'Pain in the Back'

Ranma was surprised at how well Dr. Tofu had taken his curse, rather used to the constant questioning, half of them particularly perverted, he tended to receive. Of course, he also surmised that with a patient like Nabiki, the unique must be taken in stride.

At the sound of Nabiki's distain, Ranma came out of his thoughts, realizing they were now at the school. He blinked, finding the schoolyard littered with boys in various sports gear, sporting injuries of a recent battle. From the looks of how they were scattered, it was like a small tornado passed through. "What the?"

"Really, every morning they do this, and they still haven't gotten the hint yet," Nabiki chastised, idly stepping around the prone young men.

"What's this all about?" Ranma enquired, checking to see if one guy was at least still breathing.

"Some jerk in my class has the hots for my sister," Nabiki explained, "He made a proclamation that if anyone wished to date Akane, they would have to defeat her in battle. Seeing as how he's the big man on campus, all the guys follow his word."

Ranma's expression twisted slightly, "You mean all these idiots are getting their asses handed to them just for the right to date that uncute tomboy of a sister of yours?"

"She can be sweet on occasion," Nabiki argued, playing the devil's advocate, "You just happened to make a bad impression."

"Well, that goes both ways," Ranma groused. Nabiki merely shrugged, fluttering her wings slightly.

"Let's hurry up and get you registered, we have plenty of time before the bell rings, but I don't want to take chances.
Ranma sat in his home room class, the same class his fiancée's sister attended. He ignored the curious looks he was getting from the girls, unsure of how to deal with them, and felt slightly put out that none of the guys approached him yet. Putting on an air of indifference, Ranma pretended to pay attention in class.

Ranma hadn't paid much attention to the gossip that was going on around him, unrealizing that his indirect association was more than a little beginning to aggravate the youngest Tendou daughter.

"Hey, Akane?" a girl behind the raven haired girl whispered, "Who's the new guy?"

Akane rolled her eyes, unseen by the student behind her, "How should I know?"

"Well, he did arrive with your sister, after all."

Gritting her teeth, Akane forced a groan down, "Oh, you mean Ranma? He's my sister's fiancé."

"WHAT?!?"

"Ms. Kunerai, if you would please step into the hall for the remainder of the class. Why don't you take a couple of buckets filled with water with you?"

The girl sulked, before getting up from behind Akane, went to fill two buckets with water, and the dragged herself out of the classroom. Ranma watched the girl go by; wondering what had gotten her so riled up. Akane shook her head, and attempted to pay attention to the lesson.

"That guy Ranma's your sister's fiancé?'

Akane almost slammed her head into the desk, "Yes, it's a family promise, alright?"

"But, why Nabiki? You know she'll just use the poor guy, before throwing him out on the wayside."

Akane chocked down a growl. She had been aware of her sister's past activities, but that didn't stop her from defending Nabiki, "Listen, my sister's not interested in doing that anymore. And if it was any of your business, I'll let you know that Nabiki really does seem to like Ranma, and vice versa!"

"I don't think that's possible," the girl quipped, "We all know your sister."

Akane almost made her retort, before she was interrupted. "Ms. Tsuna, I believe Ms. Kunerai may be lonely out there. Perhaps you would like to keep her company."

Ms. Tsuna whimpered at being caught, and made her way to the class exit. "Oh, please, do not forget the buckets; I would also prefer them to be filled with water."

Akane smirked in victory, proud the girl got what was coming to her. The youngest Tendou sister once again started to take notes, before the slight victory was spoiled.

"Akane, you're not really gonna let your sister use that poor guy, are you? He deserves better than that!"

Akane closed her eyes, and counted to ten.
Nabiki made her way to Ranma's homeroom class for her last fifteen minutes of lunch, and blinked at the line of girls standing outside the door, holding buckets. At her presence, each one turned a glare at the Middle Tendou sister, causing her to shrink back. Her discomfort was brief, as the teacher stuck his head out, and called the girls back in for their lunch break. Following them in, Nabiki made no eye contact with anyone, scanning the room for her pigtailed fiancée. Ranma sat at his desk still, ignoring the rapid questions many of the boys and a few girls were drilling him with. From the expression on Ranma's face, he wasn't doing a very good job in pretending they weren't there.

"Excuse me, would you guys mind if I talked with him a bit?" Nabiki interjected, almost quietly and humble.

Each of the students surrounding Ranma's desk looked up, either giving Nabiki the evil eye, or a fearful expression. There was at one time Nabiki savored the latter, but now...

"Sure, Nabiki, I don't mind," Ranma stated, glad for the intervention.

Nabiki smiled at him, and sat on his desk. For several moments, Nabiki looked around at the students still surrounding them. "If you guys mind, I would like to talk to him in private."

Instead of obeying Nabiki's request, everyone looked expectantly towards Ranma. "Um, can you guys leave us alone for a bit?" the pigtailed boy requested, rather sheepishly.

begrudgingly, the students obeyed, but with a few comments of 'my condolences' and 'she doesn't deserve him' left behind. Ranma gave those who commented withering glares, before turning back to Nabiki, "So, what's up... Nabiki?"

The girl was turned away, staring at some of the retreating students. Ranma couldn't see her expression, but knew from the slight shaking of her costume wings, something was wrong, "Nabiki?"

"Oh.. s-sorry Ranma, was thinking about something," Nabiki quickly commented, wiping her face as if she were wiping sweat, and not the creeping tears.

Ranma knew that her classmates were getting to her, "Hey, let's go ahead and step out for a sec, I've finished my lunch already." Nabiki forced a smile, grateful for the chance to get away from the accusing eyes.
"Geez, you would think that a girl with a knife in her back would get a little sympathy," Ranma grumbled, heavily unamused with his classmates.

"They don't know, Ranma," Nabiki interjected, "I've been hiding it from them."

"Uh... but why?" Ranma enquired. He figured with Nabiki's ailment that she would have people informed. It would kind of suck if someone accidentally slapped her on the back or something.

"I didn't want their sympathy," Nabiki explained, "I don't deserve it."

"Ah... I guess," Ranma responded, "but wouldn't your classmates figure out something was up?"

Nabiki shook her head, "I'm not in regular classes, I'm in a special needs class. There aren't any other students in it right now." With a sigh, Nabiki continued, "Most people think I wormed my way into it so I wouldn't have to deal with the harassment I get now."

"Harassment?" Ranma had to ask, though some of the comments through out the day had gotten to him. Fortunately, he had the discipline to hold his tongue.

"Yeah," Nabiki chuckled, mirthlessly, "People aren't prone to forgiving and forgetting around here."

"I don't get it; I mean you've been nice all since I've met you," Ranma argued, "Why do they treat you like dirt now?"

"Because people ignore the good things you do, but the bad things seem to be cast in stone... and I have a lot of stone tablets with literature on them."

"I'm sorry to hear that," Ranma responded with genuine solemness. He really didn't believe Nabiki still deserved the comments he had heard, even if he didn't know her back then.

"Thanks Ranma, I don't think I even deserve you. In fact, I know I don't."

Ranma was glad to see Nabiki's smile, genuine in its expression, but was torn by how down upon herself she was, "Hey, it ain't like you're getting a prize with me, here. I'm a girl half of the time. At least your problem is a money issue, I don't even know if there's a cure for me!"

Nabiki chuckled, "But your curse isn't so bad, really. I could imagine worse for you, like turning into a pig or dog or something."

"Well, turning into a wolf would be pretty cool, though. I wouldn't mind it, but a girl?"

"Oh, is there something wrong with us girls?" Nabiki enquired, raising an eyebrow.

"Ah... not with you, at least... or girls in general, I mean," Ranma stated, trying to quickly backpedal that foot from his mouth.

Nabiki smirked, "How sweet of you. See? You're redeemable after all!"

"Huh?"

Nabiki giggled, "And cute too." With that, she grabbed Ranma in a tentative hug, "Ranma, I'll make you a deal, I'll put up with your curse, as long as you can put up with me."

Ranma froze at the sudden embrace, before deciding to return it for Nabiki's sake, "Well, I think I can handle that." For several moments, they remained in the hug, before Ranma spoke up, "Nabiki, I think we need to get back to class now. Nabiki?"

Puzzled by the lack of response, Ranma pulled Nabiki away, and found her staring blankly back at him. Ranma blinked, before stepping back from the girl.

And watching her collapse right on her face.

Ranma stood there for several moments, before kicking her lightly a couple of times. Finding Nabiki not stirring, he looked at her angel wings, and noticed they were shifted a bit higher.

Ranma stood quietly, before taking a sliding step away, and then another, and then another, before he just outright bolted from the site.

The End
"That.... that..."

"Oh my..."

"You... that...."

"WHAT IN SATAN'S FIERY HOLE IS WRONG WITH YOU?"

"Ranma, language please... Oh my..."

"You do realize, I shall use everything in my power to make you suffer for this one, right?"

"Shampoo think money girl deserve it."

"No... I think WFROSE-Honey went too far on this one."

"No I didn't. It's only too far when I can't laugh at it!"

"Uh..."

"Oh my..."

"..."