Christmas one-shot #5

Kasumi x Tofu

Patience and Curiosity

We'll keep the promise because we don't know how to break it
The furniture you can rearrange
Don't trade your dreams for some small change
Guard the flame, or better leave it naked- are you gonna wait forever?
- U2

She was not as naïve as people seemed to think.

She could see that Tofu wasn't always the way she saw him. People whispered that normally he was such a good doctor- she knew that must mean that he was sensible normally, that he was considerate and clever and wasn't, to be frank an idiot. Therefore, she soon deducted, there must be something that altered his behaviour so that he was unable to act as maturely and responsibly as he should have done.

She also figured out pretty quickly that it was her that made him act that way.

It was quite obvious, if you thought about it.

Well, it was quite obvious even if you didn't.

And she did think about him, perhaps more than she would care to admit, and she observed with no judgement her sisters little crush on him, and how she would come home bursting full of stories about the wonderful doctor, and she also knew that when Akane started to praise him even more it was around about the same time that her little sister noticed how different he was around Kasumi, and that made her smile. What had made her smile even more was when she stopped talking about him altogether, which was just after Ranma had moved in.

She may not look like it, but Kasumi builds up quite the image in her mind of people, and she can read them, if she wants to. Sometimes, she'd just prefer people not to know that she knows so much about them, because it makes them feel uncomfortable, and she knows a lot more than people would automatically think.

Not that that is a bad thing.

She knew that when he tripped over his own feet he would really have just liked to walk beside her for a while, their shoulders touching slightly more often than was plausible as an accident.

She knew that when he ran into doors what he would really have liked to do was just hold her hand and smile, and have her smile back.

She knew that when he carried his skeleton on his back and danced through the streets he really would have liked to hold her, just for a little while, without making a fool of himself, because that is what a man should do with the woman he loves.

She also knew that at home at night he probably beat himself up in his head for the way he acted, but there wasn't anything she could do about that, because every time she went near him he just reverted back to being a fool, and wouldn't listen to a word she had to say anyway.

So she knew she'd just stare at him in bemusement when he started acting like a fool again, and she'd shake her head and laugh, because that's all she could do, at least for now, and it isn't that bad really, because she's pretty sure that when she isn't around, he's a very intelligent, interesting man, the kind of man she could fall in love with, but at the same time there is a certain charm to a goof who would walk out into busy traffic because he's so enamoured by you.

In a strange way, it's very sweet.

So she'd wait at home, and sometimes she'd make him some dinner or a lunch, and she'd visit him and borrow a book, and try to have a conversation, because she knows that if she tries hard enough, one day he has to get used to her, and then he'd do all the things he'd like, and she can finally see the man she's sure she will love even more than, in secret, she already does.

And she doesn't mind waiting, because she's patient and understands that these things take time, and not every romance is going to be easy. She knows that with time all the uncomplicated tangles between them will unfurl themselves and she'll be able to make something quite beautiful, in its own way, out of the strings. She just wished Akane could see that too, because there were even less knots between her and Ranma.

And she will wait as well because she knows that she would always question what would have happened if she didn't, because she wonders what he'll be like, this strong clever doctor of hers with his hidden muscle, handsome smile and intelligent sparkle in his eyes, and she's curious to know what he will emerge as from his cocoon of idiocy and bashfulness.

She doesn't think it is wishful thinking, either. She's pretty sure that each time they meet he gets a little better, and she's certain that he's better than he was a few years ago.

She'll just give it time, because that's all it takes.

And then one day, it finally happened.

It was Christmas day and for once the household was at peace. None of Ranma's apparent fiancés had turned up, Happosai was not making trouble (in fact he was out cold from one too many mulled wines) and the family were sitting around happily having devoured Kasumi's food. Ranma and Akane were holding hands under the table and thinking that nobody had noticed, Nabiki was in a glow from the present that Kuno had dropped off with a blush and a few muttered words she would not divulge to anyone and their fathers were drunkenly attempting to play shogi. There was no yelling, there were no fights. Ranma had not yet made a comment that would anger Akane and Nabiki had not yet tried to swindle anyone out of money.

Relative normality.

Kasumi was reflecting on this in the kitchen as she washed up, a veritable modern day saint in her apron and satisfied smile, when there was a knock on the window. She opened it to see the doctor, smiling, a blindfold around his eyes and his glasses in his nervous, shaking hands. He was biting his lip in worry, a sight she found slightly endearing.

"Kasumi?"

"Yes, it's me."

"Come outside?"

She did as she was bade and joined him in the cold winter evening, shivering a little as she went. She was not nervous, she was expectant. He had not stuttered or said something idiotic. She brushed her skirt down as she approached him.

"May I ask why you are wearing a blindfold?"

"Well, I have a theory. It seems that when I am around you I begin to act… in ways that are not normal to me. If you catch my drift?"

"I had wondered."

"Well, I thought that if I couldn't see you, I might be able to have a conversation with you, and since it is Christmas, I thought that you might humour me and let me try."

It was a pity that he could not see her smile because it lit up her face with a radiance that was stunning to see.

"Of course I'll try to help, doctor. This ailment sounds serious."

"Yes, well. The problem is, Kasumi… well, the problem is that I… well, I-"

She cut him off with an uncharacteristically bold finger placed across his lips to silence him.

"I know."

"You do?"

"Yes."

And with that, she kissed him, standing on tip-toe with one hand on his shoulder to balance herself. He had frozen in shock and she was sure that once she moved back he would fall to his knees and gibber hysterically for a while, but she didn't particularly mind. She especially didn't mind when he un-froze and kissed her back, an arm around her waist pulling her into warmth. She knew that it could only last so long before reality hit him again and he would forget that this was not a dream, but she did not really mind that, either.

This was one step in the right direction, after all.

One step closer.

One day, she knew, he'd be able to say it without stuttering, and she was willing to wait for it.