Disclaimer: I do not own Love Hina or any of its characters. I don't own Ranma 1/2 either nor the characters that seldom appear in this story.
The day before the exam.........
Keitaro sighed as he walked up the stairs towards Hinata-sou. His face showed worry as he thought about the exam that was coming up tomorrow. He took off his shoes as he entered and bumped into Naru as she walked down the stairs. She tripped and he somehow managed to catch her. Unfortunately he lost his footing and both of them rolled down the stairs.
Naru was walking down the stair in deep thought when she felt someone bump into her. She lost her balance and she closed her eyes as she prepared for the inevitable fall. She felt a pair of hands catch her and was about to open her eyes to see who it was when gravity resumed its hold on them and both of then were sent tumbling down the stairs.
After a painful drop down the stairs, Keitaro found himself in a precarious position: There was a very beautiful girl lying on top of him; now most guys would feel fortunate about this, but not for Keitaro. The girl currently lying on top of his was known for his short stay here to hit him for any sort of 'perverted' action he did, whether intentional or not, so it was reasonable for him to feel afraid when he felt the girl on top of him opening her eyes.
Naru felt dizzy after the fall down the stair, fortunately for her, something soft cushioned her fall. She opened her eyes to see what it was only to look into a pair of brown eyes. She stared into them for a while before a twitch on her chest brought her back to you get off me already,¡¨ said Keitaro, hoping to keep her from noticing that he was unintentionally grabbing her breasts.
"Oh......right," Naru replied, blushing.
She got off him quickly, and pretended that nothing happened. Beside her, Keitaro got up and sighed in relief while brushing himself off.
Why am I blushing like this? wondered Naru.
"Tomorrow's the exam, so you're taking a rest?" she asked him, trying to take her mind off of what just happened.
"Yeah...... He he," he said quickly while hiding the book he was studying behind his back.
"Of course, cramming doesn't help any"
The both of them were interrupted when Kitsune appeared behind them. She had a tray in her hands and she quickly dragged them both towards the back of the inn.
"1.2.3, GO!! HOPE YOU BOTH CAN PASS!!!!" they screamed as the two examinees entered. Confetti flew down from the ceiling and the two of them were surprised.
Motoko was at the side of the room drumming while Suu had pompons in her hands cheering. Kitsune quickly sat down and brought out a bottle of wine. Shinobu served them both while wishing them luck. The party progressed well into the night.
Meanwhile, the remaining tenant of Hinata-sou.......
Ranko was dressed in her usual kimono while talking to and older woman sitting in front of her. They were at a cafe somewhere near the center of the district. The cafe was well decorated but most of the seats were empty. Soothing music played at the background and most of the people in there chatted happily amongst themselves.
"But mom, I can take care of myself, you know that," Ranko said, apparently losing the argument. This was a side of Ranko that no one in Hinata-sou has ever seen. This side of Ranko seemed to be more like a normal girl her age rather than the false mask of a cheerful albeit a little air-headed young woman she assumed whenever she was in the company of most people.
"Now, now Ko-chan, I know that you can take care of yourself just fine. But you can't blame a mother for wanting to check up on her daughter from time to time could you? Besides, Kasumi-chan said she wanted to go along," the woman, now revealed as Nodoka, answered.
"What!! Kasumi-neesan is coming?" she said in surprise, her attitude towards the situation changing completely.
Nodoka smiled inwardly as she took out her ace, Kasumi. Her daughter would agree to just about anything when she was mentioned. God knows how much she idolized her. She even went as far as imitating her ever-cheerful attitude.
It all started 14 years ago, she reminisced as they randomly chatted after getting the matter solved.
Little Ranko was 6 years old that year. A year after that fateful accident that changed her life forever, it was also that accident that led to the reunion of mother and......daughter.
They had headed for the Tendo dojo, hoping to find her wayward husband. He had a lot of explaining to do after doing that to their child. By her side, Ranko skipped merrily as she held her mother's hand.
Finally, they arrived. Nodoka hesitated for a while before knocking on the door. What if her husband wasn't there? What would she do then? Either way, they had to be informed, the engagement was off.
As she talked with the Tendo Patriarch, Ranko wandered around the household, eventually coming across the kitchen. What she saw amazed her.
A girl who appeared to be a few years older than her was busy running around the kitchen, busy preparing dinner. Sometimes she would be cutting some vegetables, the next she would be stirring something in the pot, then tasting the soup.
Wow, she's so....so, her young mind couldn't find a word to explain what she felt.
She was standing on a stool, trying to get something that was too high up. The stool was unstable, and she tripped. The girl screamed out before falling, Ranko quickly rushed to catch her. Using her training, she managed to do so just in time.
Kasumi was standing on top of the stool, trying to get a spice that was too high up. She knew that she should ask her father to get it for her, but he was busy talking with their guest, so she took a stool and tried to get it herself. Unfortunately, she lost her balance and fell. She felt someone attempt to catch her before hitting the ground.
She heard a quiet 'oww' underneath her, so she quickly got up and turned around to see who it was. She was surprised when she saw that it was the little girl that had came with their guest.
"I'm sorry, are you alright?" she asked, kneeling down with a worried look on her face.
"Owie, I'm ok" Ranko replied cutely, Rubbing her butt where it hurt.
"Here, let me help you," Kasumi said, offering a hand.
She helped her up and patted her gently on the head.
"Thank you for trying to help me, my name is Kasumi, what's yours?" she asked with a gently smile on her face.
"My name is Ranko," she replied shyly.
"No need to be shy, come on, let's go find your mother."
After making sure nothing was going to boil over, she took Ranko's hand and led her through the house to where her mother was still discussing with Soun, if you could call it that. He was bawling his eyes out while crying something about the schools not being joined. Kasumi led Ranko to her mother and went to comfort her father, even if she didn't know what was going on. Nodoka hugged Ranko while looking appraisingly at the older girl.
It was dawn, and they were leaving. Kasumi took over the role of hostess since her father was still busy crying. She bid them goodbye and saw them to the door. There she waved goodbye to the little girl, a genuine smile on her face for the first time in many years. Something in that little girl just made her feel so happy, it was as if her happiness was contagious. She was almost sad that they had to leave.
"Can we go back to visit again momma?" asked Ranko as they headed back home.
"Kasumi-neesan said we could."
"Sure my little Ko-chan," she said, smiling. It was good to see that her little girl had made another friend.
Ranko hugged her mother happily before fighting off the urge to yawn. Nodoka, seeing that she was tired, picker her up and carried her.
"Come on Ko-chan, let's go home."
Nodoka was broken out of her reverie by Ranko, who was looking at her a bit worried. She assured her that nothing was wrong.
"You ok, mom?" she asked.
"I'm ok, Ko-chan, just thinking about the past, that's all," Nodoka answered with a smile.
Ranko smiled as well, and looked out the window for a while. They chatted for a while longer before paying the check and headed home.
A/n: Well, I'm back from the dead. I'm still having school but I found some time to write this chapter (Though I believe that this will cost me). I hope that my English hasn't gotten rusty, since I don't use it often after I moved.
Well, that's all for now. Feel free to leave your comments.
C ya next time!