Air Ranma (Part #5)
Monday morning and Akane found herself in the unusual position of walking to school with her older sister, having skipped her usual morning job. And while not really in the mood for any sort of conversation, there were some things that she really needed to think about.
"Nabiki, have you noticed anything... different, with Kasumi lately?"
Her sister glanced at her a moment before turning her attention back to the surrounding traffic and saying, "Different in what way?"
"I don't know... she's just seemed a little bit distracted this weekend, is all. Ever since we saw that girl..."
She caught a frown on Nabiki's face even as she asked, "What girl?"
Almost feeling better about the fact that her sister hadn't dismissed the whole thing Akane quickly filled in. "During that quick storm that had rolled in Saturday morning we got stuck at the park-"
"The one next to the new shopping center?"
"Yes, that one. Anyway, we were waiting and this girl just appeared out of nowhere, riding on roller blades. And... and she was just AMAZING! I mean, she literally FLEW on those things. Anyway, she stopped right next to us, but then took off again before I could ask her name. I really wished I had too, I've never seen a girl that tall-"
Starting to get a little irritated with the interruptions, Akane turned, only to find her sister watching her with that creepy calculating gaze she had.
"How tall, Akane? Say, as tall as Father? Taller? As tall as, say, Ranma?"
Suddenly feeling a little pressured as her sister stepped closer, Akane took a step back... and then paused. The girl had been tall, but as tall as Ranma? Thinking back to the prior week, to the towering boy that had asked her for directions...
"I don't know... maybe that tall."
In relatively high spirits for once Ranma made his way to school. After seeing Nabiki off yesterday he had come home and managed to beat his head against the stack of homework for another hour or so before finally giving up. The overall result of the study session with Nabiki, however, had really made a difference in the pile that had been given to him.
A good breakfast, only a little fussing from his mother, and finally seeing the end of the long paperwork tunnel... yes, today was going to be a good day.
"Oh come on... what IS IT with you people?!!"
And so she grilled her younger sister for every possible detail, of which there were frustratingly few of: A young looking woman playing at the park who had amazing physical skill, was wearing Chinese clothing, and being almost (if not as) tall as Ranma.
It couldn't be coincidence, Nabiki knew better then that.
So many hints, and yet so many missing clues...
There was something going on. She KNEW that, in a gut-level sort of way. Something that was 'odd' about the whole thing. And this girl, Ranma's sister, was the key to it all. If only she could FIND her...
Glancing towards Akane she found her sister pointing across the street even as she added, "There she is!"
Quickly looking she easily spotted the woman... in fact, it was hard not to. Easily close to, if not actually even with, Ranma's own incredible height, the woman would have stood out in any crowd. The ill-fitting Furikan boys uniform she wore only added to the jarring image.
She HAD to be the one.
Yelling out, "Saotome!" Nabiki jumped out into the street, heedless of the on-coming traffic, and ran towards the girl. She actually made it halfway across the street before the girl finally turned towards her. The look of shock that crossed the woman's face, something Nabiki hadn't been expecting, was quickly followed by panic as she also took off running.
And she was a HELL of a lot faster.
Nabiki managed another two blocks before she finally gave up. The girl was long gone, taking with her the best opportunity of getting the answers Nabiki wanted.
Today was, as far as Ranma was concerned, one of the worst days in his life.
First, he had gotten hit with someone's morning wash water on the way to school. Then, Nabiki had spotted him in his cursed form and had tried to chase him down. And finally, he'd discovered after finally changing back and making it school, that the homework he had finished the night previously was soaked completely through, and his teachers had refused to accept it.
No, not a good at all.
And with the ring of the lunch bell he knew it was going to get worse.
*pssht* *pssht* *pssht* *pssht* *pssht*
"...I hate lawn sprinklers."
Quickly he marched across the school grounds, in search of his love that he'd somehow managed to miss that morning. A rumor, told to him by his love's older sister, had placed her somewhere near the gym, and so arming himself with a single red rose, a fitting symbol expressing the true depth of his feelings, he had gone to find her.
Not locating her within the gymnasium itself he then began to prowl the surrounding grounds, his perseverance strong, and it wasn't until he reached the equipment shed that hope began. Hearing the low feminine grumbling that so clearly announced his love's presence, he quickly stepped around to the side of the building, rose held in perfect pose, as he said, "Finally, I have found you my-"
And for the first time in history found himself without words.
The woman was, quite literally, a titan of raw beauty.
The look of shock at his presence was noticeable through the long red bangs of her hair, even as she guiltily hid something behind her. Her clothing, a curious pick of the Furinkan High men's uniform, was wetly plastered to her body outlining every curve, every muscle, with near perfect definition. Towering over even his own impressive height her form quivered with emotion, which only brought attention to other, grossly displayed, aspects of her figure.
Her sheer presence overwhelmed him until finally, his voice sounding almost drunk with emotion, he said, "Oh creature of-"
Blinking once he then pushed forward. "I-"
Closing the distance between them with a single fluid stride the woman's hand encompassed his neck, pinning him against the shed wall, and in an intense voice she declared, "DON'T. Don't you dare say it. Don't you dare even THINK about something that... disgusting." Then giving him a hard shake she added, "Got it?"
The woman's tightening grip, coupled with the sudden realization that he couldn't feel the ground beneath his own feet, prompted Kuno into making quite possibly the smartest decision in his entire life.
Then dropping him to the ground the woman bent to scoop up a backpack, previously unnoticed, and quickly marched off.
Her departure completed Tatewaki found himself slowly sinking to the ground as emotions, never before felt, coursed through him, and he couldn't stop himself from thinking...
...who was this woman, to make him feel so?
Finding a hopefully less traveled spot, Ranma closed her eyes and shivered a moment before unscrewing the cap of the thermos, hopefully full of still luke warm water.
The look the boy had given him, her at the moment, was one that he had seen a couple times before since acquiring the curse. It made him feel queasy, almost dirty, when men looked at his cursed form like that, especially after that one time in Fuzhou, when....
Shaking her head to get rid of the horrid memory she quickly dumped the thermos water over her head.
Feeling the cold water splash over her clothing and skin turned out to be the last straw.
She was sitting next to the open kitchen window, sipping on some fresh tea, when she heard the front door nearly smash open.
Jumping to her feet she ran to the hallway, to find her son, in his feminine form yet once again angrily throwing his backpack, completely soaked along with the rest of him, against the hallway wall hard enough to sound throughout the entire house.
Stepping forward she exclaimed, "Ranma! What is the meaning of this? It's not even noon yet, what are you-" but stopped as soon as she saw his face.
Anger. Depression. Dread. Frustration. The last overshadowing everything else to the point where she didn't know if he was going scream or cry. It was decided a moment later when he threw his uniform jacket onto the ground and yelled, "I HATE school!" before stomping up to-
"I won't have your coddling ruin his potential, woman! I'm going to take him where you can't interfere, and teach him to be a REAL man..."
-and past her.
As soon as his bedroom door slammed shut Nodoka slumped against the wall, using it to support herself against the emotional storm left in her sons wake, and all she could whisper was, "Please no..."