Nabiki groggily looked up at the table near the headboard where her clock radio was conveniently placed. She reached out for it and turned it off just in time before the D.J. was able to greet the listeners good morning.
She stretched her arms and yawned loudly. "Ohayo," she whispered to no one in particular as she got up from her bed. She headed for the door and picked up her bath towel on top of a chair. As she reached out for the doorknob, she could hear someone screaming outside.
"Old man! Give me back my underwear!" Akane shouted while Happosai's sick chuckles echoed in the hallway. Nabiki sighed, "Baka," wearily as she turned the handle and pushed the door open.
She flattened her body to the wall just in time to avoid a speeding Happosai, followed by a furious Akane.
"Every morning." she muttered below her breath. She turned her back at them and propped up her towel over her shoulder nonchalantly. With head bowed and eyes closed, she started her trek towards the shower room. But no sooner did she make a second step, when all of a sudden an angry Ranma was charging blindly towards her.
"OLD MAN!" he spat through gritted teeth. "You're gonna pay for that sweet bun you took!"
With these words, he dashed towards Nabiki's direction with 'death' and 'murder' etched in his eyes. Nabiki, unfazed, simply sidestepped to let Ranma pass through. After the dust settled, Nabiki looked back at the disappearing forms with apathetic eyes, "Ohayo Gozaimasu to you guys too."
After these words she closed the bathroom door behind her.
"Ohayo minna" Nabiki greeted with bored eyes as she slid to her seat to eat breakfast. Kasumi smiled and greeted her with a warm fervor that sharply contrasted her listless welcome, "Ohayo Nabiki-chan!"
"Nabiki where is your sister Akane?" Soun asked while he sipped his tea. The old man was busy poring over the morning newspaper and didn't bother to look up to her daughter as he asked this.
Nabiki forced her brow not to raise and her voice not to be sarcastic when she answered, "Chasing Happy with Ranma." She toyed with the food on her plate languorously when her father only nodded in understanding. In her mind she muttered, 'Always her. Every morning it had to be her…'
Her thoughts were stopped by a knock on the door. Kasumi got up to answer it. The next sounds were of crashing materials and broken potteries amidst her elder sister's greeting, "Ohayo Dr. Tofu"
"Oh Genma! The good doctor is here!" Tendo slapped the hairy panda beside him. The gluttonous panda paused for a moment from his eating spree and flashed a sign translated: "Let's go meet him!"
"Certainly, come," Tendo genially replied. And with that, they left Nabiki to talk to Dr. Tofu.
Nabiki's chopsticks snapped under her tight grip, though her face remained cool and placid. "Every morning." she whispered irritably. "Every morning they just have to ignore me…"
She was not jealous of her sisters, much less envious (even though her actions may point out to that conclusion). And yet her spirit was heavy with boredom; taxed with the repetitiveness of the situation and utterly irritated with the blandness of it all. She wanted something else to happen- not to Akane, not to Kasumi, not to anyone! She wanted something to happen in her life that is so out of the ordinary that it will rouse her from the social coma she's in. Preferably too, that this wish would happen to her for a change and not to Akane or to Ranma (like it usually does).
Well, maybe she is a teensy-weensy, bit, TAD envious…
"Oy Nabiki-chan where is everybody?" Ranma's question intruded her solitude. She raised an eyebrow and didn't bother to answer, for in the next second Ranma busied himself with devouring the food left on the table. Nabiki watched him with disdain, "Baka!" she hissed then resumed to eat her food.
"Huh? What did you say?" innocent Ranma looked up at her, wide-eyed.
"Nothing," she replied dismissively and sipped her noodles quietly.
His brows furrowed, but he simply shrugged his shoulders before he turned his back on her. "You're such an old maid."
"Huh? What did you say?" Nabiki frowned.
"Nothing," was the pig-tailed boy's off-handed reply because a piece of beef got stuck between his teeth (thus, keeping his attention from her).
"I know you said something about me being an old maid," she told him flatly. His lack of attention was irritating her more than she expected or cared to admit.
Ranma seemed oblivious to his companion's irritation. "If you heard it after all then why ask for me to repeat it?" he forked out the beef with his tongue and then sipped the last noodle in the bowl he was holding before he stood up to head for the door.
"Really Ranma-kun what made you say that?" annoyance was clear in her voice as she made a show of mock-innocence.
"Nabiki you're so dry, even the uncute and barbaric sister of yours is a better chewing stick," Ranma tossed over his shoulder in his usual foot-in-mouth, thoughtless manner.
And in a split-second, Nabiki was in front of him and her eyes flashed with an indiscernible emotion so unlike her usual bored facade. "What made you say that?" she winced because her voice sounded tiny, even to herself. "What does Akane have that I don't? What does Kasumi possess that I don't have?"
"Huh? Nabiki-chan you're being weird," he looked incredulously at her, surprised by her outburst. Ranma was not used to seeing the usually bored Nabiki Tendo this way. What's up with her?
Nabiki stopped short and realized how strange she must have acted. She tilted her head at the side to think. What made me say that to Ranma? She wondered.
"Hey don't get offended okay? That's just a helpful comment. I'm sure you'll work your way around and maybe someone out there can actually like the cynical-girl appeal you project," he patted her shoulder with a grin- never for a moment did he thought that he had just insulted her. He even thought he was being helpful. "Ja ne!" he waved his hand and closed the door behind him.
She heard him greet Dr. Tofu on his way out to the front gate.
"Am I really...a dry old cracker?" Nabiki stares ahead. But as soon as that look of disbelief flooded her face, then just as quick that her old bored expression returned. "Stupid Ranma. Baka, baka, baka!"
"Tendo Akane please be my bride!"
Kuno raised his arms exaltingly at Akane as the pair arrived at Furinkan high. Nabiki stared at the couple through the classroom window (she arrived earlier) and murmured, "Every morning...the same thing-" She barely finished her words when Kuno was sent flying smack dab next to the windowsill where Nabiki was.
"Tatewaki aren't you tired of this?" her hands lazily supported her drooping head on top of the window edge.
"Akane I love yoooouuuu…" was Kuno's last words as he fell to ground when Nabiki opened the window and released the grip he had on the sill.
"Ba-ka." she hissed at him and left.
"Please Tendo Nabiki it is for love's sake!" Kuno implored as he held out a pink letter with a heart seal on it.
Nabiki only stared down at it with half-opened eyelids, "100,000 yen."
"You're nuts!" his eyes bulged. "That's too expensive for just a simple mail delivery to your sister Akane!"
She sneered at him in response. "Then forget about my sister then. She's going to marry Ranma anyway sooner or later."
A couple of bills flashed in front of her and Nabiki secretly stuck her tongue out in self-appreciation. "Here take it!" Kuno has this fanatical look in his eyes again. "I rather starve to death than not have Akane," the Tatewaki heir knelt in front of Nabiki and she happily snatched the money along with the letter.
Kuno gave her a murderous look. "Tendo Nabiki...there is no end to your wickedness! No wonder you still don't have any suitors or admirers unlike my sweet Aka-"
A kick on the nose by a passive-faced Nabiki stopped him from his tracks. "Baka! Idiot!" she muttered.
"Ranma-kun, Akane-chan, wait for me!"
Nabiki hailed them to stop. Akane turned to her sister with a questioning look, "Oneechan what's up?"
Nabiki finally caught up with them. Wheezing slightly, she wrapped her arm around her sister's shoulders and happily declared, "I'm just wondering if you guys want to accompany me to the sweet shop. I'll even treat you guys."
Ranma's listless eyes suddenly became bright, "Really! Oh wow let's go!"
Akane was a little more hesitant (and maybe suspicious), "Nabiki-chan you seldom want our company, much less treat us to something."
The elder Tendo daughter laughed and fanned the air with swift, light movements, "Let's just say I earned some extra money and wanted to share it with my favorite sister and her fiancée!"
"Good enough for me!" Ranma happily interrupted any further protests from Akane. He guided Nabiki with her hand wrapped around his elbow and he had this goofy grin etched on his face. Akane just sighed and finally decided to throw away her caution.
"Oneechan why won't you tell me how you got 'extra money' huh?" Akane stirred her root beer float a little while later she stared outside the window at the rain shower that fell down on them so suddenly. Nabiki sipped her mocha frappe while female Ranma (hint: sudden rain) ate his 5th banana split with relish. Nabiki dabbed her lips with the napkin and stared at her younger sister. "Well if you must know," she presented Kuno's letter to Akane.
Akane took it and asked, "What's this?"
She closed her eyes before she uttered the words, "Tatewaki wants to express to you his undying love...so there!"
A sweat drop slid on Akane's head, "So you made him pay just for you to give me this?"
"Whoo! In that case Kuno should express his love more often!" The Saotome kid waved his spoon like a happy, carefree child. "Ranma!" his fiancée looked at him with unconcealed irritation in her eyes.
"Hai, hai!" Nabiki enthusiastically agreed. Akane gave her too the death glare.
"Uhm...excuse me," out of the blue two guys timidly approached their table. Hastily (and quite bashfully), they offered to treat Akane and Ranma to another ice cream. "Oh you guys shouldn't-" Akane was about to refuse but she was once more interrupted by Ranma's squeal of happiness. "Bring it on!" he eagerly replied.
"Ranma you're so embarrassing," Akane scolded.
"Don't worry about it miss. It's our pleasure to see the joy of the two most beautiful girls we ever met," one of the guys said.
"Uh...well, if you insist," Akane scratched the side of her chin lightly.
Nabiki watched all these in silence. She averted her attention and let her head rest lazily on top of her knuckles while she stared at the raindrops outside as it noisily hit the awning. Akane, on the other hand, contentedly sipped the last of her malt and didn't notice her sister's sudden mood.
Nabiki tried her best to look casual but Ranma (uncharacteristically) was able to notice the lonely glimmer in her eyes. He ordered for a slice of chocolate cake and had it wrapped before he invited the two girls to head for home...
Nabiki tossed and turned on her bed as she was unable to go to sleep. She sat up; her face drenched with sweat as she wiped her brow with the back of her palm. All of a sudden, she heard some rustling sound outside her window and an ominous silhouette loomed above it.
"Who's there!" she demanded. But the sound of her voice only drove the shadow to quickly disappear. She almost screamed to call out Akane or Ranma or anyone, but something held her back…
Right now she didn't want to see Akane or Ranma after the incident at the shop. She couldn't deny the hurt and envy she felt when those two guys treated Ranma and Akane, saying they were really beautiful, and completely ignoring her in the process. They didn't even bother to look at her or even just nod to acknowledge her presence.
She always felt ugly next to her sister. But the incident this afternoon only intensified the pain because Ranma was there! Imagine, a boy was complimented as prettier than her- even though you could say that those guys didn't know the pig-tailed girl they talked with was a man…
After some thought, Nabiki decided that she'd handle this for herself, and show them that she can be just as brave as Akane too. Quietly, she slipped out of bed and tiptoed towards the bedroom window and slowly opened it. Nabiki looked around in all direction but saw no trace of the mysterious shadow. She was about to dismiss the idea and close the drapes behind her when she noticed a white box with a bright red ribbon wrapped around it sitting on top of the roof below her windowsill.
"Did that shadow leave this for me? Or did he accidentally left it?" she thought as she gingerly leaned over to pick it up. She brought it inside with her and instinctively pushed the switch for the light. Nabiki lightly tugged on the bright-red sash and it fell away easily. She opened the box and was surprised to see a note accompanied by the wrapped chocolate cake that Ranma ordered hours ago. She set the covered cake down the table and read the short inscription in a hoarse whisper.
"They missed the sweetest thing..."
Nabiki looked at the note again and flipped the paper over and over to see if there was a biting remark or a catch. She found none. She held the paper at arms length as she thoughtfully considered the message.
Slowly, a soft expression took over her pessimistic face. She held the paper with care between her fingers as she took out her diary of expenses from the shelf. She flipped it to the page where she listed how much she spent on that treat with Akane and Ranma. After noting the amount, she got a red pen from her pencil case and erased Ranma's expenses by putting a long line across it. Afterwards, she put the note in between the pages and closed the notebook shut. Nabiki leaned over from her desk as she placed the ledger back in the bookshelf.
At last, she faced the cake that lay on top of her desk and took out the fork that was packed along with it. She ate the cake with a beautiful smile etched on her lips…
Outside the window, hiding, Ranma grinned when he saw that Nabiki was finally smiling. After he stared at her contented face for a few minutes, he left her just as quietly as he came.
A/N: Hey guys so how was it? Hope you liked it! This is my first Ranma fic so helpful criticism or suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you very much for your time reading this and I hope you find it a good read. In conclusion, Ranma ½ is one of the best animes I've ever watched! I really wish I own it, but unfortunately I don't- so there! I'm not gaining anything here, money wise, only the joy of people appreciating my fic…