Disclaimer: These characters are not mine. They belong to the wonderful Rumiko Takahashi and her licensees (Viz Communications in North America). This work is strictly for the non-profit enjoyment of fans. No copyright infringement is intended.
A dull steady pain was her entire world for a long time.
Part of her instinctively told herself to get up, to fight whatever was hurting her, but when she opened her lips the foul, nearly crusty taste in her mouth made all effort to move become a whimper.
Still not moving, but unable to escape the pain of the hangover, Akane started to find other sensations, like the heat like a small fire around legs, while her chest felt nearly frozen. With a jerk she managed to roll onto her back, kicking the doubled up covers off her legs. She cracked her eyes open just enough to look at the dripping plastic ice tray she had apparently gone to sleep hugging.
Tossing the tray, she grabbed a couple of the wet, half melted ice cubes left on her mattress and pulled them coolingly against her head, as she wondered why she had done this to herself. Slowly, fighting the pain throbbing in her skull, Akane began sorting her memories of how she ended up like this.
Yuka had a party, she remembered that much. It started early because it was Yuka's birthday but then later after dark it had been planned to be more of an end of school bash. She remembered the cake and the earlier part of the day, and the start drinking. Then everyone was arriving, and there was that garbage bin full of some cocktail that...
Thoughts stopped as her stomach lurched at the memory of the taste, and she had to hold back from convulsively puking on the spot. With shaking limbs she struggled to her feet and lurched for her door.
Unsure how she even managed the stairs, Akane finally burst into the bathroom, only to see a figure in a familiar silk shirt and black pants bent over the toilet bowl. Just the sound of heaving from the other person started a reaction in Akane, who stumbled for the sink to empty her own stomach.
The sounds of retching slowly faded, and Akane took a long, unladylike drink directly from the facet. Slowly the pair seemed to control themselves enough to speak.
"Are you okay?" Akane asked.
"Someone is going to pay for this."
Akane's eyes widened at the wrong voice and her suspicion was confirmed when Nabiki turned from hugging the toilet-bowl to lean against the wall. "Why are you in Ranma's clothes?"
Nabiki briefly glanced down, but couldn't find the will to shrug. "I'd be more worried about your dress, Sis."
Looking in the mirror, Akane stepped back seeing the short Chinese silk minidress. She hurriedly pulled the bottom down below her waist. "Where is my underwear?" she hissed.
Nabiki didn't deign to answer as she struggled to her feet and moved to the tap to get some water and wash the taste of bile from her mouth.
"Nabiki, I... What happened last night?"
The worry in her sister's voice made Nabiki look up, seeing Akane even paler as she finished pulling Ranma's black braid out of the pouch like pocket on the front of the dress.
"I don't remember anything after the start of the party Akane, do you?"
"I remember we were playing that stupid truth or dare roe sham bo game, then... nothing." Shaking her head then grabbing her temples at the pain, Akane tried to think clearly. "I'll go and ask Ranma."
Stumbling back through the house, Akane made it up the stairs and looked in the guest room door, only to find it empty. Ranma's futon had obviously been unused.
"Oh Akane, how are..." Kasumi asked as she came out of her bedroom. "My you don't look well. Was the party good at least?"
Ignoring the perpetual optimism of her sister, Akane shook her head, "We have no idea. Nabiki and I can't remember what happened and I can't find Ranma. Have you seen him?"
Kasumi looked rather relieved as she glanced towards Akane's room. "Oh my, Aunty thought Ranma might have stayed with you last night. That was why she took Daddy and Uncle out to a brunch to give you privacy."
Groaning Akane shook her head.
"Would you like some breakfast?"
Retching but holding it in, Akane shook her head. "No thanks, Sis."
On wobbly legs, Akane stumbled back downstairs to the bathroom finding Nabiki stripping.
"He isn't here, Sis, Ranma didn't make it home."
Nabiki shook her head, ignoring the pain as she began to strip. "Close the door. First I am going to have a bath, then I am going to get dressed, and then we can work out what is going on."
Refreshed and dressed, Akane stepped around her door and down the hall to her sister's room. She opened the door as she knocked but didn't wait for permission to enter. Nabiki was sitting on the bed in a long skirt and her bra.
"Come on Nabiki, we have to find Ranma," Akane stated.
"Akane... you... you weren't wearing underwear. Do you think you did... anything, last night?"
Blushing, Akane brought her hands forward but then shook her head. "No. I'm sure of it. Why? Did you?"
"I... I don't know, but maybe. I'm sore."
"You don't think... you and Ranma..."
"Hah!" Nabiki laughed suddenly. "Even if I was so drunk I would touch him, he would have to be plastered to look at anyone but you like that."
Despite Nabiki's genuine reaction, Akane still looked nervous. "But then why did I cut off his braid? And who did you do it with?" Her anger flared as she spoke.
"I'm not sure I did do anything. I mean there was no...evidence. I'm just sore."
Nabiki stood up and pulled on a blouse. "Now lets find out what happened, where your dope of a fiancé is, and why we can't remember. Then we get angry. Then we get payback."
"Where do we even start?"
Nabiki picked up her runners and led the way out of her room. "Yuka's house."
Walking up to the large property, Akane kept flashing through the rather clear events of the afternoon spent here before the sudden blank of the night. It started with her, Yuka, Sayuri, and some of the girls from school, they talked, and joked, and she did recall a few racy conversations. Then they started making cocktails as the sun was going down. Just some as practice before Yuka started on a huge plastic tub worth of 'Illusions'. Then others started arriving including Ranma with Daisuke and Hiroshi.
She shook her head to stop thinking about her missing fiancé looking especially handsome, and hiding with him in the bathroom for ten minutes after Kodachi had arrived and he tried to avoid her, then... hazy to blank.
She refocused in the moment as she reached for the doorbell and a piece of blue cloth caught her eye. Pressing the button she turned and stepped into the garden, reaching over a birdbath, she pulled a blue bikini top from the other side.
Nabiki joined her in frowning. "I really hope we can't recall a complete screw up of a party because if it was the blast of the year that I am suffering for without remembering, I will make people who weren't even here pay."
Rolling her eyes, Akane held up the top speculatively. "Did Ukyo wear this?"
"Maybe..." Nabiki said before groaning and rubbing her temples. "I think Sayuri was in a swimsuit under her dress too."
The door before them swung open and a nervous Yuka looked out, instantly turning relieved and jumping to hug the two girls. "Um, do either of you two know how drunk I got last night?"
"You don't remember?" Akane asked dismayed.
Nabiki just groaned. "That seals it, we were spiked with a drug."
Yuka frowned. "I remember Ukyo was helping Hiroshi add a couple extra bottles of spirits to the cocktail bin but..."
Cutting her off, Nabiki shook her head. "No, just alcohol wouldn't have us all forgetting. This gives us two prime suspects, Shampoo who I don't even remember being there, or Kodachi who I know showed up with her brother."
"But Nabiki..." Akane began only for Nabiki to cut her off.
"Yeah, Shampoo's dress. So she must have arrived at some point."
Yuka nodded but couldn't remember the purple haired amazon being there either. Then her eyes brightened, "Actually I was just draining the hot tub and there was something that might have been hers."
Leading the way through the large, newly built home, Nabiki eyed the furnishings she missed having taken the side entrance straight to the back yesterday. "So this is your step father's place, right?"
Blushing lightly, Yuka nodded. "Yeah, Mom remarried two years ago. He is cool but kind of distant. Actually it was weird because I got woken by the phone this morning by Mom screaming her head off because the police called her over drunk teens at the party. You know they went down to Okinawa for the weekend but she was threatening to fly straight back. David-san was laughing saying kids will be kids, and that I would have it all cleaned up before they got back. And I will, but Mom started yelling at him for not being angry."
Nabiki shook her head as they went out the the back door into the patio area. Evenly paved, the wide area made an ideal area to hold the near fifty attendees the night before without spilling inside. Framed by a more traditional Japanese garden behind a large jacuzzi, a western barbecue and bar, and the small lawn at the back of the yard, the very sight of it inspired flashes of recollection from the girls.
"Oh my god, did I fight Kodachi and someone else in the hot tub in my underwear," Akane whispered.
Nabiki shrugged, more interested in the chair near the bar where she had a vague recollection of straddling and making out with a boy. Deny it though she tried she was pretty sure it was Kuno too.
Yuka however raised a finger to point at the clothesline over the lawn area. "Um, I guess so."
Akane moaned seeing her dress drying on the line. The tone of the moan changed seeing another dress, two pairs of men's pants, a bra and thong set that wasn't hers, and several swimsuits also drying. Leading the way over to the garbage piles already started, Yuka reached in and grabbed a small bag from the bottom of the pile and opened it.
Reaching inside Nabiki changed her mind and pulled her hands back. "Wow, it's like an ancient Chinese bong."
"So Shampoo was here and she drugged us?" Akane asked.
Slowly Nabiki shook her head. "Nah, I don't think so. Shampoo has played with memories in the past, but I don't think any of us would be dumb enough to puff on anything she offered. This has got to be Kodachi."
Yuka groaned as she examined the bad state of her hair, while Nabiki took a cautious sniff in the bag. "I can't smell pot so god knows what else we might have been affected by on top of whatever Kodachi added though."
"I found it in the bottom of the hot tub," Yuka stated. "Along with two boy's trunks and a one piece swimsuit. Between whatever was in it and whatever whoever owned the swimsuits did in there, I am draining the tub."
"Smart move," Nabiki said as Akane blushed heavily.
The shorter girl held up the blue bikini top, "Well it wasn't Ukyo at least, she was wearing... Oh Kami, she was the third girl in the hot tub I fought with."
Nabiki giggled, "Yeah I remember holding Kuno back from getting involved. Ranma pulled you out but then someone spilled a drink on him and Kuno went to pieces seeing his two favorite girls making out. I even got a pic... My Camera! I had a camera! Where is my camera!"
Yuka shrugged. "I don't remember, I haven't seen one this morning."
"Daisuke!" Akane said suddenly, and looked at Yuka. "He had a camera cause I made him take a picture of you, me and Sayuri when he got here."
"Where does he live?" Nabiki interjected.
Both Yuka and Akane shrugged.
"Do you have a computer, I can check the web. Maybe I'll get lucky."
Yuka nodded and directed Nabiki inside. "Akane can you help me pack up these tables?"
Trying not to feel stung at being treated like the pack mule of her circle of friends, Akane nodded and smiled, "Sure."
It was five minutes before Nabiki screamed, "GET IN HERE!"
"What is it?" Akane asked as she and Yuka rushed in.
"The walking dead man that is Daisuke has my camera. Worse still, at three am he uploaded the pictures to his Facebook page."
With dread, the girls looked at the images of the party they couldn't remember.
Most started fairly tame with pics of the girls and guys of their and the senior year smiling and many 'V' hand signs. A sprinkling of St. Hebereke girls were shown too, as well as Ukyo and Kodachi.
Akane smiled at a picture of her, Yuka and Sayuri holding like their fingers were guns posing like 'Charlie's Angels'. From here the events in the photos left what the girls directly recalled though some sparked brief flashes of recollection, and general dismay.
A picture of Ukyo trying to get Ranma's attention was followed by ones of her taking off a pretty blue frock to show a blue bikini, a later pic showed a tug of war with Akane with Ranma as the rope, Ukyo having one foot into the hot tub.
A picture showed Yuka making out with one of the seniors from Nabiki's class in a corner of the garden. Clicking on 'next' brought up a picture of Nabiki talking to two of the young men with a glass in each hand and being offered a third.
Then next photo showed Akane with arms locked around Ranma, their faces and lips squished together, his hand stroking her hair. "Great, he doesn't remember our first kiss and now I don't remember the second." Akane huffed.
The huffing continued at the appearance of Shampoo in the dress Akane woke up in, the foreign girl carrying the Chinese bong they had seen before billowing a pink smoke and offering it to Ranma in more than one photo.
The next two images showed Ranma and Akane again making out, somehow squeezed in a closet then reacting to being surprised in said closet.
The confusing snapshots of the night rolled on with one of Kodachi and Akane rolling on the tiles fighting, the next shot showing the pair splashing into the hot tub.
Confusingly the next image showed Akane wrestling with Ukyo and Kodachi, without her dress.
"What happened to my dress?"
Nabiki clicked to the next image before answering. "Don't know, Sis, but this is where Kodachi lost her dress," Nabiki said as she pointed to a picture showing Kodachi's black dress floating in the hot tub while Ranma was pulling Akane back into the hot water to leave Kodachi, in her underwear, fighting a now topless Ukyo.
All three girls tilted their heads as the next photo was at a right angle, till Nabiki gasped and Akane slapped her hands over her flaming face. The image showed Ranma, holding two cocktails, dancing blindfolded among others, while Akane, who still hadn't found her dress, danced with her back to him, pressing her rump against his crotch and sipping from a cocktail with a straw.
Righting their heads as Nabiki clicked next, the girl's jaws dropped at the image. It was still an image of the dance floor, but this time Akane was dancing with her little black pig in her hands, his little eyes wide as she spun around. Meanwhile, in the background her neglected and still blindfolded still male fiancé was being kissed by a blindfolded Kuno of all people.
"HOW?" Akane exclaimed loudly, wondering if there would ever be an answer for that.
Another click and the screen showed Ranma and Akane absent from the dance area, this time Nabiki showing a lot of leg as she rode Kuno, who was down on his hands and knees like he was a pony.
"Well we don't need a zoom function," Nabiki drawled as Yuka slapped her hands on her flaming face in embarrassment. The image of a naked and wet Ryoga Hibiki was embarrassing, but the hungry look in Yuka's eyes as she chased after him through the party seating was so outright funny that Akane squeaked out a giggle.
Yuka looked sourly at Akane, "Bring back up the pic of Ranma and Kuno kissing so I can laugh."
Ignoring the request to click next, Nabiki drawled, "Well that's one way to get Ryoga covered up. The next computer image in the gallery showed Ranma, posing like a big game hunter beside a table holding the perpetually lost martial artist. Ryoga was laid out, apparently unconscious, his wrists and ankles bound by his own bandannas, an apple in his mouth and a towel over his privates.
Ranma's face in the image after that was far less jovial as Akane joined Yuka and several other girls doing shots off the naked young man's chest and abs.
Nabiki took too long to recognize the danger the next image brought her, Akane growling beside her before she noted that the image of herself passing a pair of panties to Kuno in exchange for a wad of cash. The same dark color and pattern as the ones Akane had been wearing in the previous images.
Nabiki held up a hand. "Now wait, see there in the background, you are still wearing yours."
Confused, Akane looked closely at the picture seeing that she was still... not completely naked. "So whose are those?"
"Yeah, I figured you'd flash yours with a kick or something at some point, so I brought the second pair you have and sold them."
"How is that not as bad?" Yuka asked, earning a glare from Nabiki. Akane huffed and reached onto her sister's hand to click next.
Apparently it had been become something of a theme, because the camera next caught an eyes wide in surprise Yuka as Nabiki's hand was pulling on the younger girl's knickers as they were around her knees. Behind them the senior boy Yuka had been kissing earlier was holding a wad of cash apparently for what Nabiki was stealing.
"Heh, I wouldn't have done that if I had been sober," Nabiki defended weakly as Yuka glowed with a surprisingly bright blue angry aura. The aura popped as the next image showed Yuka kissing said boy again even as he held her underwear in his hand.
"Looks like you can stop being angry and pay me a thousand yen for getting you two together with that prank," Nabiki drawled as Yuka stared red-faced at the passionate kissing displayed on the screen.
"If you..." Akane began, but choked off her own voice as she took in all of the next photo. This time it was Akane herself on the table, still in only her underwear with Ranma's face buried into her stomach, apparently drinking something from her even now tingling bellybutton. Behind her Nabiki was taking another wad of cash from Kuno who queued behind Ranma.
Clicking on quickly in case the next shot showed Akane bring drunk off of by anyone else, Akane found the next button vanish with the end of the gallery. The last image again starred herself, this time fleeing an angry Shampoo with a string thong in her hands.
"Wait, what are the videos?" Yuka asked as Nabiki took back control of the computer from Akane and changed to the third gallery. Clicking back and into the video gallery, they worked through one of Daisuke walking around earlier in the night and talking to guests. The next video appeared to be of Daisuke sneaking through the bushes to where the slurring voice of Sayuri was joined by the giggling voices of Akane and Yuka.
The three girls were singing the baseball song associated with Janken before throwing their hand out, Yuka's paper wrapping Sayuri's stone. With a cheer for Yuka, the girls looked at the blushing Sayuri. "Truth?" she asked.
The blushing Yuka in the video feigned to mull on this for a moment. "How far did you go with Shinji-kun?"
Bright red, Sayuri squirmed. "Well, I didn't want to go the whole way but I did go down on him."
Both the Akane on the video and the one watching the video went bright red, but it was the Akane in the video who spoke, "But how did you know what to do? I mean did he enjoy it?"
Watching the video, Yuka and Nabiki looked in surprise at Akane but all three refocused on Sayuri's reply.
"Well my Mom said I should save myself for marriage but if I absolutely had to do something with a boy, she gave me this embarrassing pamphlet about fellatio. All I remembered was to concentrate on the top... you know... bit, but it did have this suggestion of ice cubing, and he really liked that."
"Yeah, it is just like normal but you put an ice cube in your mouth. It is supposed to feel great cause of the difference in temperature."
"Kinky," Nabiki whispered watching the online video end.
"Sayuri's mom is going to ground her till university if she sees this," Akane said still blushing.
"I'm already probably going to be grounded till the start of term, and if I my mother finds this site, it'll be till university too."
"Once we kill Daisuke we can take it down," Nabiki stated as she clicked on the next video. Immediately one of the girls from the party was shown standing over a blindfolded male on a chair, doing a remarkably raunchy dance. For a moment Akane started to get mad till the light shifted and she realized it was Kuno blindfolded with the earlier bought pair of Akane's panties on his head, not Ranma.
Yuka gasped just before Nabiki closed the webpage, which revealed that it was Nabiki doing the dancing as the light shifted again.
"I will skin Daisuke for this," Nabiki vowed face flaming and having just opened a new page to start the way back to where they were up to before closing the video of her grinding on Kuno like a stripper.
Finally, opening the next video, the camera was shaking as it was turned hastily up towards the roof of the building where Ranma stood with Akane, still in just her underwear, in his arms. In a slurring voice he looked down on all assembled. "Listen up. Akane is my tomboy, and I'm gonna marry her."
Yuka and Nabiki looked up at the shell shocked Akane who was watching the couple kissing on the screen as if wasn't her.
The camera panned down as Kodachi in black underwear, Ukyo in just her bikini bottoms, and the surprisingly most modestly dressed Shampoo started yelling up at the couple and drawing weapons.
Ranma apparently came up for air as he began to shout again off screen, the camera turning back up from focusing on Ukyo's uncovered and unbound chest. "She may be uncute, but she is my sexy tomboy and I am gonna take her home now."
The video finally swung from Ukyo back to the roof just in time to capture an image of Akane licking up Ranma's neck. Which was in stark contrast to the trembling anger the Akane now watching the video had, but the video was cut off as the pair on the screen jumped back off the roof to avoid the chui flying through the space they had just occupied and continuing into the sky like a missile.
The next video was obviously different just by background walls lit by flashing red and blue lights of a police car, and it took a moment to realize it was shot out the front of the house. A police officer was suddenly thrown across the view to hit the front door.
"Stupid man no touch Shampoo!"
The purple haired girl stepped into view to check that her opponent was down when the door swung open and Akane came rushing out. "You kicked my sister, you bitch!"
Rushing out the door, Akane leapt over the police officer, swinging her fists. Shampoo backed to the side with an evil smile on her face. "Kick was for Husband stealer's yin dao! Come here and Shampoo give right!"
Letting Akane charge her, Shampoo was unprepared when the drunk Akane 'cunningly' stumbled and tripped on the deceptively flat ground, Shampoo stepping back into a thorny bush. With a surprised yelp of her own she leaped forward over Akane, but the downed girl was aware enough to kick out and trip the Chinese Amazon, sending her into the garden and face first into the birdbath.
Despite a receding background cry of "Cat!" caught by the audio, the video stayed on the scantly dressed Akane climbing to her feet and jumping over the bushes after neko-shampoo struggling in the dress now oversized for her form.
That was the end of the video gallery.
"Well, I guess we know where you got the dress, Sis," Nabiki said in a slightly relieved tone.
"And it sounds like she hurt you with a kick," Akane agreed.
Yuka pointed to the last gallery of photos of the group. Obediently, Nabiki opened the last gallery.
"That's us leaving in an ambulance," a bewildered Akane stated at the image of her struggling into Shampoo's dress with Ranma ahead of her helping Nabiki into the vehicle's open rear doors.
The next photos apparently returned inside, surprisingly starring Mousse, who looked red-faced as he sat shirtless on a chair. It took a longer moment of surprised to realize his arms were chained, with his own weapons, to the chair.
Beside him Sayuri was holding a strip of black cloth.
"Oh kami," Yuka stammered at the next image which showed Sayuri on Mousse's lap, apparently kissing the now blindfolded young foreign boy's lips.
Mousse was smiling in the one after as well, this time the still topless Ukyo kissing the bound young man.
A third showed Kodachi having a turn.
"Who is that?" Nabiki asked as a new girl took her turn. The image of the cute girl with curly hair made Akane shrug.
"No idea," Akane said, before looking to Yuka.
Yuka shrugged back at her classmate. "I don't know her to have invited her. I'm just hoping I didn't kiss him too. I didn't even invite him."
The next in Mousse's lap was a red-faced Tatewaki Kuno. Fortunately the wannabe samurai wasn't kissing the bound young man, but had removed his blindfold and the pair were merrily singing together with a microphone.
"Oh well, at least someone enjoyed it," Yuka lamented.
"Enjoyed what?" Nabiki asked.
"My new portable karaoke machine was also at the bottom of the hot tub this morning."
Clicking forward, a new image showed a smoking Kuno laying half out of the hot tub, an electrical cord apparently trailing into the water near him. He was apparently okay as his face was covered in black marker drawings from the guests.
The last few images showed Yuka and Kenta waving and shouting to Daisuke and his camera away from a quiet shadowy make out corner, as well as a few other similar couples, and ended on an image of Mousse asleep on the grass, still without his shirt, but cuddled up to a golden retriever.
"That is the neighbor's dog," Yuka said.
"Probably thought it was Shampoo," Akane said rather bitchily.
"Well, I'm pissed off," Nabiki said.
Yuka nodded. "Being hospitalized by Shampoo, that's understandable."
"Screw that," Nabiki snapped. "This was the best party of the year and I wake up without money or memories. Kodachi will pay as soon as I visit the hospital."
Akane shook her head. "If Kodachi did this, then she might have Ranma. We have to see her first."
Nabiki frowned at her obstinate sister then shrugged and turned to Yuka. "We are going to look for Ranma and then the hospital. You have to find Daisuke."
Yuka nodded but frowned. "How?"
Glancing at the younger girl, Nabiki smirked. Picking up a pad on the desk she wrote an address."Kenta. Here is his address. He was captain of the soccer team and Daisuke is on the team. He would have his address."
"But I..." Yuka began squirming. "I haven't even spoken to him before last night and I can't remember even that."
"He likes you. Hell, he bought your underwear. He digs you. Go to him, demand he takes you to Daisuke. Force Daisuke to log in, delete everything of the party, and then kill him."
Yuka was only half sure Nabiki was joking about the last step.
Reaching the gateway to the wall around the large property the Kuno's lived on, Nabiki reached for the bell while Akane was more direct and kicked in the gate.
"Smooth, Sis," Nabiki teased as she followed behind.
"It isn't like I'm knocking holes in the wall," Akane defended but as they approached the main building she had apparently taken Nabiki's words to heart enough to only push the fancy double doors in and stride inside.
Looking much the worse for wear, Kodachi Kuno looked up in surprise at the intruding girls storming her home. 'How rude', she thought indignantly but managed to draw a gymnastics club from behind the black dressing gown she wore.
"What do you wa...?" the dark haired girl began but dropped cursing the pair. Her voice failed part way through as the sound of her own voice drilled into her own ear drums.
"Where is Ranma?" Akane demanded.
"Wherever..." Kodachi began to snap back before wincing and continuing in hushed tones. "Wherever you took him to after the party, you scarlet harridan."
Akane glared at Kodachi, distrustful of the girl and trying to pick out if she was lying when Nabiki touched her younger sister's shoulder.
"It looks like she fell asleep in her makeup," Nabiki pointed out, causing Kodachi to blush and look in an ornate mirror on the wall. Ignoring the dark haired girl now dabbing a tissue to her lips to moisten it and wipe at her makeup, Nabiki continued. "If she had him, she'd be dressed to the nines."
Kodachi looked up, "You lost him? You dragged him off in that ambulance with your sister faking injury so you could tempt him without overwhelming competition and you lost him? HO-HO-hurk."
The dark haired heiress's own laugh caused her to wince and then suddenly cup her mouth. Reaching for a potted plant in the corner of the entry foyer of the mansion, Kodachi was violently ill.
Akane looked on with concern while Nabiki smiled. "So I was right, you did drug the rest of us. You obviously remember events at the party."
Wiping her mouth with her tissue, the green tinted girl glared at Nabiki. "Prove it."
"What did you use, Kodachi?" Nabiki asked calmly.
Sneering as she regained her confidence, Kodachi glared back. "I'm sure you..."
Nabiki's voice, out of the megaphone suddenly in her hands, echoed through the large room, Akane wincing and covering her ears as Kodachi whimpered holding the sides of her splitting head and collapsing to the floor.
"DO I HAVE TO ASK AGAIN?" Nabiki maliciously asked through the megaphone. The whimpering lump on the ground finally held up her hand in surrender.
"Flunitrazepam," Kodachi groaned out.
Nabiki frowned but for some reason Akane recognized it from school. "As in Rohypnol? That is why we don't remember, it can affect memory. Wait, you tried to drug us to...?"
"No, she wanted to date rape Ranma." Nabiki said putting it together. "Geeze, talk about desperate. I mean seriously, find a guy who likes you."
"And yet my darling Ranma fled your slutty sister's arms," Kodachi snapped back weakly.
"The coward fled before my manliness," Tatewaki Kuno's voice sang out. Stumbling down the hall wearing his own dressing gown and still slurring his words, Kuno leaned up against the wall to appraise the two girls, two pairs of panties in his hand. "Verily I conquered his evil and earned my destined prizes."
Akane slapped her hands over her eyes as Kodachi glanced at her brother and looked away. "Close your robe, brother."
More clinically, Nabiki strode over to her fellow classmate and snatched the two garments in his hand. "Where did you get these?" she asked, ignoring his nakedness to shove the two pairs of women's underwear into his eye line. She already recognized the pair of Akane's she had sold him in the photos. Where he had gotten the pink briefs she had been wearing was a lot more worrisome.
"My beloveds treated me..." Kuno began before stumbling down to a seated position. He immediately started crying, "Why can't I remember my beloved's embraces."
Waving to Akane, Nabiki left the Kuno siblings to stride down the hall to Kuno's bedroom, ignoring the decor of pictures of her sister and Ranma's cursed form to look for clues.
"What are we looking for," Akane asked distastefully looking at Kuno's bed and the pictures around the walls.
"Well, firstly to make sure Ranma wasn't curled up in his bed," Nabiki replied before reaching for a bag on the floor and pulling out her dress and bra from the night before. "More importantly, why did Kuno have all my clothes after we left him at the party to go to the hospital?"
Akane shrugged in confusion as Nabiki stared at her. "Now can we go to the hospital and find out what happened there?"
Groaning, Akane nodded.
"Shouldn't we go to the emergency entrance? That is where they would have taken us in the ambulance," Akane proffered as they approached Nerima General Hospital.
"Whoever was on the midnight shift probably went home this morning. We'll get more service at the admin if we play nice than kicking a fuss in a busy emergency ward," Nabiki replied as she directed them towards the main entrance.
Walking in, Nabiki led the way to the front desk. "Hi, my name is Nabiki Tendo, this is embarrassing but I was drugged last night and don't recall what happened. I'm told I was brought in by ambulance last night."
The young woman behind the counter looked at Nabiki concerned and immediately began typing into her computer. "Yes I have you here, brought in at just before one am. You were treated by..."
Nabiki eyed the woman nervously as she looked at an older, matronly woman at a nearby counter. "Mrs Shoki, I have a doctor listed here I don't recognize. He isn't on the registry."
The matronly woman hefted herself out of her chair to cross to the younger woman's station. "Oh, Doctor Ono."
"Doctor Tofu?" Nabiki and Akane said together as the woman nodded.
"He is consulting with a case up in ICU who was in surgery yesterday. I heard he helped in the Emergency ward with a couple of drunk girls."
Nabiki and Akane were both pink faced, though it looked rather like Akane was the more embarrassed of the pair.
The matronly woman shook her head. "I'll check and see if he is still on site and available."
Looking rather tired, Tofu waved as he entered the hospital cafeteria and saw the two girls at one of the tables.
He had asked the matron at the front desk to send them to meet him here as he was in need of food anyway after the long night. He smiled as Nabiki gestured to the space beside her at a table where a small spread of cafateria food was laid out. It was no Kasumi home cooked meal, and with the smell of disinfectant from the hospital was less than ideal, but a hot meal and seeing that these two girls were okay after the night he had had brought a wide genuine smile to his face.
"Good morning you too, I take it you are feeling better than last night?"
"Hello Doctor Tofu," Akane said thoroughly embarrassed to have been around the highly respected family doctor last night so drunk and drugged she couldn't even remember it.
Nabiki nodded, only slightly pink. "Doctor, I'm told I have you to thank for fixing me up last night."
Frowning at the stress on the word 'told', Tofu blinked. "You don't remember."
"Turns out Kodachi put some Rohypnol in the punch at the party. Neither of us have much memory of anything after sundown. We wouldn't even know about coming here if one of Akane's idiot classmates hadn't taken a picture of us getting into an ambulance. So how bad was I hurt?"
Looking surprised, Tofu pushed his glasses up his nose and took a sip of orange juice. "Actually, it was just a twisted ankle and a groin strain. A quick fix. The police officer that was brought in with you was apparently more work."
"The one Shampoo hit?" Akane asked.
"Yes. Though we had to fix her up too before the police could take her away."
The concerned look on Tofu's face for Nabiki made her worried, but Akane burst with the question on her mind. "Do you know where we went after and if Ranma went with us? He didn't come home with us so we are tracing our steps to find him."
Wincing, Tofu shook his head. "So you didn't make up with him?"
Akane's eyes went wide. "Make up with him?"
Clicking her tongue, Nabiki spoke evenly. "When you saw Ranma did he have his braid?"
Caught off, Tofu nodded.
"Akane, if Ranma still had his braid you must have been with him wherever we went next."
"Well, you two kind of split up after Ranma left first," Tofu said with a cough.
Wincing, Nabiki held up her hand. "Start from the beginning."
Nodding, Tofu began. "I was waiting for a patient of mine to come out of surgery late last night but was down at emergency ward to help out when you were brought in. A few stretches and some massaging and you were set right."
Nabiki nervously interrupted. "I was still wearing underwear at that point, wasn't I?"
"Of course," Tofu returned bewildered.
"Sorry, it was a crazy night. Please continue."
Shaking his head, Tofu continued. "After I finished with you I found Akane with Ranma in a spare examination room. Akane, you had been trying to do some first aid on some scratches Ranma had on his forehead but never got far. They were making out before I interrupted. After I patched Ranma up he had gone to the bathroom when Nabiki, you joined us."
As the older man chuckled and lightly blushed before taking a bite from the plate Nabiki had ordered for him, Nabiki sat up straighter, "What?"
"You were admittedly pretty drunk. But you had 'borrowed' the injured officer's police belt and night stick."
"I what?" Nabiki asked shocked, then shot Akane a glare for giggling.
"Indeed. You actually pinned my shoulder to the wall with the stick and asked why I hadn't asked K... your older sister out yet."
Akane slapped her hand over her mouth, then giggled again. Nabiki actually calmed and shrugged, "And what was you're excuse?"
"I never got to say one. You two started telling he how I should do it then... Akane..."
Seeing the doctor searching for the words and glance at her sister's lips, Nabiki's eyes narrowed. "Akane kissed you?"
The sound of sucked in air ended as Akane slapped her hands over her bright red face in embarrassment.
"Well, I take her at her word that is was how I should kiss K... your older sister.. More importantly that was when Ranma came back in and the pair of you started a shouting match. He actually seemed upset about something you did with Ryoga earlier in the night, then he fled saying something about becoming a Shinto monk?"
"And I let him go?" Akane asked, concern overriding embarrassment.
"Actually, you took something from Nabiki and ran after him."
"So what happened to me?" Nabiki asked.
"I was called back to the ICU and it wasn't till later that I heard the police taken you away for stealing their equipment."
"I was arrested?" Nabiki asked turning pale.
Tofu shrugged. "I called the station earlier this morning to check on you and apparently you were bailed out already."
Nabiki's eyes narrowed. "Did you take a blood sample when you treated me?"
Tofu nodded and Nabiki sighed in relief. "Thank the kami. As long as I have proof of the Rohypnol in my blood I can fight anything that would go on a permanent record."
Seeing Nabiki calming, Akane nodded. "So what Shinto shrines are around here for Ranma to have gone to?"
Akane smirked at her sister, who was puffing after climbing the stairs to the nearby shrine, walking with Nabiki to crest the top to the old wooden arch gate.
"Well, aren't you an eager one," a voice called out cheerfully as a bald headed priest was replacing the hinges on the lower closing gate.
"Um, good morning," Akane began uncertainly. "Did we meet last night?"
Loud laughter came from the monk again. "You and your fiancé wake me up in the middle of the night and you're the one who doesn't remember? Then again, since you only came up from kissing each other to demand the ceremony, I guess I should not be surprised if you don't recognize me."
"Ceremony?" Nabiki asked, in a tone that made it barely a question.
Seeing the other girl, the cheerful old man laughed again mirthfully. "Middle of the night, banging on my gate, here is some young man demanding to become a monk. He even started cutting off his hair. Then this one shows up and tackled him. For a moment I wasn't sure if I should open the gate or leave them alone but they must have decided something because both this one and her man started screaming out and banging on my gate till they broke it, demanding I marry them."
"You married us?" Akane choked out.
"Well, as I said last night, it won't be legal till you show up with your stamps, but neither of you were taking no for an answer, so you said you'd be back today. Do you have the stamps?" he asked with a smile.
Wiping her hand down her face, Akane started hyperventalating.
Nabiki shook her head at the smiling monk. "No, but more importantly, we kind of lost the groom. Do you know where they went next?"
"Hah, all I remember was this one telling him to take her to bed and the pair of them running down the street. Ah the joys of youth and love."
A still red Akane finished hyperventilating her embarrasment, facing the mirror in the at the Nerima Police Station.
She focused on preparing to equally kiss and kill her fiance the moment she found him, while waiting as Nabiki tried to find out what happened and see what defense she was going to muster against any charges. On arrival at the station they had talked to the officer at the front desk who quickly verified that Nabiki had been brought in with another girl, from the description Shampoo, who then escaped without a trace. Akane guessed she must have used her curse, but that was hard to explain to police officers without any proof.
She needed to work out where Ranma might have taken her... for a wedding night. Half embarrassed by the very idea, she was also very nervous. She would kill him if she didn't recall her first time, but she was pretty sure they hadn't.
Disappointingly she was confident she would have some feeling after doing such.
Then again, she woke sans underwear in a dress that she'd have to pull down every four steps lest it ride up around her waist. How Shampoo kept it down riding a bike mystified her.
It was as Akane was washing her hands, that she heard voices yelling loud enough from the other side of the wall to still be legible.
"The media will have a field day if they find out some foreign girl walked out of my station naked. We don't let anyone who assaulted a fellow officer walk away!"
Smirking, Akane quickly strode out the door and around to the office with the closed blinds she guessed was where the yelling was from. Ignoring more muffled yelling from within, she knocked on the heavy glass beside the door.
The door swung open and a slender man with gray hair looked out over her head then down at her. Before he got the chance to bellow at her, Akane nervously spoke. "If you are looking for the Chinese girl who beat up a police officer at a party on Ittouippa Hebereke Street, my sister and I are heading to see her right now."
It took a moment for the Police Chief to come to terms with this girl before him offering the solution to his problems.
Riding in the back of a police cruiser towards the Cat Cafe, Akane looked at her sister, noting Nabiki's annoyed expression.
Leaning over she whispered to her big sister. "What's wrong. Are they going to charge you?"
"No. They gave me a stern warning and kept part of the bail money to pay for the handcuffs that I lost from the belt I stole, but that is all."
"Then what's wrong? Are they going to tell Kasumi or Daddy?"
"No, or at least they shouldn't. Though Kasumi will probably hear it through the gossip mill. Daddy too through the council."
"Then what's wrong?"
"I called Kuno to bail me out."
"Kuno? He was wasted. Could he even do that?"
"He signed the documents."
"And you think you might have gone home with Kuno?" Akane asked nervously.
"That would explain how he got my clothes. But that doesn't answer how I got Ranma's clothes or where my money is."
"The money for my and Yuka's panties?"
"Well hopefully more than just those but yes," Nabiki whispered back, careful to see if the two officers in the front seats were paying any attention to them.
"Wait, if you had money why did you call Kuno to bail you out?"
"Because that's my money."
Pulling the car over to the curb, the police officer in the driver's seat looked over at Akane. "This the place?"
Looking out the window, Akane saw the front of the Cat Cafe. "Yes, this is it."
Exiting the car, Nabiki smirked at the three following cars, all up eight officers arrived to arrest the foreign girl who lived inside. It wouldn't be enough if she put up a fight, but Nabiki figured they would keep Akane from biting off more than she could chew as they looked to see if the Amazon had managed to kidnap Ranma.
Following the officers into the ramen restaurant, both girls were surprised to see how shocked the police officers were, slack jawed looking at a bandaged man being served at a table by the purple haired girl.
"Officer Kega, what are you doing here?"
With a dazed look, the man at the table looked at the police crowding the otherwise empty restaurant. "Just having some ramen."
"Would you like some tables, Officers?" an apparently smug Cologne asked as she hopped into the room. The old, white-haired woman on her walking stick smiled at Akane.
The first of the police officers shook his head and gave a 'no thank you' before addressing the injured man again. "Officer Kega, is that waitress the woman who hospitalized you last night?"
For his part Officer Kega looked at Shampoo for a long moment then back at the other officer with confusion. "I was injured last night?"
Leaning towards Akane, Nabiki whispered. "They must have made him forget. She's going to get away with it."
"What can we do? Look at that smug smirk she has," Akane whispered back angrily.
Shampoo only just realized Akane and Nabiki were behind the officers, gaving the pair a cold, hate filled gaze. "Kega-san, maybe that too too flat chested, ugly girl hurt you, yes?"
As Kega turned towards her, Akane froze, wondering if Shampoo was somehow going to get her arrested for the other girl's crime, only for Mousse to stumble into the room carrying a laptop. "Hey, check it out Shampoo. Is this video really you beating up a police man?"
Four pairs of tazer leads hit Shampoo just as she got her hands around Mousse's neck. Voltage through both teens made them writhe and convulse before Shampoo collapsed. Mousse managed to stay upright in a dazed stance for a bit longer before he got a whack to the head from Cologne's walking stick and dropped.
"If they had Ranma..." Nabiki began before Akane put her hand on her sister's lips to quiet her.
"Shh. Let me savor this."
"Can you slow down?" Nabiki puffed as she tried to keep up with Akane's powerful strides towards Ucchan's Okonomiyaki Restaurant.
"Ranma wasn't at the Kuno's or at the Cat Cafe. If Ukyo didn't somehow kidnap him where could he be?"
Turning the last corner before the restaurant with apartment up above, Nabiki looked at Akane. "So how do you want to do this?"
"I kick the door in and get Ran..."
Akane's words were cut off as she ducked, narrowly missing being decapitated by a giant spatula, thrown from an upstairs window and across the street with enough force to embed it to the handle in the opposite wall.
"You #$%^#& dare show your #$%&%$ face around ^#&^#(& here after (#(&&^ and #(#&^( you god #$%% $%^& ^( () &^ #$%^!"
Ukyo's screams came from the window, tears pouring down her cheeks. Becoming incomprehensible, Ukyo spat out at the pair and slammed the window shut, then the blinds too.
Breaking the silence, Konatsu's feminine voice startled both girls. "You'll have to forgive her. She didn't take last night well."
"She knows what happened?" Nabiki asked, turning to the kimono clad figure trying to extricate Ukyo's weapon from the wall.
"She knows Ranma declared he was going to marry Akane-san," the cross dressing ninja waiter replied. "When I brought her home from the party she was upset that Ryoga had left her alone too, and then I think I messed up by not kissing her back when she kissed me. She has been crying about not being a woman all morning and refuses to believe me when I tell her she is the most beautiful and caring woman I know."
Nabiki schooled her face to keep it supportive. "Long term you probably did right, Konatsu-chan. Ride out the rest of today and I will come past and give you some lines to make her feel better when she is ready to hear them. Only ten thousand yen. But Akane and I have to go right now."
Grabbing her sister's hand, Nabiki began to lead Akane away.
"Nabiki," Akane hissed at her sister. "You didn't even ask him if he saw Ranma or if he is inside the restaurant."
"Because I don't need to, Sis," Nabiki returned as she led them to the nearest main road.
"What do you mean? Do you know where he is?"
Tired of walking already, Nabiki smiled as she saw an approaching taxi and flagged it down. Once Akane and she got in the back, she gave the driver the address Akane realized was to the Kuno home.
"Why are we going back to Kuno's? He was so wasted he wouldn't remember even without being drugged like us. And Kodachi didn't know Ranma was missing."
"That's just it Akane, Kuno was wasted. The only way he could have got to the station to bail me out is if Sasuke drove him over."
Akane's eyes widened. "And he wouldn't have been drinking even if he was at the party. He'll remember everything like Konatsu did!"
The taxi was nearly to its destination when the Kuno's black town car cruised by, heading the opposite direction. Any doubt that might have existed about this being the Kuno's car was dispelled by the leotard wearing Kodachi standing up through the sunroof urging the driver to go faster. "Follow that car," Nabiki cried.
With a sudden break and lurch, the Japanese Taxi driver pulled the wheel hard to the right, waiting till the back wheels of his vehicle spun part way around before dropping the clutch and slamming the gas, drifting the last of the turn and then shooting after the black sedan.
Nabiki nervously eyed the growing numbers on the taxi meter as Akane hung her head out the window. "Faster, I can't see them around that corner!"
Turning said corner brought the target car into close view as after only a hundred meters it was parked in front of a building with a purple neon sign.
Akane eyed the flutter of black rose petals in the entrance of the love hotel.
"Go," Nabiki told her. "I'll deal with the taxi driver and Sasuke!"
With a nod Akane shot forward, rushing inside. Beside a small booth, a large board showed the various names of the rooms. Most all where alight but a bare handful were dark signifying, as she understood it from gossip about the hotels that rented by the hour during the day, that they were occupied.
Frowning, she reached to pull open the grate and extract the worker behind it for details when she realized he was already stiff as a board, a black rose on his lap. Cursing, her eyes went to the elevator doors, when she spotted the black petals trailed not to them but the fire stairs.
Taking them two at a time, Akane was up three flights before the trail left the stairwell, and down a short corridor reaching from the elevators to four labeled doors. Akane was unsure for a moment before she heard a muffled voice from the second door.
"Why Ranma, it's so big, HO-HOHOHOHOHOHOHO!"
With a kick, the door broke in. Akane spotted a bleary-eyed, naked Ranma handcuffed to the bedhead, doing a remarkable job of escaping the leotard wearing Kodachi.
"Akane, this ain't what it looks like!"
Glaring at her fiancé, Akane strode in and pulled back a hand to whack him before slugging Kodachi. For her part, Kodachi was happy to let her rival alienate her handsome love from their detestable forced engagement, and thus never put up a guard and was knocked out in one hit.
Ranma was still trying to wake up and work out how he ended up in regaining consciousness in a love hotel room with Kodachi laughing, but he was thoroughly unprepared when Akane not only saved him but hugged onto him tightly.
"Um, Akane, not that I'm complaining, but what's going on?"
Nabiki drawled from the door, wafting herself with a wad of cash. "Well, I can add a little to that, big boy."
Frowning, Akane looked to her sister then back at Ranma. Then down at Ranma's immodest positioning.
"Ow," Ranma complained at a pillow being shoved into his lap.
"So what happened?" Akane asked.
"Well, Ranma, as I'm sure you don't remember, we were at Yuka's..."
"I'll tell him about the party later," Akane interrupted. "What happened to get Ranma here after leaving the Shrine?"
"Shrine?" Ranma inquired confused.
"Later you!" Akane said with a glare.
Nabiki shook her head. "Apparently after collecting me from the police station, Sasuke was driving us back home when we spotted a cute pair of girls making out in the middle of the road. Kuno of course demanded we pick you and your cursed kissing partner..."
"Me?" Ranma demanded, shocked. "We were... kissing?"
"Shut up Ranma, I swear to god if you say anything to make us fight I will hurt you," Akane stated. "Yes, last night we were kissing. Shut up and accept it as a good thing."
"But kissing as a girl?" Ranma asked despite the warning.
"Oh my god Ranma, how often do you get splashed by water? So what if you were a girl!" Akane ranted before with a final glare for her idiot fiancé, she looked back at Nabiki.
Seeing the young man confused but quiet, Nabiki continued with what she extracted from the Kuno family ninja manservant. "Anyway, apparently seeing you two girls making out in the back seat of his car got Kuno-baby excited. Sasuke claims I suggested we all go to a love hotel and Kuno insisted we divert here."
Akane blushed and glanced to Ranma who looked like he was trying to decide if this was still some weird drunken dream.
Shaking her head, Nabiki smiled. "The last he knows is that Kuno had the room next door and found his master passed out with my clothes and my money, which I now have back." She gently brushed the bills against her cheek.
"So how did we end up in here?" Akane asked.
"At a guess, I distracted Kuno-baby next door while the two of you enjoyed..." Distracting herself, Nabiki eyed Ranma's predicament. "Are those the police handcuffs? Awesome work Akane, but I want them back, you have no idea how much the police wanted to charge me for them. You don't even have the keys."
"That still doesn't explain how we ended up at home without Ranma," Akane complained, ignoring her sister's preoccupation with money.
The older Tendo sister smirked as she finished looking over the room. "That might."
Walking across the room and stepping over Kodachi as she went, Nabiki reached a small unusual entertainment system in the corner. A DVD burner tray was open and an unlabeled disk sat in it.
"What is that, Nabiki?"
"If we're lucky, it's you being kinky, Sis," Nabiki chuckled as she pushed the tray back in. "Looks like you wanted a memory of your big night. See that camera over there?"
"The owners recorded us?" Akane asked shocked.
"No, you did Sis. The recorder burns to this disk which you get to take home."
On the screen, the bed came into view, Ranma handcuffed but looking off camera with a lusty expression that made Akane's knees shiver. "Forget it and get back over here," the Ranma on screen huskily said.
It took all of a second for Akane to realize the Ranma on the screen was none too modest and much 'happier' than the one currently on the bed was, so she slapped her hand over that part of the screen she felt her sister shouldn't be looking at.
When another naked body came on the screen, the Ranma on the bed said "Wow!" before Akane could even try to cover the important bits with her hands. Growling at the inadequate coverage, Akane stood and covered the television screen with her back, facing her sister and fiancé with a bright blush even as the voice continued on audio.
"You know Ranma, ever since I saw this thing that first day in the bath, I have wondered what you would do if I did this."
"Akane!" Ranma's voice moaned from the television, leaving even Akane curious as to what she did to get that reaction when the microphone managed to pick up slurping sounds that made her eyes cross.
The actions in the video were interrupted by a banging on the door that preceded it being opened. "Akane, I need your dress," the Nabiki in the video stated.
Groaning in annoyance, the Akane in the video snapped at her sister. "Busy!"
"So I see."
"What happened with Kuno?"
"He is small, flaccid, and will not shut up about you two joining us next. I gave up and stormed out, but locked my clothes and money inside."
"Well take Ranma's, he doesn't need them anymore."
The inane giggling of the girls on the video was punctuated by a masculine snore from the same.
"Oh, he fell asleep," the Nabiki in the recording was heard to say. "I'll go and let you wake him back up."
"Wait, I need some ice," Akane's voice said. "Like Sayuri said, he'll like that. I'll walk you out and find an ice machine."
The audio of the recording was just snores for a long moment before Nabiki hit stop and eject on the disk and giggled. "You had him right where you wanted him and walked me all the way..."
"Shut up, Nabiki," Akane snapped, aware it was bad enough that she did exactly that, but now she understood why she went to bed with an ice cube tray.
"So, where are my clothes?" Ranma asked.
"In the hamper at home, little brother," Nabiki teased before looking at Akane. "We probably should have brought him some clothes."
Akane frowned then went to a little grotto like bathing area and got some cold water. "One splash and he can get out of the cuffs while you and I, Sister, help Kodachi out of her leotard. Then we go home, get him male and awake enough to watch the Facebook videos and find his stamp."
"Huh?" Ranma asked.
Ignoring Ranma, Nabiki pursed her lips. "If Yuka hasn't found and killed Daisuke and taken them down yet," she said with a hint of threat if it was otherwise.
"So which one is Daisuke's house?" Yuka asked as Kenta kissed her neck in the alleyway just off the street where her guide had told her her classmate lived.
"Just another kiss and I'll tell you," Kenta replied.
"You said that two kisses ago," Yuka sighed before kissing him again.
Super special thanks to Taechunsa and Doc Emmit Brown for helping me clean up this oddity.