DISCLAIMER: "Ranma 1/2" is a registered trademark and copyright of Viz Communications, Kitty Productions, Shogakugan, Inc., and Rumiko Takahashi. All Rights Reserved. "Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki" is a registered trademark and copyright of Pioneer, LDC., AIC, Inc., and Kajishima Masaki. All Rights Reserved. All other random Anime characters belong to their own specific trademark and copyright holders whomever they may be.


NOTES & SUMMARY: I myself am a Pro-Ranma+Akane person myself, but I love to read a good Alternate Pairing or AU fic, and I especially love crossovers. Of all the pairings out there I found the least amount were Ranma+Kasumi fics, and many of those weren't very good. Or, they were incomplete and haven't been worked on in years. In some small way I can see Ranma with Kasumi, so I decided to throw my two cents in and write this story. If you're looking for a fic with Akane-bashing, look elsewhere. I originally thought of using some earthquake scenario to throw them together, but that's way overused. Coming up with something original is very difficult when you got so many others writing stories about the same characters. I am trying my best and hope you really enjoy reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.



by Michael "TheZorch" Haney


Chapter 1: Heartache and A New Life


All seemed quiet and peaceful, relatively, at the Tendo dojo. That was until the ear piercing scream of the youngest of the three Tendo sisters cut through the air like a well thrown shuriken. Saotome Ranma winced while sitting in his usual "thinking" spot on the roof of the Tendo house. He knew exactly what set the girl off today, it was an incident at school involving Shampoo, a bowl of ramen, and a fair sized helping of Amazon love potion. The amorous Amazon had laced the ramen with love potion, but miscalculated the dosage and did not make it quite strong enough to last on Ranma for very long. It did, however, last just long enough for Shampoo to get that kiss she wanted out of her Airen, and right in front of the entire student body no less. This caused a series of events to take place like a domino effect. First, Kuno comes in for the attack accusing Ranma of preying on the affections of the fair Akane, Ryoga witnessed the lip lock and went on a rampage accusing Ranma of two timing Akane, and Akane herself was not too please either. By the time the fights with Kuno and Ryoga were over, Ranma retreated back to the Tendo place to avoid confronting Akane. She had been really angry this time around, and more and more she was refusing to listen to his side of the story.

The only one who would listen to him was Kasumi. She sat with him for a time listening to his account of what happened that day, and even she admitted it was not his fault. So, why did everyone seem to think otherwise? Why was everything that ever happened around him always his fault? All of it was wearing thin on the Saotome youth, just when he thought he almost had Akane figured out she throws another temper tantrum again and throws off everything he thought he knew about her.

"Ranma, I know you're up there!" Akane yelled from below. "If you know what's good for you you'll come down here, NOW!"

Ranma sighed, resigning himself to his fate. "Awe, man, why me?" Quickly he leapt down form the roof and slowly walked up to face his fuming iinazuke.

"So, you got anything to say for yourself, Ranma?" she asked him standing with her hands on her hips.

"It wasn't my fault, I didn't know she put anything in that bowl, honest Akane." he tried pleading but knew it would not do him any good.

"If you hadn't been thinking with your stomach instead of your brains it never would have happened!" Akane shot back at him angrily.

"I'm sorry, I was hungry, geeze." he replied.

"You kissed her, you kissed Shampoo in front of the whole school!" Akane fumed. "Do you have idea what kind of rumors are going around school now?"

Ranma rolled his eyes and envisioned the face of Tendo Nabiki smirking at him as she counted a wad of cash in her hand big enough to choke a T-Rex. "I can only imagine."

"HE KISSED WHOM?" screamed Soun in his Demon's Head form. Ranma cringed away from the sudden appearance of the apparition and fell backwards into the koi pond. Seconds late a very soggy Ranma-chan climbed out and began to wring out her clothes. It was a moot point as her father suddenly came running.

"What the hell were you thinking, boy!?" the man, come panda, shouted as he shoved Ranma back into the pond.

"It wasn't my-" she tried to shout back but was interrupted as a mallet of chi energy suddenly struck her and sent the red head flying.


Kasumi watched all of this from the sitting room and winced as Akane sent Ranma air born again. Slowly she retreated to the kitchen and looked around to make sure nobody was around to see or hear her. The tears came swiftly and her shoulders shook as the eldest of the three Tendo sisters cried. Her tears were not for herself, but for the poor young man who was being victimized by her family day in and day out because of an agreement made by her father and Uncle Saotome, and also because her own foolishness. Almost a year ago, when Ranma arrived, she and her sister Nabiki literally threw Akane at the young man. Kasumi thought she knew what she wanted in a man, and this boy who transforms into a girl was not it. She was interested in the handsome young doctor Tofu Ono. As time went by and Kasumi got to know Saotome Ranma she began to realized her error, for despite his many faults and his curse Ranma was a noble, kind hearted, and thoughtful young man. He worried about others, always tried to do the right thing even though it usually blew up in his face most of the time, and never let a friend down when they were in trouble. His promises were as good as gold and on more than one occasion he fought to protect the Tendo dojo from danger, and almost as many times saved Akane from similar fates.

How she wished she could comfort the young man in her arms and tell him everything was going to be alright, that the abuse he received all the time was finally over. But, she felt too strong a commitment to her younger sister to even contemplate trying to win Ranma from her. She would be betraying Akane that way, and she could not bring herself to do that. That had been many months ago, and as time went by that resolve started to break down. No longer could Tendo Kasumi stand by in the background and allow this to continue. She was not certain how to go about doing this, though. It was a mistake to think that Tendo Kasumi was not very smart or otherwise clueless. She was almost as cunning as her middle sister Nabiki, but hid it behind her pleasant mannerism and kind personality. Kasumi was a gentle girl by nature who did not really approving of fighting unless it was necessary. That was probably why she did not study the art for very long unlike Nabiki who studied until she was about twelve years old.

Akane hated boys, she hated them with a passion. Kasumi knew why, it was because of her experience with Kuno Tatawaki. The infamous, moronic Blue Thunder of Furinken High School spoiled Akane towards boys forever with his Hentai Horde, declaring that he would only allow someone to date her if they could defeat her in a fight. Kasumi never heard of anything more idiotic in her entire life. Akane's life was made a living hell every morning because of that one brainless twit, and her attitude towards males her age was ruined. Ranma's arrived was both a blessing and a curse to Akane. He did stop the Hentai Horde from attacking her every morning. Nobody in their right mind wanted to go up against a martial artist of Ranma's caliber, but unfortunately Kuno was not exactly in his right mind so he kept being a problem. Kasumi just could not understand why Akane failed to realize just how good she had it with Ranma. He ended all the insanity that surrounded her life caused by the Kuno boy, but of course a series of new insane situations arrived with him though. Yet, through it all Ranma protected Akane, despite how often she hit him or called him names he always protected her and put himself at risk for her. How could Akane be so blind?, Kasumi asked herself over and over again.

The eldest Tendo sister heard a sound at the back door and looked up to see a very battered Ranma-chan shamble into the house. She was not sure how far Akane had belted him this time, usually it was not too far, usually. Since Ranma's arrival Kasumi made it a habit to keep a few things within easy reach. One was a kettle of warm, not hot, water for those occasions Ranma came home in his transformed state, and the other was a fully-equipped first aid kit she kept under the kitchen sink. Kasumi dried her hands from washing the dishes and retrieve the first aid kit as Ranma walked into the sitting room and plopped down at the table.

"That baka tomboy!" Ranma-chan muttered under her breath. "She didn't have to hit me so hard, it wasn't my fault, I didn't invite Ukyo to glomp me."

"You are right, it wasn't your fault Ranma." Kasumi said while sitting down with the first aid kit and kettle in hand. She promptly poured the warm water over the lovely, yet battered, red head triggering the transformation became to his male form.

"But Akane never lets me tell my side of the story." Ranma said in an exasperated tone. He winced a little when Kasumi dabbed at the sores on his face with an alcohol soaked cotton ball.

"She really is a sweet girl Ranma." Kasumi told him. She was not sure why she was defending her sister except out of loyalty and love. Despite all she has done to Ranma, Kasumi could never hate Akane. She could be very disappointed with her youngest sister, but she could never hate her.

"She's about as sweet as a brick in the face." Ranma grumbled then winced as Kasumi cleaned another cut.

Kasumi sighed. "I really do not understand my sister at times."

"What do you mean?" Ranma asked her. Of all the girls Ranma knew he felt the most comfortable around Kasumi. He was not sure why, yes she was beautiful, maybe more beautiful than most of the girls he knew who were after him, but unlike them she was not out to get something from him.

"There is an old saying from America that says 'you never realize what it is you have until it is gone'." Kasumi replied.

Ranma looked at her with a confused expression. Kasumi wanted to sigh in exasperation but this was one of the quirks about Saotome Ranma that endeared her to him. Everyone thought she was the clueless one, when in truth Ranma was sometimes even more clueless than most people thought she was.

"What do you think would happen if one day you suddenly were not around anymore?" she asked him. "How do you think Akane would feel?"

"She'd be dancing in the streets." he replied sadly.

Kasumi gave him a thoughtful smile. "I think she may realize that she has been taking you for granted." she said. "She will look back on her life before you came along and find that her life was much better off when you were around."

Ranma laughed at that. "Kasumi, I know what you're trying to do, but I know Akane would be much happier if I wasn't around."

"You don't really know that Ranma." she said, the desire to take the boy into her arms was becoming overwhelming.

Her heart sank when she saw tears threaten to form in the boy's eyes for only a moment when he said, "Then answer me this, why does she hate me so much?"

Kasumi decided it was time to start probing the young man, to see just how much he like Akane. "Do you love Akane?" she asked him.

Ranma looked away and sighed. "I thought I did." Kasumi's heart leaped but at the same time she felt sadness for her sister. Akane needed Ranma much more than she did, the young girl needed to learn to love and trust boys again, but it looked like that was not going to happen.

Not wanting to put Ranma on the defensive by seeming too obvious about her intentions, Kasumi quickly finished cleaning Ranma's remaining wounds. "There, all done, you should go and take a bath now the furo should be full." she told him.


"Yes Ranma."


Weeks went by and very little changed in the Tendo dojo. Kasumi watched idly by as Ranma suffered more abuse from her family. It was shameful how her father and Uncle Saotome were pushing Ranma into being nicer to Akane, but they did not say a thing to Akane about being nicer to Ranma. The young man always had a huge appetite around dinner time, but Kasumi noticed that was starting to wain and it concerned her. Then, one day something happened that nearly pushed Kasumi to the edge. She was never prone to violence but on that day she wanted to strike Akane for her stupidity.

Ranma and Akane came home yelling at one another. Kasumi caught enough of the argument to understand it was about Ukyo. Apparently the nice Okonomiyaki chef, who was one of Ranma's iinazuke because of his baka father, wanted Ranma to help out at her shop for a few days because she was redecorating the place. Akane accused Ranma was making up the story so he could spend a romantic evening with the girl, Ranma tried to convince her otherwise but Akane just would not listen.

Kasumi continued to work on dinner, cutting a tube root when she heard Ranma shout the question, "What's the matter, don't you trust me?"

She suddenly dropped the knife and gasped when Akane shouted in reply, "I will never trust you, perverts can't be trusted ever!" She went quickly to the kitchen doorway and looked in on the two. Ranma had the most hurt expression on his face she had ever seen. Akane did not trust him, she would never trust him. She had said so right then and there to his face. Kasumi's heart was breaking as Ranma stepped back away from Akane who looked at him, her face a mask of hatred.

Ranma's face suddenly became very calm and he said, "Then we've nothing more to say to one another Tendo Akane." He turned around and went to the stairs to the upper floor leaving Akane where she was looking extremely confused at this sudden change in the young martial artist.

"Akane, you really shouldn't have said that to him like that." Kasumi scolder her. It took nearly all of her will to keep from slapping the young girl in the face.

"He had it coming." she muttered.

"Don't you ever take Ranma's feeling into consideration, don't you think that maybe you're hurting his feelings with the thing you say to him like that?" Kasumi asked.

"Why should I care what he thinks or feels!" Akane shouted.

Akane, you are being such a fool, Ranma will not put with this forever, and one day he is going to leave you and then what will you do., Kasumi wanted to say that but her youngest sister was in too far a bad mood for it at the moment. She knew in her heart Akane would never hit her in anger, but she would certainly yell, very loud. Akane stomped off towards the bathroom without saying any more. Kasumi looked up the stairs and wondered what Ranma was doing. She went up to his room and found the young man huddle up in a corner of his room looking as if the world was about to come crashing down around his head.

"Ranma?" she called to him from the doorway.

"You can come in Kasumi." he told her.

"I'm so sorry about what Akane said, but when she's angry she tends to say things she does not mean." Kasumi said reassuringly.

Ranma did not look at her when he said, "No Kasumi, she meant what she said, I could see it in her eyes."

"She doesn't love me, she hates me, she doesn't trust me." he want on. "Our parents were insane to think this thing could work out. At one time I though we were getting close, ya know, I though we were getting better but then that thing with the ramen happened and then today Ukyo asked for my help and Akane just flew off the handle over it."

"I can't go on like this, Kasumi, there is only so much I'm willing to take but this is it." he continued. "My pop and your dad can go to hell for all I care, I ain't gonna marry Akane the way she is. I'd rather be dead than be stuck with that bitch the rest of my life."

"Ranma!" Kasumi chided him for his language, but deep inside she could not blame him.

"What are you going to do?" she then asked him.

Ranma shrugged. "I don't know, leave most likely, in the middle of the night so my pop doesn't notice I'm gone until he wakes his fat ass up out of bed in the morning."

"Ranma, please don't leave, I'm sure things will get better." she was panicking now, she could not let him leave not while she had a chance. She wanted to run to him now and hold him and take away all the sadness in his heart but she had to wait. If she came on too strong she'd only drive him away.

"You're always the optimist Kasumi." he said smiling at her with a weak smile.

She knelt down next to him and pleaded, "If you do leave, please don't do it tonight, give it a few more days."

"I don't know how much longer I'll be able to take it here." he told her. "I'm sorry Kasumi but I can't, I'm leaving tonight."

Kasumi's heart shattered into pieces, but the glimmer of hope still shined brightly within her. A sudden thought born out of desperation came to her mind. She knew that if she did what she was contemplating there would likely be no turning back. Her father would be outraged at her behavior, Akane would be shocked, she could not bring herself to think that her father would disown her for what she was thinking of doing but she knew him well enough to know he would be very disappointed in her. Nabiki would probably understand, Kasumi was well aware of the fact that she too had a small crush on Akane's iinazuke. Looking at Ranma's face, that wonderful face, those sad, beautiful blue eyes, she made her decision and did not care what the consequences might be.

"Take me with you."

"Nani?" he looked at her in surprise.

"Take me with you." she said again, taking his hands in hers.

Ranma's eyes shot wide open in shock and surprise. He would have backed away from her but could not, even though he was hundreds of times stronger than the gentle woman. There was something holding him back from leaping to his feet and running away.

"K-K-Kasumi?" he stammered in his shocked state of mind.

"Ranma, I-I-I love you." she admitted. If it were possible Ranma's jaw would have dropped and made a hole in floor, as it was he just looked at her in disbelief.

"I've been in love with you for some time now, but I have held back my feelings because I held such hopes that things would work out between you and Akane." she went on to explain in her soft voice. "All I have ever wanted for you was to be happy, I prayed every night that Akane would come to her senses one day and realize her feelings for you."

"But-" she interrupted him putting her finger to his lips.

"I know that the last thing you need in your life is another iinazuke, and I am not asking you to marry me." she went on. "I will not be like the other women in your life, I will not force you into something you do not want. All I ask is to be given a chance, a fair chance at your heart and nothing more. If someday in the future you want to marry me I will gladly accept, but above all I just want to give you all the happiness you deserve. You have had so little of it in you're life, you deserve to be the one who has happiness for once."

"But, what about your father, and Akane?" he asked her.

Kasumi gave him a soft, sad smile. "Father would be very disappointed in me, and Akane would likely be very angry."

"Life on the road Kasumi is hard, really hard, I know I've been on the road with my pop for ten years and it ain't no picnic." he told her.

She squeezed his hands when she said, "I would be happy no matter where I am or what situation I am in as long as I am with you."

"But I got enemies who are sure to come looking for me when they find out I'm gone, and I damn sure know those Amazons are gonna be on my trail too." he said trying to get the girl to change her mind.

"Ranma, please, I have not wanted anything in the world as much as I want this." she pleaded with him, squeezing his hands tighter. "You have no idea how heartbreaking it has been watching our parent and my sister abuse you this past year."

"I don't doubt your feeling for me Kasumi." Ranma smiled at her, it was that smile that turned every young girl's knees into jelly. "Are you sure this is what you want, its gonna be a really hard life on the road, and its gonna be really dangerous too."

"I am willing to accept the risks." she said truthfully.

Ranma smiled a soft smile and caressed Kasumi's hands with his fingers. "A few times I often wondered what would have happened if it was you I was engaged to instead of Akane from the beginning." he said.

"We cannot change the past, but we can make our own future." Kasumi smiled back.

"I do like you Kasumi, I like you a lot." he admitted. "I don't know if I love you, but I think that I could in time. Of all the girls I know you're the only who hasn't made big demands of me, you ain't trying to make me marry you, you ain't trying to bed me like Shampoo is, and you ain't clobbering me every few seconds like Akane. You care about me, you helped me through a lot of hard times."

"Remember when Cologne gave me that C-C-C-Cat's Tongue?" he asked her.

She nodded. "Yes, that was a very-interesting-time."

"You were the one who helped me when I had that, uh, you know that thing with the blood and stuff." he said blushing furiously.

"Its called a Period." she said with a smile.

"Y-Yeah, that, Akane wouldn't help but you did." he said. "I was hurting, I felt icky and bloated, and you were there at my side through all of it."

"It was around that time that I began to realize my feelings for you." she admitted to him.

"Are you sure this is absolutely what you want?" he asked her.

"All I ask for is a chance, if it does not work between us I will return to Nerima and my family and face whatever consequences they choose to give me." Kasumi told him, firm resolve in her voice and expression.

"Ok, I'm leaving at midnight when everybody is asleep." he told her. "Pack light, only what you can carry and nothing more cause we're gonna have to be out of Nerima by sunrise."

Kasumi nodded. "I have some money saved up in a jar in my room."

"How much?" he asked her.

"I think about ten thousand yen or so." she replied, thinking. "I have been saving a little bit here and there for a while now."

Ranma smiled at her. "It'll help, I can get about forty thousand out of my pop's stash, the baka couldn't hide anything from me to save his worthless furry butt."

Kasumi giggled. "I would say it was not appropriate to speak of your father that way, but somehow it does not seem worth it anymore."

That made Ranma smiled. "At midnight meet me at the gates." he said quietly, Ranma's keen hearing was picking up the sounds of life in the house downstairs. "Remember bring only what you can carry with you, ok."

Kasumi nodded, then lift Ranma's right hand to her lips and kissed it. "I will." she said. The eldest Tendo sister slowly got up and left the room. Ranma watched her go and imagined what his life with her would be like. He would never have to worry about Akane's toxic cooking anymore, that was for sure, and she was so sweet and gentle. It almost seemed a crime to take her away from her family and thrust her into a harsh life on the road. He was used to it, he could survive out there in the wilderness out in the middle of nowhere, but all she has ever known is a life in the relative comfort of the Tendo home. Who was he to put her though that, but she was willing to endure it all just so she could be with him and bring some happiness into his life. She was right, she was nothing like the other girls. They all wanted something from him, marriage, children, prestige, but Kasumi only wanted him to give her a chance and nothing more. It was totally up to him if he wanted to marry her or not one day, it was totally his decision, not his pop's, not Mr. Tendo's, not his mother's either.

He sat up on the floor and sighed. "Man, is tonight gonna be interesting or what."

* * *

Ranma did not have to wait long at the gates for Kasumi. She came out of the house quietly with a duffel bag over her shoulder and an umbrella in her hand. The two of them said nothing as they turned to look at the Tendo home for the last time, then turned towards the gates and stepped through onto the sidewalk beyond the wall. Kasumi reached out and took Ranma's hand, and he did not flinch away from her. He squeezed her hand gently, then together they walked away from the Tendo residence and did not look back.

* * *

"Kasumi! Kasumi! Where is that girl?"

"What's the matter, daddy?" Nabiki asked her father who was wandering around the house calling out her older sister's name. She walked down the stairs, the sound of her father's yelling had woken her up, and today was not a school day.

"She's not in the kitchen, and it looks like none of the pots and pans were ever touched since she washed them last night." Akane said when she emerged from the kitchen.

"My little girl, where's my little girl!?" Soun began to sob, spraying down the sitting room with a geyser of tears.

"Akane, have you seen Ranma?" Genma asked as he literally ran down the stairs.

"You mean he's missing too?" Akane gasped.

"All of his clothes are missing and so is his back pack." Genma told them.

Akane headed for the stairs. "I'll check Kasumi's room, maybe she isn't feeling well and decided to sleep in late."

"Kasumi, sick, when was the last time that ever happen." said Nabiki who never remembered a day that her older sister ever got so sick that she abandoned her duties around the house.

Akane's scream from upstairs drew the attention of everyone in the house and they all ran up the stairs. Akane was standing in the middle of Kasumi's bedroom, the young teenaged Tendo sister's face was white with shock.

"K-K-Kasumi's closet is empty and so are half her dresser drawers." she said in surprise. Nabiki slid past her sister and began to examine the room. On inspiration she kneeled down and looked under the bed.

"She took her stash, Kasumi had about ten thousand yen in an old pickle jar under her bed." she announced.

Akane just looked at her then looked around the room. "But, why?"

"Put two and two together sis, Ranma's gone, and so is Kasumi." Nabiki told her in her usual analytical manner.

Akane started shaking her head in disbelief. "No, no, NO!"

"Ranma and Kasumi ran off together!" Genma gasped in disbelief.

Akane's next scream make everyone cringe away from her, even Nabiki. "RANMA NO BAKA! THAT LOUSY NO GOOD TWO TIMING BACK STABBING PERVERT! HOW DARE HE RUN OFF WITH MY SISTER!"

"My little girl, my poor little girl!" Soun continued to wail running around hosing the place down with tears.

"I'm not at all surprised since Kasumi did have the hots for Ranma." Nabiki said casually.

"Nani?" Akane said in wide eyed surprise.

Nabiki smirked at her youngest sister and said, "Really Akane, you've got to be way more observant than that. Haven't you noticed how she looks at him, how she shivers sometimes when she sees him take off his shirt when he's sparing with his father in the yard? If I weren't an expert on body language, and I am, I'd say she had it bad for your iinazuke."

"K-K-Kasumi wanted Ranma?" Akane said more than asked in a way that suggested she could hardly believe what she was hearing.

"Why else would the both of them be gone at the same time, and despite what you may think of Ranma I don't believe he'd force her to go with him." Nabiki added. "She went willingly."

"But-but-" Akane stammered.

"Tendo, there's still hope!" Genma cheered. "Ranma and Akane didn't work out so maybe the boy and Kasumi will!" The fat man immediately regretted his words when he suddenly saw a huge mallet flying towards his face.


Akane watched in satisfaction as the giant tub of lard went flying out of the hole in the roof, but that brief moment of satisfaction was only just that, brief. She dispelled the mallet and ran to her room trailing tears. She threw herself on her bed and cried.

"Why! Why Ranma! Kasumi, why!" she sobbed.

Suddenly, her memory of the other day came crashing down on Akane like a ton of bricks. She had been thinking about what she had said to Ranma later that day and was almost regretting what she had said to him, but now the full gravity of her words and the consequence of them struck her all at once.

"What's the matter, don't you trust me?" he had asked.

"I will never trust you, perverts can't be trusted ever!" she had replied.

Akane threw her hands to her face and wept. "Oh my Kami-sama, what have I done, what have I done! Ranma I'm so sorry, oh Kami-sama I'm so sorry! I didn't mean it! I didn't mean it!"

"Akane?" came Nabiki's voice from the doorway.

"It's all my fault, I drove him away Nabiki!" Akane cried, tears streaming down her face. The so called Ice Queen of Nerima walked in and sat down on the bed next to her younger sister. She wasn't sure what to say to her. She was not the least bit surprise that this happened, well, maybe a little. She knew Ranma well enough to know he would not stand by and take much more of the abuse he was getting. Even she backed off on using him so much and even actually got his permission before taking pictures of his female half to earn money for the dojo.

"We all make mistakes Akane." she told her.

"This isn't a mistake Nabiki, this is a total fuck up!" Akane yelled, and Nabiki raised an eyebrow for it was the first time she ever head her younger sister use such colorful language. "Why did I say that to him!?"

"What happened, what did you do to Ranma this time?" Nabiki asked.

Akane wiped the tears from her eyes before answering. "Ukyo I guess is redecorating her place and she asked if Ranma would help move some heavy things around for her, but I accused him of making up an excuse to be alone with her." she said.

"That's what you usually accuse him of, what made this time different?" Nabiki asked her.

"We argued all the way home, when we got home he asked me if I trusted him." she said.

"And?" Nabiki asked her wanting to hear all of the story.

"And-and, oh Nabiki, I told him I'd never trust him ever." Akane said, her sobs returned and she cried into her hands.

"Oh Akane, why did you go and do something like that for?" Nabiki asked her in frustration.

"I was angry, ok, I wasn't thinking." she replied.

Nabiki put her hand on Akane shoulder and told her, "And now you've lost him because of that. Akane, Ranma isn't like those other boys at Furinken, I though you would have understood that by now."

"What good does that do me now, he's gone and Kasumi went with him." Akane replied. "I can't believe it, my own sister running off with my iinazuke!"

"It sure isn't typical Kasumi behavior, but then love does make people do crazy things." Nabiki replied.

"What am I going to do now?" Akane said more than asked. "I think I was actually starting to fall in love with him, I am such a lousy baka! I don't deserve him, maybe I never did!"

"Maybe it's best this way Akane." Nabiki told her softly.

"Do you think they will ever come back?" Akane asked her sister.

Nabiki shrugged her shoulders. "You never know, they might after a while, but you know Ranma he can survive anywhere even in the middle of nowhere."

"But Kasumi, she's never lived like that before." Akane told her with concern in her voice. "Ranma is used to living a hard life, but Kasumi has barely ever been out of the house."

Nabiki just smiled. "You and I know Ranma well enough to know he'd never let anything happen to Kasumi. His word is as good as gold, he's never let a friend down that was in need, and he's always come your rescue even at the expense of his own skin."

"I hope they'll be alright out there." Akane said looking out her window and wondered where her sister and Ranma could be at that very moment.

* * *

"Masaki Tenchi?" Ranma said reading the name of the person on an envelop Kasumi had handed him. They sat together on a train that was taking them out of Tokyo and heading south. They had just enough money to buy two tickets and still had some petty cash left for emergencies, but it was not going to be much.

"Hai, he is my third cousin on my mother's side of the family." Kasumi explained to him. "We have been pen pals for five years now."

"And you say he can put us up for a while." Ranma looked at her.

Kasumi gave him that smile that always seemed to warm his heart no matter what poor mood he was in. Damn, I never noticed before, but Kasumi is really cute., he said to himself. "His father is an architect and they have a very big house, it is just him and his father living there so I don't think he would have any problems taking us in." she said.

"Although, recently I haven't received a letter her him." she went on. "The last letter I got from him was at a different address also, he was living in the city of Ohkayama, but then a few weeks later I got this letter and the address was outside Ohkayama."

"People do move sometimes." he told her.

Kasumi thought on that for a moment. "Hai, but dear Tenchi was almost always diligent on getting his letters to me." she said.

"You say his grandfather is a Shinto priest?" Ranma asked.

"Hai, Grandfather Katsuhito is so nice, you will love him." Kasumi smiled. "Although, Tenchi's father has something a little bit in common with Grandfather Happosai I'm afraid, but he isn't quite as bad though."

Ranma groaned, "Oh great, more old perverts."

"He isn't quite as, well, troublesome as Grandfather Happosai." Kasumi explained to him. "The worse he has done is try to sneak a peek at me when I was bathing the last time we went to visit."

"Well, he'd better not peek when I'm around." Ranma growled. "EPP!" Ranma stiffened a little when Kasumi leaned against him and laid her head on his shoulder.

"I'm so tired, been awake since we left home." she yawned. Ranma relaxed, remembering who it was he was with. Kasumi closed her eyes, she looked so beautiful like that he realized. Maybe, maybe I will be happy with her., he said inwardly.

"Go ahead, get some rest, it'll be a while before we reach Ohkayama." he told her softly. "I'll wake you went we get to the station."

"Ok." Kasumi slurred and she was instantly asleep.

Ohkayama was a small rural community nestled in the mountains. The downtown area had few high rise buildings, and the many small communities where the people lived sprawled out in many different directions in the valley. The two travelers made a quick stop at an Internet coffee house and printed up a map to Tenchi's house from a map site on the web. From there it was a long bus ride to a stop that was literally out in the middle of nowhere. Ranma and Kasumi stepped off the bus and looked around at the scenery of the forest and down a trail that lead up to where Kasumi's cousin lived. Before they started however, a car speed by and hit a puddle of water at the side of the road. Ranma cringed feeling the tingling sensation through his body telling him his curse was triggered.

"Oh my!" Kasumi gasped.

"Figures." Ranma-chan groaned brushing the road muck off her Chinese shirt.

"Are you alright Ranma?" she asked her.

"Yeah, just a little wet." Ranma-chan said smiling at her. "Come on, lets go."

The walk through the woods was not a long one, and was maybe a little relaxing actually. There were a number of cherry blossom trees along the sides of the path. Kasumi loved it, it was beautiful scenery, and she held Ranma's hand not even feeling the least bit awkward because he was currently a she at the time. They soon breached the trees and came out onto a small field across from which was a huge lake affording an incredibly breathtaking view of the mountains. The path lead to a fork that branched off in two direction, one path lead towards a large house that sat near the lake, and the other lead to a long series of steps that ran up the side of a mountain.

"Those steps lead to Grandfather Katsuhito's shrine." Kasumi told Ranma-chan pointing in the direction of the path. "That is cousin Tenchi's house right over there."

"I though you've never been here before he moved." Ranma-chan commented.

"Oh I have been here before, but the house wasn't here the last time I visited." Kasumi explained. "That is the same house they had in Ohkayama. It must have been very expensive to move the house out here."

"Geeze, this Tenchi kid must be loaded." Ranma-chan realized.

"His father runs his own business designing people's homes." Kasumi told her. "There aren't many architects in Japan, so Uncle Noboyuki makes a great deal of money."

Ranma-chan looked around, she did not hear the usual background roar of the city she was used to in Nerima. It was quiet and peaceful here. She could not remember the last time she was anywhere this peaceful before. She decided that if they were allowed to stay here for a while she was going to really enjoy the peace and quiet for once. That peace though, was suddenly shatter by the sound of a huge explosion.

"Oh my!" Kasumi gasped.

"Come back here Ryoko, you monster-woman!" cried a very singed looking woman in a kimono as she ran and waved her fist in the air. Ranma- chan and Kasumi both blinked, the girl had purple hair. That was not really all that strange since Shampoo's hair was also light purple, but what caught their attention was who the woman was chasing.

"Ha ha, try and catch me your royal slow-pokeness!" laughed an extremely voluptuous woman with long, spiky cyan hair wearing a knee length blue and gold stripped dress. What was most unusual about this woman was the fact that she was flying several feet off the ground, and she had a tail?

"What the-" Ranma-chan let out as she took this sight in, then she heard the most horrifying sound in the entire universe.

"MIYA! Miya, miya, miya!"

Kasumi's eyes went wide when Ranma-chan flew like a shot of lightning and hid behind her. "C-C-C-CAT!"

Kasumi watched as a tiny creature scampered after the two women. Curiously it looked like a cross between a cat and a rabbit, it was the most adorable little creature she had ever seen. Running behind the little animal came a young girl of maybe eight or nine years old. Kasumi's heart skipped a beat, she was the most gorgeous and cutest little thing she had ever seen. The little girl has sky blue hair that hung down her sides in twin pony tails. Her outfit was a strange variant on a kimono and a dress with a large pink bow in the middle of her back.

"Aeka, Ryoko, please stop, you know grandpa doesn't like it when you tear up the lawn fighting." the little girl called after the two.

"I-I-Is this place usually this, crazy?" Ranma-chan asked after she finally recovered from her slight bout of cat phobia.

"No, and I've never meet these girls before in my life." Kasumi shook her head.

A tall, dark skinned blonde with the body of a supermodel came running by from the house, she saw the two standing on the path and immediately stopped in her tracks. Her blue eyes went wide and her face lit up into a mask of pure joy.

"Hey everybody, we got visitors!" she shouted cheerfully..

"Huh?" the girls named Aeka and Ryoko both said at the same time and looked back at the blonde.

"Hello, are you here to visit the shrine?" the little girl asked Kasumi.

"No, I am Tendo Kasumi, this is Saotome Ranma, we are here to see Masaki Tenchi." Kasumi replied with a bow.

The cyan haired girl Ranma-chan guessed was the one named Ryoko suddenly appeared in front of them. Damn, she's fast, must be a martial artist., she guessed. "What do you two want with Tenchi, huh?" she asked angrily.

"Ryoko, show some manners, these two young ladies are our guests." the purple haired girl who was named Aeka scolded her. Ranma-chan narrowed her eyes, she recognized the manner in which this Aeka was speaking, it sounded a lot like the way Kodachi usually spoke, all formal like.

"Is cousin Tenchi at home, or Uncle Noboyuki?" Kasumi asked them.

"Oh my, you mean you are related to Lord Tenchi?" Aeka asked her in surprise. Ranma-chan narrowed her eyes more at this woman, she was sounding a lot like Kodachi, only a little more sane.

"Hai, he is my third cousin on my mother's side of the family." Kasumi said with a smile that reminded Aeka so much of her little sister. "We've come to pay him a visit and to perhaps ask him a small favor."

"Ok, so you're related to Tenchi, but what about Red here?" Ryoko asked eying the cute red head suspiciously. Ranma recognized that look, Akane gave it to Shampoo and Ukyo quite a few times in the past. She must be Tenchi's girlfriend or something., she reasoned.

"I have a name, its Ranma, and I'm a friend of Kasumi's, I ain't no relation to this Tenchi guy." Ranma-chan said not loosing eye contact with the floating woman. "I ain't in the market for a boyfriend either so if you and him are like an item you don't have worry about me."

Aeka suddenly laughed making Ranma-chan cringe. That laugh certainly sounded very much like Kodachi's Laugh of Doom. "Ryoko and Lord Tenchi an item, that is just too funny." she laughed.

"What'd you say?" Ryoko growled. Ranma-chan took note of energy sparking between the girl's fingers. She has only know one other chi adept who possessed the ability to fly, and that was Prince Herb of the Musk Dynasty. Ranma-chan decided she would keep a close watch on this woman, she had all the earmarks of a powerful martial artist. She was not concerned for herself, it was Kasumi she was worried about. This flying girl was way too much like Akane for her own taste also.

"My name is Sasami, we don't get many visitors here in the mountains, and its really neat you're related to Tenchi." Sasami spoke up defusing the situation with her chipper attitude. Ranma-chan decided she liked this little girl, she was really cute, and reminded her a lot of a very young Kasumi.

"Tenchi's at school I'm afraid, he usually doesn't get back until after dark." the little girl went on.

"Oh my, then is Uncle Noboyuki home?" Kasumi asked her.

Sasami shook her head. "He's at work, the only one here is grandpa and he's up at the shrine."

Kasumi's eyes brightened. "Grandfather Katsuhito, its has been so long since I've seen him, I hope he recognizes me."

"Let me take you up to the shrine, he should be there." Sasami said as she took Kasumi's hand and started leading her towards the steps that ran up the mountain side. Ranma followed along beside them giving the girls behind them a brief glance before going on.

"Doesn't that girl remind you of somebody?" Ryoko asked Aeka.

"She does seem very much like Sasami doesn't she." Aeka nodded.

"I don't trust that red head though, she seems a little too cute if you know what I mean." Ryoko commented.

Aeka watched the trio walk up the steps and took note of the girl named Ranma. "Hai, she is rather, uh, well put together isn't she." she said.

"That Ranma certainly seems to be a lot like you Ryoko." Mihoshi added cheerfully. "And so scandalous too, did you know she wasn't wearing a bra?"

"Mihoshi!" Aeka and Ryoko growled at her at the same time.

* * *

"Kasumi, is that you?"

The ancient Masaki shrine on top of the mountain was one of the most well kept places Ranma-chan had ever seen. The cobblestones were kept clean and watered, the grass was cut to a respectable height, and the trees were all perfectly pruned back. It was very well maintained for a little family shrine deep in the mountains. The shrine keeper was a very handsome old man with graying hair and dressed in the white robes of his chosen profession. Ranma-chan stifled a gasp, the man's aura was immense to say the least. She had never felt a power this strong since first meeting the old ghoul, Cologne.

"Grandfather Katsuhito, it's been so long." Kasumi smiled and accept an embrace from the old priest.

"My, my, you have grown very beautiful." the old priest said. "You're almost a spitting image of your mother."

Kasumi blushed an intense red. "Thank you."

"What brings you all this way out to the mountains?" he asked then turned his attention to Ranma-chan. "And who is you lovely young companion?"

"Oh my, this is Saotome Ranma, she is a very close and dear friend of mine." Kasumi said grasping Ranma-chan's hand.

"Well, why don't you both come inside and we'll have some tea." Katsuhito said with a smile and lead the way into his private quarters.

"I'll bring up some snacks, is that alright grandpa?" Sasami asked.

"That would be lovely Sasami, thank you." the old priest replied.

The three were soon seated around a table in Katsuhito's modest living quarters built into the shrine itself. The old man quickly made three cups of green tea while Ranma-chan watched his movements. They were fluid and smooth, the sign of a martial artist. Some priests were martial artists, she knew, and coupled with his bright power aura he must be pretty formidable.

"The last time I saw you was at your mother's funeral." he said. "How has everyone been doing since then?"

"Oh we survived, father took mother's death quite badly and he stopped taking students at the dojo." Kasumi explained to him. "I pretty much took over mother's duties around the house."

"I remember little Akane, such a little thing and so full of anger." Katsuhito said sadly.

"She ain't changed much." Ranma-chan muttered. She winced when Kasumi reach over and pinched her on the leg. "Ouch! Hey!"

"And what about little Nabiki?" the old priest asked. His eyes filled with mirth at the little display the two just made.

Kasumi sighed. "If it were not for Nabiki the dojo would have been liquidated by the government long ago because of overdue bills." she said. "Though I don't really approve of her methods of doing business, she has kept the family moderately well off financially, most of the time."

"It is a shame such a young girl has to have such a responsibility tossed on her shoulders." Katsuhito said. "Doesn't your father work?"

"He sits around the house all day playing Go with my pop." Ranma- chan spoke up. "Ouch, what'd I do now?" she winced when Kasumi pinched her again.

"Father is not himself anymore, the slightest little problem will set him off on a terrible crying spell." Kasumi explained. "As I said before, he took mother's death very badly."

"So, what bring you here other than just a social call?" Katsuhito asked them as Sasami arrived with a platter of sweet cakes. Ranma-chan picked up one and took a bite. For a brief instant she thought she was floating in heaven eating the food of the Kami.

"Wow! This is really good, almost as good as yours Kasumi." she commented.

Kasumi took a bite of one of the cakes and nodded. "Oh my, it is quite good, who made these Sasami?" she asked the little girl.

"I did, I usually do all the cooking, I love to cook." Sasami smiled cheerfully.

"I must get your recipe, this is so wonderful." Kasumi said after taking another bite. Then, she remember her host had asked her a question.

"Oh my, well, we came here because Ranma and I were looking for a place to stay for a while." she said.

"Oh? Is something wrong at home?" Katsuhito asked in surprise. Sasami happily skipped out of the little room and scampered back to the house. She had dinner on the stove and did not want to leave it in case Aeka or Ryoko got it into their minds to try and cook Tenchi dinner. The results could potentially be very extremely toxic.

"Uh, could I have some hot water?" Ranma-chan asked holding up her cup. "No tea, just hot water."

Katsuhito took the offered cup without questioning the reason for the girl wanting only hot water. He filled it from his thermos and gently handed it back. Ranma-chan lift it as if to drink it then upended it over her head triggering the transformation back to male form. Ranma was surprised the old did not react to his change, and was doubly surprised when the old man spoke on single word.


"You know about the cursed springs?" Ranma asked him.

Katsuhito laughed, "I know a great many things, the springs area a legend I heard rumors of once a long time ago. Today is the first time I have seen true evidence of their existence."

Ranma scratched the back of his head nervously in a way that reminded the old man of his grandson. "Uh, well they are real enough, in the Quing Ha province of China near a village called-"

"Joketsuzoku, ancestral home of the Nyanchiczu." the old man finished for him.

Ranma nearly face faltered. "You sure do know a lot more than just hearing rumors." Ranma said suspiciously.

The old priest laughed again and refilled Ranma's cup with more tea. "I got around quite a bit in my youth, that's all I'll say for now."

"Ranma has had his curse for about a year now." Kasumi spoke up. "As long as I have known him he was had it."

"So the two of you are-"

"We're not engaged-" Kasumi began.

"Yet." Ranma added putting an arm around her waist. Kasumi blushed intensely and scooted a little closer to Ranma.

"We're more like boyfriend and girlfriend, actually." Kasumi went on. "The reason for us being together is one of the reasons why we are here, Grandfather Katsuhito." The old priest sat and listened to the sordid tail of Ranma's life at the Tendo dojo. She told of how Ranma arrived and how he ended up engaged to her younger sister Akane. The old man shuffled a bit where he sat when he learned of how Ranma was treated by their parents, Akane, and then the truth about the seppoku agreement between Ranma's father and mother. That last part made an angry expression pass over the old priest's face, but it vanished quickly as he listened to account after account of how Ranma had helped the dojo or saved Akane from trouble and how she never seemed to change in her attitude towards him. Finally she ended the story with the most recent of events that lead to the two of them making this journey together.

"I see." Katsuhito said after hearing the whole story from Kasumi. "You say you are a Saotome?" He looked at Ranma who nodded.

"I heard about the agreement to join the two schools some time ago before either of you were born." he went on. "It seems it has become something of an obsession for your parents, and obsessions can sometimes prove to be quite destructive."

"No duh." Ranma muttered.

The old priest cleared his throat and said, "I will allow the two of you to remain here. As long as you are living under my son's roof neither of your families will know you are here."

"Oh thank you Grandfather Katsuhito." Kasumi gushed clutching her hands in front of her.

"But, you must obey the house rules and help out with the daily chores around the house and the shrine like everyone else." he added.

"Sure, why not." Ranma said. "I'll be training most of the time during the day anyway."

A curious gleam came to the eye of the old priest. "You study Happosai's martial arts style?" he asked.

"Yeah, but I also know a few Nyanchiczu techniques too." Ranma shrugged.

Katsuhito laughed. "Then you really need to meet my grandson Tenchi, I think the two of you will get along quite well."

"He's a martial artist?" Ranma asked excitedly.

"In a manner of speaking, his specialty is Kendo." Katsuhito replied.

Ranma narrowed his eyes. "He doesn't spout poetry does he?"

"Huh?" the old man looked confused.

Kasumi giggled a little. "It is a very long story, grandfather."

"Well, Tenchi usually isn't home until after dark." Katsuhito said and looked at Ranma. "How old are you young man?"

"Uh, sixteen why?" Ranma answered him.

"Despite your situation you really should not lax in your education." the old man said. "I'll contact Tenchi's school and have you registered there."

Ranma looked over at Kasumi who smiled gently at him. "Uh, ok, as long as there ain't no nut case principals with exploding pineapple bombs or crazy Kendo club captains with delusions of grandeur." he replied with a nod.

"Is Nerima really that bad?" the old man asked Kasumi. The beautiful Tendo girl nodded sadly.

Katsuhito laughed. "Ranma, I think you will find Ohkayama very different from Nerima."

"Good, I've had enough of fighting Kuno every morning." he said in relief. "I don't need another one like him making my life a living hell."

The old man laughed again shaking his head. "You really are going to have to tell me the whole story about this Furinken High one of these days."



Next up in Chapter 2: When Egos Collide

The Masaki family is introduced to Kasumi and her "boyfriend" Saotome Ranma, with quite a bit of confusion. Wasn't Ranma a girl? Well, Ranma's ego seems to rub Ryoko the wrong way and the two are quickly at odds with one another, and the discovery of Ranma's curse by the girls only adds fuel to the already roaring fire. Meanwhile, Ranma's other iinazuke learn about his departure and plan to do something it. In the meantime though, something has happened to Kuno that could change the life of Tendo Akane forever.