"You want us to WHAT?!?"
With those words out of my youngest sister's mouth we all stared at Father, who by now had begun to sweat under our collective gaze. After a long moment of silence Nabiki finally asked in an annoyed tone, "Daddy, What were you thinking?"
Putting on a pained expression, Father looked at us all and began to explain, "A long time ago, just after Kasumi was born, Saotome Genma and I made an agreement to unite our two schools of martial arts by marriage. And now, Saotome Nodoka was hoping to uphold the honor of her... um... remaining family and keep the agreement. Now, I know you are all a bit young for such matters, and I'm not saying you HAVE to do this, I'm just asking you to... think about it for a while. As... a future possibility."
With that Akane jumped to her feet and yelled, "No way! Forget it! I'm NEVER going to marry that... that... jerk! That... psychopath!" The sound of her stomping off to her room was more felt then heard, and the slam of her door was quickly followed by a sigh from Father.
Nabiki and I just sat there, looking at each other, her with a frown on her face as I could almost watch the quick thinking machine that her mind was wrap itself around this new wrinkle in our lives.
Getting up, I followed the path that Akane had taken and walked upstairs to my room, gently closing the door behind me.
And what shocked me most about this whole thing was simply the fact that I wasn't surprised. Somehow I knew things were leading up to something like this. And as I sat on my bed and thought about it, all those little conversations with Nodoka, all the simple and innocent questions, suddenly made sense.
She had been planning this all along, from the very beginning.
And, of course, the answer was plainly obvious.
She was doing it for Ranma.
Everything that woman did, was for Ranma. She must be worried that he might never marry, and was using this agreement between her husband and our father to ensure her family's bloodline.
That's so silly though. Ranma should have an easy time getting married. He's nice, honest, a little simple, but a good person overall. You just need to watch out for... hmmm.
And so armed with the whole picture, at least as I saw it, I sat down to think. Eventually, I reached out and pulled down a book from the shelf next to my bed. One of only four that lay there.
Mother, before she passed away, had taught me to keep a diary. She said that going back and reading your past might help you make important decisions now, because it brought forward things that you had forgotten about as time went by. She also told me to start a new diary for each major change in my life, to keep such things separate and in perspective.
Four diaries. One started when I was six years old, my first, given to me as a present from my mother, Kami bless her memory. The second one I bought a month after she died, because I had nobody else to talk to while our whole family mourned. The third on my first day of Junior High two year ago, announcing the first steps toward my fast approaching adulthood. And I still write into them, all of them. Usually not more then once or twice a month, but I still do.
The fourth diary... the fourth was a whim. At the time, I still wasn't even sure why I did it. Started the day Saotome Nodoka and her son showed up on our doorstep just three months ago. Three short months that I already knew had changed my perspective on things, in ways I hadn't even thought about, till now.
And so I laid back on my bed...
And opened this piece of my life...
And began to read.
Diary Of A Mature Child (Prelude)