"So tell me again why I have to walk Ranma to school, sis," Akane argued as she went over the contents of her book bag. "I mean, she's your... girlfriend, not mine!"
"Because I have business to attend to and need the extra time. Now stop complaining," Nabiki stated matter-of-factly as she turned to Ranma. Ranma had returned to her original form for school and was studying the school uniforms that the two younger Tendou sisters were wearing. Considering the trouble with her tail, this gave the distinct impression that she was checking out the sisters' butts -- a notion her father was quick to pick up on as he walked by with a pickle in his mouth. Ranma wasn't in uniform, though -- she was wearing another Chinese shirt, this one with long sleeves, and a band-print T-shirt underneath.
"Looking at the ladies' rumps, ya little minx?" Genma teased as he patted Ranma on the head. "I suppose there's no stopping you there, hmm?"
"Surprising as it may be to you, Pops, I wasn't," Ranma replied. She grabbed her father's arm by the wrist and squeezed it. "And don't call me that, it's freaky."
Just when Genma sauntered away, wondering if his wrist might be bruised, Akane threw a book bag at Ranma. "Time to go, Ranma," she deadpanned.
On their way to school, Ranma was consistently running on any thin surface on the way, such as fences.
"Is it some kind of kitty instinct thing that makes you do that?" Akane asked in a huff.
"What, walking on the fence all the time? Nah, it's actually compensation."
"What could you possibly need compensation for? From those sparring sessions I can tell there are not a lot of things left that would need any compensation," Akane argued. She had tried to prevent any implications about her bust size, but could only hope she had succeeded in that.
"It kinda is a 'kitty thing', though. It's just balance training," Ranma started to explain. At Akane's puzzled expression, she continued. "Without my tail, my balance isn't quite as good when moving. So I run on the fence to practice."
Akane was silent for a moment.
"That made more sense than I expected," she admitted as the school gates came into view. "Just for your interest, what happens next is my problem. Stay out of it, okay?"
As anybody even remotely familiar with the source material would have guessed, a small army of diverse sports practitioners -- amateur sumo wrestlers, tennis players, judoka and several others -- was occupying the entrance area of the school, waiting for Akane to show up.
"There she is!" yelled a young baseball pitcher. On cue, the entire mob descended on Akane. Ranma stopped dead in her tracks and hopped backwards onto the wall delineating the school premises. To her surprise, Akane fared better against the crowd than she had expected.
"Ranma, stop dawdling and get your bum inside before you're late," Nabiki shouted down from her homeroom window. "Don't worry about Akane, she goes through this routine every day."
Every single day? Ranma thought to herself as she ran over to the school building, stepping on the heads of the burlier men on their way to a good walloping. However, as she prepared to scale the school wall towards the window that Nabiki helpfully pointed out, and the last young men in the mob were flung away, a newcomer arrived on the battlefield, almost directly below Ranma.
The weather darkened considerably.
"Truly, such a boorish lot."
So spoke Tatewaki Kuno. It didn't sound very pleasant.
"Evidently, each of them intends to ask you out, fair Akane..."
At that point, an insufferable red-haired girl had released her hold of the wall and had landed in a crouch on top of Kuno's head. "Who's this douchebag?" she asked.
"Who are you, cur?" Kuno asked, then caught himself. "Ah, but tis the custom to give one's own name first, is it not? Then mine I shall give!"
"If you insist," Ranma obliged, still perching on Kuno's head.
"My name is Upperclassman Kuno. Junior, group E," Kuno proceeded to rattle off. "Captain of the kendo club," and indeed he dressed the part, "undefeated rising star of the high school fencing world. But my peers call me... The Blue Thunder of Furinkan High."
Meanwhile, in the window, Nabiki and two of her classmates stood and watched. "Blue Thunder?" asked one. "Have you heard that one before?" asked the other. "Nope, it's news to me," admitted Nabiki.
"A'ight. I'm, ah..." Ranma started to reply. "I'm staying at the Tendou training hall..."
"What? Under the same roof as fair Akane?!" Kuno exclaimed as he drew his wooden training sword, the sudden movement throwing Ranma off.
"...heir to the Saotome School of Indiscriminate Grappling," Ranma continued her introduction as she flipped around. "I am Ranma Saotome, and I'll accept any challenge you have for me!"
Kuno promptly put the sword back. "Oh, I do beg forgiveness. I could not see your countenance before and your tone of voice belied your femininity."
"E'en so, if a challenge from me is what you wish for, fair Ranma, then a challenge you shall get. If I defeat you, I shall date you."
The sword came back out. Meanwhile, the first drops of rain fell from those dark clouds, threatening to pick up soon.
"As such, en garde."
Tatewaki Kuno immediately charged down the path towards Ranma, who jumped at the last moment, landing on the bamboo blade.
"Listen buddy. I don't know how else to tell ya this, but I don't date boys."
"You are of the Sapphic persuasion, then?"
Ranma jumped off the blade, nodded, and narrowly dodged a strike.
"Tis of no matter, fair Saotome. A girl can be convinced otherwise."
Just as the rain picked up, with a loud crack of thunder for good measure, Ranma jumped again and delivered a painful kick to Kuno's forehead. The last thing he saw before he hit the ground was a pair of cat ears and a very fierce glare.
A few minutes later, as Ranma and Akane stood in the hall with a couple buckets of water as punishment -- the obvious consequence of taking a detour to find some hot water -- Nabiki had the unfortunate honor of explaining the situation to her upperclassman.
"And that's basically why they're staying with us."
Kuno nodded gingerly, nursing his forehead.
"It gets worse, though."
"How could it possibly get worse, shrew?"
"Well... one of us Tendou sisters is in a relationship with the girl," Nabiki teased, then leaned in to whisper in the increasingly horrified Kuno's ear. "And yes, it's that kind of relationship."
"...I detest you."
"From the bottom of my heart, I'm so glad."
He did, though, for he could only hope Nabiki hadn't meant Akane.
Meanwhile, in the hall, Ranma and Akane couldn't help but argue. At low volume, but they did argue.
"Why are you even such a pervert, fondling my sister in public?" Akane ranted. "I mean, one moment you're a perfectly reasonable friend, even if you feel the need to insult me, and then the next you're practically... ecch!"
Akane was clearly exaggerating, Ranma figured. Time to go on the offensive.
"Well maybe I am a pervert, ya un-cute dummy. But what does that make you? After all, you're the only one actively watching. I can understand being protective of your sisters but I thought the older was supposed to look out for the you--"
"Actively watch this!" Akane called out as she threateningly held up her bucket. "Don't think I haven't noticed the pattern here, Tiger. I'll bet if I bat my eyelashes at you just right when you're a cat, you'd be all over me and then what'll do you?"
Here's hopin' we'll never find out, thought the agitated redhead. "I'd sooner cuddle with Kasumi," she retorted, making sure to pile on the apparent sarcasm. "Naked."
"Eeeeewww!" Akane cried, then looked back in surprise as she heard agitated footsteps quickly approaching. "Oh no..."
"Ah geez, he heard ya."
Indeed, Tatewaki Kuno came barreling down the hall, his own punishment buckets balancing on the end of the sword slung across his shoulders.
"Ranma Saotome," he cried, "cease your defilement of the beauteous Akane Tendou!"
"Oh man, you wanna get your sexist ass kicked again?" Ranma asked, putting down her bucket and assuming a fighting stance.
"I'll happily defeat you, my red-haired beauty, for you cannot defile fair Akane when you are with another."
"Gee," Akane whispered at said tigress. "I wonder how he'd react if he knew there is another you're with?"
"I dunno, but I wanna have a bit of fun with this idiot before the reveal," Ranma whispered back, then faced Kuno once more. "If you want a fight, you can have it. But not here, it's too cramped."
"Name your time and place, oh wench."
"How 'bout right over there, right now?" Ranma stated. Quickly, she dashed over, opened the window, and climbed halfway out. Kuno blindly followed.
"Ranma you jackass, this is the third floor!" Akane called out as her lodger and unwanted love interest jumped out.
"See if I caaare~" Ranma replied, turning around in the air to fall in the least painful way. Much like the balancing, she'd done a bit of study and practice in how her catgirl form tended to land upright, and even if she messed that up there was still a swimming pool waiting below to break her fall, not to mention the spoony idiot's.
Wait. Swimming pool. How could I forget? This is gonna be interesting.
Ranma landed in the pool without issue, Kuno following more roughly but a second later, right on top of her. She quickly swam away to the edge, only to find something holding her back, and quite painfully.
"Wanwaa, I white ooon," burbled Kuno as he blindly grabbed for his opponent and got a handful of cat tail.
"Mowa fagga da huwds!"
Ranma moved back a bit, then angled her feet down as she grabbed Kuno by the shoulders. Touching the floor of the pool, she jumped out and flipped Kuno onto his back on the edge, knocking the remaining air out of him.
Stomping on her opponent as she landed, Ranma scowled. "Forget this, this school day's a bust," she muttered to herself, then turned to the open window where her classmate looked out. "Akane! I'm leaving early, mind telling Nabiki?"
Akane gave a thumbs up and disappeared.
A minute or two later, Kuno regained his senses.
"By all accounts, that was a tail. Truly, my red-haired tigress is as worthy of that moniker as she is of my affection..."
And there we go. That's the last part written so far. Updates'll be much slower from here on out, but this ride isn't over yet! We've got the promised mature bits (such as a recycling of the removed sex scene among others) and some mild angst yet to go, not to mention all sorts of shenanigans from the manga to adapt, as far as possible. I just have a lot of other projects running, and I'm not talkin' fanfics.
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