Ch.3 - Things Go Boom

One could say a lot about the Kuno siblings, most of them negative, but one would have to admit that Tatewaki Kuno was an excellent swordsman, within his style. Likewise, his sister Kodachi was an excellent gymnast. Of course, those who knew the girl well enough also knew that gymnastics was not the only thing the Black Rose was good at. For example, she was also quite proficient in sneaking.

Such it was that while Ranma Saotome took a nap in his room -- the guest room, actually -- Kodachi Kuno quickly made her way onto the Tendou grounds and in through the window that had carelessly been left unlocked.

There he lay, her beloved Ranma-darling, arms and legs loosely splayed out, the very picture of relaxed. Now, Ranma was known to have such finely-honed fighting instincts that if one were to try and attack him in his sleep, he'd still see the attack coming and dodge it without waking. With a violent girl like Akane as his fiancee, this sixth sense rarely let up, but now that he was engaged to the much more peaceful Kasumi...

Normally, Ranma would've noticed Kodachi's presence already, let alone let her get close enough to apply her trademark paralyzing powders. By the time he'd woken up to find Kodachi on top of him, his limbs were already half-dead, and hers entwined around him. It was actually not unlike Shampoo before her, but roughly ten times as unwanted.

"Ko-da-chi... get off-a me you..." Ranma attempted to say.

"Oh, Ranma-darling, my dear brother told me all about what happened," the deranged gymnast crooned as she cupped Ranma's chin.

No way he told it right, the trapped fighter rightly considered.

"As much as a step up Miss Kasumi is from that little barbarian she calls her sister, you deserve a loving wife who can fend for herself, my dearest."

Ranma just barely managed to raise an eyebrow at that. Kasumi can totally defend herself, you freak. I've seen her knife.

As Kodachi continued to prattle what she might consider to be sweet nothings, she got increasingly touchy-feely. Ranma had a reasonably low threshold for that sort of stuff to begin with, and even less for the more unwanted among his love interests, but he'd already let Kodachi paralyze him and couldn't call for help.

Okay, he considered, I can't move my limbs to push her off. Can't actually move anything, really. Not gonna admit it out loud but dammit she got me good. What can I do though? Mouko Takabisha might be an idea if I could aim, but...

Just when the intruder moved her hand way too far southward, inspiration struck. The Mouko Takabisha was an adaptation of Ryouga's Shishi Houkoudan, which was actually not a projectile attack at all. In its true form, the houkoudan was more of a bomb.

Bombs exploded. A violent expulsion of energy, as it were.

If anything would get Kodachi to release him, it'd be a violent expulsion of energy. With no time to pool his pride and being too happy to use depression like Ryouga, Ranma pulled in all of the single most well-felt emotion he had available to him.


Downstairs, Soun and Genma were, as usual, playing their board game. The former was just about to make a move that would certainly ensure his victory when suddenly a tremor reverberated through the house, along with a loud crashing noise and a woman's scream. As Soun and his daughters ran up the stairs to see what had happened, Genma quickly turned the whole shougi board around and then followed.

The guest room was an utter mess. Objects had been thrown around as if a fairly large concussive force had struck, which was not particularly wrong, with a still paralyzed Ranma in the epicenter. A person-sized hole in the outside wall marked the worst damage.

"What in blazes happened here? Ranma, explain yourself!" Soun demanded at the sight.

Ranma merely croaked, "Ko... ko..."

"...neko?" Kasumi guessed, then spotted a certain implement hanging on the edge of the hole in the wall; a gymnastics ribbon. "Oh, her," she confirmed with the mildest of disgust. Looking out through the hole, she could just spot a disheveled Kodachi stumble away.

"So... what do we do about Ranma?" asked Soun. "He looks a bit out of it."

"Allow me, Tendou," offered Genma. He produced a glass of water and upended it over his prone son. The shock of the change, mild as it was, negated most of the paralysis. "As much as it pains me to see the boy like this, it's preferable."

"Forget Ranma, Daddy," Nabiki complained as her big sister cradled the recovering redhead. "The guest room is ruined! Where are the freeloaders supposed to sleep now? Surely you don't expect us to share our rooms?"

The fathers shared a knowing look. "Actually, Nabiki? Since it's only proper a couple should sleep together in the same room, why don't we have Ranma join Kasumi in hers?"

Genma nodded. "Until the hole is patched up and the room usable again, I'll be happy with a futon in Tendou's room. We're old friends, right?"

If he could at the time, Ranma would've gagged a bit.

As it was, the little redhead was just a little too busy considering what had just been decided. He was to sleep in Kasumi's room? Even with the engagement, that just seemed wrong! He managed to squeeze an appropriate expression onto his face just as Kasumi looked him in the eyes.

"Don't worry about it, Ranma. It's okay for two girls to share a room, right?"

Somehow, the logic escaped Ranma, but he managed a shrug anyway.

"I'm sorry, what?" Akane cried out. "Daddy, are you out of your mind, letting that... boy sleep in Kasumi's room?"

"They are engaged, Akane dear. Unless of course you'd like to take back 'that boy' already?" her father retorted. It was almost as if he'd taunted her about it, but that was surely unthinkable.

"Oh for crying out loud FINE!" Akane shouted as she stormed out the door and down the hall to her own room on the other end of the house.

Meanwhile, Kasumi once more had the little redhead in a tight hug, again with the object of her affection facing away from her. If the paralysis had worn off, Ranma made no attempt to show it. "You wouldn't do anything untowards, right airen?"

"Thought ya wouldn't say that," Ranma croaked.

Kasumi just giggled a little and held her fiance closer. She stood up, still holding the little redhead in her arms, and announced, "I guess I'll just get Ranma set up in my room, then. Nabiki, could you hand us his futon?"

Nabiki muttered a mildly-confused affirmative and handed Ranma's futon to him ("thanks, Nabs"), while he was still held in Kasumi's arms, and watched them leave.

"As a wise man once said, 'what the fuck?'"

"Kasumi, I still don't get why I gotta sleep with you-- I mean, sleep in your room," Ranma argued, still in his girl form.

"You heard father," Kasumi replied as she put a few things aside to make room. "We're engaged now, and it's 'only proper'... at least in his eyes."

"What about yours though?"

"Whatever do you mean, Ranma dear?"

"D'you think it's proper?"

Kasumi stopped to think. "I think I'd like having someone here that I might... oh, I shouldn't say it." She suppressed a giggle.

Ranma, having very little feminine modesty, quickly got his pants and shirt off, then sat cross-legged on his futon. "Say what? Someone that ya might what, Kasumi?"

Kasumi sighed. "I still remember what I said back then when you first arrived here. That younger men bored me, that they were so... young. I'd hoped you'd be older than me. But I came to realize that despite your... well..."

"Go on, say it."

"Despite your tendency to act up against Akane, you are actually quite mature for your age."

Ranma blinked at the statement. "Huh. Imagine that. I think that might be the first time someone said that about me."

"You may be only sixteen, Ranma--"

"Not for much longer~"

"--but you are not a 'boy'," Kasumi finished. "Your present state aside, that is," she amended with a giggle she did not bother to hide.


"You're a wonderful young man."

"...Huh," the very beacon of conversational intelligence repeated.

"Despite all appearances, you certainly have a sense of honor," Kasumi continued. Ranma thought back to those times he outright tricked Ryouga, pretending to be his fiancee, or even the sister he knew didn't exist.

"I see it every time with the other girls. You're not the kind of guy who'd do anything 'untoward'."

"I guess. I wouldn't wanna give 'em the wrong idea, but sometimes things jus' don't work out that, y'know?"

"And then they think you do in fact love them like they hope you do?" Kasumi filled in.

"Yeah, I guess that's why they keep comin' back, maybe," Ranma figured. He turned around to find Kasumi with her sweater off, reaching for her skirt. "Woah woah!" he cried and turned back, his face almost as red as his hair at the time. "Kasumi!"

"It's okay, Ranma. I trust you," Kasumi softly said. The words echoed in Ranma's head. "After all..."

I wouldn't do anything untoward? Ranma guessed as his blush receded.

"'s okay if we're both girls, right?" Kasumi said instead, ending in a soft and gentle laugh, Ranma's own boyish laugh quickly joining in. Ranma didn't care afterwards, just watching as Kasumi took her skirt off and slipped on a nightgown. Something wasn't quite right, Ranma considered as he slipped into his futon and Kasumi under her blanket. There was some step that Kasumi had skipped, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it...

There was a faint rustle behind him, and Ranma suddenly felt Kasumi's bra hit him in the back of his head, followed closely by more gentle and soft laughter.

The fuck? Oh, right. That was it exactly, he concluded. The lady had a sense of humor. Without much more than a light scoff, the little redhead pointedly did not put her hands on the undergarment, even to remove it.

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