*strolls in.*


So, a priest, a rabbi, and a minister walk into a bar -

*gets knocked out by a pineapple to the face*

This chapter was made possible by Bambolina, who's all kinds of awesome.

Nodoka had a small smile that most people attributed to her bashful docile nature. Her almond shaped eyes morphed into dark arches when she smiled her bashful smile. Her lips were small and dainty, like an ichimatsu doll. She had creamy skin, immaculate and luminous. And her hands were narrow and long with flawless, glossy, oval nails. Her hair flowed like waves of silk threads, glistening under sunlight.

She had never washed a dish or held a rag. Never swung a broomstick or dusted the curtains. She didn't water plants. She did not hang wet laundry on the clothes line. She never walked through the produce market, or the butcher store, or the farmlands. She had absolutely no idea where they were. Furthermore, she wasn't quite sure what a "plunger" was, but it was a funny looking object.

If not for her school uniform, she would've worn a different yukata of the finest silk everyday. Nevertheless, her school uniforms were crisp and pressed, spotless and pristine. Her blouse blanche never had any stains or wrinkles. Her blazers and skirts smelled of fresh soap always. Her black mary-janes adorned her small feet encased in knee-high socks.

All the girls hated her.

Except one.

The second Tendo daughter came into the kitchen where her older sister was preparing ingredients for lunch for her betrothed. Kasumi's lack of acknowledgment for her younger sister did not faze her one bit. Nabiki grabbed a cookie from the cookie jar and chewed contemplatively as she watched Kasumi chop vegetables.

"Did you know," she began, "in the modern dictionary, the word 'bad' in its adjective form has 36 definitions?"

Kasumi merely hummed a response.

"After 35 definitions, all negatively defining 'bad,' the 36th definition defines 'bad' as 'outstandingly excellent,'" Nabiki said matter-of-factly. She brushed her hands of the cookie crumbs and wandered to the refrigerator. She peered inside, relishing in the cool breeze masking her face. She continued, "Maybe Michael Jackson made that possible." Scanning the array of produce and containers of food, she reached in to pull out a carton of milk. "'Bad' is its own antonym," she finished closing the refrigerator.

Kasumi grabbed a cup from the cupboard and held it out to Nabiki. "So, 'bad' is not so bad," she finally responded.

The astute Tendo daughter smirked as she poured herself a cup of milk. "Bad is good," she restated. She took a long sip arching her head back slowly. She brought the cup down to the counter and grinned at Kasumi before adding, "Bad is damn good."

"That's nice," the older sister mumbled, expertly slicing potatoes into cubes.

"I was thinking the other day," Nabiki drew on, "Akane doesn't seem to remember much about mom." She leaned against the pantry door and peered at Kasumi curiously. "What do you remember?"

The oldest Tendo daughter showed no signs of providing an answer.

Nabiki quirked her lips and turned to leave the kitchen.

"I remember..."

She halted her steps. She could barely make out Kasumi's hushed voice.

"I remember," Kasumi said, "she smelled like dirt."

Nabiki burst out laughing. Wiping a tear from her mirth, she walked back to her sister, standing next to her. "Mom stunk?" She asked bemused.

Her sister smiled at Nabiki affectionately, "No, you weirdo, she smelled like dirt because she spent a lot of time in the garden planting trees, flowers, and vegetables. In fact, she loved going outdoors." She rested her knife on the cutting board deep in thought. "She took us out often. But, I guess you were too young to remember."

"Hmmm," Nabiki stared off into space. "I suppose I remember more than Akane, still. I mean, I wasn't that young. And you know I was always smart for my age."

Kasumi giggled, her sister, the humble one.

"Did you know that mom and Mrs. Saotome made a pact before we were born to have their children get married?"

Nabiki was never known for being subtle about these things. She just jumped the shark.

"I had no idea," Kasumi's eyebrows rose up in surprise. "How do you know?"

"I make it my business to know."

"I guess it's normal for close friends to wish to have their children marry," she reasoned and picked up the knife again to resume chopping.

"Don't you find it odd that mom made such a pact with a yakuza family?"

She suddenly found Nabiki's questioning to be genuinely legitimate. Why did her mother agree to such a thing? Did she not know that the Saotomes where part of the yakuza? Kasumi couldn't imagine what would ever possess her mother to make a deal with the devil. Perhaps, that was a bit extreme. The Yakuza weren't the devil, but they certainly weren't chubby little fat kids with wings. They were crooks! Criminals! Outlaws! Felons! Her expression transitioned from mild concern to growing alarm.

"Why did you set up Akane with Ranma?" She asked accusingly.

Nabiki scoffed and waved her hand flippantly, "I didn't 'set them up' to date. I merely gave Akane a job. Yakuza or not, Ranma is a cretin who needs to graduate."

"Oh dear," Kasumi clenched the cutting knife worriedly to her chest, "I hope they don't get romantically involved. That would be …" She tried to come up with the appropriate word. "Bad!"

"You know it."

Nabiki knew her sister would not find humor in her carefully planned out conversation. She thought it was freakin hysterical. Though she had to admit, they never really shared the same sense of humor.

Kasumi chose to wisely ignore Nabiki's facetiousness. "Why are you suddenly asking about mom?" She changed the subject. She returned to the chopping board, taking comfort in the rhythmic sounds of the knife slicing through the carrots. Curry would be perfect for tomorrow, she thought pleasantly. She waited patiently for Nabiki to answer and hearing nothing from her dear, apparently coked-up, sister. Kasumi turned her head to look at her.

She was alone in the kitchen, once again.

She sighed and brought her hands to rest at her waist.

"She couldn't have, at least, rinsed her cup?"

"Don't you dare leave this house!"

Ryouga froze outside the apt. His fist remained half raised, inches away from the door. He immediately began to picture the current situation on the other side and wondered if he should knock or hide.

"It's not a house. It's an apartment," was the smart reply.

Sayuri let out a guttural cry in frustration. "Why can't you get a job and be a constructive part of this family for once?"

Ryouga's brows furrowed.

"Shut up!" Her brother's voice rose in anger, "I'm doing things my own way to help this family, so leave me the fuck alone!"


The door swung open abruptly in front of Ryouga, and he braced himself for the impact as Ryu tried to rush out. Both were struck unexpectedly with each other's presence.

"Ryouga!" Sayuri's called out in relief, "Grab him!"

And he did without a second thought. The younger boy attempted to pull his arm out of Ryouga's grip, but the hold only tightened. Ryu gritted his teeth and swung his other arm, throwing a punch to Ryouga's face. Ryouga merely leaned back and the fist swung past his face. From years of training, he effortlessly twisted Ryu's arm and spun the boy around, grabbed the other to bring both arms behind Ryu's back. All the while, the younger boy spat and spewed a string of curses.

"Get your hands off me, fucking yakuza!"

"Ryu!" Sayuri cried out as soon as she reached them at the entrance. She glanced at Ryouga apologetically and ushered them inside inside. "I'm really sorry about this, Ryouga." She locked the door and followed the two men into the living. Ryu still struggled but done so half-heartedly. He didn't need to be a martial artist to know there was no way he was slipping out of Ryouga's hold. Ryouga shoved him on the couch.

"Stop causing your sister so much grief," he ordered simply.

"Who the fuck are you to tell me what to do?" Ryu exclaimed. "What the fuck do you know about having a family? Pathetic yakuza orphan!"

"RYU!" Sayuri's hand flew across her younger brother's face before she could stop herself. "You shouldn't say such things!" She wrung her hands, rubbing the sting away. Trying to settle her nerves, she took a deep breathe and continued in a controlled voice, "You don't know anything about him."

"Do you?" He snapped back.

She faltered.

Ryouga sighed loudly. "Whatever," he stated. "What were you guys fighting about, anyway?"

The two siblings looked away. After a moment of silence, Sayuri answered tiredly, "he was leaving to go to that gang, again." She rubbed her eyes with the palm of her hands. "I was trying to stop him because I have a bad feeling about it." Her brother did not defend himself or offer an explanation. He only glared at an imaginary spot on the floor.

"That shitty Pai-Lung?" Ryouga sneered tactfully.

Ryu lunged at him abruptly, crashing into Ryouga's stomach with his shoulder. It brought him a little bit of pride when they stumbled to the floor into an unceremonious heap. With the advantage from landing on top, he began to throw fists at Ryouga's face. His older sister tried with very little success to grab hold of his arms from behind. He could hear her yelling and screaming, but her words made no sense. He couldn't tell how long he had been punching Ryouga, but a sharp mindnumbing pain burst at the side of jaw and he crashed to the side. That fucker has a hard fist, he thought hatefully.

Pushing the boy completely off of him, Ryouga sat up and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. A smear of blood stained his hand. The boy lacked skill but not in strength. With a bit of training, he could be a formidable match, Ryouga mused. He stood up and patted Sayuri on the head reassuringly.

"Well," he said to the boy, now sitting up on the floor, "looks like you're staying home tonight."

Sayuri bit her lip waiting to see her brother's reaction. When he remained unresponsive save for a few blinks, her shoulders sagged. She didn't want to boss her siblings around and raise them like a parent, but Ryu left her no choice. If he couldn't respect her as a sister, she wouldn't respect him like a brother. But seeing him defeated and upset only made her more miserable. She decided to cook donkatsu for dinner in hopes to cheer him up a bit.

"Thanks, Ryouga," she managed to smile. "By the way, what brings you here?"

"Just wanted to check up on you guys," he answered. "Looks like I came just in time."

"Why don't you stay for dinner?" She began making her way to the kitchen. "I'm making donkatsu tonight." She quickly glanced at Ryu who didn't respond.

"Oh! My favorite!" Ryouga drooled instantly. "But, I can't, I have to go. I have to stop by the house and meet Ranma somewhere." He looked down at Ryu, as well, trying to read his face. Failing to do so, he sighed once more and moved to leave the apartment.

"If he tries to leave," he said as he strolled out the door, "call me, and I'll haul his ass back."

"Can you run that by me again?" Akane gritted out through her grinding teeth.

A young girl in a plain grey kimono hesitated instinctively. She was a pretty girl – average height, healthy brown hair twisted into a neat bun, amber eyes, full pink lips and a willowy figure of soft curves. She probably could have been a model. But no, she was too stubborn, a proud, intelligent, strong woman of the 21st century. A career woman, she thought with self-contempt. So, here she was working part-time to pay for her college education. She studied microbiology during the day and at night, took the role as the middle-man for a misogynistic, narcissistic, cocky little prick and his imperious, egocentric, reluctant girlfriend.

She realized with a start that the haughty Miss Akane was still staring her, expecting an answer. She cleared her throat and answered, "The young master has a previous engagement and will not be able to keep his appointment with you today. He expresses his deepest apologies and asks that you make yourself at home, if you so wish, or you can take leave. He reassures that you will still be compensated since the fault lies with him entirely."

Akane physically restrained herself from strangling the stupid girl in the ugly grey kimono by clenching her fists. After all, it would be awfully unoriginal to kill the messenger.

"I see," Akane tersely replied. "Thank you. I will see myself out." She glared as the girl bowed and silently shifted out of the room. As soon as the girl was out of sight, she stomped her foot loudly and childishly. "Previous engagement?" she shrieked. He dared to stand her up for a last minute date, she thought furiously.

Ranma laughed boisterously above the music in a dark room. He really couldn't see the face of the girl currently massaging his very vital organ, but he didn't mind. That was the purpose of coming to karaoke. Now, if only he could get her to stop talking into his ear. She was babbling about her new Pomeranian, and he couldn't give a damn. Two scantily dressed girls were dancing and singing off-key, annoying the shit of out him, but it was better than silence.

He peered at the rest of his men, each occupied with a gorgeous companion, and he felt satisfaction settle in his gut. He wanted his men to be happy. Happy followers equaled loyal followers.

The hand rubbing his groin picked up speed, and he adjusted himself so she can have better access. She wanted him, he knew.

"When I get my hands on him, he will wish he'd been born a girl!" Akane yelled into Ranma's empty bedroom. They had a commitment – she teaches him and gets paid, so can he learn and graduate. How can she hold up her part of the bargain if he's not around to be taught? Instead, he ditched her and went out with some floozy to get laid.

The longer she sat dumbly in the middle of Ranma's room, her rage increased ten-fold by the minute. She should scream. She should curse. She should trash his room. She should find out where he is and kick the shit out of him. She should do something to him worse than death. She will tell his mother! Akane sniggered to herself. She stood up, brushed herself neatly, and walked out of Ranma's room in search of the Saotome matriarch. She barely marched three steps before a bulky figure appeared out of the shadows and bumped into her.

Ryouga looked down at her in surprise, and asked, "What are you doing here?"

"I'm just taking another tour of this beautiful house because apparently I have nothing better to do with my time," she answered matter-of-factly. A stupid question deserved a stupid response. She wasn't particularly upset with the question but seeing Ryouga again brought discomfort. Sarcasm was the best way to cope with awkward situations.

On the other side of town, a very experienced and very well-endowed girl tried as hard as she could. With all the mental power perspiring on her smooth forehead, she attempted to go faster, ignoring the increasingly sharp pain in her forearm. She rubbed, she scrubbed, and "rolled the dice" as if her life depended on it. And, it sort of did. But with all the strokes, moans, and licks she could muster, Ranma's vital organ remained lifeless. He appeared as devastated as she.

With a large sigh, she finally stopped and looked at him square in the eyes. With a courage she never knew she had, she said, "Honey, its not me. It's you."

Ranma was struck speechless. He stared at her with his large haunted eyes, pale hollow cheeks and gaping mouth. His vision drifted up to her soft hair and traveled down to her exotic almond eyes, to her plump luscious lips, to her smooth swan-like neck, and finally rested longingly on her ample round bosoms. The confusion and utter mortification washing over his chilled body drew shivers down his spine. He stared longingly at the two wonderous globes swaying beautifully in front of his eyes, and his hand reached over to cup one of her breasts in forlorn misery. She let him.

Her expression shifted from exhaustion to concern. Was he gay? Should she call for one of the pretty boys working here? Or did Master Ranma prefer strong men like himself? She felt him gently squeeze her right breast and she couldn't lie about the pleasure that came from his soft ministrations. And pitifully, she was filled with regret. Did he really not feel anything? Because, she was sure as hell ready to run to the nearest motel with him. Hell, with these low lights, she'd jump him right now if he wanted.

Ranma thoughts ran on a different track: this is punishment because I stiffed my tutor, isn't it, he thought in horror. Did his subconscious fear over her inevitable unforgiving retribution finally merge to the surface in the form of this debilitating anxiety? Life was cruel, the Gods, unmerciful, and karma, a bitch.

Luckily, in the dark and noisy room, none of his men had noticed his failure as a man.

He peered down at himself with extreme self-disgust, and it came to him as clear as a summer sky.

This was all her fault, that hellcat. The hellcat who took his motorcycle. She might as well have taken a pitchfork and jabbed him in the gut with it.

In his most authoritative and cocky voice, he beseeched, "Put your back into it! I thought you were experienced." He threw her an accusatory glance, tersely ordering, "Bend over."

Despite his insult, she huffed self-righteously and lowered her head as she licked her lips carefully. Slowly, with her newly applied fingernails, she unzipped his pants. He was lucky he was cute, or else she would've walked out. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed his foot tapping nervously. She looked up at him. Her grey-blue eyes blinked owlishly at him, and she asked, "Are you sure?"

He made a face and glared down at her between his knees, ready to snap at the stupid girl "What do you think you're being paid for?" But something caught his eye. He stared at her silently, a sudden thought clearing his frustration.

Her hair was blue-ish.

Granted, it was long, down to the middle of her back. He could tell her hair was naturally brown with only blue highlights. And she lacked the upturned snobby nose and the firm taut muscles underneath her skin. She also lacked plump rosy cheeks that flush from body heat as a result of anger. Her body was tall and long, like Xian Pu, not petite enough to engulf with his own. And her eyes were not like chocolate-caramel. They were icy blue, flat and artificial.

"Take off your contacts," he said, instead. She complied, primly putting them away in a small lens case in her purse. Azusa turned her brown eyes back to him, blue strands of hair framing her oval face.

Ranma couldn't stop the roguish grin from spreading across his lips. "Now," he said with full confidence, "try again."

"Listen, about the other day," Ryouga scratched the back of his head and racked his brain for ways to continue. Normally, he wouldn't have a problem speaking his mind, but this was Akane. Her mere presence melted his brain to slush. He wasn't sure why, but he wanted her to like him, to trust him, and most of all, to not think he was as dumb as Ranma.

He cleared his throat, and started again with vigor, "I called to see if-"

Akane cut him off with a wave of her hand, and interrupted him quite rudely, "Oh, I'm so sorry, Ryouga. I had to hang up quickly because I was with Yuka and Sayuri. We were hanging out at the lounge so I really couldn't hear what you were saying."

"Uh, yeah," he laughed uncomfortably, "I wanted to see if-"

"Sayuri seems to be quite fond of you," she interrupted again. Ryouga briefly wondered where she learned her manners, but thought it just made her all the more charming. A genuine smile spread across his face.

He nodded, "we became good friends. You know? I admire her for all she went through, without parents and all." His eyes dropped to the floor between them. "She shouldn't have gone through all that by herself." A small hand reached to his broad shoulder and patted him tenderly. She was so small, but her effect on him was bigger than a typhoon. The warmth from her gesture soothed his aching chest.

"She's strong and intelligent," Akane told him reassuringly. "No one could've done it better than her." Akane didn't want pity for her friend. Sayuri would not have liked that. Pity was reserved for helpless, despondent, people, and Sayuri was, if anything, a survivor. She never gave up or mulled over her woes and self-pity. Akane wanted Ryouga to understand.

His emotion-filled eyes met hers with so much unguarded intensity; she almost took a step back. She began to speak, but his large arms wrapped around her within a blink of an eye, and she froze in his grasp.

"Thank you," he began to whisper into her hair. The intimacy of it made her blush furiously, and she had no choice but to hide her red cheeks in his shoulder. He showed no signs of letting go and Akane wondered if she should initiate moving away. Truth be told, Ryouga's hug was warm and comforting, like the hot springs after a long trek through a snowstorm. But Sayuri's hurt face and Yuka's bitchy attitude made the hot springs feel like molten lava. She had to get out of there.

"Oh, my." Mrs. Saotome's murmur was louder than a thunder and the two kids broke apart faster than lightning.

They began to speak at once, and the volume of their voices rose with the flush of their faces. Mrs. Saotome would've laughed, but she enjoyed watching the kids babble. So, she let them continue.

"He was just-"

"I was just-"

"because my friend-"

"because there is this girl-"

"she's a really great girl so-"

"and I was just really happy that-"

"I think they're going out or something-"

"that girl is-" Ryouga stopped and turned to Akane with wide eyes. "-not my girlfriend."

She didn't know what to say. She didn't know how to react. She was so confused, and it was beginning to piss her off. Why didn't anybody give her straight answers? She faced Ryouga fully and frowned at him, "Then, are you just playing around with Sayuri?"


She brought her hands to her hips and broke out her "I'm extremely miffed, so back off, you little shit" face. "If she's not your girlfriend, then why are you spending all this time with her?" Akane demanded to know. "Are you some kind of player?"

Ryouga shook his head dumbstruck. It hurt that Akane felt so low of him, and to make matters worse, this was unfolding in front of Ranma's mother. What if she believed Akane? He didn't want the Saotome matriarch to think she left the safety of her son in the hands of some womanizing insensitive creep…even if they were the Yakuza! They had standards, dammit!

"Okay, kids, that's quite enough," Mrs. Saotome sternly broke in. She was itching to find out more details of this quarrel, but that would make her no better than the town's busybody gossip. She pressed on to more important matters, like, "Where's Ranma?"

She looked to Akane, who, in turn, looked to Ryouga.

Ryouga, the poor sap, had no one to look to. "Ummm…"

Ranma walked out of the karaoke with so much swagger, he felt like a trillion bucks. He was still unsure as to what went down in there, but he wasn't the type who gave a fuck. It felt good in the end. Period.

The guys around him were clearly plastered but they managed to keep their composure out in the public. One of them swayed but a companion punched his arm, and he straightened up. They bustled into a line waiting for a command, even if it was a bit sloppy. Ranma walked down the line, patting some shoulders. "Alright, guys, go home to your girlfriends." He smirked, and they gave him a thankful smile as they retreated into the night, leaving him alone in front of the club.

Ranma briefly considered going back in for another round with Azusa, but brushed off the thought as quickly as it came. Her voice wasn't quite right, and he wasn't sure how much longer he could tolerate it.

Her voice lacked a certain type of innocence. A playful lilt. There was no teasing laughter behind her eyes. There was plenty of passion. But, that was just for the want of sex. But, Ranma had no idea what the hell he was thinking about. All he knew was that, despite being satisfied, he wasn't satiated.

"So, did you enjoy your night?" A female voice flatly asked from behind him.

Ranma spun around so fast, he got whip-lashed.

There she was, in all her glory, leaning like a sinner on his fire red Ducati.

Akane, with her arms crossed in front of her chest, quirked an eyebrow at him, challenging him to deny everything. She just wanted to smack the bastard and get the whole thing over with. The ride to the karaoke on the Ducati assuaged some of the anger that simmered inside her, and all that was left was disinterest, suspicion, and mildly ironic humor. However, his swagger out of the club rekindled a furious urge to run the rear tire of her bike over and over between his legs. She'd like to see his gait after that.

To Ranma, she was a sight for sore eyes. An ethereal glow outlined her curves, and her skin glistened and hummed from the city lights - skin that should be covered with feather-light kisses, trailing down the smooth expanse of her figure. She was still feverish from the ride, and he felt her heat emanating from where he stood a few yards away. He wanted to engulf that heat, feel his fingertips sizzle, and consume him like wildfire. He could envision himself slowly running his palms up and down those perfect waves, gripping onto her with aching need to control her and guide her. He could almost hear the sounds she would cry out with every thrust of his body. He was wrong to think she could be so easily replaced.

Akane felt her breath catch when he locked his predatory gaze towards her and began to stride languidly in her direction through the thick summer air. The dark violet ring in his eyes stirred something hot inside her and her entire body clenched tightly in anticipation. His crisp black button-down shirt shaped his broad shoulders, tailored perfectly to fit his torso. His rolled up sleeves showcased the strength lying dormant in his forearms. The casual gesture of placing his hands in the pockets of his black slacks only increased her anxiety - that he could be so relaxed when she was teetering on the brink of insanity. His deliberate slow movements were languid and purposeful, like a panther stretching before going on a hunt.

He was only a yard away, and she contemplated jumping on the bike and making a run for it. Anything to get rid of this heavy, suffocating atmosphere. But, despite his lack of any physical contact, she felt restrained and unable to move any part of her body. She managed only to clench her eyes shut, trying to ward off whatever spell she was seemingly under. But closing her eyes and taking away her sight only increased the sensitivity of her skin, tingling down to her fingers, and her ears, straining to catch any sound from him. Then, she heard him whisper directly in front of her, so close she could feel his breath brush against her lips.

"Hey." His husky voice almost did her in, and she unwittingly leaned foward, her eyes still shut tight, and fell... into a void of nothingness.

Her eyes snapped wide open, and she caught herself, stumbling over her own feet, right before her face almost crashed onto the gravel ground.

Ranma was not standing in front of her.

Regaining her balance, she turned around and saw him on his knees with his arms draped amorously over the Ducati.

"Baby-girl," he whimpered pathetically to the inanimate unfeeling transportation vehicle, "I missed you so much."

Akane felt pity for him. Seeing him groveling on the ground, weeping over what is now her motorcycle, she truly felt bad for him. She calmly walked over to his crouching figure, placed a reassuring hand on his head, and kicked him as hard as she could.

Soun Tendo knew he would make Hitomi his wife from the moment they met in high school.

It was during class on one of those amazing spring days where little birds fluttered outside the and sakura leaves drifted through the wide open windows. The clear bright blue sky made the fluorescent lighting in the classrooms dim and bleak. And the scent of baked pastries, fresh strawberries, and a hint of salty ocean air teased the restless students trapped behind their desks. Even the teacher paused mid-speech to breathe in the warm breeze invoking nostalgia and anticipation.

It was at this moment, young and handsome Soun turned his head from the blackboard to the window and noticed a girl he never saw before. She was also looking outside, giving him only a side profile from behind. Her black hair was shorter than most other girls, cut right below her ear. But it accentuated her cheeks bones. She leaned back languidly in her chair, her arms crossed in front of her, not bothering to feign even the slightest bit of attention to the lesson at hand. Her toned legs were stretched out underneath her desk, the tip of her feet reaching below the chair of the student sitting in front of her.

When a solitary cloud finally drifted past the sun, allowing rays of gold to shower down on her, the light revealed sun-kissed tan skin and a ring of azure haze crowning her hair.

Soun wondered how he ever looked past this girl. It wasn't THAT big of a high school. He contemplated getting up at that moment to make her turn around and demand her name. Her shoulder twitched slightly. And calmly, she turned her head only enough to peer at him through the corner of her half-lidded feline eyes. One of her eyebrows arched up when their gaze finally met.

Thick, dark lashes petaled her eyes. A small haughty nose was raised in the air from the slight tilt of her head, and full pink lips pouted in defiance, as if challenging him to walk over as he had briefly considered.

Soun was never the type to turn down a challenge.

He drew his chair back, withdrawing a leg from under his desk. His lips began to form a side grin at the thought of her reaction.

Seeing him make the first move, the girl shifted in her chair, adjusting her body to face him more directly. However, her expression of boredom remained the same. She met his gaze full on as he stood up from his chair and, casually slipping a hand in his pocket, he ambled to her desk.

"Uh, Tendo," the teacher at the front of the classroom called out in utter confusion, "please, return to your desk." He tried several times. Whereas, the entire study body watched avidly, grateful for the distraction.

Unfazed by the attention, Soun leaned down, rested one hand on the windowsill behind her and propped the other hand on her desk, trapping the girl between his arms. From her chair, she kept her eyes on him with unwavering apathy, now looking up at him inches away from her face.

Soun debated kissing her full on the lips. After all, he figured he might as well make his claim public. The sooner the better. He dipped his head down ready to blow her mind with a mind-blowing kiss, and as if she knew his intentions, she parted her soft moist lips most graciously and … belched, loudly and forcefully, into his face.

End Chapter 9

Okay okay, i know. this was a terrible comeback. But it's not my fault, i swear. I had more action-packed material, but I had to set the stage for it. and placing the set-up with the action made the chapter too long and heavy. So i was forced to divide it. I dont want to tire out the readers! Good news is, the next chapter is almost finished. Just need to fill in the blanks. (is it just me or is this story seriously beginning to suck? egads.)

btw, Angela Jewell, Indigodusk, Roja-Cyd,(and other awesome ranma fanfic authors i can't remember right now cuz it's 2:30 in the morning), i have my eyesssss on youssss. keep writing those fics. I'm still lurking in the background, reading avidly. You guys (and then some) are the reasons I didn't make it into the top 20% of my class. Really. you made that happen. all of you. so, thank you. for being there for me, and making sure I don't overachieve.

Would it be crazy for me to go back 3-4 years (during which I slaved like a mofo in school) and reply to ALL individual reviews one by one?

oh p.s. i hate Azusa (in the manga). could you tell?