That night, Genma was sleeping in the compound's dojo, while his wife and daughter slept in the guest room, upstairs. He was fine with the idea of not sleeping in the same room as his wife -- usually, when they were abroad, he didn't even sleep in a room at all, but outside, initially just because he liked it that way, while his wife had the tent to herself, and later shared it with Ranma. Nodoka didn't approve of Genma sharing a single tent with her and her daughter, and they only had the one tent anyway, just as there was just one guest room.
For a while, Genma imagined what it'd be like if they hadn't lost their house -- he'd finally be able to lie besides his wife at night, like a husband should. Even if he were confined to the dojo, at least he'd sleep with happy thoughts...
Ranma hadn't been changed back to her human form after she had been thrown into the pond that day and fought Akane. When Mr. Tendou appeared with a kettle full of boiling water, survival instincts pushed her not to agree to a demonstration -- "it needn't be that hot," she'd argued.
She was curled up on her futon, with her mother sleeping right beside her, and she had some trouble getting to sleep. She couldn't get the image of the Nabiki girl's intrigued stare out of her mind.
I might as well go see what she's like up close, the curious kitty thought to herself as she silently got up and stretched. Walking on her toes, she snuck out of the guest room without waking up her mother, and made her way to Nabiki Tendou's room, only to find the girl's bedroom door locked.
For a few tense moments, Ranma considered the moral implications of picking the lock. On one hand, it was breaking and entering. On the other, she really wanted to get to Nabiki, had no intention of taking any of her stuff and could pick the lock without damaging it if she was careful. Deciding the former was grossly outmatched she extended her index finger and stuck a nail into the keyhole.
The faint scratching sound wasn't enough to wake Nabiki up, but Ranma didn't take any chances with the possibly creaky door either. Every single degree the door was swiveled further open made her heart beat faster. Fortunately for her heart rate, she didn't need to open the door very much to slip through, and she soon found herself looking at her prize, her eyes brightly reflecting the moonlight shining in through the window.
Nabiki was as pretty from up close as Ranma had expected. She had to be careful not to breathe when she was this close to Nabiki's face, but still she took her time to carefully study every little bit of it.
From a young age, Ranma had felt a little different from the other girls at school. When they'd talk about the latest fashion, Ranma was an active participant, if not slightly less than the others. But when the topic of boys came up, all she could do was basically nod in vague approval. On the other hand, when the girls discussed themselves, she was again actively joining the conversation. This had puzzled her for a few years, until one of the girls had brought a magazine with her that she had nicked from her older brother. Ranma had, in turn, borrowed it and started to understand her situation. The next time Valentine's Day had come around once more, she finally knew who she'd give chocolate -- the girls in her class, with an extra helping for the girl who had brought in that magazine.
Genma was not the only one sleeping with happy thoughts, as his catgirl daughter had curled up and fallen asleep on top of Nabiki's lower legs, images of chocolate and Nabiki dancing through her head.
The next morning, Nabiki, obviously, found she couldn't move her legs. When she noticed the reason why, she just barely suppressed a scream before she considered that the red-haired catgirl curled up on her bed didn't seem to have done anything "bad," could've come in at any time, and reasoned that she must've not locked her door that night.
"Ranma?" she whispered, trying to wake up her visitor without startling her. Ranma softly purred and turned her ears towards Nabiki. For a moment, Nabiki just looked at her visitor, still a little sleepy. Ranma wasn't wearing much; just a shirt and some boyshorts. Nabiki couldn't imagine why specifically boyshorts, but was in no state to care enough about it. She herself was only wearing panties and a tank top, but at least she had the bed sheets, too.
It's not time to get up yet, and she seems harmless enough, the middle daughter reckoned. With a soft "here kitty kitty," she carefully woke up the girl at her feet and invited her to lie besides her. Ranma was all too happy to oblige, of course.
When Kasumi came along to wake up her sisters, she was greeted by the sight of Nabiki, who she had never seen doing anything genuinely romantic, spooning with Ranma, who she had never seen at all, her arms gently wrapped around the other girl's waist and nothing but her bed sheets between them.
Oh my, she softly giggled to herself. It seems like Nabiki found her calling. I wonder what Father would think.
Still, it was time to get up. Seeing Nabiki's camera within reach, Kasumi quickly decided not to wake her up the regular way, and took a photo of the two girls pretending to be silverware, with the flash on.
"Kasumi," Nabiki exclaimed, "what are you doing with my camera!?"
"You two looked so cute like that; I wanted a picture of it. How much was it again?" Kasumi countered with a disarming smile as she put the camera back where she had taken it from.
Later, in the bathroom, Ranma still hadn't changed back, but saved that for the bath she planned to have later. She was just brushing her teeth when someone knocked on the bathroom door.
"It's me, Nabiki. Is it safe to come in?" a familiar voice said from the other side. Ranma stopped for a moment to consider that question and spit out all the toothpaste foam. She was topless, with just a towel slung around her neck and hanging down the front to protect her modesty, but this was her prey asking.
"Safe enough, I guess," she called back with a naughty twinkle in her eye.
When Nabiki came in, Ranma was sitting on the floor, brushing her hair. Nabiki stared at the luxuriant red mass for a few seconds, and then tried to focus on her own appearance for a bit. When she had splashed some water in her face to fully wake up, something came to mind.
"Your tail... is it naturally this nice or do you use a conditioner?"
"That's actually a pretty good question. Since it disappears entirely when I use hot water, it is naturally this nice when it comes back. I do use conditioner on my hair though, and there were some times after getting cursed that I didn't have time to take care of myself as well, so my working theory is that my tail mirrors the state of my hair."
"It's a nice tail regardless," Nabiki said as she found herself somewhat mesmerized by the soft appendage and started stroking it. Ranma shivered. "Why the boyshorts, though? I would've expected a nice girl like you to--"
"Nabiki, please," Ranma interrupted in protest, suppressing a soft moan. "Don't stroke it like that."
"Oh, what's wrong with the way I stroke it?" Nabiki teased. "You seem to like it enough... am I right?"
Ranma softly nodded as Nabiki continued to lovingly stroke her tail. Could it be? Could she be like that too?
She stopped trying to suppress it and moaned in approval of Nabiki's continued administrations...
...when Kasumi called out that breakfast was almost done. The two girls scrambled out of the bathroom, passing a slightly confused Akane on the way. Akane couldn't help but notice that Nabiki was looking more gleeful than usual and Ranma was walking a little funny -- and not just because she walked on her toes. Within seconds, the youngest sister was absolutely certain that there had been perverted business going on between them. It really rubbed her the wrong way (as would that turn of phrase if her inner monologue wasn't in Japanese) to know that the cute girl she'd tried to befriend was, at least to her sensibilities, a sexual defiant ruining her big sister.
"Hey, at least put a shirt on before you go eat, ya perv!" Akane shouted after the half-naked catgirl. At that moment, Nabiki noticed Ranma's endowments, quite ample for her size, were bouncing around quite a lot, the towel incapable of staying in place. She had to fight back a bit of jealousy over the four centimeters difference, but couldn't deny that Ranma was a fine piece of work.
Not quite lemon or lime, but building up to it a little. Hence my calling it "citric" in the previous chapter's notes. There's actually a whole part that's basically a sex scene between Nabiki and Ranma, but that was moving a wee bit fast and could use a rewrite, so I removed it and put it in my notes on the Google Docs version to recycle later on.
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