"You know? I never realized how a person could be both a genious and an idiot at the same time," Nabiki commented, laying down on her sister's bed, as Akane sat in her deskchair, and Ranma sat in lotus position on the floor.

"Is true parodox, yes?" Shampoo added, sitting on Akane's desk with her legs crossed.

"I'm tell'n ya, by the time it comes to Kasumi's danceoff, she'll be more than ready to compete.

"Assuming she hasn't killed Ms. Akamatsu by then. Even dear old sweet sis has her limits," Nabiki interjected.
Kasumi sat across from her old schoolmate, smiling serenely, as they caught up on old times. It was nice to converse with someone she considered a friend back when she was still in high school, at least that's what Kasumi kept telling herself, in order to resist the urge to stab either the woman or herself with the butterknife in hand.

"And then she has the gall to tell me they were sold out! Well, right then I demanded that I wouldn't leave the store until I had satisfaction. Really, a world class dancer such as myself gracing their quaint little store. Well, that's when-"
"Relax, I already gave Kasumi the rules for this training," Ranma retorted, completly unphazed by the possibility of Kasumi going homicidal. That would just be too un-Kasumi to him. Nonetheless, he did give her guidelines to follow, just to give her training regimen a little more validity, "Rule one, no fighting with her, rule two, no dancing, rule three, remain as pleasant as possible. I figure the woman's obnoxious enough to get Kasumi's goat, and all that pent up anger will just fuel her when the time comes."
"Kasumi dear, really, i can afford it! Anything so I' not seen with you in such a drab, ill fitting, atrocity to fashion! I'm a world class dancer with lots of money, after all!"

Kasumi simply continued to smile and nod, thinking to herself, "Gee, I wish my Daddy was rich enough for me to be delusional..."
"So you're brilliant plan is to turn Kasumi into a brimming powerbomb, waiting to ignite and unleash an unearthly terror upon anyone that crosses her the wrong way?" Nabiki clarified, sounding more than a little concerned.

"Well, you don't need to sound so drastic about it," Ranma replied.

"You know? If you weren't such an insufferable, gloryhogging, selfish, dramaqueen back in high school, we may have been the best of friends, like we are now," Nikki stated, wrapping an arm around Kasumi's shoulders, "It was nice that we got together like this, before I completely show you for the fraud that you are."

Nabiki, Akane, and Shampoo looked at each other, before shrugging indifferently. "Well, she WAS pretty obnoxious," Nabiki commented.

"I'm home."

All four occupying Akane's room looked at each other, before racing out and down the stairs to meet the eldest Tendou sister. Ranma arrived first, "So, how'd it go?"

Kasumi's serene, vapid smile never left her face, as she removed her jacket, and headed for the stairs. The silence that came from her slightly unnerved everyone, as they quietly followed her upstairs, and to the door of her room. Kasumi gently closed it, still not uttering a word. With the barrier separating her from the rest of the world, Kasumi's smile melted from the obvious mask to one of angry determination. From the vanity desk in her room, she picked up the diskman Ranma let her borrow, put on the headphones, and started it as she walked to the window of her room, and looked out into her town.
"Kasumi dear, it's Thursday!" Soun beemed to his eldest daughter, as she continued to clean while listening to Ranma's diskman, while wearing a focused expression. "Um... Kasumi?"

Just noticing her father, Kasumi stopped sweeping the hall, and put the personal stereo on pause, "Oh, yes father?"

"I just wanted to remind you that tomorrow is the big day!" Soun almost danced in anticipation of his wife's legendary sukiyaki recipe.

"Oh, that," Kasumi replied, almost disinterested, "I understand father, I'm glad your happy."

Her lack of entheusiasm was lost on her remaining parent, who found himself in a tearful lament, "Oh, how you've made your father so happy!"

The Tendou Patriarch was on cloud nine, prancing off like a delighted little child who had been promised his heart's greatest desires. Though Soun had missed the virtually flippant dismissal, it wasn't lost on the two spying from the threshold of the back entrance.

"If you ask me, I think your little training regimen worked too well," Akane stated, not quite sure what to make of Kasumi's sudden demeanor.

"Hey, if she's gonna win, she's gotta have the attitude!" Ranma countered, "She looks like she really wants to win this thing, huh? Guess that Austrian chick-"


"Whatever," Ranma quipped, "I guess she ticked Kasumi off something fierce. I mean, your sister's ki is flaring pretty strongly with the rhythm of 'Never'. I can practically hear it from her body languge!"

"You're right there," Akane said, noticing the way Kasumi's movements were as fluid as the melody, yet her her steps were as firm as the base. Her aura responded like an equalizer visual, rolling from her form in almost hypnotic waves, "Geez, she doesn't even know the Rhythmer's fist, and she's humming like a livewire!"

"And you do?" Ranma equired, he already knew the answer, but also figure Akane was somewhat shying from outright revealing it to him.

"Sis," Akane called out to Kasumi, ignoring Ranma's question, "So you're ready for your big showdown tomorrow night?"

The look on Kasumi's face, that look stopped Akane cold. While Ranma's cocky smirk was confidence beyond arrogance, an expression that stated he was able and more than willing to take anything on, Kasumi's quiet, unassuming, tranquil, reserved look was like some ancient martial arts master who knew the secrets to breaking his opponent before the match even begun. "Whoa."

Akane turned back at Ranma's exclamation, as she had almost said the same thing. Kasumi began sweeping again, "I should do fine tomorrow."

"But... what about Dad, and..." Kasumi turned back on the diskman before Akane could finish. The youngest Tendou daughter slumped, slightly defeated, "I guess you made your decision of which is more important, then."
Friday night, the big night that Soun Tendou had been waiting for. One of his wife's final wishes was for him to decide when one of their daughters was ready to take over the Tendou legacy, the culmination of generations of some of the greatest culinary arts created by man.

This was the night he had been greatly anticipating, since the first of his daughters had entered the kitchen with a determination to do her mother proud so many years ago. The recipe that fate had chosen Kasumi to prepare after so long was one that was greatly cherished by the men of the Tendou clan; to them, there were little rewards in life greater than their vaunted sukyaki dish.

It was for that fact that Soun couldn't possibly wait, as he sat, chopstick at ready, at the tearoom table. Of course, it was just the afternoon, with a few hours before Kasumi would even start cooking, but he wanted to be totally prepared.

"Kasumi... you make you father so proud," the Tendou patriarch whimpered, as he quietly shed tears, and trembled in place.
Tonight, the energy traveling through the dancefloor at Ucchan's was more intense than any other night. The casual partiers that night moved with an even greater intensity, as the jams provided with the resident DJ extraordinare in silver provided the tracks for the ravetrain to roll. The club lights washed over the crowds in hues of subdued violet, soft white, or maroon, cutting though the darkness like swift katanas through black velvet. The only consistant light upon Mu Tzu handling the spinning duties; the light reflecting off of his shimmering ensemble and giving him an appearance of divinity overseeing festivities.

Intensity and passion swept through everyone like high tide rolling in, leaving not a single one undrenched. And even for an extraordinary night, all this was only from anticipation of tonight's main event to be held on the center stage, currently barren of the usual VIPs of Ucchan's.

That lacking oversight was rectified, as Akane and Ranma descended the spiral staircase from the catwalk that was the only way to access the hottest spot of Nerima, perhaps Tokyo's, hottest club. Akane stretched languishly, testing her muscles and indulging in the delicious sensation of her circulation coursing through them suddenly more effectively, "Wow, feels like the crowd is surging tonight."

The pigtailed redhead bobbed her head to the throbbing beat of Ravelab's powerful remix of 'Send me an Angel', "No joke, feel like an electrical storm in here."

"Is because too, too nice Kasumi, yes?" Shampoo spoke up, just reaching the dancefloor, "Too, too exciting showdown with braggart girl." Akane gave a salute of greeting, prompting the Amazon to give a nod of acknowledgement.

Konatsu dropped from the ceiling to land between Akane and Ranma, spinning suddenly with a katana slash towards Ranma's neck. The pigtailed martial artist faded back, undaunted, "Konatsu, sup?"

The shinobi sheathed his sword, "Ranma, it's good to see you doing well. To answer your questions, Ukyo-sama's been hyping the battle between Kasumi and ms. Akamatsu for the past week. It seems to have generated a great deal of interest."

"Of course it would," An Australian accented voice interjected from the top of the stairs. She continued to speak as she regally came down, "simply by my involvement, you quaint establishment would be... 'jaming'would the term be... tenfold than it ever shall at any other time.

"Yes, it would be rather 'jammed', with the majority of the cause being your swelled head," Ukyo commented, standing directly behind Nikki, and surprising the foreign woman with her presence.

The blonde woman casually brushed her hair down from standing on end, "So, I seem to not find dear Kasumi's presence. I sincerely hope she hasn't decided to once again... respectfully recend her challenge acceptance?" Nikki chuckled, feeling her victory ensured one way or another.

"I wouldn't worry about that, Kasumi's rather dedicated to this competition, Ms. Akamatsu."

Everyone turned to the arrival of the final two, with Nabiki descending the stairs ahead of a totally determined Kasumi. "I apologise if I'm a bit late, I had some... preparations to make."

Nikki eyed Kasumi's dark brown wrap-around skirt and dark burgundy drop-needle turtleneck completed with calf-high suede black boots; a stark contrast to her completely white ensamble of leggings and nearly opaque billowing blouse that barely left anything hidden of her form. "I suppose such a... subdued outfit would take a sizable deal of you time."

Kasumi finally reached the dancefloor, tossing her head to the side and sending her bangs and mane swishing. "I thought it suited my mood," she said with an almost flippant arrogance.

"This really your sister?" Ranma enquired to Nabiki as she came to stand by the rest of the group, while admiring the current change the eldest Tendou daughter had apparently gone though for her bout.

Nabiki smirked, "I remember when she used to go out clubbing when she was in high school. This is like some sort of regression than it a metamorphosis."

Nikki hmphed at Kasumi's attitude, finding it just as obnoxious now as she did when they were still in school, "So, are you ready to finsh this?"

"This isn't about finishing anything, Nikki," Kasumi answered, "But as you're so insistant on bearing this grudge, so be it." With a flick of her wrist, Kasumi produced a CD, "Since you made the challenge, I pick the song. Konatsu, if you would please. The final song on this album."

She handed the CD to the shinobi, never taking her gaze from her rival. Nikki folded her arms under her chest, matching the gaze. Konatsu looked at the CD, before sending it flying like a shiruken towards the DJ. Mu Tzu caught it, and looked down to see the shinobi signal for the last song. Mu Tzu nodded in approval; an apt song for this battle, 'Woman' by Tina Arena.

The battlefield stood cleared for the two fighters, as the sythesized yet soft piano and and violin rose from inconspicuousy to declaration. Kasumi made the first move, swaying with the tempo. Her eyes closed, as she could feel it's gentle command begin upon her.

Then the lyrics began, urging an almost lazy roll of her head that felt sensually delicious. Her she furthered surrendered to her willing enslavement, almost gliding into motions she hadn't indulged in since her highschool years. The sway and roll of her chest that traveled down her body like dew from an orchid's petal, and the almost etheral motions of her arms and hands, as the caressed her sides and stomach, just staying shy of being indecent either north or south, before her feather-like carresses traveled heavenward against her silouette, and allowing her fingers to comb through her hair, before her fingers trailed down her face, dancing against her slightly parted lips. Kasumi came back to reality, glancing at her opponent.

Nikki tossed her head back, arching her back like a thin grass stalk caught in a wind. She rolled her torso in a circle in a demonstration of her tone and lithe form, like a single helicopter propeller, while her arms slackened lazily and followed. Carrying the fluidity of movement, she spun once on her toe in a homage to her years of ballet, and then stopped in almost a slouch with her feet parted just outside of shoulder width. With a one-two sway of her hips, she then lifted her chin to the air, making it seem as it the simple motion was lifting her to the sky, bringing her to her toes. Slowly, so teasingly slow that all spectators felt as if they had swallowed silken lightning, she brought her head down, bouncing on the balls of her feet in rhythm, allowing her head to follow the motion every third beat, she rippled her body in consecutive waves, making the graceful movements more erotic than hey could be imagined. She then lifted her head giving Kasumi a feral grin from under her bangs.

The feeling out phase was over. Upon the first chorus, both dancers surrendered themselves. Kasumi's movements were like an oncoming thunderstorm in the horizon; rolling clouds charged with energy, thunderous movements directed by the bass within tempo set through song. Almost licetious in her abandon, the eldest Tendou daughter was becoming further and further lost in it all, and unwilling to pull herself back. Nikki was akin to a windstorm over green plains; movements whimsically swift to subtly slow as she felt the song coaxing her, while abandoned and wild like an unabated gust.

Kasumi felt simply delicious, finding sensations she had lost even so few years ago taking her over and having their way like a forgotten love that loved her like none other. The more she danced, the quicker her breath became; not from exertion, but from intense ardor. Gods, what had made her give up such a wonderous feeling?

Nikki was extatic, realizing it wasn't at all about a meager grudge. She didn't fault Kasumi for her 'perfection', nor did she actually have any desire to 'put the girl in her proper place'. Her whole life had been about dancing. From when she put on her mother's ballet shoes when she was three, to traveling the world (at her father's expense) and performing. over that time, she had found she had lost something, a component integral to her art. As it became more and more conspicuous in its absense, she began to hear about a girl who awed and blew away any who danced and watched her dance, moving in such alluring ways that left them dumbstruck. The more she heard about the girl named Kasumi Tendou, the more it had angered her. No, it wasn't a rivalry developed from animosity; irritance because Kasumi was the belle of the ball. Kasumi had found what Nikki had lost.

When the gauntlet was originally thrown, Nikki couldn't help but thirst for the battle, seeing what Kasumi had to offer, and drinking it up and filling that void that slowly began to drain the enjoyment and her desire to dance. The passion, what Kasumi had, what Nikki once had, and what Nikki needed now. When Kasumi failed to show, the blonde was more than disappointed, she was crushed. Arrogance attempted to fill the void, but it couldn't quell her thirst. Eventually, Nikki needed to face Kasumi.

"I can change your world,
I can give you life,
I can sing you lulliby at night."

Kasumi hair whipped with her head, as she twisted with a libidinous panache, her arms hugging her side as if she strained to contain herself.

"I can see you eyes before they flicker blind ,
I can rescue you in the nick of time..."

Nikki blouse billowed with her movements, as she lithely and gracefully flew from motion to motion. After a spin, she dropped to her knees, and tossed her head back with her fingertips reaching back to touch the ground, arching her back as her chest thrust out.

Both women spun to face each other, facing each other from opposite sides of the dancefloor. Kasumi's subtle smile said it all; she couldn't go back now. Who she had become after that faithful night was not who she truly was, and she missed who she really was. But still, there was more, there was one final level she hadn't reached.

Nikki caught Kasumi's smile, and matched it with a genuine one of her own. Apparently, they both got what they need. What was only left was for them to go further. Nikki's smile fell, before they both bowed their heads.

At one of the surrounding tables of the dancefloor, hidden where the dancelights didn't reach her, a certain woman with a peculiar metallic aqua hairtone sat up in her seat; her eyes widening at the sensation that was building when the two girls bowed.

The song began into it's climax, right as the two dancer's heads shot up. At once, a wave of indescribable energy surged throughout Ucchan's, washing over everyone like a tidal wave. Both Kasumi and Nikki dance grew more potent, lascivious, consuming them both like a dry meadow within a hungry fire.

The two storms gravitated towards one another, before they mingled and entwined into a roaring tempest. They danced against each other, grinding their pelveses together around entwined legs, not touching one another in any other way, and glaring at each other in glares mistaken for hate or lust. Glaring at each other in what could only be undilluted, distilled passion.

Finally, the intensity wound down, as the song came down from high, winding back into a quiet nonexistance. Kasumi and Nikki broke away gently, like a force of nature dissappating; leaving summer clouds, a gentle breeze, and an audience panting from the performance.
"A draw..." Nabiki breathed, somewhat disappointed at the outcome both her sister and her opponent decided on. The middle Tendou sister had to admit, it was a tough one to call.

Kasumi smiled sweetly, as she walked down the stairs from her bedroom with her sisters and their mutual fiance, "Oh, it's quite alright, I had fun."

"That was some performance, though," Ranma spoke up, "You're definitely one in your own class, Kasumi."

"Why, thank you for the compliment, Ranma-kun."

"Yeah, it's sad to see you have to give it all up again, Kasumi," Akane added, noting her sister back to wearing one of her usual housedresses.

"Oh, I would certainly like to do it again, please don't think I'm abandoning it all," even if it sounded like the motherly, dutiful Kasumi, the smirk on her face was anything but.

"Well, even if you were, at least you had it for a night. I think you made the right choice, even if it's going to leave Daddy a bit disappointed," Nabiki said, almost somberly.

"Oh, that's quite alright," Kasumi answered, causing her sisters to look at one another, puzzled that their eldest sister would blow off their father in such a way.

As they entered the tearoom, Kasumi calmly waited for her three companions to pick themselves off the ground from a unified face fault. "You see, mother's sukiyaki recipe required that the meat be cooked slowly over half a day. I had plenty of time to prepare dinner."

"Oh Kasumi, you've made your father's fondest wishes reality!" Soun wept, as he still held a little morsel of heaven between his chopsticks.

"Yum," Nikki aggreed, quickly working through her second helping.