From A Different Viewpoint Chapter 17

All Ranma characters are property of Rumiko Takahashi, first published by Shogakugan in Japan and brought over to North America by Viz Communications. Sailor Moon was created by Naoko Taeuchi.

Ranma has proposed to Akane, and Johnathon has proposed to Kasumi, what could possibly go wrong now?

                        A Different Viewpoint pt 17
 

    It was crowded but friendly around the dinner table at the Tendo's that night.

    Upon hearing of the sudden adjustment to the wedding plans Nabiki blinked.  "A double wedding?  On such short notice?  I could have used a bit more warning father."  Nabiki shrugged and smiled at her older sister.  "Never mind Kasumi.  I'll handle it, don't worry."

    Ryoga was quiet.  < I'm glad that Akane is happy.  Ranma better treat her right, or...>  Ryoga sighed.  < Who am I kidding, Ranma loves her, I've know that for awhile now.>  Ryoga smiled faintly.  < They will be happy together, I'm happy for them, if only I could find someone myself.>  He suddenly thought of Ukyo.  < Why did Ukyo come to mind?  We're not like that.>  He frowned.  < I hope she's alright.>

    Johnathon excused himself.  "I have to prepare for school tomorrow."  Johnathon started for the door.

    Kasumi followed him to the door.  "No regrets?"  She asked leaning in the open doorway.

    "None."  Johnathon answered quietly.  He leaned in and kissed her passionately.  Kasumi responded with enthusiasm and they broke the kiss with a gasp when they got short of breath.  Johnathon grinned lecherously.  "Suddenly two days seems like forever."

    Kasumi blushed at his unspoken insinuation but nodded.  "Come back as soon as school is over."

    "I will."  Johnathon turned away and began jogging home to his apartment.

    That night Happosai went to Kuno's mansion.  He explained his plan slowly to the Kendoist.  Kuno didn't understand a word.  Happosai swore to himself and began to explain again.  Kodachi noticed the tiny pervert talking with her brother.  She suddenly remembered where she had seen him before.

    "Pervert."  She hissed, then softly began to laugh.  "I think I will prepare our guest something special to eat!"  Kodachi left for the kitchen, laughing the whole way.

    The next day at school the news spread like wildfire.  Nabiki had started handing out wedding invitations and the upcoming event was the talk of the school.  Ms. Hinako Niomia, passed Johnathon in the hall as he went to a classroom to teach.

    She was in her adult form, having just finished dealing with some unruly students.  "Ah, Dwire-san.  I hear congratulations are in order."

    Johnathon smiled politely at her.  "Thank you Hinako-san, I'm a lucky man."

    She nodded to him.  "You should have a quiet class.  I 'chastised' the more exuberant students."

    Johnathon suppressed a shiver.  "Ah, thank you."  < That ability of hers to drain chi is frightening.  Reminder to self, never get on her bad side.>

    Johnathon entered the classroom.  There were indeed students that showed sighs of Ms. Hinako's special touch.  Surprisingly, Ranma, Akane, and Ukyo were not among them.  The three martial artists were in their normal seats.  Everyone focused on him as he entered.

    There were a bunch of calls from several students.  "Alright Sensei!"  "Landed a Tendo, nice catch!"

    Johnathon smiled.  "Thank you.  As you already know, the wedding is tomorrow.  Nabiki is handling invitations, but I'm pretty sure you are all invited."  Several students held up invitations.  "Because of my extended absence from the school, you are all still behind on the curriculum.  Therefore, regardless of tomorrow's celebration, lets get to work."

    The students grinned a bit but obediently picked up their books.  Johnathon had a reputation as a demanding teacher, who didn't play favorites.  Even Ranma and Akane were treated just like the other students while they were in his class.  Thanks to his tutoring on the trip back from China they and Ukyo were ahead of the rest of the class, but he didn't let that color his teaching.

    As the class ended and Johnathon prepared to leave Ukyo got up and went over to him.  "I just wanted to say, congratulations Sensei, you deserve her."

    Johnathon smiled at the okonomiyaki chef.  "Thank you Ukyo.  I'll see you at the wedding, won't I?"

    She frowned.  "No, I don't think so."

    Johnathon looked at Ukyo seriously.  "I'm sorry to hear that.  I'm sure Ranma and Akane wanted you to be there as well."  Ukyo nodded faintly.  "Please try to come.  Kasumi will be disappointed as well, as will I."

    Ukyo looked up at him and slowly nodded.  "Alright, I'll come."

    Johnathon smiled gently.  "I'm glad."  He turned to go.  "Thank you Ukyo."

    Kuno was noticeable in his absence from Johnathon's next English class.  After class he went over to talk to Nabiki.  "So how much are you charging to come to the wedding Nabiki?"

    Nabiki put her hand to her heart in pretended shock.  "You wound me Johnathon.  I'm not charging a dime!"

    Johnathon smirked.  "Oh?  Then how much are you "asking" for the wedding gift?"

    Nabiki smiled innocently back.  "The traditional amount, for each party of course."

    Johnathon nodded.  "Of course.  I'd be happy to help you with your books later."  Nabiki's eyes went wide at that.  Johnathon smiled.  "Don't worry Nabiki.  We will be family in just one more day.  I'll be adding my own income to the family books.  Naturally I expect to talk to you about it."

    Nabiki's eyes narrowed.  "Naturally."

    Johnathon shook his head  "Don't misunderstand me Nabiki.  You have handled your family's finances since your mother died.  You'll keep doing so for as long as you want.  I do trust you."

    Nabiki's glare softened.  "Alright Johnathon-san.  I appreciate your trust.  I won't make you regret it."

    Johnathon nodded.  "I know, little sister."  He left before Nabiki could find a comeback for that.

    At the Cat Cafe Cologne opened the front door with a bang.  "Shampoo!  Come here at once!"  Cologne was radiating such hostility that the few customers in the restaurant decided immediately that they had eaten enough Ramen for the day, and rapidly exited.

    Shampoo came out to greet her great grandmother, decidedly worried at her tone of voice.  < Great grandmother three days early, this is trouble.>

    Cologne looked at Shampoo with an unreadable expression.  "What has been going on here Shampoo?  I have returned only for hours and already I have heard the news of the wedding between Akane Tendo and Son-in-law!  What have you been doing girl!

    Shampoo looked downcast, not meeting the Amazon Elder's eyes.  "Ranma no love Shampoo.  Ranma loves violent girl, Akane.  Shampoo no longer fight, has lost Ranma."

    Cologne grimaced in dismay.  "Is that so?  Do you know what will happen to you if you come back to the village in failure a second time?"

    Shampoo nodded once, slowly.  "When Ranma and Akane marry, Shampoo no longer bound by law to marry Ranma."

    Cologne shook her head in exasperation.  "You will not be bound to marry any longer.  That is true, because you will have failed to fulfill our laws for the last time!  At the least you will be exiled for life!"  Shampoo hung her head.  Cologne stared deeply at the girl.  "Shampoo!  You are my heir!  This cannot be allowed to happen!"  Shampoo stayed motionless.  Cologne frowned and nodded.  "I see.  You will do nothing then."  The ancient Amazon turned to leave.  "I will not permit this to happen Shampoo.  It is for your own good I do this."  Cologne pogoed out the door without further words.

    Shampoo collapsed into a chair.  < What should I do?  What can I do?>  She paused and shivered.   < What will great grandmother do?>

    A few minutes later Cologne pogoed up to the Tendo's front door.  Signs of the wedding to take place showed in the preparations that had been made.  She knocked.  < They must be made to understand.>

    Kasumi answered the door almost immediately.  "Hello, who is?... Oh my."  She blanched slightly at Cologne's suddenly menacing glare.  "Excuse me, won't you please come in?"  Cologne hopped inside without saying a word and followed Kasumi to the living room.  Kasumi shivered.  <I wish Ranma was here, or father, or anyone.  If only father and Mr. Saotome hadn't chosen now to go shopping for a wedding present.>  "Would you like some tea?"  Kasumi asked politely.

    Cologne made a dismissive wave of her hand.  "No.  I have come for one purpose, and one purpose alone, Kasumi Tendo.  I have come on behalf of my great granddaughter."

    Kasumi looked nervous.  "Oh my, you've come to stop the wedding?"

    Cologne nodded.  That is correct.  Shampoo must be the one to marry Son-in Law.  There can be no other outcome!  I will not permit it."

    Kasumi took a step back at the violence in the old woman's voice.  "Please, can't we settle things peacefully?"

    Cologne shook her head.  "No.  If Shampoo does not marry Ranma, the consequences will be her exile or her death, or worse.  This I will not allow!"

    Kasumi blanched again.  "Worse?  Oh my no!  What could they do to her?"

    Cologne stared at her coldly.  "Shampoo was sent to Jusenkyo to train as a result of her first failure.  What do you think would happen if she fails a second time?"

    Kasumi shuddered.  "Oh my, that is, horrible.  They would do something worse?"

    Cologne cackled in sarcastic humor.  "Worse?  Oh yes, much worse.  I have heard from Happy that you now share my granddaughters curse."

    Kasumi blinked.  "Master Happosai?  How did he?..."

    Cologne cackled again.  "Oh, that one is not happy with your family, that is certain.  It is he who informed me of the upcoming wedding.  You and Johnathon Dwire are to marry as well are you not?"

    Kasumi nodded slowly.  "Yes, a double wedding."

    Cologne shook her head.  "It is not to be.  I have pondered hard upon this.  Son-in-law has grown in strength.  I can no longer simply defeat him in combat and drag him off.  He must, however, marry Shampoo.  Would you like to know what I have decided?"  Kasumi bit her lower lip nervously, but nodded.  "I regret that is must be this way, but Son-in law must know what fate he dooms Shampoo to.  I apologize Kasumi Tendo, for what I do today."  Cologne pointed her staff at Kasumi and in a fraction of a second, lightly poked her in between the ribs with it's tip.

    Kasumi looked shocked.  "What did you do?"

    Cologne looked sad.  "The same thing that will most likely be done to Shampoo if she returns in failure.  If they are not merciful and kill her instead.  I have pushed your Cat's Tongue pressure point.  You will no longer be able to stand hot water.  The next time you become a cat, a cat you will remain."  Kasumi sat down heavily, unable to believe what had just been done to her.  Cologne looked sad and tired.  "Do you understand?  This is what Shampoo faces if Ranma and Akane wed.  As a dishonored one, no cure will ever be offered.  If this is to be Shampoo's fate, it will be yours as well.  Tell Ranma this, if he marries Shampoo, I will give you the cure.  If not, you will share Shampoo's fate."

    Cologne turned away.  <I know enough about the Son-in-Law to realize that there is nothing I can do to force him to marry Shampoo.  His own honor, however, will force him to protect Kasumi Tendo, he will do as I have asked.>

    Kasumi slowly stood up as Cologne began to pogo away.  "Ranma will..."

    Cologne whirled.  "Save you?  Yes, I believe he will.  I'll be expecting to see him."  She pogoed away without further conversation.  < This is the only way to make Son-in-Law understand, there is nothing else I can do.>

    Kasumi watched Cologne go then slowly sat back down.  "Oh my."  < I'm going to be stuck as a cat forever, unless Ranma marries Shampoo.>  Kasumi started to softly cry.  < Shampoo will be a cat too, we'll both be cat's forever.  Oh dear, what can I do?>  Kasumi tried to be brave.  "Ranma will save me.  He always finds a way."  < But what if he can't?  What if Cologne beats him?  What if she won't cure me?>  Kasumi buried her head in her hands.  < He'll marry Shampoo.  If he has too Ranma will marry Shampoo to save me.>

    Kasumi couldn't stop crying.  < What can I do?  What should I do?  I don't want to be the reason Akane can't marry Ranma.  They truly love each other, but Ranma will be forced into marrying Shampoo to save me, and to save her.>  Kasumi wiped her eyes.  < Get a grip Kasumi.>  She focused on regaining her composure.  < I'll just not tell anyone, and be careful around cold water until after the wedding.>  She nodded.  < Then it won't matter.  Cologne will just have to give me the cure.>

    Kasumi shook her head.  < What about Shampoo?  If Cologne told the truth she will be cursed too.  What about Johnathon?  What will he do?>  Kasumi sat straight, but a tear trickled down her cheek. < I will just have to cancel the wedding.  I won't make Johnathon marry a cat.  Cologne won't curse Shampoo to become a cat permanently.  It's just a trick.>  Kasumi sighed.  < If it's not a trick, it will be too late to do anything. about it.>  Kasumi closed her eyes.  < I just don't know what to do!>  She sat in thought, trying to come to a decision.  < What would Ranma do?>  Kasumi remembered when Ranma had gotten the cat's tongue pressure point used on him.  He had been stuck as a girl, but he had never given up.

    Ranma could have agreed to marry Shampoo and been cured at any time, but he had never given up.  < I won't give up either.  Except, it's not just me on the line, it's Shampoo too.  I can't decide her fate as well as my own.>  Kasumi stood up and nodded to himself.  < There's only one thing to do.>  Kasumi went to her bedroom and got a piece of paper, pen, and an umbrella.  She wrote a short note.  "Gone out, be back soon.  Kasumi."  Then she went out the front door, headed for the Cat Cafe.  Kasumi walked quickly, watching very carefully for water.  When she arrived the Cafe was closed, but she knocked anyway.

    After half a minute the door was opened by Mousse.  "Kasumi Tendo?  What are you doing here?"  His voice held a note of surprise.

    "May I come in?"  Kasumi asked quietly.

    Mousse nodded.  "Certainly."  He held open the door and Kasumi entered.

    Kasumi's was outwardly calm.  "I'd like to talk to Shampoo please."

    Mousse blinked, then nodded again.  "I'll tel her you are here."   He walked into the back.  < First Cologne arrives early, and now Kasumi comes calling for Shampoo.  What is going on?>

    Kasumi sat quietly in a booth.  Before long Shampoo came out and joined her.  "What is it?"  The Amazon asked in a neutral tone.

    Kasumi looked into the Chinese girls eyes.  "Is it true that if you return to your village without Ranma, that you'll be killed?  Or worse, cursed to remain a cat forever?"  Shampoo's eyes went wide at this, and Kasumi continued.  "Tell me the truth Shampoo, please.  You saved me once, I want to know what's going to happen to you."

    Shampoo looked away.  "It no matter.  Go home, be with family.  Shampoo not wish discuss Amazon law."

    Kasumi shook her head.  "It's important Shampoo, please tell me."

    Shampoo shook her head.  "Shampoo is no longer important.  Go home, be happy with family.  Have long life with husband.  Shampoo be fine."

    Kasumi couldn't help be notice the quaver in Shampoo's voice.  "Shampoo, it is true, isn't it.  Can't you just stay in Japan?  You could..."

    Shampoo shook her head again.  "No.  Shampoo bound by honor, will do what Amazon law say, accept what Amazon law proscribe."

    Kasumi nodded slowly.  "As will I, as it seems I have little choice.  Shampoo I had to know.  Ranma would marry you, to save you. You know this?"

    Shampoo looked at Kasumi.  "Ranma no love Shampoo, it no matter."

    Kasumi sighed.  "It does matter.  Cologne will force Ranma to marry you to save you from being cursed with the Cat's Tongue."

    Shampoo looked strangely at Kasumi.  "How you know this?"

    Kasumi sighed again.  "Because, she told me so, before she cursed me."  Kasumi tapped the spot on her chest.

    Shampoo's eyes went wide.  "Kasumi have full body Cat's tongue?  Great grandmother do this?"  Her voice was weak and full of pain.

    Kasumi nodded, holding back a tear.  She composed herself and went on.  "I wasn't going to tell Ranma until after the wedding.  But I can't let you make that sacrifice, Shampoo."

    Shampoo shook her head.  "Is Shampoo's choice to make.  Kasumi, you stay cat whole life, not because of Amazon law, but to protect Ranma, yes?"  Kasumi didn't answer but Shampoo nodded.  "Then Shampoo do too.  We be cats together."

    Now it was Kasumi who was startled.  "Shampoo, are you serious?"

    Shampoo nodded.  "Ranma never love Shampoo.  Shampoo be better dead, no want Ranma hate for whole life."  She wiped away a tear.  "If Kasumi be cat, Shampoo be cat too, unless Ranma agree marry.  Ranma will hate Shampoo, never be happy."  She smiled at Kasumi, tears running down her face.  "Is better be cat."

    Kasumi reached out to the Amazon girl.  "It's better to share this.  We can be cats together.  That way, we won't be alone."

    Shampoo nodded and took Kasumi's hand firmly in hers, blinking tears away.  "Together, for Ranma's sake."

    Kasumi nodded back, choking back a sob.  "Together.  It won't be so bad, with someone to share this with."

    Shampoo, still crying, grinned at the Tendo girl.  "We keep secret till after wedding, then it no matter yes?  We swear on honor to help each other."

    Kasumi nodded.  "Yes, that's what we must do."

    Shampoo sighed.  "Only problem is keep great grandmother from stopping wedding."

    Kasumi sighed in response.  "But how?  If Ranma, Akane, or anyone else finds out they'll tell Ranma and he'll..."  She signed again.  "If anyone finds out it won't matter what we agree to do, because Ranma will..."

    Shampoo nodded.  "Ranma will agree to marry Shampoo.  Great grandmother plan this well.  She just tell Ranma if we not."

    Kasumi nodded sadly.  "I hadn't thought of that, what can we do?"

    An old voice came from the kitchen.  "You can do nothing."  Cologne pogoed out.  "Very brave, both of you.  I hadn't expected such courage from you, Kasumi Tendo.  And you, Shampoo, you love Ranma so much you'd sacrifice yourself for his sake.  I am truly impressed."  Cologne stopped at their booth.  "Ranma will be told.  This is for your own good, Shampoo.  Ranma will come to love you, you'll see.  I can't let you make this sacrifice."  Cologne pogoed away.  "Kids today, so melodramatic."

    Shampoo and Kasumi looked at each other.  Kasumi smiled and sighed.  "It's out of our hands now.  I suppose we were being a little bit silly."

    Shampoo sighed.  "Now it up to Ranma."

    Kasumi stood.  "I'm not willing to just let Cologne use me, are you?"

    Shampoo slowly shook her head.  "Shampoo no understand.  What can we do?"

    Kasumi shrugged.  "I'm not sure yet, but we can't give up.  Come on, let's go find everyone.  Maybe we can come up with a plan together."

    Shampoo stood.  "Yes, we not give up."

    The two unlikely allies left the Cat Cafe together, heading for the Tendo Dojo.  Kasumi paused in mid route.  "First, I think we will go to Dr. Tofu's"

    At the doctors office, the doctor was very surprised to see Kasumi and Shampoo.  "K-Kasumi, what are you doing here?  Are you injured?"  He somehow managed to control his emotions.  He thought he was prepared with his weeks of practice, but it was still incredibly difficult.

    Kasumi went up to him.  "Doctor, you used a pressure point on Ranma once.  To temporarily cure the Full body Cat's Tongue."  Dr. Tofu nodded.

    Kasumi smiled.  "Could you use that pressure point on me?"

    Dr. Tofu's glasses unfogged in a flash.  "What?  Why do you need the Old Man Tokyo pressure point?"

    Kasumi looked calmly at him.  "I have been affected by the Full body Cat's Tongue."

    Tofu went white.  "Oh my god, Kasumi!"  He looked panicked.  "Why were you... Why did someone use the technique on you?"

    Kasumi sighed.  "While in China I was cursed by water from the spring of drowned cat.  Shampoo's great grandmother used the Full body Cat's Tongue on me to blackmail Ranma into marrying Shampoo."

    Tofu looked angrily at Shampoo.  "How could you let this happen?"

    Shampoo bowed her head.  "No want this.  Ranma not love Shampoo, so Shampoo no force marriage anymore, but great grandmother no accept Shampoo decision."

    Dr. Tofu looked at Kasumi, who nodded.  "I understand.  I'll do whatever I can to help."  He motioned for Kasumi to turn around.  "This will only work once Kasumi, so be very careful.  I'll begin searching for another solution immediately.  I'm afraid, however, that only the Phoenix pill will be a cure."  He looked at Shampoo.  "Shampoo, do you have any idea how to get one?"

    Shampoo shook her head.  "Is secret of tribal Elders, very, very rare.  Only great grandmother can get one."

    Dr. Tofu nodded, then carefully poked Kasumi in the back.  "There, that's all I can do for now I'm afraid."

    Kasumi nodded.  "Thank you doctor.  We have to go and find Ranma now, and warn him."

    The good doctor nodded.  "If you need me, just call."

    Kasumi smiled.  "Thank you doctor."

    Kasumi and Shampoo left the clinic.  Inside, Dr. Tofu was near collapse from the strain.  He closed up shop for the rest of the day to recover.

    Kasumi checked the time.  "The school's letting out in half an hour.  We should go there."

    Shampoo nodded.  "Yes, but must be careful of water."

    Kasumi took a deep breath.  "Oh my yes.  Ever since I became cursed, cold water is always splashing me."

    Shampoo nodded emphatically.  "Shampoo know!"

    Kasumi sighed.  "Perhaps it's best that I wait at home."

    Shampoo nodded again.  "Shampoo tell Ranma.  Kasumi no take any chances!"

    Kasumi smiled.  "That is best Shampoo, please take care."

    Shampoo grinned.  "No worry!  Shampoo be fine, Kasumi be careful too!"

     Kasumi nodded her agreement and the two girls separated.  Kasumi headed for the Tendo dojo, her mind swirling with recent events.  She was lost in thought the whole way and completely forgot their next door neighbor's habit of watering the sidewalk.  A splash from the side served as a reminder.

    Kasumi slowly crawled out of her clothing, now a small black cat.  < Oh no!  I can only become human one more time before I'm stuck like this!>  Kasumi sighed and ran up to the front gate.  < Its closed!  What am I supposed to do now?>  Kasumi went to the side of the fence.  < Maybe I can jump it.>  Kasumi gathered herself and leaped.  She fell short.  Kasumi tried again and again, finally making it on her fourth try.  Panting, Kasumi pulled herself to the fence top and jumped down.  < Oof!  This is harder than it looks!>  Kasumi ran around to the back.  < Hopefully Father and Mr. Saotome are home.>  She was in luck.  They were there, playing Shogi.  The two cats, Artemis and Luna were watching them with faint interest.  Kasumi walked up and meowed loudly.  Her father and Mr. Saotome looked over at her.

    Soun looked surprised.  "Oh!  Kasumi is that you?"  She nodded and meowed again.  "Oh dear, you must have gotten splashed on your errand."  Kasumi nodded again.  "I'll heat up the furo for you Kasumi, so don't you worry."

    Kasumi considered this and shook her head, meowing to keep her fathers attention.  < I'm only going to be human once more till I'm cured.  I don't want to waste it.>

    Soun looked puzzled.  "No?  But Kasumi dear, you're getting married tomorrow.  There's so much to do!"  Kasumi meowed and tried to shrug.  "Are you sure?  Do you want to wait for your sisters to come home?"  Kasumi nodded.  "Alright dear, if that's what you want."

    Kasumi sighed.  < Father is not going to take this well.>  She walked over to Artemis and Luna who were looking at her interestedly.  "Meow."  She looked back, trying to appear friendly.  < I'm glad they're well trained.  I hope we can get along.>  Luna and Artemis meowed back in greeting and the both circled her once, getting a good look at her.  Artemis looked at Kasumi and Luna, comparing.

    Luna sighed and lay down.  < Artemis better not be getting any ideas.>

    Artemis also sighed and lay down a bit later.  < She's cute as a cat.  I wonder if Luna would get jealous?>  He shook his head.  < Don't even think it.  Kasumi's Johnathon's betrothed, and a human.  He and Luna would both kill me.>

    Kasumi sighed and lay down as well.  < I'm not sure I'm ever going to get used to this.>  She settled down to wait for everyone to come home.  < I wish I could do something.  It's boring being a cat.>  Kasumi shrugged.  < That's alright, I can handle boring.>

    Outside the school Shampoo waited for Ranma to come out.  < What do I tell him?  What can I say?>

    Cologne had spotted Shampoo heading for the school and had gone back to the cafe.  < Shampoo will tell Son-in-law.  She will play her part perfectly.  Ranma will be sympathetic to her, angry at me, and will come to confront me.  He will end up doing as I wish, and marry Shampoo.>

    At Furinkan high school Ranma, Akane, and Johnathon left through the front doors together.  They intended to go straight to the Dojo to prepare for the following day's ceremony.  Shampoo intercepted them at the gate.  All three looked nervous.

    Ranma called out to her as she approached.  "Yo Shampoo, what's up?"

    Shampoo grimaced.  < This is not going to go well.  I might as well just tell them the facts.>  "Ranma, great grandmother returned early.  She was very angry at news of wedding.  When Shampoo refuse to stop wedding, great grandmother, she..."  Shampoo faltered, not able to tell them what had happened.

    Johnathon gently pressed her for details.  "Shampoo, it's OK, tell us what Cologne has done."

    Shampoo swallowed and nodded.  "Great grandmother, she, she used Full body Cat's Tongue on, on Kasumi."

    Akane gasped in horror.  Ranma went white.  "She wouldn't dare... I'll kill the old ghoul!"

    Johnathon looked at Akane, then Ranma.  "Full Body Cat's Tongue?  Is that?"

    Ranma nodded angrily.  "That's what the old ghoul did to me to keep me stuck as a girl."

    Johnathon's eyes went cold.  "Oh."  He turned to Shampoo.  "Where is she?  Where is Cologne?"

    Shampoo shook her head, taken back by the ice in Johnathon's voice.  "Thought she would be looking for Ranma, Shampoo not know."

    Johnathon nodded, closing his eyes.  "And Kasumi?"

    Shampoo answered quickly.  "She at home.  What you do?"

    Johnathon's voice was emotionless.  "First I see Kasumi, then we find Cologne."  He looked at Ranma.  "We stay together."

    Ranma looked furious.  "I'm finding that mummy right now!"

    Johnathon's voice became forceful.  "We stay together.  We face her together."  He looked at Akane.  "All of us."  His eyes bored into Ranma's awareness.  "We find her, talk first, then we get Kasumi cured.  One way or another."

    Ranma found his anger dwarfed by the icy rage in Johnathon's eyes.  He nodded.  "Alright, we'll stay together."

    Johnathon looked away and turned toward the dojo.  Without saying another word he started to run.  Ranma, Akane and Shampoo followed quickly after.  As he ran Johnathon unconsciously flexed his fingers.  When he noticed he had to consciously stop.  He had been trying to unsheathe claws.

    Johnathon arrived at the dojo winded, but didn't acknowledge it.  < Time to be tired later, not now!>  He immediately headed for the living room.  "Kasumi?  Kasumi where are you?"

    Kasumi shot up from her nap.  The worry in Johnathon's voice was obvious.  She ran to him, followed by Luna and Artemis.

    Seeing three cats, Johnathon dropped to his knees.  "Oh no... Kasumi."  He picked her up gently.  "Kasumi."  Holding her to his chest tenderly.  "Oh Kasumi, I'm so sorry."  Kasumi meowed reassuringly.  Shampoo, Ranma and Akane came in behind Johnathon.

    Akane had Kasumi's clothing in her hands.  "Johnathon, Kasumi can change back, why don't you take her to the bathroom."

    Kasumi meowed at that and nodded.

    Johnathon blinked.  "What?  I thought?"

    Shampoo broke in.  "Kasumi go to Dr. Tofu's today, get Old Tokyo Man pressure point, can change back one time."

    Ranma shook his head.  "That old lady next door got yah?"  He sighed.  "I can't remember all the times She's done that."

    Kasumi sighed and meowed at Johnathon.

    He stood.  "OK Akane, maybe you had better take Kasumi, I'll wait out here."  He looked at Ranma.  "Perhaps we had better check the house for potential water accidents."

    Ranma nodded.  "Good idea, we can water proof the place!"

    Johnathon looked at Akane.  "After you heat up the furo, tell me.  We can turn off the house's water.  Akane nodded and Johnathon carefully handed Kasumi to her.  Akane left for the bathroom and Johnathon turned to Ranma and Shampoo.  "OK, the old ghoul isn't here.  Let's go to the Cat Cafe next, as soon as Kasumi's..."  He shrugged.  "I want to talk to her first, then we go."

    Ranma put a hand on the older man's shoulder.  "I understand."

    Johnathon went to the kitchen and poured a glass of water, then took it to the entrance.  "For later."  He went to the bath and waited.  Soon, Akane and Kasumi came out.  Johnathon hugged Kasumi tightly.  "We'll get the cure Kasumi.  I promise you."

    Kasumi hugged him back.  "Oh Johnathon, you don't understand.  Its not just me, its Shampoo too."

    Johnathon broke the hug, startled.  "What?"

    Kasumi was about to respond when her fathers voice rang out.  "Kasumi!  What?!?"

    Kasumi turned.  "Oh no, father."  She turned back to Johnathon.  "Johnathon, I..."

    Johnathon nodded.  "Let's go to him.  You can tell all of us what happened at the same time."

    They went to the living room and Kasumi began her tale, punctuated by her fathers sobs.  Kasumi left nothing out, trusting Johnathon to want every detail.  When her story was done everyone was silent for almost a minute.  Shampoo was looking at the floor, ashamed to look at anyone.

    Akane spoke first.  "Shampoo, it's true?  If you go back to China without Ranma, you'll be killed?"

    Shampoo slowly nodded.  "Probably they do same as Kasumi, Full Body Cat's Tongue.  Shampoo accept this for herself, but no want Kasumi stuck as cat too."

    Kasumi smiled gently at her.  "I don't blame you Shampoo."

    Ranma was looking at his hands, clenching and unclenching his fists.  < Dammit, what do I do?>

    Johnathon looked at him and and looked away.  < Ranma will surrender to Cologne before letting Shampoo or Kasumi be cursed to be a cat forever.  I, I don't know what to do.>  He spoke, letting the others hear his thoughts.  "Cologne has left us two options.  Either Ranma marries Shampoo, or Shampoo and Kasumi become cats for the rest of their lives.  Neither option is acceptable.  We need a third option, so we need to stall till we come up with one."

    Ranma interrupted, looking determined.  "I'll just fight her again.  I can beat the old ghoul, I've done it before."

    Johnathon looked at him seriously.  "But will she agree to cure Kasumi if you beat her?"  He looked over at Shampoo.  < And what about Shampoo?>  The Chinese girl had a look of hopelessness about her.  Johnathon noticed Akane looking at Shampoo as well.  Akane turned away and noticed Johnathon looking at her.  They shared a look of understanding.  Johnathon stood.  "OK, lets make sure the house is water proofed then we'll all go to the Cat Cafe."

    As they were shutting off the water Nabiki came back home with Ryoga in tow, carrying supplies for the wedding.  Quickly, Johnathon unformed them of the situation.

    Ryoga was infuriated.  "That mummy's gone too far this time!"  < If Ranma marries Shampoo, that means Akane will be...>  Ryoga shook his head in self loathing.  < You idiot, Akane loves Ranma.  She'll be in pain if he marries someone else, and she doesn't love you, so forget your silly fantasys!>  He looked firmly at Johnathon.  "I'll do whatever I can."

    When everything else was prepared, the five martial artists headed for the Cat Cafe, each preparing for the conflict that was likely to happen when they arrived.
 

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