The characters in this story aren't mine, they belong to Rumiko Takahashi and other publications. I'm only here so I can practice my writing…

I do not own any of the characters and gains no profit from writing this story, so again please don't sue!

I already have enough problems managing bill payments…

Author's Pre-notes:

Hi everyone, I hope that I have not keep you waiting long for this chapter but it really was hard to write and I had to keep editing this particular chapter. I'm also thinking of bumping the rating to M since in my own honest opinion this story does contain some adult themes, situations and so forth that doesn't have to be categorized as a sexual nature. Let me know after reading this story to this point if I should bump up the rating.

Bold Italics means sounds/signs

Italics means thoughts/memories

Bold means person on the other line/side of the phone


xxxxxxx


Kuno woke up from an uncomfortable slumber. It was already the early hours of the morning when he finally stirred. His head was slightly pounding and his throat felt raw and dry. He laid there wide awake in his bed, unable to move as he turned his attention towards his sleeping wife.

Nabiki was sleeping peacefully. Her head nestled on his chest, her arms wrapped around him filling him with warmth and comfort. Kuno couldn't help but run his fingers through her hair as he listened to the steady rhythm of her breathing.

It felt so right for her to be with him. He couldn't imagine not having her in his arms, to him Nabiki Tendo was probably the best and only thing right that had happened in his life.

His thoughts began to drift back during his childhood. Living in the massive mansion with only his sister and many servants. He had never felt so isolated and so alone. He remembered his father's limited presence since he would always go to Hawaii and rarely stayed at home for long periods of time. As time goes on, he and his sister had developed ways of coping with their sadness and loneliness.

Many had always speculated that the Kuno family had always been crazy, that fact was always farther from the truth. Looking at their father certainly proves this theory but no one really knew how hard it was for them to move on without their mother to guide them.

If Tatewaki could pinpoint the part of his life that went wrong , it would be when they lost their mother. His father had never been the same since then, he just packed up and left him and his sister. He spent most of his time in Hawaii trying to deal with his loss while he and his sister were forced to face such harshness alone.

"That's one of the reasons I adore you." Tatewaki couldn't help but whisper to his slumbering wife. He and Nabiki were the same. They both lost their mother in such an early age. They both felt and went through the same pain and loss but unlike his situation, Nabiki's father Soun never left them. Instead he stayed with them.

"It wasn't really necessarily a good thing either," he recalled Nabiki telling him as she narrated her own childhood pain of loneliness and bitterness. While she was happy their father remained, Soun however didn't know how to deal with his own loss. Every time he gazed at her and her sisters, it only reminded him of their mother which caused his depression making him quit teaching the art and loosing his life passions.

Tatewaki smiled. It was as though the fates themselves had conspired for them to be united and to be in each others arms. He had told this to Nabiki many times and was always rewarded by Nabiki's beautiful smile before teasing him.

"Yeah, fate has a funny way of bringing two people together ne? I wanted fame and fortune, instead I was stuck with you!" she then stuck her tongue out at him, eliciting a girlish giggle from her.

Tatewaki loved this about Nabiki, how in time she became more and more open with him. How proud he was one of a very few people who can bring that much delight to the normally cynic and sarcastic middle Tendo.

Tatewaki smiled as he caressed Nabiki's hair. "You'll never know what you truly mean to me Nabiki," He gazed at her lovingly. "Perhaps you do…"

There were so many things he wanted to say to her, so many things he wanted to reveal. "You complete me." he whispered to her as he kissed her forehead.

He smiled when she frowned in her sleep, even asleep Nabiki looked adorable.

He wanted to just lay in bed forever with her in his arms but he knew he had to get up. He untangled himself from Nabiki's sweet embrace and had to smile when she stirred slightly. To his slight consternation, his presence was easily replaced by his pillow, he watched in wry amusement as Nabiki nuzzled his poor substitute.

The floor was cold beneath his bare feet as he was greeted by the early morning air. He found himself wanting to retreat back in to bed in the comfort and warmth of his wife but knew that he had a few things to take care of, one of them included making a business call to Hawaii. Putting on his robe and making his way towards the kitchen to prepare himself a cup of coffee, he was mildly surprise to hear movements coming from the backyard, a noise that could only be created when one is under intense training. He would know since he loved to practice his kendo once in a while or whenever he had a spare time.

Curious as to whom could be awake at this hour, he found himself walking towards the backyard and was greeted by the sight of his brother in-law, Ranma Saotome. He grudgingly have to admit that he was still slightly jealous of the pigtailed man. Ranma who still possessed his monstrous strength and power, exceeding him by leaps and bounds. A power that seems to continually increase as the years goes by rather than fade and weaken like a brittle leaf.

-----

Ranma concentrated on his katas, his movements flowed smoothly like water but no matter how smooth his katas seemed to flow, his mind was in total contrast. His mind were filled with mixed feelings and emotions and with each strike he landed on his invisible foe, the more his feelings continued to stir.

He closed his eyes now, trying to concentrate on his movements but his mind kept drifting. His mind kept showing images of things of what might have been if he had a chance to go back into time and re-do the things he wanted to fix. He wasn't even aware that he began to growl out in frustration, as nothing seems to decrease his anxiety. He wanted the images to disappear. To leave him in peace and not taunt him like so.

He was interrupted from his deep thought when his ears pricked from the sound of someone's applause. He opened his eyes and was slightly surprised to find that he had an audience. Kuno Tatewaki to be in fact.

-----

Tatewaki marvelled his prowess and couldn't help but applaud his dedication, interrupting Ranma's training.

"Bravo brother-in-law, well done," he praised him as he slowly approached him, "It seems the years have not hindered your progress at all,"

Ranma could only give Tatewaki a wry grin, "I could say the same with you,"

Tatewaki shook his head negatively, "You're only being modest, may I perhaps ask you to do a little sparring?"

"Sure why not?" came Ranma's reply and soon the two men began to spar energetically.

-------

Nabiki woke up from the sun's rays that managed to sneak through the thick velvet curtains of her bedroom. She groaned in response as she tried to snuggle against her husband only to feel an empty space beside her.

Slowly opening one eye she tried to confirm that she was indeed correct at her tactile scrutiny. Seeing that she only held on to his pillow, she proved herself right and mentally patted her back with pride at her great deduction skills even if half asleep. Yawning rather loudly, she slowly got up and stretched her limbs as she searched for her husband. Wondering if he was alright after drinking so heavily last night.

Upon thinking of the night before, her thoughts drifted towards Saotome Ranma. His presence last night caught her by surprise. What bothered her the most was the look of dejectedness in his eyes. She remembered trying to avoid eye contact with him as he assisted into helping her carry her husband towards their bedchamber. She hoped he didn't notice her peculiar behaviour as she poured all her attention to her incapacitated husband, trying to fight the urge to steal glances at him. What made her worried the most was the urge to comfort him and engulf him into a warm embrace when they had left her husband's presence. The urge to touch him when they were alone felt overwhelming that she almost ran back to her bedchamber as soon as she left his company.

"Why?" She asked herself as she closed her eyes, "Why did things have to be so damn complicated?" she once again asked herself, wondering if she would be able to answer her own doubts and worries when she voiced them out loud.

She hugged her knees to her chest. She should be beyond this by now. She knew better. So why? Why did she feel so insecure and so afraid like she was a confused teenager?

"Why?" she asked once again as the beating of her heart seems to pound even louder, almost deafening to her ears.

----------

Tatewaki jumped away from his opponent, finally declaring a truce between them. His breath was ragged, his body a little sore and sweat permeated his senses, but he felt great pride swelled upon his chest to be able to hold himself against his opponent.

"Well done Saotome," he thanked his opponent he gave him a confident grin.

"You've gotten better Kuno," Ranma replied back. He found that he enjoyed sparring with Kuno. He had not sparred with anybody for a long while now, even unarmed Tatewaki Kuno seemed to have also improved immensely.

Both men looked at each other with self-satisfaction, before Kuno suggested for them to go in and have something to eat. They made their way towards the kitchen only to find Nabiki and one of their house helpers already fixing breakfast.

Nabiki was by the other side of the kitchen, already brewing some coffee when they entered. Ranma had to look away when he saw Kuno approach her back and wrapping his muscular arms around her waist as he nuzzled her neck.

"Good morning anata," Tatewaki greeted which almost made Nabiki jump from surprise before finally relaxing against him.

"Morning to you too," she greeted as she turned around and wrapped her arms around his neck. She was about to kiss him when she crinkled her nose in disgust once the smell of sweat permeated them. She pulled back slightly away from him.

"Someone needs a bath," she pointed out to him, only to see Ranma staring at them from behind Tatewaki's shoulder.

She was thankful that her husband has released his hold on her as she herself, untangled her arms around him. She felt rather subdued now and felt irritated when she felt slightly guilty. She was engrossed in her own inner thoughts that she had missed what it was her husband was speaking to her about. Her eyes seems to be glued towards Ranma's blue eyes.

Tatewaki realising that his wife was no longer paying him any attention followed her gaze and landed on Ranma who looked rather awkward standing there as he watched the two of them.

Tatewaki suddenly felt remorseful, remembering that last night Ranma had let slipped having some relationship problems with Akane. He didn't mean to remind Ranma any unpleasant memories as he stared at them with a slight hint of jealousy within his eyes. Unaware that he couldn't be farther from the actual truth.

"Let's eat!" Tatewaki declared as he held on to his wife's hand and assisted her to her seat.

They ate breakfast in relative silence, Tatewaki blissfully unaware the growing tension between Ranma and Nabiki. Ranma poured all his attention to his food but despite this, he can't seem to identify the taste of each morsel that passed his lips and found himself stealing glances at Nabiki who sat across him from the table.

Nabiki on the other hand, tried to ignore the quick glances that she was sure Ranma was giving her. Her heart was beating a mile a minute and she was surprised no one can hear her heart beat when it pounded so loudly within her ears. Her only source of comfort was that her left hand was currently being held by her husband.

Tatewaki on the other hand, didn't like the silence and was reminded of an important issue that needed to be addressed immediately. He looked at his left and softly squeezed Nabiki's hand to get her attention.

Nabiki looked up and met her husband's enquiring gaze.

"I have something that I need to tell you," His chest felt heavy as he tried to find the right words to explain to her what has happened the last couple of months.

----------

Akane tiredly made her way towards the kitchen to fix themselves a simple breakfast before catching herself at the thought.

"I'm all alone now," She whispered to herself as she remembered Ranma's departing form from the day before.

She couldn't sleep the night before, feeling uneasy from how things had turned out. Her eyes were swollen and quite puffy from all the crying she did last night. She felt she couldn't shed a single tear now. She felt numb and a little lost. She kept reassuring herself that he will return once he had calmed down, he loved her after all.

"Knowing him, he will train himself into exhaustion and once everything is out of his system, he will come home." she assured herself as she absentmindedly cooked breakfast. A small smile creased her lips at the hope that upon Ranma's return, they can possibly rebuild their lives once again.

She sat by the dining table, and took a bite of her onigiri, "Sweet," she commented with a frown upon herself, it appeared she had used sugar instead of salt.

"Oh Ranma," She sighed once again, fighting the tears that were once again trying to flow from her sore eyes.

----------

"I see," was all Nabiki could say, "And you were planning on telling me this now?" she replied back to her husband her voice slightly getting colder, her tone slightly getting louder.

Ranma tried to ignore them, tried to mind his own business as he continued his meal.

"Anata, I thought you would understand," Tatewaki tried again as he clasped her hand within his own.

"Understand? Understand what anata? That you have made a decision to leave the country the very next day without consulting things with me?!" Nabiki almost yelled at him as she abruptly snatched her hand away and walked away from him and headed towards their bedchambers.

Both men winced when they heard the oak door slammed against its hinges.

"I think you should go after her," Ranma couldn't help but suggest as he watched Tatewaki's dejected form. Tatewaki's gaze was still at the door where Nabiki had taken her leave.

"No, she needs space right now. I'll talk to her again when she has finally calmed down," he smiled at Ranma, "Besides, I'm pretty sure she locked that damn door," he chuckled trying to make light of their conversation.

"Suit yourself," Ranma shrugged.

"I also wanted to take this time to apologise for my actions to you not too long ago," Tatewaki continued, remembering the time he had accused Ranma of having an affair with Nabiki, "It was really low of me to even accused you and my wife of such a thing and I apologise,"

Ranma nearly choked from the orange juice that he had been drinking, surprised that Kuno had brought the topic up.

"Forgive me for being presumptuous, but it seems that you and Akane had another row," Kuno couldn't hep but point out, waiting for Ranma's response. When he didn't get any, he decided to continue, "In light of this situation, am I correct to assume that you have no particular place to go other than roughing it up in some mountain wilderness?"

Again he did not get any response from Ranma, which confirmed his notions. "Then I would like to welcome you a place at my home."

This time around, Ranma finally found his voice, "No I couldn't impose on you and Nabiki like this,"

"Nonsense! I wouldn't have you thinking of such a thing! We are family and it seems you're in need of shelter, so why not take ours? There's plenty of room for us to spare." Tatewaki explained, when Ranma still didn't looked too convinced he decided to tell him the truth, "You can also take this as my apology for the wrongful actions I have caused you over our younger years and not too long ago. Please Saotome," he paused before correcting himself. He was family now and there really was no need for formality, "No, Ranma, I ask you of this, from one man to another,"

What else could Ranma say? At the back of his mind, he could hear loud protests, telling him to not to accept Kuno's offer but Kuno seemed genuine enough and he did lower his pride and was almost begging him to accept his apology. So, despite his mind's protest he made his decision.

"I accept," Ranma replied back as he smiled but deep inside his heart was hammering in his chest like a jack-hammer.

"Excellent!" Tatewaki couldn't help but feel relieved to have finally done Ranma a favour. His guilt was slightly elevated and his conscious was immensely satisfied. "Am I right to assume that Nabiki had already provided a room for you last night?"

Ranma could only nod in confirmation.

"Good, good, just tell me or Nabiki if you need anything more," Tatewaki reassured him, "You can stay as long as you want, and take all the time you need until you and Akane can reconcile once again, I'm sure Nabiki would like that,"

Ranma was still a little overwhelmed by Kuno's help and could only nod once again. Who knew Tatewaki was this nice?

For as long as Ranma could remember, he and Kuno were merely cordial to each other, they never made it out of their way to help each other out simply because of their past history together, no doubt Kuno was still being haunted by all the things he had done, especially chasing after his girl form like a love-sick maniac.

Upon his marriage to Akane and Kuno's subsequent marriage to Nabiki, they had become amicable towards each other but still remained rather coldly formal to each other. They were in-laws now and that was how far their relationship goes. It seems Kuno has taken the biggest step of trying to make friends with him.

"Do you think I have given Nabiki enough time now?" Tatewaki couldn't help but ask Ranma for his opinion, wondering if he should go and talk to her about his plans of leaving for business the very next day.

Ranma could only shrugged, "I don't really know, but I really think you should talk to her as soon as possible if you're still intent to go to Hawaii,"

"I see, thank you Ranma," Tatewaki gratefully thanked his brother-in-law as he excused himself to try and explain things to Nabiki.

----------

Somewhere half-way to Hawaii on a jet plane,

Both Kuno Kodachi and Konjo Mariko were on the Kuno's private Lear jet, ready to deal with the rapidly declining shares of their joint business empire. Kodachi had assured Mariko that her dear older brother would be following them in a matter of a few days once he had explained to his wife about the importance of running a family business empire.

Deep inside, Kodachi was fuming. Why did her brother have to explain such things to his wife? It was about the family business for Kami's sake! That's all there was to it! Her brother should have accompanied them and not leave and wait a day later to try and placate Nabiki. Couldn't she understand that the business was left to her brother and Kodachi herself?

Beside her was her friend and business associate Konjo Mariko who was busy formulating personal plans for herself. Based on what she had found from the reports her own people and Kodachi had told her, it will take at least three months to sort the mess one or perhaps even more of their CEO's have made since it dealt with embezzlement and fraud. Three months of having Tatewaki Kuno all to herself, since she knew Nabiki would stay at Japan and handle her own job.

A smile creased her lips, she could care less about the business since the Konjo's owned more business corporations on the side but she understood why Kodachi and Tatewaki would be concerned about this particular business in Hawaii. After all, it was family business to them even if they also owned a large number of companies and corporations like herself. All she could think about were ways of getting Tatewaki back and with the months spent with her accompany alone without Nabiki's interference, she was determined to have him.

----------

Nabiki on the other hand was fuming. How dare he tell her he was leaving for Hawaii the very next day for business without consulting her first! Was that the reason Kodachi had visited unannounced? How long had he known that he needed to go abroad and why in the hell did he only inform her now?

Nabiki gritted her teeth as she paced around her room, trying to sooth her temper. She had every right to be upset, she assured herself.

She heard a faint knock against her door and knew automatically it was her husband. With determined and even steps, she headed for the door and violently yanked it open, determined to let him know she was still upset with him.

"Can we talk?" Tatewaki hedged, not daring to take one step to enter their bedroom until he knew Nabiki was ready to speak to him.

Nabiki merely narrowed her eyes on him, but stepped aside to let him in before sitting at the edge of their bed. She crossed her legs as well as her hands across her chest, indicating that she was waiting for him to explain.

Tatewaki closed the door behind him. There was no need for anyone else in the house to know that the two of them were fighting and stood rather awkwardly before his wife.

"Well? I'm waiting," she said in irritation.

Her haughty demeanour made him want to assert his dominance over her, and make love to her until he and her were tired from exhaustion to argue but he knew there was no time for that. He needed her to understand that he needed to this and it was his responsibility to do so.

"I need to leave tomorrow for Hawaii," he began before he was interrupted.

"I got that already," she spat out, "What I don't understand is why you have to go? Isn't Kodachi meant to oversee the business you have in Hawaii?" her voice slightly raising and displaying her displeasure.

Tatewaki sighed as he ran his hand through his thick hair in exasperation. "She was and currently is but it seems that she now needs my assistance. I have to do this Nabiki, this is about the family business after all."

"How long have you known about this?" Nabiki almost growled at him, wondering if he had kept this bit of news to himself for a good while now and waited until the very last minute to inform her.

"Just last night, when Kodachi had informed me. It appeared she came to inform me about it which warranted her visit." he continued to explain, not bothering to tell her that he had known about the crisis since Kodachi's visit and had the feeling that it was headed this way and will require him to deal with the crisis personally. He didn't want to waste his time arguing with her when he had already made the decision.

"Last night? Where is she now?" She wondered incredulously. Her mind spinning.

"She's on her way back to Hawaii as we speak," he tiredly replied back. He might as well just leave her to question him since she kept interrupting him.

"And just like that, you decided that you're going to leave without telling me?" Nabiki abruptly stood up and accused him.

"I'm trying to tell you now!" Tatewaki pointed out to her, " I was supposed to have accompanied her back last night but I stayed back for you!"

"A lot of good that did!" She replied back sarcastically, still feeling slightly hurt that he didn't even discuss the matter with her before coming up with the decision himself.

"Look anata, I don't like this anymore than you do but I have a responsibility and duty to do, so please I ask you to understand this," he spoke to her as his voice slowly became softer with each word.

Nabiki remained silent as she mulled over his words. She was still upset with him but she could not hold on to her anger.

Tatewaki studied Nabiki intensely, gauging her feelings and so far, he didn't detect any strong feelings from her against him. Taking this as a sign, he took a step closer to her and gathered her into his arms. Reluctantly his embrace was returned.

"I'm still upset with you," Nabiki said softly against his ear, which only made Tatewaki chuckle.

"I know, I know. If you want we can argue more about it when I get back," He teased her, which earned him a playful slap against his chest.

Now that Nabiki was in a better mood, he decided to tell her more good news, "I have something else to tell you,"

Almost immediately leaned away from him, if not from her husband's hold, she would have stepped away from him. She can't possibly take anymore news from him.

"No! No it's not like the last one, I assure you that this is something good," Tatewaki reassured her. "It's about Ranma…" Tatewaki then proceeded to tell her about Ranma's extended stay.

Nabiki stared at her husband in stunned disbelief as he continued to relate to her about Ranma's accommodations and circumstances of his prolonged stay. She was pretty sure she had turned pale at the news.

Not receiving a verbal response from her, Tatewaki also took this as another sign that she was fine about his decision.

"She's so stunned, she's speechless! She must be so happy that myself and Ranma are getting along now," he thought to himself as he once again pulled her against his body. "Isn't it wonderful!" he couldn't help but remark.

"Y-yeah, wonderful," was all Nabiki could say in reply, as she felt her throat run dry and heart rate sped faster than normal.


A week later,

Since her husband's departure, Nabiki had been frazzled. She felt rather lonely as she remembered watching her husband depart from the airport. It had almost been a week now and she had slowly began to play hide and seek with her house guest, Saotome Ranma.

As much as she wanted to avoid him, she simply can't. At work, she was still being continuously being amorously pursued by Kinnusuke that she couldn't afford to stay back at work if necessary, when she goes to visit Kasumi, her older sister constantly but subtly urges her to make amends with Akane, whom doesn't want anything to do with her and had stayed true to her words that she had been disowned and now that she's at home, well… there was Ranma.

Nabiki wanted to scream in frustration. She practically had nowhere else to go. Perhaps she should just buy a ticket and trail after her husband rather than continue this. It's only been a week after all but she felt that she was beginning to crack.

She was currently seeking shelter at the study room, trying to keep herself busy reading one of the many books her husband and family had collected. Trying to keep herself scarce in case she bumped into Ranma. She sat the leather two seater couch trying to engross herself to reading one of the books that caught her interest.

"Why am I avoiding him anyway?" she asked herself, wondering why she needed to avoid Ranma as she finally gave up trying to visualise the scenery the book has describe for its reader.

"I would like to know that too myself," a masculine and familiar voice spoke up, startling her. Making her nearly jump out from her seat.

The object of her thoughts was casually leaning against the door frame as he pointedly looked at her for an explanation.

"R-Ranma! Don't do that! You nearly scared the life out of me!" Nabiki scolded him trying to still her still rapidly beating heart as she remained seated at the couch.

Ranma ignored her reprimand and still eyed her curiously, "Aren't you going to answer me?"

"I'm not avoiding you!" she weakly defended herself even if she knew he already doubted her reply.

"That's not what you have said a minute ago," he pointed out.

"Stop using what I said against me a minute ago," Nabiki angrily retorted, annoyed at being caught.

"Am I making you uncomfortable is that it?" Ranma continued to question her before he sadly whispered, "Would you like me to leave?"

Nabiki's lips parted but no words came forth. The look in his eyes made her paused as her stomach churned unpleasantly. She wanted to admit that his presence did bother her but at the same time, she wanted him to stay. Before she knew it, Ranma was in front of her, his hands were placed gently on her shoulders as his blue eyes intensely gazed into her.

"Is that what you want? Do you want me to leave?" he said softly and almost whispered to her as he looked at her for an answer.

Nabiki had to look away from his intense gaze. There was just too much emotions in those blue eyes of his, making her chest constrict rather painfully in her chest.

"Nabiki, please look at me," he pleaded as he kneeled before her so he was now at her eye level. He gently turned her chin so she can face him.

They were too close once again. The dangerous voice inside her mind was compelling her to lean forward and capture his lips but she pushed it down. She felt his hand leave her chin only to slide towards the side of her face, cupping her cheek. His eyes mesmerizing her as she continued to look at them.

Her own hand moved to its own accord as she felt her own hand touched the one that was on her cheek which was currently caressing her. Unconsciously, she leaned against his touch.

"No…"

"No what Nabiki?" Ranma's voice sounded husky to her ears.

"No I don't want you to leave," she replied back as she closed her eyes unable to look at him anymore as words left her lips, "I want you to stay." her own voice sounded breathless.

"Are you sure?" she could hear the uncertainty in his tone, making her open her eyes.

"I'm sure,"

They were interrupted by the shrill ring of the phone, breaking whatever spell that seemed to have taken hold of them. Nabiki felt like she was splashed by cold water as she hastily got up from her seat and answered the phone.

"Moshi-moshi, This is the Kuno residence, Kuno Nabiki speaking," she still sounded too breathless in her own ears.

"Hello anata? How are you?" came Tatewaki's voice, a slight static could be heard from time to time. "You sound as if you ran toward the phone,"

Nabiki looked at Ranma, who by now was seated on the couch and had picked up the book she was trying to read, "I sort of did," she answered half-truthfully.

"I apologise for not calling sooner but it appears the business is in severe condition right now," there was a slight pause before Tatewaki continued, "It appears that I may have to stay here a bit longer than necessary,"

Nabiki felt herself take a deep breath, "How long?"

"A month or two or perhaps even more if things don't go smoothly," her hand tightened against the phone handset.

"That long?"

"I'm trying my best to resolve this mess as best as I can, you know I do not like being away from you for so long," another pause, "I miss you already,"

"And I too, miss you," she almost whispered on the phone.

"I'll try and call you as much as I can, take care of yourself anata,"

"You too," with a soft click she heard the dial tone. He had hung-up on her.

Noticing Nabiki's melancholy mood, Ranma decided to cheer her up. He approached and reached for her hand.

"Lets go," as he began to pull her out of the study.

"Where are we going?" Nabiki found herself following her, not even bothering to ask Ranma to let her go.

Ranma only ignored her until they both reached the sitting room.

Ranma then turned around to face her expectantly, "Car keys," it was a demand, not a question.

Nabiki looked at him curiously before finally heading towards the wall where the key holder was mounted at. Finding the keys to her own Mercedes benz, she then dropped it to his open hand.

He simply smiled before once again taking her hand and dragging her towards the garage where her car was parked.

"Where exactly are we going?" Nabiki once again tried asking but still received no reply as he guided her towards her own car and opened the door to the front passenger seat. She was surprise that he just stood there and waited for her to get into the car.

"What?" was all she could say before she found herself ushered to the car seat before Ranma, headed to the driver's seat.

Ranma, noticing that Nabiki had yet to put on her seat belt, took it upon himself to do it for her. Nabiki had to take a sharp intake of breath when his hand accidentally brushed against her chest when he had pulled the seat belt across her. Nabiki noted that Ranma was totally oblivious to his own actions as he too fastened his seat belt and put the key to ignition and started up the car.

Feeling the engine rev, Nabiki found her attention swiftly turned to her companion. "Ranma, you do know how to drive right?" she nervously asked. She found herself surprised when she only received a grin and a flippant reply.

"Don't worry Nabiki, I know what I'm doing,"

"That's not the answer to my…." Was all she managed to say before she felt her car jerked as it accelerated away from the Kuno estate and to the open road.

----------

The drive approximately took around 40-50 minutes, the road that was once dominated by tall buildings was now deserted and open fields, rolling hills and trees could be seen. Nabiki guessed there were quite far from civilization now.

She opened the car window as she took a deep breath of fresh cool air, she had to admit to herself that witnessing such peace and beautiful scenery was quite relaxing. From the corner of her eyes, she could see Ranma, a faint smile adorned his lips. She had given up questioning him about where they were headed and just decided to enjoy the quiet ride.

During the whole drive, they had only exchange the barest of words until finally she felt he car slow to a stop.

"We are here," he finally announced as he got out of the car.

Nabiki slowly followed as she also got out of the car. "Where are we?" she once again asked only to once again be rewarded by his bright smile.

"It's a secret." he told her confidentially.

Despite his flippant answer, she couldn't help but chuckle as they made their way towards the nearby underbrush and passed through numerous trees before finally reaching a clearing. The sound of running water could be distinctly heard.

Nabiki felt her lips moving but no words came forth as her eyes grew wide. Before her was a majestic water fall, crystal blue water could be heard as it rushed down and finally joined the water below. It was simply stunning up close.

She looked at Ranma who only gave her another one of his damnable grins.

"I know huh? I thought the same thing too, not too long ago when I discovered it while training. I thought I wouldn't remember this place again," he explained rather nostalgically.

"It's beautiful," Nabiki couldn't help but admire the scenery.

"I think of this place when I am stressed, and it always managed cheered me up," he continued though Nabiki could detect a tinge of sadness in his tone. It seemed he didn't think the mere image of this beautiful place was enough to lift up his feelings.

"So why did you take me here?" she asked in wonder.

"Shouldn't it be clear to you by now?" he quipped as he finally glanced at her and snatching his gaze away from the breath-taking view. His eyes shimmered and her heart skipped a beat when she had heard his sweet and kind words, "Because you needed it,"

Nabiki, looked at him and then back to the magnificent view. She felt herself fluster caused by the feelings he had invoked in her by just few and simple words. She closed her eyes and almost immediately, all her worries seemed to drift away; Akane, Kinnusuke, her husband's absence… How could such image just soothe all her troubles away just like the sweeping waters of the fall.

She opened her eyes, her feelings more lighter than before. "Thank you."

Ranma for his part could only watch her as his own chest felt considerably lighter and enjoyed the effects the majestic place had to offer.


It had almost been six weeks since that last encounter to Ranma's secret place, and things have considerably had gone better between them. Nabiki no longer had the overwhelming desire to avoid Ranma like she used to, rather she made it a point to also cheer him up.

Her husband called from time to time to check up on her and sounded tired and ragged from what she had gathered from their conversations. She sometimes felt sorry for him, but there was little she could do. At work, Kinnusuke still actively pursued her despite her many protests while her relationship with her sister Akane remained at stale mate.

At home, she found relative peace and Ranma a surprising companion. She spent many nights just talking to Ranma or watching movies with him. In the weekends, Ranma had managed to convince her to once again take up the art which she obliged to since she knew he was probably growing restless around the estate or even going for long drives with him.

She found she really did enjoy his company, especially during meals where she hated to dine alone. She was glad that so far, he had stayed with her during her husband's absence.

Ranma on the other hand watched her eat. He had grown really fond of Nabiki, and even though he couldn't say it out loud, he knows she feels the same way. He loved spending his time with her. Watching her freely laugh or even smile made his feelings soar.

That evening after dinner, they were to watch some American film Nabiki had borrowed from the movie rental place. Ranma read the title rather dubiously.

He merely shrugged and put the dvd on the dvd player while Nabiki entered the living room carrying a large bowl of popcorn. Through out the movie, the two critically criticised the film, pointing out mistakes and clichés. Finally, after watching almost an hour of what seemed to be a really boring film, Ranma looked at Nabiki only to find that she was already sleeping soundly against his shoulder.

Ranma felt his chest grow warm and had to force himself to wake her. When Nabiki merely snuggled against him after his attempts of trying to rouse her, he gave up and lifted her up and carried her bridal style towards her bed chambers where he proceeded to tuck her in. He sat back beside her as he watched her sleep. He gently brushed off a few stray strands of hair that fell across her beautiful face. His actions was rewarded with a faint smile from the still slumbering Nabiki, making him quirk a smile of his own.

"You don't know what you do to me Nabiki," he whispered to her softly as his hand strayed from her and now drifted slowly to her cheek, before finally removing his touch away from her. Inexplicably, his attraction towards her continued to grow and even grew stronger each time he spent time with her and while he knew this was wrong, he simply couldn't stop himself.

Nabiki slightly frowned from the lost of contact and slowly opened her eyes. She was still a bit groggy from sleep but she smiled when her eyes finally focused and gazed at Ranma's smiling form watching over her.

"You fell asleep during the movie," Ranma explained softly, in case she was wondering why they were now in her bedroom, though the thought never even occurred to Nabiki. To Nabiki, it didn't seem to matter where she was as long as she feeling of warmth and security still wrapped around her.

"Hhhmmmm…." was the only intelligent thing that Nabiki could reply right now.

"Well, I better let you rest. Goodnight Nabiki," Ranma said as he began to get up from the edge of the bed only to feel her hand reached out to grasp his arm.

"Stay…" she sleepily requested, when he didn't respond she pleaded, "Please…"

Ranma stood there, not knowing what to do but the look in her eyes was just to mesmerizing that he didn't have any strength to refused.

When Nabiki felt his arm relax from her hold, she scooted back to make room for him as he climbed into bed with her. Nabiki was still unaware of her own actions when she snuggled up against him once she felt him beside her. Ranma on the other hand remained still, trying to will himself to relax but surrendered to the warmth Nabiki was emitting with her own body.

Nabiki nestled her head across Ranma's chest where she could hear his heart race, while Ranma wrapped his own arms around her. His left hand rested on her waist while his right hand was placed under her nape and caressing her gently.

Nabiki felt her eyes grow heavier at his soothing touch and she couldn't help but moan her appreciation as she snuggled closer to his chest.

Ranma couldn't help himself, his left hand that rested across her waist, glided up past her shoulder, her neck and finally under her chin. His touch made Nabiki shiver and let her chin be tilted up to meet his smoky blue eyes.

Nabiki almost gasped at the overwhelming desire in those blue eyes of his which looked to be growing darker with each intake of breath he took.

His lips felt dry at the sight of her, eager to taste those moist and inviting lips. For weeks now he had controlled himself from the urge of kissing her every time they were together, afraid that she would only push him away but contented himself by finding excuses to touch her. Excuses like pretending to hold her hand and not notice, teaching her the art as he guided her through the katas, basically any excuse to be close to her and touch her, but with each day that passed by the urge kept growing stronger and stronger, tonight was no different. He was now teetering over the edge and he can no longer restrain himself.

He licked his dry lips and slowly descended over her as he tilted her chin to meet him. His lips ever so slowly captured her lips, giving her enough time to either slap him or push him away, when no reactions met him, he continued until he could finally taste her lips against his own.

Something exploded from the back of his mind as he deepened the kiss, his own hand now explored her body, leaving heated trails along the way.

Nabiki on the other hand, couldn't think clearly as her own body moved on it's own accord, returning his heated kisses with her own as her own hands mimicked the movements of his hand on his body while his hand was busy on her own. They pressed against each other but even then, it felt like it wasn't enough.

Each touch, each caress, made her body feel like it was on fire and she couldn't get enough of him. Soon she became aware that both her hand and his was now touching naked skin, her own sleepiness was quickly forgotten as the rapidly growing torrent of lust invaded her senses.

A crack of lightning, filtered through the dark evening and filtered across the room announcing torrential rain, but it didn't deter them. Thunder began to emanate and shook the ground by its ominous rumble as rain descended from the heavens above, but despite the raging storm it didn't cool their heated touch nor slowed them down. The sounds of thunder accompanied by lightning muted Nabiki and Ranma's cries of pleasure as both of them continued to drown themselves against each other.


xxxxxxx


Author's Notes:

I hoped you liked the latest update.

Like what I had mentioned two chapters prior, this latest chapter is part of of one big chapter in which I divided into 3 chapters individually because of the length and the type of scenes it had, especially how this chapter turned out to be the longest out of the three but I really hoped you liked how I wrote this.

I'd also liked to also thank JhyarelleDrakon for the flattering review you have given me, even though I don't deserve such a great review but thank you (blushes).

To everyone who has continued to read and support this story, I would like to say thank you very much. I just wished I could say something more than a simple word of thanks and words of appreciation to all youre kind support. I also thank you for your patience, since I know it took me a long while to update this story, with that being said:

Nabiki and Ranma had finally succumbed to temptation,

What can this possibly hold for the two of them?

Every action causes a reaction,

so what kind of repercussion could each of the characters' actions entail?

Please tune in next time for another exciting episode of Thy Neighbour's Wife

Please review,

Ja Ne