The Insanity Continues
Volume 2 - Reflections and Changes
Chapter 4 - Saturday Nights are for Dating.
Characters belong to Rumiko Takahashi and Shogakukan and are used without permission. All rights reserved.
"Hello, Ranma, Akane," Mousse greeted the newlyweds as he swept the sidewalk of the Saotome-Tendo home.
"Hi," they returned.
"Akane, your sisters want to see you in Nabiki's room," Mousse informed her.
"Thanks," Akane said as she left the guys and entered the house.
"Um, Mousse, I'm going on a date tonight with Akane, and I'd like some help in figuring out where to go," Ranma asked sheepishly.
"Well, sensei," Mousse said with an edge of sarcasm. "I could tell you some of the things I've overheard people say about their dates." It was amazing what one can learn working at a restaurant and while having to rely on hearing rather than sight to determine who ordered what. Too bad he had paid attention only after he had a date with Shampoo.
Mousse raised a finger. "First, take her someplace nice to eat. Anywhere which serves good food and has friendly service will do, some place like the Ucchan's or the Neko-Hanten would do, though, for reasons which should be obvious, those two would NOT be a good idea right now..."
Ranma nodded, trying to think of a good place to go.
"Then, go and do something fun. Movies are good, but only if you both like the same type of movie... OR if you plan on keeping each other too busy to watch it," Mousse teased.
At the implications of that statement, Ranma flushed a bit.
Mousse let him burn with embarrassment for a few seconds before taking some pity on him. "You might try something like miniature golf. If you two decide to compete though... I'd suggest you let her win."
"In Shampoo's case it's the opposite, though, she'd love it if her man is better than her." Ranma had frowned a little at Mousse's last suggestion. He knew Akane would really like it if she defeated him in something, besides card games.
Mousse considered that for a second and then shrugged. Ranma was probably correct, he had realized that himself some time ago, but that was something to be stored away for later. Akane wouldn't appreciate being constantly reminded of Ranma's athletic superiority. Mousse continued, "But Akane wouldn't. I suggest you finish off the date with something moderately romantic, some people like taking their dates out on boat rides, but with your curse, that's probably not a good idea. Maybe a stroll through the park."
Ranma nodded. "Thanks Mousse"
Akane entered Nabiki's room and saw that both of her older sisters were getting ready for a night on the town. "What are you getting dressed up for, Nabiki?"
Nabiki smiled wryly as she tossed Akane a small card.
"He asked you out? Didn't take him long," Akane commented.
"Nope, but Kuno-chan is a bit of the impatient type," Nabiki replied.
"So, Akane, where is Ranma taking you out tonight?" Kasumi asked.
"Dinner and a movie, I think," Akane answered.
"Nothing fancy?" Nabiki asked.
Akane shrugged. "Well anything fancy would be a drain on our money supply, not to mention that he would probably embarrass the hell out of me."
"Two very good points, Sis," Nabiki said. "Though, if Kuno-chan doesn't do anything fancy, I'll be very disappointed."
"I wonder if he's going to take you someplace nice and private," Akane teased.
"If he does, Nabiki, promise me you won't do anything improper," Kasumi added.
"Depends on whose view of proper you're talking about," Nabiki replied.
"Nabiki!" Kasumi said firmly.
Dr. Tofu nervously approached the Neko-Hanten. All of his plans to remain in control around Kasumi had, so far, failed. Now was the time to ask for help. He arrived, seeing that Cologne was serving a few customers.
"Hello, Doctor. What can I get for you?" Cologne greeted.
"I was wondering if you could help me with a little problem I have?" Dr. Tofu asked nervously.
"Would this be your problem of wooing a certain girl," Cologne smirked.
"Yes. Whenever I see her, I can't think straight. It's been getting better... but I have a date with her tonight," Dr. Tofu admitted.
"Ah, but why should I help you? You've been an annoyance to me in the past, helping Ranma avoid marrying Shampoo," Cologne admonished.
"I'm a doctor and he needed help, so I helped. I could not, in good conscious, stand by and let anyone go through some of the things you put him through, even if I thought they were of good intention." Which Dr. Tofu didn't. "I would consider this a big favor that I'd owe you."
"Oh, and what sort of limit would this 'big favor' have?" Cologne wondered.
"Anything as long as it wouldn't hurt or kill anyone," Dr. Tofu promised.
Cologne grinned. "What if the favor was to help the Amazon village if it was under attack?"
"I would help with the wounded and help defend them," Dr. Tofu replied.
"Good enough. I'll see what I can do. Wait here," Cologne said as she began her search.
Dr. Tofu frowned. He couldn't help but wonder if there was some sort of trouble that made the elderly amazon worry about her home village.
Nabiki tapped her foot. She hated to wait, even if she was early. She thought maybe it was more than being impatient, she banished that thought. Who would be anxious to see Kuno?
The sun set the sky aglow with shimmering red, orange, and yellow as it started to dip below the horizon.
"The beauty of the sky is a canvas painted by the gods, themselves. But, that is trivial to the wondrous creature before me," Kuno elated.
How did he do that? Nabiki cursed herself as her heart suddenly sped up. She took a second before calmly saying, "Hello, Kuno-chan."
Kuno bowed. "My heart, doth leap at your acceptance of meeting me."
"Well, I had nothing else to do tonight," Nabiki replied.
Kuno frowned as he asked, "Shall we go, your carriage awaits?"
"Certainly." Nabiki couldn't help but smirk that he literally meant a horse driven carriage.
"Hey, Doc," Ranma greeted at the front door as Dr. Tofu arrived in a form fitting suit and roses in hand.
"Hello. Do you know if Kasumi is ready?" Dr. Tofu asked.
Ranma raised an eyebrow, noticing the doctor did not stutter, nor were his glasses showing signs of fogging. "Aw, you know how girls are, they take their time to get anything done."
The door of his home opened, and Ranma felt the back of Akane's hand on his head. "We do not," she retorted. She wasn't surprised nor pleased that Ranma hadn't gotten dressed up for the date.
Ranma looked up at Akane. She was wearing a red dress with a matching jacket. "You actually look good," he commented.
"And I don't look good all the time?" Akane replied with a hint of anger.
"Er, of course you look good, ah, all the time. It's just you look better than usual," Ranma said, attempting to keep Akane from getting angry.
It somehow worked. "You really think so?" she asked, doing a spin to show the entire dress.
"Yeah," Ranma said with a relieved expression.
Dr. Tofu watched with a grin on his face. His expression turned to awe as he saw Kasumi come into view. "You're beautiful," he said clearly.
Akane thought for a second he was talking to her until he saw that the doctor's eyes were not looking at her. She was surprised, as everyone else was, that Dr. Tofu hadn't shown his usual signs of love-sickness.
Kasumi smiled brightly as she exited the house wearing a long blue dress and a white jacket. "Thank you. And you look rather handsome yourself."
"Thank you. These are for you." Dr. Tofu handed his date a bouquet of red roses.
"Oh, thank you, I'll put these in a vase. I'll be right back." Kasumi rushed off with a smile larger than even Akane could remember.
"So Doc, how come you aren't acting... um..." Ranma asked.
"Goofy? Stupid? Out of control?" Dr. Tofu asked.
"Um... yeah," Ranma replied.
"Well, I asked Cologne for some help and got a potion that moves my reactions to someone a little more negative than normal. By loving Kasumi a little less, I can stay in control." Dr. Tofu pouted. "But, if I run into someone I dislike, I'll hate them."
"Oh," replied Ranma and Akane, wondering who their friendly doctor could dislike.
Nabiki had a smile on her face. While she looked normal enough, for those who knew her would say it was the biggest smile she ever had. This was not caused by her companion, though, which he hoped it was. She was smiling because he took her to a very exclusive restaurant that she couldn't hope to set foot inside. The restaurant was called The North Wind and it catered only to rich nobility. While Nabiki could pass off as being rich, she wasn't a descendant of high enough nobility for this place.
Kuno was happier than he'd been in years. He was on a date with a beautiful girl who actually listens to him. While his heart still yearned for Akane and her physical prowess, her sister had an intellectual cunning greater than anyone else he knew. And for some reason that was what attracted him to the girls, they were better than him at something. While he held above them a social superiority, they had proven to be his better. So he felt it was his duty to give them a chance to be socially superior to others through marriage.
They talked through dinner over various things, pointedly avoiding topics concerning Ranma and Akane. They didn't really speak about much of anything. Kuno spoke a lot about his favorite poetry and Nabiki talked a little of financial interests.
Kasumi was a little nervous. She was finally on a date, something she had denied herself so she could take her mother's place and raise Akane and Nabiki. She was nervous about Dr. Tofu. He was normally insane with happiness around her, but tonight he appeared to be in a constant state of a sane, sweet bliss.
Dr. Tofu led his date to a French restaurant named, Chez Rie's. They talked about various things, and he was surprised at just how much medical knowledge Kasumi apparently picked up from the books she borrowed. She could make an excellent nurse, if not a doctor.
Ranma and Akane walked hand in hand to the restaurant section of Nerima's market district. They went pass Ucchan's, and were surprised to note that it was closed and the name taken down. They passed Neko-Hanten, much to Akane's relief. Eventually ending up at a small mom and pop style restaurant, called Auntie's. The interior was similar to that of Ucchan's yet larger with a long counter and rows of seats along with several booths lining the outer walls.
Akane liked the homey atmosphere the place seemed to give off. She really liked that the restaurant wasn't associated with anything that happened in the past year and a half.
After being seated, a middle-aged waitress approached them. "So kids, what can Auntie get you?"
Akane's face showed her apparent dislike of being called 'kid.'
Ranma decided to order first and answered, "I'll have the number three special with a Coke."
Akane then ordered, "I'll have what my husband ordered, but with water."
"Husband? Aren't you two a little young to be married?" the waitress asked, surprised.
"Not if you've already faced death and come back," Akane replied, dryly.
The comment made the waitress uneasy. She proceeded to make sure they were well served, but avoided her usual small talk she normally would have with her customers.
They talked mostly about school, and Akane explained some of the things that occur in early stages of pregnancy.
"Ah, to fly over the people as a god, knowing full well the position you hold over them," Kuno said. Looking out the window of the helicopter he had rented for the night.
Nabiki shook her head. His position was based on old money and ancestry. Her position came from knowledge. So, who truly held the higher position?
The pilot rolled his eyes, wondering how much trouble he'd be in if he accidentally lost the arrogant, rich idiot of a passenger somewhere over a thousand feet.
"Servant, take us over the Nerima ward. I wish to look down upon the dwelling of Saotome," Kuno ordered.
Nabiki glared at Kuno.
"N-N-Nerima?" the pilot stuttered. "That area is designated as a hazard fly zone."
Kuno growled. "Do you need your hearing checked, servant? I told you where I wish our destination to be."
"But small, low-flying aircraft are not supposed to fly there, due to unidentified projectiles," the pilot replied, nervously.
"Don't worry about it. Only one of the three more common projectiles can be considered active and he hasn't been seen since last week. It is reasonably safe to fly over Nerima tonight," Nabiki said.
"If we crash, I'll lose my job, if not my life," the pilot replied.
"You will be properly compensated if something unfortunate happens. The heavens shall be generous to you if you adhere to my wishes, and frown greatly upon you if you do not," Kuno intoned threateningly.
It was not the words of Kuno that made the pilot obey, but the bokken his customer held. He began to sweat as he changed directions to fly over Nerima, praying to live to see tomorrow.
To put it mildly, Kasumi was bored. While she was enjoying her date with Dr. Tofu so far, she really didn't like watching movies. She never really saw the point of wasting one's time watching a story that someone probably hacked apart when she could be doing something more constructive, like reading how the story was supposed to turn out, or cleaning.
Dr. Tofu was extremely happy. He wasn't really paying attention to the film, but enjoying the feeling of holding Kasumi's hand and not running around like some raving lunatic. He hoped he could maintain this control even after the potion wears off, whenever that was.
Akane had a big grin on her face, while Ranma grumbled.
Akane stood still, bent over slightly, a golf putter in hand. She tapped the ball, sending it into seventeenth hole. "That's two strokes, and this will be your third."
"Don't remind me," Ranma grumbled, trying to forget the bad run-in with the water hazards on holes two and eleven, which fortunately hadn't caused him to transform.
Akane giggled, "Aw, does Ranma hate losing?"
Ranma nodded. "Yes." While he decided he wasn't going to attempt to win, he wasn't going to intentionally lose either. He was just going through the motions of playing. He still hated to lose, even if it actually wanted to.
"Tough," Akane teased.
Ranma tapped the ball into the hole.
They moved to the eighteenth hole. It was a set on a slant with a spiral shape. A ball hit into it would spin through the spiral and end up entering one of several holes. Each hole had a different effect to the score.
Akane went first, sending her ball into the minus two hole.
"That gives me thirty-five. In order for you to win, you have to get that minus ten hole."
Ranma decided to set a different goal for himself, he took aim for his target and nailed it. "Hey, I got a free game!" He elated, at least being able to claim he won something.
"Yeah, but I still beat you." Akane poked him in the chest.
"You didn't have to remind me." Ranma pouted.
"Yes, I do." Akane smirked.
Nabiki listened to Kuno babble on as he compared the view with his favorite poetry. She found it somewhat odd that she didn't exactly dislike it. In fact, she sort of liked it.
The pilot wanted nothing more than have Kuno to shut up. He sat there, listening to the drivel about how great his family home was and how it pained him that some guy named Saotome forced himself into the Tendo family line. Even if he was paid a million yen, this job was not worth it.
"What the hell is that?" the pilot yelled as his fears of flying over Nerima were answered by what looked to be a flying minotaur.
"That is Pantyhose," Nabiki replied, and was startled as Pantyhose turned and looked at them. "Damn he has good hearing," she muttered.
"What foul demon is this? It must be one of Saotome's evil demon servants," Kuno rationalized.
The pilot freaked as Pantyhose flew closer.
"Just land the helicopter," Nabiki ordered, trying to be a voice of reason.
The pilot didn't move he sat there, staring at the beast in fright.
Pantyhose flew up to the helicopter, grabbed a skid, and then ripped the door off. He then roared something that sounded suspiciously like Happosai.
Kuno raised his bokken. "Get back foul..."
"Shut up, Kuno!" Nabiki screamed, putting her hand over his mouth. "Ah, Tarou, we don't know where Happosai is. We haven't seen him for almost week." She hoped she answered his question.
Pantyhose then roared something else, but received puzzled looks as a response. He roared again this time sounding like Ranma.
"Don't know where he is right now," Nabiki replied.
Pantyhose growled and left, but not before ripping the skid of the helicopter.
The helicopter wobbled in air, and the pilot was still frozen in shock.
Nabiki removed her hand from Kuno's mouth.
"Why did you prevent me from combating such a vile creature?" Kuno asked.
"That creature is the only person who has consistently beaten Ranma," Nabiki told him coldly.
Kuno's grip on his bokken tightened. "That foul creature must be purged from this Earth. Servant, land now!"
The pilot nodded dumbly as he saw the Furinkan soccer field, and decided to land there.
"Kuno-chan, you don't want to fight him. He wouldn't care if he killed you. Believe me, he can," Nabiki warned with worry.
"Such obscenities should not walk this Earth," Kuno protested.
"Please, for once, don't be stupid. Pantyhose is dangerous, he can kill you as easily as you could kill Gosunkugi," Nabiki pleaded.
"It is by family duty that I destroy demons. I most slay him!" Kuno professed.
"He's not a demon, just a super powered, Jusenkyo cursed, martial artist. You should avoid fighting him," Nabiki demanded desperately.
They stopped arguing as the helicopter attempted to land. The pilot, having regained a sense of sanity from focusing on flying, hovered off ground for a moment and said, "I expect to be paid now."
Kuno tossed a large wad of cash at the pilot and jumped out. He ran in the direction Pantyhose flew.
Nabiki muttered, "Stupid fucking jerk." She then jumped out and ran away from the helicopter.
The pilot managed to land, the rotor blades barely missed touching the ground. He cursed himself for being stupid enough to be talked into flying there, until he noticed the money he was tossed had to total over fifty million yen.
Dr. Tofu and Kasumi were walking, hand in hand, towards the Saotome-Tendo home on the suddenly vacant streets. She didn't wear her normal pleasant smile, but a smile of happiness.
The doctor was in sweet bliss, walking with the one he loved. He had dreamed of this on many occasions, but today it was reality. So lost in being together with Kasumi, he did not notice Pantyhose fly over head nor the bokken yielding young man running up behind them.
"Part thy ways to let me pass, so I can do as family duty demands and destroy that foul demon!" Kuno yelled. He started speaking too late and ran between Kasumi and Dr. Tofu, violently causing them to let go of each others hands.
"Are you all right?" Dr. Tofu asked, concerned.
"I'm fine," Kasumi replied.
Dr. Tofu examined her hand anyway, noting it was slightly bruised. "I-I'll make him pay for hurting you."
Kasumi gasped in shock while Dr. Tofu ran off and full speed, with a look of anger she had never seen on him. She wondered why he reacted so strangely. This wasn't like the friendly doctor she thought she knew.
Akane sighed, leaning against her husband as they walked through the park. "It is a nice night, even if it's a little cold out."
Ranma pulled her closer to his body. "I can think of a place that's nice and warm."
"Later," Akane promised. "For now let's just enjoy this, the things we should have done during our engagement."
"But that is over, we're married now. Why should we do this?" Ranma wondered.
"Because we were too stupid to do it then. We kept on arguing with each other so much we missed the obvious signs that we loved each other. If we had half a brain or half our pride, we would've known, or been able to admit, our feelings much sooner," Akane explained with regret.
"When did you become so philosophical?" Ranma teased.
Akane sighed. "After China. I looked at my life and started to see things as they really are. How you felt about me, and how stupid I was for not seeing it sooner, were the things I noticed most. Not to mention that I denied acts that indicated my love for you, because at the time, I didn't think I was. But, I'm not the only one to blame, though. You carry the same blame for not realizing it sooner."
They remained quiet for a moment. Ranma sighed, "I guess I've done just that. To think about somethings you've done and not know that you love me seems pretty stupid now. I actually thought the only reason you agreed to marry me for that first attempt was because you were bribed."
"Yeah, well, I should have told you the reason why I agreed to marry you had nothing to do with the Nanniichaun, not just that I knew you loved me, but because I love you, too," Akane admitted.
They stopped walking and Ranma bent his head down and kissed Akane, embracing her tightly. After several minutes and as they felt their necks starting to cramp, they stopped kissing and resumed walking.
"I'm surprised that nothing happened on the date. Something always happens around me, and yet this evening was perfect," Ranma commented.
"Enjoy while it lasts. I doubt it'll stay this way," Akane said.
They stopped when the heard some familiar sounds.
"Bwahahahahaha... What a haul!" Happosai gleefully laughed as he passed by them.
A roar was heard from the monster, Pantyhose, as he flew after Happosai.
"Get back here! You will pay for the damages you made to my restaurant," Cologne yelled, chasing after them.
"No let lech touch. I will kill!" Shampoo shouted wielding metal swords.
"Come back here with my undergarments you miserable troll!" Kodachi added, her own weapons in hand.
"I'm actually a spectator to one of these things." Ranma chuckled.
"My love! Let me help you!" Mousse elated, running after Shampoo.
"Happosai, prepare to DIE!" Ryoga snarled, also involved in the chase.
Ranma and Akane shook their heads, laughing.
"Come back here you foul creature. By my family honor, I SHALL DESTROY THEE! So, swears the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High!" Kuno bellowed.
Ranma and Akane blinked as an enraged Dr. Tofu followed in the chase.
"Ryoga... stop! Come... back! You... don't... have... to... do that!" Akari tried to shout, stopping to regain her breath.
"Hi, Akari," Akane greeted.
"Hi," Akari returned.
"I thought you and Ryoga were going to stay at your place," Ranma commented.
"Ryoga and I decided come back for a visit. We were almost at his house when... that thing grabbed me," Akari answered, still a little winded.
"You can stay at our place for the night," Akane offered
"Thanks," Akari replied gratefully, knowing it's too late to go anywhere else.
Akane looked at Ranma. "Why don't you chase after Ryoga and bring him to our home?"
Ranma sighed. "I guess I'll never really get to just watch." He started running in the direction that everyone went.
Akane and Akari arrived at the Saotome-Tendo home to find Nabiki and Kasumi sitting in the kitchen, eating some left over wedding cake and ice cream. The youngest Tendo tried to figure out where the left over cake came from, because she thought it was all eaten at the wedding reception. She also noticed neither of them were exactly happy.
"What happened on your dates?" Akane asked.
"Kuno decided Pantyhose was a demon, and that he must be destroyed," replied Nabiki.
"Dr. Tofu got upset at Kuno for running into us and chased after him," Kasumi answered, shaking her head.
"Guess Dr. Tofu doesn't like Kuno," Akane commented. "Any cake left for us?"
"Sure," Nabiki answered, pointing at a plate on the counter.
Akane got herself a piece and another one for Akari and sat at the table. They talked a little about their dates. Akane failed to mention that Dr. Tofu's strange reaction at the end of his date was probably due to Cologne's potion.
Author's Note: Thanks to David Tatum, Brent Neef, and The Rams for going over the original version of this chapter, and thanks to all who gave me suggestions and comments.