, appearing in their old Gundams (rescued from destruction at the last second but scheduled to be scrapped _again_ after this mission. The last mission. The very last time Gundam would ever be needed again and goddammit we MEAN it this time!!!) had successfully set off charges on the inside.

"Mission accomplished," said Heero, as he watched the fireworks. *Relena*.

"Thank goodness," sighed Relena, staring at the battlefield, and particularly, Wing Zero. *Heero.*

Beside her, Hilde smiled at the girl who had forced both her way into this difficult and dangerous mission - insisting on trying to talk the rebels into peace - but also into the much more difficult and dangerous place of the heart of Heero Yuy. Glowing with pleasure, she turned her concentration back to piloting the small shuttle towards the others. She always had difficulty angling things properly. If only Duo would finish teaching her how to...

"What the ****? Holy ****!!!" The voice echoed over the open com frequency.

Everyone started at this comment from Duo. "What is it?" Wufei snapped, put out at being outsworn.

"Readings indicate huge explosive capabilities - it's gonna..."

*BOOOOOOOM!!!!*

"The sky is tearing... the sky is..." *crackle*

"Duo! Wufei! Trowa! Quatre!" Noin, Sally and Lady Une broadcast frantically on all frequencies as the boys and their Gundams vanished. "Hilde!"

"Heero!!!! RELENA!!!!" screamed Zechs as Relena's shuttle was engulfed in the explosion.

***

"Oh man..." Duo shook his head. "What happened?" He sat up. He was lying in a clearing in a forest, it looked much like any other forest clearing he'd ever been in - with one major exception. He had absolutely no idea where this one was.

Duo opened his mouth.

"WHERE ON EARTH AM I NOW????!!!!"

Duo closed his mouth. "That's what _I_ was gonna say," he said in a put out tone of voice. Getting to his feet, he started to trace the source of the shout.

"Hello? Hello?" He called, pushing through underbrush. "Anyone there?"

"Hello?" came a return voice. "I'm over here!"

Swearing mildly, Duo managed to push through a large bush into another clearing. There was another boy standing in the clearing. He was the same height as Duo, with short, rather messy brown hair tied back with a yellow and black bandanna. He was wearing black trousers and a yellow and black tunic. Duo, wearing his usual black outfit, relaxed a little. Okay, rule out aliens.

"Hi there!" he began with a grin. "I suppose there's no point in asking you where exactly it is that I am?"

Ryoga Hibiki stared at the strange, well, _probably_ boy before him. Either he hadn't been to Nerima in a while and Ranma had lost the Dragon's Hair, or this guy was _really_ confident in his masculinity.

"Um, hi." he replied. "No, sorry, I'm lost too."

"Hmmm," replied the boy. "Perhaps you could narrow it down for me a little. Like, perhaps, the planet?"

Ryoga blinked, confused. "This is Earth," he said. "Unless I'm REALLY lost."

Duo breathed a sigh of relief. "Well, that's something," he said. "My name is Duo Maxwell, pleased to meet you."

Ryoga looked at Duo's extended hand and then remembered himself. "Ryoga Hibiki, the same I'm sure." He shook Duo's hand, being careful not to grip too hard.

"So," said Duo, flexing his fingers. "I don't suppose you've seen any strange guys around here?"

"Strange how?" Ryoga asked. "You mean, like guys that turn into girls when splashed with cold water? Stuff like that."

"Strange as in - they never smile or talk and..." Duo trailed off. "Turns into a girl when splashed with cold water??!! Does that happen a lot around here?"

"More often than you'd think," Ryoga muttered. "Sorry, I haven't seen your... friends?"

"Damn," Duo muttered. "I hope they're all okay. That explosion was pretty wild. Heero the indestructable is probably fine, but..." He noticed the way Ryoga was looking at him. "Eh heh. I was thinking out loud again wasn't I?"

"Yes," a low voice said from behind him.

"YEOW!!!" Duo jumped into Ryoga's arms. "Who the... Trowa??!!"

Trowa Barton stared at the two men and struggled with himself. Finally he overcame his inner battle. "Hello Duo."

Exhausted from the effort of gettting the words out, he lapsed back into his normal silence.

Fortunately, Duo took over at this point. "T-man! I was worried about all you guys... sorry about this Ryoga, he startled me... have you seen any of the others?"

Ryoga lowered Duo to the ground. "Don't mention it, if he'd come up behind _me_ you'd have been the one holding _me_."

Duo grinned. "Ryoga Hibiki, meet Trowa Barton."

Ryoga bowed to Trowa, who reciprocated. "Nice to meet you."

Again the internal battle. "Yes."

Ryoga looked at Duo.

"He doesn't talk much," Duo explained. "To anyone. It's not personal." He added.

"Okay, that'll make a pleasant change," Ryoga said. "So now that we all know each other maybe we could team up to find our way out of here."

"Sounds good to me," Duo shrugged. "We don't really have a destination in mind at the moment. Where are _you_ heading?"

"Tokyo," Ryoga sighed. "But I've been wandering around for DAYS and I can't find the main road!"

Trowa raised an eyebrow and gestured for the other two to follow him. Pushing through the bushes he'd entered through, he pointed out the large road, with the sign, "Tokyo - 20 miles" and a big arrow.

Ryoga sweatdropped. "Ah hah! Well, then... let's go!" He set off.

Duo dropped a hand on his arm. "Um, Ryoga, that's the wrong way."

"AAAAHHHH!!!" Ryoga fell to his knees and clutched at his hair. "Damn it all!! WHY can't I ever get where I'm going?"

Duo looked at Trowa. "Bad sense of direction?" He guessed.

Trowa shrugged.

Ryoga sobbed. "It's been two months!!! It's NEVER taken me this long to get to Tokyo. Who knows what that cad Ranma has done since I was there? I have to get there!!!" He stood up. "And I will! I'll..." He was about to set off again when two hands grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and jerked him off-balance.

He turned to see Duo and Trowa regarding him cautiously. "Don't worry about it buddy," Duo said. "You just leave it all to us. Come on now..."

Ryoga's eyes filled with tears. "You mean it? You'll take me to Tokyo."

"Sure, it's no skin off our noses, right?" Duo looked at Trowa.

Trowa merely nodded.

Each boy grabbed one of Ryoga's arms, and together they set off down the road...

"Follow the concrete path road, follow the concrete path road... Follow, follow, follow..."

... which seemed to be getting longer with each of Duo's "follow"s.

***

Quatre Raberba Winner staggered to his feet in an alleyway and looked around. It seemed like your average alleyway - a few rubbish cans, couple of cats, some bottles. Nothing special.

"How did I get here?" Quatre was completely confused. One moment explosion, next moment alleyway. Something was definitely wrong here. He slowly made his way into the street and looked around. An average street, average shops... an average phone booth. With relief in his eyes Quatre staggered to the phone booth and grabbed the receiver.

"HEY! Watch where you're putting your hands buddy!" The phone shrieked at him.

"What?" Quatre jumped.

A girls' head popped out of the top of the phone. "Hey you, yeah you. What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"Ummm... trying to make a phone call?" Quatre asked.

The girl glowered at him. "Listen, I'm trying to work on a love poem for my darling Ukyou, so why don't you go find another phone to molest?"

"Um, of course, my apologies, please excuse me." Quatre exited the booth and wandered off down the street, face pale as he tried to come to grips with what had happened. He turned back to give the phone booth one last look, only to discover it had disappeared.

"I think I need to lie down." He said, heading back into the alleyway.

***

Somewhere else, another visitor from the Gundam Universe was dropping in:

SPLASH!!!!

"Oh too bad Sir, you fall in Spring of Drowned Girl. Very tragic story about girl who drown in spring two hundred year ago. Now whoever fall in spring take on body of young girl."

"Shut up and get me a towel."

***

"Follow follow follow..." Duo sang. "Two more miles, two more miles to Tokyo... two more miles till..."

"Is he ALWAYS this talkative???" Ryoga demanded.

Trowa pondered this. "Yes."

"And are you always this quiet?"

"Yes."

"No wonder you get along," Ryoga grumped. He dodged around a large puddle by the side of the road. Just then a car sped past them, overcorrected and splashed through it. "Hey watch your speed jerbuwHEEEE!!!"

There was an abrupt halt to Duo's singing as he and Trowa blinked at Ryoga's sudden disappearance.

"BuWHEEEEE!!!"

Duo looked down. A small black pig was struggling through Ryoga's clothes.

"Um, Trowa, what just happened?"

"It appears that Ryoga has transformed into a pig," Trowa replied. "Interesting."

Duo fell over as Trowa picked up the pig. "Are you serious?"

"Do you have any other explanation?" Trowa asked calmly, tucking the pig onto Duo's shoulder as he stood. "There. Is he too heavy?"

"No no, he's fine. But come on, it's just not possible." Duo protested.

"Oh, I'm sure there's a logical explanation somewhere." Trowa remained totally unruffled. "Perhaps we'll find it in Tokyo. Let's go."

He walked off calmly. Duo and the pig stared at each other. The pig whined at Duo.

"No, I think he was just born that way. Want me to grab your clothes?"

"BWEE!"

"Gotcha. Hey T! Wait up!" Duo snatched up Ryoga's clothes and pack and sprinted after Trowa. "Man, what do you have in here, bricks?"

"BWEEE!!!"

"All right, all right, keep your hair on. Sheesh."

***

Wufei Chang wandered down the main street of the town he had appeared in. It looked like Japan, but he wasn't exactly sure. These people certainly didn't look like the war-torn survivors he was used to dealing with. Dammit, he was going to have to ask someone for information. Wufei hated not appearing knowledgable. It also meant he had to be polite, and he hated THAT most of all!

"Hmmm... who to ask, who to ask..."

A string of Chinese curses erupted and the street was almost instantly deserted.

"What in the world?" Wufei followed the expletives.

***

"<I told you already, I don't know where the old man is!>" Shampoo yelled at Pantyhose Tarou, dodging a blow from his fists. "<Now get lost!>"

"<I saw him come this way!>" Tarou retorted, "<Tell me where he went?!>"

"<I don't KNOW!>" shouted Mousse, dodging a blow from a telephone pole.

"<Huh huh. We ALL know that,>" Tarou retorted to the back of his head. "<Everyone knows you're practically blind. Come back with me to Jusenkyo and I'll show you the pool you need.>"

"<The spring of drowned man?>" Mouse asked eagerly.

"<No, the spring of drowned BAT!!!>" Tarou laughed at him.

Wufei turned into the alleyway just as they recommenced battle. He watched as Mousse was knocked casually aside by a glancing blow, and Shampoo's bonbori was struck aside. Tarou clenched his fist and drew it back to strike.

A calloused hand closed over it and restrained him. Shampoo blinked and looked up at her saviour.

"Aiya," she said. "Who are you?"

Wufei winced at the badly accented Japanese. "<I'm Chang Wufei, Chinese like yourselves. I need some information.>"

"Let me go!" Tarou said coldly.

"Hn!" replied Wufei, switching to Japanese. "Attacking a woman. How dishonourable."

"Hey... Shampoo good warrior!" Shampoo protested.

"Women shouldn't fight!" said Wufei. *Except for Sally*. "They are too weak."

They all stared at him. Except Mousse, who was looking at a garbage can.

"Huh huh, you better get out of my way," Tarou threatened the suicidal boy. "I don't like people who interfere!"

"Go away," Wufei replied coldly. "I don't fight the weak." He contemptously pushed Tarou away.

"WHAT???!!!"

Tarou attacked, throwing himself into the battle. Wufei parried his attacks, drew his sword and grinned. At last! A worthy opponent!

The battle raged on and on... Onlookers gathered. Popcorn was sold, until finally.

"YAAAH!!" Wufei thrust with his sword. Tarou backpedalled, but not far enough and a thin line of blood formed on his face.

"You'll pay for that," he hissed.

Wufei watched in astonishment as his opponent grasped a large pail of water and poured it over himself.

*What the ****?*

"ROAR!!!"

"(*&$)%(*&$%^)(*^)#$(*^*(&@$*^!!!!!"

***

"Did you hear something?" Duo asked Trowa as they walked down the streets of Nerima. Above them, Wufei achieved heights he'd only ever before encountered inside his Gundam.

Trowa said nothing.

"Wotta haul! Wotta haul!"

"What?" Trowa turned around just as a small shape bounded past him and impacted onto Duo's butt.

"Trowa..." started Duo. "This had better be a joke." He looked over his shoulder. Trowa held up both his hands and silently pointed. Duo looked down.

An old man was enthusiastically patting Duo's rear end. "Ah, what a lovely sweet one you are," he cooed. "Such grace, such delicacy... and what lovely long hair you have..."

"Ano..." Duo began. "Pardon me old man, but WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING????!!!!" He screamed, attaining a tonality he hadn't achieved since the last time he'd joined Heero on the karaoke machine for a chorus of Cry For The Dream.

Happosai looked up, "Ah missy! I was just admiring the scenery, and now for a frontal view!" He bounced up and over Duo's head and onto his chest. "And now... huh?"

Happosai patted Duo's chest. "You're awfully flat my dear, never mind, time will tell... Hmmm... very VERY flat..."

Duo's fist clenched. "That's because I am a..."

"Hey! Honestly Happosai - how could you? Harassing these poor, um, people..."

Happosai's eyes lit up. "Ah... my sweet Akane!"

Duo and Trowa stared as Happosai flung himself at a young girl running towards them.

"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!" Akane screeched as Happosai letched... sorry, I meant _latched_ on to her front. "GET!!! OFF!!! ME!!!"

"Ah... Akane..." Happosai rubbed his face in her breast.

Duo and Trowa stared in shock whilst P-chan bristled.

"Ano..." said Duo. Happosai turned and looked into his face. "Ahhh... I feel much better now..." he purred. "There's nothing like the feel of a REAL woman."

Duo stared. "Oh I'm so sorry I'm not woman enough for you," he spat. "Need some help miss?"

"GET OFF GET OFF GET OFF!!!!" Akane screamed at Happosai.

Trowa shrugged and reached out a hand.

"I don't think so!" Happosai chuckled playfully as he reached out with his pipe and, with a flick of a wrist, hurled the young man high into the air.

"That'll teach you, you young punk... huh?"

Happosai, Akane and Duo stared upwards as Trowa gracefully flipped and twirled in the air. Tumbling effortlessly to the ground again, he landed and bowed.

"Ohhh..." they all breathed, and applauded. Then Akane and Duo's eyes glinted and together they smashed their fists onto Happosai's head.

"Yes!" said Akane.

"Yes!" said Duo. They grinned at each other, then Akane realised what she was doing, blushed and looked away. Duo's grin widened.

"Excuse me pretty girl, but could you tell me where I am?" he asked with a wink.

Akane turned around, her temper rising. "Are you making fun of me?" she demanded.

The grinning boy, at least she _thought_ it was a boy, looked back at her. He was a roughly the same height as her and dressed in black. The other boy ran up to him and then stood off just to his left side. This one was even taller, with an enormous fringe. Akane took in his military-style jacket and boots and remembered his graceful twirlings in midair. A confused expression spread over her face.

"Ummm... You're in Nerima," she said.

"Nerima," the shorter boy rolled the word around on his tongue. "Hmmm... nope, don't know it. By any chance is it near Cinq Kingdom?"

"Where??!!!" Akane was dumbfounded. She had a good grounding in geography but she'd never heard of Cinq Kingdom. "This is Nerima District, Tokyo! Cinq Kingdom? Is that after Quatre kingdom or something?"

"No, but Quatre's been there."

"What???"

"Well it's..."

"P-chan!" Akane shouted in delight.

"Huh?" Duo backpedaled as Akane reached for Ryoga. "What? Hey!" he moved away from her. "I've got a girlfriend! I didn't mean anything by that comment - I was just complimenting you!"

"What are you babbling about?" Akane demanded.

"That's what we'd all like to know," murmured Trowa.

"Ummm... well, you're kind of reaching towards me and..."

"Oh please, get over yourself." said Akane. "I was just reaching for my pet pig - P-chan!"

Duo and Trowa looked at each other. "P-chan??!!"

"The pig sitting on your shoulder?!" Akane hinted. "Who are you anyway?"

"Oops, sorry. I'm Duo Maxwell and this is Trowa Barton, and I don't know any P-chan sorry." said Duo. "This is Ryoga."

Akane bit her lip. "Oh no, you must have thought he was a wild pig and named him as your own pet. My name is Akane Tendo, from the Tendo Dojo, and he's my pet pig P-chan."

Duo looked at Ryoga, who was frantically trying to communicate through biting, squealing and frantic movements.

"Erm, we seem to have a misunderstanding here," he said. "This is not a pig, it's a human being and his name is Ryoga. See, he got some cold water on him, and then he turned into a pig. I know this may be hard to believe but... hello? Hello? Hellooooooooo???!!!"

Duo trailed off and gaped at Akane, who seemed to have gone into some kind of trance.

"Ryoga..." she said slowly. "Ryoga...???"

"Hibiki." said Trowa.

"BuQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!"
[Translation: "Oh ****!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"]

"Ryoga Hibiki... Ryoga Hibiki... cold water... P-chan... Ryoga Hibiki..." Akane said, mesmerised by the words.

Then she fainted.

Duo and Trowa looked at each other. "Strange girl." said Duo.

"Strange place."

P-chan hit his head with his hoof.

***

"And then strange boy fought Tarou, almost defeated him, then Tarou use cold water become unbeatable monster and boy thrown away," Shampoo finished reporting to Cologne.

"Interesting," muttered Cologne. "Chang Wufei you say. Strange, I know of all of the great fighting clans in China and I've never heard of clan Wufei."

Shampoo shrugged.

Just then the bell over the door rang. "Nihao!" chirruped Shampoo. "Welcome to Nekohanten... AIYA!!!"

Wufei staggered in the door. "What... the... HELL... was... that... THING???!!!!"

He was battered and bruised, but otherwise uninjured. Shampoo turned to Cologne. "This him," she said.

"Hmmm..." Cologne examined Wufei. "Hallo young man, how are your wounds?"

"Wounds? Feh, as though that beast could hurt me." Wufei straightened up. "Only weaklings get killed."

"Admirable sentiments," Cologne chuckled. "Sit down, have some tea. Let us talk a while."

Wufei sat down and eyed the old woman. Cologne put up with it and watched for his reaction.

"Good afternoon," Wufei finally unbent. "My name is Chang Wufei."

"And I am Cologne."

"Cu Lon?" Wufei asked.

"<Correct. It is rare to hear my name spoken correctly,> Cologne spoke in Chinese. "<Well?>"

"<Well what?>" Wufei replied.

"<Aren't you going to make some comment about how old and withered I am?>" Cologne pressed.

Wufei stared at her. "Why would I do that?" He demanded. "Obviously you are of high ranking in your family, and your great age denotes great wisdom and skill. There is no shame in age."

"Ohohohoho!!! I like you boy," Cologne accepted a mug from Shampoo. "Have some tea."

Wufei took the tea from Shampoo, brought it to his lips, hesitated and then put it down again.

"<What are you trying to pull?>" He demanded angrily. "<I'm not going to drink bitter-root tea! I have no desire to be your slave, woman, whether you are wise or not!>"

Cologne's eyes widened. "You are not an ordinary warrior."

Wufei shrugged, for the first time seeming embarrassed. "I used to be a scholar."

"I see," Cologne motioned for more tea. "Why don't you tell me more? It may be that I can help you. We Chinese should stick together."

Wufei hesitated, and then began his story. "I was on a mission when..."

***

Quatre wandered into a park and tried to sort out the confusion in his head. "Talking phone booths, explosions in space, no Gundam. Maybe I hit my head too hard or something. I don't think I've been using the Zero System lately."

He morosely sat down on the edge of a fountain.

"Hey!!!"

With a strangled cry he leapt to his feet just as a girl's head popped up out of the fountainhead.

"What do you think you're doing sitting down on me like that? I coulda been squashed!" She yelled at him. "Oh it's _you_ again huh? Don't you have anything better to do than pester me? Damn boys, they're all disgusting!"

Quatre stammered out an apology as the fountain got up and walked away, muttering furiously all the way. He watched it go and moved over to a park bench to sit down. Just before he did he stopped. Then he checked all around the bench, underneath, over. Finally he prepared to sit down again. Then he stopped, stood up and walked on.

"Okay, maybe I did use the Zero System again."

***

"Akane-chan? Akane-chan?"

Akane opened her eyes to see her older sister Kasumi staring down at her worriedly. She closed her eyes again and felt Kasumi dab at her forehead with a cool cloth.

"Wha... what happened?" Akane was confused.

"You fainted," Kasumi told her. "Right in the middle of the street. Fortunately two nice young men carried you home, they were able to find our address in the phone book. They're sitting out in the main room now."

Akane sat up woozily. "Oh. I suppose I should thank them," she got clumsily to her feet. "There was something important I had to remember. Something..." She wandered into the corridor.

"So, cold water transforms you and hot water turns you back?" An unfamiliar male voice was inquiring as she approached the sliding door.

"Yes! But Akane doesn't know that I'm cursed too! And now you've gone and told her and she'll hate me." A more familiar voice replied.

Akane froze as her memories suddenly caught up with her. Her hair blew upwards as rage overtook her and her aura burned crimson and black.

"Why didn't you tell her ages ago?" The first voice demanded. "Seems kinda stupid."

"I wanted to," Ryoga's voice replied. "But then she did all this other stuff and I couldn't humiliate her like that. And... and I wanted to be near her because I love her and now she'll never want to see me again."

Akane slammed the door open. "You got that right..." she started, materialising a mallet from nowhere. "Ryoga, I trusted you! How could you..." She faltered and her aura flickered. "Wait, what was that other part?"

Ryoga stared at her in terror and fear as the two other men cleared out of the way of the angry girl.

"I... I... I..." Ryoga swallowed. Just this once, he had to get it right. "I love you Akane, I have for ages. I just... couldn't get the words out. I'm sorry. I've betrayed your trust and I'll understand if you never want to see me again." He hung his head.

Akane wavered and the mallet disappeared. "Oh Ryoga..." Her foot came up and slammed a kick into Ryoga that knocked him through the ceiling. "You STUPID JERK PERVERT!!! When you get back here, I'm going to beat you black and blue!!!!"

Trowa and Duo moved closer to the wall and further away from the crazy girl.

Akane panted a bit and then tossed her hair back. "Are you friends of _his_?" She demanded in a wrathful voice.

"Not right now, no," Duo said. "We're just innocent bystanders - honest!"

Akane went crimson. "Oh no, you're the two who helped me. I'm so sorry, I'm not usually this, this..." She bowed her head.

"It's understandable, you've just had a shock," Duo stood up. "We should probably get going, we have to find the others. I don't suppose you've seen three other boys our age? A blonde with an innocent smile, a rude Chinese guy with pulled back hair or a brown-haired Japanese with a steely gaze and a deathwish?"

Akane shook her head. "Sorry, no. But why don't you wait here? They'll probably turn up here, all the weird ones do."

"Oh, we couldn't impose."

"No, no..." Akane smiled bravely. "You must at least stay for dinner. You must be hungry after carrying me all the way back here."

Duo and Trowa looked at each other. "If you're sure..." Duo's stomach rumbled and he grimaced. "Sorry, it's been a while since my last meal."

"We have some rice snacks in the kitchen, I'll just go get them." Akane hurried off, brushing at some tears in her eyes as she went. *Stupid Ryoga. Stupid stupid stupid...*

Duo raised his eyebrows at Trowa after she'd gone. "So, what's her problem?"

"She's just found out her best friend has betrayed her," said Trowa quietly. "She'll forgive him eventually."

"So she's not...?"

"No. Just friends."

Duo nodded and leant back. "Trowa?"

"Mmm?"

"Do you think we were the only ones to come here?"

Trowa considered. "Doubt it. The others were all in the explosion too. Might have picked up everyone nearby. Maybe some of the others too."

Duo frowned. "You mean like Zechs? Or Noin?"

"Too far," came the laconic reply. "Maybe Hilde though."

Duo gnawed at his lip. "I hope she's okay wherever she is..."

***

At Nerima High School, Ranma Saotome was cursing the bad luck that had gotten him stuck with an after-school detention. Now he was late! He sprinted round the corner and slammed headfirst into someone else.

"Hey!" He yelled, "Watch where you're going!"

"It is THEE who must watch they path!" A familiar voice bellowed. "Ranma Saotome, have at thee!"

"Oh no," Ranma groaned as he vaulted out of the way of one of Tatewaki "Blue Thunder" Kuno's strikes. "Not now..." He sprinted outside in order to give himself more room. "Quit it you dork!"

Kuno followed him, swinging his mighty bokken. "Curse you foul Saotome!" he cried. "Surrender your claims to Akane Tendo and the pigtailed girl!"

"Get a grip!" Ranma yelled, dodging the blow and kicking out. Kuno evaded the kick and struck again. The two of them battled around the empty schoolyard.

"Stop it! You must stop fighting!"

They ignored the cry until a blonde girl flung herself in between them. Ranma managed to halt his punch and Kuno swung his sword high in order to prevent it from hitting her. The girl glared at them both, unafraid. "There is no need to fight!" She said. "All it does is cause more pain."

Ranma stepped back. "Look miss, get out of the way okay? I don't wanna hurt bystanders."

She turned on him and glared. "You mustn't fight," she asserted. "It isn't right!"

Kuno put up his sword. "Lady, you must depart while I vanquish this foul varlet. For he does possess that which I desire."

The girl turned on him next, hands on hips. "And what will that accomplish? Then he will come after you with more weapons and it back, then you will go after him with even more weapons and the cycle of violence will spiral out of control. You must stop and choose the path of peace now while it is still possible. Can't you see that your fighting only causes those you care for pain? Why must there be conflict? Conflict only occurs between two forces - you must join forces and be friends, only from that can peace come."

Ranma blinked at the girl. "What's with this crazy chick?" He wondered, but his tone was embarrassed. Noone had ever yelled at him like that before.

Kuno was struck, both by the girls' words and her unusual looks. "For thy sake my lady shall I stop fighting for today, but I fear that the peace that you speak of cannot be achieved until Ranma Saotome is defeated."

"And then others will avenge him, and still others will avenge you," the girl replied coldly. "Only you two can prevent this war from erupting. Choose absolute pacifism, it is the only path to happiness."

"Pacifism?" Ranma was startled, but quieted down when the girl turned her clear gaze on him. "Look miss, I'm not really the peaceful type. But..." He shot a look at Kuno. "I'll back off for today if he will, agreed?"

"In the spirit of peace, I too agree," Kuno stepped back.

"A stalemate," the girl sighed. "You will have to do more if you truly desire peace." She turned and began to walk away.

"But wait fair maiden, since I am now at liberty will you not join me on a date?" Kuno stepped in her way. The girl smiled up at him.

"I thank you for your kind words and thoughts," she said. "But I am afraid that my heart is already committed to another. He is a warrior, but he is also kind."

Kuno sniffled. "At least tell me your name," he implored.

The girl looked him dead in the eyes. "I am Relena Peacecraft."

So saying, she walked off.

***

Ranma sighed as he walked along the fence on his way back home. Another day gone, just like any other day. Argue with Akane, go to school, argue with Akane, eat lunch, argue with Akane, detention, go home, walk past an unconcious Ryoga, get home, argue with... waaaaaiiiit a minute.

Ranma backed up. "Ryoga? What happened to you?"

Ryoga lay on his back in the middle of the street, hands in that pose that is oh-so-familiar to all Ranma fans, a large lump on his head and his eyes spinning. Ranma jumped down next to him and poked him in the side gently.

"Ryoooooogaaaa... Hmph. You look pretty beat up. Come on stupid," Ranma hauled the other boy up. "Let's get you to Dr Tofu's."

He half-carried, half-dragged Ryoga along, the boy regaining a form of conciousness as they went. Eventually they both limped into the Doctors practice and Ranma led Ryoga over to a chair.

"So what the heck happened to you?" Ranma asked.

"Akane happened to me," Ryoga replied, groaning slightly.

"Awww... did the little piggy get hurt? Whoa..." Ranma was slightly taken aback by the huge black cloud that immediately formed around Ryoga. *Jeez, if he shot off a Shishihokodan right now he could level the city.* "What? What'd I say?"

"Akane knows," Ryoga said.

"Knows what? What?" Ranma was confused.

"She _knows_." Ryoga replied.

"Huh?"

Ryoga sighed and looked at Ranma. "Ranma, she _knows_."

"Knows WHAT???" Ranma yelled in exasperation. Then he looked at Ryoga.

"Oh my GOD!!! She KNOWS!!!!"

"That's what I've been trying to tell you!" Ryoga shouted. "Sheesh!"

"What's all the shouting?" Dr Tofu walked into the waiting area. "Oh hello Ranma, and Ryoga as well. Oh dear, what happened to you?"

"Uh... I fell down," Ryoga said humbly.

Ranma rolled his eyes.

The Doctor quickly looked Ryoga over. "It's not too bad. You're really remarkably resistant to damage Ryoga."

Ranma grinned. "You've heard of a hard head? Ryoga's got that all over his entire body! He's just thick, really."

Ryoga ignored him.

Dr Tofu smiled and straightened up, having hit a few pressure points and applied a small bandage. "There, that should fix you all up Ryoga. Now if you'll excuse me, I have another patient in the next room that needs attending to..."

There was an audible snap from the next room. Dr Tofu paled and ran through, Ranma close behind him.

Ranma blinked. A boy roughly his own age was lying on his back and gritting his teeth as he straightened his broken leg out. Snap!

"Gehh..." the boy let out his breath, sat up and began bandaging his leg.

"You should have waited!" Dr Tofu cried. "I could have done that."

"It's done now," the other boy said coldly.

"Whoa, man. What's the matter with you?" Ranma demanded. "Didn't that hurt?"

The other boy shot him a scornful glance and stood up slowly. "Hmph." He strode past Ranma without a backwards glance.

Ranma sighed and followed. Ryoga was still sitting there, morosely watching the other boy put on his shoes. Ranma walked over and stood over him, hands on hips.

"How did she find out?"

"Does it matter?"

"Yes, of course it matters. I want to find out if _I'm_ in trouble too!"

"Your sympathy overwhelms me," Ryoga sighed. "She found out because my new friend opened his big mouth and told her."

Ranma frowned, "New friend?"

By the door the strange boy paused. "Big mouth?" He strode over to Ryoga, ignoring Ranma completely.

"Long braid, big grin, never shuts up?" He asked brusquely.

"Oh, you know Duo," Ryoga said in surprise. "Are you one of the guys he and Trowa are looking for?"

"Trowa's with him? Good. Where are they?" The boy asked.

"At his place," Ryoga gestured at Ranma, who found himself being subjected to a measuring glance.

"Take me there," the boy demanded.

"Hey, you wanna try asking nicely?" Ranma demanded in annoyance. "And how about an introduction?"

"Heero Yuy," the other boy bit out. He glared at Ranma, who waited for a few moments more. Nothing.

"Okay, fine!" Ranma threw his hands up into the air. "Follow me. You coming Ryoga?"

"Yeah, better face the music." Ryoga sighed.

"You need a hand getting there?" Ranma asked.

Ryoga cast him a scornful look, stood and stretched, joints popping. "Good as new!" He declared.

Ranma shook his head, "You just ain't human," he muttered. Turning back, he could have sworn that he caught the faintest flicker of a smile pass from Heero to Ryoga and back again. "Okay, the Saotome express is now departing for the Tendo Dojo."

***

Quatre walked down the street, eyes flickering from side to side as he carefully stepped around a variety of shop signs, power poles and shopfronts. He drank nervously from a can of cola he'd bought from a vending machine with some money that a nice old lady had given him after first coaxing him out of the tree he'd hidden up when she'd surprised him walking through another park. In the last couple of hours he'd been abused by a mailbox, a shop sign, and a fire hydrant and his nerves had. Really. Just. Had. Enough.

Finishing the cola, he tossed it into a nearby rubbish bin.

"OW!"

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" Quatre sprinted off.

"That's it buddy, I've had enough of you!" Tsubasa stood up and sprinted after him. "Come back here!"

Quatre sprinted faster, putting his head down and running for all he was worth. Due to this, he didn't see the young woman step out in front of him and they collided in a painful heap.

"What the?"

"Nononononononononono... keep the mad talking objects away from me..." Quatre moaned.

Ukyou looked up and the speeding garbage can and sweatdropped. "Oh man, I thought he was out of town." Unslinging her mighty spatula, she stepped forward and timed a huge swing that sent Tsubasa flying."

"Nutcase," she muttered. "Hey buddy, you okay?"

Quatre blinked. "Gone?" He asked.

Ukyou sighed. "Yes, gone. How long has he been pestering you?"

"Talking pole, fountain, shop sign..." Quatre began to list the many objects that had yelled at him today.

"Never mind," Ukyou said hastily. "You're not injured."

Quatre shook his head. "Just confused. Please miss, you seem like a nice sane person - am I dead?"

"No."

"Am I in wonderland?"

"No."

"Then where the HELL am I??!!" Quatre shouted.

"Nerima, Tokyo," Ukyou said in a very slow, patient voice. "Now, why don't you let me call you a doctor?"

"I'm not ill," Quatre said in confusion.

"Uh huh, that's a matter of opinion where from I'm standing," Ukyou replied. "Do you want something to eat?"

"No, I just want to find my friends and go home." Quatre sat down on the ground, disconsolate. "There should be four of them. A Japanese boy who glares all the time, an American with long hair who talks a lot, a tall athletic boy who's an acrobat, and a Chinese boy with a sword and pulled back hair."

Ukyou squinted. "Pulled back hair?"

Quatre nodded. "Yes, he doesn't like women very much and he's very... abrupt."

Ukyou mentally exchanged the word 'rude' for 'abrupt' and nodded. "That wouldn't happen to be him walking towards us right now would it?"

Quatre almost dislocated his neck swivelling around. It was indeed Wufei, accompanied by Shampoo and Cologne.

"WUFEI!!!" Quatre screamed.

Wufei was somewhat shocked to see the blonde Gundam pilot looking so disheveled, but that shock was almost immediately replaced by an even greater shock when Quatre sprinted towards him and flung his arms around the Chinese boy.

"I'm so glad to see you I've had the worst day everything YELLED at me and I thought I was going mad and I can't find the others and..."

"Get. Off. Me!" Wufei yelled.

Quatre sighed. "You really _are_ Wufei!" He said, and released him. "Do you know where the others are?"

"No! And if they decide to greet me as you just did, I would rather NOT!" Wufei replied. "<I apologise. He's completely mad I'm afraid. We usually keep him locked up but obviously he's gotten loose.>"

"Totally understandable," Cologne replied. "Hello Ukyou."

"HMPH!" Shampoo and Ukyou said at exactly the same time.

"This Elderly One says that there are some people that might know where the others are," Wufei informed Quatre.

"Great! Where are we going?"

"The Tendo Dojo."

***

It was quite a reunion - Heero, Ryoga and Ranma arrived at the Dojo at the same time as Wufei, Quatre, Shampoo, Ukyou and Cologne, which coincided with Trowa, Duo and Akane and the rest of the Tendos sitting down for dinner.

Lots of eating and explanations later...

"So we're still missing Relena," Heero said as they sat around the table.

"Do you think any of the others came through as well?" Duo asked.

"I doubt it," said Wufei. "Surely we would have encountered them by now. After all, we all arrived within a 20 mile radius of this area."

"Not all of us," said Heero without elaboration. "I was further than that."

"What about the Gundams?" Duo asked.

"They're fine," said Heero. "I've got them safely hidden."

"You have, where?"

Heero quirked an eyebrow. "Have you looked at the skyline recently?"

There was a mass rush to the roof.

"Looks the same as normal to me," said Ranma. "What's different about it?"

"Boy, construction around here sure is fast," said Akane. "That huge building wasn't there yesterday."

There was a long pause.

"You have _got_ to be kidding me!" Duo exclaimed. "We musta walked PAST that damn building eight times this morning!"

"I can't help it if you're blind," Heero said callously. "Everyone's Gundams are concealed as the building."

"Concealed?"

"Don't get picky about the terminology," Duo said. "The important thing is they're here."

"Yes," Wufei rubbed his hands and smiled. "Excuse me, I have a need for mine." He left without saying anything further. Curious, Cologne and Shampoo decided to follow him and also left quietly.

Quatre's lip was twitching. "I just remembered something I have to do. I'll be back later." He bolted for the door.

Duo shrugged. "I'm gonna do a sweep of the area, just to make sure there's noone else around. Hey, how are we going to get back?"

"It's taken care of," Heero replied coldly. "We leave tomorrow morning."

"And we're going to do this... how?" Duo inquired.

"Leave that to me," said Heero. "Just be ready to leave at dawn tomorrow."

[Using Heero as a plot device? Isn't that a little cheap? - Audience.]

[Too bad, this story is already too long! - Jaelle]

"Details, Heero, make with the details." Duo coaxed.

[Duo! Stop channeling the audience! Fine, okay then, you asked for it. - Jaelle]

Heero sighed. "It's very basic. We simply use the power containment fields inside the laser generators to power a contained mini-nuclear-explosion using the missiles on Trowa's Heavyarms, then shift it all through the dilithium crystals and voila, instant rift."

"Won't that feed back and destroy us all?" Duo asked.

"Not if we reverse the polarity of the neutron flows," Heero pointed out.

"Oh of course, that makes perfect sense. Why didn't I think of that?" Duo asked. "But why dawn?"

"We have to go at dawn so that we are in tune with the leylines that lead to the Tokyo Tower."

[It had to be in there somewhere. Happy now? Good. - Jaelle.]

"Right, well I'm off then," and so Duo left.

"And I better go get Relena," Heero added.

"How are you going to find her?" Ranma asked curiously.

"Easy." Heero smiled, and left.

In a corner, Ryoga was humbly bowing to Akane and presenting her with his apologies. She remained true to her word and beat him to a pulp. Ranma turned to regard the only Gundam pilot remaining.

Trowa matched him, stare for stare.

"You do any martial arts?" Ranma asked.

Trowa shrugged.

"So, er, what do you want to do?" Ranma was a bit nonplussed.

"Tell me about this place," Trowa said finally. "It's... interesting..."

Ranma sat down. "We only have till dawn, so I'll have to give you the condensed version. Put shortly - it's not my fault!"

He began explaining the complicated situation that was the Ranmaverse, going into more and more detail as he found himself faced by an audience that was actually willing to let him explain everything BEFORE clobbering him.

***

Elsewhere:

Heero set about the arduous task of locating Relena. He removed Wing Zero from "concealment" and stood up, the late evening light glinting off it.

"Heero!"

He smiled as he felt Relena's recognition and sat back. She would be there very soon.

The rest of Tokyo, used to such things, ignored him.

***

Quatre wandered around the city streets, a bounce in his step. He took every opportunity to kick, prod, or talk to inanimate objects and finally, he struck paydirt. A tanuki squeaked and giggled when he tickled it.

Tsubasa stuck his head out. "What are you... YOU!!!"

Quatre grinned at Tsubasa. "You call that a disguise? It's shoddy! Shoddy I tell you!"

Tsubasa scowled at him, "Like YOU can do better!"

Quatre merely pointed behind him with one hand and pressed a button on a remote control he had in his pocket with the other.

A large building shimmered and Sandrock walked out from behind it.

Tsubasa desperately tried not to show how impressed he was. "So, er, a whole building huh? Ummm... can you show me how to do that?"

Quatre grinned. "How much do you know about holograph technology?"

***

Pantyhose Taro grumbled to himself as he strode through Tokyo, searching for the old hentai.

"Hey you! Not so fast!"

Tarou looked around to see the strange boy from earlier glaring at him.

"You again," he said, rubbing his face. "Haven't you learnt your lesson yet?"

Wufei grinned. "Shut up and fight, PANTYHOSE!"

"RRAAAGGGHHH!!!!" Tarou upended his water bottle over himself.

*ROAR!!!!*

Wufei took off like a rocket, Tarou in hot pursuit.

Inside the beast's body, Tarou sneered. *Is that the best he can do? Run away?*

Wufei reached some trees and dived into them.

*Got you now!* Tarou howled in pleasure.

*DOOM!*

A huge robot stood up slowly and Tarou skidded to a halt, gaping up in astonishment. Light gleamed off Gundam Unit 05 AKA Nataku AKA Shenlong as it stared down at Tarou. It almost seemed to be smiling.

Inside 05, Wufei certainly was.

***

Cologne watched as Wufei proceeded to beat Tarou into a small furry pulp.

"Hmmm..." She said. "He's a more proper young man. And a Chinese. What do you think Shampoo?"

"Hmmm..." said Shampoo.

***

Duo returned to the Tendo Dojo at around 8, having failed to find any sign of any of the other Gundam crowd. "Looks like it's just the six of us," he said. "Hey, where's Trowa?"

Everyone else had returned from their "missions" by now, along with some additions - Cologne and Shampoo had returned, Mousse in tow. The battered Tarou (in human form) was being administered to by Kasumi, with hindrance from Dr Tofu, Ukyou was still here, and now Konatsu had arrived as well and was helping her serve okonomiyaki to a hungry Ranma and Ryoga, who by now had completely recovered from his beating at Akane's hands. Kuno had also appeared, and was trying to chat up Relena, much to Heero's annoyance.

The house was crammed full, and now only the solitary silent pilot was missing.

"He said he had to repay everyone for their hospitality and left," said Quatre, looking much happier and chatting away to Tsubasa, seated next to him. "I'm not sure what he meant though."

Duo shrugged and paused. "Can anyone hear screaming?"

Everyone stopped and listened, Tarou sat up straight and screeched. "The freak!"

In the distance, but getting closer, was the sound of female screaming and a faint cry of "Wotta haul."

Soun and Genma tried to hide under the table as everyone sprinted to the window to see Happosai nearing.

***

Trowa had listened to Ranma's story and considered the matter carefully. It seemed obvious really, but he saw that others might view things differently. However, he was a soldier, accustomed to going ahead and solving the problem when he saw it. And so he waited, prepared to solve the problem.

"Wotta haul! Wotta haul!"

Happosai bounced along the rooves of Nerima, cackling with delight, followed at street level by a lynch mob of angry women.

"Ahahahahahahaha!" he laughed. "AhahaaaaaaaAAAAAAAA!!!!"

As he landed on the rooftop of the house across from Ranma's, it suddenly sprung upward, launching him higher and higher into the air.

"It's the only way to fly!" he carolled. A glint of light caught his eye. "Eh?"

"Target locked," Trowa said quietly. He pushed a lever on the console next to him, past markers labelled: low, normal, high, and saturation. He stopped only when the lever locked into the last marker: overkill.

Happosai was still staring at the light and giggling slightly when Heavyarms opened up with everything it had and more.

***

Two hours later the party was still going and the sake was flowing like water.

Tarou was dancing on the table, after having been officially re-christened by everyone present "Okay Tarou." He wasn't that keen about the name, but by this stage was willing to accept anything that wasn't "Pantyhose".

Soun and Genma were on the ninety-eighth chorus of "For he's a jolly good fellow."

Ukyou and Konatsu were run off their feet trying to feed everyone and almost welcomed the arrival of food from the Nekohanten. Almost.

Ryoga had collapsed after drinking half a glass of sake. It turned out that the boy of steel had a weak head for alcohol. Duo was keeping an eye on his snoring friend, while still keeping up his end of the partying.

Other people were also making merry, some of them quite the worse for wear.

"You're my friend Trowa, that's what you are," Kuno sniffed into his sake. "No-one's ever been as good a friend to me as you, no-one's ever been there for me! They don't know what it's like! It's so hard, but you - you understand me man!" Kuno's eyes crossed and he blearily
fell over into his beer.

Trowa didn't say anything.

"Finally that idiot collapsed," Wufei snarled. "I was beginning to think he was going to bore us all night."

"How does Trowa do it?" Duo wondered.

Heero waved his hand briefly in front of Trowa's face. No reaction.

"Huh?" Duo and Wufei stared at Trowa. No reaction.

Duo made a face. No reaction.

Wufei swore loudly. No reaction.

They stared at each other in consternation.

The faintest of snores emitted from the tall pilot.

"He can sleep with his eyes open?" Duo exclaimed.

"He _snores_?" Quatre said incredulously. "I've _never_ heard him sno... erhahaha," Quatre suddenly came down with a bout of coughing as the rest of his fellow pilots stared at him suspiciously. Tsubasa giggled into his drink and slung an arm around his shoulder. "Let me give you some tips on your clothing." He said, leading the other boy away.

***

Akane approached Duo and the sleeping Ryoga nervously.

"I have to ask you something," she said.

"Go for it," said Duo.

"Earlier, you called me a pretty girl. Do... you... Do you really think I'm pretty?" she asked, nervously twisting her hair.

"Sure do," Duo said heartily. "If I wasn't perfectly happy with Hilde I'd probably ask you out!"

"Oh," said Akane, turning pink.

"And I'm sure Ryoga would agree with me," said Duo, slapping the lost boys back. "Were he concious," he added, looking at the snoring form. He thought for a while. "And bearing in mind that _he_ is not going out with Hilde." he added again.

"Uh huh," said Akane. "The thing is, Ryoga and I..."

"I know, I know, just good friends." Duo nodded sagely. "You have no idea how often _I've_ heard that. I suggest you tell him that, and STAY that way. Don't use him to get back at... certain people. I'm sure if you tell him, you can stay friends, as long as you don't confuse him. He's rather easily confused."

Akane sat down next to him and nodded. "_Tell_ me about it."

***

Tarou staggered over to Wufei and sat down. "You know, I've changed my mind about these metal things you pilot," he said. "I'm now all in favour of modern technology."

Wufei waited.

"However," Tarou added. "A man should not rely on technology to fight his battles for him. He should rely on his own strength and skills." He thumped his chest for emphasis. "I request another match - one in which we will fight as equals!"

"I agree," said Wufei. "But no water transformations. If you stay human I won't use Nataku."

"Nataku?" asked Shampoo.

"05," Wufei elaborated. "It's a nickname. It used to belong to my wife." His eyes clouded.

"Wife???" said Cologne in surprise. "You're married?"

"Widowed," Wufei replied. "It was a while ago." He stared moodily into his drink.

"And now?" Mousse asked anxiously.

"Now I work for the Preventors," said Wufei, digging his wallet out of his sash. "That's us - Lady Une, Relena's brother Zechs, his wife and team partner Noin, and my partner - Sally Po."

The group stared at the photo.

"Is Sally one what has her arm around your shoulder?" asked Shampoo.

"Yes," said Wufei.

"The one holding the semi-automatic rifle?" asked Cologne, increasing disappointment in her voice.

"No."

*Yes!*

"If you look at it in better light you'll see that it's a _fully_ automatic rifle," said Wufei, holding up the photo.

There was a pause.

"Oh yes, I see..." *Damn*.

"Oh well," said Cologne. "It was just an idea."

***

"Where exactly did all this booze come from?" Quatre asked worriedly. "I believe that we're ALL underage here."

Duo smiled lazily. "I dunno. Ranma asked Heero to get it." They all looked over at where Heero was standing, watching Relena talk to that Kasumi girl.

"Did he... say anything about where he got it?" Quatre asked nervously.

"Just: Mission accomplished, when he returned," replied Trowa.

There was a meeting of eyes and everyone mentally agreed never to bring this up ever again.

***

By the wee hours of the morn the party was running down. Most people had fallen asleep in odd places around the Tendo house and dojo and there were going to be a lot of sore heads come morning. Duo and Heero were two of the few still awake, and Heero walked up to his American comrade.

"You've got something on your mind," he said bluntly. "What's wrong?"

"Oh, I just feel bad about spilling Ryoga's secret to Akane like that," Duo said. "I wish there was some way I could make it up to him."

Heero opened his mouth.

"HEERO!!! At last I've found one of you. Have you seen Duo?" A short-haired girl sprinted up to the boy. Heero raised an eyebrow and pointed as Duo staggered to his feet.

"Hilde!"

Hilde flung herself at Duo. "Oh my god, you must have been through so much! But don't worry, I got the stuff you need."

"What are you talking about?" Duo asked. "What happened?"

"I've been to Jusenkyou! I know about the spring," Hilde explained. "And when I heard all about the 'pig-tailed man' who fell in, I brought some water from the spring of drowned man back with me."

"You landed in Jusenkyou? Wow, you were way distant from the rest of us. Lucky you got here in time, we're leaving in the morning." Duo frowned. "But it wasn't me who fell in," he said. "Oh wait, I get it. 'Pig-tailed man' - it must be Ranma they were talking about."

"So you mean I got this for nothing?" Hilde pulled a vial of water out of her pack.

Heero's hand shot out and snatched the vial. "Thank you," he said gravely.

Duo stared at him. "Heero, don't tell me you..."

Heero just looked at him, and then smiled.

***

The next morning, the Ranma crew awoke to find their city lacking in giant robots, and the group of strange people gone, almost as if they had never been.

Everyone groggily returned to their normal routines, and Ryoga bid another farewell to Ranma and Akane.

"I'll send you postcards," he promised. "But for now, I think I need to get away for a bit."

"Come back soon!" Akane said.

"He will, probably in about half an hour asking how to get out of this street," Ranma snorted. "Later buddy."

Ryoga waved and headed off. As he passed through the neighbourhood, it started to rain.

"Oh NO! I left my umbrella behind!" He shouted. "Rats I... I... huh?"

Half an hour later, Ukyou dashed past him, still standing there in the rain with an expression of wonder on his face.

"Oh, there you are. I've been looking for you," she handed him a note. "Duo asked me to give this to you."

Ryoga shook himself out of it and read the note.

"We were going to wake you for the water from the spring of drowned man, but then we thought that with the way everything rapidly went out of control in this place, it was best just to tip it over you and be done with it. Don't you dare fall into any others! Sorry about telling Akane about P-chan. Take care now, Duo."

The words blurred and ran in the rain and Ryoga smiled for the first time in a long, long time.

***

Back in the Gundamverse, the Gundam were being destructed as there was no longer any need for them

Until next time...

The End.


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