|The Broken Stallion
Author: GrizzlyBiscuit PM
Fear can break anyone given enough time, even one Ranma Saotome. Is there anything that can save someone from the fear that lives within him? Alternate Universe slight to extreme OOCRated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 21 - Words: 188,939 - Reviews: 388 - Favs: 179 - Follows: 244 - Updated: 05-30-09 - Published: 09-11-07 - id: 3778966
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I have come to the Ranma Universe to proclaim unto you, the readers, that this story shall be sent to the flames for the blasphemy that I shall bring unto you. This story is very AU, and something I was kicking around just for the fun of hearing it whimper in pain every time my pointed toenails came in contact with it.
Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 belongs to Takahashi Rumiko-sama. The flames that shall arise from this piece of fiction belong to me. Hell wasn't warm enough, so I needed to write something worse.
It had been many years since he had last seen his friend, not since they had gone their separate ways after being rid of their (shudders again) Master. The last time they had spoken together was when they had agreed to each other that the schools would be joined when they had heirs. His time with his wife had been his life, and he had never contemplated the oath he made his friend until the postcard he received from his long time friend some days ago.
He pulled out the postcard he had placed inside his clothing, looking back over it once again as nostalgia and sentimentality made his eyes leak with shedding tears that cascaded down his cheeks and along the edges of his moustache. It was a last ditch hope for his children that they would have someone in their lives that would allow them to move on with what they wanted to do, instead of trapping them in his house and to their 'duty'.
A light rain began to fall as he turned to face back into the household, looking around idly at the things he and his wife had brought into this place that was their world. She still lived here for him, even though she had gone to the grave many years ago, she would always live here with him.
"Kasumi! Nabiki!" He called out for his two eldest children. The response from the kitchen at the back of the living room was almost instantaneous whereas the footsteps coming from the second floor were at a much slower pace.
Kasumi came in from the kitchen, her pristinely white apron looking as if it had never been used until that exact moment. Hair tied back in a ponytail that fell to the small of her back, she was the spitting image of her mother. It was unfortunate that she took on the motherly aspects instead of the martial aspects, damage around the house would have been kept to a bare minimum.
Nabiki's clothing was less than modest, jean shorts so short that you could barely make out the very edge of her backside and a tank top bright yellow in color that might as well have been sprayed on. The popsicle in her mouth made her look all the more unladylike in Soun's eye, but this was the moneymaker of the household so she could wear what she wanted.
"I need to talk to you two for a second." Soun motioned to the living room table. Nabiki's eyebrow shot up with interest and looked to her eldest sister before sitting down at the table with her, waiting for this epic announcement that was important enough to keep her from her money.
"Thank you for coming, I'll be as brief as possible." Soun said, knowing that Kasumi wouldn't want to leave the food by itself longer than necessary and Nabiki would rather be balancing the books than with him. "This is about a postcard I received in the mail a few days ago from a long time friend of mine."
"That Genma Saotome person?" Nabiki drawled as she replaced her popsicle back into her mouth. Her information network had brought back scant information of her father's friend, even less about the supposed 'son' he was bringing with him. Some times it was good helping the family out, certainly didn't hurt her information gathering if she rifled through mail that could easily be read before anyone else saw it.
Soun nodded, not surprised in the least that his middle daughter would make an educated leap like that. "Me and my old friend made an agreement that should we have any heirs, that we would attempt to merge the schools together. As you've deduced from reading the back of the postcard, Nabiki, they are coming some time today."
"Wouldn't it be better to discuss this with Akane, Father?" Kasumi said with a pleasant smile on her face. Sometimes, it hurt to look at her. That mindless nothing-can-go-wrong look on her face that she wore all the time. He wished there was more he could do for her to place a true smile on her face.
"Your sister…" Soun glanced over his shoulder to the pathway that led out of the living room and to the Dojo. "I'm afraid that whatever hope there was of Akane not trying to beat someone near her age and male into the dirt was lost the moment she was able to create that 'thing'."
Nabiki nodded sagely at this wise guess although Kasumi tilted her head in a silent acquiesce, you could almost hear the unspoken 'huh?' that the girl projected at the statement.
"In any event, I wanted to be completely forth coming with you girls because this is going to mean a major shift in the way our lives are handled around the house." Soun continued, leading them toward the inevitable blow up that was going to come from Nabiki and the gentle acceptance of Kasumi.
"We made an oath a long time ago that when our children were of age, we would bring them together and have them married." Nabiki's eyebrows drew down at this while Kasumi simply nodded sagely. "I wanted you both to know so that you two could at least have a few moments of time to think about this and decide for yourselves if this would be something you would be interested in."
"Daddy," Nabiki's upset tone spoke volumes to him, but she still spoke her mind, "Why the last minute information? Wouldn't it have been better to let us know about this arranged marriage before this came about?"
Soun nodded as he folded his arms and slid his hands up the other sleeve, giving his loose Yukata a straightjacket type view. "I'm debating on whether to break the oath or not."
Nabiki nodded to this. In this day and age, arranged marriages still happened, but more often than not, they didn't work out. Besides, she was only 17, still in school, there wasn't any way she was prepared to marry anyone until she was a successful businesswoman and had control of the world market, or her name wasn't Nabiki Tendo.
"How old is he, Father?" The voice of reason spoke demurely, bringing both sets of eyes up to her. Both Soun and Nabiki frowned sadly at the luminescent smile on the eldest daughter's face. "He's not too young, is he?"
"I've never met the boy, Kasumi." Soun bowed to his oldest daughter, trying to gain her forgiveness for his ignorance.
Nabiki's eyes snapped around to her father. "You've never met him, and you made this arrangement on our behalf?" She was irritated at his ignorance, to say the least.
"When the arrangement was made, it was long before we had our families." Soun acknowledged as he bowed also to his middle daughter. "In all honesty, I had forgotten all about the oath until the postcard arrived a few days ago. It is another reason why I am thinking of breaking the oath."
Kasumi stood slowly, her long skirt barely making a sound as she stood and moved toward the kitchen. It wasn't that she was upset at her father, or had heard enough of the conversation, or even that (Kami Forbid) she was being rude. She returned a moment later and reseated herself, smoothing her skirt around her legs as she took her place as the dutiful daughter. "Forgive me, dinner was about to burn." She explained, receiving a nod from her father. You haven't lived until you've had a home cooked meal from Kasumi.
"Anyways, I don't wish to decide my children's future for them." Soun continued where he had left off. "If you do not like him, I will inform my friend that the marriage is off and that will be the end of it."
Nodding to this wise information, Nabiki stood up from the table and headed back upstairs. She was nearly out in the hallway when she realized something. "You said they were coming today? When are they arriving?" She said as she turned back to look into the living room at her sister and her father.
"Knowing Genma, I expect him soon. Dinner is almost ready, isn't it, Kasumi?" Soun looked to his eldest daughter for the acknowledgement.
"Yes, Father. It is simmering right now, but can be served when everyone is ready." Kasumi did give a genuine smile at this. Pride flowed from her that her meal would be enjoyed by her loving family and being given to the new guests that would be arriving today, she couldn't have been more thrilled.
Nabiki nodded once and headed upstairs, looking down at herself before deciding it might be in her best interests to change clothing. She didn't want to come off as cheap in front of her perspective 'boyfriend'.
A wave of depression rolled through the streets ahead of what could arguably by the only time in the history of Nerima that everyone stopped what they were doing and stood in slack jaw amazement at the scene before them. A giant panda was walking down the street, holding a lead that went back and underneath the hood to a heavy, rat eaten tarp. The fact that this tarp was carrying two massive size backpacks that should have made people squirm in pain from the sheer weight didn't seem to bother anyone, it was the fact that the Panda seemed to be taking its 'pet' for a walk.
The panda stopped at a 4 way intersection, looking first one way, then down another, as if looking for something, before giving the lead a quick jerk before walking down a different street. The diminutive 5'4" form didn't hesitate as it followed behind the nearly 7' tall panda as they continued to walk onwards, looking for whatever it was that panda's look for.
Finally stopping in front of a sign read 'Tendo School of Anything Goes Martial Arts, Guests Please Knock, Challengers to the Rear Door', the panda rapped it's clawed paw against the door and waited patiently. It wasn't every day that a panda of all things walked down the street on its hind legs only, but then again, panda's normally didn't take their pets for a walk. Writing it off to the Nerima Factor, the people turned from the amazing sight and went back to what they had been doing. Bets started going around about when pigs would start flying. (if only they knew)
As if sensing her guests arriving, Kasumi had started setting the table minutes in advance before the knocking had come. Soun assumed that his daughter had gained some sixth sense much like what a highly trained martial artist gets after years of dedicated training, knowing the instant that a change in their opponent meant the incoming attack was imminent. At one point, she hesitated and her face crinkled into worry as she bit her lower lip, but it was gone and back to the pleasant smile it had been in a flash.
Soun, however, had seen it. He may have been rusty, but his eyes were still as good as ever. Something had disturbed his daughter's pleasantness, something he had assumed could never happen. If his middle daughter had been known by her colleagues at school as the 'Ice Queen of Furinkan High', Kasumi could only be called Goddess of Happiness. Yet she had sensed something that had thrown off that happiness, and whatever it was had to be of a magnitude equivalent to earth shattering.
Nabiki was coming downstairs, dressed in a fairly decent kimono. It wasn't her best clothing, but then again, she wasn't about to shock what could be the investment of a lifetime. Hearing the knocking coming from the front gate, she called to her family that she would open the door for whoever it was.
The scream of surprise that came from Nabiki had Soun running for the front door even as Nabiki came around the corner and away from whatever was after her. When the giant panda came around the corner of the hallway, Soun did the same thing his middle daughter did, giving up any pretense of trying to stop such a large animal and rushing back to the living room.
Nabiki cringed behind her father who sat at the farthest part of the table away from the beast, hoping that whatever the beast had come for, it would hurry up and leave the way it had come. "Daddy, do you know any giant pandas?" Nabiki's accusing, if freaked out, voice whispered into his ear even as the thing stood stock still in the middle of the walkway leading back outside and to the dojo.
"I've never seen anything that large in my entire life, unless it was at the zoo." Soun nearly shouted in fear. He had heard that giant pandas could be very vicious and could rip a man limb from limb before they started eating the flesh of their victims and sucking the marrow from their bones. Either that, or he had seen one too many cult horror films like Night of the Living Panda.
Amazing as this was, nothing prepared them for the panda reaching behind itself and pulling out a wooden sign from nowhere with writing on it. The sign read Please don't be alarmed before turning the sign to the back where more words continued with Can I please have some hot water?.
Kasumi, as if prepared for any contingency when it came to her kitchen, walked out of the room into the kitchen and back into the living room within seconds, bringing with her a teapot that was steaming. Handing over the pot to the clawed paw of the giant panda with no fear, she walked back and sat calmly next to her father.
The panda wasted no time as it tipped the pot over its head, causing what would be the forefront of troubles for years to come. Losing a foot of height and all its fur, a fat man in a dirty white gi stood before the Tendo family where once a panda had stood. He shook his bandana wrapped head briefly and readjusted the glasses that had mysteriously appeared on his face before smiling to all those in front of him.
"Saotome?" Soun sputtered as he looked at the aged fat man before him. The clothing was similar to what they had used when training under their (shudder) Master, though he had obviously packed on more poundage since last he had seen him with his wife.
"Tendo, my old friend." Genma announced as he bodily picked up the quaking thin man into his muscled arms and gave him the mother of all hugs, keeping his friends arms locked at his side. "It's so good to see you after so long."
"I could have sworn…" Soun thought to himself as he patted the sides of his best friend before Genma released him. "It's good to see you as well, my friend. Please, have a seat, we were just about to eat dinner."
"Before that." Genma's face turned harsh as he turned around to the 5'4" person who had followed him. "Boy." The tarp shuddered even as it dripped rain onto the hard wood. "Go to the dojo and wait for me." The hood of the tarp looked to the left, then to the right before looking back at Genma, unmoving from where it stood.
"Didn't you hear me, boy?!" Genma reared back and gave a massive punch to the top of the tarp covered head, causing water droplets to splatter everywhere from the impact. The tarp covered form swayed as if stunned before righting itself and continuing to stand where it was.
"Saotome." Soun brought the attention of his friend around. "Maybe he doesn't know where the dojo is at?" He watched for a moment as Genma seemed to wrap his brain around the idea that his son didn't know where it was, but shook his head as if the thought was ridiculous.
"The ungrateful whelp is just being stubborn." Genma spat, turning his disapproving eyes to his son. "You wouldn't believe the trouble he's caused me over the last ten years of our training trip."
"If it is alright, I will show him to the dojo." Kasumi offered as she stood up. She smiled calmly to the older man, the friend of her father.
Genma eyed the eldest daughter as if she was conspiring against him before he simply dismissed it. She couldn't possibly know who he was, so there was nothing to be afraid of. "Thank you, that is very kind of you."
Accepting the praise at face value, Kasumi walked over to the boy and offered her hand to him. She was a bit unnerved that he didn't acknowledge her even as she drew her hand closer to the hood so that her hand could be seen. Genma tapped her shoulder, getting her to turn around with a questioning look before handing her the leash end. A quick flash of a frown crossed her face before she bowed politely to the man before she lead the boy away.
Turning back around with a huge grin on his face, Genma asked, "What's for dinner? I'm starving."
Kasumi walked to the stone walkway that lead out to the dojo deep in thought. She had watched as a man turned into a panda in her house, which by itself was strange enough. What she had seen of the man treating his son had made her…upset. Yes, it was possible to make the ever blissfully happy Kasumi upset. She never got mad per se, she merely found a way to get back at you in what seemed to be a simple misunderstanding.
The rain seemingly knowing that Kasumi wished to cross out to the dojo stopped the moment she placed her foot down from the walkway to the stones as if someone had simply shut it off. The clouds even seemed to part for her, lighting the stone walkway as if to dry the wet stones for her even as she tread upon them.
At the steps that went up into the dojo, she turned around to her silent shadow. "I'm afraid you'll have to take your packs and hood off here." She spoke quietly to him. "Water on the floor in there is very hard to get out, so I must insist that you remove them and place them to the side." That wasn't quite the truth, sweat permeated everything there was about the dojo, but she wasn't about to show their mother's altar the sin of a wet floor if she could help it.
The boy complied slowly, removing the topmost pack and laying it to the side as if it was the most precious thing in the world before removing the second and tossing it to the side of the other. The tarp came off slowly, grimy hands pulling open the fabric as if afraid of what would happen if it was removed altogether. Kasumi smiled brightly, hoping to make the boy underneath more comfortable with just her presence.
That smile died a sickly death as the 'boy' came into view. His face was bruised, storm blue eyes staring dully from a mixture of purple and yellow flesh. The nose had been broken more than once if the bump on the bridge was any indication of an imperfect set. Dull red hair that was mangy and looked to have never been washed, not to mention the frayed pigtail hanging from the back off his head.
Then Kasumi noticed the rest. The red Chinese shirt had beep patched over and over again until it was nothing but a large patch, tied together with rope instead of the actual ties that should have been there. The arms held as many bruises as the face, and the fingers, thankfully, didn't seemed to have been broken though they were dirt encrusted.
The chest was the first give away that this was not a boy, though she had noted the lack of an adam's apple in the throat. She didn't want to acknowledge the burn mark that seemed to play across the skin along the neck, so she had not been too concerned about it. The dog collar that was cinched nearly overtop of the marking on her throat only served to draw the eye to it. With a bust size that practically screamed woman, she was getting the distinct impression that something was wrong with this entire scene.
"Kasumi, we're serving dinner." Nabiki called from the kitchen doorway, thankfully the angle was bad enough from there to not see what she was seeing.
The girl dropped the tarp where it was and removed the threadbare slippers from her feet, taking the end of the leash from the girl's hand and walking past her into the dojo, the sound of the door closing behind her snapping her out of her shock. Never in all her years had she seen anyone as beaten as that girl seemed to be. The bruises had been easier to dismiss as a part of training, but the layers upon layers of bruises was a little harder to deny. Settling her stomach as best as she could, she headed back for the house and the dinner that needed to be served.
As dinner progressed, the sound of the front door opening and closing followed by a shouted "I'm Home" seemed to stop all but the human garbage disposal that was Genma Saotome.
A raven haired girl walked into the living room, brushing at the sweat on her brow with a hand towel she had left there specifically for her return from her jog. The yellow gi clung to the girl's neck and the headband kept her shoulder length hair out of her face as she walked into a dinner in progress.
She noticed the fat man right away and brandished a mallet from nowhere. "Who's the pervert?" the girl snarled just before she began her approach to smash the defiler of her household.
"Akane, this is my old friend, Genma Saotome." Soun said as he waved a hand in the general direction of his friend. Nearly losing a few fingers to the snapping jaws of doom, Soun brought his hand back to his lap.
"Oh." She said as the mallet seemed to fade away into this air. Taking her seat at the table, she thanked Kasumi for the meal before digging in.
"So, about what we saw, Genma." Soun offered, hoping to slow the man down from eating everything, including the table.
"It was a training accident that my incompetent son got us involved in." The form of a wooden handle zapped into existence over the raven haired girl's shoulder at the mention of son. "During our martial arts training in China, we came across a legendary training ground called Jusenkyo."
"I think I've heard that name before." Soun said as he tapped his chin, missing the sleight of hand Genma used to take away the man's meat.
"It's a cursed ground of legendary springs said to bring misfortune to anyone who falls into them." Genma offered around the mouthful that Soun's plate offered to him. "During our training, my son tried to run away and while asleep, tied me up and threw me into one of the pools, hoping to drown me."
Nabiki was thinking this was a crock, but she still listened. There might be money to be made in this information.
"I managed to slip free of my bonds and incapacitate him, but wasn't able to stop him in time from falling into a spring of his own." Genma crossed his arms sagely over his girth, nodding at his own plight. "It was only after he had fallen in did I realize that my form had been changed into that of a giant panda. I managed to save the useless boy from drowning in his own pool, only when he came out, he was a girl."
"That Pervert!" The raven haired girl shouted, spraying a mouthful of rice across the table and into her father's face. She jumped to her feet and pulled free her 'pervert basher' from her back, eyeing her sister's as if unsure if they were the boy in disguise.
"We found out later from a local that hot water changes us back into our original forms, but only temporarily. Water of any temperature below body temp would immediately change us back into our cursed forms." Clenching his hands tightly, he tilted his head back to look upwards, not noticing that in his exuberance, he had broken his chopsticks. "What crime have I done against the Kamis to deserve an ungrateful and useless son as Ranma?" Tears poured from his eyes at the injustice of it all.
All around Japan and a few places in China, there was a loud chorus of sneezing.
"Akane, please sit down and finish your meal." Kasumi directed, disappointed at her sister's delusion, they were coming more and more frequently.
"But the pervert!" Akane insisted, scanning the room for any place that 'it' could have been hiding.
"I ordered him to the dojo." Genma offered idly, trading Akane's chopsticks for his own, she wasn't going to need them anytime soon. The girl seemed to levitate and zoom off around the corner into the yard, heading off to deliver righteous justice.
"Your daughter is practically the epitome of martial artist, Soun. I wish my son would be something like her." Genma commented as he also took food from Akane's plate. What she didn't finish, he'd be more than happy to finish for her.
The sound of a nail be hammered into something repeatedly came from the dojo soon afterwards.
Soun, Kasumi, and Nabiki all cringed at the sound of inhuman cruelty being delivered to Ranma.
Placing the chopsticks on his plate and offering thanks that his stomach was full, he smiled lovingly to Kasumi. "Your meal was excellent, Kasumi. I have tasted many meals before, but nothing can come close to this one."
Bowing to the compliment, Kasumi gave him the best smile she could, which wasn't much considering. "Thank you for the compliment, Mr. Saotome." She spoke quietly.
"Now if you'll excuse me," Genma said as he stood slowly, "I have to educate my son about following directions his betters give him." Genma popped his knuckles in a menacing manner before walking in the direction of the hammering sound that was still going on.
Nabiki placed her chopsticks down before her, too ill to continue to eat. "That's your friend, Daddy?" Soun didn't feel like eating any more as well, laying his chopsticks down slowly so as not to show his unease.
"I never imagined he'd be anything like he is." Soun muttered softly, still loud enough to be heard over the hammering, and now added blows of the father.
"Must he stay here, Father?" Kasumi asked, getting a surprised look from Nabiki and a shocked one from Soun.
Soun gnawed at his lower lip as he held his chin in one hand, wondering what he should do. It was obvious to him that his friend had become power hungry to the point of abuse. The sounds alone from the dojo were all the evidence he needed of that. Still, he wanted to honor the friend of his memory, so he couldn't just dismiss them both, could he?
"I think we should have a look at this son of his." Soun said decidedly as he got to his feet. "If either of you decide that you don't want to try to be with him, then I will annul the engagement immediately."
"He turns into a girl, what's there to think about?" Nabiki asked as she stood up and followed her father to the dojo. The thought of being with another woman wasn't all that bad, it was the fact that if you were seen with someone who could change their gender on the fly, you were guilty by association. Not good for the aspiring Corporate Assassin.
They opened the door to the dojo and immediately had to duck out of the way of a barbell being thrown through where the door would have been had it still been closed. Looking inside, they could only stand in amazement as the girl Ranma twisted and turned in the air, fending off the blows from her father at the same time as bending in unnatural ways out of the way of the mallet Akane wielded with one hand.
Spinning in the air as she pushed off the kick that came at her from below, she vaulted over the near decapitating swing of Akane as she kicked off the girls head, pushing her into Genma's arms as Ranma fled to the other side of the dojo. For a moment, old man and young girl struggled to untangle themselves from each other, giving Ranma time to breathe before they freed themselves and came at her again.
The fear etched into Ranma's face spoke volumes as she watched Akane and Genma come at her from different sides once again, trying to pin her between two separate assaults at once. Even to Soun's eyes, the attacks were sloppy and ill thrown. With the incredible dexterity Ranma was using, it was impossible to imagine how this fight could have lasted as long as it had.
Forced into a corner, Ranma's eyes flickered from the girl to his father and back again, unsure who would try to hurt her first.
She didn't want to be hurt anymore, yet the pain was always there. It was behind her eyes, along her skin, even in her sleep they clawed and bit and cried out to her. Ranma just wanted to run away from her life and never come back.
Akane thought the cornered pervert had finally no place left to run and came at him, mallet raised. There was no place for him to run and only divine justice of the blunt kind to be delivered. Kasumi turned her face, not wanting to see another victim of Akane's Wrath. The sound of a head being slammed into its own body violently didn't come, but the hollow thump of a blunt object hitting the ground ridiculously lighter than an Akane strike did, causing her to look up.
Four luminescent blades of energy seemed to have sprung up on the back of the red headed girl's hand, bright blue and blazing with light. Tears of fear ran rivers down the dirt encrusted face of Ranma who had no resort but to defend herself. The look on Akane's face was worth its weight in gold, but Nabiki would settle for the few yen she could get as a picture of it would make her some money. She pulled out the mini camera she wore on her at all times.
She managed to get a snap of it before Genma obscured her view. Grabbing hold of the wrist above where the energy blades had come from, he held the arm in place as he punched with his full weight behind him into the face of his son. Her knees buckled and she struggled for just a second before three more punches came down into her from above and drove her to her knees.
Ranma looked upwards, pitifully in her father's face before the kick caught her in the temple and bounced her off the wall before she fell face forward into the floor. "Ungrateful son." Genma spat onto her back before turning around and walking away from her.
"Mallet-sama?" Akane croaked as she picked up the head of her mallet in trembling hands, unable to believe that her Kami had been destroyed by that pervert. Gripping the head tightly in her hands, she reared back and slammed the head as hard as she could into the back of Ranma's unconscious head with a frightening growl.
"AKANE!" Kasumi was in the dojo and running passed the unconcerned Genma as she went over to Ranma.
Soun could only look up at his friend, unbelieving of the violence he had just watched being delivered to an undeserving Ranma. Genma looked dumbly down into his friend's face, as if unknowing why he would be looking at him with that look. Genma looked down at his old friend with a look that spoke of unconcern for what he had just done. Shrugging his shoulders, he walked by his friend and headed into the house.
"Serves the pervert right." Akane sniffed as she took handle and head in hand before heading out of the dojo and after Genma. Kasumi had turned Ranma over onto her back, checking to make sure the boy turned girl wasn't any more hurt than she seemed, though the previous bruises made that all but impossible.
Waiting until akane left the dojo, Soun and Nabiki walked in and stood over a kneeling Kasumi and unconscious Ranma. Kasumi was crying, something he had only seen her do one other time. Nabiki looked like she was going to be physically sick at any moment, the brutality had been worse than anything she had heard of and the bruising was making her stomach flop over on itself.
"I'm calling the engagement off." Soun hoarsely whispered. He couldn't believe his one time friend had become such a monster.
"You mustn't, Father.' Kasumi croaked through her sobs as she fought to gain control of herself again.
Nabiki looked strangely at her sister. "You can't actually be considering taking on the engagement, are you Kasumi?"
Kasumi shook her head. "It's not the engagement I'm thinking about." She looked down at the girl in her lap as she tried to brush away the fallen tears from the redhead's face. "What would Mr. Saotome do to him if he found out that the engagement was called off?"
Both Nabiki and Soun cringed at the thought. If the beating they had just seen was about not following directions, what would Genma do to him if the engagement was broken? He needed to find that letter from Nodoka and see if he could get her to come as soon as she could. The only thing that might save Ranma's life would be his mother's wrath on his father's head.
"Kasumi, do what you can for him." Kasumi nodded without turning her face from the unconscious girl. "Nabiki, show my 'friend' the spare bedroom. Don't give him any suspicion that you mean him any harm or intend on getting back at him. I don't trust him any further than I can throw him at this point." He said the word friend with as much acid as he could, there was no way in hell that person running around in his house was Genma Saotome, his one time friend and confidant. "I need to find something."
Both Nabiki and Soun left Kasumi and Ranma in the dojo as the night came. The light from the house came through the few windows in the eaves and through the doorway, the only illumination in the building. Unable to hold back the tears any longer, Kasumi asked the unconscious form, "What has he done to you?"