Ranma is a creation of Rumiko Takahashi, Sailor Moon is by Naoko Takuchi. Please don't sue me, I'm poor.
A Different Viewpoint pt 39
The next day, Ranma and Akane sparred in the yard. Johnathon joined them, in anticipation of the day to come. Nodoka kept busy in the kitchen that morning. Kasumi spent the time watching over the kitten, who was the only one happy to have his 'mother' back. Soun and Genma actually played three games of go straight without cheating, and Nabiki stayed in her room all morning, brooding.
At eleven thirty, Dr. Tofu Ono arrived at the Cat Cafe, though not in any official capacity. He walked over to where Shampoo was cooking, and bowed to her in a formal manner. "Shampoo, may we talk privately?"
Shampoo looked at him a long moment before nodding. She turned towards the back of the kitchen. "Great grandmother, Shampoo is taking break. Is OK?"
Cologne pogoed forward, glanced at Tofu, and then nodded. "I believe we may be closing up early today, child. You may go."
Dr. Tofu and Shampoo walked outside. The doctor spoke quietly. "Shampoo, I want to ask you a question." She nodded, watching him interestedly, so he continued. "I intend to do something today... that is, I intended to, until I considered the consequences to you."
Shampoo looked puzzled. "What is coons... cones... is that?"
He explained. "How my actions today might affect you."
Shampoo still looked puzzled, if for a different reason. "What affect Shampoo?"
Dr. Tofu looked back at her seriously. "I'll tell you. Shampoo, what would you think about me... defeating both you and Ranma in combat?"
She blinked in surprise, looked at Tofu in astonishment, and blinked again. "Is serious?"
He nodded. "Yes. I'm quite serious I'm afraid, but..." He paused to consider the girl standing before him. "But I've decided that I can't go through with it, unless you say it's alright."
Shampoo just looked at him, a bewildered expression on her face. After a long pause, she said, "You want to marry Shampoo?"
He nodded. "If you'll accept me. You are an efficient nurse, we worked well together. You are also a beautiful young woman. I could hardly do better."
Shampoo peered at him, then shook her head. "That not why you want marry Shampoo."
It was Dr. Tofu's turn to blink at her. "It's not?"
She shook her head firmly. "You want save Kasumi, yes? Shampoo married to you, great grandmother give Kasumi Phoenix Pill."
Tofu sighed. "Shampoo, I.... You're right of course. I won't lie to you. I want to save Kasumi, and you as well. The other things I said were true as well, but..."
The amazon smiled. "Shampoo understand. Shampoo want to help Kasumi too." She got into a fighting stance. "Shampoo challenge you to fight. Shampoo no lose easy." She nodded to him. "But Shampoo would not be unhappy to lose to you."
Dr. Tofu bowed to her. "I promise, I will do my best for you, Shampoo." He also got into a combat stance. "Shall we begin?"
Five minutes later, Dr. Tofu walked back into the Cat Cafe carrying Shampoo gently in his arms. Cologne pogoed over. "You have defeated my great granddaughter?" It wasn't precisely a question. Dr. Tofu nodded. Cologne looked up at him. "And my Son-In-Law?"
Dr. Tofu looked at her calmly. "Ranma will be here in around twenty minutes." He moved further into the restaurant. "Show me to Shampoo's room please. She should lay down for awhile and recover."
Cologne nodded, and led the way to Shampoo's room, opening the door for the doctor. Tofu laid Shampoo on her bed, and carefully tapped several points on her body and head. "There. She will be feeling much better in half an hour."
Cologne nodded. "I see. Very well done, Tofu." She looked at him then, a serious expression on her face. "Do you believe that you can defeat Ranma?"
The doctor straightened up and headed out of Shampoo's bedroom. "We shall see. Do you have any advice?"
Cologne cackled. "I think I like you boy, do I have any advice indeed!" She laughed again, smiling "I may just have some advice after all." They walked down into the restaurant together and began to talk.
Twenty two minutes later Ranma, Akane, Johnathon, Mr. and Mrs. Saotome, Soun and Nabiki, all walked up to the Cat Cafe. Nabiki carried Kasumi, Johnathon carried a canteen of water, Ranma carried his confidence like a cloak. In front of the closed restaurant, stood Cologne and Dr. Tofu Ono. As the group approached, he nodded to Cologne, and stepped out in front of her.
He bowed formally to them, and spoke. "Ranma Saotome, I challenge you for Shampoo's hand in marriage."
Cologne looked on dispassionately, Nabiki closed her eyes in resignation, everyone else just stared at him or nearly fell over in shock.
"W-what" Ranma finally stammered out.
Tofu looked him straight in the eyes. He said solemnly, "I challenge you for Shampoo. Do you accept?"
Ranma was speechless. Everyone watched them, wondering what would happen next.
After almost a minute Ranma nodded. "I accept."
The two men stepped out into the street, and took up stances opposite from each other. Even as they did so, Shampoo walked stiffly out of the Cat Cafe's front door to stand next to Cologne.
Shampoo spoke up. "Tofu already challenge Ranma? Will be good fight!"
Akane glanced away from the two combatants, who were still sizing each other up. "Really? I've never seen Dr. Tofu fight before."
Shampoo nodded, and said a little softer, "Is very good martial artist., beat Shampoo. Ranma is better, but not know Tofu's moves. Tofu watch Ranma fight many time."
Akane nodded and turned back to the fight which hadn't started yet. "Well we'll see." < Oh, what a dilemma. For once, I want Ranma to lose, but if he does, Dr. Tofu will have to marry Shampoo. Why is he doing this?> Akane sighed. < Like I don't know. It's for Kasumi.>
Ranma meanwhile, was frowning to himself. He'd pretty much determined that Dr. Tofu wasn't going to start attacking first. < He knows I prefer to let the other guy start things off. I hope he also know I ain't about to throw a fight, not even this one.> Ranma nodded in determination and leapt into a straight forward kick to test Tofu's defenses.
Tofu sidestepped deftly and Ranma narrowly avoided a foot sweep as he landed. The pig tailed martial artist backflipped away, then came in again with a rapid series of seemingly random punches and kicks. Tofu evaded the assault skillfully, so Ranma stepped up his attack, going to his full amiguriken speed. The good doctor took half a dozen hits in the instant before he backflipped out of range. Ranma jumped after him, pressing the attack. < Should I back off? No, to let up would be foolish, it'd be obvious I wasn't giving my all.>
Dr. Tofu dropped his arms as Ranma reached him, throwing several small objects to the ground at their feet. The objects immediately made their purpose known as they began spewing billowing clouds of smoke. Ranma went into the Chestnut fist, determined to do as much damage as possible before his opponent could slip away.
Cologne surprised herself by flinching at the sound of the blows. < Tofu can't take much more of that, it's now or never.>
Ranma peered into the smoke, trying to detect Tofu. It was obvious that Tofu had been hurt by that last series of punches. < He's not Ryoga. Dr. Tofu was better than I expected, but it's almost over now.>
Outside the cloud, Cologne closed her eyes, trying to sense the battle aura's of the two fighters. Ranma's was bright and strong. Cologne could practically see Ranma doing the same thing as her, and trying to detect Dr. Tofu from his aura. Cologne sensed Tofu's aura, faintly, it was weak, and full of pain. Then the pain faded, and then so did the doctor's aura, quickly vanishing from her senses entirely. Cologne opened her eyes in surprise. < Even Happi can't do that to me. The boy has potential. He has erased all sense of his presence, as well as the pain from his injuries, he may win yet.>
Ranma concentrated, but sensed no sign of his opponent. < Has he backed off to recover? Better get out of the smoke and take a look.> Ranma jogged forward quickly, but before he'd taken more then a few steps he felt a sharp tap at the small of his back. < Uh oh.> Even surprised as he was, Ranma managed to avoid the next few strikes, and knocked Tofu away with a vicious backhand. Ranma stumbled out of the cloud, and collapsed. "My legs!" He said, angry with his mistake. "I remember this one." Ranma turned to face the cloud of smoke on his arms. < He's got me! I can't fight like this!> Ranma shook his head. < No. I won't give up. He's hurt, I can still beat him!> Ranma focused his will. < The doc's gotta come to me, I can take him, I know it... it'll just take the one shot.>
Ranma gathered his chi before him, scanning the cloud. < The way he's erased all sign of his presence, I'll only have an instant to act. I can't miss.> Ranma heard Akane shouting his name, but forced himself to shut her out.
Kasumi, sitting in Nabiki's arms, watched Ranma. He was sitting, facing the slowly dispersing cloud, a small glowing sphere in his hands. Suddenly, Dr. Tofu lunged out of the smoke, and Ranma fired off his chi blast with a yell. The doctor flew to the side and Kasumi heard Nabiki gasp in dismay and whisper his name.
Ranma lay back, wheezing, trying to draw enough energy to sit back up. He looked over at Dr. Tofu. The doctor had come almost too quickly, his aura masked. < I only grazed him. Was it enough?>
Dr. Tofu slowly rose, his left side smoking a bit, his left arm hanging limply at his side. He could barely stand, the nerve blocks he had applied to himself after chestnut fist were all that kept him from passing out from the pain and exhaustion he felt. Dr. Tofu staggered toward Ranma, and was astonished to see the young martial artist starting to form another chi blast. Dr. Tofu darted forward with every bit of speed he had left and jabbed both sides of Ranma's neck. The chi blast faded away and Ranma's head fell back as the pig tailed martial artist lost consciousness.
Dr. Tofu sat back and once again forced himself to stand. He shook his head in amazement. "I won."
Cologne pogoed up and peered at Ranma. "Well, Tofu. It appears I should now call you Son in law."
Dr. Tofu nodded slowly. "Yes... I think I should... lie down now." His eyes rolled back in his head and Dr. Tofu collapsed.
When he woke, he first noticed Shampoo's smiling face above him. "Wo da airen!" She exclaimed, noticing him awake, she bent down to kiss him firmly on the lips. When Shampoo broke the kiss, Tofu noticed that he was inside the Cat Cafe, in a booth, his head laying on Shampoo's lap.
Dr. Tofu sat up, blushing furiously. He winced at the pain from his bruises, then straightened and looked around. Cologne was off to his right, standing on her staff. The Saotomes and Tendos were gathered around behind the Amazon matriarch, including Ranma, who looked a bit pale, but otherwise fine.
Cologne nodded at Ranma. "I removed the effects of the shiatsu points you used on Ranma, Tofu. As well as the nerve blocks you used on yourself. Risky, that was, but well played, Son-in-law." Tofu nodded slowly. Cologne looked seriously at him. "So, Son-in-law, when will you go through with the marriage ceremony?"
Dr. Tofu frowned. "When will you give Kasumi the Phoenix pill?"
Cologne's gaze was steady. "I must go back to China to retrieve it. I will do so when I am assured that Shampoo is safe."
Dr. Tofu nodded. "I will marry Shampoo, on her eighteenth birthday, on my honor."
Cologne nodded in response. "Fair enough. I will start for China in the morning. It is a remote region I must go to. It will be two to three weeks before I return. I will take Mousse with me, to prevent any... problems from his end."
Dr. Tofu nodded once more, then turned to his new fiancee. "Shampoo, I...."
Shampoo smiled. "Tofu make Shampoo good husband, and Shampoo promise to be good wife, OK?"
Dr. Tofu sighed and nodded. "OK, Shampoo."
Shampoo glomped onto his side and he winced. "Um, Shampoo? That side hurts...." She released him quickly, apologizing. Tofu smiled. "Forget it, Shampoo, it's OK."
Kasumi, perched now in her husband's arms, looked at Dr. Tofu and Shampoo, trying to figure out how she felt about what had happened. < I'm glad that I'm going to get the phoenix pill and be able to become human again, but why did he do this? Why did Dr. Tofu want to marry Shampoo? Does he really like her that much? Or was this all because he felt sympathy for her and me? Why did he do it?> Kasumi thought back at everyone's reactions to Dr. Tofu fighting Ranma for Shampoo. < Everyone was so quiet, even... sad. It was like something tragic was happening. Even Nabiki-chan was sad, and she almost never shows how she feels.>
Kasumi looked around at her family, and at Dr, Tofu and Shampoo. < Everyone looks like they're trying to smile very hard. Dr. Tofu and Shampoo do look the most cheerful, but that could be because they are hiding their feeling the best.> Kasumi buried her head in Johnathon's chest. < He did it to save us.... Dr. Tofu did all this to save us, and everyone knows it.> Kasumi's heart sank at the realization.
Johnathon sighed. < Poor Kasumi. She never wanted anyone to sacrifice themselves for her. She must feel terrible.> He stroked her head and shoulders gently, trying to transmit his love and support to her. She didn't respond, and he spoke quietly in her ear. "Kasumi, please don't be sad. I'm sure Dr. Tofu and Shampoo will get along great. He's a great guy, and she's gotten to be a really nice girl, right? They aren't sad, please try to cheer up."
Looking around at the sad faces in the room, Dr. Tofu nodded to himself. < Here's where all my emotional control training pays off.> He took Shampoo's hand and winked at her, so no one else could see. With slowly growing passion in his voice, he spoke, drawing the attention of everyone in the room. "Shampoo, when you first came to Nerima I liked you. Did you know that? I was very happy to have you as my nurse, but not because you were efficient, but because I liked you from the start. I didn't realize it at first, but I missed you when you were gone."
Dr Tofu sighed. "When you returned, I finally knew how I felt about you, but you were engaged to Ranma. Therefore I did nothing. I made myself ignore my growing feeling for you. I turned my sights elsewhere, at more attainable goals, but... I sabotaged myself, and I started to fear that I could never find someone to love. Recently, after discovering your troubles, I had to act. Ranma couldn't marry you, for he loves Akane. But I could marry you, because I find that I truly love you. Shampoo, I hope you can care for me as I do for you."
Everyone was still, their eyes wide in shock.
Shampoo realized from the wink that Dr. Tofu was putting on a show to cheer everyone up, but she couldn't help but be moved. < He's a good catch,> She told herself. < And a very, very nice man.> Shampoo smiled brilliantly, drowning the pain and loss she felt at losing Ranma for good in a very real sense of hope, and perhaps even the beginnings of love.
Dr. Tofu was dazzled by her smile. < Shampoo's joy is obvious for anyone to see. Did she misunderstand my wink? Or is she simply a better actress than she normally lets on?>
Shampoo spoke clearly in her native Chinese. "Wo ai ni." She repeated in Japanese. "You I love." Shampoo nodded to him. "Tofu very special man. Shampoo think she love, can love, Tofu, very much." Shampoo kissed Dr. Tofu then suddenly, remembering not to squeeze him too tight and further injure his side. The doctor found himself responding spontaneously returning the kiss.
Soun and Genma cheered, completely falling for their act. "This calls for a celebration!" cried Soun.
"Absolutely!" Agreed Genma, already thinking of the sake and food.
Nodoka said nothing, but quietly clapped. The pleasant smile on her face easily hid her inner thoughts.
Cologne snorted, not fooled for an instant, but laughed inside. < If those two keep 'acting' like that, it won't remain an 'act' for long.>
Johnathon had a thoughtful look on his face. <I wonder who the doctor was talking about? Who did he love before Shampoo?" Johnathon gazed down at his wife, and she looked back, a similar expression on her face. < I wonder?> He and Kasumi thought at the same time. Johnathon shrugged faintly. "It looks like they might work out. Don't you think?"
Kasumi glanced at Tofu and Shampoo, who were just breaking up from their kiss. and smiling at one another, then glanced back at Johnathon. < I hope so. I pray it will be so.>
Johnathon nodded to himself. "I'm sure of it." < I hope.>
Ranma and Akane looked at each other, wonderingly.
"Could it be?" Whispered Ranma.
"It's possible." Akane whispered back. "They do seem pretty happy."
Nabiki sat stunned, not knowing what to think. < It's fake, it's all a fake. Dr. Tofu at least, he's gotta be faking it. But Shampoo... why shouldn't she be happy? Dr. Tofu's a great catch.> Her heart was torn. Part of her wanted the doctor to be telling the truth, and hoped he was really as happy as he seemed. Another part of her, however, wished it was all a lie, and he didn't love Shampoo, that he could possibly be in love with.... Nabiki stomped ruthlessly down on that train of thought and forced herself to regain her aloof arrogance. When she felt control return she went over to tease Ranma and Akane.
Shampoo winked at Dr. Tofu knowingly, so only he could see. That very wink made the act even easier to pull off. They both relaxed and played the parts of fiancees in love perfectly.
The rest of that afternoon, they partied, fooling almost everyone into believing that their love was real. What the newly affianced couple didn't realize, that they were fooling themselves as well.
The party broke up early so Cologne could make her preparations to leave, and everyone headed for home.
That night, at the Tendo home, the phone rang. Johnathon picked it up, still taking Kasumi's place in the house. "Hello?"
He was pleasantly surprised to hear Ami's voice. "Hello? Johnathon, we were wondering if, now that finals are over, if Ranma might consider training us?"
Johnathon considered that. "I don't see why not. I'll ask him."
Ami interrupted. "We were thinking we could come down there. All of us. Usagi, Minako and I asked our parents, Rei talked her grandfather into it, and Makoto and Mamoru can afford it themselves. We were thinking that Ranma could teach us regularly, at the dojo."
Johnathon grinned. "Sounds good! Let me get Ranma and you can talk to him about it. He's the one you need to talk to after all."
Half an hour later, everything was arraigned. Six new students would arrive at the Tendo dojo the next day.
The next morning, Dr. Tofu awoke to find Shampoo curled up against him in his bed. He was relieved to note that they were both still dressed, if minimally.
"Shampoo?" The doctor gently shook her. Shampoo woke easily and moved in for a kiss, smiling happily at him. Tofu stopped her. "Shampoo, we're not married quite yet...."
Shampoo shrugged, the movement subtly enticing. "Airen not have to wait. Shampoo happy to be good wife."
Tofu sat up, trying not to say anything he would regret later. "Shampoo, please respect my wishes in this. We will marry when you turn eighteen, but until then, I would prefer to take things slowly."
Shampoo nodded, looking like she was both disappointed and relived. "Shampoo understand. Where should Shampoo sleep?"
Tofu blinked. "In your own bed would be best for now, Shampoo."
Shampoo nodded again. "Where Shampoo's bed?"
Dr. Tofu blinked once more. "Excuse me?"
Shampoo explained. "Great grandmother close Cat Cafe, sell. Shampoo stay here, yes?"
Dr. Tofu hesitated, then sighed. "I suppose so. We'll fix you up a room today." He got up out of the bed. "For now, however, I'm going to take a cold shower." Tofu Ono left, trying not to obviously hurry, and Shampoo couldn't help but giggle a bit.
At the Tendo dojo, around three o'clock in the afternoon, Soun and Genma were surprised by the arrival of a large group of young women showing up for a class with Ranma. They quickly got the pig tailed martial artist, who was also surprised. Not by the presence of students, but by the number of them. Eleven girls of various ages and one man were there for lessons.
Usagi introduced the group, explaining that Ranma had given her and four of her friends some free lessons in exchange for 'Dr. Mizumi's' help with Ranma's cat phobia. "We all enjoyed the lessons so much we decided so sign up for lessons at the Tendo dojo." Usagi nodded at the large group behind her. "Several of our friends decided to join us."
An older woman with dark green hair stepped forward. "I am Sestuna Meiou. What is the going fee for lessons?" Before long, Sestuna had arraigned for lessons for everyone present, three days a week for the next month, and twice a week once school started up again.
Ranma figured the older woman to be Sailor Pluto. The cheerful twelve year old had to be Saturn, apparently her name was Hotaru. The two girls around his age had to be Sailor's Uranus and Neptune. Ranma might have mistaken the blond for a guy, but he was starting to get pretty good at spotting that sort of thing. It didn't hurt that he had already seen her in a fuku. Ranma already knew the others, the inner Senshi and Mamoru Chiba from before. Luna was still going by her assumed name, Diana. Artemis had dyed her hair black and was calling herself Atlanta.
The fathers did not question their good fortune and soon Ranma began teaching his first paying class.
The days passed quickly, for most.
Ranma and Akane were busy with teaching the Senshi, while Ranma spent more and more time with Akane, training her, and just being there with her.
Nabiki surprised everyone by starting her own martial arts training again, joining Ranma's class. (For free of course.) She didn't offer an explanation beyond staying in shape.
Kasumi spent most of her time with the kitten, caring
for it and training it. She was glad for the distraction. It
was starting to get quite frustrating being stuck as a cat. She yearned
to return to her
human form more each day. It helped to remember that Cologne was going to bring her the Phoenix pill, but it was still hard.
Johnathon became more and more impatient as time passed. Having nothing better to do he threw himself into intensive training, sparing with Ranma and Akane, working on increasing his strength and endurance rigorously.
Finally, two weeks and three days after she left, Cologne returned with the Phoenix pill.
Akane answered the loud rap on the front door, opening it quickly. "Yes... Cologne!"
Cologne handed her the pill before Akane could say another word. "Give this to your sister, along with my sincere apologies." She hesitated, as if she had more to say, then turned and pogoed quickly away.
Akane stood gaping at the pill in her hands, then found her voice. "KASUMI!!!" The youngest Tendo turned and found her eldest sister almost immediately, wincing from Akane's yell at her feet. Kasumi had come to see who was at the door and from the expression on her face, had heard Cologne's words. Akane quickly knelt, holding out the pill. "Here, Kasumi. This is for you."
Kasumi took the pill and swallowed. Then, without hesitation, ran for the bathroom. Akane hurried after and opened the outer door for her sister. Akane noticed Johnathon's clothing on top of the hamper, as did Kasumi. The lithe black cat went straight across to the inner door and looked back anxiously at Akane, waiting to be let in.
Akane hesitated, then shrugged. "OK, sis." She opened the door just wide enough for Kasumi to enter, then closed it behind her. A couple seconds later there was a loud splash and a startled cry.
Johnathon's voice was weak with surprise. "Kasumi?" He started to shout incredulously. "Kasumi! Kasumi you're...!"
Johnathon's voice was suddenly cut off entirely, and Akane retreated from the increasingly suggestive sounds coming from the furo, blushing furiously, but with a huge smile on her face. Akane came out of the bathroom and encountered Ranma and Nabiki, who had come at the sound of Johnathon's shouts.
Ranma caught Akane's grin and started to smile himself.
Nabiki spoke up quickly. "Akane, what's going on?"
Akane's grin got wider. "Cologne brought the Phoenix pill, and Kasumi just let Johnathon know...." Akane blushed brighter. "I think we should leave them alone for awhile...."
Nabiki broke into a spontaneous grin herself. "That's great!"
The three teenagers smiled cheerfully at each other, and by unspoken consensus, walked away to give the two in the bath some privacy.
As they reached the living room and informed their fathers, Akane couldn't help but shake her head in wonder. < Are things finally getting back to normal? Kasumi is human again, there's nothing in the way of Ranma and I getting married, the dojo's earning money again.... Am I going to miss all the crazyness?> Akane rolled her eyes. < Nah.> She grinned to herself and joined in on her families celebration.
End pt 39. End of A Different Viewpoint.
ADV Epilogue follows in a few weeks.
I hope you liked it. C&C is always welcome!