From A Different Viewpoint Chapter 37

Ranma is a creation of Rumiko Takahashi, Sailor Moon is by Naoko Takuchi. Please don't sue me, I'm poor.

                              A Different Viewpoint part 37

    At the mall in Juuban, Johnathon slowly forced himself awake and looked up.  Akane, Ukyo, Luna and Artemis were looking down at him in concern.

    "Are you alright?"  Akane asked worriedly.  Ukyo kept one hand on her spatula and peered questioningly at him.

    "I believe so."  Johnathon said slowly.  "Although my head is killing me."  Johnathon took a second look at Akane and Ukyo.  Akane was missing her gi top, and her tee shirt was torn near her neck and streaked red from blood.  She had a cut near her throat and it had apparently just stopped bleeding.  Ukyo was holding her shirt closed with one hand.  It looked like it had been torn apart by a wild animal. Johnathon blinked and checked his claws.  They were slightly bloody.

    Johnathon blanched.  "Oh god... what in the hell did I just do?"

    Ukyo smiled.  "Forget it sugar, no hard feelings."  She looked around.  "Anyway, we won.  At least... I hope so..."

    Johnathon sat up.  "The others aren't back yet?"

    Ukyo shook her head.  "Not yet..."  There was a bright flash of light and everyone turned to look.  Ukyo broke into a grin.  "Spoke too soon."

    The Senshi had returned.  Their circle broke and a red headed girl burst from their ranks.

    "Akane?"  Ranma looked around wildly, then spotted her.

    Akane ran into Ranma's arms.  "Ranma!  You're alright!"  Akane slammed into Ranma's arms with a glomp worthy of Shampoo.  Ranma grinned happily, for once not minding a bit.

    The red head pushed Akane back for a second, taking a look at the cut in her neck.  "Akane are you OK?"

    Akane nodded.  "It's just a scratch.  I'm just glad you're safe."

    From amidst the Senshi a very old woman looked on the tender scene coldly, trying to repress  the anger, pity and sympathy she felt.  A white and pink cat looked on wistfully.  A little black pig snorted and turned his back.

    He was picked up by Sailor Mercury.  "You are just the cutest little pig." She said cheerfully, then looked around nervously "Um no offense Ryoga, I guess I still want a pet."

   Ryoga shrugged, looking the girl's face, outlined with her short dark hair.  < I don't mind being called cute by a cute girl...>   Ryoga shuddered.  < Oh no!  I'm not making that mistake again!>

    Cologne pogoed past Ranma and Akane, who broke apart guiltily.   She hrrmphed and didn't look at them.

    Jonathan stood up and quickly walked over to her.  "Cologne, wait. We should talk...."

    Cologne turned to him, her eyes cold.  "No.  I'm afraid that until Shampoo is safely married, there is nothing to talk about."  She pogoed away, disappearing in seconds.

    Johnathon hissed in frustration and anger, sheathing and unsheathing his claws reflexively.  Before he could vent his anger, his ears perked up at a noise coming quickly closer.  "We have to go.  The police are on their way."  He glanced down at himself.  "We should probably not meet them as we are."

    Sasuke drove up in the limo and popped his head out to speak to them.  "I am taking master Kuno to the hospital.  He seems to be in no real danger, but needs medical attention, and I would guess, lots of food.  Does anyone else need to go to the hospital?"  Everyone looked around curiously at each other.

    Ukyo spoke.  "We're OK, Sasuke."  She ran over and picked up the Kuno honor blade from were it had fallen, and ran it over to the limo. "You'll probably want this, though."

    Sailor Mercury walked over and handed Ryoga to Ukyo.  "Here, you should take him."

    Ukyo almost protested, then shrugged.  "Sure.  Hello P-chan."

    Mars and Mercury nodded to each other and summoned up a geyser of hot water together.  Johnathon and Ranma jumped through it.

    Johnathon forced a smile.  "It's good to be myself.  Everyone, Kasumi's preparing a victory feast for us, and you're all invited."

    The outer Senshi stepped away.  Pluto shook her head.  "Thank you, but we must be going."

    Sailor Moon sighed.  "I'm really tempted, but it's a school night, and finals are coming up."  'Diana' nearly fell over in shock.  The other Senshi nodded.

    Minako smiled apologetically.  "We've got to go.  Seeya later Johnathon."  The inner Senshi ran off together.

    Johnathon shrugged.  "Ah well.  Everyone else?  Lets go home."  He went into his pack and brought out a thermos, a short Chinese dress for Shampoo, and a set of Ryoga's clothing.  "I thought ahead."  Mousse quacked loudly and brought out a set of his own white robes from behind his wing.  Johnathon blinked at that, then shrugged.  "OK."

    Three transformation's later, the Nerima martial artists set off, quickly getting out of sight of the mall.  They stopped in a nearby park and Johnathon broke out his first aid kit to deal with Ukyo and Akane's cuts.  It turned out that Ryoga, Shampoo, Mousse and Ranma had only minor bruises, (for them) and Johnathon's only real injury was a goose egg on his head.  Ukyo tied the front of her shirt together with strips of her torn up breast bindings.

    Johnathon sighed at their general appearance.  It was still pretty plain that they had been in a nasty fight.  < Hopefully there won't be many people on the train.>  As they walked to the train station Johnathon fought off a raging headache.  When they arrived, Johnathon called the Tendo's from the station.

    Kasumi answered.  "Hello, who is it?"

    Johnathon smiled at the pleasant sound of her voice.  < I missed hearing that.>  "It's Johnathon.  We'll be home in half an hour."

    Kasumi's voice was cheerful.  "How was your fight?  Did you win?"

    Johnathon chuckled.  "Yes we won, and we're all OK.  A few bumps and bruises is all."

    Kasumi sounded calm.  "Should I call Dr. Tofu?:"

    Johnathon hesitated a moment.  "Sure.  There's nothing serious, but I did want to talk to him about the Water of Life."

    Kasumi's smile could almost be felt over the phone.  "I'll invite him to dinner then!"  Father and Mr. Saotome won't be home tonight."

    Johnathon blinked at that.  "Oh?  OK.  Ukyo, Shampoo, Mousse and Ryoga will be joining us, Kasumi-chan."

    Kasumi's answer was swift.  "There's plenty for everyone.  I started cooking an hour ago.  Hurry home!"

    Johnathon smiled, his anger at Cologne forgotten.  "I love you, Kasumi."

    Kasumi's answer was instantaneous.  "I love you too, Johnathon-san."

    Johnathon hung up the phone and the Nerima martial artists boarded the the last train back to Nerima.  They occupied an empty car and rode back uneventfully.  The late hour made it easier to avoid people.  The group got a few stares but after arriving in Nerima their slightly ragged appearance was taken in stride by the few pedestrians they met on the way to the dojo.  The group entered the gates to be greeted by an unwelcome sight.  An individual most of them recognized immediately stood in the yard holding a familiar cask.


    Kasumi hung up the phone.  She closed her eyes and clutched her hands to her chest.  "Thank goodness everyone's alright."  Kasumi took a deep breath, picked up the phone again and dialed Dr. Tofu.

    He picked up after only a couple of rings.  "Hello?"

    Kasumi spoke.  "Doctor, it's Kasumi."

    Dr. Tofu nearly collapsed.  "K-Kasumi?  How?"

    Kasumi answered quickly.  "Johnathon figured out how to use the Water of Life to change me back.  Dear Shampoo went and got me some."

    Dr. Tofu sounded calmer.  "The Water of Life?  Fascinating!"

    Kasumi was cheerful.  "Doctor, would you like to come to dinner tonight?  Johnathon wanted to talk to about the Water of Life.  Oh yes, and could you bring over some bandages and things?  Johnathon, Ranma and their friends have some minor injuries."

    Dr. Tofu blinked.  "Oh?  I'll be right over."

    Kasumi corrected him.  "They won't be home for a half hour, doctor, so please take your time.  We'll be waiting."

    Dr. Tofu spoke.  "Alright, Kasumi.  I'll come by in half an hour."

    Kasumi hung up the phone and turned to head back into the kitchen. She was surprised to see Pantyhose Taro standing behind her.

    Pantyhose smiled.  "Half an hour?  How useful.  So, Kasumi Tendo, what do you change into?"

    Kasumi gulped slightly nervously, but covered it with a pleasant smile a second later.  "Why, hello Mr. Taro.  So nice to see you again!"

    Pantyhose Taro snorted.  "I'm sure, but you haven't answered my question."

    Kasumi nodded.  "Yes... I become a cat, Mr. Taro.  Are you here to talk to master Happosai?"

    Taro smiled enigmatically.  "In a matter of speaking, but not right now.  I'm quite aware that he's not here."

    Nabiki's voice caused him to turn around.  "Then why are you here, Taro?  This isn't a social call."

    He nodded at Nabiki, still smirking.  "Perceptive as ever, Nabiki Tendo.  No, this isn't a social call."  He turned back to Kasumi.  "So why do you need the Water of Life to change back to human?"

    Kasumi put her hand up to her mouth.  "Oh my."

    Nabiki spoke quickly.  "Don't say anything, Kasumi."

    Taro snorted again.  "It doesn't really matter, you've confirmed that she does need it.  That's enough."

    Kasumi looked at Taro anxiously.  "What are you going to do?"

    He shrugged.  "What I have to."  He pulled a canteen from his belt and splashed Kasumi.

    She shrunk instantly and crawled out of her clothing.  "Meow?"

    Nabiki was furious.  "Why did you do that you bastard!?!"

    Taro shook his finger at her.  "Now, now, Nabiki Tendo, such language doesn't become you.  I simply need a way to get femboy and company to do as I wish."  He started heading for the kitchen.  Taro went right to the cask.  "I spotted this before.  I wondered what it could be.  I guess I know now."  Taro picked up the cask and walked back into the hall.  Nabiki was kneeling by her sister.

    The middle Tendo sister shot Pantyhose Taro a look of rage.  "Taro! What are you going to do with that!"

    Taro shrugged.  "Oh, I'll give it back, if femboy and friends do as I say.  As for you... you and your sister will be witnesses, for my defeat of femboy and the Amazon, Shampoo."

    Nabiki's eyes narrowed.  "Why?  I can understand you wanting to beat up Ranma, but why Shampoo?"

    Taro snorted.  "You'll know soon enough."  Taro headed for the front door.  "I'll be waiting for femboy and company.  Stick around, you won't want to miss the show."   Taro walked confidently out the front door.

    Nabiki went to the phone.  "I won't, Pantyhose."  She said quietly. "But things my not go quite as you planned."


    A little less than half an hour later, Pantyhose Taro confronted the Nerima martial artists in the Tendo's front yard.

    "Pantyhose."  Ranma spat contemptuously.  "What are you doing here?"

    "I'm here for one reason, femboy."  Pantyhose Taro said cockily.  "A fight.  With you, and the Amazon cat girl."

    Ranma cracked his knuckles.  "I'll take you myself, Pantyhose.  Just put that down and we can get to business."

   Taro shook his head.  "Fat chance.  I want everyone else to agree to stay out of this.  Otherwise I break this barrel and let all the water out.

    Johnathon stepped forward.  "Where's Kasumi?"

    Taro sniffed at him.  "The little kitten's not hurt, although I suspect she'll want this."

    Johnathon growled.  "I don't know you, Taro.  Give us the water, and I'll forget your borrowing it in the first place."

    Taro laughed.  "I don't think so.  What I am going to do is fight Shampoo and femboy, one then the other, while the rest of you go far away."  He smiled.  "Or I pour this over my own head."

    Mousse snarled.  "No way!  You'll face me first, Taro!  There's no way I'm letting you fight Shampoo!"

    Shampoo blinked in sudden understanding.  < Taro wants to fight me, and then Ranma.  If he wants both of us...>  Shampoo shook her head. "No, Mousse.  Shampoo fight Taro.  You go."

    Mousse turned to Akane.  "Shampoo, no!  If you fight him now...!"

    Shampoo slammed her bonbori into the back of his head.  "Shampoo know."  Mousse slumped.  Shampoo looked at Johnathon.  "Johnathon, take Mousse to restaurant.  Shampoo finish pay debt of honor now.  Kasumi be safe soon."

    Johnathon hesitated for several long moments, then nodded.  "I... I understand, Shampoo, but..."

    Shampoo shook her head.  "Is best to do what Shampoo ask."

    Johnathon bowed his head.  "For Kasumi.... I don't like it, Shampoo, but..."  He bent and picked up Mousse.  He looked at Akane, Ukyo and Ryoga.  "Shampoo's right, we'll go to the Cat Cafe.  Taro can have his fight."

    Ryoga protested.  "But why?"

    Akane nodded.  "I think I understand.  If Taro beats Shampoo and Ranma, she'll have to marry him instead."  She looked at Pantyhose Taro.  "But why are you doing this, Taro?"

    Pantyhose shook his head.  "My reasons are my own.  Get going before I loose my patience."

    Ryoga took Mousse from Johnathon.  "I'll carry him."  He looked at Taro.  "If you break your word, Taro.  If Kasumi doesn't get that water back after this... I'll find you..."

    Taro laughed.  "You can't find Tokyo."

    Akane and Ukyo looked at him angrily.  Ukyo spoke.  "He won't be alone.  Have your fight, but if Kasumi is stuck as a cat because of you, we'll all come after you."

    Akane and Johnathon nodded solemnly, then they all turned to go.

    Akane paused to put a hand on Ranma's shoulder.  "Don't get killed, Ranma."

    Ranma shrugged.  "Don't worry Akane.  I'll get the water back, one way or the other."

   Akane nodded.  "I know."  She turned and followed the others away.

    Taro turned toward the front door.  "Follow me.  We need our witnesses."  He led Shampoo and Ranma into the Tendo house.  Nabiki was waiting in the living room with Kasumi and C-chan.  Taro walked into the backyard.  "We'll fight here.  You first, Shampoo."

    Ranma started to protest, but Shampoo nodded.  "Shampoo gladly fight you."  Her voice was cold.  "Taro not underestimate Amazon."

    Ranma broke in  "Why are you doing this, Pantyhose?"

    Taro sighed.  "Why do you people keep harping on that?"  He walked over to the pond and set the cask down.  "You'll find out soon enough, femboy."  He turned to Shampoo.  "Well?  Lets do it."

    Shampoo drew her sword and bonbori and stepped toward him.  Taro smiled, and stepped into the Koi pond.  He burst out with an explosion of water that Shampoo barely managed to avoid.  She dodged to the side and Taro, now in his giant bull, Yeti, crane, eel and octopus form, charged her.  Shampoo dodged about trying to find a hole in his his defenses.

    Shampoo gritted her teeth in concentration. < I'm still tired and sore from fighting all those Youma, I can't keep this up for long.> Shampoo suddenly saw an opening, and went for it.

    Her sword bit into Taro's chest.  Taro accepted the hit, cracking Shampoo in the face with every ounce of his strength.  Shampoo rolled with it, taking it on the chin and flying back into the outside wall. Taro flew at her and slammed into Shampoo before she could recover, smashing her right through the outer wall with incredible force.  Taro stood and backed away.  Shampoo groaned in pain, barely conscious.  Taro wasted no time with mercy and shoved her head into the ground with a powerful fist, driving her into unconsciousness. He then put his hand to his side where Shampoo's sword had wounded him. He was bleeding pretty badly.

    Ranma rushed to Shampoo's side as Taro flew back to the center of the yard.  "Shampoo!"  Ranma quickly checked her out.  She was breathing shallowly, and didn't appear to be critically injured, although she would be out for quite awhile.  He turned to see Taro splashing some of the Water of Life on his side.  Ranma clenched his teeth in anger.  < No, not all of it!>  "Taro!"  Ranma yelled. "You broke your word!"

    Taro snorted, obviously unconcerned, and charged Ranma.  Ranma dodged aside, trying to come up with a plan.  < I'm still beat from that other dimension.  I've got enough for one or two Ki attacks, then I'm beat.  Taro won't fall for a Hiryo-Shoten-Ha, will he?>  Ranma started the spiral anyway.  Going toe to toe with Taro was a loosing proposition right now.

    Inside, Nabiki watched, growing increasingly angry.  < The water's used up, Taro lied, and Ranma already looks tired.  Damn that Pantyhose!>  She stood and hurried to the kitchen.  Nabiki went to the stove only to find the kettle missing.  "What the...?  Oh, he's here."

    Taro broke the spiral long enough to let the energy die and attacked again.

    Ranma got ready as Taro flew in.  < If I use a Ki blast, it won't be enough to do the job, and I'll be too tired to keep fighting.  I've got to let him come to me.>  Ranma waited until the last moment and tried a Chestnut fist.  He hit Taro dozens of times before Taro managed to counterattack.

    Nabiki came out to see Taro smash Ranma away with great force, sending him flying in her direction.  Nabiki ducked with a yelp, but Ranma crashed into her anyway.

    Ranma groaned and got up..  "Nabiki!  Are you OK?"  The middle Tendo sister didn't move.  Kasumi meowed anxiously and Taro started heading for Ranma again.  "Not now!"  Ranma shouted at him.  "Nabiki's hurt!"

    The giant minotaur like monster kept coming, preparing to finish the the fight.  Then suddenly, hot water poured down on him from above as he was about to enter the house.  Taro spun and a dark shape dropped silently behind him, as quick as lightning, the person tapped Taro in the back of the neck and shoulder.

    Taro started to turn, and froze as his attacker, Dr. Tofu, tapped a couple more spots.  "This fight is over."  He said curtly.  "Goodnight."

    Taro, paralyzed from the neck down, started to protest.  "This... isn't... your... fight..."

    Dr. Tofu tapped two more spots and Taro fell unconscious.  "It wasn't Nabiki's or Kasumi's either.  You made it my fight by involving them."  He let Taro fall over.  Dr. Tofu hurried over to Nabiki.

    Ranma blinked.  "Dr. Tofu?  What are you doing here?"

    The doctor was checking Nabiki over carefully.  "Nabiki called me and told me about Taro."  He sighed in relief.  "Nabiki will be fine, she's just stunned."

    Nabiki stirred at his words.  "Ouch.  Feels like a house dropped on me."  She slowly raised her head.  "Where's Taro?"

    Ranma pointed.  "Over there.  The doctor took him out."  Ranma looked at Tofu.  "That was incredible, Doc."

    "Yes, very impressive."  An old but familiar voice spoke up. Cologne pogoed over to Taro from out of sight.  "So, Taro wished to marry Shampoo.  I wonder why?"  She looked appraisingly at Tofu.  "You defeated him skillfully, Tofu."  She pogoed away.  "I'll be around.  I have much to consider."

    Before long, everyone had returned.  Mousse had recovered and was supporting Shampoo, who was conscious but in pain.  Dr. Tofu examined her and used a few pressure points to ease her pain.  Ranma had brought in the cask.  It was empty and Johnathon was in despair.  He held Kasumi in his lap, while the kitten sat at his feet, wondering what was wrong. Akane sat by Ranma, holding the pigtailed boys arm and looking sad. Nabiki had retired to her room to rest on Tofu's orders.

    Ukyo was standing over Taro, looking down at him.  "Dr. Tofu beat him?"  She asked, then bent down and took the canteen from his belt. "Hey, Ranma.  You said he jumped into the pond to transform?"

    Ranma nodded.  "Yeah, normally he just splashes himself from his canteen.  Nabiki says he used that to change Kasumi, so it must have been empty."

    Ukyo hefted it.  "It's full."

    Johnathon's head shot up.  "What?  It is?  Do you think...?"

    Ukyo grinned.  "That he filled it up from the cask?  Lets find out."

    They headed for the kitchen, and Ukyo carefully poured the water from the canteen into the kettle and started heating it.  Johnathon put Kasumi down and went for her clothes.  They all waited impatiently for the water to heat.  When it was hot enough, Johnathon poured a bowl of cold water.

    Johnathon looked down at his diminutive wife.  "There's only enough for one use.  If it's too hot, I'll splash you with the cold water." Kasumi nodded and held out her paw.  Unnoticed, the kitten came into the kitchen and headed for Kasumi.  Johnathon poured a couple drops on Kasumi's paw.  She didn't pull away in pain and he poured the rest over her carefully.  Kasumi grew instantly.  The little black kitten fell backwards in with a tiny yowl and ran for its life.

    Johnathon picked up Kasumi's blouse and placed it over her shoulders.  "Boy, I am really glad that worked."

    Kasumi nodded, pulling on her sleeves and buttoning up the front of the blouse.  "I am too.  Johnathon, where did C-chan go?"

    Johnathon paused.  "I heard him yelp.  He must have seen you change."

    Kasumi looked down the hall worriedly.  "Oh my.  I hope he's alright."

    Ukyo went out into the hall.  "I'll find the kitten.  You two relax."

    Johnathon picked up the bowl of cold water and carefully poured it down the sink.  Kasumi dressed quickly and the went out to help look for C-chan.  They found him with Ranma in the living room.  He, Akane, Ryoga and Dr. Tofu were discussing what to do with Pantyhose Taro.  Ranma held the kitten, which was quivering under his hand.  Kasumi went over to the tiny cat.  Johnathon called Ukyo into the living room.  The kitten eyed Kasumi suspiciously, but after carefully sniffing her hands, it was able to accept her as a non-threat.

    Ukyo came in and was astonished to see Ranma holding the kitten. "Wow, Ran-chan, you've really gotten rid of your phobia, huh?"

    Ranma nodded.  "Yeah, it's pretty much gone."  Ukyo sat on his left and admired the kitten.

    Dr. Tofu was checking Akane's cuts"  You'll be fine, Akane.  These will heal in a week or so."  He waved Ukyo over.  "Let me check you out Ukyo.  What were you all doing that you're all injured?  Akane, Ryoga and Ranma won't tell me."

    Ukyo grinned and shrugged.  "Sorry Doc, can't say."

    The Doctor nodded.  "Alright, I won't press."

    Ryoga indicated Taro with his thumb.  "What are we going to do with Pantyhose?  What do you think he was doing here, anyway?  Why did he want to marry Shampoo?"

    Shampoo, who had been resting up to that point, spoke up.  "Shampoo figure it out.  Taro want old pervert to change name, right?  Happi want chart from Great-grandmother to restore strength.  Happi must make deal with Taro for chart.  If Taro defeat Shampoo and Ranma, he become Shampoo husband.  So he demand chart for marrying Shampoo."

    Mousse growled.  "The bastard.  I'll never let him take my Shampoo!"

    Shampoo punched Mousse half heartily.  "Stupid Mousse.  Shampoo must marry soon, or else be punished for breaking law.  Taro marry Shampoo, Shampoo safe, Kasumi be cured.  Is worth it."

    Ranma shook his head.  "Pantyhose is just using you, Shampoo.  He's got no honor."

    Mousse nodded, for once in complete agreement with his rival. "Ranma's right, Pantyhose is not for you, Shampoo."

    The Amazon girl sighed.  "Shampoo not sorry he beaten, but it is solution to problem, yes?"  Everyone was silent at this.

    Ryoga spoke up.  "What I don't understand is why Taro would bother helping Happosai get the chart.  Why doesn't he just beat him up?"

    Ranma blinked.  "Hey, I bet Pantyhose doesn't know that the old freaks been affected by the strength sapping moxibotion.  He probably don't know about the water from the spring of drowned young man, either."

    Kasumi looked at the unconscious martial artist.  "Why don't we tell him?"  There was a long silence at that.

    Dr. Tofu finished checking Ukyo out.  "Ukyo, what attacked you? These cuts are from the claws of a large animal."

    Ukyo glanced at Johnathon, then back at the doctor.  "It's not important, Doc.  Will they heal up alright?"

    He also glanced at Johnathon, frowned slightly before glancing quickly at Kasumi, before nodding to Ukyo.  "They aren't deep, they shouldn't scar."

    Johnathon also looked at Kasumi.  "Tell him, eh?  Well, that would give Happosai reason to be wary.  It's almost worth it."

    Shampoo nodded.  "Is good idea, let Taro hunt old pervert."

    Ranma shook his head.  "I can't believe we're just going to let Pantyhose go... but yeah, that's probably best."

    Dr. Tofu looked around.  "If that's what you all feel is best?"  He went to Taro and jabbed a couple pressure points.

    Taro shuddered and his eyes blinked open.  "What?  Hey!  I can't move!"

    Tofu looked into his eyes.  "You'll recover in a minute, relax."

    Akane went over to Pantyhose Taro.  "Taro, we know why you wanted to fight Ranma and Shampoo.  Happosai wanted you to get the Moxibotion chart from Cologne, didn't he?"

    Taro blinked.  "How did you know that?"

    Johnathon stepped up, speaking forcefully.  "He's weak, from a strength sapping Moxibotion.  He needs the chart to recover."

    Taro's eyes narrowed.  "Then I could beat him."

    Johnathon nodded.  "You could.  If we let you leave here."

    Taro blinked again.  "Alright, you want the water?  I put some in my canteen.  You can have it.  I never intended to use it all.  I would have given it to Kasumi Tendo, as I agreed.  I just needed to close the hole in my side the Amazon gave me."

    Ranma shrugged.  "He was bleeding pretty bad... I guess that's reasonable."

    Johnathon nodded.  "Fine, you are free to go, as long as you swear not to harm anyone here, unless they attack you first."

    Taro turned his head, he was starting to be able to move.  He looked at the group, considering.  "I just want Happosai."

    Ranma snorted.  "You can have him!  I'll even help you.  Just promise."

    Taro hesitated, then nodded.  "I agree to your terms.  I won't attack anyone here... Even Femboy."

    Ranma bristled.   "That's some thanks... but I said I'd help. Happosai has used Jusenkyo water on himself, water from the spring of drowned young man."

    Taro swore heavily.  "Damn!  That old bastard tricked me!  Again!" He slowly rose to his feet.  "We're done.  "I'm going to finish the old freak, but that's it, I'll leave the rest of you alone."  Taro started walking away.  No one spoke till he was gone, through the new hole in the fence.

    Shampoo stood, with some help from Mousse.  "We go as well.  Must talk with great-grandmother."  She looked at Dr. Tofu thoughtfully, then turned to go.  Mousse followed after quietly.

    Ukyo rose as well.  "It's getting really late, and finals are coming pretty soon.  I should go too."  She looked at Ranma hesitantly, then turned to go.

    Ranma spoke up.  "Ukyo, thanks for the help."

    Ukyo nodded, not looking back.  "No problem.  What are friends for, anyway?"  She walked off slowly.

    Dr. Tofu stood a second later.  "I'll go as well.  Call me if you need anything."  Ranma looked like he wanted to say something to the doctor, but hesitated until after Tofu was gone.

    Ryoga yawned.  "I'm going to bed, I'm exhausted."

    Akane stood.  "I'll show you to your room, Ryoga."

    Ranma joined her.  "I'm going to sleep as well.  Fighting monsters takes it out of a guy."  The three teenagers left the living room, Ranma carrying the kitten.

    Johnathon sat with Kasumi, quietly thinking.  "That was the last of the water."  He said quietly.  Kasumi nodded, holding his arm close. Johnathon glanced at her.  "We can go and get some more.  It would take about three days."

    Kasumi nodded again.  "It's dangerous in Ryogensawa, but you'll go anyway."  She had a small smile on her face as she spoke.

    Johnathon smiled back.  "I've never been to Ryogensawa.  It sounds pretty interesting."

    Kasumi giggled.  "Bring me back some pictures."

    Johnathon grinned.  "Count on it."  He leaned over to kiss her, and Kasumi met him halfway.  When they broke the kiss, over a minute later, they were both breathless and a bit flustered.  Without words they stood and started for their room.

    Nabiki lay awake.  The soft sounds coming from her older sister's room weren't really keeping her awake.  Something else, however, was. < I'm happy for Kasumi.  I'm glad she and Johnathon are getting alone so well.  If anything was to prove they love each other, this last couple weeks has done that.  Still, Kasumi's curse needs to be dealt with.  I suppose Johnathon and Ranma can get more of the water of life from Ryogensawa, but that's not good enough.> Nabiki thought over recent events.  < Shampoo needs to get a husband before Cologne will give Kasumi the Phoenix pill.  Taro may be a jerk, but I'd marry him myself to get Kasumi off the hook.... Well, maybe not that... Still, now it's too late.  Taro needed to win.  No doubt he's already gone and thinking of a new plan to beat Happosai.>

    Nabiki frowned in concentration. < Dr. Tofu beat Taro... I wonder, could he beat Shampoo?  Probably, maybe he could even beat Ranma, especially with some sort of advantage...  I could arrange it, but how do I get Dr. Tofu to go for it?>  Nabiki frowned at the direction her thoughts were going. < He'd do it for Kasumi.  I wonder if he likes Shampoo at all?>  Though this line of thought was bothering her for some reason, Nabiki pressed on.  < Shampoo would have to marry Dr. Tofu if he beat both her and Ranma.  She probably wouldn't protest too much, Tofu is a great catch.>  Nabiki tried to ignore a funny pain in her chest. < Shampoo's beautiful, and she's gotten pretty nice recently.  Dr. Tofu could definitely do worse.  She used to work for him as a nurse, so they could work together... it's a pretty good match, and it'd save both Kasumi and Shampoo.>

    Nabiki clamped down tightly on her emotional reaction to that idea. < Mabye I should talk to Dr. Tofu tomorrow.  He'd agree to it.  Heck, even his mother would agree, Shampoo has great hips... Sure.>  Nabiki wiped a bit of suspicious wetness from her face.  < Pull yourself together girl.  Your just in pain from getting knocked over by Ranma, that's all.  Nothing else.>  Nabiki tried very hard to believe it.  She ignored the ache in her chest, hoping it would go away.

    The next week passed swiftly. Nabiki plotted and replotted, trying to find a solution that didn't involve Dr. Tofu.   Everyone else busied themselves with finals.  Ryoga had finished his placement exams and was taking the finals with everyone else.  Ranma and Akane studied almost constantly, martial arts for once taking a back burner to academics. They studied together every night till it was time to sleep.  Ukyo was the same way.  Her restaurant closed until the end of the week.  Nabiki was busy enough, but unlike the others she was up to date on her studies, and still had time enough to worry.  Johnathon and Kasumi seemed to enjoy their quiet time together, taking care of everyone while they prepared for their classes, the newlyweds still felt as if they were on vacation.  Johnathon hardly left Kasumi's side when he wasn't at school.  He already had his final written, and spent most of his free time making sure their were no potential water hazards around the house.

    In Juuban, the Senshi were feeling the pressure as well, and what little time the inner Senshi had was mostly spent prodding their princess to study harder.

    Johnathon's English final came early in the week, and he spent the rest of the week grading it.  By the time finals had finished, so was he.  When Ranma and Akane arrived home after their last final, Johnathon announced his decision to head for Ryogensawa.

                                             End pt 37


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