DISCLAIMER: I neither own nor make any claim to Ranma Nibunnoichi by Takahashi Rumiko. I just enjoy it. I also enjoy making up stories about the characters. I do not claim to be writing an official continuation of Ranma, if I did I'm sure the laughter alone would cause an earthquake. My characters will have a 'slight' tendency to be considered Out of Character and possibly a bit AU.
If I have spelt something terribly wrong please let me know. I hope you enjoy reading my attempt at writing. If you hate it then the correct option is to simply not read it. This story is fantasy and makes no attempt to be bound by the realities of life; if it did it would not be fantasy or at least not my fantasy.
I write for fun, I will update when I have the next chapter finished. I will do my best to make updates regularly but will only update when I am satisfied that it is ready. Namiko is a composite character of the big sisters of several of my friends and a second grade teacher I knew, most tend to be slightly controlling but in a supportive manner.
Letters is a companion piece or is it the reverse, I have the letters and now I'm trying to write the fill in story. I am hopeless when it come to writing conversations but will hopefully become better at it. I do much prefer using a narrative but some readers have asked for more and I shall try to deliver. If I have made big errors please don't be shy about pointing them out, I'll correct them if I can. I use Microsoft Works with spelling and grammar: English (United Kingdom), I disagree with it at times so errors are likely. Big thanks to BlueDragon for help in correcting some of my spelling and punctuation errors.
If you haven't read 'Sexual Endeavours' by Ichinohei Hitomi do so. I haven't laughed so much in a long time. Uc-chans summation of Ranma in the second chapter explains why he can be so good in school and anything.
I am trying to slow down but a lot of things will only be hinted at and some will be explored later.
Saturday was always an adventure; they never knew what Namiko had planned until they were shown what to wear. She wouldn't even hint at what was on their schedule. Always it was to help with their socialization and it was always fun.
The low roar of many voices reached them before they entered, most of their work crew was there and a few new faces. The table was strewn with various electronic devices some partially disassembled, some that they recognised and some they didn't. Ranko recognised Ryunosuke, a graduate student, from her computer class from when he gave a talk on the electronics involved.
"Ranko, come over here. The channels we can use for this is limited so how do we think we should differentiate the signals from each device." Sachi waved her over.
Kasumi wandered over to Namiko who was working with Dai and several others; plotting where rescues had been made. "What's going on?"
"Oh, Conner talked to Ryunosuke, who has been on a few rescue teams, he became interested and talked to a few others and a few professors got wind of it so here we are. We have the blessings of the college and rescue teams who view this as worthwhile. If what they do here works then it will be used elsewhere." She gestured toward the charts. "We are trying to decide on a test area and how to adequately cover it. They are trying to make the electronics end as idiot proof as possible." she grinned at Kasumi. "Father is sitting back and enjoying watching us pull our hair out."
Two hours later Ryunosuke held up three pieces of equipment. "Most of this isn't needed. I believe I can reduce beeper to the minimum and put it on the back of a student ID card with out adding significantly to its bulk. These relays shouldn't be a problem I can do ten of them next week and tie the receiver into the computer to give us the location of the signal. We just need someone to put the relays up and to test the badges. I can have all of this ready next Friday and maybe we can test it Saturday."
Namiko laughed. "I think we have the people who can do that." she looked at the time. "Thank you so very much, this went much faster than I expected. We'll see everyone on Saturday then." she grabbed Dai and led her toward her room talking quietly.
"Ranko, do you need some help in the kitchen?" Sachi asked coming around the table. "This did take longer than expected. Kasumi Namiko wanted to talk to you in her room." She smiled, chasing Kasumi out of the kitchen, something Kasumi was starting to get used to.
Dinner was quickly prepared, Ranko decided that with the project taking up the day that it was just going to be a quiet evening at home and she hoped that Dai had her books with her. She wanted to read more than she had the other night. The glances she was receiving from a smiling Sachi told her that something was up but she knew better than to ask. If Namiko had something planned she would tell it her own way.
She had just finished cooking when Namiko came in a started setting the table just ahead of Kasumi and Dai. Kasumi blushed and took her place at the table and Ranko almost dropped the food.
She was dressed different than before in a pant suit that almost but not quiet made her look masculine. Dai and Namiko were grinning and when Sachi brought the rest of the food out she was grinning also. Every time Ranko started to ask what was up Namiko would put her fingers to her lips and just say later. Maeda-san was no help as he simply smiled like the rest and Ranko knew she would have to wait.
The mess from the meal was put away in a hurry and Sachi and Namiko pulled Ranko into her room. Ranko blushed as she was undressed, had makeup applied and then redressed. When she looked in the mirror she almost didn't recognise herself. There was no hint of tom-boyishness about her. The silk dress simply flowed as she moved and the black slippers would only be suitable for dancing not walking around town.
"We may have to scoop Kasumi off the floor after she sees you." Sachi laughing comment brought back to the present. They still had not told her where they were going and she was looking forward to her Ranko's reaction.
Before Ranko could say anything Namiko was hurrying them out the door and as Sachi had predicted Kasumi was transfixed. A gentle nudge from Maeda-san and not so gentle pull from Dai got her moving. Namiko's father escorted them to the door and gave them a hug before they left with a still silent Kasumi.
Usually Namiko gave them an idea of the evening before they left, this time she didn't. "Where are we going, Namiko?" Ranko asked her for the second time.
"You'll see, Imouto." Namiko answered, expertly wheeling the car through traffic.
Ranko gave her a disgusted look and sat back taking Kasumi's hand in hers. A few minutes later her disgusted look turned to puzzlement mirrored by Kasumi. They were on the edge of town and the while the parking lot was fair sized the building they walked toward was hardly large enough to have dancing, most certainly not large enough to hold the number of people the cars represented.
The building was small but sturdily constructed of concrete. Ranko paused as she entered the door; the wall the door was set in was over two feet thick. The door was beautifully veneered, but Ranko knew from the feel of it that it was steel. She looked inside and noticed that there were only six people visible other than her group, but she knew that more than a dozen had entered just before her.
"Come on!" Sachi was pulling her forward through double doors at the end of the hall. In front of her was a ramp leading down opening into a large open space half filled with people. Tables were spaced around the room with booths lining the walls. A long bar was against the far wall with a stage in the centre with a band playing.
Dai gave the number in their party and they were escorted to a curtained booth halfway between the stage and the bar. Ranko looked around and saw several people dancing, the men light on their feet and very nice looking. Then she looked again and looked at Dai, Kasumi and Namiko and realised they were not men. Remembering her quiet conversations the past week with Dai and Sachi she blushed and moved closer to Kasumi.
Moments after the sat in the booth, the wine Dai had ordered arrived and Ranko soon had a glass in hand. "Surprised Imouto?" Namiko smiled at her.
Ranko was looking through the curtains at the dancing couples and nodded. The floor could have easily held four times the number who were dancing comfortably and there was no one dancing on the other side of the band stand. She looked at questioningly at Sachi.
Sachi laughed. "No, Ranko, they aren't all into girls, some are just lonely and they are away from home and their boyfriends. Here they can have fun and feel safe. Quite a few are here for that reason, if they danced with a man that was not their boyfriend they would feel they were cheating. Some of course are like Dai and myself, and quite a few like both men and women. Of course they don't have your advantage." She giggled. "If those springs you told us about ever come back and word leaked out there would definitely be people lined up to visit them or willing to buy a casket of the water."
Namiko pulled Ranko out of the booth. "Let's dance." Sachi followed with Kasumi out right after them. Kasumi and Ranko danced rather stiffly the first few dances. Dancing with another woman didn't bother them it was the open display of affection shown by some of the dancers that caused their uneasiness.
After the fifth dance Sachi grabbed Ranko pulled her toward an empty booth. "What's wrong Ranko? Why are you so uncomfortable this evening?"
"I'm sorry. It is just so many of the women are kissing and I heard several say they loved each other" Ranko blushed.
"But you love Kasumi don't you? Do you think it's right for you to love her and show your feeling but not for others?" Sachi put a hand on Ranko's shoulders and tilted her chin so they were looking in each others eyes. "You have an advantage the rest of us don't have, with a splash of water you can walk with your boy friend. We don't have that option, if we wish to be together without drawing to much attention we come here. Are you going to avoid loving Kasumi just because you're in the same forms occasionally?" She shook her head sadly. "You love Kasumi no matter what form she is in; do you think because we can't change forms that it is wrong for us?"
Ranko saw the hurt in her eyes and grabbed her in a hug. "I was being selfish and not thinking wasn't I?"
Back in the booth Namiko and Dai were holding Kasumi's hands and having a talk with her.
Dai was upset and it showed in her voice. "Kasumi, you know Ranko isn't going to be satisfied loving you only half the time. If she thinks your uncomfortable loving her as she is, she will follow your lead. She looks to you for guidance, are you going to show her all your love or just part of it? The questions she asked the last two weeks showed more than just curiosity on her part. She was embarrassed asking them but asked anyway. She is looking for ways to please you. She didn't just talk to us she was talking to all the girls out there trying learn ways to please you. If she thinks that she can only please you as a girl then that is what she will become."
"Ranko has been doing the best she can to become a real girl for you. She sees the ways that the girls at college treat their boy friends and she is trying to emulate them. When you are both female, she has been the one reaching out, she is looking for reassurance from you." Namiko looked Kasumi in the eyes. "She is and will be an emotional cripple for a long time. From what you told me, you are the one who initiated your relationship. She is totally in love with you and will follow your guidance no matter what. As a male, he is not confident with girls because of the way he was raised and his experience with the girls in Nerima. You are going to have to guide him in that too, if you show too much preference for his girl side then that is what he will become."
"She is nothing less than amazing, both of you are." Dai squeezed her hand. "You are extremely lucky. I would talk to her; encourage her to explore her feminine side as well as her male side. With your encouragement she can be fully female or male as the situation demands."
"Ranko is pushing herself so hard because you told her she needed to be educated and her mother agreed. You must remember that what she thinks you want is what she is going to strive to do. You are going to have put your inhibitions aside and talk to her." Namiko pointed out to Kasumi.
Dai looked out of the booth. "Here they come, you told me how much she enjoys dancing, when she gets here get her out the floor and show her you love her."
Kasumi was out of the booth waiting for Ranko when they arrived. She could tell Ranko was unhappy and gathered her in her arms. "I'm sorry." They said in unison. "Sorry you first." Again in unison and then they laughed.
Kasumi kissed her then lay her fingers over her lips. "I'm sorry. I didn't realise the pressure I was putting on you. I thought that all I had to do was learn to act and talk like I was a man. I was wrong. I was so focused on helping you to overcome the negatives of being raised by the panda that I forgot I have negatives too." She kissed Ranko again. "I fell into a trap when we got here. Part of the reason is I was raised to think of couples as male and female and since we have been here with very few exceptions that is the way it has been."
"That doesn't matter Ka-chan, I love you no matter which form you are in." Ranko said as she stared into Kasumi's eyes.
"But it does matter! Some of Akane's thinking about same sex couples rubbed off on me. I've been a little uncomfortable when you show affection to me when I'm female. We are going to talk to Dr. Kino; there is no way I am going to let something come between us because of mine or your upbringing." Kasumi's tone was adamant.
Ranko's serious expression left her face and a smile flashed across her face. "We will learn Kasumi, after all we practice anything goes."
Namiko watched them from the booth and when their body language changed she breathed a sigh of relief. The smile she saw on Ranko's face said all was right with her sister. She had seen a longing in Ranko that had resonated inside her. She had seen the need for acceptance and provided it, she had received acceptance in return. All the emotions that had been repressed by Genma had blossomed with the warmth and acceptance she was shown.
"They're more relaxed now." Dai noted. "Kasumi isn't dancing like she has a board strapped to her back."
"Speaking of dancing, since Dai is going to get more wine, let's dance." Sachi pulled her from the booth. "Kasumi looks like she is finally starting to have fun. I'm glad." They swung past Ranko and Kasumi talking to another couple and laughing.
"Ranko is really beginning to socialise better. Ochi-san did more than teach her proper speech, now that she knows how she is supposed to speak and has the words she is much better at expressing herself. She is much more confident in expressing herself and her ideas. From the stories I heard you would think she has a big ego, but she is actually self effacing."
"Very adept at switching the attention from herself to some one else. I know, she did that to me remember." Sachi laughed. "She doesn't like being the centre of attention but people naturally gravitate to her."
All the energy Ranko had finally departed. As couples came over to visit she found herself on the dance floor with partner after partner, and her circle of friends kept increasing. When it was time to go Kasumi guided a wary Ranko to car and carried a sleeping Ranko to bed.
Sunday was busy with study and Kasumi began to learn to speed read. Ranko brought out more scrolls to study having mastered two of the previous quickly and began to delve into the books on magic she had found. She tired of have to repeatedly look up the meanings to the Chinese she was trying to read and began to memorise the dictionaries she had brought home.
Kasumi enjoyed the frequent baths getting rid of the residue of the waterproof soap. She had Ranko scrub her back and had hesitantly taken the opportunity to engage in light petting sessions. Ranko's obvious enjoyment quickly rid Kasumi of her hesitancy and only the knowledge that they did have to study kept the baths short.
"What do you want to do Ka-chan? In Nerima all I was expected to do was to marry Akane and teach in the dojo. I don't want that now, I really didn't want it then. The problem is I don't know what I want to do." Ranko settled in front of Kasumi. Studying was over; they had an hour before it was time to prepare dinner. "I didn't know enough to make a decision before now it seems I know too much and not enough."
"Don't worry about what you're going to do, koibito, as you study and learn you will sort it out. You are the Grand Master so you will have to teach some but it won't necessarily take up your whole time. I really do want to become a doctor. Life around you is never going to be boring, so I need to know how to take care of you. " Kasumi leaned forward and kissed her. "I want to be able to be a man or a woman as the mood strikes us. I am becoming more comfortable in my male body but I want us both to not just be comfortable in either form but to fully enjoy it."
"I'm just so confused sometimes. I worry that when I can change back will I want to. I can't remember being this happy and I don't want to lose it. At times I hate it; I've never been this emotional before. I know I will have to learn to make decisions, always before decisions were forced on me. I know I will always want to be with you." Ranko put her head on Kasumi's shoulder and Kasumi had to listen close to hear her as she continued. "I never want to go back to my old life. When I do something wrong you or my sister correct me and tell me what I do wrong instead of yelling at me and just hitting me. When I started to curse Namiko that day I expected to be malleted; she saw my reaction, pulled my hands down and talked to me."
"I would never hit you. Scold you maybe but never beat you. I will always try to listen because I know you will never do anything wrong on purpose. Knowing you this is just the calm in the eye of the storm. I don't expect it to last but I do intend to enjoy it while it does." Kasumi lifted Ranko into his lap and just held her. "You are so much better at expressing yourself now that most of those misunderstandings wouldn't happen now." Kasumi frowned "Oh damn! After dinner I have to write a characterisation of you for the piece of fiction I wrote."
Ranko giggled. "Better not let Big Sis hear you. She might try to cure you of using bad words they way she did me. If I even think about using one I can taste the soap and I change the word fast."
"What did happen that night?" Kasumi looked down into her eyes.
"We did talk and she said she cared too much to allow me to use inappropriate language. She asked me if I thought beating me would appropriate and I said yes. Then she ask if I saw others being beaten for the same thing and it shook me up. She explained my reactions and asked if I wanted to fit in and if I wanted her to help me. She asked me! She promised that if I did something wrong that she would explain what I did and if I thought I really needed to be punished for it then she would provide the appropriate punishment. Using language the way I did was something a child would do and she punished me as a child. I trust her; she is the first person who has never manipulated me for their own gain other than you. She even fusses if I use milder language. 'There are enough words in our language to express your displeasure without out using vulgarity' is the way she put and she is right. It just took me awhile to find the proper words." Ranko laughed. 'What did I do to have so many people care about me so much?' She thought as she stood up. "Time to fix dinner, I think my stomach is ready to complain."
Ranko had the language down, the program looked good and it locked up the computer every time she ran it! "Some of the words I'm not allowed to use would describe this succinctly!" She muttered reading over it again line by line. A pair of giggles behind her had her ready to explode.
"What words were those?" One of the pair asked. Ranko blinked, they looked identical but something was off. A moment later she placed it, one was a boy and the other a girl. "Oh, I'm Haruka and this is Kaori. If you're having a problem with the program maybe we could help. It's easy to overlook an error sometimes because you see what you expect to see there."
Ranko shook off her irritation. "Thank you. I keep going in as many circles as the program seems to. I am Saotome Ranko." She bowed as Ochi-san had shown her.
Haruka carefully scanned the program and then went back to the first and did it again. "Here it is. This needs a colon not a semicolon. I did something similar and was near to tearing my hair out before I found it." He took a pen out and bracketed several lines. "If you put this here and this here then you can get rid of this and this. Once your reach that point you don't need or want this open, it just eats up memory."
Ranko smiled at Haruka and Kaori. "I thought I had put in a wrong command."
Ranko was almost their lunch spot when a belligerent command of stay away from my girlfriend rang out; followed by a meaty thud and the sound of a body hitting the ground. She ran. Kasumi stood in a lazy stance over a large man.
"If one of my class-mates ask for my help then if I can I will render it. I don't know who you are nor who you are referring to but I do not appreciate being attacked." Kasumi didn't raise his voice. "I would suggest you not try to attack me again."
Ranko put their lunch on the table while watching. She made a quick decision that this was Kasumi's problem. She did not like others interfering with her battles and would not interfere unless it became worse. Apparently it was over as the man stumbled to his feet, glared at Kasumi and left.
"What was that about?" Ranko asked while handing Kasumi some tea.
"I don't really know. I don't talk but to a few people in class and there never is time to talk between classes. He must have mistaken me for someone else." Kasumi finished eating his food and drank some tea. "He told me to leave his girlfriend alone and swung at me. I hope there isn't a repeat performance. You're not seeing anyone on the side are you?" Kasumi asked laughing at Ranko's expression. On the way back to class they saw the police with the man in custody and decided it had been a case of mistaken identity.
Saturday morning the doctors found that Kasumi could and did blush darker than Ranko as the concerns from the previous weekend were raised. Then they found they could blush just as bright when Ranko asked explicit questions about love making that she had heard discussed at the dance. Ranko's seriousness led to a thorough discussion about intimacy between same sex couples and they left with a list of books and websites. The amused glances they were getting from Dr. Kino they attributed to the subject matter.
The week passed in a blur; they had attended a theatre performance and then a bit of dancing and plunged into the extra studying. Cross-studying had the effect of making them study harder and the entire crew pitched in with Ranko learning the different applications her studies could lead to. Namiko somehow maintained an atmosphere of play in the work group and they consistently finished ahead of time.
Exposure to the flirting and conversations that went on around her at college and at work had been a real eye-opener for Ranko and she had began to practice on Kasumi. Flustering Kasumi was great fun and Ranko had found that Namiko and Sachi were always willing to give tips and caution her against some of the more outrageous advice from some of the other women in the crew.
Ranko had to take time off from the group to replace the old sensors with the new ones that had come in. The possibility of someone losing their visitors badge and then getting lost had led to more modifications and she had had to update programming in the computers again. Three separate tests on Friday had shown there were still problems but they were minor.
Saturday morning Dr. Akira did another physical and MRI on Ranko and was very encouraged with the healing. The area behind the ear was slowly closing and all the other bones and injuries were healed. Dr. Kino was on Okinawa but had left a resource list for them.
When Dr. Akira had asked if they had experimented with any of the techniques they had talked about the previous weekend she was treated to the first instance of Kasumi stammering a reply. When Ranko blushed slightly and admitted they really hadn't had time Kasumi became so red in the face that Ranko became worried.
When Dr. Akira was finished they were sent right back home. Instead of going with the work crew when they got back they were rushed into dressing. Dr. Kino had invitations for the Officer's Ball at the base and had invited them. Since they had several hours of travelling they had to leave early after being carefully coached and inspected by Namiko.
Travel time was study time and they studied until Ranko simply fell asleep. Kasumi saved her work on the lap top and decided a nap was a good idea especially if Ranko was going to be dancing.
The nap had done wonders for Ranko and she decided to freshen up. On her way back she met another passenger and as they were passing the lady stepped on a pencil that was laying in the aisle. Ranko saw she was going to her head on a pencil in a man's hand and acted; grabbing her and twisting up so that she was underneath and the lady's well away from it.
"Thank you." she said in English after she got her breath back.
"Are you alright?" A softly glowing Ranko asked speaking in the same language.
"Yes, a little shook up but I'm alright. I saw the pencil coming straight for my eye and then I'm down here; you saved me from losing an eye if nothing else. How did you move so fast?" She replied visibly calming herself.
"I'm a martial artist; it allows me to move a little faster than most people. Let me help you up." Ranko talked as she managed to stand helping the lady to rise. As they were returning to their seats a child ran past with a cup of chocolate and managed to splash Kasumi. The child did not notice the change and kept going but Ranko's new companion did notice. Her sharp intake of breath alerted Ranko of the discovery and she immediately tried to limit the disaster.
"It's a magical curse. Cold water will change her back. Please don't draw attention to us." She pleaded. Ranko was scared. This was something they both feared. Out in the open on the streets they could slip away, here it was not an option.
She looked at Ranko and Kasumi then sat down. "You need to change back and then you can explain it. I'm indebted to your friend here; she just saved my sight if not my life so I don't think I'm in any danger from you."
Kasumi reached for a cup of water and carefully splashed some over her hand and the spot on her clothes that had been stained.
"There were some magical springs in China that my father took me to. If you fall in one you receive the form of the last thing that drowned in it. A training accident caused me to fall into the spring of drowned girl. I've been cursed for several years now. What was supposed to have been my cure was misappropriated and came to light at an inopportune time; an accident with it cursed Kasumi. The area we lived in is chaotic so we left to give Kasumi a chance to adjust. I was more fortunate than she was a girl can be a tomboy and be accepted but a man who acts like a woman is not as fortunate. I inadvertently destroyed the springs awhile back, with any luck they won't return." Ranko gave an abbreviated account of the cursed pools.
"After I was accidentally cursed Ranko and I left our home and came here. We are learning to accept our curse and hopefully find a way to fit in our society. I guess that isn't possible now." Ranko had never seen Kasumi this depressed.
"It isn't as bad as that Kasumi. Our friends will help." Ranko gave Kasumi a hug.
"So will I. As I said Ranko saved me when she didn't need to. I don't think I'm in any danger from you nor do I think you would endanger someone. I'm Genieve Halley, I'd like to help to if I can." She gave Ranko a hug. "Now why are you going to Okinawa?"
Ranko and Kasumi took turns telling her about Namiko's efforts to help them adjust and teach Ranko to socialize better. When they mentioned having been invited to the officers ball she started to laugh.
"Mrs. Halley, why are you laughing." Ranko asked.
"Call me Genieve, Ranko. The reason I laughed is that I'm Admiral Halley's wife. So we will be at the ball together. If you don't have a firm place to stay why don't you stay with me. I have plenty of room and Dr. Kino has her quarters just a short distance away." Genieve smiled and patted Kasumi on the shoulder. "Where were you supposed to meet Dr. Kino?"
"She gave us directions to get to her, she said we would need to show ID and the invitations at the gate.I imagine she is pretty busy. I really don't know where we are supposed to stay." Ranko gave a her a nervous smile.
"My husband will have a car to pick me up so you will ride with me. We will see Dr. Kino when we get there and see what she has planned. Have you ever been to a ball Ranko?" Genieve asked.
"No I know there is supposed to be dancing." at her reply Kasumi tried to smother a laugh and almost succeeded.
At Ranko's indignant stare Kasumi explained. "If you want Ranko to go somewhere just tell her that she will be dancing and she'll try to drag you there!"
"Well there is dancing but there is also lots of conversation. If Namiko wants you to learn to socialize then I imagine the conversation is reason." The fasten seatbelt lights blinked on. "Let me get back to my seat and I will see you after we land." Genieve gave Ranko a quick hug and left.
"How do you do it, Ranko? I was expecting her to scream and we had no where to go; instead you have another friend and protector." Kasumi chuckled.
"I don't know! In Nerima I didn't have any friends except you." Ranko had a perplexed look on her face that made Kasumi chuckle even more.
They had barely disembarked before they saw Genieve waving them over to a black sedan. It took only a few moments for them to store their gear and they made the trip to the base. As soon as the guard recognised the passenger their check in was perfunctory and they were soon on their way to the medical complex.
It was hard to shock Dr. Kino but seeing who was waiting in her office did. The events that brought them together just had her shaking her head. Since they were only going to be there over night she had planned on them simply sleeping in the living room on pallets. Genieve quickly overruled that and saying that they were now her guests. They talked over coffee and soon Ranko and Genieve had left Kasumi in an animated discussion with Dr. Kino and several other doctors with instructions for Dr. Kino to bring him over in time to get ready for the ball.
Ranko found herself in an question and answer session on her social skills and gentle probing into her personal life. It did not take Genieve long to get Ranko to talk about Kasumi and she was soon laughing about her flirting with Kasumi and the advice she had received from her co-workers. As they talked Genieve would correct Ranko on her language and give her tips about avoiding being monopolized by guests she didn't particularly like but didn't want to offend.
Ranko's initial shyness quickly disappeared and soon she was confiding things she had only talked with Namiko about. In return Genieve took her under wing and treated her like a favourite Granddaughter. When Admiral Halley returned from his office it was to find Ranko curled up beside his wife listening to stories of their courtship.
Dinner was lively with the three of them. Both prompted Ranko for the appropriate protocol and gave tips on mingling with the other guests both with strong objections on drinking. Ranko admitted she enjoyed drinking wine but did not like the effect it had on her reflexives. When the admiral started to fuss at her about it Genieve reminded him that he use to drink much more when they met. She did ask Ranko not to indulge at the ball as she was underage according to the law on base.
Ranko cast an exasperated glance at the door as Kasumi failed to appear even after dinner. When he and Dr. Kino arrived an hour later they were met by a very upset Ranko and unhappy Genieve both of whom made their feelings known. The Admiral pulled Kasumi to the side after a few minutes and told him his best bet would be to grovel and do it fast, admit he was in the wrong and apologise fast. Kasumi recognised sound advice and did as instructed with visions of Akane's mallet in Ranko's hands.
An half hour later a properly abject Kasumi went to help Ranko get ready only to chased out of the room by Genieve. The Admiral took pity on him and gave him an overview of the protocol lessons imparted to Ranko along with the advice that there were very few situations where it was wise not to let his significant other know about before he was late. He then admitted that outside of direct commands from his superior officers he couldn't think of any.
Ranko was Genieve's shadow for the first half hour studying how she handled conversations and moved from group to group. After they reached their table Genieve told her to dance with Kasumi and she enjoyed a few dances. When Kasumi led her back to the table for refreshments he was almost back in her good graces.
Ranko timidly at first and then with more assurance started engaging in conversations with those near the table under the careful eye of Genieve. When she was ready to dance again Kasumi was in deep discussion with some young medical officers and Genieve directed her to an older commander. Two dances later with Genieve's coaching she was flirting lightly and dancing with different officers and enjoying it.
Her appearance at the Admiral's table drew several younger officers with whom she would talk but not dance. One of the more persistent officers was partially drunk and drew disapproving looks from Genieve which he ignored and made several passes at Ranko. Genieve caught Ranko's eye when he tried to manoeuvre between her and the table and she deftly caught the shot glass of hot sauce that was slid toward her. Turning to greet an older officer to her left she added it to the irritating idiots drink as he mentioned how hot she was making him. It took all her control not to burst out laughing; Genieve had fewer qualms and indulged herself as he drained his drink in a large swallow and then desperately started looking for something cold to drink.
The Admiral's request for a dance took her out of his vicinity and to a safe area where she could laugh a bit. She wanted to be irritated with Kasumi but watching his animated face she couldn't be and Genieve made sure he broke off occasionally to dance with her. The Admiral and Genieve made sure to introduce her to their friends and with the phalanx of high ranking officers and their wives around her the younger officers sought more hospitable fields.
Watching other young ladies flirt and Genieve's reaction added to her education. When she saw that Genieve disapproved but didn't see why she asked discreetly and studied the men and women that she disapproved of.
By one o'clock the Admiral was ready to take his leave and half an hour later she was listening to Kasumi talk about different procedures in the medical field. He didn't get off totally she made it clear that she was disappointed in his lack of attention to her and he didn't get encouragement from Genieve either. By the time she covered her second yawn Genieve was bustling her to bed.
Everyone was still sleeping when she woke in the morning and she decided to do her emails. A few quick replies to her friends and one to her mother after checking what Kasumi had written finished waking her enough to enjoy the morning.
The cook greeted her as she entered the breakfast and brought her some coffee and she was soon joined by Genieve. Kasumi's lack of attention the previous night was on her mind and it took very little prodding from Genieve to get her to talk about it.
Kasumi was not supposed to ignore her. Sitting out a few dances was one thing but she still knew she had his attention and last night she didn't. He had said she was flirting outrageously; she HAD NOT.
The cook had raised three generations of children. She took Ranko's coffee cup and replaced it with steaming chocolate, a glass of water and a bottle of Midol. Genieve gave her a hug and asked her to send Kasumi and her husband to the mess hall.
Genieve gently guided Ranko into talking about her relationship with Kasumi and her prior experience. As she listened to Ranko she decided she really needed to talk to Namiko and Kasumi. If Ranko was going to be Ranma even part of the time then there was big problem. His history with women was the stuff of nightmares and there was only one person in it to even make it remotely desirable to return to being a male.
Addressing Kasumi's actions the previous night she shared stories of being the fiancée and then wife of a naval lieutenant; pointing out the many times she had been left to fend for herself as he talked shop with fellow officers. When the cook let them know that lunch was ready Ranko was much calmer and even laughing at some of the stories.
After lunch she left Ranko to her studies and had a small chat with Kasumi. Kasumi verified the situation Ranma had been in in Nerima and was slightly shook up by the conclusions Genieve had arrived at. He was also taken to task about his inattentiveness to Ranko the previous night and advised to correct it. He was forced to agree with her conclusions and agreed she should talk to Namiko but he suggested they also needed to talk to Ranko about it. He went on to explain all the decisions that had been made for Ranma without his knowledge or consent and the problems that had resulted from it.
Ranko's willingness to learn and her quiet unassuming demeanour impressed her on the other hand her emotional vulnerability was distressing. She liked Ranko and wanted to help; besides her grandchildren were almost grown and she had not been able to be near enough to them to be an active grandmother.