Do I really need to put this every time…?
Team of lawyers suddenly storm into my room and stare the author down…
Okay you guys know the drill I don't own Ranma… hehe
Thanks for all the reviews…they are as insightful and useful and most of all welcomed as always by me. I'm glad that everyone likes how I've paced the story had that was my original intention as all my other works had been sort of 'cut to the chase…' hope to make it as flowing as it can with this next chapter…
Lastly but not the least, a very big thank you and sincere arigatou goes out to my pre-reader, Drkjester aka Thanatos. Without him I would have probably forgotten and also lost my way on this fic altogether...thanks man.
Now onto the story…
"Saotome Ranma, very commendable improvements indeed, please continue." congratulated the elderly teacher as she patted him lightly on left shoulder. She was Misses Shimori, Ranma's history teacher.
Ranma looked at the written in red ink mark beside his name on the test paper and grinned, it read 61. Not a ground breaking score but for someone who had used to only write his name on all his previous test papers in the past this counted as an extraordinary achievement.
He felt delighted but not the least proud, extremely proud in fact not only himself but he was even prouder with the person who had made it all possible. Kasumi had been spending a lot of effort with him the past few days to prepare him for this test. And this test paper was the fruits of their labor…
Ranma couldn't wait to show it to Kasumi when he got home, actually he couldn't wait period and just as the lunch time bell sounded his feet as if having a mind of its own carried him all the way out of the school compound and even finding the front gate locked shut didn't stop him, as he skillfully leapt over them.
Rooftop after rooftop, Ranma skittered over them spryly, he had never felt like this before and honestly he couldn't even remember back to a time when he was this happy before in his entire life.
Kasumi in the meantime was outside in the Tendo yard hanging out the morning's laundry under the now happily shining sun. This chore had actually been delayed a bit by the morning's dark clouds, threatening of rain but after seeing the sun come out in full force Kasumi decided that it was safe to hang them out to dry.
While she was there Kasumi was sure that she heard someone calling her name.
Reaching the ever familiar junction that leads to the Dojo Ranma as if he wasn't going fast enough ran even faster to the gates but he didn't bother to even open them. Instead he bounded over them and ran straight for the garden shouting, "KASUMI!"
"KASUMI!" as her name echoed out around the backyard bouncing off the walls and into her ears. Kasumi turned around only in time to catch a blur buzz of a figure suddenly picking her up and spinning her around.
Ranma had sort of guessed beforehand that Kasumi would probably be in the backyard doing her chores right about now and when he saw her hanging out the laundry he shouted her name once more…
Within the next few steps Ranma quickly captured Kasumi into his arms and swung her around in the backyard, the two of them seemingly twirling in each others arms as if in a dance.
Kasumi was stunned silent initially but she then begged Ranma to stop and put her down. It took a while for the two of them to come to a stop and when Ranma returned her two feet to solid ground Kasumi tittered around a bit before getting her balance back.
"Ranma…what happened? Shouldn't…you be…in school…?" requested Kasumi of him albeit shakily.
"Look! Kasumi Look! I passed…! For the first time I passed…!" Ranma yelled out happily towards her while holding up the now pretty much crumpled piece of paper for her to see.
Kasumi read the mark out loud and immediately broke out in such a wide grin that it almost threatened to split her face in two.
"Ranma…oh I'm so happy for you…" this time around it was Kasumi's turn to embrace the boy, minus the furious spinning.
"I knew you could do it…" she added confidently, while doing a mild version of a glomp.
"Well I couldn't…have done it without…your help…Kasumi." panted Ranma, finally feeling the effects of his run or was it from Kasumi's tight grip around his chest.
Kasumi really honestly felt happy for Ranma, not only him but also herself too. She was happy to have contributed in a small way to his success.
"I'm so happy for you Ranma…like I said you can do it if you only put your mind to it…and I want to say that I'm very proud of you." she said softly to him, making sure she was just loud enough for him to hear.
Still inside her hug Kasumi now felt as if Ranma was trembling somewhat and hastily released him as if she had said something wrong. And as she took a step back to see what had happened. Kasumi wasn't really prepared to see the sight before her.
Ranma stood before her biting down on his bottom lip hard, "Nobody…ever…said that to me…before…" his voice quivering, his eyes threatened to burst open for only the second time in his life but Ranma willed them not to, this wasn't the time to cry for it was a time to smile.
Kasumi retook the step she lost and slowly circled her arms around Ranma bringing him into an even softer, gentler hug and as her hand went over to the back of his head and brought it down to finally rest on her shoulder once more.
"In that case I'd say it once more…I'm really proud of you, Ranma…" she whispered honestly.
Back in Furinkan, a rather miffed looking Akane sat beside a carefree Nabiki who was eating her lunch while grumbling on about how rude Ranma was to leave her like that.
She had complained to Nabiki about how Ranma had left the classroom in such a rush and that even after looking for him around the usual spots she couldn't find him and even after she had 'generously' carried his bento for him too that morning.
Nabiki had a rough idea where he might be but she needed to wait till tonight to see if she was right.
Ranma and Kasumi finally separated after taking notice how their individual father's facial reactions were towards seeing them hugging out by the garden like they were.
With Kasumi's father, Soun and his monster face floating over the pig tailed boy while Genma, Ranma's father trying his best to whack Ranma in the head with a furry of thrown signboards.
After explaining to them what had happened the two patriarchs somewhat still looking unsure left the pair to get back to their game of Shoji but from their perch on the walkway they kept a rather watchful eye on the two.
Though it had taken a good ten minutes to explain to Soun and Genma about what was really going on between them the deep blushes of their cheeks probably didn't abet their cause much.
"I…err…think I better get going back to classes…its getting late and so…err…bye Kasumi…I'd see you later…" shuffled Ranma as he started to backtrack away from Kasumi.
Kasumi who was picking up her laundry basket mirrored Ranma's bashful expression as well. After wording her own goodbye to him and ending it with a wave Ranma swiftly turned around and left running back to Furinkan.
He return back to his classroom just in the nick of time and while Ranma didn't mind so much that he had missed lunch but the cold stares that Akane and Ukyo were shooting at him as he walked pass them did make him a little uncomfortable but he was too elated to worry much about it.
Ranma's three fiancés and one very avid admirer had started to take notice that Ranma was, well in a better word, missing for the most part of any particular day more often then not lately. They felt like Ranma no longer roamed the streets of Nerima like he used to thus making it slightly harder for them to see him or rather catch him.
Kodachi, well she could see Ranma whenever she wanted too, but even she couldn't catch a single glimpse of her white knight for the past few days now.
Shampoo could at least catch him once or twice while on one of her delivery runs for the cat café but lately she noticed that she hadn't seen him at all wondering the streets for a few days now.
Ukyo would of course see Ranma in school but while manning Ucchan's she would at least get the occasional visit from Ranma when he was hungry but lately even that seemed to have stopped altogether.
That just leaves just Akane, the fiancée who naturally had the most convenient access to Ranma or so it seems. It seems that Akane while she was at home would actually get to see less of Ranma then normal.
She had already forgiven him for the glomping incident with Shampoo a few days back and well for the most part Ranma was acting rather normal toward her while she was around. Even his teasing of her 'tomboyish ways' had lessened considerably, even Akane's usually high malleting count of the marital artist had dropped to naught recently.
Ranma's normal day used to go something like this in the past.
Go to school, fight, go home, fight, do exercises to release tension, roaming around Nerima thinking about stuff if exercises fail, fight, try to find something to eat, fight. And of course that was inclusive of the instances of him being punted to lower orbit by some un-cute tomboy.
That cycle would then repeat itself endlessly.
But now Ranma's day seemed pretty mundane. His day now ran something like this…
Go to school, try to study hard, go home then train for a few hours then later start tutoring session and then go to sleep. Of course one major factor that made this possible was the fact that Ranma was now trying hard to avoid getting into any fights more often then not.
'I wonder what made me do that…' as Ranma thoughts wondered back to his lunch time journey when he had raced all the back to the Dojo just to tell Kasumi that he had passed a history test.
'I mean…I could have easily told her when I got back right? But the feeling just sort of came up…It was like I really wanted to tell her right away…now that's weird.' continued his thoughts as Ranma was on his way home.
'But it was kinda worth it seeing Kasumi smile like she did and also say that she was proud of me…'
With his hands stuffed deeply into his usual black pants while walking on the fence home. Akane and Nabiki who were a few steps behind him walking on the street below pondered at the mystery that was Ranma.
"You think something's up with him don't you?" commented Nabiki.
Akane who was beside her sister had an unreadable expression on her face. She had been trying to figure out just what in the heck was going on with Ranma for a few days now. She suspected that Ranma might be doing something improper behind her back but so far she had found nothing.
All the hours with her ear primed in front of Kasumi's door when no one was looking yielded nothing other then the fact that Ranma and Kasumi were becoming rather good friends.
"I don't know Nabiki-neesan, I mean it seems like Ranma and Kasumi-neesan have been becoming very good friends lately…"
"And that's supposed to be a bad thing or maybe you wish that you were in Kasumi's shoes instead?" Nabiki was eager to note down what her youngest sister feelings were on the recent events between Ranma and Kasumi.
Akane gave a loud and expected 'humph' but the way her cheeks faintly flared up betrayed her true feelings.
"Ha…why would I even want to be close with that hentai freak? I mean he's bound to have something up his sleeve. I just don't want Kasumi-neesan to be tricked that's all."
"So in a manner of speaking that would mean…or let me guess, you're jealous?" Nabiki grinned down to her youngest sibling wickedly.
Akane was about to give her reply when she suddenly noticed trouble coming their way.
Quickly closing in on them were the fighting figures of one Shampoo and one Ukyo who was still in her male Furinkan school uniform.
"What you mean pancake chef don't know where airen go?" Shampoo demanded as she swung her bonbori downwards.
Ukyo expertly ducked from the bonbori swing and retaliated with a swing of her giant spatula, "Look honey I don't know where Ranchan is, other then seeing him in school I haven't seen him around okay!"
And as if they had a six sense when Ranma was near them or something the pair suddenly looked forward and saw the object of their current dispute walking right towards them.
Ranma hearing his name being shouted loudly looked straight ahead and rolled his eyes at what he saw. Shampoo and Ukyo were running up to him at a frantic stride and in anticipation of trouble Ranma leapt off the fence and onto the more stable pavement.
"Where airen go all this time? Shampoo no see airen long long time…want airen bring Shampoo on date. Or maybe airen taste new Ramen recipe at cafe."
Ukyo who was busily trying to push the purple hair Amazon aside joined in the fray as well, "Well now I'm sure Ranchan would rather come over to Ucchan's and taste my all new special Beef-Seafood Combo Okonomiyaki rather then some measly bowl of Ramen…wouldn't you Ranchan?"
Akane's blood began to boil upon seeing the two of them dallying up to Ranma like they were and hurriedly plodded her way up to the trio.
Ranma gazed at the two girls frantically bullying each other trying to stand right in front of him and sighed loudly, "I'm sorry Shampoo and to you too, Ukyo but I just can't today…so if you'd excuse me…"
Sidestepping to his right around the jostling girls Ranma simply continued on walking back home leaving the two aforementioned girls behind him dumbfounded.
Akane who was wielding a mallet was actually ready to boot Ranma into orbit but stopped when she saw him calmly walking away from the two girls. She was as surprised as Shampoo and Ukyo were right at that moment.
Normally he would dally his way into trouble by stalling not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings but this time around he just walked away from them as if he could care less.
Nabiki who was standing back intently studying the scene in front of her cheerfully stored the information she had gathered from the little display into memory and reminded herself to write it down later for future reference in her diary.
Back in the Dojo, Ranma after changing into his Gi quietly banished himself to the Dojo with hopes of clearing his thoughts by engaging in some vigorous training. His mind had been up till now still rationalizing his earlier action of rushing back to the Dojo that afternoon.
Kata after Kata, each subsequent one longer then the last yet Ranma managed to do each set flawlessly. By the time when he was done, Ranma felt as if his entire body was about to shut down on him due to the over exertion.
Panting heavily while hunching down, beads of sweat dripped off his forehead to sort of pool underneath him on the Dojo floor. He wasn't so much confused now with his actions, Ranma by now was just content with simply wanting to know why he did it.
So caught up within his thoughts was Ranma that he didn't hear the soft footsteps of a certain Tendo daughter walking towards him.
"Ranma…dinner's almost ready." reminded Kasumi, as she stood in front of him.
Still in a hunched over stance Ranma nodded back to her but said nothing. Kasumi then bent down a little and looked up to him holding up his usual bottle of drinking water right in front of his hand for him.
"You forgot to take this...you must have been very eager to get some training in for you rushed into the Dojo just as soon as you came back from school."
Ranma gladly took the offered bottle from her hand and smiled back at Kasumi, showing her his thanks. He then drank almost the whole bottle down in one go and once he was finished, "I'd better get cleaned up for dinner…" and walked away from the now standing Kasumi.
Once at the doorway, Ranma glanced back to her over his shoulder for a second before he stepped out of the Dojo. He then just stood outside of the doorway as if waiting…
Kasumi suddenly then sort of understood that he was waiting for her and made her way out as well.
By now the two fathers of the houses, Genma and Soun had been noticing how Ranma was getting along nicely with Akane, well if you call barely speaking to each other for the past few days while just making due with greetings and a few short sentences getting along then you must be one Tendo Soun and Saotome Genma.
The pair had once again cooked up another 'how to get them hitched' plan, 'them' usually meant Akane and Ranma.
Nearing the end of that night's dinner right in front of everyone, "Seeing how Ranma and Akane have been acting more friendlily towards each other for the past few days now I was thinking that maybe it was time we made the whole thing between Ranma and Akane official." Genma announced loudly.
This was met with the wide open eyes of disbelief from Akane while Ranma just got up and was on his way out of the dinning room before Soun continued.
"We were thinking of maybe just having a ceremony at the ward's marriage registrar's office…nothing fancy. We tried all the fancy stuff once and well that didn't work out. Besides it's been already a year or so now since you two were engaged…"
"OTOSAN! I AM NOT GOING TO GO ALONG WITH THIS!" Akane screamed while almost splitting the table in two by the act of slamming of her fists on it.
"LOOK POPS, I DON'T KNOW WHAT GAVE YOU THIS BRIGHT IDEA OF YOURS BUT AKANE AND I ARE CERTAINLY NOT AS FRIEDNLY AS YOU THINK WE ARE…" yelled Ranma.
Genma was the first to reply to their objections as he stood up staring his son head on, "Then when? Look here boy…you've been dragging this issue along for long enough and you may not know it but once you get married to Akane all the girl 'problems' you have now may actually go away. Have you ever thought of it that way?"
Ranma now clearly pissed stood over to his own father and grabbed him up by the collar of his Gi and hissed his reply, "Look here pops…me getting married to Akane isn't going to solve anything…getting married to her is only going to make things worst…"
Akane who had overheard what he had said as usual took it the wrong way, "LOOK HERE YOU HENTAI WHO SAID ANYTHING ABOUT MARRYING YOU…!"
"AKANE! Let me finish what I've got to say for once please…!" Ranma spat back to her.
Turning his attention back to his father…
"Like I was saying marrying Akane isn't going to solve anything because as if you didn't notice that there are three other girls out there who would be more then happy to make me a widower right after my marriage ceremony. Akane, I'd admit can more then handle herself in a fight but for how long? I don't want us to fight amongst each other and then the rest of the girls every single damn day of our lives. Nice idea pops but I've already trashed that one out the window a few weeks back…"
Ranma after letting that one out from his system looked a little more collected and finally let go of his father's collar and searched for a way out of the current uneasy situation and noticing Kasumi who was standing rigid by the kitchen door holding a handful of unwashed dinner plates…
"Here Kasumi, let me help you with that…"
Ranma then quickly walked up to her and taking the plates off her hands stormed right into the kitchen leaving Soun in his waterworks mode and Genma mumbling about his son's ungratefulness.
"Ranma…why don't you let me wash the plates instead and you can…err…dry them…" Kasumi hesitatingly suggested.
Ranma got her delicate hint and moved over to the side of the sink and took up the drying towel allowing Kasumi to move in. After the second plate had been dried Ranma spoke up, breaking the thick silence between the two.
"Sorry Kasumi, I didn't mean to ruin dinner like that and just to let you know it isn't that I don't want to marry Akane…it's just not the right time…" he murmured, as id unsure of his words.
Kasumi nodded perceptively, "It's okay but did you really think that much on how to solve your problems?"
Ranma after placing the third plate into the cupboard replied Kasumi poignantly, "Well you get to think about a lot of things when you have a month's worth of sleepless nights. I just thought and thought about all the things that had happened to me from the very first day I moved in till now. Then I'd think of how to fix things so that everyone's happy in the end and how to fix those who aren't. My life isn't just about yes and no, it has a yes, a no and then the maybes, what ifs and what then …"
Kasumi would always learn something new about Ranma almost every time they had a meaningful chat and this was one of those chats. His personality wasn't just made up of infinite knowledge of agile kicks, powerful punches and awesome Chi blasts.
Ranma was a lot more to that then people give him credit for and Kasumi was somewhat glad in the knowledge that she was probably the only one who knew this side of the boy.
After passing him another freshly washed plate, "Ranma…would you mind taking a walk with me later after we're done with the dishes. I have a book that I've finished reading quite a while ago which I borrowed from Dr. Tofu and I really should return back to him. And I think the clear night air might calm you down a bit…"
Ranma laughed a little at this, "Yeah…I'd like that…I must look like an open book to you now…it's that easy to read my mood huh?"
Kasumi grinned, "Mmmm…call it a woman's intuition."
"What book did you read Kasumi?" wondered Ranma out loud as he pointed to the medium sized paperback book in her grasp.
They were just about to turn at the junction that led to the back alleyway of the clinic but stopping under a street light, "It's a book on child psychology…" Kasumi turned the book around to its front cover and handed it over to Ranma.
Ranma browsing over the book was impressed not with the book which was entirely written in English but with Kasumi.
"Wow…Kasumi, it's written in English…" he stopped and then with a rather lopsided grin, "I guess people really don't know much about you…eh?" added Ranma as he returned the book back to Kasumi.
"What you mean Ranma?" as they continued walking.
"Well…err…I mean no hard feelings and all but I used to think you were err…"
"Clueless? Maybe a little dense…?" joked Kasumi as if she had read Ranma's mind.
By now the back gate of the clinic had just came into view.
"Emm…yeah something like that…sorry about that but looking back at the past few days I've just realized that I'm the clueless one here. I mean I can't even make up my mind who I really want to get engaged with...pathetic huh…?"
Ranma looking beside him noticed that Kasumi had stopped walking all of a sudden for some unknown reason with a rather fixed gaze and looking to where or what she was staring at…
Megumi had now took it upon herself to take up the role of resident chef of the clinic upon her arrival after looking at what was prepared for her first dinner by the good doctor. That dinner had been made up totally of instant foods like precooked canned curry, pickled radishes and canned soup, pretty normal fare of an unmarried man but not too healthy she added.
After purging the doctor's cupboards of the so called food Megumi went on a very long shopping trip around Nerima and bought groceries that were more fitting to fill his kitchen pantry. And now the two were getting on with preparing their dinner after a pretty long day of tending to patients.
Megumi had decided that today they would have a variation of the rich stew, Chanko famous among Sumo's for dinner. Her variation was just smaller in size and a little less in carbohydrates.
While tending to the pot of boiling stock Megumi had assigned the sensei to handle the chopping up of the vegetables when she suddenly heard…
Turning around to the doctor she gasped at the sight of him bringing up his cut finger to his mouth. Noticing Megumi's shocked expression, "Hehe…guess that's why I didn't become a surgeon…" he joked.
Megumi though wasn't in the mood for jokes. She quickly ran over to him and pulled him over to the sink and ran the cut clean under the tap of flowing water. She then rushed out to the office and returned with a first aid kit before giving the cut her utmost attention.
A little bit fazed by the attention he was getting from Megumi, "Megumi-san it's really nothing just a small cut…nothing to fret over. A band-aid over it and it'd be as good as new."
"Senpai, you should really be careful with yourself and a cut can lead to many things if let unattended..." brooded Megumi as she began to tend to his cut finger.
Truth was the good doctor was getting rather uncomfortable with the way Megumi was holding his hand with hers. He couldn't help but blush at the way she tenderly touched his hand as if it was the whole hand that was hurt and not only the finger.
"Senpai…are you okay your hands their trembling…"
Looking up to him and noticing how red his cheeks had gotten she giggled, "Senpai are you embarrassed by me touching your hands? I wouldn't have taken you for the shy type, I'm sure all your single female patients give you your fair share of teasing since you're so handsome and all…"
"Err…well…I sort of asked them to stop…" he replied her with a silly grin.
Kasumi knew for a fact that during this time Dr. Tofu would be just about finished with dinner and should be in the kitchen washing his plates but what she didn't expect to see the sight of Megumi and a rather flushed not to mentioned flustered looking Dr. Tofu holding hands by the window laughing.
Ranma saw this as well and switched his attention between Kasumi and the kitchen window. 'Okay this is got to be something bad…' was the thought that was going through his head.
The slight reflection of a pang of heartbreak flashed across Kasumi's face but it went away as fast as it came. Turning to Ranma, "Ranma…would you be so kind as to give this book back to the sensei for me. I just remembered that I left…left the kettle on the stove…"
She then promptly handed Ranma the book, turned around and started to walk away from the clinic briskly. Ranma who was confused with current events quickly walked up to the back door and knocked.
Dr. Tofu came up answering the door and smiled to the young pigtailed youth, "Ah…Ranma-kun what brings you here?"
Ranma handed over the book to him and with a rather deadpan voice, "Kasumi asked me to give this back to you…she said thanks." The thanks part was added in by Ranma, he knew that was probably what she would have said to him herself if she was here.
Even before he could invite Ranma in for some tea the boy turned around and left.
"I wonder where he is going in such a rush…" wondered Tofu out loud.
Megumi then walked back into the kitchen, "Who was that just now?"
Ranma soon caught up with Kasumi who didn't get very far and continued walking beside her. And for the whole walk home they said nothing at all to each other.
Back inside the Tendo home Ranma noticed how Kasumi instead of heading to the kitchen to take off the kettle of the stove headed straight upstairs. So he decided to check on the kettle himself instead just in case.
Walking up the stairs to his room, Ranma had found not only that there wasn't a kettle on the stove, the kettle itself wasn't even filled with any water. This bothered Ranma, 'This isn't like Kasumi to forget things about the kitchen…'
He stopped in front of his room door but looking ahead down the hallway Ranma couldn't help but feel the urge to just look in on Kasumi instead.
Kasumi felt nothing out of the ordinary while she walked home. Sure she was at first a little stunned by the sight of Megumi, a rather beautiful young woman holding Dr. Tofu's hands in hers but after a few seconds she felt nothing.
Even now she wasn't feeling anything was amiss with her emotions or thoughts. 'Shouldn't I feel at least something?' she asked herself as she sat down on the foot of her bed looking rather blankly at her hands.
Dr. Tofu had been always the one that was sort of 'her match'. They had been friends since high school and well just about everyone in Nerima knew just how fond he was of her.
But every time she would pay him a visit he would just go haywire and dance around with Betty-chan or just blabber incoherently. That was why the two of them had yet to even spend more then a few minutes in each others company, normally.
A soft knock on her door interrupted her reflection, "Kasumi…It's me Ranma, mind if I come in?"
Ranma leaned outside Kasumi's room door tying his best to listen in to anything peculiar but stepped back when he heard the door click open.
Peering though the gap he could see Kasumi walking back to sit down on her bed, "Come in Ranma…anything the matter?" she inquired from where she sat down.
Ranma cautiously walked in and sat down across Kasumi on her desk chair and studied her vigilantly.
'She looks okay…' he figured silently.
"Is there something on my face Ranma?" she carefully voiced.
Ranma found that he had been gazing at Kasumi for too long, "Ah…no nothing sorry for staring at you…"
"Did you want to talk to me about anything? I'm sorry Ranma but I don't think I'm up to our tutoring session for tonight so if you don't mind can we postpone it till tomorrow…?"
"Huh? Oh that…yeah sure I don't mind. But…err…Kasumi are you feeling okay? I mean you looked kinda upset there for a second just now while we were at the clinic…"
Kasumi shook her head, "I'm okay Ranma…it's nothing really…"
"Anyway Kasumi I actually wanted to say sorry to you for the way I acted this afternoon. You know it wasn't really…ah what's the word…appropriate of me to do what I did…" explained Ranma, changing the topic a bit.
A small smile crept up Kasumi's face, "No need to apologize Ranma. I sort of understood how you were feeling at the time so there isn't any misunderstanding between us."
Ranma somewhat felt a little relieved to hear her say that but the inkling of worry he had felt prior somehow didn't lift.
"Anyway Kasumi, sleep tight okay and if you need to talk about anything I'd be here to listen to you remember that okay…err…I guess see you tomorrow then. Good night." he said back to Kasumi before leaving the room.
Ranma walking back into his room was still haunted by the deep down gut feeling that Kasumi was trying to mask her emotions. He had without Kasumi's knowledge sort of tried to read her aura. That was a skill he would normally practice only in battles but Ranma felt that he wanted to make sure of Kasumi's state of mind.
He could pick up on the obvious external expressions like how dull her expression had dropped to and how her voice lost it's a bit of its usual cheerful outlook. Her aura was calm but he was sure that he had felt a bit of sadness mixed into it.
'Sad thing is I know how that's feels like…' Ranma thought to himself as he sat down by his desk.
"I hope what happened in the clinic was just a big misunderstanding…if Tofu-sensei ever intentionally hurt Kasumi…" Ranma started but then even before he could finish the sentence.
'Then what…? Stomp off to the clinic and beat the crap out of the guy…come on Ranma this is between the two of them…' silently nagged his insides.
"You'd be acting no better then Akane…" he sadly whispered to himself.
Ranma shook his head clear of those rather unsavory thoughts and took out his textbooks, he wasn't about to slack off just because he had the night off. And focusing on his schoolwork was also a ploy to get his mind off the things he had bore witness to.
Next morning Ranma woke up and found that he had fallen asleep by his desk but what he didn't remember doing was switching his desk light off. All he remembered was how Genma had at around 11 decided to finally crawl into his futon and no sooner did he lay his head on the pillow that he started to snore…loudly.
Strange thing then was that Ranma felt something slightly heavy had been laid on his back and looking over his shoulders he found that his blanket had somehow managed to find its way over his back.
"Pops…?" he uttered while looking back to the still snoring man lying behind him. Ranma quickly laughed at the idea, not that it wasn't possible just that Genma could sleep through just about anything and looking at his clock he found it to be just a quarter past six.
After thinking about what to do next, be it to go back to sleep or just do something before breakfast Ranma sort of ended up with the idea to just watch the sunrise from the roof.
Sufficiently awake now, Ranma slowly crawled out of his window and nimbly made it to the roof. Just as he sat himself down the morning sun broke above the skyline horizon.
Kasumi at that same time was just about finished with the preparations for her family's breakfast in the kitchen. She had woken up at her usual time of half past five and after freshening up a bit with a quick early morning shower Kasumi quietly made her way down the second floor hallway.
Just as she made it pass Ranma's and Genma's room she noticed how amidst the darkened room a lone light still shone from the inside of it and she knew right away that it was from Ranma's desk.
Not one to waste electricity if lets per say Ranma had somewhat forgotten to switch it off before going to sleep. Kasumi quietly slid the room door slightly open so as to see for herself if that was the case.
Looking inside Kasumi could dimly make out the outline of a figure stooped over the desk and upon a closer inspection she found Ranma sound asleep, using his thick opened physics textbook as a makeshift pillow.
'Ranma must have slept that way for the whole night…' were her thoughts.
Kasumi shivered a bit for she had felt the slow chill of the cold morning air creeping in from the half yawning window right in front of him.
After taking out Ranma's unused blanket from the nearby cupboard, Kasumi silently knelt down beside Ranma and carefully covered him up. She then turned off his desk lamp and shut the window in front of him to keep out the frigid morning air.
Before she left Kasumi tidied up the pile of books strewn around Ranma's desk and smiled as she slid the door close behind her, 'If only he had been this motivated when he first came…'
Ranma was way ahead with Akane and Nabiki walking behind him, he had decided to take the normal route to school that morning. That meant that he was walking on the street, like most other people do.
And while passing the clinic's main gate…
Ranma-chan stood there in all her wet glory as she glared towards the said party that had just splashed her irately.
"Ah…Ranma-chan sorry…" apologized Dr. Tofu as he ran up to her, "Megumi-san didn't mean it…here let me get you a kettle for that…" he continued as he ran back to the clinic.
Ranma-chan stared coldly at the raven haired girl, as images of the doctor with her hands around his were recalled from last night.
"I'm sorry…" said the raven haired girl with little emotion.
Akane and Nabiki soon walked up to the duo, "Morning sensei…" beamed Akane. Dr. Tofu then handed the kettle over to Ranma-chan who then over turned the appliance over himself and changed back to Ranma.
"And who is this Tofu-sensei…?" questioned Nabiki with an inquisitive tone.
"Ah…Akane-chan and Nabiki-chan, good morning…Let me introduce to you my new assistant, Megumi-san. She'd be interning with me for a year…"
Megumi then bowed towards the two girls and to Ranma who had been a girl but was now a boy.
Ranma returning the kettle, "Thanks sensei but I've got to go don't want to be late for school…" with that he promptly walked away from the small collection of people.
This coming from Ranma of all people stunned both Nabiki and Akane but then later realized that he was right for they were running a little late.
As Ranma walked away Megumi kept her eyes clued onto his back, 'I don't like the way he looks at me.' she said to herself.