The Melting Process part 5

By Ryouga's Best friend

A/N- I'm happy at all the positive response I've been getting from you all, it's really nice that you all like it. I'm glad the monk went over well with you all too, I enjoy his personality which is a mix of several anime characters. Though this part is adding another new character, the monk's niece.

Recap:

Dinner came and went as did the rest of the day. Nabiki spent most of her time resting while Ranma worked on chores and trained with the monk. It was fairly late when Ranma snuck in to sleep, he undressed down to his underwear and shifted the sheet on his futon. He glanced to the form on the bed, "Night Nabiki…chan." He said be fore he laid down and fell asleep. Nabiki, who had been awake tightened her grip on the sheets.

"Night Ranma…kun" she whispered to herself with a smile before drifting off to sleep.

Part 5

"Nabiki-chan…wake up Nabiki-chan…" Called Ranma as she slowly opened her eyes. She was in the bath, Ranma standing off to the side with an odd expression on his face. "You okay? Thought you dozed of there for a moment." He said with a smile. Nabiki was confused, Why am I in the bath?

"Um, Yeah. I guess…"

"Good…" Ranma said with a strange grin as he began to undo his top. Nabiki turned red.

"W-what are you doing?"

"Why getting ready for our bath of course." He said cheerfully as he went for the drawstring on his pants. She eeped and turned.

"O-o-o-our?!" she squeaked. She froze as she felt the firmly toned body press against her back, a hand reaching to gently turn her face. Toward his own.

"Why of course Nabiki-chan? Did you have…something else in mind?" He asked suggestively as he locked eyes with the thoroughly flustered girl, his face slowly closing in on her own.

"oooh…Ranma…"

Nabiki slowly opened her eyes to meet the calming purple walls of the bedroom. She swallowed and looked around glad to find it empty save herself. She felt like she was on fire, she face was scarlet. "I'm…I'm having dreams about him…" she said embarrassed though after a moment she gave a small smile. "Good dreams…" he cleared her throat and tried to gather her composure. "I was just fantasizing…nothing wrong with fantasizing right? Right…." She explained aloud trying to convince herself. She dressed pretty quick, she was feeling much better today. She made her way out into the warmth of the summer sun with a large happy smile. She began to scour the area for the Monk or Ranma.

Meanwhile in the courtyard Ranma was doing another spiritual exercise with the monk watching on critically. The martial artist standing rod straight with his arms out. He had large rocks balanced on his head and hands as a tightly controlled ball of energy was held firmly in front of him with sheer force of will. "Amazing…simply amazing…" the monk whispered to himself. He took a moment to glance as he heard some footsteps, and saw his female guest approaching. He gained a mischievous smile at that and signaled her over. Nabiki came over a little wide eyed at the sight of Ranma's current exercise.

"Isn't that a little dangerous…." She asked in a muted tone so not to cause the same explosion she did yesterday.

"Not really, but he needs to take a break before he actually hurts himself." Monk whispered back before turning back to his student. "All right that's enough no need to keep it up your scaring your girlfriend." He said with an amused smirk, motioning for the lightly blushing Nabiki to remain silent.

"Feh," Ranma grumbled. "Your not gonna get me with that again old man. We went over this already…" He trailed off when he opened his eyes to see her standing next to his instructor. Fortunately he had enough mind to shoot the ball upwards to avoid getting hurt. It exploded like fireworks, raining harmless sparks down. "H-hey Nabiki. You feeling better?" He greeted as he allowed the rocks to fall down, the loud crash assuring they were as heavy as they looked.

"Yeah, a little…" she replied sounding almost shy, though she was still smiling a bit. "You've been training pretty hard." She stated.

"Yup! The old man seems to actually know how to teach unlike pops. It's great." He said happily, he thought for a moment. "Hey shouldn't we call the dojo so they know were okay?" Nabiki gasped, that hadn't even crossed her mind.

"Well Miss Tendo will have to handle it as you have some chores to do." The monk said firmly eliciting a grumbled response as he headed off. "I'll lead you to our phone." She merely nodded as she glanced toward Ranma's trailing figure. "He's quite a boy isn't Miss Nabiki?"

"You have no idea…" She muttered before blushing and looking to the monk who was still looking forward. I thought he caught me watching him…that was close she thought embarrassed. The monk was smiling it was just as he thought, they just didn't know it yet.

"Here you go Miss Nabiki."

"Thanks," she took and phone and began dialing for home…

Kasumi was cleaning the house which was empty of occupants. The disappearance of Ranma with Nabiki was shocking news and everyone has been looking for them since. Akane is taking it all pretty badly, from the date she is convinced something odd is going on between the two of them. And now to have her fiancee disappear with her sister for two days had sent her into depression. Yuka and Sayuri, bless their hearts, had come by and taken Akane out to cheer her up. The fathers had taken it differently, though angry at first they realized that if it was true Ranma and Nabiki had become an item then the merging of the schools was closer then ever. Shampoo, Ukyo and Kodachi were scouring every inch of Nerima looking for them, Ryoga had been with them but was now lost in parts unknown.

Interrupting her thought was the shrill ring of the phone, with a sigh she picked it up. "Tendo Residence."

"Kasumi…" came the familiar voice of her wayward sister.

"Nabiki?!" Kasumi squeaked, in total surprise. "Where are you? Are you okay? Is Ranma still with you?" She began to ramble as the middle Tendo tried to calm her.

"Sis sis, chill a moment. One question at a time." Though it was her sisters voice the tone was nearly foreign. It wasn't the cool, dry tone she was used to it was much more relaxed…more natural. "I'm doing okay. I'm still pretty beat up from my run in with Ranma's little hit squad." She said with a small bit of venom. "But me and Ranma found a safe place to hang out until heal up."

"Heal up? Why didn't you come home then?" Kasumi asked trying to keep calm.

"I couldn't risk it. I mean if Shampoo or Kodachi wanted to finish me off…they've snuck into our house before and Unlike Akane I couldn't hold them off." She explained serious. Kasumi relented, her sister had a point.

"I guess that makes sense…What about Ranma? He's with you right?" she asked receiving silence on the other end for a moment. Just before she was going to repeat herself Nabiki replied.

"Yeah…he's here. He carried me here after he saved me…" Kasumi had to be hearing things, Nabiki hadn't sounded so..meek in years.

"You sure your okay Nabiki, you sound… different." She finally asked trying to find the appropriate words.

"Oh yes, I'm feeling great." The elder Tendo sister's doubts were slowly growing, she had to ask…just to make sure.

"Is there something going on between you and Ranma?" even she was surprised at how blunt she was right then.

"W-w-what?!" Her sister squeaked in response…not the kind of thing she was hoping to hear, it was very suspicious.

"I didn't mean to sound so accusing it's just it's all very strange."

"I don't know…" came the soft response.

"You don't know?"

"It's hard to explain…. He treating me very nice, He cares about what I say." There was a long pause, "He told me I was pretty… I can't get him out of my head…" there was another long pause. "I think I'm finally seeing what all those other girls see in him…maybe more than that…He makes me feel so happy…" Kasumi was unsure how to respond to that, both Nabiki and Akane were her sisters to support one over the other would just be wrong.

"Nabiki…I can't condemn you for your feelings…All I can ask is that you consider what your getting into, Ranma has many unique problems." Kasumi advised with all the care and grace she possessed.

"Thanks Sis…I'm glad I could talk to you. I'll be back in a couple more days."

"Your welcome Nabiki. I'll let everyone know your okay." At that she heard a click and hung up the phone with a sigh. Things were not going to be pretty when they got back, she just hoped her family could survive this obstacle unscathed…

Nabiki sat holding the phone in it's cradle, she was glad to have finally gotten it out of her system but Kasumi had given a valid point. Could she really deal with all of Ranma's short comings and problems? It was definitely something to think about. She headed outside where the Monk was waiting patiently. "Everything all right at home?"

"In it's own way…" Nabiki said laughing at the private joke. "Thank you for letting me call home."

"No problem Miss Nabiki. If you feel up to it would you mind helping me out with the cooking tonight, and old man like myself is unused to cooking so much food. The Ranma boy can sure eat."

"I guess so…I'm no stellar cook myself though." She admitted. The old monk merely laughed.

"A cook is a cook. No reason to be picky." He said with a wink as he headed inside. Nabiki headed somewhere quiet to do some thinking. The monk had a smile on his face as he picked up the phone, "This might just be the push they needed…" he said to himself as he dialed.

Nabiki sat by a little pond she'd found out back of the shrine, her finger making gentle ripples in the water. "Ranma…" she said aloud with a small smile. She shook her head to clear her thoughts. "I have got to think this out rationally. Ranma is martial artist, always in some kind of danger with enemies coming daily to kill him…I've always watched these things from the side lines, could I really take being in those situations like Akane?" She asked herself taking a moment to think about that. "Yes…I think I could handle that, better since I have more control then my sister." She explained with a nod. She took a deep breath.

"Now Ranma's fiancées…Akane included…it has already been shown that my usual mercenary methods are not very effective when dealing with them. And my sister…could I really just swoop in and stake a claim like that?" she asked taking a long time to consider this as it could be even more life threatening then Ranma's own chaos factor. But deep in her heart…she knew that this was what she wanted. "Yes…Akane has plenty of admires she could fall back on…she'll be fine." She said trying to convince herself. Nabiki looked into the water, the chief issue many girls would have.

"His curse…" it was left unsaid at the reason this issue was brought up, as it was something she had thought about long ago when the Saotome's first showed up on their doorstep. "Could I really have a relationship with a guy…who turns into a girl…" she asked looking deep inside herself for the answer. Way back then she said no, and as a result she never really got to know him. "But these last few days have been special…I…Think I could…."

"Could what?" Came Ranma's cheery voice that almost sent Nabiki into the water.

"R-Ranma?!" Was he listening to all that stuff I said? She thought in fear.

"Huh?"

"N-nothing…" She said meekly. Ranma raised an eyebrow.

"Whatever." He said taking a seat next to her. "So what are you up to?"

"I was just enjoying the scenery," she said to cover her previous sketchy behavior. "It's so peaceful here…" Ranma nodded with small smile.

"It is peaceful. I haven't felt like I could relax in such a long time…On top of that I feel like I've really gotten to know you Nabiki." He looked over to her blushing some, "Your different than any of the other girls…" Nabiki was blushing now have flashback to her dream.

"Thanks Ranma…" they sat in silence, moving a little closer to each other until…

"There you two are!" the monk called out causing the pair to fall into the water, his snickering died down when he saw two girls emerge. "Holy…"

"What did ya do that for?!" Ranma shouted glaring at the shocked old monk. Nabiki was also not enjoying the interruption, if she didn't know any better the monk had planned that. Though the situation was certainly different now that Ranma's curse was reviled.

"I guess there is some explaining that needs to be done."

The Monk had taken the story easily enough. In fact he seemed to find the whole thing quite amusing. A fact which Ranma was not keen on and was very annoyed at the whole thing. They fortunately put the fighting aside and enjoyed a nice dinner which Nabiki helped with and Ranma ate happily. The pair then retired to their shared room to end another nice day away from home. It was all so nice, what could possibly go wrong.

Nabiki awoke, still sore but a little more flexible. From what she could tell it was still early which would be a nice change from waking in the afternoon. She got dressed and headed out, for the first time not catching Ranma in mid-training. She merely saw the monk waiting at the top of the shrine steps with Ranma. "Morning guys, what's going on?"

"Hey Nabiki"

"ah, Miss Nabiki glad you could join us. Our Guest should be arriving soon." The monk said with a smile. Nabiki glanced to Ranma who shrugged. Guess he's in the dark as well She thought eyeing the monk suspiciously, he was up to something again… "Ah here she is." He said waving.

"What she?" Nabiki and Ranma asked in unison looking down the stairs to see a young junior high girl in a school uniform running up them carrying a bag. When she reached the top she dropped the bag and jumped into the Monks arms giggling.

"Hi Uncle Shinzo!" she said with a big smile as she got put down. The monk, now identified as Shinzo, motioned to the confused teens.

"Eriko, I'd like you to meet my to guests Ranma Saotome and Nabiki Tendo."

"Please to meet you." She greeted the pair shyly.

"Hello," Nabiki said with a nod. Ranma merely raised a hand.

"Yo."

"Eriko will be staying for the next few weeks so she and Nabiki will have to share the room until She healed enough to go." The monk explained while his niece looked ecstatic. She ran up to Nabiki hand clasp in front.

"This is so cool, it'll be like having a sister. I've always wanted a sister and an older sister is even better. All I've got are a couple of bratty brothers they're always picking on me cause I'm short. Do you have brothers, there not much fun. Unlike sisters. This is great!" Eriko spoke at a frantic pace, so much that Nabiki barely could keep up with the excited girl. Did she even breath during all that? She wondered with a large sweatdrop on the side of her head.

"Hey old man, if their sharin' a room where the hell am I staying then." Ranma asked in usual charmingly blunt fashion. Shinzo merely smiled.

"Why my other guest room of course." He said causing the martial artist slam face first into the ground.

"Th-then why the hell didn't you mention it before?!!" He shouted, receiving a mischievous smirk in response.

"It must have slipped my mind?" he said innocently. Ranma covered his face and sighed, he really should have suspected this by now. Well if anything it looked like their last few days here would be eventful…

to be continued…

A/N- Another chapter completed and I'm feeling great. The response for this fic has been really great I'm glad everyone is enjoying it so much. J I finally named the Monk and brought in his bouncy niece Eriko, whose based loosely on someone very close to me. You know who you are ; p. I hope you accept her a graciously as the mischievous Monk Shinzo. Until we next speak, Je ne!