Make Room for Daddy
By Lord Raa
Disclaim-me-do: Yeah, I make Unhappy Cat unhappy. What are YOU going to do about it?
During the walk to Furinkan, Ranma talked with Nabiki and Akane about Ryoga and his father.
"Eww," the sisters shuddered.
"I know, but when you first saw his cursed form, you had no idea what Pops looked like in his normal state," the raven-haired youth explained. "I know that if I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't believe it either."
"I suppose so," Akane replied, still visibly unsettled by the thought of Ranma's father and another man.
"Hey, why don't we have a training session when we get home tonight?" Ranma suggested.
"I wouldn't mind getting all sweaty with you tonight, Ranma-kun," Nabiki purred, seemingly ignoring the way her sister shook her head in shame.
"T-that's not what I had in mind, Nabiki-san," the pigtailed youth replied nervously as he felt fingers creep up his arm. He stopped suddenly.
"Don't be so stingy, Ranma-kun," the middle Tendo daughter chided in a good-natured manner.
"It's not that, Nabiki-san," Ranma said.
"No, it's not, Nabiki Tendo," a pompous voice rang out. "It is I, the great Tatewaki Kuno, the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High!"
An unseasonable bolt of thunder crashed through the sky to punctuate Kuno's entrance.
"And what can I do for you today, Kuno? You want me to kick your ass so you can skip a few lessons? It's not a problem for me, but don't you think that your education is going to suffer?" the pigtailed martial artist asked with a smirk. "I mean, you don't seem too bright and could probably use all the education you can get."
"My scholastic abilities are not your concern, foul playboy," the kendoist sneered. "My martial prowess, however, will be the instrument of your downfall!"
Ranma yawned, but stepped away from the Tendos as a precaution. "And what have you learned overnight that can beat me? You got a real sword?"
"If Musashi could defeat steel-armed samurai with a bokken, then I can defeat the likes of you with one."
"Maybe, but Musashi fought for his life. When was the last time you did that?" the pigtailed martial artist asked as he fell into a fighting stance.
"Wait," Nabiki interrupted. "You've fought in Life-or-Death battles?"
"Once or twice," Ranma replied, not taking his eyes off Kuno. "Trust me; stab wounds don't improve your day."
"I'll bear that in mind," the short haired brunette deadpanned. "So, what are you two going to do now? If I'm late because of you two, I'm not going to be happy."
"Yeah, you're right, Nabiki-san," the Saotome heir nodded. "Kuno, you want to do this later or what?"
"Have at you!"
Ranma dodged several of Kuno's strikes before stepping inside his personal space and grabbing him by the collar.
"That didn't work yesterday, what makes you think that's going to work today?"
"But it enabled me to get to 4th Dan in kendo last year," the kendoist protested.
"Wait, what? Who told you that?" Ranma demanded angrily. "'Cos there ain't no way you're good enough to be 4th Dan!"
"I am 4th Dan; I have the certificate to prove it!" Kuno insisted. "How dare you cast doubts on my ability and integrity?!"
"Be quiet, idiot," the pigtailed martial artist ordered before he turned to Akane. "Akane-san, who told you that you were 4th Dan?"
"Err… no-one," the Tendo heir admitted. "I mean I always beat Kuno here and he's 4th Dan, so that means I must be at least as good as he is."
"If you pair are 4th Dan, then someone's been lying to you," Ranma replied as he threw Kuno to the ground. "Either that or I'm some kind of unbeatable martial arts god. And I know I ain't gotten that good yet."
"This is most disconcerting," Kuno mused. "But I will not yield to the likes of you!" he declared as he jumped up and charged Ranma.
Ranma rolled his eyes when the kendoist ran into his fist and knocked himself out. "Are we done yet?"
"I think so, Ranma-kun," Nabiki smiled sweetly. "Let's get inside; it looks like it's going to rain soon."
"Y-yeah," Akane agreed, not really sure how to deal with Ranma's appraisal of her and Kuno's skills.
Genma, now in his male body, sat down at the table with a tired sigh.
"Is there any breakfast left?" he asked with an uncharacteristic politeness.
"Yes, I'll get you something, Saotome-san," Kasumi smiled back. When she returned, she asked if anything had happened to him.
"Don't ask," the portly man shuddered.
"It seems that there's this young man that's interested in Saotome-kun," Reiko explained with a teasing expression on her face.
"…" Kasumi blinked before turning pale at the mental image.
"Or rather, his cursed form," the hausfrau clarified. "I take it that he wasn't the type to give up easily?"
"No, he's not," Genma deadpanned. "He kept rambling on about how I saved him from some terrible fate or some nonsense. I've never seen him before in my life."
The two Tendos looked at each other and shrugged while the portly man devoured his food.
"So what are you plans for the day, Kasumi-chan?" Reiko asked.
"I've got work soon, but I should be back early this afternoon," the younger brunette answered.
"Would you mind doing some shopping for me? I'm not going to have time to get everything for the party on Saturday."
Kasumi paused. 'I'd forgotten about that… I need to move fast if I want Ranma-kun…'
"Well, can you help me out?" Reiko asked, her hands on her hips.
"Yes, sorry, I was just distracted. What did you want me to get you?"
"I'll jot a few things down for you."
The school day progressed much like the previous one had for Ranma and the Tendos. Mr. Fujiyama had cast glances promising much pain at Ranma, which, unsurprisingly, he had remained oblivious to.
The Tendos had been asked more questions about Ranma. Akane's response was a bit guarded, after the way he'd referred to her martial arts ability.
"He's pretty good, I mean, there aren't many that can take Kuno out with a single punch," was all the youngest Tendo would say.
Nabiki's comments were more positive, yet just as measured. "Ranma's a nice guy. He's not as well-mannered as he could be, but you try brushing up on the tea ceremony when you're out in the forest fighting bears for food as part of your training."
Eventually, the chimes signalling the end of the day sounded and the middle Tendo daughter approached Ranma.
"So, are you ready to start our lessons, Ranma-kun?"
"Lessons? Oh yeah, you wanted me to teach you some self-defence tricks. What did you want to learn first?" the pigtailed youth asked after putting away his things. "Punching holes in concrete blocks? Speed training with venomous snakes? How to deal with armed opponents? Maybe you want some training with weapons?"
Those that had yet to leave the classroom paused when they heard Ranma's suggestions for the lesson plan.
Nabiki blinked in shock. "Just what do you think I'm after, Ranma?"
"I thought that you wanted to get to Akane's level…" he replied.
"I said I wanted to learn self-defence, not take part in international fighting tournaments!" the middle Tendo chided.
"Oh. Well, how about dealing with muggers or perverts on the train?" Ranma asked, feeling a bit silly about his assumptions.
"That's more like it," Nabiki smiled. "Perhaps you could pretend to be the pervert?"
Kasumi managed to get all the ingredients on the shopping list though the trip had taken longer than planned. She was on her way home when she saw her sisters and Ranma.
She remembered her father's words of, "Regret is a terrible thing in one so young" and resolved to correct her earlier mistake.
"Father would be saddened if I was to give up on Ranma-kun, especially so soon. I must work harder to impress him," the brunette declared, a fire burning behind her normally calm brown eyes. She waved at her sisters and Ranma. "Hello Ranma-kun, Nabiki-chan, Akane-chan."
"Hello Kasumi-san," the pigtailed martial artist smiled.
"Hello, Nee-chan," Akane replied.
"Kasumi," Nabiki nodded in acknowledgement, while keeping an eye on her elder sister. 'She's planning something. But what?'
"So, how was your day, Ranma-kun?" Kasumi asked as she took up position on Ranma's left side.
"It was ok. Do you need any help with the shopping?" the pigtailed martial artist asked when he noticed the bags that the long haired brunette was carrying.
"Oh, if it's not too much trouble," she replied coyly.
"Not at all," Ranma smiled back as he loaded himself up with shopping bags.
Reiko had finally managed to get some details from Genma with regards to the young man that had visited just before her youngest daughters took Ranma to school.
"So, you managed to accidentally seduce a lonely young man by helping him out?"
"Yes," the balding man replied grumpily. "I thought that I was helping out a fellow traveller, not gaining a stalker."
Reiko's amusement at Genma's obvious discomfort at the situation was masked by the arrival of her daughters and fiancé.
"We're back," Nabiki called out. As she removed her shoes, she made sure that Ranma had the chance to check out her ass. After turning around to get a look, she felt a surge of pride that Ranma had indeed caught a glimpse of her toned backside.
'He likes what he sees,' the middle daughter thought. 'But how best to foster that interest so the engagement is changed to me?'
Kasumi and Akane were unhappy that their sister was blocking the way into the house.
"Come on, Nabiki, stop blocking traffic," the youngest daughter complained.
"Please, Nabiki, we do have perishables to put into the fridge," Kasumi added with an impatient tone.
"What? Oh, sorry," Nabiki giggled innocently. 'Damn, I always hated airheads and the way they act so why did I have to laugh like that?'
Luckily for the cynical sister, Ranma didn't seem to be falling in love with her ditzy behaviour.
Dinner in the Tendo household was beginning to fall into a familiar pattern. Reiko would ask Ranma about his day; Akane would make polite conversation while Nabiki and Kasumi would make subtle passes at the pigtailed martial artist.
Deciding that her daughters still needed to be taught a lesson, Reiko asked her fiancé a question. "So, Ranma-kun, what are you planning on wearing to our engagement party at the weekend?"
Ranma scratched his head. "Err… I guess I'll wear what I normally do, if that's ok."
"No, Ranma-kun," the widow replied. "No offence, but I think that we can dress you up a bit. We're going to go shopping tomorrow."
"We are?" the martial artist asked in confusion. "If you really want to, then sure, we can go shopping."
"Why don't we all take a trip together?" Reiko's smile was one that had her eldest daughters feel a little worried. "I'm sure that my daughters will have a better idea of fashion for the youth of today than I do."
"Ok, we can meet up after school," Nabiki replied. 'I don't know what Mom's planning, but I might as well get some new clothes out of it.'
'Maybe I can use this as a chance to get Ranma-kun's attention?' Kasumi thought as she chewed her rice. 'Perhaps I should bring some orchids with me? Just to see if what happened at work was a fluke or not…'
Later that evening, the male Saotomes were enjoying a soak in the bath. Ranma was wondering what had happened between his parents, but his father had maintained that it was better that he didn't know.
After letting out a sigh, Genma turned to his son. "So then, Ranma, how are things with Reiko-san?"
"It's going ok, Reiko-san wants to take me shopping for some new clothes," the pigtailed martial artist replied. "She said that she wants me to look nice for the party at the weekend."
"I see," the balding man nodded. "Get some rest because we'll be stepping up your training in the morning."
"What's the plan?" Ranma asked as his father stepped out of the bathtub.
"Weapons drills," Genma answered.
Outside the bathroom, Nabiki smiled as she slid open the door a fraction of an inch to gain a sneak peek at her mother's fiancé.
What she got was indeed an eyeful of naked man-flesh.
Unfortunately, it was naked Genma-flesh and the middle Tendo daughter let out a blood-curdling scream.
Genma turned to his son. "What was that?"
"I don't know, but I think it sounded like Nabiki…" Ranma replied as he barged past his sensei to open the door, oblivious to his state of undress.
When opened he stepped out onto the hallway, the pigtailed youth was surprised to see Nabiki curled up into a ball in Akane's arms. The short-haired sister was mumbling something about how her eyes were burning.
"Is she alright, Akane-san?" Ranma asked.
"I…" Reiko's youngest daughter blinked as she looked up to see Ranma standing there, wearing only a concerned look on his face. "I…"
As Nabiki slipped out of her sister's comforting embrace, the movement of her head helped her to shake off the mental trauma of seeing the older Saotome male as naked as the day he was born. Turning around, the short-haired Tendo cast a pained look at her mother's fiancé.
"Are you alright, Nabiki-san?" Ranma repeated, crouching down to get a better look at her face.
"I… I think I've learned my lesson," Nabiki said in a quiet voice. "I'll be fine, Ranma-kun, but could you carry me to my room?"
He frowned, but the pigtailed martial artist found himself agreeing to the request and gently carried the girl into her room. When he returned he asked Akane if she was alright.
"I…" the Tendo heir replied, not having moved from her spot in the hallway. When Ranma clicked his fingers in front of her face, she stirred. "Sorry about that, Ranma-san, I just had this weird dream. It was like you had some sort of snake coming out of your… Oh my."
Ranma's lightning fast reactions stopped the fainting girl from hitting her head.
"I guess you need some help too," he said as he scooped Akane up in his arms and swiftly carried her into her room.
"Akane, are you all right?"
"Are you alright, Akane?" Reiko Tendo asked her youngest daughter. "Ranma told me that you fainted earlier."
"I think so," Akane replied. "I had this weird dream though."
"What was it about?" Mrs. Tendo asked as she sat next to her daughter.
"Nabiki and I were face to face with a snake…"
"I see," Reiko smiled knowingly. "I wouldn't worry about that, Akane. You just get some rest and I'm sure you'll be fine."
"Ok, Mom," Akane smiled back at her mother.
In Nabiki's room, Reiko stood at the door with her arms folded across her chest. "So, Nabiki, do you have anything to say for yourself?"
"Whatever do you mean, Mom?"
"Well, for some reason, Akane had a dream that the pair of you were 'face to face with a snake'. And given that Ranma-kun and his father were in the bath, I have this strange feeling that something happened. So spill it," the widow instructed.
"…" Nabiki froze up as she tried to come up with a plausible explanation. 'Crap… I know, Genma!' "We were walking down the hallway when Mr. Saotome... He, he flashed us! He's such a pervert!"
'That's not what Ranma-kun said…' Reiko nearly fell for her daughter's theatrics. "I'm sorry that happened, Nabiki. If the Saotomes are that perverted, then I'll throw them out right now."
"Yes," Reiko nodded. "Don't worry, both of them will be gone."
"Wait, both of them?" the middle daughter asked. "You're throwing Ranma-kun out, too?"
The affianced Tendo nodded again. "They say the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, so who knows what would happen when Ranma starts acting like his father. Now I understand why you and your sisters were reluctant to agree to the engagement with Ranma-kun…"
Nabiki panicked. "But…"
"But what? The wellbeing of my daughters is my number one priority," Reiko explained. "I won't have anyone endangering you, even if they are young, handsome and trained in the French Flipper Trick…"
The teenager whimpered.
"Or did it happen slightly differently? You know, possibly something like how Ranma-kun described it to me: He was getting out of the bath with his father, heard a scream and rushed out to see what the problem was?"
"Yes, that's what happened," Nabiki admitted. "I screamed because I saw Mr. Saotome naked."
Reiko felt sympathetic when she saw her daughter shudder. "Why were you looking into the bathroom? Were you trying to peep on my fiancé? Because if you were, you deserve all you get. I've told you and Kasumi about that before, so you'll get no sympathy from me."
"But nothing – the only reason why I don't ground you so you miss the shopping trip tomorrow is because of what you saw," Reiko said sternly. "Good night, Nabiki, I'll leave you to think about what you did today and why it was wrong."
To be continued…
Pre-read by Chi Vayne. May or may not have been previewed on a forum somewhere on the intertubes.