Has it been three months since I updated? Crap!
IS THIS GUY FOR REAL?
"Everyone please be nice to your new classmate, our resident Hawaiein, Hawaun, Hawaiien… you get the picture." Ms. Meadows ushered Franklin into the classroom, looking even more excited than usual. Franklin was now wearing a regular school uniform and it greatly changed the aspect of his appearance. He didn't look nearly as tough without the leather jacket. The class smiled politely and greeted him simultaneously. "Nice to meet you!"
The sound of someone nearly falling from his seat came from the back of the classroom. No one bothered to check. The sound was so familiar to them by now that it didn't even catch their attention.
"Here? In my class?" Daichi whispered to himself as he tried to stay steady. "That's just great." He sighed, sitting his book up so he could hide his face behind it. The last thing he wanted right now was to get involved.
"Thank you very much everyone. I'm Franklin." He waved to the class, who were all intrigued by the Hawaiian boy.
"How exotic!" Ms. Meadows squealed, taken in more than anyone else. "Let's see, where should we put you…" She looked around for an empty seat.
"I would like to sit next to Daichi Saotome." Franklin announced boldly. "If that's not too much trouble." He added as an afterthought.
"Huh?" Daichi looked up in surprise, everyone turned to look at him this time.
Ms. Meadows stared at Franklin for a moment and smiled. "How nice! You've already made a friend! But there are no available seats around Daichi…"
"I don't mind moving." The boy next to Daichi stood up.
"Very good!" Ms. Meadows smiled. The boy collected his stuff and made his way to a different seat. Daichi gaped. "Wait! Uh…Dude!" He shouted.
"You don't even know my name." The boys said indignantly as he left.
"I know you say 'dude' a lot." Daichi grumbled.
Franklin sat down in the now empty desk, giving Daichi a smile. "You're Makoto's brother, right?" He asked earnestly.
"Y…Yeah." Daichi answered uneasily.
Franklin leaned towards him with a serious look on his face. "Tell me honestly, what are my chances with Makoto? As family, you should know better than anyone!" He inched closer with every syllable.
"Wha-?" Daichi leaned away from Franklin. "S- Sorry, but I really prefer… not to get in the middle." He laughed awkwardly. He was beginning to sweat under Franklin's stare.
Suddenly Franklin's persona chanced. He smiled and returned fully to his own desk. "Right. Of course. It was thoughtless of me to ask." He returned to his books and began taking notes as Ms. Meadows started the lecture.
Daichi breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Thank goodness. He thought. For a minute there I thought he was going to grill me about Makoto.
But twenty minutes later, "So, how long has she been with that Iikiba fellow?" Franklin asked urgently, as though holding in the question had been painful.
Daichi looked up from his lecture notes with a sour expression. I guess being left alone was too much to hope for. "Uh, well um…" He thought for a moment. "I suppose it's been about eight years. If you calling it 'being together'…"
"EIGHT YEARS?" Franklin sprang up in his seat so quickly that he knocked Daichi to the floor. Everyone turned to see what the disruption was.
Ms. Meadows looked at them curiously as Daichi pulled himself up. "Is there a problem?"
Franklin composed himself. "No, it's nothing! Just, uh…" His expression changed as though he had just noticed something. "That problem, number two." He pointed to the board.
"Do you need me to explain it more thoroughly?" She asked.
"No, no! I just… think you may have made a mistake." Franklin stuttered hesitantly.
Ms. Meadow's eyes widened and she turned around to double check question two. It was a moment before she saw the problem.
"Oh, I'm sorry! One liter is 1000cm3 so the solution should be 482 cm3 x 1 liter/1000 cm3 which equals 0.482 liters!" She corrected her mistake on the board. "Thanks for pointing that out, Franklin! It seems we have a genius in the classroom!" She said in a teasing manner.
"What? Me? NO! I'm not smart! I hardly pass anything! I'm practically brain dead! I'M ALL ABOUT FUN AND ROMANCE!" Franklin shouted, suddenly desperate. He huffed heavily for the next few seconds while the other students stared at him.
What the heck? What is this guy's deal? Daichi thought, his eyes twitching.
Franklin sat down and was quiet for the next ten minutes, allowing Ms. Meadows to return to her lecture on molarity. Then he turned back to Daichi. "Did you say eight years?"
"Yes." Daichi answered firmly.
"I see. So they're childhood sweethearts." Franklin mumbled. "Then it's only a juvenile romance." He commented with small smile.
"Eh? I… suppose. Bu- But like I said, it's really none of my business!" Daichi waved his hand and laughed nervously, trying to shake off the pressure of Franklin's questions.
"Right." Franklin returned to his book and didn't bug Daichi for the rest of the period, but somehow his new confident smirk made Daichi even more uneasy than his questions.
When the bell rang for class change there was a shuffling of seats and books as students packed up their things. Daichi tried to quickly get his books in his school bag but he saw Lotion walking in his direction and tripped over his own feet, papers flying. "AAH!"
"Daichi! Are you okay?" Lotion asked, leaning over the desk to see him on the floor.
"Gr- Great! Wonderful!" He replied with a smile, red in the face. Then he quickly climbed back into his seat.
Lotion sighed in exasperation and turned to Franklin. "Welcome to Bunraku High, Franklin. I know being a new student can be tough. So if you ever need any help, don't hesitate to ask."
Franklin smiled and slung his pack over his shoulder. "Thanks, but your concern isn't necessary. I'll be fine." He started to walk away.
"Hold on!" Lotion called. Franklin stopped and turned around before she continued. "I wanted to ask if you might be interested in joining the science club. The way you handled that problem was great for a junior! Most of our senior members have trouble figuring that sort of problem out!" Lotion explained.
Franklin suddenly looked extremely worried. "Uh… well…actually…. I'm a… sophomore… WELL BYE!" He took off, knocking other students aside as he ran out the door in a frenzy.
A fell wind seemed to blow as Daichi and Lotion stared after him astonishment. "He's a sophomore?" Lotion asked as if to confirm what she had heard.
"But this class is only open to juniors and seniors." Lotion continued.
Daichi nodded again.
"Hey, psst! Hey!" Jatsuma whispered loudly in Iikiba's direction. It was study hall period and most of the desks in the room were askew and bunched together so that friends could sit together and talk under their breath. "Iikiba! Hey!" Jatsuma rolled up a piece of paper and threw it at a disgruntled Iikiba, who was trying to best to ignore Jatsuma. Everyone in the room could hear Jatsuma 'whispering'. Everyone except the teacher it seemed, who was sitting at his desk grading papers.
Iikiba gritted his teeth and stared hard at the book in front of him, not taking in a word of it. There was a loud scraping noise as Jatsuma scooted his desk to the other side of the room, other people moving their desks out of the way so he could get by. Iikiba glared at the book and started to shake with pent up annoyance.
"Iikiba, did you hear me?" Jatsuma, asked, his desk now next to his.
"This is study hall! Shouldn't you be studying?" Iikiba snapped angrily.
"I just wanted to ask what you're going to do about Makoto." Jatsuma answered indignantly.
Iikiba huffed and looked back at his book.
"I guess this isn't any worse than when Razor showed up, right?" Jatsuma commented. "Then again, Makoto seems to kinda like this Franklin guy."
Iikiba twitched. "I couldn't care less! I hope they live happily ever after! Maybe then I can have some peace!"
Jatsuma smirked and put his hands behind his head. "Yep, she's probably just staying with you though a sense of duty. You've been together for so long after all, she's probably losing interest in you."
Iikiba growled and rounded on Jatsuma. "Would you…" He grabbed him by the scruff of the shirt and threw him across the classroom. "STOP TALKING ABOUT THINGS I DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT!"
Jatsuma flew towards the back of the room and landed headfirst on top of a desk. "Ow." He squinted through his tearing eyes and then snapped them wide open. He was face to face with Razor. He had landed with his head on her desk and the rest of his body was curled up in a sitting position above him. Razor did not look pleased.
"Uh… hey there… Razor." Jatsuma stuttered with an awkward smile. Razor glared at him angrily. Their classmates turned to watch with awed looks. A moment later, though it seemed to last an eternity, the desk split in half and Jatsuma fell to the floor in a heap and didn't move except for a slight twitch.
Razor gaped in shock and then her expression turned even angrier than before. "My desk! I was actually trying to WORK you know!" She stood up angrily. (Of course, no one knew she was a she. Razor was wearing a boy's uniform.)
One of the girls in class leaned over to her friend. "He missed his chance." She sighed in disappointment. Her friend nodded in agreement. Then they turned back to watch eagerly.
Razor shot a glare at them and then another down at Jatsuma, shaking with anger and embarrassment. "STOP SITTING ON THE GROUND LIKE A LUMP!" She booted him out the window, shattering the glass. The students oohed and ahhed.
"Heh, that aught to take him down a peg." Iikiba grinned as he watched the scene from his desk.
"No talking during study hall, Mr. Hibiki." The teacher said in his monotone voice.
Iikiba's mouth dropped. "But they just-!" He started to protest but then he just slumped over and grumbled. "Oh never mind."
LATER THAT DAY
Makoto stuck her head around the corner of the school and glanced around the front yard. There was a crowd of students leaving school on bikes and by foot. She gave a sigh of relief when Franklin was nowhere in sight. But as she stepped out into the open someone tapped her on the shoulder from behind. "AAAHHH!" Makoto jumped about ten feet in the air and fell hard on her back.
"Makoto! Are you okay? I didn't mean to startle you!" Franklin rushed forward to help her to her feet, but Makoto jumped up first.
"STOP THAT!" She screeched.
Franklin looked utterly bewildered. "Stop what?"
"Following me around! And…and coming to my home and school! You're really starting to freak me out!"
Franklin looked as though he had been struck with an arrow in the chest. He even reeled back clutching his stomach and fell to his knees. Makoto was suddenly concerned he was going to be sick. "F- Franklin?" She took a hesitant step forward.
Jatsuma, Daichi and Iikiba suddenly appeared next to Makoto, causing her to jump back in surprise. "Makoto! What did you do?" Jatsuma asked urgently. "Did you beat up Franklin?"
"NO! I didn't! And don't sneak up on me like that!" She snapped, still breathing heavily.
Franklin grabbed Makoto's ankle, causing her to gasp and look down. He had a strangely serious look on his face. "I'm sorry, Makoto. Forgive me. I just wanted to get you know you better…" He released her leg and began to crawl away on his hands and knees, his face plowing through the dirt. Makoto and the boys stared after him with their mouths gaping. "Is this guy for real?" Jatsuma commented.
"Wa-…Wait!" Makoto called. "Maybe I was too harsh!"
Daichi and Jatsuma shifted their gaping expressions to Makoto. Iikiba twitched and glared determinedly in the other direction.
Makoto took a deep breath. "I mean… You are new in this country…and-"
"Of course! Of course! We must take things slowly!" Franklin took Makoto's hands in his. "We don't want to destroy what we have already!"
"What exactly do you have?" Daichi asked.
Iikiba snorted angrily. "Forget this! I'm going home!" He started to stomp away.
"Iikiba!" Makoto shouted. "Get back here! You're just going to get lost! There's no point in getting jealous, cause I'm not going out with him!"
Iikiba whirled around and zipped back to Makoto. "How many times to I have to say it? I'm NOT jealous!" He shouted at her face.
Makoto narrowed her eyes. "Give me a break."
"How dare you shout in Makoto's face!" Franklin pushed between them. "I get it now! You're the abusive type of boyfriend!" He declared as he pointed an accusing finger at Iikiba. "That's why poor Makoto told me off! Because she's scared of you!"
Iikiba's jaw dropped. "Huh?"
Makoto pinched between her eyes in frustration. "It's really not like that, Franklin."
"You have it all backwards!" Iikiba yelled, then he pointed at Makoto. "She's the abusive one!"
"What was that?" Makoto demanded.
"Better put a stop to this before it goes any further." Jatsuma sighed as he pulled out a water bucket and walked forward.
Iikiba saw Jatsuma coming and took a step backwards. "Hey… hey! What are you… Stay back!" Jatsuma doused Iikiba with the water and a second later a fluffy little black dog with a red bandana sat where Iikiba had been.
Franklin gasped and froze like a statue, staring at the chihuahua.
"Barkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbarkbark!" Iikiba yipped madly at Jatsuma.
"There we go. One fight cut short." Jatsuma grinned. "I am such a nice person."
"Where did you get that water bucket?" Daichi asked in exasperation.
"And who told you to cut in on our fight?" Makoto said through gritted teeth.
"Ha- How did-? What just-?" Franklin stuttered, pointing at Iikiba. His eyes were wide and dinner plates and he was starting to sweat. "THAT'S BEST MAGIC ACT I'VE EVER SEEN!"
Daichi, Jatsuma and Makoto all fell to the ground.
Franklin ran forward and picked Iikiba off the ground. "It's amazing! Where was he keeping the dog? In his school case? And where did he hide so quickly? He even left an extra pair of clothes behind to create the illusion that he became a dog!" Franklin picked up Iikiba's shirt. Iikiba growled and opened his mouth to take a chomp out of Franklin's hand, but Makoto snatched him away from Franklin just in time.
"I think you're a little confused." Makoto said with a half smile. "You see this really is Iikiba." She held the little chihuahua up to Franklin.
Franklin stared at it. "That's a dog."
Iikiba growled and tried to jump at Franklin's face, but Makoto restrained him by holding him closer. "Be good! He doesn't know." She huffed at Iikiba.
"In any case it seems that Iikiba fled once I exposed him for the abusive boyfriend he really was." Franklin smiled. "Don't worry, Makoto! I'll protect you from any of his violent repercussions. But we've wasted enough time! Now we're free to go on our date!"
Makoto looked thoroughly frustrated by now. Instead of saying anything she just turned to her brothers and passed Iikiba off to Daichi. Then she held out a hand to Jatsuma. "Water."
"Here you go." Jatsuma handed her a water bucket.
Makoto turned the bucket over and poured it over her own head. Franklin gasped again as a black and white capuchin monkey appeared where Makoto had been. The bucket fell to the ground with a loud clank.
Franklin stared at the monkey for a few silent moments. "He… he whisked away Makoto as well! He is good!"
"Geez! We don't have time for this. Mom is going to be mad if we're late! It's already three forty!" Daichi said, looking at his watch. "Can we deal with this later?"
"Fine by me." Jatsuma held out an arm and Makoto climbed up around his shoulders, her tail twitching as though she were still irritated. "Bye Franklin!"
Iikiba yipped the whole way as Jatsuma and Daichi ran towards the front gates.
MEANWHILE AT THE CATHEDRAL
Ranma stood in front of three full-length mirrors wearing a puffy, but still nice looking, white wedding gown. The dress was adorned with lace for sleeves and white flowers sown around the neck, middle and bottom of the dress. The skirt jutted out about a foot from Ranma's legs in every direction and gave her the appearance of a white cupcake with her hair being the cherry on top.
Ranma sighed as the giggling girls proceeded to pin more white flowers into her hair. "Like I said, this really isn't- AH-HAC!" She coughed as one of the girls attacked her face with a large powder-puff. Then another girl pinched her cheeks in one hand and started to smudge gloss over Ranma's lips. "Hey! Cut it out!" Ranma pulled away from her.
"Don't struggle so much, Mrs. Kuno. We're nearly finished." The head fashion designer assured her. "You'll be the most beautiful bride ever!" All the girls sighed dreamily at their own work.
"I already told you! I'm just here to see Kuno!" Ranma shouted in frustration.
One of the girls scoffed. "Don't be silly. Everyone knows it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. Besides, you have the rest of your lives to see each other."
"I think it's sweet how she misses him so much!" Another girl squealed.
"So, just when is he supposed to be back anyway?" Ranma asked as sweetly as she could, biting back a sarcastic remark.
"Well the wedding starts in twenty minutes so I'm sure he's back by now." One of the girls said as she checked her watch.
"TWENTY MINUTES?" Ranma screeched. "That's it! I'll go find Kuno myself!" She pushed her way past the girls, heading towards the door out into the sanctuary. But right before she reached the door it swung open and Kuno appeared, brazen in a golden tuxedo. "Greetings, my lovely Pigtailed Girl!"
Ranma was taken off guard and tripped on the edge of her dress. The girls squealed in horror. "Mr. Kuno! Don't you know it's unlucky to see the bride before the wedding?"
"What are you speaking of?" Kuno asked as he took Ranma into his arms, rubbing his cheek against hers. "Our love is more powerful than silly superstition!"
"Stop that!" Ranma punched him away out of habit. Then realized her mistake. "I mean…uh…so good to see you Kunokins!" She ran forward to where Kuno had landed and peeled him off the wall. "I have something very important to discuss with you!" She said in a sing songy voice.
"As do I!" Kuno declared, taking Ranma's hands in his. "This is an important time in our lives! A renewal of our vows, our trust and love for one another! Such times can not be allowed to simply pass by without some lasting memento!" With dramatic flare he reached into his coat pocket and brought out a large velvet ring case. When he opened it everyone pressed in to see it held a golden wedding ring with a huge diamond jutting out of it.
The girls squealed in delight but Ranma backed away. "Whoa! Hold on there, tiger! I think maybe you should hear me out before passing out wedding rings!"
"Of course! I merely wanted you to see it!" Kuno returned the ring to his pocket. " After all putting it on your finger is a part of the precious ceremony. I wouldn't want to ruin it!"
"Yeah, about that-" Ranma was cut off as Kuno took her hands again.
"But you can't be wearing cheap jewelry when I'm supposed to be putting a ring on your finger! It just wouldn't do!" Kuno said as he pulled at Ranma's finger.
"What are you talking abou-" Ranma gaped as he realized Kuno had pulled off his wedding ring. His real wedding ring. The same ring that Akane had put on his finger nearly twenty years earlier. "HEY! GIVE THAT BACK!" Ranma made a dive for Kuno, but he caught her in a hug instead.
"I know! I know! But you can have your wedding ring in the ceremony!" Kuno chuckled. "Meanwhile, I'll dispose of this old thing!" He held up Ranma's real wedding ring. "Strange, it almost looks like a man's wedding band."
"You moron! I said give it back!" Ranma struggled and Kuno dropped her, holding up a finger as though he had just realized something. "Right! I must go! It is very nearly time!" Kuno ran out the door and it shut behind him.
"WAIT!" Ranma tried to go after him, but the fashion girls caught her from behind and started dragging her the other way.
"No, no. You go out this way Mrs. Kuno!" They giggled happily. If they had been guys Ranma would have clobbered them. But he couldn't beat up a bunch of girls.
"NNOOOOOO!" Ranma shouted as she was hoisted up by the girls and carried away. "AKANE'S GOING TO KILL ME!"