As soon as the school bell rang Nabiki stood and made her way towards the classroom door. It being a Monday, she knew that Akane had some after school activities that would delay her arrival home for at least an hour or two, and she planned to capitalize on it.
Ever since that morning, her curiosity had been running rampant over the sudden 'illness' that Kasumi had come down with. Now admittedly Kasumi has been sick before, but for Ranma to also come down with something... after the two of them had gone shopping late last night... AND for Ms. Saotome to be so handily there to make breakfast this morning...
...something was going on, and she wanted to know what.
Quietly opening the front door while not bothering to announce her arrival, Nabiki quickly chucked her street shoes and crept into the house. She still wasn't sure what she was looking for, but that'd never stopped her before.
Checking first the kitchen, and finding it unoccupied, she then took a peek into the dining area, and found Kasumi sitting there alone.
Or, at least, it looked like Kasumi.
She was wearing an informal kimono and sitting on a rather high pile of soft cushions. Instead of being in its usual well- groomed ponytail, her long hair was tied back in a severe bun, keeping it off of the back of her neck. And while an artful amount of makeup hid anything that might show on her face, the rest of her body almost radiated it's own tangible aura of deep, and total, exhaustion.
What the hell had happened?
Deciding to keep it simple Nabiki stepped into the room, and after waiting just long enough for her sister to notice her she then crossed her arms and leveling THAT look at her.
Jerking straight as soon as she saw her, Kasumi shot her one of those perfect 'Everything is fine, isn't it a lovely day' smiles while reaching out and taking a sip of the tea before her.
Nabiki let it go for all of three seconds before slowly, deliberately, shaking her head. Whatever was going on, she wanted to know.
Kasumi kept up the obvious facade for another moment before closing her eyes and sighing in defeat. Placing her tea back onto the table she gestured for Nabiki to sit, while slowly, and from the looks on her face, painfully, stood up herself.
As Nabiki sat at the next table corner from where her sister had been, she watched as Kasumi pressed her ear again the closed sliding door that lead to the back porch, before carefully opening it just a crack. Slowly taking her place back atop the pile of cushions, she then closed her eyes once more and placed a single finger on her lips in a shushing signal.
A moment later, Nabiki heard Ranma and his mother's voices from out back....
"...is part of the duties that you must be ready for when you get married. I know you find it a little uncomfortable to speak about-"
"-but we need to do so. Besides, do you really want to have this conversation with your father instead?"
There was a silent moment before Ranma was heard saying, "Umm..."
"Exactly. So, about last night, I trust it was... educational?"
"Good, however, I need to clarify a couple of things with you, for the happiness of whomever you marry. First off, I saw the state that Kasumi was in when you brought, or should I say carried, her home last night. Son, please, I know my husband has instilled you with a deep sense of pride, but there are limits to everything."
An incoherent mumble was heard.
"She... she TOLD me not to stop! Over and over again!"
Eyes suddenly WIDE open Nabiki turned and stared at her older sister, her mind in total shock at what was obviously being talked about. In reply, Kasumi just nodded while giving another quiet sigh, admitting to everything.
"Yes, I can imagine. In fact, most women will probably say similar things in the future, however, you need to learn their limits. Besides, when I went to pay the bill at the Yasashii Hotel, the manager dropped me a subtle complaint. Really Son, after the first hour you should have just gagged her."
Her jaw practically slamming into the table Nabiki continued to listen as Nodoka flatly admitted to paying for a stay at the Yasashii Hotel. Probably the most well-known love hotel in all of Nerima.
A moment after that the rest of what she'd said also hit.
Silently mouthing the question 'Gagged?' at her sister, Nabiki watched as Kasumi carefully set her teacup back down, and then held her hands apart in a suggestive measurement.
It was just shy of being obscene.
Taking a deep breath Nabiki slowly pressed her index finger and thumb together forming an open circle, and held it up in question. She found herself swallowing loudly as a massive convulsion shook her sister's body, and then again when it occurred to her that that was the only answer she was going to get.
A great sigh could be heard outside before Nodoka then said, "I guess we'll have to cover that later. What about the book? I gave it to you to study. You HAVE been studying it, haven't you?"
Before Nabiki could even ask about that one, Kasumi reached underneath the table and withdrew a worn book. Placing it on the table Nabiki could clearly make out the title 'Kama Sutra.'
"Did you try the first five positions? They seem to be the most popular with people these days."
There was another mumble.
"Ranma! Answer the question!"
"Heh heh... Positions? I... uh... thought you said the first five chapters..."
The book she'd begun to flip though suddenly dropping through her fingers, Nabiki turned towards Kasumi as Nodoka replied, "Five chapters? Oh. Hmm... well, I guess that WOULD explain why it took you three hours to finish...." It was almost surreal as she watched Kasumi, suddenly boneless, wilt in front of her eyes, her upper body giving out a muted thump as it came to rest, face first, on the table.
"Well then, be that as it may, I still think you need to have a little more experience before I start to seriously look at your marriage prospects."
"Again? Um... okay, I... er, I really did like it. I think... um, I guess I could ask Kasumi if she'd want to do it again..."
Another convulsion wracked Kasumi's body, this time spilling the remains of her tea.
"No, no I think not. We should give the poor girl a rest, though I am enjoying the fact that I get to cook for you again." Nabiki could almost hear the smile on the Saotome Matriarch's face. "No, I was thinking of asking Nabiki this time."
Mouth suddenly dry she felt an almost primal fear suddenly grip her as she heard Ranma loudly protest.
"Nabiki?! Do you have any idea what she'd do to me, even just for asking?! Forget it!"
"So you have absolutely no interest in tying her up and for once making her do what YOU want for a change."
"No way! I'd rather... eh?"
She was halfway to her feet when Kasumi's hand latched onto her wrist in a death grip.
"Hmm... You may be right about the approach, though. I think I shall talk with Kasumi on how to handle this, especially since she was so enthusiastic about your pre-marriage training."
Hearing footsteps now just outside the back door, Nabiki doubled her already frantic efforts to pry her arm out of Kasumi's grip. Almost at her wits end, it was then that she heard the quiet, and unmistakable, sound coming from her sister's form...
...a giggle, and it sounded far from friendly.
With a clack the patio door was then thrown open, and wheeling around Nabiki found herself facing Saotome Nodoka, a woman she was suddenly very afraid of.
Unable to stop herself, she screamed.
Of course, as she found out two nights later, that was NOTHING compared to the muffled yelling she would be doing at the Yasashii Hotel....