Hey everyone! Here's chapter 17!

I do not own Ranma ½ or Yu Yu Hakusho.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

By the time an hour had passed, the boys had finished the repairs. Seeing that the sun was now down, Ranma winced noticeably.

He sighed. "Well, as much as I would love to stay, we should head back to the nuthouse. I'll put up with Akane malleting me a couple times, and then go to bed."

Kairi looked at her watch and looked even more depressed than the cursed boy. "I guess... and school is starting again tomorrow, and the last thing I need is more of Kasumi's lectures."

Kurama nodded. "All right, then. We'll see you in school tomorrow. I trust that since Ranma is with you, that you won't be needing an additional escort?"

Ranma shrugged. "We shouldn't have any problems... unless someone decides to do a night time attack, which doesn't happen too often..."

Genkai looked at them both. "Just keep in mind that my temple is open if either of you has problems."

Kairi nodded at her. "We will. Thank you, Genkai." Then she let out a long sigh. "Well, let's get going, then."

Nodding, Ranma stepped outside first... just as a crash of thunder sounded overhead and the ensuing downpour caused the cursed martial artist to change genders once more. She sighed, mildly irritated.

"Well, I guess it was bound to happen to me sometime today..." Then the pretty redheaded girl forced a smile on her face as she waved to them. "See you around!"

Kairi followed her outside, and the two of them headed back home.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

About fourty minutes later, the two of them were looking at the dojo, neither one of them looking forward to going inside. Letting out a massive sigh, Kairi decided to take the initiative. She walked up to the front door and walked right on in.

Nabiki barely glanced at them from where she was sitting in the living room. Akane gave the both of them a full blown glare from her place at the kitchen table, and Kasumi blinked, got a somewhat sad expression on her face and turned away. Her uncle and Genma looked up from the game of shogi they were playing. Genma took advantage of the distraction to switch a few pieces on the board.

The entire house was quiet for almost a full minute. Kairi took one last look around the room as she reached into her pocket, grabbing the flier she had gotten from Kuno earlier that day. She let it lazily drift down to Nabiki's lap as she walked by her toward the stairs.

"You'll want to give their money back before they find out there's not going to be a wedding. It tends to be bad for business if there's no actual outcome to a betting pool, Nabiki." Then she cast a glance at the rest of them. "I'm going to bed." She went up the stairs without another word.

Only about ten minutes after she had retreated to her and Kasumi's room, she heard the now familiar ruckus erupt downstairs, and knew almost down to the very second when the tell tale scream would come forth...

"RANMA YOU JERK!" There was a loud bang and she could almost see poor Ranma soaring through the night sky over Nerima.

I've gotta invest in some earplugs, she thought with a sigh. Of course, she wasn't actually in bed yet... she was flipping through a few of her school books to ensure she had no more homework.

When the soft knock came at the bedroom door, she had to fight from letting out a loud groan. Knowing there was no point in not answering, she let out a sigh.

"Come in," she said, not bothering to hide the resignation in her voice.

The door opened and gave admittance to her uncle. He looked a little hesitant. "Kairi, can I talk to you for a few minutes?"

She held herself back from giving an aggravated sigh and she nodded. She sat up on the side of her futon and Soun sat down beside her.

"Well," he started. "I don't think you and I have actually sat down to talk before, have we?"

She shook her head. "No, we haven't."

He looked at her for a long moment, and let out a sigh. "Listen. While I'm far from happy with your decision concerning Hiei, I'm trying very hard to remember that you were raised in a country that does not hold honor and tradition in high regard. I'm also bearing in mind that you are still crushed by the way that Mike boy tossed you aside. That along with all the other changes that occurred since you arrived here must be putting a considerable amount of stress on you."

She nodded. Okay, so far it didn't seem too bad. Her uncle was making the attempt to understand what she was going through. And to be honest, she was shocked that it was him talking to her and not Kasumi. She decided it would be best if she just kept quiet and let him keep talking.

"Now... that being said..." He reached into one of his pockets and pulled out a necklace locket. He held it in his hands for a moment, looking at it silently. "I've held onto this for eighteen years... ever since your mother left for Canada with Brendan. She gave it to me two days after her wedding." He opened the locket and Kairi saw a girl in the picture who was almost a splitting image of her, wearing a wedding kimono and with a brilliant smile on her face.

She was trying not to fidget now, the conversation now becoming very uncomfortable.

He cleared his throat a little. "I... don't know what happened to you, or how she died. I wish I did, but I'm not going to pressure you about that tonight. When you came here, Kairi, the only photo you brought with you was that one of Mike. At least, that's the only photo that I've seen. I have many old photos of her put away... I'll have to go through them with you some time... but I'd like you to have this one." He placed the locket in Kairi's hand and closed her fingers around it.

Kairi's eyes went wide as she looked at him. "Uncle Soun, I..."

He waved her off. "Now, now. You don't need to say anything. The locket is yours now. May you keep your mother as close to your heart as I have all these years. And remember the good times, Kairi, because those moments are all that really matter." He gave her a kiss on the forehead and exited the room without another word.

The girl had to lean forward a bit, realizing she now felt mildly nauseous after having the mostly one-sided conversation. Not to mention she felt the beginnings of a stress headache knocking on her mental door.

While she knew Soun was trying to make a very nice gesture to her, and at least seemed to try understanding her point of view, all his words had done was make her feel even worse than before. Especially guilt-wise.

She felt guilty for not telling them, and yet when the time came and they did know, she was going to feel guilty because she did.

When would she stop feeling guilty? When would she stop feeling depressed, angry, completely lost and helpless? When was it all just going to end?

She shook her head wearily as she opened her hand and looked at the locket.

Then her train of thought was mercifully distracted by a light tapping at the window. Opening the blinds, she saw Ranma hanging there again. Blinking, she opened the window and let him in.

"Hey, Ranma. You just got back from your aerial tour of Nerima now?"

He scowled and nodded. "I landed right in the trash dumpster behind the Cat Cafe. I'm just happy Mousse or Shampoo didn't see me..." Then he shook it off. "But anyway, I was wonderin' if you could help me with something..."

Kairi glanced at the bedside clock and saw that it was only nine. Kasumi wouldn't be coming up for a couple more hours yet. She shrugged and indicated the edge of her futon as she took a seat. He came into the room and took a seat beside her.

"What do you need help with?" she asked curiously.

He fidgeted a little uneasily and turned a little red as he relayed the conversation he'd had with Kurama, Hiei and Genkai earlier that day. Ending with his decision that, in spite of his own misgivings about the entire situation, Akane was going to be the fiancé he was going to marry.

"Now, until the time comes that people find out about this, I wanna try keeping it under wraps so Shampoo, Ukyo and Kodachi don't all swarm Akane to try an' kill her."

The girl rose an eyebrow. "Um... while I think it's a good thing you chose one, are you sure you want it to be Akane? I mean, no offense, seriously, but the way she's been..."

He scowled now. "I know, I know. But that's what I need your help with."

Her eyebrow went up higher. "Um... okay... care to elaborate on how I'm supposed to do that?"

"Well, Kurama said that maybe if I could get some time alone with Akane without us getting into a fight, that it might help make things a little easier. But the thing is..." He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I have no idea how to go about something like that. I mean, I know girls like flowers and chocolates and all that stuff, and they like to sit through weird sappy movies that make them cry and stuff like that, but..." He scowled. "I just can't do it alone! I need to know what to do... what to say. I mean, if I say one little thing wrong, she's going to freak on me again and that'll be the end of it, and I don't wanna screw this up!"

The girl let out a long breath as she tried to think. Personally, she thought Ranma was nuts for choosing Akane over Ukyo, but it was his choice. And she supposed she could understand, considering Ranma had grown up thinking that Ukyo was a boy. And since he was basing his decision on how honor bound he was to each of his fiance's, Akane was the logical choice... sadly.

"Okay. I'm going to need a day or two to work out the details of this, but the number one thing is to keep your other fiance's from finding out. So keep it here in the dojo, otherwise there's no point." She pursed her lips in thought. "It would also mean getting everyone ELSE out of the house, so you could have a couple of hours alone." She sighed. "Well, you've given me one hell of a challenge with this endeavor, Ranma. But I'll do what I can for you, okay?"

His eyes went wide and a huge smile spread across his face. Then, to Kairi's shock, he impulsively hugged her. "Thanks! Everyone just tends ta leave me to figure things out on my own!" Then he blinked, realizing he was still hugging the girl and quickly broke away, his arms flailing wildly. "GAH! Sorry, I didn't mean to!" Then he cringed, as if expecting a mallet to send him flying through the wall.

Kairi breathed a sigh of relief and held a hand over her heart. "That's okay. I know you didn't mean anything by it but..." She fixed him with a look. "Just don't do it again. Believe me, it's not you, but the LAST thing I need at this point is for Shampoo or Kodachi to come over for a visit and catch a glimpse of you hugging me."

Ranma nodded, breathing a sigh of relief himself now. "Don't worry. I won't do it again." Then he got to his feet with a sigh. "Well, I gotta get to sleep. I'll see you in the morning, Kairi!" He gave her a quick salute and was out the window again.

The young woman sighed, taking her school books and placing them back into her bag. For the first time, she was actually relieved about Ranma's problems. At least it gave her something else to think about after Soun's little speech to her.

Then, looking at the bedside clock, she realised that it was something she'd have to think about tomorrow. She'd bring it up with the guys at school and see if they had any suggestions.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0

The next morning, after being awoken by the same old routine and having another close encounter with Happosai, all Kairi had to put up with was Akane glaring at her, Kasumi giving her the silent treatment, and watching Ranma get sent into orbit yet again.

Her walk to school was mercifully uneventful, and she was as happy as a clam straight through until lunch.

Kurama looked at the young woman. "So, how did it go for you and Ranma when you got home last night?"

She shrugged and let out a sigh. "Well, Ranma kissed the sky about ten times, courtesy of Akane... As for me, I've been getting glares from Akane, the silent treatment from Kasumi, and attempted "heart to hearts" from Uncle Soun. As usual, Nabiki and Genma don't seem to really care. But at least the word "marriage" hasn't been mentioned to me again."

Kuwabara snorted. "Maybe they're starting to get the message."

Kairi picked at her ramen. "That or they're hoping I'll change my mind. I don't know if he meant to do this or not, but Uncle Soun made me feel as guilty as all hell last night."

Yusuke scowled. "Don't let him get to you. He has no right to tell you how to live your life, and neither does anyone else. Just keep telling yourself that once you turn eighteen, you won't have to worry about them anymore."

The girl nodded absently as she put her mostly uneaten ramen back away. This time Kurama and Hiei both noticed, though they said nothing. For now.

"Oh! By the way, Ranma talked with me last night too, and he brought up a very... interesting problem he has."

The kitsune smirked. "I take it this involves the conversation he was having with myself and Hiei at Genkai's yesterday?"

She nodded. "Yup. And while I think he's nuts for choosing Akane, if I can get them spending some one on one time with one another without them killing each other, then it's progress. I told him I'd try to come up with a plan for him. While I figured out it's going to be a home date, I just have to figure out when it's going to happen and how I'm going to get everyone else out of the house for a few hours."

Keiko blinked. "How are you going to get everyone out of the house except for Akane and Ranma?"

She shrugged. "Well, my uncle and Genma should be easy... I'll just set up the date for a Friday night when all the pubs and bars have their specials, give them some cash and send them out. That'll probably keep them occupied for half the night. With Kasumi... I don't know. Maybe I'll talk to Tofu about possibly getting him to take her out. I have no clue when it comes to Nabiki yet, though."

Hiei hn'd. "And what are you planning on doing that night, onna?"

She smiled a little sheepishly and rubbed the back of her head. "Actually, while he didn't come right out and say so, I was getting the impression that Ranma wants me to sit in on the date as a mediator or peace keeper."

Kuwabara scowled. "Isn't three a crowd? I mean, where's the fun in that?"

Kurama chuckled. "Remember Kuwabara... Ranma's intentions are innocent. He simply wants to be able to spend time with Akane without getting her angry. I doubt any displays of affection are on his mind."

She nodded. "I think his issue is that he's had so little social interaction in his life that he's just completely and utterly clueless when it comes to dealing with others... but especially girls. Remember, until just recently his father was dragging him all over the world to teach him the martial arts. They never stayed in one place long."

Kuwabara shrugged and then nodded. "Well, with any luck you'll bring a little peace to the house."

Kairi thought back on the events that had taken place since she had gotten there. I think I'll need a shitload of luck for this to go over, she thought. Then she considered. Well, at least it gives me something else to focus on rather than my issues with the Tendo's and my break up with Mike...

The kitsune looked at the woman now. "Have you any idea as to how you can deal with Nabiki? Surely she would know something was going on if you were trying to get her to go out on a certain night."

She sighed. "I know. Nabiki's the hard one. She's not interested in dating guys so there's no point in trying to set her up on a date... unless it's a guy with a fat wallet. Of course, if there was a chance of her coming home with cash, she'd probably go for just about anything... I'd have to be careful though... Nabiki's frickin' smart and she's not easy to pull a fast one on." She shrugged. "I'll think of something."

Yusuke looked at his watch and scowled. "Well, class starts in ten minutes, so I guess we'd better get ready."

Hearing this, Hiei seemingly vanished from sight. The others got to their feet. Keiko ran on ahead, while Yusuke and Kuwabara started exchanging banter. Kairi and Kurama found themselves walking side by side.

"Do you have any plans after school?" he asked her casually.

She shook her head. "Not really. I was just trying to think of something that I could do."

He gave her a smile. "Well, Youko has been hounding me constantly, wanting to meet you personally, but unfortunately, such a thing cannot be done in the view of the public. We would need to go to a forest so he could have the privacy to come out without causing a panic."

She smiled back. "That sounds great! I've been wanting to meet him!"

He nodded. "Very well. That's what we will do then. However, I feel I should warn you of a few things before it happens, but that can wait until school is over."

She simply shrugged and the two of them headed to their next class.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0

After watching Yusuke get dragged off by Keiko for an after school date, and learning that Kuwabara was going to spend some time in the arcade with some old school buddies of his, Kurama and Kairi were on their way.

They rode on a city bus for almost a whole hour before getting off next to a rural bus stop situated next to a forest. The kitsune immediately led Kairi into the forest and they walked in silence for a few long moments.

"So," she said, breaking the silence. "You told me there was something you wanted to warn me about before I meet Youko?"

He nodded. "Yes." He stopped walking and he turned to regard her. "As I mentioned before, kitsune's are known for their voracious sexual appetites. But I must give additional warning to you, because Youko has made it clear to me on several occasions that he is very much attracted to you."

When the woman's expression turned very wary, the red haired boy quickly held up his hands. "But he would never force you into anything! Flirting, certainly, but even when he was at his worst, rape was a strict taboo for Youko."

The girl seemed relieved to hear this. "Well, there should be no problem then. I can handle some flirting, just so long as he doesn't go too far." It's not as if I have to think about Mike any more, anyway, she thought.

He nodded, seemingly relieved to hear this. "Very well, then. I'll let him step forward. Prepare yourself." Just for a moment, the kitsune avatar thought he was forgetting something, but when nothing came to mind after a few seconds of reflection, he shrugged it off as nothing important.

Kairi nodded back and put a little more distance between the two of them.

Suichi stood there for a moment before the air around him seemed to shimmer. Then a bright white light seemed to emanate from his pores and his form changed. The woman could do nothing but watch, completely mesmerized as the transformation took place.

Once it was done, before her stood the single most beautiful man she had ever seen. Long, silver hair, an almost milky complexion, golden eyes that were now on her unwaveringly, lips that were pulled back into a knowing smirk, and... then she noticed the fox ears perched on top of his head. Her fingers instantly twitched.

She almost resisted the temptation until one of those ears twitched themselves.

"I have to!" she said, not bothering to hide the elation in her voice. Then her fingers were instantly probing Youko's ears.

Seeing this, Suichi instantly cringed. Shit, so THAT'S what I forgot to warn her about...

Kairi's fingers trailed up the sides of the ears and then gently prodded the tips.

Almost the instant she did so, however, the kitsune let out a predatory growl and the next thing Kairi knew, she was pinned between a tree and an amorous fox.

Panic reared immediately as she quickly screwed her eyes shut tight and cringed. "Oh, God! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to..." Then her breath caught in her throat when she felt Youko's lips brushing up against her ear, and noticed that his hands had settled on her sides, only inches from her breasts.

"You have no idea what that does to me, little one," he purred softly. Kairi immediately felt a shiver go through her. He let out a small chuckle as his lips gently started trailing down the side of her neck and his hands started to make their way up and down her sides. She let out a sharp gasp at this action, and couldn't stop it when a small whimper escaped her as well.

Then his lips were by her ear again and he started speaking to her softly. "You have now made the acquaintance of Youko Kurama, my little Kairi." He pulled back and his hands came up so they were cupping her face now. When the girl looked up at him, she saw mischief and lust in those golden eyes. His thumb slowly rubbed her cheek as he brought his face closer to hers. "And, for giving me that little teasing ear rub earlier... I think I should return the favour."

Before the woman could say or do anything, his lips were pressed up against hers. She gasped and Youko immediately took advantage of the opening to explore her mouth with his tongue.

In spite of her own reservations about the situation, Kairi simply melted in his arms when they went around her, and couldn't help but lose herself in the contact a little. It had been almost a month since she had done anything like this, not including her time with Hiei in the tree since she couldn't remember anything that had happened that day anyway. The contact gave her some comfort, even if it was only temporary.

Then she felt a sudden change as Youko seemed to shrink in size. There was a pause in the kiss and then he quickly pulled back and Kairi found herself looking into a set of emerald green eyes that were wide. Suichi's face turned bright red when he realized his hands were both firmly on Kairi's ass and he quickly separated himself from her and stepped back.

"DAMN YOU, YOUKO!" he shouted. He received an amused chuckle from the kitsune as he quickly looked at the woman. "Kairi, I'm so sorry about this! I never thought of how you might react to his ears, and if I had known that he was going to go as far as he did, then I never would have..." He trailed off when he noticed the woman didn't seem to be listening. She was brushing her fingers against her own lips, and her eyes were slightly glazed over.

"Wow," she murmured appreciatively. "I've gotta give Youko credit, because that guy can kiss!"

Kurama hesitated for a moment. "So... you're not upset then?"

She blinked. "Over that?" She shook her head. "Nah. Now, if he tried taking my clothes off, then I would have an issue, but it was only a kiss."

The red haired boy was greatly relieved to hear this as he gave her a smile and a nod. Then he blinked and seemed to stare off into space for about twenty seconds. He sighed, this time sounding a little irritated, and he pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Youko wants to be in control again. His forceful retreat was his idea of a joke, and he wishes to spend a little more time with you."

She shrugged. "As long as he behaves himself, I've got no problems with it..."

He seemed to hesitate for a moment before nodding and allowing the fox to take control again.

This time Youko's smirk was pure mischief. "Don't try telling me you didn't enjoy it, Red," he said aloud. "I don't think there's a man alive who would object to getting some lip action with this little beauty." He allowed his eyes to trail up and down her form, letting just a hint of lust come to his expression once again. Then he approached the suddenly self conscious young woman and gently took her hand in his own. "So, little Kairi... here we are. Alone... deep in the forest. Have you any ideas of how to spend this time?"

She smirked. "Yes, but I doubt my ideas are on par with what you have in mind..."

He chuckled. "You would probably be right about that, but I will not put any pressure on you today. Now... tell me what it is that you had in mind."

She fidgeted a little. "Well, this might sound a little strange to you, but... you're a fox demon, so... does that mean you can change into a fox form?"

He grinned, knowing where she was going with this. "Yes, I can. Am I correct in assuming that you wish to see it? Perhaps even... cuddle?"

She blushed a little and nodded.

"Well, I don't normally transform on request, but I think I could make an exception for you." He took a few steps back, and again he started to glow and change form. This time when the transformation was complete, there was a silver fox with golden eyes and...

"Five tails?" Kairi asked aloud. Then she blushed. "Kawaii..." She seated herself under the tree Youko had had her pinned to moments before and the kitsune came forward. Even in his fox form she could see the mischief dancing in his eyes. She patted her lap, inviting him to climb on and he instantly complied. She couldn't help but wrap her arms around his neck for a few moments to cuddle him and couldn't help but marvel at just how soft his fur was. He happily nuzzled her neck while she did so. When Kairi finally got her 'Must-Cuddle-Cute-Animal' phase out of her system, she released her hold on him and gently started running her fingers through his fur, but being very careful to not contact his ears again. The fox looked up at her and then he gave her a swift lick on the cheek. The girl jumped a little and then laughed as her hand came up to touch the area.

Looking self-satisfied, the fox peacefully laid his head down on her lap, relaxing and enjoying the feel of the woman's fingers as they ran through his silky coat.

The both of them were content to stay that way for a couple hours, both of them dozing occasionally and simply enjoying the sounds of the forest and the present company. Then one of Youko's ears twitched and he lifted his head, looking around.

Kairi was about to ask if something was wrong, but then heard footsteps approaching her from behind. They stopped about ten feet behind her, and then the mysterious newcomer started to speak.

"Excuse me, miss, but could you tell me how to get to..."

Kairi jumped a little. "Ryoga?"

The footsteps started again, and this time the eternally lost boy circled the tree and blinked in surprise looking down at her. "Kairi-chan?" Then he breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank Kami! I must be close then. I think I was in Russia yesterday." He blinked again. "Is that... a fox in your lap?"

She grinned a little, while Youko looked a little annoyed. "Yes. This is Youko Kurama's fox form. He's letting me get acquainted with it. I take it you're trying to get to Nerima?"

He nodded and blushed a little. "Yeah."

She looked at her watch and nodded to herself. "I guess I should be headed back to town myself. As soon as we get there, I'll treat you to some Okonomiyaki at Ukyo's before bringing you to the dojo. You look like you haven't eaten in a while."

He looked immensely relieved to hear this. "Sounds great to me!"

She gently ran her fingers through Youko's fur again. "Sorry, Youko, but I think our time together is up. We can do this again another time, okay?"

The fox gave out a human-like sigh and nodded, removing himself from her lap. He walked about twenty feet away and then transformed back into Youko for a few heartbeats before shrinking down into Suichi Minamino's form once again.

Ryoga stared. "Wow..."

Kairi smiled. "I know. I don't think I'll ever get tired of seeing that either."

Kurama stepped up to them, giving Ryoga a smile and a nod as a greeting. "Well, let's head back to the bus stop, then." He looked at his watch. "It should be coming by soon."

Ryoga looked at Kairi as they walked. "Hey, um... just wondering about something. Is there... anything between..." He wasn't sure how to ask the question. "I mean... when I came across you, you were cuddling his fox form and... I'm just curious..."

Kurama answered for her. "Youko is naturally seductive, and while he does have an attraction to Kairi, there is nothing happening between us relationship wise. Kairi is already experiencing difficulty when it comes to dealing with her family due to an incident between her, the Amazons and Hiei."

He blinked. "Oh boy, what did I miss while I was gone?"

Kairi scowled. "Does the term "day pill" mean anything to you?"

He frowned a moment, thinking. "Day pill?" Then his eyes widened. "You mean that Shampoo gave you the day pill?"

She nodded. "Yup." She explained what had happened, including Nabiki's involvement and the backlash. "Yeah, so keep this under wraps please. It's bad enough that they wanted me and Hiei walking down the aisle. I don't think Kurama has any more interest in getting married than he did."

Kurama considered. "Well, perhaps a few years from now, but certainly not while I'm still in school. I don't think my mother would approve. And I would also like it to be a woman of my choosing, and for her to be just as willing to marry as I am. I personally do not approve of arranged marriages and will not be subjected to one."

Ryoga shrugged carelessly. "It's none of my business, so you don't need to worry about them hearing anything from me."

While she didn't say anything to this, both boys got the impression she was relieved to hear this.

They were soon on the bus and chatting about nothing in particular until they got off in town.

Kurama held a hand to his stomach for a few seconds. "I'm rather hungry myself. Would you mind if I joined you at Ukyo's?"

She smiled. "Not at all. Let's get going."

They were about five minutes into their walk when they saw a cloud of dust forming down the highway, and it seemed to be coming closer. Upon closer inspection, they saw it was Genma and Ranma charging down the street as if their lives depended upon it.

As they charged by, Kairi quickly reached out, grabbing Ranma's arm. The boy stopped, and Genma quickly backtracked to join him.

"Ranma, Genma, what's the rush? Where are you guys off to in such a hurry?"

The pigtailed boy winced slightly and then sighed. "Training." He handed her a postcard. "This came in the mail today."

Kairi read the kanji on the back of the postcard and then winced when she saw the name at the bottom. "Your mom's coming for a visit?"

He grimaced and nodded.

Kurama blinked. "What's so horrible about your mother coming for a visit?"

Kairi quickly stepped forward. "I'll explain when we get to Ukyo's... otherwise you'll probably wind up killing Genma." She turned to Ranma again. "Why don't you guys just spend the week in your cursed forms? I was told you did that before, playing the role of Ranko and her pet Mr. Panda."

Genma glowered. "Yes, but "Mr. Panda" is not allowed to eat at the table, and winds up getting fed bamboo when Nodoka is there! We've also had many close calls in the past and I don't want to risk her finding out about Ranma's curse."

Kairi sighed. The one person in the household that she liked at all was going away. "How long are you going to be gone?"

"A week. That's how long she usually stays." Ranma looked at his watch and winced. "We better get moving. She's supposed ta show up at nine and it's already eight."

Genma shivered. "Let's get moving, boy! I want to be long out of Nerima by the time she shows up!"

He nodded. "Right!" He gave them a quick wave and shot off again.

Kurama looked at Kairi with an expression that plainly said "explain". Sighing, she motioned for him to follow her, and turned to see Ryoga starting off down the street. She quickly rushed forward and grabbed him by the wrist. "Oh, no you don't! Friends don't go vanishing on me, buddy! Restaurant is this way," she said, starting to lead him to Ukyo's.

While Ryoga turned bright red, Kurama couldn't help but chuckle as he followed the two of them inside.

And once they were inside and started chatting with Ukyo, they explained to Kurama the situation between Ranma, Genma and Nodoka.

When she saw flakes of gold sporadically mixing in with his green eyes, she knew Kurama was pissed.

"I'm honestly not sure who I'm more disgusted with... Genma for suggesting the suppuku oath in the first place, or his wife for agreeing with it. But surely she wouldn't truly go and kill her own son for getting cursed?"

Ryoga considered. "I've seen Nodoka Saotome a couple times. She always carries a katana with her just in case she meets up with Genma and Ranma and she finds out her son isn't "manly." I think Ranma turning into a girl when he's splashed with cold water wouldn't exactly please her."

The kitsune scowled. Given that it was the love of his mother that ultimately changed him, he found the situation to be nothing short of disgusting. It was a good thing that Kairi had waited until the man and his son were gone before explaining the specifics of the situation for him, or else the kitsune probably would have torn the man apart.

Ukyo sighed. "A week without my Ranma-honey. Oh well, at least I have Kairi-chan here to visit with!"

The girl smiled a little sheepishly. "Well, this 'Kairi-chan' should be headed back home. I have homework to do and there's school tomorrow. Besides, I'm kinda curious to meet Ranma's mom for myself."

Kurama nodded. "I have homework of my own to take care of." He then paid for the food, ignoring Kairi's objections, and they exited the restaurant. The fox turned to her again. "Since you have a skilled fighter with you, I will head on home from here. I will see you in school tomorrow."

She nodded. "Okay. I'll see you tomorrow, Suichi."

Ryoga hesitated before looking at Kairi. "Um... could you splash me with cold water? It would be nice to sleep in a bed again instead of on the ground."

The woman started looking around and considered going inside Ukyo's to ask for some, when she heard the sound of someone getting splashed beside her. Blinking, Kairi looked past the little black pig and saw an old woman who had been cleaning off her sidewalk.

She shook her head with a smile. "Well, I guess that's one way to do it..." She almost went to pick up his backpack and umbrella until she remembered Kuwabara and Yusuke's difficulty in carrying it. Instead, she just put his clothes inside the pack and then picked up P-chan. "I'll lead you back here tomorrow morning on my way to school and you can grab it then. I don't think anyone in town could pick it up aside from you and Ranma anyway."

The little pig did his best try at a shrug and just nodded.

Kairi continued on her way, now holding a directionally challenged piglet in her arms.

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Okay, I have no idea when the next chapter is going to be up, but just keep your eyes open for updates! And review! Please, please review!