Chapter five: "I would be honored...."
Disclaimer: If you don't know what I don't own then I'm not telling you. Nyah.
"Up, up Hles si!!" Ceres rolled over and stuck her head under the pillow, "Why Hles si ignore Shampoo?"
"Because it is Hles si's day off and she intends to spend it sleeping."
"C'mon Ceres you said you wanted to go dress shopping today."
"Now you're against me Okashi?"
"How many of you are here to torture me?"
"Four," Ceres removed her head from the pillow, saw who else was there and sighed.
"Emiko what have I ever done to you?"
"Well then why are you here to drag me out of bed?"
"So we can go shopping for our dresses."
"I hate you all. Seriously," Okashi and Shampoo hauled Ceres up by the arms and began pushing the protesting girl to the bath, "I don't wanna........"
"Don't be so whinny," Okashi said as they shoved her through the door of the bath. Ceres paused and turned around.
"Emiko-chan are you afraid of me?"
"Iie. You're not as bad as Kuduo says," Ceres narrowed her eyes, "Not that Kuduo says anything bad about you Ceres-sama!"
"I knew there was a reason I liked you. So don't call me Ceres-sama. If you absolutely can't manage a Rei-chan then Ceres-san will do."
"Hai Misuka-san...I mean Rei-chan," Ceres smiled and ducked into the bathroom.
"You're lucky," Okashi told Emiko.
"Hles si not trust people. Shy Girl lucky Hles si like already," Emiko titled her head.
"Shampoo doesn't speak Japanese very well so she has nicknames for things and people."
"Ceres!!" Okashi pounded on the door sevral minutes later, "You can't hide in there! If you don't come out I'm comming in to drag you out!!"
"Maybe she fell asleep? In the tub?" Emiko pointed out. Okashi groaned.
"Yeah I'll just bet. Escaped out the window is more like it," she flung open the door, as she did a tiny white rabbit streaked out and through Okashi's legs.
"DAMMIT CERES GET BACK HERE!!!" the rabbit ignored her however and kept running, "NOBODY LET THAT RABBIT ESCAPE!!!!!" heads turned to the girl running down the stairs at an alarming rate. The rabbit was too quick however and disappeared into the kitchen.
"Ah! Hey Ceres," Mousse looked down at the panting rabbit, "What happened to you?" Usagi-Ceres gave a look that said Don't ask. Mousse put down his hand and Ceres hopped up.
"MOUSSE!! DON'T LET HER GET AWAY!!" Okashi had caught up. Mousse gabbed Ceres's scruff, "Don't let go of her for one minute!" Okashi told him.
"She's going dress shopping whether she likes it or not!" Mousse held the scowling rabbit at eye level as Ryouga poked his head in.
"That's what this is about?" Ceres wriggled out of his grip and landed on the counter. She began gesturing to herself frantically.
"I think she's trying to tell us something," Ryouga said, coming all the way into the kitchen, "Charades Rei-chan?" Usagi-Ceres nodded. The group clustered around her.
"What's going on?" Kuduo wanted to know.
"Ceres is trying to tell us something," Emiko told him as he came to stand behind her.
"Ok, I'm really good at this!" Ryouga said, "First word..." Usagi-Ceres gestured to herself again.
"Me!" Kuduo said. Usagi-Ceres held up a sign with the green circle on it then, began tugging on one of her ears.
"Sounds like," Okashi said, "Sounds like...." Usagi-Ceres was punching and kicking the air, "Sounds like martial arts?" Usagi-Ceres held up a sign with a red x then pointed to Okashi before going back to her punching and kicking.
"Ranma," the group looked over at the calm voice that now spoke.
"How did you know that?" Ryouga demanded, Eriol shrugged.
"I've been around her a while."
"Ok, ok, sounds like Ranma?" another sign with a green circle. Usagi-Ceres began gesturing again.
"Third word," Usagi-Ceres mimed sleeping, "Third word is sleep!" Ryouga said triumphantly, Usagi-Ceres clapped her paws.
"Me...sounds like Ranma...sleep...."
"She wants to go back to sleep," Eriol said. Usagi-Ceres threw confetti in the air. Then took off, only to be caught again by Eriol who was well practiced in the Art of catching runaway rabbits, due to growing up with one, "Sorry Ceres. You did say that you wanted to go dress shopping while us guys and Ranma went suit shopping," Ceres scowled but allowed herself to be brought back to the tub by Eriol. When they returned fifteen minutes later Ceres emerged first, with a look of great irritation on her face, then Eriol who looked extremely wet.
"What happened to you?" Ryouga demanded as Ceres stalked outside of the restaurant followed by Okashi, Akane, Shampoo and Emiko who paused briefly to look at KUduo for support.
"She won't bite," he said.
"Yeah. She's just nasty in the morning. She'll open up around lunch," Emiko grinned and hurried to catch up.
"So what happened to you?" Ryouga repeated.
"She back flipped me into the tub when I put her in there," Ryouga began to snicker.
"Kuri's Bridal. This is it," Akane said looking up at the pristine building, "This place is well known for it's Westernized wedding apparel. That girl from school got her dress here, remember?"
"That dress was so beautiful," Okashi said.
"Nothing exceptionally girlie," Ceres told them firmly.
"Why not?"the hair bells twinkled loudly as Ceres shook her head fiercely.
"Think of Eriol who has to look at it," Ceres looked at Emiko who grinned up at her. After spending a few hours with the irritable girl Emiko soon realized that Ceres's bark was far worse than her bite.
"Think of me who has to wear it," Ceres shot back.
"Hles si could wear Amazon wedding outfit."
"No way. I've seen them. I'd have better luck with the feminine dress."
"Hles si no like Amazon wedding outfit?"
"No she doesn't."
"Welcome!" Ceres shrank back from the overly cheerful bridal shop worker, "Are all three of you getting married?"
"Iie,"Akane said, giving Ceres a hard shove in the direction of the worker, "Just this one."
"Hai..." the worker grabbed her arm and began leading her to a large upraised portion of the floor.
"Just stand up there dearie and we'll get you measured and fitted," she bustled off.
"Yeah dearie," Okashi joked, Ceres glared at her, which only made them laugh more.
"Shut up," the woman was back, this time with three helpers, "I am a good person. A little vengeful maybe but look at my relatives. Anti-social? Well ok but not so much anymore. So why in Kami-sama's name am I being forced to go through this?"
"Because you're getting married," Emiko told her.
"Ok dearie, we're just going to take you measurements," the woman began bustling around Ceres with a measuring tape, calling out the numbers to one of her helpers who wrote it down.
"What about you four?" one of the remaining workers asked.
"Well the those two are Bridesmaids," Okashi pointed to Shampoo and Akane, "And she's the Flower Girl," she pointed to Emiko, "And I'm the Maid of Honor."
"Aren't you a bit old to be a Flower Girl?"
"I don't know anyone younger than her," Ceres replied from her pedestal. The workers had finished measuring and were now fitting a dress on her.
"Shouldn't she be in a dressing room?" Akane asked, Ceres shrugged.
"Everybody in the wedding party had seen me naked at one point or another except for Emiko. That's what happens when you are affected by the curse of Drowned Rabbit."
"You fell into one of the cursed Springs?" one of the bridal workers asked.
"My brother in law turns into a cow when splashed with cold water," the woman explained, "His wife thought a honeymoon to China would be exciting. What Spring did you fall into?"
"Rabbit. But I'm not the only one."
"What do you mean?" Ceres's reply was muffled by a mouthful of dress, "What was that?"
"Gomen, I said that my groom-to-be fell into the Spring of Drowned Raven, one of the Bridesmaid turns into a cat, one of ushers turns into a girl and the other a duck and the Best Man...er..." Ceres trailed off, momentarily forgetting that Akane didn't know that Ryouga turned into her pet pig. And honestly with all the hints that were dropped on a daily basis how could she not know?"
"Don't worry Ceres-san. Ryouga told me a couple of nights ago," Akane turned her head over her shoulder from where she was being measured, "He figured I would find out sooner or later so he told me."
"Oh," Well it would have been nice if someone had told me that!, "Ok then. The Best Man turns into a pig."
"My, that's most of the wedding party."
"Oh yeah and the person who may be giving me a way turns into a panda. Almost forgot about Genma-sensei..."
"I take it back. That's pretty much all of the wedding party," Ceres sighed, "There what do you think of this one?" Ceres turned to look in the mirror and sucked in a breath. She was beautiful.
The dress was sleeveless and strapless, and came down well past her feet. The material had an iridescent sheen to it, but it was the huge bow in the back that drew Ceres's eye. The bow was so big that it almost looked like wings.
"You look like an angel," Emiko told her.
"Then why is it so perfect?" Okashi wanted to know.
"Shaddup," Ceres shot back, "I want this one."
"You do?" the worker asked, "This is a part of the Tenshi collection. It's a set."
"Mm-hm," she began ruffling through rows and rows of dresses, "It has matchy Bridesmaid, Maid of Honor, and Flower Girl dresses." Matchy? Akane mouthed to Okashi who shrugged, "Would you girls like to try them on?"
"Might as well..." the other dresses were of a similar fashion only the bows weren't as large as the ones on Ceres's dress and had a light lavender hue to them.
"The Flower Girl dress is going to need help, " Ceres pointed out. It was true, while the other dresses appeared to only need minor adjustments, Akane's top needed to be tighter, Okashi's needed some hemming and the waist needed to be tucked in on Shampoo's, there was no way that 19 year old Emiko was going to fit into a dress made for a ten year old.
"What if...." Okashi trailed off looking at the racks and rack of dresses, "What if we took this prom dress...." she pulled out a dress that was similar to the ones they all wore, "And altered it?"
"What do you mean dear?" Okashi pushed dress and Emiko into a dressing room, " Try that on please," the dress she has selected, was a simple style for a prom dress but as a Flower Girls dress it would do just fine...with some minor alterations that was.
"All it really needs is the huge bow in the back," Okashi explained, "Do you think you could do it?"
" I should be able too...." the head dressmaker abandoned Ceres and went to Emiko, "I don't think it should be too hard. You'll have to come back for a lot of fittings."
"Can you get it done by April?" the dressmaker frowned.
"It will be tight. We'll be cutting it close. But, hai, I think I can do it."
"Don't worry about it Ceres," Okashi suggested, "If I were you I'd be more concerned about Ranma's maternity tux."
"A what?" the tailor asked incredulously.
"You heard me," Eriol said pleasantly, "Maternity tux. One our ushers is pregnant," Ranma gave the confused tailor a half wave.
"I don't know if you can even make one."
"What if you take a huge tux and fit it to her?" Ryouga suggested.
"You have to take into account that I'll bee a heckuva lot bigger in four months," Ranma replied, "Why not just give me a huge tux and hope for the best?"
"That won't work," Mousse said, "It'll look bad if it doesn't fit right."
"So then what do we do with him...her...whatever?" Kuduo asked.
"How about this," Eriol said, "We put padding on her, to simulate a Ranma who is full-term and fit the tux around that."
"That might work, what do we have for padding?"
"Duct tape?" Ryouga cuffed his younger brother, "What?"
"It could work."
"I am not duct taping anything to my body."
"What about an empathy belly?" they all looked strangely at Eriol, "What? Look, it's this thing that is supposed to teach young teens what it's like to be pregnant so that they won't have unprotected sex. Ranma could wear it and it would be like she's full term. Dr. Tofu might have one."
"Why didn't we think of this sooner?" Ryouga asked.
"Because who goes out to buy a maternity tux?"
"Don't start you two," Eriol warned when Ryouga opened his mouth to reply, "Here's what we can do. Mousse will please run down to the doctor's and see what he can find while the rest of us get tuxified."
"But Eriol. Tuxified?" Eriol pointed to the door and Mousse walked out muttering, "Tuxified....?"
"What color are the dresses?" the tailor asked as he began to take Kuduo's measurements.
"We're not sure," Eriol admitted, "Hopefully a variation of purple."
"To match Ceres's overall color scheme," Ranma put in.
"I remember when she was obsessed with pink."
"She was obsessed with pink?"
"Ask her about it sometime," Kuduo replied.
"Should I call Okashi about it?" Eriol nodded and Ranma took out her cell phone, hit a few buttons and held it to her ear, "Moshi moshi Oka-chan! ......Ugh don't ask....Well Mousse has to get an empathy belly....why are you laughin'? Aww c'mon stop laughin'!! No I did not call to tell you that. I need to know the color of your dresses.....we thought so....just makin' sure and all....hai I know you do. No I am not getting pictures for Ceres, wait...is she laughing too?!? And Akane?! Arrgh!! I am not getting pictures!! Iie!!"
"Actually..." Ryouga mused, "Pictures would be funny...."
"IIE!!" Ranma shouted back, both to Ryouga and her phone, "NO PICTURES!!!!" Just then Mousse ran back in, panting slightly.
"He couldn't give me the empathy belly," he said after a moment, "But he promises that the alternative is just as good."
"What's the alternative?"
"Padding and duct tape," he replied pulling out the necessary items from one of his sleeves.
"Padding and duct tape?" Ranma sputtered slightly, "I am not duct taping things to myself!!" laughter could be heard on the cell phone she still held, "It's not funny!"
"Think of it this way," Eriol reasoned, "If the tux looks bad because it doesn't fit right Ceres will kill you."
"Slowly," Ryouga added.
"Duct tape me Ryouga," Ranma said quickly, as everyone else cracked up.
"Someone remind me why I'm doing this again?"
"Hibiki blood?" Okashi ventured.
"Because you can't give your self away?" was Akane's guess.
"It won't be so bad," Kasumi assured Ceres, "He misses you."
"Yeah I just bet," was the sarcastic reply. The four girls gave Ceres a gentle shove.
"Don't be a wuss," Nabiki told her, "Just do it," Ceres growled slightly before walking into the dojo.
"Genma-sensei? Are you in here still? Tendo-san said you where."
"Hai," came the grunt from somewhere, "Whaddya want girl?" Ceres said nothing and watched him preform a kata for a minute, before recognizing which one it was and joining in silently.
"I need to talk to you about something," she said after a few more minutes of silence, "Will you speak with me?"
"Goin' to beg me to take the boy back?"
"Have you ever known me to beg Genma-sensei?"
"Suppose not." A minute more of silence as Ceres pieced together what she wanted to say, "I heard Ugami's kid finally popped the question."
"Oh you heard. Hai. He did."
"About damn time," Genma went on, "We were telling him to move his ass."
"Of course," was the half grunted, half scoffed reply, "I'm not that blind," Ceres grinned.
"Guess you would have to be pretty stupid not to notice how he felt...Anyway, that's sort of what I came to talk to you about. I need a favor of you. See...I don't know where my uncle is. And I don't know if I can find him in the limited amount of time I have before the wedding."
"And well since I have no father I need someone to give me away...." Genma stopped what he was doing to face her.
"And you want me to do it?" Ceres stopped her movements as well.
"What for?" Ceres sighed.
"This is going to turn into one of those 'moments' isn't it? Very well. You're my sensei. You've sort of watched over me for three years. Same as my aunt and uncle. And you sorta kinda looked out for me while I was here. Don't get me wrong, there are time where you make me question your sanity. Especially where Ranma-chan's involved. Hell, I'm shocked that he's not in therapy by now. But as for me, you've always treated me decently. Little weird, little gruff, little unorthodox but not bad, and I would be honored if you were to give me away at my wedding," Genma was silent for a moment.
"I would be honored."
GAH!! What a long ass chapter!!! Seven pages. SEVEN!!! Ah well.