A Dragon's Ring
Chapter 7: Unholy Matrimony
Ranma continued staring into nothing as his father and mother adjusted his Tux. He was really getting married. He never expected to be married so young. He was not even at the age of majority. He still had plenty of adventure left in him. He did not want to settle yet. Technically he was already married twice over. But that did not feel real. There were no ceremonies. There were no witnesses. There were no promises made from his own lips. He was going to have all of that here soon. It made the situation all the more surreal to him. Any moment he would wake up to a bucket of water from a tomboy. Any minute...
"Ranma!" Nodoka sharply called, snapping Ranma out of his stupor.
"What!" Ranma growled, annoyed that he was disrupted from his thoughts. The silence after his question was audible as he met his mother's eyes. They showed her dismay quite clearly with his response.
"I mean, 'what is it mother'?" Ranma said with a notable amount of sarcasm, but not enough to call him on, so his mother let it slide.
"Do you remember how the ceremony goes? You have to get the parts right. I know you may not appreciate it now, but when you come to love her and you look back on this, you will be glad we made sure you did it right."
Ranma refrained from rolling his eyes. His mother was in front of him, and would notice it right away. "Sure, mother," he replied without any meaning. The elder Saotome 'tsked' and continued to fiddle with Ranma's Tux one final time.
Ranma took a moment to look into his mother's eyes. She happened to look up at the same time and he met his mothers gaze. He did not break away. He did not want to. He wanted to see her motivations, and her to see how he felt. Nodoka stilled her hands as they gazed into each other's eyes.
Ranma could tell his mother held a small amount of guilt for this situation, but was absolutely certain she was doing the right thing and the best thing in the long run. There was sympathy, but her determination overrode it. Ranma's mother did not flinch at the unspoken accusation in his eyes. Ranma blinked and brushed his mothers hands off of his Tux.
"I'm fine mom. Let's get this over with."
Nabiki sat in her elder sister Kasumi's room at her vanity. The eldest sister was putting the finishing touches on her sisters make up. Nabiki quietly accepted her sister's ministrations.
"Kasumi..." Nabiki paused. She was not the type to second guess herself, but there really was no going back. Once she went through with this, she could not back out. There were too many hearts set on this. Too many people's futures and too much money. She had no intention of jilting the Saotome family either. You do not bite the hand that feeds you.
"Kasumi... do you think this is alright?" Kasumi slowly became still and the silence settled around them.
Kasumi selected her words carefully. "Nabiki... I think what you are doing is good for the family."
"But is it okay? What about Akane?" The middle sister's voice almost cracked at the mention of the youngest.
"This situation could not have gone on forever Nabiki. Something had to be done."
"Yeah... I know." Nabiki had spent the day before digging up dirt on the students Akane had hospitalized. Especially on some of the parents that were going to go through with it even without their child's approval. It deterred them, for now. "But... This shouldn't be me it should be..."
Kasumi interrupted. "But it is not. We have to deal with the cards we are given, Nabiki."
Nabiki sighed. She normally was not this emotional. She mumbled, "Don't I know it." She paused. "Where is Akane?"
Kasumi pursed her lips thoughtfully. "I'm not sure. I believe she was still in her room."
"I have to use the bathroom."
Nodoka looked into Ranma's eyes as if for checking for something. After she found what she was looking for - no intention of running away - she responded. "Okay. Fine. I'll make sure the other preparations are ready. Come on, Husband."
Genma was unusually somber this day. Perhaps he felt the mood that seemed to pervade the house. He threw one look back at Ranma, one he could see and specifically for him. Before exiting the with his wife.
"Figures the old man 's the only one that seems to get it." Ranma muttered to himself as he he exited his room.
Ranma looked down the hallway both ways to see that no one was around. He felt that someone was still in their room. He went to knock on the door with the small yellow duck. There was no response.
Ranma opened the door and went in. He shut it behind them. He stood there awkwardly. Ranma did not know what to say. So he fell back on his usual.
"Sorry." It did not have too much feeling behind it, but it was genuine. Ranma was not good with words.
"Sorry?" Ranma heard mumbled from the figure lying on the bed face down. A derisive snort followed. "Sorry. That's all you've got so say?"
Suddenly she whirled off the bed and into his face. Ranma took a step back at her fierce expression.
"You are about to marry my sister!"
Ranma gaped at her before responding defensively, "Hey, I didn't ask for it!"
Akane slammed her hand against the door beside his head, cornering him and violating his personal space. She stared into his eyes, breathing heavy in anger. Ranma noticed her nostrils flaring. Her lips were a flat line.
"No. No you didn't. But you didn't say no either." She stated in a flat tone. " You didn't protest it."
Ranma's brows furrowed. "I have no choice Akane!"
She quickly followed his response. "Do you love my sister? Do you love Shampoo? Do you love that dragon girl?"
"No!" Ranma vehemently replied.
"Yet you are anyway." Akane was right in his face. "What about me, Ranma? Was it all a lie?"
Ranma was put off by Akane's direct attack on his feelings. "I...uh..."
"Still a coward." Akane snorted and turned away.
Ranma grabbed her arm as she turned to move away. "I ain't no coward! What about you, huh!"
"What about me, Ranma? You know how I feel!" Akane all but screamed as she shook off his grip and turned to face him. She leaned toward him in an accusatory and offensive posture.
"Do I? You've never told me." Ranma replied flatly, his eyes lidded. He leaned back and crossed his arms in the same casual way he did before a battle.
"Oh yeah?" Akane spat. "Not my fault you're an idiot!" She stepped forward threateningly.
Ranma followed suit, leaning forward in her face. "You're the one that stupid, stupid!"
Akane snarled. "You want to know how I feel, huh?" Akane questioned. "Huh?" She shrilled.
Ranma did not have a chance to respond as she choke slammed him into the door behind him and kissed him. Ranma did not immediately respond. When he did, he gripped the hand on his neck and the one at her side. He ripped her hand off of his throat and firmly held both hands to her sides. Akane struggled against his hold, but never broke the kiss.
Akane lifted her arms up, pulling Ranma's arms with them through his grip and slammed him into the door again with his arms, making him release his grip. It was then she turned her back to him.
"Get Out!" Ranma watched Akane's body shake with emotion from behind. Slowly Ranma relaxed his body and opened the door. He paused to say something, but had no idea what to say. He shut the door behind him.
"Today we are here to celebrate the Holy Matrimony of Ranma Saotome and Nabiki Tendo...," The priest droned on at the altar set up in the dojo. Ranma payed no more attention to the priest than listening for the cue for him to speak.
Ranma watched Tendo escort his daughter to the altar. He noted in the back of his head that she was not bad looking when she was dressed up. She met his gaze calmly. He stared blankly at her, not completely present. The mixture of what happened in Akane's room and that he could not believe he was doing this was keeping him detached. Everything was surreal.
His father stood beside him, and handed him the ring. That was when he remembered he was supposed to say something.
"With this ring, I thee wed." Ranma carefully took Nabiki's hand. He realized at that moment he has hardly ever touched her. He placed the ring gently, and slowly on her finger.
"With this ring, I thee wed." Nabiki echoed as she placed the ring Ranma's finger. Ranma noted her hands were soft, not rough like Akane's.
"Hey, I'm Akane. You want to be friends?"
"You may kiss the bride."
Ranma blinked as he realized everyone was silent and watching him. He lifted up Nabiki's veil and their eyes met. Nabiki calmly met his eyes, waiting. Ranma licked his lips as they were suddenly dry. He never in his wildest dreams imagined he would ever be kissing Nabiki. He swallowed before leaning in. He paused, as if waiting for something. Nabiki quickly closed the distance and brushed his lips with a feather light touch of her own. Ranma blushed and straighted back up.
"I now pronounce you husband and wife."
There was no clapping or cheer. The families, sans Akane, drifted towards the pair and quietly gave the expected contractions.
"Take care of my daughter, Son."
"Welcome to the family, little brother."
"I'm proud of you my son."
Ranma's father approached last. He met Ranma's eyes. "God job boy," Genma said without the expected flair, and more out of requirement. Ranma knew his father felt sorry after meeting his eyes. Ironically this is the first time in his life Ranma could remember his father being sympathetic. Sad it had to be something so life-changing.
The reception was a quiet affair. Nodoka had not allowed the other "wives" to come, for once being tactful and considerate. Shampoo and Reia were staying at the Nekohanten.
Ranma sipped his sake, and let the murmur of everyone fade into the background. Nabiki sat beside him. Every so often she would glance at him, before watching the others. Happosai shown up, and Ranma's mother was the one who informed Happosai of what had happened while he was away. The master oddly seemed upset before he sighed and let it go. He drank himself silly and brought some much needed life and cheer to the party.
Before long Ranma was being ushered out by his father. When he got up he realized that Nabiki was no longer beside him. He was ushered out to the front where a limousine awaited.
"Boy, the house is yours and Nabiki's for the weekend. I know it ain't much for a honeymoon, but that's the best we could do." Genma turned and began walking away. He paused and spoke without turning back around, "For what it's worth boy, I'm sorry." With that, Genma disappeared back into the house leaving Ranma standing in front of the limo with the driver.
The drive opened the door and Ranma saw Nabiki sitting across the cabin. Ranma sat near the door, opposite of her. The driver shut the door and shortly he felt the limo start moving.
They stared at each other for the entire trip.
The door to the limousine opened and the driver bowed motioning towards the Saotome house as he did so. Ranma got up and started walking toward the house until he heard a throat clear.
Ranma turned to find Nabiki holding her hand up and looking at him.
"Uh..." Ranma stated eloquently as he took her hand and helped her up. The drive shut the door behind them. He drove off leaving the pair looking up at the house.
Nabiki did not let go of Ranma's hand as they began walking up the steps. "This dress isn't easy to walk in, Ranma."
"Oh. Okay." When Ranma opened the door, Nabiki stopped him with her grip on his hand. "You're supposed to carry me in," she whispered.
Ranma blushed, but picked her up. It wasn't like it he hadn't done it dozens of times with various girls in dangerous situations.
"You might as well carry me all the way to your room so I don't trip over the tail of my dress."
"Where else did you think I'd be staying?"
Ranma had nothing to say about that.
Ranma carried her in and kicked the door shut behind him. He carefully carried her up the stairs. Nabiki's face was buried in Ranma chest, so he couldn't make our her expression. He set her down when he made it into the room.
"Could you unzip the back of the dress? I can't reach it."
Ranma clumsily found the zipper and lowered it. Nabiki stepped out of the dress leaving her in her stockings, expensive lace panties and bustier. Ranma stared at her brazenness.
"I'm going to go clean all of this makeup off. Where is the bathroom?"
Ranma pointed and Nabiki left. At this point Ranma loosened the tie that he felt was strangling him. He suspected what was supposed to happen next, but he was no where near ready for it. He did not love Nabiki.
Shortly Nabiki came back, her hair down, veil in her hands. She dropped the veil unto the dress and kicked it into a corner.
"You going to wear that Tux to bed?"
Ranma shook his head. It took him a moment to realize she expected him to take it off. He also did not know why he still had it on himself. It was uncomfortable.
Ranma quickly undressed down to his white muscle shirt and boxers. As he was undressing Nabiki laid down on the futon and pulled the sheets up over her chest. Ranma swallowed as he sat on the edge of the futon.
"Ranma." Nabiki said uncharacteristically soft. Her hand touched his back. "Let's just try to sleep."
With that, the breath Ranma did not realize he was holding was released. He laid on top of the sheets.
"But one day, we are going to have to do it, Ranma. At the very least your mother expects kids." Nabiki paused. "And while it may be acceptable for a man to have mistresses, it is not acceptable for a woman to, Ranma. I can't have sex with anyone else without risking the reputation of the Dojo. So you are the only one I can safely do that with when I want to."
Ranma swallowed and squealed. "You want to do that?"
Nabiki turned to lay on her side and face him. Ranma turned his head towards her. "Ranma, everybody wants to have sex. A desire to have sex is not wrong or perverted. It is wrong when you force your desires on another or take advantage of them that makes someone a pervert, Ranma."
Nabiki turned back away. "Besides, I'll be damned before I have not only a loveless marriage, but a sexless life as well. Good night."
Nabiki awoke to the sound of someone shuffling downstairs. She got up and put a robe on and padded down the stairs.
"Auntie?" Nabiki called.
"Call me Mother, Nabiki-chan.", Nabiki heard Ranma's mother call back.
Nabiki finished coming down the stairs and went towards the dining room. She found Nodoka and Kasumi setting out breakfast.
"Nobody else?" Nabiki asked, quirking an eyebrow.
"No, no," Her mother-in-law waved off. "We are just here to deliver breakfast for the newly weds. We'll be out of your hair shortly." Nodoka paused. "How's Ranma?"
"What smells so good? You can cook Nabiki?" Everyone heard Ranma call as he entered the room. "Mom?"
"Speak of the devil," Nabiki muttered.
The Saotome Matriarch swept her son into a hug. "How was your night Ranma?"
Ranma made eye contact with Nabiki before returning his eyes to his mother. "Fine."
Ranma's mother pursed her lips as if she were going to say something, then thought better of it. "That's good, dear. We'll get out of your hair. There is lunch in the fridge. We left money on the table for you to order out. Get something nice."
"Okay, Mom." She kissed Ranma on the cheek before moving towards the door.
Kasumi stood there a moment looking between Nabiki and Ranma. "It was nice seeing you two." Kasumi cast her eyes towards the floor. "Enjoy your honeymoon."
With that the newlyweds were left in the house alone.
"Geez. Those two were all but dying to know if we had sex."
Ranma spat out his tea he drank from the cup he pilfered from the table. "What?"
Nabiki rolled her eyes. "We were supposed to consummate the marriage, dummy."
"Consummate? What's that mean?" Ranma asked as he wiped up the tea from his face and the table with a towel.
"It means have sex. No marriage is valid until the couple has sex, Ranma."
"What! Does that mean we aren't married?" Ranma asked. "What about the ceremony?"
"Well, as long as everyone thinks we've had sex, its fine."
Ranma shifted uncomfortable as Nabiki sat at the table.
"But..." Ranma repeated, hanging on her every word.
"I'm not so sure your Mom believes we did. She was going to say something earlier. We're just lucky your mother decided to be tactful, and not call us on it directly."
Ranma sat down at the table across from Nabiki. "Why do you say that?"
Nabiki met Ranma's eyes. "I can tell. By the way, Ranma...there is no gentle way for me to ask this, but I need to know. Did you sleep with your other wives yet?"
Ranma choked on his food and beat his chest. He took a moment to reply. "No!"
"Who washes your sheets?"
"Um... Reia and Mom do the chores."
"So it is reasonable to say she probably knows you haven't too."
Ranma blinked blankly.
"Sex leaves a mess, Ranma."
"Then it is safe to assume that your mother hasn't found any evidence of any sexual activity yet."
"What's your point?"
"Just because we're married Ranma, doesn't mean this is over. Your mother is not stupid. She is sooner or later going to call you on not 'pleasing your wives'. I'm tempted to plant false evidence, but there is no way we can convincingly act like a couple who have had sex. We both know how good your acting skills are."
Nabiki set her chopsticks down and met Ranma's eyes with a piercing stare. "Look I'm just as uncomfortable with it as you are! My little sister is in love with you! But if your mother doesn't see results soon, she's going to start taking measures again... Thesametypethatgotushereinthefirstplace!" After Nabiki got that out of her system she sighed and let the tension flow out. "If you were sleeping with the other ones, who have no careers or school ahead of them and are fully ready to have children, me and you could get away with not doing it for a while. But you still have to start sleeping with someone."
Ranma regarded her with a flat stare. "I can't just have sex with someone Nabiki. I'm not that way."
Nabiki growled. "That's all novel and endearing in normal circumstances, Ranma, but this is not normal! If you don't, you are only going to make things worse!" Nabiki stood abruptly. "I've got some phone calls to make. Don't wait up."
Ranma went out to the small family dojo, going through forms. His motions were frustrated and had an edge to them.
"Stupid Nabiki. Stupid Mom...grrrr..."
Ranma did some furious punches.
"You are supposed to do that with someone you love. I don't love any of them."
Nabiki laid on Ranma's... or rather their bed. She lifted her legs up and did a few exercises while she thought. She went through her options. Reia was an unknown to her, but she suspected the girl had more tact and patience than Shampoo and probably wouldn't push anything with Ranma. She had taken the time to solve Ranma's fiancee issues instead of trying to outright bully her way. Shampoo would be overzealous and would never have the subtlety that would be necessary to seduce Ranma. So that left her with...
She eventually sighed and relaxed.
"I'm going to have to do it. I don't think anyone else is going to be able to pull this off. Ranma still probably thinks in the back of his mind that things can go back to the way they were. The sooner I do this, the better. We have to accept this because the fallout would be worse."
Nabiki spoke humbly to the air. "I'm sorry sister...I hope you can forgive me."
Nabiki got up and went downstairs to prepare lunch. Knowing Nodoka she probably left something she could use for her plan. Inside the fridge she found what she was looking for - wine.
"Nice. This should work quite perfectly." She tapped her chin. Even though she was willing to do this, she did not want to get pregnant. She was pretty sure there were no such thing as condoms in this house. Nabiki knew what Nodoka's ultimate goal was, so she did not expect help with anything that would prevent it; such as buying birth control. Nabiki decided a quick trip to the convenience store was needed and stopped by the small dojo.
"Ranma, I'll be right back, I've got to stop by the store... "
She got a grunt in response.
She got two different sizes, just in case. Over the time she's lived with him, she's seen him naked several times - Ranma didn't have privacy in the Tendo house. There were many times the family had found Ranma fighting in the bath or getting surprised by Shampoo. She had taken the opportunities to size him up. There were some people who would like that info; not to mention her own curiosity. She thought Ranma was probably normal, but from what she had heard from other girls, some guys were 'growers' some were 'show-ers'.
She returned home quietly and set out lunch. She pulled out normal glasses - wine glasses would tip Ranma off - and filled them with wine.
She got up and went to the small dojo in the back yard, to inform Ranma of lunch.
"I got lunch ready. You can come eat." Nabiki informed Ranma, turning and walking back out of the dojo.
Ranma eyed her suspiciously, but began following her back. "You didn't put anything in it, right?" Ranma asked to Nabiki's back.
Nabiki suppressed her urge to ask him,"Why did you bother asking? You think if I did I would tell you?" She responded, "No Ranma. I'm not Shampoo."
No, Ranma thought, but I trust you just as much.
Nabiki sat down across from Ranma and they began to eat.
"What's this? This ain't tea." Ranma asked as he made a funny face.
"It's like juice. Your mother left it," Nabiki answered smoothly. Now from what she remembers from the incident with the play, Ranma has exactly zero alcohol tolerance. Nabiki was glad it was such high-grade wine. It was so smooth and sweet you could not taste the alcohol.
"You know Ranma...things can't go back to the way they were, right?"
Ranma's hand lifting food paused. He opened his mouth to say something, but he couldn't find a response. So he replied, "Whatever," and continued eating.
Nabiki did not miss his pause. Yep, Nabiki thought, the idiot still isn't taking this situation seriously.
She took a deep breath. It was now or never. She would have a hard time building up the courage to try this tact again later. Nabiki eyed her drink, then downed it in a quick gulp. A little help wouldn't hurt.
"You must be pretty thirsty," Ranma said.
Nabiki refilled her glass with the pitcher she filled with wine. She wasn't so dumb as to use the bottle, which Ranma could read. "I did not have much to drink last night."
Ranma nodded, and decided he felt a bit parched a well considering his workout. He gulped his drink down and Nabiki refilled his glass after he set it down. Ranma raised an eyebrow at her, but did not say anything and continued eating and drinking his drink.
"Well, that was good. I'm going to go take a bath."
Nabiki nodded and continued eating. She watched Ranma's back as he went to the bathroom.
Nabiki dropped her clothes haphazardly on the floor of the entrance room. She steeled herself before sliding open the interior door. She came to find Ranma on the bathing stool.
"Hey Nabiki! Whatcha doin here? *hic* I'm naked!"
Nabiki noted Ranma state. The alcohol had kicked in. She felt a bit warm herself.
"Thought I'd help wash your back."
"I dun need n e help. I'm not a lil' boy. *hic* " Ranma slurred as he crossed his arms in a display of defiance that failed to get it's point across due to his swaying.
Nabiki made a show of nodding. "Nope, you're a big strong man." Nabiki almost gagged on her words, but she knew appealing to Ranma's ego was the best way to get to him. "Can you blame me wanting to run my hands over your manly back?"
Ranma appeared to mull that over in his drunken state. "Nope!" Ranma chuckled, "Who could?" Ranma cackled drunkenly. "But it ain't approp... approooo...*hic*.. right."
Nabiki kneeled behind Ranma and wrapped her arms around him from behind, pressing her breasts into his back.
"Wha-what're ya doing Nabiki?" Ranma asked in a confused, but not fearful tone. Nabiki could tell he did not realize the depth of what she was doing.
Nabiki nibbled on Ranma's neck, and was happy he was too drunk to flinch away. She dropped one of her hands down his front. Ranma moaned.
"Mmm...that feels good *hic*"
Nabiki felt like she hit the jackpot. She was sure she has now gotten farther than anyone else, and he still hasn't panicked yet. "You like that?"
Ranma groaned. "Yep. Feels - mmmm - r-really n-nice," Ranma stuttered in his drunken haze.
"Lets get more comfortable Ranma..."
"Get more...comfortable," Ranma repeated, distracted by Nabiki's ministrations.
Ranma has left the building. Nabiki thought to herself.
She took a towel and dried him off, paying special attention to his more sensitive parts to keep him distracted enough not to think about what was happening. She led him by his hand down the hall and to their bedroom.
She shoved him down on onto his back on the futon. It was at this point Nabiki started feeling a little dizzy. Perhaps she should not have chugged that drink, but she could not wait to sober up now.
At first a I wasn't going to have anyone sleep with Ranma for a while, and use that to create lots of tension. But, on second thought, I really did not want to make such a potentially brutal confrontation between Ranma and Nodoka over his marital duties. I needed to dampen the possible conflict so it doesn't break and end the story with Ranma doing something drastic like running away, or committing seppuku. I do not know about you, readers, but I can't see Ranma sleeping with someone just because he is supposed to. I also think that my portrayal of Nodoka would not take long to confront Ranma either. So I figured by having Ranma 'ruin' himself, he would become more malleable and the story could continue in a semi-believable way.
Also, all lemons for my stories are available at my homepage on my profile. Some are uncut chapters, some are just the lemon. Click the lemons link in the menu bar on my homepage and enjoy.