All my stories can be found at http://www.furinkan.net/fanfic/

------------------------------
PINK LEMONADE

Konatsu the Queen

~or~

The Nerima Boys' Club

A Lemon/Lime Spritzer by
Chris Jones
------------------------------

"Dear Ukyou," the letter read. "I have come to the painful
realization that my feelings for you are not and never will be
returned, no matter how much I try tooo--"

Konatsu jumped as Ukyou brushed his elbow. She was carrying a
large barrel into the kitchen that was leaking a grainy black powder
onto the floor behind her.

"Sorry, 'Natsu. Just makin' some okonomiyaki," Ukyou
explained in a harried voice.

"Ah..." Konatsu said. "This would be for A..." he trailed
off.

"Akane. Yup. Girl needs some oknomiyaki. Damned man-stealing
slut whore bitch gonna teach HER a lesson no freakin' way she's gonna
steal MY Ran-chan!"

"Oookay. I see. I'll just call the insurance company and make
sure that we're covered for gunpowder explosions, shall I?"

Konatsu was well acquainted with the art of using food as a
weapon and knew that the practice was one of the major tenants of
Ukyou's school of okonomiyaki-style martial arts. He saw nothing
wrong with using sabotaged food as an end to a means. However, Ukyou
now was using her art in a manner...

It disturbed him. All of it disturbed him. Now that Ranma-
sama's relationship with Akane had deepened somewhat, the fighting
between her, Shampoo and Konatsu's mistress had reached a fever
pitch. What really disturbed him was the fact that he really didn't
understand what had happened between Ranma and Akane to cement their
relationship so well.

The kunoichi sighed. Konatsu was a very confused ninja. He
asked Ranma to explain it all to him, but had only managed to
embarrass the other martial artist. In the end, Ranma had taken him
aside and given him an illustrated magazine that clearly illustrated
the anatomical differences between boys and girls. It had been an
eye-opening and leg-crossing experience. Despite that fact, Konatsu
still had a difficult time remembering which was which. This was only
complicated by the fact that Ukyou, the woman with whom Konatsu spent
the most time, still acted very masculine.

Konatsu loved Ukyou-sama dearly, but as the days passed since
Akane and Ranma managed to complete what Konatsu had first seen
demonstrated on pages 34 and 35 of the magazine, the chef had grown
increasingly more unstable and adamant in her revenge.

It all came to a head earlier that day. Konatsu had heard
Ukyou telling herself that the situation wasn't as bad as she thought
it was because both Ranma and Akane were drugged at the time. (He
wasn't sure what that meant, but he had learned not to bring it up.)
He felt like she was pretty stable and getting back into the swing of
things when Ranma and Akane came into the restaurant. Ranma was
wearing his usual Chinese clothes, but Akane was wearing a loose
white blouse and a skirt so short that it kept flaring up above the
tops of her stockings and displaying a truly licentious amount of
thigh.

Konatsu believed that Ukyou's glare wouldn't have been so
intense if Ranma's face hadn't been entirely red or if his eyes
hadn't kept focusing on the bottom of his 'uncute' fiancee's skirt.

Akane, her smiling face very nearly as red as Ranma's, asked
to be seated in a booth rather than their customary seat at the
counter. Konatsu obliged, leading them over to a corner seat. Ranma
sidled in next to, rather than across from Akane, who was snuggled up
as close as she could get to the martial artist.

A chance glimpse as Akane was sitting down informed the ninja
that she did not seem to be wearing all the usual undergarments that
he understood that young women were supposed to wear. If Konatsu were
any more masculine, he would have had a nosebleed, because Akane
seemed match the illustration on page 48 pretty closely.

The two ordered their okonomiyaki, which Konatsu dutifully
wrote down and took back to the grill. After cooking them, Ukyou
decided to deliver them herself so that she could keep a closer eye
on the two. Konatsu followed along just in case he could do anything
to help.

When the two arrived at the table, Ranma's eyes were wide
open, and he was gripping the table as if in extreme concentration or
fright. Akane was nowhere to be seen.

"Did Akane take off already?" Ukyou asked, sitting down in
the seat across from him, her chin resting on her folded hands. "Such
a shame! Well, there's more for you, Ran-chan!"

There was a rustling sound from under the table. Ukyou
blinked.

Akane leaned up, apparently from Ranma's lap, and demurely
wiped her mouth.

"Oh, I'm right here, Ukyou-chan!" Akane said cheerfully.

Ukyou's face paled. Ranma was still staring off into the
distance.

"You certainly did make those quickly!" the short-haired girl
giggled.

"You-you-you..." Ukyou stammered, her fists alternately
clenching and unclenching. Her eyes were wide with disbelief.

"Was something wrong with Ranma-sama's pants?" Konatsu asked.

Ukyou growled, her capacity for speech leaving her in her
rage.

"Not any more, Konatsu-san!" Akane said, grinning wickedly
all the while. "I think I've taken care of the problem."

A small trickle of blood ran from Ranma's left nostril and
dripped down off his lips to splatter against the okonomiyaki left
uneaten in front of him.

"AKANE, YOU WHORE!" Ukyou screamed, brandishing her spatula.

The fight destroyed the booth, but Ranma took the majority of
the injuries. In the end, Akane took Ranma by the arm and ran
giggling down the street from Ucchan's, her naked bottom flashing
behind her as her skirt fluttered in the wind.

Later, after the mess had been cleaned up and Ukyou started
in on her battle preparations, Konatsu realized that Ranma and Akane
had been doing approximately the same thing described in one of the
reader-submitted letters on page 97.

Konatsu knew that the end of their relationship as boss and
hopeful employee had come to an end when Ukyou demanded that he try
to seduce Akane (Since the chef was *certain* the girl was a closet
lesbian) after the incident so that Ukyou could try to make time, as
she so delicately put it, with Ranma.

Konatsu would do *anything* for Ukyou... except... love
another woman. In the kunoichi's mind, there was no difference
between sex and love because he really didn't know what the two
involved regardless of all the helpful illustrations. The person
Konatsu loved and wanted to love was Ukyou. Ukyou loved Ranma. That
was something the ninja could live with. Ukyou wanted Konatsu to love
someone else. That was something he could not abide.

Seeing the explosive batch of okonomiyaki in the making,
Konatsu sighed and said a brief prayer. He continued to write his
letter.

"I have come to the painful realization that my feelings for
you are not and never will be returned, no matter how much I try to
show you how I care."

He chewed the pencil while Ukyou sang a cheery little tune
about dicing Akane's brains and liver onto an okonomiyaki.

* * *

Later that evening, Ranma and Akane sat in the guest room of
the Tendou home, playing cards. Well, they were playing a game that
involved the use of cards at any rate. Ranma gulped loudly as he
shuffled the cards. He put the deck on the tatami mat in front of
him.

Wearing only a long white blouse, her bra, and a pair of
white lace stockings, Akane leaned over and cut the deck, her eyes
never leaving Ranma's.

Ranma pushed two cards off the top of the deck. He took one
and gave the other to his fiancee.

Akane had the six of clubs. Ranma had a jack.

Smiling, Akane stood to her stocking feet. Ranma's eyes
followed her all the way up. Trembling, shaking like a leaf in the
wind actually, he pointed.

Smiling wickedly, Akane nodded and began to slowly unbutton
her blouse. It seemed to take forever, and Ranma's eyes took in every
motion of her fingers, every titillating gesture as the girl's hands
slowly trailed up her front. Finally, Akane pulled the blouse over
the top of her head, revealing her pristine white brassiere and naked
delta.

*WHACK*

It sounded like someone had just been thoroughly spanked. The
moment interrupted, both Ranma and Akane stared at the door to the
guest room.

"AGHHH! Aunty Saotome! What--"

"Nabiki-chan!" Ranma's mother's voice sounded from behind the
closed sliding door. "We've already discussed how impolite it is to
eavesdrop."

"B-b-b-but--" Nabiki's stammering voice tried to reply.

"No, I think you'll have to be punished again, or you'll
never learn your lesson. What will it be this time?"

"Please, not the whip!" Nabiki begged.

Ranma sweatdropped.

"The clamps?" Nodoka suggested.

Outside the door, Nabiki began to blubber in sheer panic.

"The pony?" Nodoka asked.

Akane looked at Ranma questioningly. The pigtailed martial
artist shrugged and shook his head. "No clue," he mouthed.

"Hmmm... The ice-cubes then."

"Oh please no, Aunty!"

"Come along, Nabiki-chan. If nothing else, this will keep you
out of trouble."

Akane couldn't help but clutch her sides and giggle silently.

Ranma shook his head, glad that it wasn't him.

"Ready?" Akane asked after she heard Nabiki's door close from
down the hall.

Ranma nodded and began to shuffle the cards again.

The game they returned to was very simple. It was every bit
as direct as a man and woman who want to touch and be touched.
Without being agreed upon, it also neatly avoided any test of skill
and left the outcome completely up to chance. Without that little
caveat, Akane knew, she would *never* get her clothes off.

Ranma, still clad in his red Chinese shirt and loose canvas
pants, finished shuffling the deck and allowed Akane to cut it.

He drew the ace of diamonds. Akane drew a 2.

Akane smiled from ear to ear. She was winning.

Ranma was shaking like an off-balanced washing machine by
this point. Trembling badly, he gestured falteringly.

"B-b-b-b-b-b--"

"Ranma?"

"B-b-b--"

"Bra?" Akane asked.

Ranma nodded.

"Not the stockings?" Akane asked in a teasing tone.

"N-no."

*YES!!!* Akane cheered to herself.

"No Auntie! Not the feather duster!" Nabiki cried from the
next room. "Anything but the feather duster!"

* * *

The next morning found Konatsu wandering the streets of
Nerima district, tired, weary and looking for somewhere to sleep. He
put Ukyou to bed the previous evening after she had whipped up a
dangerous amount of explosive okonomiyaki. He put most of those in
the dumpster, but then felt really bad when the explosion he
accidentally triggered launched the receptacle into the air for parts
unknown. Someone was getting a really interesting present right about
now, he thought.

Once he had cleaned the restaurant from top to bottom and
disposed of the rest of the unused gunpowder, he made a second draft
of his note and left it on the grill for Ukyou.

The one thing he had not considered was the fact that he
really didn't know a lot about Nerima or Tokyo in general. He had
been raised in the woods, and the only thing he knew besides Ninjitsu
was being a servant of some kind. Of course being a waitress was a
hell of a lot better than being a scullery maid and boot-scraper, but
now he had neither. He *couldn't* go back to Ucchan's, as desperately
as he wanted to and he couldn't go back to the Sexy Kunoichi Teashop
because, well, it wasn't there anymore. His stepmother and
stepsisters didn't bother to rebuild after Ranma, Ukyou and Akane
demolished the place.

He stopped for a few minutes in front of a restaurant,
sitting on the short brick wall in front of it. He stared in the
windows, looking at all the attractive customers and all the
scrumptious-looking breakfasts they were eating. One in particular
stood out. It was a golden brown croissant delicately spread with
cream cheese and blueberry topping. His mouth started to water as he
watched the young woman lift the croissant to her delicate pink lips.
Her tongue darted out just before she bit down to catch a stray crumb
of pastry.

Konatsu sighed in longing. The girl brought the pastry back
up. He stared hungrily as it slowly, ever so slowly, approached her
mouth again.

"Living such a luxurious life with Ukyou-sama has made me
weak," he bemoaned his fate. "I'm unfit," he murmured, his stomach
grumbling as he watched the pastry hover... and hover... and...

Konatsu realized that the short-haired girl was staring at
him, the pastry held uneaten just in front of her face.

His eyes widened in horror. He was making her uncomfortable!
He was about to run away, when the girl put the pastry down and
walked out the door.

"Stop!" she yelled, before Konatsu ran off. "You're Konatsu,
right?"

"Yes?" he said, unsure of how the girl knew him.

"I'm Nabiki, Akane's sister," she introduced himself. "You
look hungry."

"Oh... no, I couldn't impose!" he declared.

"You'll owe me," Nabiki said. "With 20 percent interest over
90 days."

"Ah," Konatsu said, suddenly remember that every time Ranma
had spoken of his sister-in-law, it was usually in the context of
being very firmly fleeced. Still, he was hungry. He followed the girl
back inside the restaurant and allowed her to order another croissant
for him.

"Thank you, Nabiki-sama," Konatsu said, bowing his head
deeply.

"Hmmm..." Nabiki said, smiling at the honorific. "Why aren't
you with Ukyou? I thought you lived with her," she asked, fishing for
information.

"It's a long story," Konatsu said. "She... asked me to do
something that was... *ahem*... distasteful."

"Wanted you to shag my sister, huh?"

Konatsu's eyes widened in shock as Nabiki finished her pastry
and began a second.

"I'll take that as a qualified yes," Nabiki said. "Two
homeless people," she said. "How sad."

"Nabiki-sama?" Konatsu asked. "You-- ?"

"I packed my bags this morning. Life at the Tendou Dojo has
gotten a bit racy for me. I just can't keep my nose out of it, and
that's starting to become hazardous."

"I don't understand," Konatsu admitted, knowing that she was
probably referring to Ranma and Akane's relationship.

Nabiki pulled an innocent looking clip out of her pocket. "Do
you have any clue what this is?"

"Not really," he said. It didn't look quite sturdy enough to
be used in his line of work.

"It's a nipple clamp," Nabiki whispered.

Konatsu's face turned bright red. He covered his ruby lips
with his hands in shock.

"I spent most of last night in a pair of these," she said in
a matter-of-fact tone. "According to Ranma's mother, they're the
standard punishment for eavesdropping at my place now and heaven help
me, I still wanted to spy on Ranma and Akane when she was done with
me."

"Nabiki-sama!" Konatsu hissed in embarrassment.

"I've got rope burns on my ankles," Nabiki admitted, her
eyelids drooping, "and whip marks on my ass. I'm still not certain
I've gotten all the chocolate pudding out yet. Simply put, my
curiosity is getting the better of me. I had to leave! It was for my
own safety!"

Konatsu realized that the girl was every bit as weary as he
was, and almost delirious from her exhaustion.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

"It's not that I mind the attention," Nabiki said, a
trembling finger on her chin. "But I'm afraid I'm starting to like
it. I needed to get out and..." she trailed to a stop.

"You're very tired," Konatsu noted. "Do you need to go
somewhere to lay down?"

"Like I got anywhere," Nabiki muttered. "I've got to find a
place to sleep before I can lay down. I was going to go to a hotel,
but I got hungry first," she admitted. "Even then, I can't rest. I
have some money saved up, but not enough to last indefinitely. I have
to start making more so that I can be secure."

Konatsu nodded seriously, a chord in his own heart ringing.
Before Ranma and Akane had gotten serious, he had never felt more
secure than at Ucchan's. Before that, the tea shop had not been much,
but at least it was a roof over his head.

"Need to start a full-scale business," Nabiki muttered,
sipping at her coffee. "Open a shop or something."

"I wish I could reopen the Sexy Kunoichi Teashop," he said,
agreeing. "I even saw a building for rent on the way over. I'd never
be able to manage it," he lamented. "The only thing I'm worse at than
making Ukyou happy is dealing with money."

A golden glint crossed Nabiki's eyes.

"That's right," she said. "You know all about running a
teashop."

"Sort of," Konatsu said truthfully. "I know how to make tea
and serve drinks. Mostly, I just watched my sisters try to seduce
male customers." he shuddered at the memory.

"Not a teashop," Nabiki mused, the need for sleep becoming
almost too strong to deny. She put her face down on the table. "A
club," she said in a muffled voice. "You could run the club part, and
I would take care of the business end... for a significant fee of
course."

"A club?" he asked. "Like with a oath and a secret handshake?
I wouldn't have to try to get the male customers to sleep with me,
would I?"

"No, silly!" Nabiki said. "Like a dance club. Where people
could dance and have fun..." she sighed deeply, her eyes almost, but
not quite closing. "And wouldn't have to worry about nymphomaniac
aunts doing things to them that they weren't sure they were going to
like..."

"Nabiki-sama?"

The girl's shoulders slumped, and her eyes closed completely.

"Nabiki-sama?"

"ZZzzzz....."

"Nabiki?"

Even sitting up, Nabiki looked comfortable. Konatsu simply
couldn't help himself. He moved over to the other side of the booth
and cuddled in next to her.

"Damn my weakness," he said before falling asleep as well. He
dreamed about nipple clamps.

* * *


"Hmmm... Shampoo?" Cologne asked, hopping out of the
restaurant briefly as Shampoo started to ready her bicycle for her
morning ramen deliveries. "Do you hear an odd noise?"

"Like whistle, Great-Grandmother?" Shampoo acknowledged,
looking around curiously. "It getting louder."

"Yes... rather disturbing. Rather like--"

"Like what?"

The whistling sound continued to grow.

"Rather like a bomb dropping," Cologne said in an unsettled
tone of voice.

There was a brief silence between the two, punctuated only by
the growing noise.

Shampoo looked to the sky. Cologne turned and hopped back
inside her restaurant and quickly propped a table against the door.

*BOOM*

The dumpster impacted just in front of the Nekohanten. A wave
of burnt, sticky okonomiyaki batter spread away from ground zero in a
radial wave, leaving sweet-smelling destruction in its path.

Shampoo picked up her bicycle and wiped the batter from her
eyes.

"Are you all right, Shampoo?" Cologne asked, poking her head
outside the now okonomiyaki-smeared ramen joint.

"Aiyah."

"Shampoo?"

"Spatula girl *dies*." Shampoo stated before storming back
inside.

* * *

*SLAP*

"Hey, wake up!"

"Whas..." Konatsu mumbled, rubbing his eyes. He looked around
and realized that he was on a park bench near the pastry shop he had
fallen asleep in earlier.

"Wake up, Konatsu," Nabiki said.

"Oh... Oh my," the ninja said, blushing. "I didn't fall--"

"Asleep with your head between my breasts and your hand up my
skirt," Nabiki said.

"WHAAAT?!"

"Not really," Nabiki said evilly. "You just need to learn
when and when not to take a nap."

Konatsu scrambled down off the bench and prostrated himself
before the girl, banging his head noisily against the sidewalk. "I'm
so sorry, Nabiki-sama! Please forgive me!"

"I don't think so."

"What?"

"Unless you're willing to do something for me, of course,"
Nabiki suggested, buffing her nails against the front of her blouse.

"Anything!" Konatsu said, red with shame.

"Well," Nabiki started, "were you serious about what you said
earlier?"

"Huh?"

"Running a club. I'll take care of the business end and
you'll take care of the management?"

Konatsu was taken aback. Did she really want to undertake so
intimate a working relationship with him so suddenly? He blushed at
the thought.

"I'll put it to you bluntly. I think that I can make a lot of
money on a club here. There has been a dearth in entertainment in
this part of the city for a while now and I think the market is ripe
for new blood. Unfortunately, I don't have any sort of experience
running that sort of thing, while you do."

Konatsu was speechless.

"Besides," Nabiki continued, "we both need someplace to stay,
and if the building you mentioned is the same one I'm thinking about,
then it has plenty of room to serve as a night club and as a small
residence. I'll trade you room and board plus a small... *ahem* very
small salary in return for helping me manage the thing."

"Me?" Konatsu asked. "Me, work for you?"

"Well, are you willing?"

"OH, NABIKI-SAMA!" Konatsu wailed. "You've saved my life!"

"Uhh, calm down, Konatsu-chan," she said. "And quit hugging
me in public."

"Sorry." Konatsu backed away from the girl and knelt next to
her on the park bench. "So, how soon do you think it will be until we
can save enough to rent the building?" he asked.

"Oh, that's no problem. I've already rented it."

"Already?" Konatsu asked incredulously.

"I did it while you were sleeping," Nabiki explained.

"Wasn't it awfully expensive?" the ninja asked.

Nabiki coughed politely. "Well, I *have* been selling quite a
few photos to Kunou-chan lately," she said. "You could say that I've
been saving against the inevitable."

"Wow..."

"It was enough to cover the down payment," Nabiki said, "and
first month's rent, and security deposit, and having the utilities
turned on and..."

"Yikes..."

"Of course it helped that I kept Kunou-chan's Platinum card
number from that time he bought the Ranma and Akane swimsuit bonus
pack."

Konatsu's face turned suspicious.

"You could say that I got real steal," Nabiki said smiling.

"A steal?"

"Or a borrow," Nabiki said. "After all, don't you think that
Kunou-chan deserves a break on his weekly photos for the next few
months?"

Konatsu shook his head sadly. "You frighten me sometimes,
Nabiki-sama."

A few minutes later, Nabiki and Konatsu had already walked
the short distance to the building. Nabiki already had keys.

The building was, for lack of a better word, perfect for
their purposes. It was a small, two story affair done in brick in
between a restaurant and a book store relatively near Ucchan's.

While the outside looked good, the main room on the first
floor was pretty much trashed. There were a few holes in the walls,
lots of dust and debris lying around, and patches of torn-up
carpeting glued to the otherwise bare cement floor. It was nothing
that a few hours of work and cleaning couldn't fix, however.

There were two marked bathrooms off of the main room, and a
smaller room with plumbing and a double sink that would make a
perfect kitchen.

The second floor had three smaller rooms and a single
bathroom with a glassed-in shower and a small furo.

"I think it used to be a workshop of some kind," Konatsu
said, kneeling down and picking up the remnants of a circuit board.

"I'm pretty sure it was an old computer shop," Nabiki said,
kicking a torn-up cardboard box out of her way and sniffing
disdainfully. "Oh, boy. I can't wait to try to figure some way around
cleaning this place up."

"I may be able to help," Konatsu said.

"Oh?"

The ninja walked into the middle of the room and glanced
around. He held up two fingers to the side of his face and traced a
circle around him with the other hand.

"You know a magic spell for getting rid of geek sweat?"
Nabiki asked, smirking and folding her arms.

Konatsu began to mumble under his breath, and turned a full
360 degree circle, taking in every part of the room. He closed his
eyes and brought his hands together, letting the tips of his extended
fingers touch. Then, he leapt into the air.

"MAGICAL NINJA BEAUTY SUPPLY SHOCK!" he yelled.

A whirlwind of energy began to course through the old shop,
gathering speed and power until Nabiki was buffeted back by the
force. She held her arms in front of her face to shield herself from
the debris that was suddenly flying around the room.

After only a few seconds, the whirlwind halted. Nabiki slowly
dropped her arms and blinked. She looked around in shock.

Konatsu stood in the middle of the new... arrangement,
looking deeply into Nabiki's eyes and searching for any kind of
approval. His face was pensive and expectant.

"You have a secret technique that turns any room into a
BROTHEL?" Nabiki asked incredulously.

Indeed, the debris and old carpet had been compressed into
large black garbage bags, making way for yards and yards of scarlet-
colored brocade, polished tile, and thick shag carpet. All it was
missing were some lush, lingerie clad ladies of the evening.

"You don't like it?" Konatsu asked, his voice cracking.
"Well, it was one of my sisters' special tricks," he admitted. "None
of the men they tried to drag into their bedrooms seemed to like it
much either."

Nabiki rubbed her chin, glancing around at the room. She
turned around once... then twice. Some areas were unfinished, such as
space for a bar near the back of the room. It was still missing quite
a bit of furniture, as well. It would further deplete her already
abused savings account, but...

"Actually, once we get a little furniture in here... and a
bar... This could work, Konatsu-chan," she mused. Then she looked
above her head. "That, however, has got to go."

"Get rid of the mirror ball," Konatsu noted, scribbling
Nabiki's instructions down on a scrap of paper. "Right!"

"Now we have to get all the permits we need. We'll probably
need a small wait staff as well."

"My sisters always said that beautiful women made the best
waitresses," Konatsu noted. "I think they were referring to
themselves, but..."

"Good idea," Nabiki said. "Let's get some real honeys in here
and draw in the boys." She chuckled for a second. "We need to make
sure that you look your best, too. That should be good for a few
laughs."

"I can drop off some flyers where I get my manicure done,"
Konatsu suggested helpfully.

After picking herself up off the ground after Konatsu's
statement, Nabiki said, "Yeah. You should do that. I'll make up some
flyers for you to spread around while I take care of the business
end.

* * *

It had taken over two hours to get all of the creamy batter
and finely chopped toppings out of her hair, but when Shampoo had
shampooed all she could, she ran outside, hopped on her bicycle, and
rode as fast as she could to the okonomiyaki chef's restaurant.

Only, she stopped after the first few feet, having realized
that her bike was still covered in burnt, sticky okonomiyaki dough.
She ran back inside the restaurant, took yet another bath, changed
clothes and ran back outside again, careful not to step in the
puddles of batter that still decorated the landscape for a fifty
meter radius around the Nekohanten.

A few blocks away, Ukyou was just getting to her feet after
sleeping way too late.

"Ohh... Geez," she moaned, gripping her aching head. "I knew
it wasn't a good idea to let 'Natsu-chan give me a hot toddy before
bed. He always puts way too much tequila in 'em."

Hung over, but doing her best to keep her stomach where it
belonged, she staggered down stairs and sat on a stool in front of
her grill. She laid her aching head down on the still-cool metal and
did her best to pretend she was dead.

"Shop will just... have... to... stay... closed..." she
groaned.

A low pounding began to permeate her consciousness. Hung over
as she was, it sounded like someone was beating on the front door
with baseball bat.

"Oooh, damn it, Konatsu! Stop that racket! You wanna get me
some aspirin?" she shouted in as loud a voice she dared.

*BAM*

The door broke off its rail and slid into the shop, impacting
the grill and knocking Ukyou backwards onto the floor.

"Shampoo no have aspirin, but she still able to put you out
of your misery!" The amazon shouted, both bonborri drawn and ready
for combat.

"Oh yeah?" Ukyou shouted, in way too much pain to think up a
fitting retort. "So's yer mamma! You wanna fight?" she yelled,
groping around half-blindly for her spatula.

"For the crime of bombing Shampoo with killer okonomiyaki,
she sentence you to die!" the purple-haired girl shouted.

"Damn it!" Ukyou shouted, realizing that her stock was gone.
"That was for Akane, you bitch! You stole my secret weapon, and now
you're gonna pay!"

Spatula and bonborri ready for the kill, the two girls leapt
at each other.

Two policemen, a fireman, and an insurance agent had to be
called out to put a halt to the resulting violence.

* * *

The next few days progressed rapidly while Nabiki and Konatsu
sped their project to completion. Nabiki had quite a bit of furniture
delivered, and set up rudimentary bedrooms for the two with futons
and blankets borrowed from the Tendou home.

To assuage Konatsu's sense of fair play, she also delivered
several thousand copies of a photo she took of Ranma napping in just
a pair of boxers to the Kunou estate before she used Tatewaki's
platinum card to pay for her purchases.

Progress was rapid, and on the second day, the kitchen
appliances and the furniture for the bedrooms above the club was
delivered.

Konatsu wept the first time he laid down on the soft mattress
and box spring Nabiki bought for him. Even knowing that it was coming
out of whatever future pay he managed to earn, it was the sweetest
reward he had ever received for his work.

"Oh, Nabiki-sama!" he shouted, tears running down his face.
"I'll never forget this kindness."

"That's great," Nabiki said, flicking beads back and forth on
her abacus, "Just so long as you remember that 'this kindness'
charges ten percent APR."

* * *

That same afternoon, Ranma was sitting on his futon, reading
a war manga. His ears perked up as he heard a familiar set of light
footsteps approaching his room.

"Ranma-baka," Akane cooed quietly down the hallway.

In the last few weeks, Ranma had been taught the meaning of
that particular tone. He was still very unsure about what was
happening between him and his somewhat mercurial fiancee and why, but
he knew that that particular lilt in her voice meant only one thing.

Ranma's libido gave his sense of dread a sharp kick in the
ass and demanded to find out what Akane wanted.

He began to tremble slightly as he rose from his sitting
position. He carefully closed his manga and strode from the room.
Akane was standing in the doorway. He gulped loudly, looking for a
cup of water. If she had one, she might pour it on him. If she did,
Ranma knew, it was because Akane wanted to dominate his girl-half. As
it was, Akane did not have a glass. Instead, she had a little white
pill box.

"Ranma-baka," she said again, in a low, dangerous voice. It
was a voice that worried Ranma for weeks now. It was a voice that
excited him immensely.

Ranma's right hand went to her cheek and the other gently
closed on her side. He knew from experience that Akane liked to be
held gently at first, and then more and more firmly. He moved his
head in, slowly angling towards Akane's upturned lips. The two pairs
of lips met briefly, touching and then moving away.

He jerked away for a second, making sure that neither of his
parents or Akane's father was watching. None were in sight. They were
probably all downstairs.

Smoothly, he returned to his task. Ranma let his hand slide
down Akane's slender neck to the collar of her blouse. Akane smiled,
granting her approval. Ranma began to slowly work the buttons out of
their holes, eventually pulling the blouse just far enough away so
that he could see Akane's erect nipples through the translucent lace
of her bra.

Seeing that Ranma's fingers were trembling, Akane reached
down and undid the catch that held the cups of the brassiere
together. She was slightly miffed that her smallish breasts did not
instantly force the cups apart, but Ranma eagerly slid his hand
inside and began to gently knead her left breast.

He could feel her heart beating.

Akane closed her eyes and moaned, ever so softly, ever so
quietly. She pushed against Ranma's hands... both of them, signaling
her desire to continue.

Ranma's left hand slid down her side and onto her thigh. He
squeezed firmly, but not tightly. That would come later. Slowly,
meticulously, Ranma began to run his hand back up Akane's thigh,
caressing every inch of flesh. He began to lift her skirt.

It was at this point that Akane held up a finger and touched
it softly to Ranma's lips.

"Ranma-baka?"

"H-hai?"

Akane held up the small white case she had been carrying. It
was about the diameter of a baseball, but flat and very slightly egg-
shaped. "Do you know what this is?"

Ranma shook his head.

"So like a man," Akane said, a naughty grin still decorating
her face "This is a Pill box." Ranma could hear the capital 'P' as
Akane said it.

"P-pills?" Ranma asked. "As in B-b-b-b-"

"Yes," Akane answered. "Doctor Toufuu gave them to me after
the 'Passion Dumpling' incident. Now, how many are left?"

Ranma carefully counted the pills left in the box. He counted
them again to make sure. He counted them a third time. He counted--

"How many are left?" Akane asked sweetly.

"None," Ranma said. He gulped loudly as he said it.

"That's right. I took the last one yesterday, just before...
Ucchan's. Now..."

"Yes?"

Akane smiled again. "Do you want to make a baby inside your
fiance?"

Ranma felt as if the world was suddenly pressing down on him.
So many new experiences... So many new feelings... So many new
responsibilities to go along with them. Akane had packed a lot of
meaning into that seemingly innocent question. What they were doing
*was* risky. Ranma didn't know the exact mechanics and biology of the
situation but he did know the old rote that 'A' leads to 'B' which
leads to 'C', which will sooner or later lead to 'D'. In western
terms, this is best summarized by saying 'Too many home runs will
eventually leave the batter with a long-term contract'.

Did Ranma want a long term contract? Quite honestly he wasn't
sure.

"It would be rough at first," Akane stated quietly. "But it
would solve almost all of our problems in the long run. Our fathers
would quit bothering us and so would the fiancees. I think Shampoo
would *have* to give up if I was carrying your child."

Did Ranma want someone with whom he could teach all he knew
about the art? Did he want someone with whom he could atone for all
the mistakes his father made in his *own* upbringing. More
importantly, did he want to be the only boy in his high school who
had to carry around a baby part of the time?

He paused for a second. Was it manly to carry around a baby?
He didn't really know.

"Yes," Ranma replied, his trembling subsiding. "I... want
that with you. I want to have a family with you. But not yet. Not
'till after school. Not until..." he gulped again.
"Notuntilwe'rereallymarried," he blurted out as loudly as he dared.

Akane smiled again and very firmly reached under her skirt
and pulled Ranma's hand away from her thigh. She placed the pillbox
in his hand and closed his fingers around it. The symbolism was clear
to Ranma; the responsibility was as much his as it was hers.

"Bring me another one of these then," Akane said. "I can't
afford them, and Daddy would go ballistic if he figured out that we
were trying to keep me... ahem... from providing him with an heir."

Ranma began to shake again, coming out the other side of
arousal. It was very clear to him what had to happen. If he wanted to
keep on... *keeping on* with Akane, he would have to get a part time
job. Not a lot, just enough to pay for the pills.

"Uhmm... I don't know where to look for a part time job,"
Ranma admitted. "Any ideas?"

"Nabiki is doing something with Konatsu. Maybe they need
someone?" Akane suggested.

At the mention of his sister-in-law's name, Ranma felt a
strange mix of elation and dread. No matter how this one turned out,
he was sure he was going to get screwed.

* * *

The day before the club opened, Konatsu was responsible for
interviewing and hiring the waitresses their business required while
Nabiki went about the business of extorting all the necessary permits
out of the local authorities. Nabiki had already used many of her
connections to start spreading word of the job opportunity, and
Konatsu was excitedly looking forward to his first *real* managerial
experience.

There was a knock on the door of the shop. Smiling, Konatsu
skipped over and opened it. Waiting outside in a frilly frock and
with a happy expression was a pretty brunette with long hair and
pouting lips. Konatsu ushered the applicant inside and poured some
tea.

"You're here for the waitressing position?"

"Yes! Thank you," his guest said, sipping the tea.

"Well, I need to ask a few questions first."

"Go ahead."

"Name?"

"Tsubasa Kurenai," the person in front of him said.

"Gender?" Konatsu asked, looking up.

Tsubasa glanced down at the pretty frock he was wearing.
"Male," he said, smiling.

"Okay," Konatsu said, making a mark on his clipboard. "Age?"

The rest of the interview went pretty smoothly. Finally,
Konatsu asked Tsubasa why he wanted to work at the club.

"Well... there's this girl," he said. "And... well... She's
in love with another guy. I'm trying to save up enough money so that
I can provide for her and make her like me!"

Konatsu sighed. "How sad and romantic!" he cooed.

"I will get you back, Ukyou-sama!" Tsubasa declared as
Konatsu was lost in his own little world.

"Excuse me?" Konatsu asked.

"Oh, nothing. I'm just excited to have a chance at a job like
this."

"Well, I guess I'm exited to have you working here!" Konatsu
agreed, somewhat pleased at how easy the interview had gone. "If you
will, come back tomorrow night, and your uniform will be ready. If I
understand our general manager, correctly, they're going to be a
little... *ahem*... tight. What cup size do you wear?"

"What size do you want me to wear?" Tsubasa asked.

* * *

"Next!" Konatsu said. He was pretty happy. The first several
applicants after Kurenai-san had been a little scary. They looked a
lot like his sisters, in fact. The last two, however, had been
perfect. The first was a young woman about his own age with short,
curly blonde hair. She didn't want to talk about her past very much,
but had a great sense of humor and did a neat trick with her fan. The
other was a young woman who had short green hair. She said that she
had been acting part time as a model and an idol singer and was just
getting generally tired of the whole celebrity mess. Konatsu gladly
hired the two of them, more than a little aware of how beautiful they
would look in tight cocktail dresses.

The next applicant had short red hair with a long, braided
pigtail and wore Chinese clothes.

"Ranma-sama?"

"Hey, 'Natsu. I heard you're looking for waitresses."

"Uhm..." Konatsu wasn't sure how he felt about Ranma. Sure,
the boy, girl at the moment, was partially responsible for Ukyou's
anger and bad temper, but he was also one of the most courageous,
honest and bravest people Konatsu had ever met. After they worked out
their difficulty with his stepmother and stepsisters, Konatsu felt
like the only one who treated him better was Ukyou-sama, and that was
only until she started getting upset and...

"Okay," Konatsu said. "Can you start tomorrow night?"

"Yup."

"What cup size do you wear?"

Ranma would *also* look beautiful in a tight cocktail dress.

"I dunno. 'C', I think. I'll ask Akane. Hey, I don't gotta
wear a bunny suit, do I?"

"A dress," Konatsu said.

"Okay. That's a little better, I guess. What time?"

"Just as soon as we get you fitted," Nabiki said, walking in
the doorway. "It will be a pleasure to have you working for me,
Ranma-kun," she said, several dresses thrown over one arm. She smiled
wickedly. "I'm certain that we can find a use for *all* your
talents."

"Lovely," Ranma muttered. "Just leave my picture off the
calendar this time, okay?"

* * *

The afternoon of the next day, Konatsu was getting ready for
the grand opening. Part of his preparations involved picking just the
right drink for the 'special'.

As he was carefully mixing ingredients, the front door to the
club opened, admitting the blonde girl he had hired yesterday. She
was wearing a short skirt and a heavy canvas jacket.

"Oh, hello," Konatsu said. "You're here early, aren't you?"

"It beats waiting in the park," the girl said.

"Excuse me?" Konatsu said, looking up from his task.

"Oh, I'd love to get an early start," the blonde girl said.

"You're..." Konatsu fumbled for a second, trying to remember
her name.

"Noku-chan," the girl replied cutely. She whipped out a fan
and held it demurely in front of her mouth. It read 'Charmed'.

"Well, feel free to get comfortable," Konatsu offered as he
carefully measured liquor into a tall glass.

"What are you making there?" Noku-chan asked.

"It's a drink that I used to make for my sisters. I always
messed it up, though."

"Looks pretty complex," Noku-chan noted.

"It is," Konatsu said, carefully peeling a grape. He put it
on a toothpick and dropped it into the glass.

Noku-chan could actually see the color of the drink change
slightly as it sank.

"Can I try a little?" she asked as Konatsu began to rummage
under the bar.

"Sure. It's not done yet, though."

Nabiki walked out of the back room, wheeling in stereo
components on a dolly. "Don't drink my profits," she warned.

Noku-chan smiled charmingly at the girl and sipped at the
drink.

Nabiki chuckled and continued to set up her sound system.

"Wow! That's really good," Noku-chan said. "But..."

"It's missing the secret ingredient," Konatsu finished. He
came back up over the bar and held out a basket of freshly polished
five-hundred yen pieces. "It's the best topping of all!" he
proclaimed. "The bright yellow topping!"

He dropped a coin into the glass and struck a match. He held
it over the surface of the drink until the fumes caught fire. He
clapped his hands over it once, extinguishing the flame. In just a
second, the drink had gone from pale pink in color to a bright,
golden yellow.

"Now try it," he said.

Noku-chan sipped and smiled widely. "Hey, that's pretty
good!"

"I call it the '500 YEN FLAMING NINJA!!!!'" his voice echoed
through the microphone Nabiki had just plugged in.

The mercenary girl strode over to the bar and grabbed the
basket of coins away from her business partner. "Konatsu! What did I
tell you about the 'Bright Yellow Topping'?!" she said, batting her
abacus against the ninja's head. "Well?!"

"You said not to use it, Nabiki-sama," he meefed in reply,
doing his best to cover his head and face.

"And how much were you planning on selling that drink for?"

"Five hundred yen?" he asked, desperately hoping that he had
the right answer.

"So you're planning on just *giving* away the alcohol that
cost 8000 yen a bottle," Nabiki noted angrily.

"Maybe it could be the 'Ten Yen Flaming Ninja'?" he
suggested, desperately trying to salvage the situation.

She bapped him with her abacus again.

Noku-chan giggled so hard she almost fell off her stool.
"Maybe it should be just a plain 'Flaming Ninja', Konatsu-san.

"Rather," Nabiki said, her eyes flashing daggers at the
ninja. Her expression softened somewhat as she reached down, grabbed
the glass and took a small sip of the mixed drink. "Still, it's
pretty good, Konatsu-chan. Let's go ahead and make this the special."

"Of course, Nabiki-sama!" Konatsu said, bowing.

"Without any 'bright yellow topping. Understand me?"

"Of course, Nabiki-sama!"

"Good. 'Flaming Ninja'," she muttered, striding away from the
other two. "Poor guy has *no* clue."

As it turned out, Noku-chan knew quite a bit about
electronics and was able to troubleshoot Nabiki's sound problems
quickly and efficiently. After another hour or so, the other
waitresses started showing up. First in the door was Ranma, who
looked like she had just gotten into a fight.

"Another duel, Ranma?" Nabiki asked.

"Nah, just had to beat your dad up when he realized I was
going to be a waitress instead of a waiter."

"Ah," Nabiki noted.

Noku-chan looked curiously at Ranma.

Next in was the green haired girl.

"Hello, Shimeru-san," Konatsu greeted her. "This is Nabiki,
who's going to be our boss, and Ranma and Noku-chan who will work
with you tonight."

"Hi everybody," the girl said in a happy tone. "Call me
Futaba, please."

"Yo," Ranma greeted her.

Noku-chan whipped out her fan. It read 'Great Beauty'.

Last in was Tsubasa.

"Hi everybody! I'm sorry I'm late, but I got stuck in my
mailbox."

"What?" Nabiki asked, unsure of what she heard.

Ranma groaned upon seeing the other youth.

"Don't tell me you hired this weirdo!" she complained. "You
know he's a guy, right?"

"Of course I do! I'm not completely clueless," Konatsu said.

Noku-chan smiled weakly. "A guy?" She had been about to whip
her fan out, but quickly stuffed it back into her jacket.

Futaba looked around guiltily, turning a little bit green in
the face.

"Not completely. Just *mostly* clueless, Konatsu-chan,"
Nabiki noted. She quickly made sure that everyone was introduced and
gave them a short briefing on their duties for the evening. "So does
everyone know what they need to do?" she asked.

"Uh, we still don't know what the place is called," Futaba
said doing her best to ignore how attractive and cute Tsubasa was.

"Well, I wanted to call it the 'Million Yen'," Nabiki
explained, "But Konatsu-chan thought that it might drive away
potential customers if they thought it was too expensive. I'm smart
enough to realize that I get a little obsessed around money so..."

"A little obsessed?" Ranma asked incredulously

"Saotome gets no paycheck this week," Nabiki said. Konatsu
nodded and dutifully wrote down the instructions.

"Hey, I want my paycheck, damn it!" Ranma shouted.

"Anyway, I let Konatsu-chan name the place since he has more
experience," Nabiki explained.

"He?" Noku-chan asked, suddenly turning as green as Futaba

Futaba just shook her head, realizing that she really
*should* have known better.

"So what did you name it?" Ranma asked.

Konatsu gestured to the draped shaped behind him. He pulled
the sheet away, revealing an intricately painted wooden sign.

"The Nerima Boys' Club" was displayed in fancy cursive Roman
characters. The logo was guaranteed to stand out and attract
attention.

"I do hope you like it," Nabiki said, genuine excitement and
pleasure in her expression. "Knock 'em dead, girls!"

"What's it supposed to mean?" Ranma ask suspiciously while
staring at the sign.

"Excuse me," Noku-chan said, raising a hand. "How many of us
here are actually women?"

"I just like the way it sounded," Konatsu said. "Would you
help me put the sign out front, Ranma-sama?"

"Sure," the redhead replied.

"Excuse me? Please?" Noku-chan asked.

"I need to get my makeup ready," Futaba said.

"You're not the only one," Tsubasa agreed as they both rushed
out of the room.

"Hello?" Noku-chan said.

"I'm female," Nabiki said. "Are you?"

Noku-chan sighed and held up her fan. It read
'Disappointing'.

* * *

After the front of Ucchan's had been repaired from her fight
with Shampoo, it had taken Ukyou almost three days to find Konatsu's
letter in the cleanup. She had worried and fretted about the ninja
almost constantly after discovering that his meager possessions were
missing, but after reading the letter, she didn't know wether to feel
shock, remorse, or anger.

It was true that she felt like the kunoichi was a pathetic,
if cute, wimp who would never be able to take care of himself. He was
a burden. He was an annoyance. Worse, he had that obnoxious crush on
her.

Now if only she didn't miss him so bad...

It was like the time she was six when the puppy she 'adopted'
had run away to its original owner. She really missed Konatsu's cute
little antics and sweet disposition. He didn't even drool on her or
piddle on the carpet.

Well, okay, that one time he had the nightmare about his
sisters...

"ARRGGHGH! It's all Shampoo's fault that I never noticed!
Hell, it was her fault that this mess happened anyway. If she had
never suggested that damn passion spice, Ranma and Akane wouldn't be
humping like weasels in heat, and I'd still have a chance in hell of
becoming Mrs. Ranma Saotome!"

She screamed, and beat her fists into her grill.

Her customers began to stare in shock and dread at the
display the chef had just given.

"Sorry 'bout that," Ukyou muttered, wiping the hot grease off
of her fists and onto her apron. She stood around for a few seconds
acting nonchalantly and then ran back into the kitchen to run cold
water over her hands.
"Owowowowowow..."

When she came back out, she found that some of her customers
had left and that Shampoo had arrived with a sword and an excited
duck.

"QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!"

"Hey, Shampoo," Ukyou said, reading her battle spatula. "What
bug crawled up your ass this time?"

"Okonomiyaki cockroach," Shampoo hissed, throwing the cage
she was carrying at Ukyou. Ukyou had to drop her spatula to catch the
cage before it hit her and dropped Mousse onto the grill.

"Ah, you're just pissed because I whipped your ass last
time," Ukyou said.

"Who whip who ass?" Shampoo demanded, raising her sword.
"Ukyou get beat!"

"Says you," Ukyou said, throwing the cage onto the floor
behind her and readying her mini-spatulas as her customers all sought
the relative safety of booths.

"Then why you send passion dumpling recipe to Mousse?! You
have any idea how much trouble you cause?"

Ukyou started. It had been part of her plan to 'eliminate'
some of the competition. "Hah! I guess he must have been a little too
much for you, huh? How did those dumplings taste, anyway?"

"You stupid girl! Mousse no read all recipe! He eat dumplings
himself and then show up naked in restaurant! He harass all women
customers!"

Ukyou's eyes bugged out. She clenched at her sides.

"QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!"

Shampoo continued to rant. "He make big mess and Shampoo
nearly get arrested for running adult business without license. Is
all your fault!"

Ukyou doubled over, howling with laughter.

"Die!" Shampoo shouted, her temper going from brittle to
completely broken in the face of being laughed at. She leapt at
Ukyou, her blade at the ready.

"Come and get me, China-girl!" Ukyou shouted, readying her
spatulas to defend against Shampoo's sword.

"QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!" Mouse
yelled forlornly, desperate to get out of his cage and show his love
for the two pretty girls fighting in front of him.


* * *

All six 'girls' were dressed and ready to go. Konatsu and
Tsubasa both wore long, form-fitting sleeveless dresses in red silk.
They were very Chinese in style, complete with frog closures across
one shoulder. Nabiki wore a conservative, but attractive blouse and
skirt combo. Ranma, Futaba, and Noku-chan wore ultra-tight, ultra
short Chinese mini-dresses in the same red silk as the other two. The
dresses left very little to the imagination, but what it did leave
was just enough, Nabiki thought. While Noku-chan wasn't as 'talented'
in certain areas as Futaba and Ranma, she more than made up for it
with a cool, collected grace and a truly dazzling smile.

Taking a deep breath, Nabiki turned the lights on in the club
and opened the door to put a welcoming shop curtain outside.

Those assembled took a deep breath as they waited for the
stampede.

They waited a little longer.

Ranma began to fidget.

They waited a little longer.

Noku-chan and Tsubasa began to chat about disguises.

They waited a little longer.

Nabiki's expectant expression began to crack. "I knew I
shouldn't have invested so much in this place," she said darkly.

Konatsu shook his head. "No, Nabiki-sama! You must have
faith. We will succeed! We will be profitable!"

Nabiki exhaled and nodded. "We'll give it a bit longer. Does
anyone want a soda while--"

"Excuse me?" a voice called out from the front of the club.
All those inside turned to see a pretty-looking young woman with long
pink hair poke her head inside. "Is this the new club?" she asked.

"Yes!" Nabiki said.

"And your our first customer!" Konatsu seconded. "How about a
free drink as number one. It's--"

"Konatsu!" Nabiki growled.

"Just this once?" the kunoichi begged.

"Well... Okay. Just this *once*. And just one drink," Nabiki
said.

The girl opened the door and stepped inside. "This is the
place, Anthy! I told you we'd find it."

"You were right, Utena-sama!" a girl with dark hair and dusky
skin agreed happily as the two stepped inside. She stared around at
the 'romantic' decorations. "Oh, it's so pretty!"

Konatsu beamed like a supernova as he handed the two girls
freshly mixed 'flaming ninjas'.

"Is this the new--"

"Welcome!" Nabiki said, gesturing the next couple inside.
"Welcome to the Nerima Boys' Club. If we can get you anything, just
let one of our charming waitresses know, okay?"

The wait staff giggled cutely on cue. Ranma gagged for a
second, but got back to work.

"Hi, I'm Ranma," she said, leading the young man and his
attractive date inside. "Let me know if I can help you, okay?"

"Is this the new--"

"Welcome!" Nabiki said. "It's our first night, so..."

She gestured frantically for someone to turn on the sound
system.

Futaba leapt over to the small stage and started the dance
music going.

"Hey, is this the new--"

Out of the corner of her eye, Nabiki noticed her first two
customers beginning to dance near the small stage they had set up
across from the bar.

As her waitresses began to filter around the room, making
sure that everyone was taken care of, Nabiki started grinning from
ear to ear.

* * *

"Haaaa..." Shampoo breathed heavily, lying in the wreckage of
a table. "Haaaa.... Just... wait. Shampoo show.... *huff* *huff*...
stupid spatula girl what means to..."

"Aw, shaddup, you bimbo," Ukyou said, hanging upside down
from the remnants of the ceiling fan above her dining room. She
slowly spun in circles, but her fingers would not let go of her one
remaining mini-spatula. "Just as soon as I get down from here, I'm
gonna pound you bloody."

A flyer blew by in the breeze coming in from the wrecked
wall. It fluttered once, and stuck against Ukyou's face.

"Nabiki's running a nightclub, huh?" Ukyou said, grabbing the
offending piece of paper and scanning over it briefly.

"You know is really all her fault," Shampoo said weakly. "If
she no help Akane, then Shampoo and Ukyou be there to stop her from
trying to make like horny goat with Ranma."

Ukyou grumbled but she couldn't help but agree with her
rival. "I already beat her up once," she said. "It was creepy. She
didn't hit back. She just started figuring damages. I've got a bill
from her for 90000 yen sitting around her somewhere."

Ukyou's filing cabinet fell through the weakened ceiling and
impacted the tile floor next to Shampoo. Papers exploded out from the
ruined office furniture and began to flutter around.

"Ah, Shampoo see," the Chinese girl said. "You know, if
Nabiki running nightclub, then Akane and Ranma there, almost for
sure."

"That's a good point," Ukyou said. "We could go kill Nabiki
and Akane and then fight over Ranma some more."

"Sound like plan," Shampoo said, staggering to her feet. She
roughly yanked on Ukyou's arm, untangling her from the slowly
rotating fan and dumping her on the ruined floor.

"I'll get you for that later," Ukyou said.

"For now, let's just go make mercenary-girl and pervert-girl
wish they never born," Shampoo suggested.


"QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!"

* * *

Akane was indeed at the new Nerima Boys' Club, checking out
her sister's work.

"This is really nice, Nabiki," she said over the noise of the
crowd and the thumping music. "You've put a lot of hard work it!"

"Naturally," Nabiki said, "And I expect it to be quite
profitable."

"Nabiki-sama!" Konatsu yelled, popping out from behind two
rather bishonnen men who were dancing together. "We have a problem!"

"What is it, Konatsu-chan?" Nabiki said. "You haven't been
giving away drinks, have you?"

"No, it's far worse than that. We're almost at the limit for
the capacity on the fire permit you got."

"What?" Nabiki asked, looking around at the crowd. "Your
serious? We have a hundred and fifty people in here?"

"What should we do?" Konatsu said. "Ranma isn't letting any
more people in, but a line is starting to form at the door."

Nabiki smiled evilly. "Are we still good on drinks and
snacks?"

Konatsu nodded. "We could start paying people to leave, I
guess," he suggested meekly.

Akane smiled, and wandered off in search of a certain
waitress.

Nabiki bapped him lightly with her abacus, showing her
displeasure. "Wrong! We start charging more!"

"I don't understand," the ninja said.

"It's very simple," Nabiki said. "Up until now, we were
selling based on quantity. We had a lot of empty space and wanted
people to come in and buy drinks and snacks so we can profit, right?"

"Right," Konatsu said.

"Now, we don't have that much space. It's become a rarity.
We're now apparently the hottest club in the district, so we can
charging a cover-price for the privilege of coming inside to dance
and be seen."

Konatsu blinked in confusion. "Will that work?"

"Of course it will," Nabiki said. "We've *got* to get you
some business classes, Konatsu-chan. Tell Ranma to not let any one
come in until someone else leaves," she instructed. "Also, have her
start charging five hundred yen for every person who comes in. 750
for couples."

"Hai, Nabiki-sama!" Konatsu bounced away, back flipping and
cleanly disappearing into the crowd.

Nabiki glanced at the ceiling briefly and whispered a prayer
of thanks.

* * *

Elsewhere in the club, Hiroshi and Daisuke were sitting
behind a table, sipping colas, and watching all the pretty girls go
by.

"Man, she's a hottie," Daisuke noted, watching a pink-haired
girl walk by.

"Yeah, but what's she doing with that other one?" Hiroshi
asked.

"It is fun to get out from time to time, Anthy," the pink
haired girl said.

"Mmmmm... Utena-sama" Anthy cooed, as the two snuggled in the
seat next to Hiroshi and Daisuke.

Both boys blinked incredulously.

Their waitress, Futaba, skipped over and put new drinks and a
bowl of snacks down in front of them. "Anything else I can do for you
two?"

"I don't think so," Hiroshi said.

The green-haired girl leaned over to the table behind them
and asked the same question.

"Can I have a soda, please?" An auburn-haired girl with thick
bangs and a pleasant smile asked as she wrapped her arms around her
date's arm.

"Takeo-kun!" one of the two guys in the booth with her
shouted angrily. "What's she doing here? I thought this was supposed
to be a romantic date for just the two of us!"

"Stop blowing in my ear, Ayanojo!" Takeo said angrily.

Hiroshi and Daisuke blinked.

"Dai, are we the only straight people here?"

"God I hope not. No, there, look!" Hiroshi said gesturing to
the dance floor where a young man with short blonde hair was dancing
with a beautiful girl with long, wavy green hair. "It's not as bad as
you think it is."

"Oooh!" Futaba exclaimed. "That's the famous artist, Michiru
Kaiou. She paints, sings, and plays the violin." Her girlfriend,
despite being a little butch, was a real looker as well, Futaba did
not say.

A little more secure in their surroundings, Hiroshi and
Daisuke leaned back in their seats and relaxed.

"Boy, our waitress was pretty cute, too," Hiroshi said. "I
wonder if I can get her phone number?"

"You wish."

* * *

"Where exactly did you hand out fliers?" Ranma asked Konatsu
as the ninja rushed back and forth between the bar and the front
door, counting heads.

"Oh, the usual places," Konatsu said.

"The usual places?"

"All the high-schools and colleges around here," the kunoichi
replied. "And the arcades. Oh, and the nail salon, and the hair salon
and the--"

Ranma sighed.

"--and the Rainbow Bookstore, and everywhere else I could
think of. Why?"

"No reason," Ranma said. At least not *all* the guys were
hitting on her this way. Quite a few of the girls were, but Ranma
found that she didn't mind that as much.

* * *

Since Konatsu's 'Flaming Ninjas' were disappearing like,
well... ninjas, Nabiki was moving a small crate of liquor downstairs
to replenish their stores. She was halfway down when she heard the
chants start.

"Entertainment! Entertainment!"

"Where's the show?!" One voice shouted over the din of
partying and loud dance music.

"Uhoh," she muttered.

All five of her employees were waiting for her at the bottom
of the stairs with wide-eyed expressions.

"Tell me that one of you can do something," Nabiki said,
raising her voice over the din.

"I'm a master of disguise," Tsubasa volunteered.

"Riiight... And that will help us how?" Nabiki asked.

"Well, I can go up on stage... and pop out of things."

Nabiki blinked. "Pop out of things?"

"Like mailboxes, and trees, and umbrella stands."

"Uh huh," Nabiki said.

"I can do a little slight of hand," Noku-chan said, "but I
need a few minutes to get ready."

"Well, looks like you're on, Tsubasa," Nabiki said. "Noku-
chan, get ready. Ranma, I know you can sing, and Futaba too. You two
pick something out for after the magic act."

The three girls nodded and ran off.

While the others were scrambling, Tsubasa produced a giant
cake costume and climbed inside. He waddled over the stage, stopping
briefly in front of the sound system to change the music from the
loud, cheerful dance beat to something a little more classical.

There was a hushed silence as everyone stared at the giant
cake in front of them.

"Tada!" Tsubasa shouted in a cute voice as he popped out the
top of the cake.

"Yah! Take it all off, Baybee!" One of the partiers shouted
from the back of the room. Tsubasa clonked him in the head with a
thrown shoe.

The crowd started to laugh.

Tsubasa kicked the cake out of the way and ran off stage. A
few seconds later, a giant cow appeared on stage.

"Mooo!" Tsubasa yelled.

The laughter intensified. The sight of a cute girl popping
out of ridiculous costumes was pretty funny, it seemed.

It went on like that for a few minutes, until Noku-chan
signaled to him from the stairway.

Tsubasa nodded, dropped a flash grenade he had borrowed from
Konatsu, and disappeared to be replaced by Noku-chan, who was wearing
a leotard, heels, and a tuxedo jacket.

This time, there was as much clapping as there was laughter.
The laughter soon turned to 'Ooohs' and 'Ahhs' as Noku-chan began to
produce crystal balls and steel hoops out of thin air. Some of the
items she made appear, disappear, or magically levitate were things
she had scavenged from the club. At one point, she began to juggle
light-bulbs she had raided from the supply closet.

After almost fifteen minutes of progressively more and more
impressive magical tricks, Noku-chan wrapped a sheet around herself,
twisted around for a few moments, and then turned back into Tsubasa.

"Hi, everybody!" he shouted into a microphone. "I hope you
enjoyed the magic show. Let's all give the Amazing Noku-chan a big
hand!"

After the applause and wolf-whistles died down, Tsubasa
gestured offstage. "Now, we'd like to present a treat. The Nerima
Boys' Club is proud to present Ranma and Futaba!"

Two busty, sexy girls in short skirts and high-heels really
ignited the crowd.

After a few seconds, guitar music began to play from the
audio system.

"Once again the girl
you're watching
Isn't the real me."

Ranma stepped out into the light, dancing slowly and singing
into the microphone.

"It's a girl
that was made up
for you and for our love."

Futaba joined her, blowing a kiss to the crowd. The two began
to dance closely together, skipping around in a manner that was both
cute and dangerously sexy.

"You like my honesty
That what you say,
but it's an illusion.

Deceiving others
is a way of life
It's a woman's romance!"

The two continued to dance and sing, whipping the crowd into
a frenzy.

"I love you more than anyone
I want to show you a wonderful dream
I love you so much
I'm going to keep deceiving you.
I'll make you happier
than any other guy in the world!"

The number went on for a few minutes, and it ended with
Futaba and Ranma cheek to cheek and waving to the crowd. The room
went wild with cheers, hoots, and whistles. The two girls ran off
stage, waving back to the crowd.

Nabiki, who had been manning the door, quickly made a few
adjustments to her abacus and smiled like the fox who ate the golden
goose.

Akane had been looking for Ranma, but kept getting
sidetracked in the crowd. After the musical number, however, she
fixed the redhead in her sights as she homed in for the kill.

As she was getting ready to start waitressing again, Ranma
heard a familiar pair of footsteps.

"Ranma-baka..." Akane cooed, her whisper voice clearly
audible over the noise to Ranma.

Ranma froze, her back to Akane.

"Uhm... H-hey, A-a-akane," she said, not daring to look at
the girl. "Uh... you had one of Konatsu's drinks yet?"

"I'm not interested in a drink, Ranma-baka..." Akane said.

Ranma gulped loudly.

"Won't you look at me, Ranma?" Akane asked sweetly.

A manic grin spread across Ranma's face as she turned to face
the dark-haired girl.

Akane stared deeply into Ranma's eyes and stepped deep into
her personal space. She could feel Ranma's fluttering breath on her
neck.

"Hi," she said, smiling, evilly.

"H-h-hi," Ranma replied, trying to swallow, but finding her
mouth suddenly too dry.

"That was quite a performance."

"Oh?"

"Yes," Akane said. "Very showy. Very... sexy. And now..."

"N-n-n-n-now?" Ranma squeaked like a frightened mouse

"Now I want you to show me the kitchen."

"The kitchen?"

"Now, Ranma-baka..." Akane said in the husky tone that Ranma
just didn't know how to handle.

"O-okay," Ranma said. "If you want."

"Now," Akane said, reaching into her skirt pocket with one
hand. With her other, she grabbed Ranma's arm and directed her to the
door behind the bar.

* * *

The line had shortened somewhat since the brief show had
ended, but was still steady enough to keep Nabiki happy. She was
already beginning to fantasize about expanding the club and doing the
math in her head for financing such a venture.

She was fifteen minutes into her little fantasy when she
realized that Ranma had gone missing.

"Konatsu, have you seen Saotome?" she asked.

Konatsu disappeared from behind the bar, popped in and out
from behind the club's patrons, and appeared in front of Nabiki as
she guarded the door.

"Not since the dance number."

"Wonderful. She's gone missing."

"Who's missing?" Ryouga Hibiki asked as he made it to the
front of the line.

"Uhh... Ryouga-kun, what are you doing here?" Nabiki asked.
"I didn't think you were in to nightclubs."

"Nightclubs? What are you doing in Hiroshima? This is
supposed to be the line to buy train tickets to Tokyo," he explained,
looking back and forth between Nabiki and Konatsu for confirmation.
"Right?"

Nabiki just sighed and cupped her face in her hands.

"Hibiki-san," Konatsu said. "You've actually made it to Tokyo
ahead of schedule! Congratulations!" He shook Ryouga's hands. "Are
you ready for your assignment?"

"I made it? Assignment?" the lost boy asked in a dazed tone
of voice.

"You are ready, aren't you?" Nabiki said, catching on.

"Of course!" Ryouga said, proudly sticking his chest out.

"Good," Konatsu said in a serious, authoritive tone of voice.
"Stand here and guard this door," he instructed. "Don't let anybody
in until someone else leaves. This is an important directive from the
fire commissioner."

Ryouga nodded seriously. "I understand."

"Also," Nabiki instructed. "Take five hundred yen from anyone
who wants to come in. 750 from couples."

"Hai!" Ryouga said, saluting.

"We'll be back as soon as we can," Konatsu said. "In the
meantime, you must stay right here and carry out these orders. Do you
understand?"

Ryouga nodded. "I understand."

Nabiki led Konatsu over to the bar. "Very smooth. Actually,
he could make a good bouncer if I can get him to stick around."

"That's what I was thinking," Konatsu said. "I never
*dreamed* that this place would be so crowded."

"That's why we need to find Ranma," Nabiki said.

"Ranma's missing?" Noku-chan said, walking up to the two with
an empty tray in her hands.

Nabiki nodded.

Futaba and Tsubasa both approached the group.

"I don't know if it means anything but there are some odd
noises coming from the store room in the kitchen," Tsubasa noted.

"Could be trouble," Konatsu said.

Nabiki rolled her eyes. "I can't believe she locked herself
in the closet. Ranma, you moron," she grumbled. "Let's go get her out
before she breaks the door down."

All five of them trooped into the kitchen.

Just behind them, Ukyou and Shampoo began to try to push
their way past Ryouga into the club.

"Hey! I'm not supposed to let you in here," Ryouga shouted.
"If you go in, I'll be letting down Nabiki, that nice ninja girl,
*and* the fire commissioner!"

"It's okay, Ryouga-kun," Ukyou said. "We're just going to
kill Nabiki and Akane and come right back out, okay?"

"Get out of way, pork-dumpling," Shampoo said, trying to
squeeze past him.

"Kill Akane!?" Ryouga shouted. "No way! You'll get in over my
dead body!" he threatened.

"Have it your way, Ryouga," Ukyou said, brandishing her
spatula.

"Excuse me," a polite voice asked from behind him. "Can we
leave?"

"Oh, yes. I'm sorry," Ryouga said as two young men filed past
him and out into the street. "Wait a second," he said. "Now that I've
let people out, I'm supposed to let people in, but I can't do that
because Shampoo and Ukyou are next in line and they want to kill
Akane! Wait a second, Akane's here?!"

Shampoo rolled her eyes and pushed by the lost boy and into
the club. Ukyou followed.

"Hey, wait! You can't come in without paying!" he said.

They both threw a handful of coins at him.

Given the choice between doing his duty to the fire
commissioner and saving Akane, Ryouga closed the door, bolted it, and
ran after the two girls, only to get horribly lost in the crowd.

* * *

"Oh... Oh... Akane, please... please don't... stop... please
stop..."

Akane chuckled evilly in the darkness. "I don't think so,
Ranma," she said. "You like it, don't you?"

"Aah... Ah! No... not there!"

"Heh... It's so tight, Ranma-baka! Doesn't it feel good?"

"N-no..." Ranma stammered, her teeth chattering slightly.

"Don't lie," Akane said. "Girls who lie have *this* happen to
them."

"Aaaaaa..." Ranma groaned.

"Tell me you like it."

"Oooooohhh.... ohhh, God..."

A slurping noise began to fill the darkness, along with
Ranma's cries and moans.

"Tell me you like it," Akane demanded.

"Ohh... Akane, don't stop..."

"Tell me you like it, or I'll stop for good," Akane
threatened.

"N-n-nnn... AAH!"

"Heh... now tell me you like it or..."

"I... I like it," Ranma whispered in the darkness.

"Louder!" Akane urged. The lapping, slurping noise resumed.

"Gaaah... I like it! " Ranma said.

"You like what?" Akane said teasingly.

"Ahhhhh!"

The door to the store room opened suddenly.

"OooooggggoooddddddAkaaannnneeeeeeeee!!!!!!!" Ranma cried,
her eyes clenched shut and her head thrown back in sheerest ecstasy.

Akane looked back behind her in surprise and shock, smiling
sickly at the people staring into the store room.

"Oh my..." Tsubasa said, turning a bright red color.

Futaba clutched at her nose, which fountained red. She rocked
back, and was unconscious before she hit the floor.

Noku-chan held up her fan in front of her face, peeking
around it slightly. It read '!!!!!!!'.

Konatsu looked on in confusion, not really understanding what
was going on in front of him.

Nabiki's left eyebrow twitched as she beheld what her sister
was doing to her waitress.

"I think that saying that this isn't what it looks like will
be pretty pointless right now, Akane," she said, swallowing.

Ranma's hands were tied together at the wrists. The rope
holding them together had been strung over one of the utility hooks
in the back of the closet, lifting her a few inches. Her short
Chinese dress had been hiked up over her breasts and her ankles had
both been tied to opposing support poles for the shelving inside the
closet. One of her shoes was barely hanging on over her toes. The
other had slid off and fallen into the floor.

Her eyes were half closed and her head was lolled to one
side. Her blush reached down her neck and over her breasts.

While the group in front of her couldn't see how far down it
went, Akane's blush was just as deeply red as Ranma's. She was
kneeling in front of the redhead, her thick black hair obscuring most
of Ranma's midsection to those watching. Akane's lips and chin were
wet and sticky and her blouse was mostly unbuttoned. Her hands were
still engaged... *under*... Ranma. It was perfectly obvious what she
had been doing.

"Oooohh... Akane...." Ranma groaned, probably not quite
realizing where she was or what had happened.

"Akane," Nabiki growled in a low tone. "My waitresses are
*not* on the menu, especially while they're on duty!"

"Gomen..." Akane gulped out, removing her sticky hands from
what they had been doing.

"Aaaaahhh..." Ranma moaned at the sensation.

"Where are mercenary-girl and pervert-giAIYAH!!" Shampoo
yelled as she burst into the kitchen.

"Hey, Shampoo, did you findOH MY GOD!" Ukyou shouted,
barreling into Shampoo's back. "What the hell are you doing to *MY*
Ran-chan, Akane?!"

"Ukyou-sama!" Tsubasa yelled, leaping at Ukyou. "Oh, how I've
missed you!"

The okonomiyaki chef was so shocked at the sight in front of
her that he actually managed to connect and glomp her for a few
seconds before she pried him off with her spatula and sent him flying
into the wall.

"I can explain, really!" Akane said, nervously eyeing Shampoo
and Ukyou's drawn weapons and realizing that she was quite cornered.

"Can you?" Nabiki asked.

"No," Akane admitted. "I guess I can't. Sorry."

"DIE!" Shampoo and Ukyou shouted, leaping at the closet.

"No!" Konatsu shouted, stepping protectively in front of the
storeroom door. "Stop!"

"Konatsu, what on earth are you doing here?" Ukyou demanded
"And why are you in my way? Move!"

"No!" Konatsu shouted stepping. "I won't! This is my club,
Ukyou-sama, and I won't let you trash it."

Ukyou blinked. "What the hell are you talking about, Konatsu?
I thought that this was Nabiki's club. Why aren't you back at
Ucchan's where you belong?"

"Because he belongs here," Nabiki said. "Like he said, he's
my business partner, and if you start a fight in this club, I *will*
make sure you regret it, despite what my foolish younger sister has
done."

"Ladies," Noku-chan urged holding her fan out to one side to
block the view of Akane desperately trying to button her blouse. "You
really should calm down and try to settle this without a fight."

"Is little girl going to get in our way?" Shampoo demanded,
pointing her sword at the blonde girl's neck.

"I'm no fighter, but if it means protecting Tendou-san's
sister, then yes."

"Akane!" Ryouga shouted. "Where are yoUURRRRKKK!" Ryouga
burst into the kitchen, saw what everyone else had seen by this
point, and passed out in a puddle of blood with Futaba.

Konatsu lashed out, taking the opportunity Ryouga's
distraction provided. Both Ukyou and Shampoo fell limply to the
floor, their eyes still open.

"I'm sorry, Ukyou-sama," Konatsu said, kneeling over her.
"But I can't let you do this."

"What did you do to them?" Noku-chan asked in dread, noting
the long needles now protruding from the sides of their necks.

"It's a paralysis potion," Konatsu said. "They're still
conscious, but they can't move."

"Untie my waitress, Akane," Nabiki commanded.

"Just as soon as I find my bra," her sister mumbled.

"It's harmless?" Noku-chan asked.

Konatsu nodded. "We really should put them somewhere safe. It
will be a few hours before they're able to move again."

Inside, Ukyou was seething with anger, but couldn't even
clench her teeth. How dare he? How dare he protect Akane, especially
after all Ukyou had done for him?

Konatsu and Noku-chan quickly carried the two immobile girls
up to the unoccupied bedroom on the second floor.

"I wish it didn't have to be like this," Konatsu said as he
laid Ukyou down on the bare floor in what he hoped was a comfortable
position. "I'm doing what I think is right, even if you don't agree
with me. I still have a lot to learn, but I think I'm doing a good
job, even if Nabiki-sama has to whack me when I mess up. Maybe
someday we can be friends again. I hope so."

"Are you okay?" Noku-chan asked the kunoichi, who had tears
standing in his eyes.

"Yes."

"We need to get back down and make sure everyone's okay."

When they got back to the kitchen, Futaba and Tsubasa had
both been revived, Ryouga had gotten lost again, probably out of
shock and horror, and Ranma was standing in the corner, slowly
beating her head against the wall. Akane was standing sheepishly next
to her sister.

"Akane," Nabiki said. "You need to go home. Until you can
control your hormones, you're not welcome to come back."

"H-hai," Akane stammered, not able to meet the older girl's
eyes.

"Ranma," Nabiki continued. "If I *ever* find out that you're
having sex with my sister on the job again, you're fired."

Ranma continued to beat her head into the wall.

"Now go home, the both of you," Nabiki commanded.

Akane nodded, grabbed Ranma's arm and led her from the
kitchen.

"And for God's sake, Akane, put on some panties!" Nabiki
shouted after her.

Futaba and Konatsu couldn't help but stare.

* * *

A few blocks away from the club, a young man strode towards a
park. He had short, thick hair and was wearing a tasteful jacket and
slacks combo. Eventually, he happened across a park bench where two
young woman and another man were setting. One of the young woman had
short black hair and a hopeful expression. The other, who had long,
lavender-colored hair, was fretting over the young man who looked
like he hadn't slept in days. His hair was mussed and he needed a
shave badly.

"You were right, Suoh," the first young man said. "It *was*
Kaichou."

The ragged young man looked up, a fire burning in his eyes.
"You're sure, Akira?

"You really found him... her, Akira-kun?" the short-haired
girl asked, correcting herself.

Akira nodded, and put a hand on Suoh's shoulder as he started
to bolt away.

"We've found her, Souh-kun. Now's not the time to barge in
and start demanding answers. That will only cause her more pain."

"But... Kaichou is there. I have to go!" Suoh shouted, his
hands shaking.

"I know," Akira said. "Believe me, I know. Nokoru's family
has given her more pain than anyone should have to handle in their
lifetime, and as much as I want to see her, I know that if I try to
barge back into her life right now, it would only cause her more."

Suoh deflated somewhat, but the fire in his eyes never
diminished.

"I'll have to protect her from afar, then," he said, drawing
himself to his full height.

Behind him, both the girls smiled hopefully.

Akira nodded. "If we do, then Kaichou will come to us in her
own time. I believe that is for the best."

* * *

The action at the club slowly wound down until there was no
longer a line at the door and more people were going than coming.

After a few more hours, Ukyou and Shampoo blearily staggered
down the stairs, both of them still numb but mostly able to move.
Konatsu looked hopefully across the room at Ukyou, but she wouldn't
meet his eyes.

"They really need to be walked home," Tsubasa suggested to
Nabiki.

"You just want to chase after Ukyou," Nabiki said in
response.

"Well, of course," Tsubasa said. "But you don't really need
me here this late. My salary's not worth it for you if I just stand
around looking pretty, is it?"

Nabiki rubbed her chin and nodded. "Seeya. Konatsu-chan, make
a note that Tsubasa left early.

"Hai, Nabiki-sama," the ninja said.

"goway tsubasa..." Ukyou mumbled as she staggered out the
doorway.

"But, Ukyou-sama! Don't you need a knight in shining armor to
carry you home?"

"if i could lift my spatula, i'd kill you," Ukyou replied.

"Hup!"

"put me down, damn it."

"Tsubasa's right," Nabiki said to her other employees. "It's
not getting any earlier, and we're making less and less money keeping
this place open. What do you say we make 'last call' in about half an
hour?"

Konatsu nodded in agreement.

A while later, Nabiki chased everyone out and locked the
front door. She smiled at her two remaining waitresses and raised her
abacus victoriously into the air.

"We did it," she said triumphantly. "If our customers keep
coming like they did tonight, we'll break even on startup costs in
less than a month."

"So how about bonuses?" Futaba asked.

"Please don't use profanity at work, Futaba-chan," Nabiki
said, still grinning from ear to ear.

They were two waitresses short, but everyone seemed to be
happy. After a quick cleanup, Futaba took off pretty quickly, citing
school the next day. Noku-chan was still hanging around, scrubbing at
a stubborn, but almost non-existent stain on one of the tables.

"Is it time to go already?" she asked.

"You don't have anywhere else, do you?" Konatsu asked in way
of reply.

Noku-chan started guiltily.

"It's not hard to see," Konatsu said sheepishly. "I was in
the same position myself just a few days ago."

"I'm sorry," Noku-chan said. "I'll go."

"Wait!" Konatsu said before the girl could grab her jacket.

Nabiki poked her head back into the room from the kitchen.

"We have that extra room upstairs," Konatsu said. "You could
get Nabiki-sama to pay you in room and board instead of money."

"Room and board don't exactly buy independence, Konatsu-san,"
Noku-chan said quietly.

"No," Konatsu admitted. "But it will give you a place to
build independence from. Sleeping on rooftops and park benches won't
do that. I've been there."

Noku-chan gulped. "Are you sure... sure I can have the room?"

Konatsu nodded.

Noku-chan ran out of the room, tears standing in her eyes.

Nabiki walked out into the main room and stood just behind
Konatsu.

"I'm proud of you, Konatsu-chan."

"For taking care of Noku-chan?"

"Of course not. That was the first sound business decision
you've made all evening."

Konatsu face-faulted.

"Seriously," Nabiki said. "You're using the resources that
you have available to you to protect your assets and future profits.
In other words," she said, seeing the incomprehension building on
Konatsu's face, "she won't do herself or us any good by freezing to
death out on the street."

Konatsu nodded. "I knew you weren't *all* bad, Nabiki-sama."

"If you tell anyone, I'll arrange it so that you're audited
next year. It won't be pleasant."

"Hai!"

Konatsu smiled and watched his new employer walk up the
stairway.

For the first time in a long time, Konatsu felt safe, happy,
and secure.

* * *

A few blocks away, an Okonomiyaki chef was yelling at the
tops of her lungs.

"DAMN IT, TSUBASA! GET THE HELL OUT OF MY RESTAURANT!"

"Not until you're all better, Ukyou-sama!"

"Shampoo kill pervert-boy as soon as regain use of arms."

"Tee-hee!"


"QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!QUACK!"

----------------------------------------

The Nerima Boys' Club Reference List

The cast of Ranma 1/2 was created by Rumiko Takahashi and is used
here without permission. Along with the cast, there were a few
'crossover' characters and cameos in the club scenes with characters
you may not be familiar with. They include:

Konatsu the genius kunoichi - If you're only familiar with Ranma 1/2
from the TV series, you may not know that Konatsu appears near the
end of the Ranma 1/2 Manga. He's a genius ninja who's been raised by
his abusive (and truly hideous) step-mother and step-sisters in a
Cinderella-like fashion. He really doesn't understand that he's not a
girl until Ranma explains it to him. Even then, he still has trouble.
This is compounded by the strong crush he develops for Ukyou. He's
especially bad with money, but an absolute genius at combat. He
doesn't match Ranma's strength or skill, but can almost outfight him
on tactics and strategy.

Tsubasa Kurenai - Appears in both the Ranma 1/2 manga and TV series.
He's a cross dresser who went to the boy's school Ukyou attended and
deeply in love with the chef. He's a master of disguise, if not a
master of knowing when disguises are appropriate.

Futaba Shimeru - Appears in 'Futaba-kun Change!', a manga by Hiroshi
Aro. Futaba grew up thinking that he was a normal guy, but when he
reached a certain age and started getting turned on by girls, he
changed into one. He discovered that his entire family had gender
changing abilities. They changed from male into female, or vice
versa, when excited or aroused. As the manga progressed, Futaba
gained enough control over his shape changing abilities to follow the
same line of work his father did and became a semi-professional
actress and idol-singer.

Nokoru Imonoyama - Appears in several manga and anime from CLAMP,
most notably 'Clamp Campus Detectives'. In the CLAMP stories, Nokoru
is the youngest son of the Imonoyama zaibatsu and student president
of the CLAMP School Elementary division. He's a genius in electronics
and computers. Nokoru is a feminist and will do anything to help a
lady in distress. He has a strong penchant for intrigue and disguises
and turns up in women's clothes from time to time. Despite the fact
that Nokoru appears as an adult male in 'X/1999', I've taken several
liberties with the character (including a sex-change) to setup a
future story.

Suoh, Akira, Utako, and Nagisa - are also CLAMP characters. Suoh is
Nokoru's bodyguard, and like the rest of his family and their
'special persons' feels a bond between them that compels him to
protect Nokoru's safety. Again, I've taken a few liberties with the
characters to set up a future story.

Hiroshi and Daisuke - are Ranma's buddies who hang around him
occasionally. They're never named in the manga, but are named once or
twice in the Anime.

Michiru Kaiou and her blonde 'Boyfriend', Haruka Tenou - are actually
Sailor Neptune and Uranus from Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon. While
their lesbian relationship is not explicit in either the manga or the
anime, Haruka frequently cross-dresses and the two act as a couple.

Takeo Takakura, his date, Sae Sawonoguchi, and Ayanojo Abaratsupo,
are members of the Mahou Tsukai Tai, a Magic Club that occasionally
defends humanity from alien invaders. Despite the fact that Takeo and
Sae both have strong crushes on each other, Ayanojo is in love with
Takeo, and resents Sae somewhat for stealing the man he loves.

Utena Tenjou and Anthy Himemia - Appear in Shoujo Kakumei Utena: La
Fillette Revolutionaire. Despite the fact that both girls appear to
be straight, (Although Utena tends to dress as a boy) one of the main
subplots of the story in both manga and Anime is the growing
attraction and affection between the two. This is much more apparent
in the Adolescence of Utena movie, which features a lesbian love
scene between the two. (Damn, I can't wait for that one to come out
on DVD. My DivX version sucks, and it's still beautiful to watch.)

Ranma and Futaba's song and dance number is 'Persona', which can be
found on the Pretty Sammy TV (Magical Project S) soundtrack.