Disclaimer:

I do not own Ranma or Kasumi their respective owners do...no matter how I wish it wasn't so. Oh Hitomi and Van of Escaflowne aren't mine either I just borrowed them for my purpose hehe...they belong to their owners as well.

A/N:

I know I've been absent for a while and well I'm still been writing a few fics here and there this is actually my third RK fic but I wanted to post this one as it is a little lighter and not that dark and I've left RK for too long. As for the unposted one I had been depressed and dark for a while so I thought it not suitable to post. Anyway I'm working on a long RK fic which is now in the 200 pages length but I'm not going to post it out while it's unfinished as I hope to finish it before I post it out so as not to leave it hanging.

Anyway I hope you guys like this one...hoped I've improved my writing a bit too.

This is a beta version as I took only about a week to write it, preread it myself and add a few minor changes so please be gentle. Comments are still welcomed good or bad...shows me if I improved or not :)

Finally this fic is Alternate Universe, Fluffy and Waffy (Hope I can still make it like this...) and characters are a tad OOC. Okay onto the fic...

- - Means start or end of a scene.

How does love feel?

By

Himura Alucard

Chapter 1

- -

As the drone of various fingers clashing on the keyboards, phones ringing off the hook and people talking raged on in the background it was to her a normal day or at least far from the norm.

Just having been reprimanded by her boss moments earlier for making a few mistakes in his sales figures proposal report she was now not only to forced redo it but she had to also collect his dry-cleaning later in the afternoon during lunch. But since it was already late morning she was happy she got this far with only one scolding.

Kasumi nevertheless no matter how stressed she got she still carried on with her job with he ever present cherry smile because well honestly she thought doing her job with a smile was the only way to work. Being the only person in her home to bring in an income she also needed the money she was after all the one who had to pay all the bills hopefully on time.

Kasumi was famous for sporting a smile even after just coming out of her boss's office after one major lecture that lead her colleagues to sometime wonder if Kasumi's alright psychologically. Kasumi on a good day would get off with at least only one major telling off but her record so far was 6 times in a day.

'And those weren't even my mistakes...' figured Kasumi. She now realized why she had been giving the job even though her qualifications weren't that stellar. She was after all just a high-school graduate with no formal training in any specific field of work she had to learn it as she went on.

Kasumi just kept on thinking about her sisters which she was constantly reminded off by the small picture of them she had stuck on her computer monitor. A short message window popped up from her computer tray which read 'Got bitten off by the old dragon? - Hitomi'

Kanzaki Hitomi was Kasumi's best friend from work for she would spend her many afternoon lunches with her by the rooftop and just by talking with Hitomi would make Kasumi's stress ease a little for she was so carefree.

Kasumi knew she didn't have much time but hitting the reply button she quickly typed her reply 'As usual...=) have to pick up his dry-cleaning later too... - Kasumi'

That reply made Hitomi's face who was sitting at the other end of the office drawl as if she had sucked on a lemon. She knew that if Kasumi was able to find another job she would have left this job month's ago but Kasumi always told her that she was happy with what she had.

After redoing the figures of the proposal halfway Kasumi who had lost track of the time face vaulted when she saw the clock on her computer. "Oh my...I have to collect his dry-cleaning..." she moaned to herself as she quickly picked up her purse and also the laundry tab then she rushed out.

Kasumi's brow was furiously sweating from the afternoon heat from having to rush out and then later rush back into the office while carrying about 3 kilograms worth of dry-cleaning.

'I don't see why he has to go out to do the dry-cleaning when we have a dry-cleaner in the department store...' Kasumi grumbled to herself as she struggled to keep her hold on the rather large plastic clothes wraps that protected the delicate garments.

With an audible 'ting' the elevator doors opened and Kasumi quickly rushed out and made a hurried dash down the corridor. Kasumi was trying to look at the time as she was about to make a right turn. She was struggling though to see her tiny wristwatch and just when she had brought the timepiece high enough above the clothes bag her whole body suddenly felt as if it had bumped into a hard immovable object.

"Oh my...!" she yelped.

Gasping and closing her eyes instinctively Kasumi was hugging onto the laundry for dear life as she waited for the impact of her thin body onto the hard floor but moments passed she felt nothing except for the sensation of a pair of strong arms going firmly and hastily around her waist supporting her whole upper body up.

"Sorry miss...it was my fault...are you alright?" came a male voice.

Kasumi instantly opened up her eyes and saw nothing but a pair of concerned filled eyes on a young man's face looking down at her. "Are you alright?" he asked her again.

"I'm fine...thank you," Blushing under his intense yet subtle stare Kasumi quickly tired to straighten herself out but the extra weight she was carrying didn't make it easy for her.

"Whoa...let me help you miss..." Kasumi felt the same hands that held her up guardedly pull her back onto her own feet but as she steadied herself Kasumi lost her footing and tipped forwards and tumbled into the stranger's chest.

"Are you sure you're okay? You seem to be a little tipsy..." stated the man looking down at the mass of brown hair flowing onto his face. Kasumi found the unusual closeness rather uneasy and as he gently pushed Kasumi's upper body away from his chest he kept his hold on her until he was sure she was standing firm on her two feet.

In between looking up and trying not to stare at the man, Kasumi found that standing right in front of her was a young man dressed in a very elegant black suit. The young man in question was still asking her if she was alright.

"I'm fine...sir I'm the one who should be apologizing I was running and not looking at where I was going." Kasumi explained while trying to get back her grip on the slipping bags of laundry.

"Here...you need help with that?" politely asked the man again extending his hand out to her.

"No...thanks but I must go...I'm late as it is..." and with that Kasumi quickly bowed to him and ran off down the hallway leaving the man sporting a lopsided smile. Just as he bent down to pick up his dropped attaché case he noticed by his left shoe a small square leather purse was lying on the floor.

- -

Kasumi was trying hard not to cry but it seems like her tears would just burst out at any moment, after she had gotten back to her seat after handling over to her boss his dry-cleaning Kasumi received another reprimand for being late and a lecture on how she should be doing his report and such. After sitting down she noticed that her computer had been unexpectedly turned off.

When Kasumi had asked her next cubicle colleague he told her that the tea lady had accidentally switched off the wrong plug and inadvertently switched off her computer's power plug instead of the coffeemaker's. Worst off Kasumi didn't manage to save her two hours worth of corrections she had done earlier.

She didn't know what else could go wrong with her day and as if on queue she heard her boss's voice barking over her intercom. After another lengthy session a rather forlorn looking Kasumi plopped down into her seat.

Her boss had just told her that the proposal meeting had been moved up to tomorrow morning as the new Operations Director for the store has arrived. Having to not only recalculate the figures she also needed to add in more recent sales data. Kasumi was looking at least 3 to 4 hours of extra work.

'I'd better call home and tell them to fend for themselves.' Kasumi sighed inwardly as she picked up the phone and started to dial the numbers.

The sun outside her window had already long set and as her desk side lamp was providing the only source of light Kasumi worked on. She was rushing to finish off the report which was in all tangible sense her boss's report. She had to read up and calculate the figures all by herself for him and then compile it into a report so that he could present it to the board later tomorrow.

'Figures...he'd get all the praise while I get all the telling offs...' sighed Kasumi silently while taking a brief break to rest her tired eyes as she was rubbing her temples a voice suddenly spoke up beside her. "Here...take this it'd help..." said the voice.

Kasumi immediately screamed and jumped out of her seat while in the process she tipped over her shoe's heel and fell sideways. Again she waited for her body to fall but again it didn't happen, "I better stop meeting you like this Miss Tendo Kasumi..."

Helping her back up to her seat and handing her the cup of nice warm tea Kasumi was now staring at the very apologetic looking face of the same man who had helped her earlier.

"How do you know my name?" she asked him with a hint of surprise.

The man with neatly tied raven long hair produced a small purse which she instantly recognized as her own, "My purse..." she exclaimed.

Taking it out from his outstretched hand he said, "You must have dropped it this morning. Everything's there...I promise. All I did was to open it to check your I.D."

"Thanks again...Mr....?"

"Saotome...Ranma Saotome." he simply stated.

"Thanks Mr. Saotome if I had lost my purse today then I'd really have the worst day of my life..." Kasumi happily said to him after checking on her purse's contents.

"Ranma..." he corrected her.

"Pardon?"

"Call me Ranma...Miss Tendo." Ranma said with a smile as he took a seat beside Kasumi.

"Err...then I guess you can call me Kasumi..." stuttered Kasumi slightly as she had never asked a man she'd just met to call her by her first name.

"You were saying something about today being the worst day of your life? It can't be that bad right?" Ranma asked her with a hint of optimism masked behind his smile.

With her delicate brows knitted together she replied, "You have no idea..."

Just as Kasumi was about to continue, a loud growl interrupted her and blushing red Kasumi looked straight down at the carpeted floor underneath her feet.

"Hungry?" Ranma inquired with a small laugh.

"I'd get something to eat on my way home..." she replied trying to control her blush.

"It's getting quite late now and well not unless you want to eat instant cup Ramen then why don't you give me the pleasure of inviting you out for some supper?"

Looking at her wristwatch Kasumi was astounded to see it read 9.30pm. She had stayed back since 5pm to work on the report. "Er...well..." Kasumi hesitated.

"I know what you're thinking, some unknown guy asking you out for late night supper, maybe he's a maniac or something but if it makes you feel any better I did return your purse intact and please allow me the chance to apologize for rudely bumping into you this afternoon." Ranma added.

Looking at the young man's face Kasumi saw that it was quite sincere and with no malice behind it plus something inside of Kasumi kept on telling her that it was alright. "Okay...I accept." she replied softly.

Walking down the darken hallways and then finally making it outside to the wide open streets, Ranma while looking around for any available taxis stood beside Kasumi on the pavement. "So what you'd like to eat? I know a few places which are pretty good around here that are still open."

"I'm okay with anything..." replied Kasumi meekly still uncomfortable with the whole idea.

"Mmm...how about a little Italian...I know a charming Italian restaurant a few blocks down that serves a decent plate of pasta." he suggested.

Nodding her head Ranma then managed to hail a taxi and after a short ten minute ride they soon found themselves seated inside the restaurant. After ordering a plate of the seafood lasagna for himself and a plate of grilled mackerel in cream sauce for Kasumi the two sat in silence.

"So...do you normally bring your dry-cleaning up to work?" questioned Ranma with a faint smile to break the easy stillness between the two.

"No...no...I was helping my boss to collect it..." Kasumi answered him quickly.

Her reply made Ranma raise his brow, "Isn't that a little abusive of his authority? I mean 3 bags of heavy suits and 3 bags of dresses..."

"It's okay...I was on my way there anyway..." interrupted Kasumi. She was thankful for the waiter then interrupting them to serve them their orders for she didn't know how long she could keep up lying to him.

"So Kasumi, How long have you been working there?" said Ranma, while picking up a small portion of his lasagna and placed it into his mouth. He was just trying to make the meal pass by more comfortable by engaging in some small talk.

"A year and a half later this month..." she replied him nonchalantly.

"How do you like it so far?" he continued.

"It's okay..." Kasumi continued as she picked up a small piece of her mackerel and gently swallowing before continuing, "A job is a job right? I need money to pay the bills so I need to work."

"True...I guess but I can't imagine doing a job which includes being a part time servant to your boss..." Ranma said as a matter of fact.

Kasumi tried to reply but she found it hard for he was stating quite the obvious truth, Kasumi in short was his part time servant. It wasn't just the dry-cleaning but she would sometimes even pick up his golf magazine subscription and do also other menial chores for him when he asks.

"It's my job..." replied Kasumi sadly.

Ranma promptly sensed the saddness behind her reply and immediately stopped instead he chose to go onto other subjects.

"Don't like your mackerel?" Ranma had asked for he noticed how Kasumi was just picking at her food rather then eating it.

"Err...no...it's just that I think the chef put in to much rosemary in the sauce..."

Ranma then extended his arm and after asking permission dabbed his spoon onto the sauce and tasted it.

Kasumi could help but giggle at the face Ranma made for her to see as his lips puckered in and tongue sticking out, "You're right too much rosemary ...if you want I can ask to change it..."

Ranma was about to raise his hand to get the attention of the idly standing waiter when Kasumi interrupted him and pulled down his hand, "Its okay...I don't want to waste the food it's not that bad I just don't have that much appetite I still have to go back to the office later and finish off my report..."

Not noticing that Kasumi was still holding his hand, "It's almost 10pm...don't you sleep?" gasped Ranma looking as if he was honestly shocked then feeling the warm touch of Kasumi's hand's on his arm he quickly pulled it back and scratched his head.

"I don't have much of a choice, my boss needs next month's proposed sales report early next morning and I have to brief it to him before he presents it to the new Operations Manager of the department store tomorrow." sighed Kasumi as she looked at the mackerel dish.

"Don't you have a computer at home to bring it back to?" he asked Kasumi this time his voice a little kinder.

Kasumi didn't know how to answer him really for how was one to answer saying that your family was unable to afford a computer in this day and age. "I don't have the figures at home so I have to finish it in the office" she lied.

Ranma had by then finished with his meal for now he rested his head on his hands and gazed once more at Kasumi who was trying to finish up her meal with grace. Her cheeks hued from feeling his gaze on her as Kasumi tried to fight it down but she just couldn't.

"I'd stay with you then...until you finish typing your report." he said to her from out of the blue.

Kasumi was about to say something but Ranma spoke up before her, "I'd feel better knowing that someone is with you during that late of an hour."

- -

Back at the office Kasumi was trying hard to concentrate on calculating her figures but with Ranma sitting so close next to her and carefully watching her she found it rather hard to work.

She was feeling ever so embarrassed for not only had he paid for their meal but also the taxi ride back to the office. But curiously enough Kasumi did notice that Ranma knew quite a lot about the report she was doing as he on a few occasions helped her correct a few mistakes she had made.

"Ranma...where do you work anyway? You seem to know quite a lot about sales." Kasumi innocently questioned.

"I used to work in sales before so I'm pretty familiar with it..." he replied her with a grin.

It took Kasumi another twenty minutes but after that she was basically done and after making sure all the doors were locked Kasumi was about to say her goodbye to Ranma as they stood outside on the pavement.

"Good night Ranma, thanks for the meal and everything maybe I'd buy you dinner sometime." Kasumi offered.

"It's okay... by the way where do you live Kasumi? It's really late now so why don't I get you a taxi to get back home?"

"No...please Ranma I've already bothered you enough...I can manage to get back home..." faltered Kasumi as she turned away and got ready to walk off.

Ranma who had been looking out for a taxi by the roadside ran up to the girl and stood in front of her, "Kasumi, I don't want you to feel that I'm expecting something in return for me doing all this...Honestly I don't, I just don't feel comfortable with the fact that you've got to walk back home at this time of night alone, so please a taxi ride is far safer." he explained.

Hearing no response from her, Ranma went back to his search and hailed a taxi. After they got in Kasumi told the driver her address, as her apartment complex was coming into view the taxi stopped right under it. Kasumi was about to offer to pay half of the fare when she felt a strong pair of hands pushing her purse back down.

After a brief standoff Ranma paid for the fare and as they got out Kasumi looking befuddled kept on thanking him. "Kasumi enough...how about if you let me walk you up to your apartment I'd call it even?"

Kasumi stared down at her feet for a while before she nodded she'd never seen a man so resolute about her safety. So with Ranma accompanying Kasumi up the stairs and after a few corridors later they reached a green painted metal door with the Tendo name placed outside.

"Well...This is where I live..." Kasumi smiled to him.

"Well then Miss. Tendo I wish you a goodnight," with that Ranma simply smiled to her turned around and started to walk back where he had came from, happy that he had done his duty as a gentleman.

Once entering the dark hallway of her home Kasumi gently placed her shoes on the rack and carefully walked around the living room to her small room. Taking her towel with her she looked in on the room opposite hers and seeing her two sibling sisters fast asleep in their bunk beds she headed off to take her shower.

Kasumi was drying her hair with her towel while sitting down in front of her dresser, she was trying hard to figure out this Ranma character. She had been working with the department store for quite some time now but had never heard or even seen Ranma before until today.

"Must be someone new..." she shrugged folding the now damp towel away.

Seeing the time almost reaching twelve Kasumi quickly got herself into bed and after a few minutes she fell asleep.

Meanwhile sitting on his window sill, Ranma in his loose black track pants and red t-shirt with a glass of warm milk in his hand was thinking about the girl he bumped into that morning. "Wonder if I'd see her tomorrow..."

- -

As the loud buzzing noise echoed beside her Kasumi slowly got up from her bed and slowly trudge to the bathroom where a cold bath quickly woke her up. It was just barely half past five but she needed to do last nights laundry, the dirty plates and also fix breakfast.

Right about six Kasumi heard the familiar ring of an alarm from the other room and after a loud moan of complaint a figure sleepily walked out.

"Morning Kasumi..." yawned her youngest sibling.

"Morning Akane...out for your morning jog?"

Akane simply nodded after fighting down another yawn but after saying her goodbye and with a clang of the metal door Kasumi was left to herself again.

Looking out of her small window from the kitchen Kasumi wondered once again, 'How will work be like today?'

She knew she had to be in a little earlier today check on her report just to make sure it was alright so after finishing her mug of tea Kasumi went back into her room to change into her usual work uniform.

After getting dressed and setting out a simple breakfast of bread, jam, eggs and tea Kasumi was greeted by the other inhabitant of her home and second sibling.

"Morning Nabiki...breakfast is ready...I'd have to go to work early so once Akane gets back you two have breakfast just leave the dishes in the sink." with a goodbye Kasumi started to make her way out of her apartment and to another day of work.

- -

Reading her report Kasumi was anxiously waiting for her boss to come in so that she could start explaining to him what the contents of the report were. She hated it when he was late as that meant that she would have to rush things and when she rushed her explanations she was sure to leave something out.

Leaving something out then meant that her boss was ill prepared and when he was ill prepared he looked bad and with that she'd be in for a whole lot of trouble. Waiting for the past fifteen minutes Kasumi was getting worried.

The meeting was scheduled at 9am and now it was almost 8.45am and still no sign of her boss Kasumi was worried. Kasumi jumped up as little as her phone rang and as the loud panting voice of her boss barked over the line telling her to meet him in the lift and then do an explanation she knew she was going to suffer after the meeting.

Meeting him halfway up the elevator Kasumi tried her best to explain what she can to him and hoped that he could remember. He was far more interested in wiping off his sweat from his balding forehead then to listen to her and as he walked off to the boardroom Kasumi sighed and prayed that she wouldn't get it too bad later.

As if she was preparing to face a losing battle Kasumi readied herself to face the wrath of her boss and when she heard the door slamming and catching the very black face of her boss Kasumi expected t he worst.

"KASUMI!!!!" shouted his voice over the intercom, which made even those who overheard his tone of voice empathize for her. And as she walked in, Kasumi saw that he was in the foulest mood she had ever seen him.

Thirty minutes had past and Kasumi was still stuck inside his room. With the words she heard him use Kasumi was trying hard to keep her tears in. But with each passing minute it was getting harder and harder not for her to breakdown in tears.

"Get out now! And make sure this never happens again!!!" he shouted.

"Yes sir..." Kasumi answered him, her voice shaky.

As she closed the door gently behind her Kasumi couldn't keep it in any longer so running out of her office with her tears blurring her sight she headed straight for the female washroom. Just as she was about to turn to the corridor she once again bumped into someone once more and this time she totally crashed hard onto the floor.

With tears streaming down her cheeks she didn't even have the strength to stand herself up. "Kasumi...what's the matter?" came the familiar voice.

Looking up and upon seeing the very soft eyes of Ranma who was bending down to check on her Kasumi fell into his arms crying. Ranma looked confused at first but then used his hands to gently rub her back and try to calm her down.

Ranma saw past Kasumi's shoulders another girl rushing up to them, "Kasumi are you alright?" asked Hitomi.

"Why don't you get her into the washroom and try to calm her down...I'd get something for her to drink..." Hitomi heard Ranma say.

So with Hitomi gently soothing Kasumi inside the washroom Ranma soon came back with a cup of hot tea in his hand. Knocking on the door and saying it was him the two girls soon walked out.

"Here drink this..." offered Ranma to the now hiccupping girl whose tears still streamed over her cheeks this time only slower.

"Umm...Kasumi I have to get back before he notices I'm gone...you think you can take care of her until she feels better?" Hitomi looked over to Ranma.

Ranma smiled up to her and gently guided Kasumi to an empty meeting room and sat her down on one of the chairs while Ranma sat down on the other in front of her.

"Care to tell me what happen?" he asked her, his voice ever so gentle.

- -

Ranma was left shaking his head as he heard Kasumi's story but was glad as Kasumi calmed down a bit. She then excused herself saying that she had to get back to work.

"Thank you again Ranma...I really don't know how to repay you...for all you've done." she said quietly while bowing her head low.

"You can thank me after I've walked you back to your desk..." he smiled.

Now knowing that Ranma wouldn't take no for an answer Kasumi together with Ranma walking beside her reentered her office and as she turned to her desk Kasumi looked on in horror as her boss was standing there impatiently.

"Kasumi where have you been!!! I pay you..." he shouted before trailing off and his mouth fell wide agape.

Looking behind her Kasumi could see nothing was there and beside her was only Ranma who had a rather wicked smile plastered on his face.

"So... Mr. Matsu what were you saying or rather shouting again?" inquired Ranma sternly of the aging man.

Mr. Matsu couldn't reply back he was speechless, a first for Kasumi and as Ranma gently guided her back to her seat, "Mr. Matsu I would like to see you in your office in five minutes." Ranma commanded as he walked pass him.

As the man quickly walked off to his office Ranma sat Kasumi down at her desk and smiled down to her, "Don't worry okay..." and with that he smiled and left her desk and marched into her boss's office.

The clatter that came out from the office was so loud that Kasumi couldn't believe that Ranma's voice could get that loud. It was loud enough for everyone to take notice as for once instead of him doing all the scolding he was the one being scolded.

Ranma then later came out minus his coat and looking a little flushed he asked Kasumi to follow him into the office. Inside she could see her boss Mr. Matsu head was hung low and as Ranma gently pushed her closer to his desk, "Well I'm waiting..." stated Ranma firmly.

"Kasumi...I'm sorry...I shouldn't have abused my position like that...please accept my deepest apology." The man pleaded.

This must be a first for Kasumi hearing him apologizing to all people not the least her, "Its okay sir...apology accepted." Kasumi replied.

"Kasumi why don't you leave us for a while I'd be out in a sec..." Ranma closed the door behind her as Kasumi walked back to her seat.

Hitomi was the first one to approach her, "What happened in there?"

"He apologized...to me." mumbled Kasumi.

"He what??" Hitomi was asking once more just in case she misheard Kasumi.

"He said he was sorry..." repeated Kasumi.

"Wow...that boyfriend of yours must be a really convincing guy..." smiled Hitomi.

Blushing heavily Kasumi responded with arms waved, "No...he isn't my boyfriend we just met last night..." the two of them were interrupted by Ranma and also Mr. Matsu's sudden reentrance. Seeing that everyone were focusing their attention on them Ranma spoke up.

"I want you all to listen, if Mr. Matsu here once again raises his voice to anyone of his staff for any reason what so ever then please don't hesitate to call me in my office or email me. I will deal with this myself right Mr. Matsu..."

"Yes Director." The man replied.

- -

Intermission for next chapter... Still want to read on? Tell me in your reviews...I hope I'd still get some... =) Cha. H.A