A Different Viewpoint Chapter 4

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

                                  From a Different Viewpoint
                                                 Part 4

     The next week both Mr. Tendo and Akane were amazed at Johnathon's improvement.  His defense had markedly improved.  It was all Akane could do to hit him, and even when she did, he moved with the blow lessening it's force.  His attacks too were a bit better.  Akane was hard pressed from time to time, although his strength was still not very great.  Akane recognized bits of Ranma's style in Johnathon's now.  As a matter of fact she noticed her style in there too.  Akane was pleased with his improvement. Johnathon was pleased as well, he had felt much better only one day after sparring with Ranma.  His fast recovery had surprised him.

     He had practiced in free moments since then, shadow sparring against an invisible Ranma.  He went over the fight in his head, coming up with defenses to the attacks that he so vividly remembered getting through his guard.  After a half hour sparring session with Akane, (the longest he had ever lasted) he stopped, too tired to continue.  Akane was surprised to be pretty tired herself.  He was now almost her equal, one match with Ranma had done that?  < No>, she decided < Father and I had a lot to do with it too, although he really is a lot better.>

     Soun Tendo congratulated his student, then started having Johnathon take him through some of the new techniques he had used. He had a comment, or helpful suggestion in every case.  After an hour of work Soun left his student to recover enough to be able to walk home.  Johnathon sat up after resting for twenty minutes and saw Kasumi standing by the door with tea and soda crackers.

     She said.  "I thought you might like a snack before going home, Johnathon-san."

     He stood and nodded.  "Thank you Kasumi-chan, I would."  Kasumi blushed very slightly at his familiarity.  "Oh I hope you don't mind if I call you that, Kasumi..."

     "Oh no, Johnathon-san"  She smiled warmly.  "I don't mind at all."  She blushed some more but Johnathon had looked away and missed it.

     "That's good, Kasumi... chan.  I wanted to ask you..."  he paused unsure how to continue.

     "Yes ask me?"  She looked at him expectantly.

     He nodded.  "Ask you, for advice."

     "Yes?"

     "Ranma's cat phobia, has anything been done to try and cure him?"

     Kasumi frowned a bit but covered her reaction instantly.  "No, not really, I tried bringing cats to him, a few at a time, but it didn't have any effect. Ranma's phobia is quite strong I'm afraid."

     Johnathon nodded.  "I thought as much, I did wonder if perhaps I could help some."  He looked at Kasumi's face then intently. "Most cats are not very cooperative, and I think Shampoo would probably tend to be quite... forward, but I am quite patient. Perhaps some exposure to a non threatening, passive feline would have a positive effect.  What do you think Kasumi?"

     She looked thoughtful.  Johnathon was struck again how beautiful she was, he drove his distracting thoughts away as she spoke. "I think, that perhaps it's worth a try."  She looked at his face now.  "But why do you come to me with this?"

     He looked surprised.  < Why did I?>  "Ah well, it's a sensitive situation and you seem to be a sensitive person."  He nearly hit himself in the head.  < What are you saying?>

     But she just smiled.  "Thank you, you flatter me."

     He shook his head emphatically. "No, not at all, in fact, could you talk to Ranma about it?  I wouldn't know how to bring it up smoothly myself."

     "I'll do that Johnathon-san. it is most kind of you to volunteer to help Ranma this way."  She bowed and he returned the bow.  Johnathon walked over and took the tray.  "I'll go talk to Ranma."  Kasumi excused herself to find Ranma and Johnathon snacked, thinking about what he would do if Ranma agreed.  His thoughts wandered and he found himself thinking about Kasumi. She certainly was beautiful, and very kind and sweet, but... < She really isn't my type is she?  She's six years younger than me, and I like intelligent self confident women, not the subservient  "japanese housewife" type.  She was too meek really, and a little simple minded, or was she?>

     Somehow there seemed to be something more there, a hint of  hidden intelligence.  At 19, she really wasn't too young... Johnathon shook his head to clear it.  < What am I thinking?>  He unsuccessfully tried not to think of Kasumi while he waited.  Ranma walked in after several minutes, followed by Kasumi who carried a bucket of cold water.

     Ranma looked nervous.  "Dwire-sensei, you want to help me with my, my..."

     "Yes Ranma."  Johnathon interrupted quietly.  "I wish to help you overcome your cat phobia."  Ranma recoiled a bit at the "cat".  "This might take a while."  Johnathon observed to himself.

     "I'll try."  Ranma said with uncommon honestly.  "But why do you want to do this for me?"

     Johnathon thought about that for awhile. "Well, us cursed types have to stick together right?  You've helped me, sparring with you I learned more about the art than I ever have before, so I owe you.  Besides Ranma, I like you, and I like the Tendos.  I want to do this, perhaps a bit for me too.  Maybe if I can help you, that might mean that there was a reason for me getting this curse after all."

     Ranma looked at him and was quiet for half a minute.  "Ok sensei, I'm willing, let's give it a try."

     Johnathon walked over to Kasumi and took the bucket, then walked over to the far side of the dojo.  "Ok Ranma, I'll stay over here, when I change you try to come over here to me.  If you feel your control slipping, back off, no reason for you to go cat.  Johnathon knelt and poured the bucket over his head, purposely dropping it to one side in the same movement.  He shrank in an instant, disappearing into his clothing even before the bucket hit the floor with a clatter.  He climbed out of his clothing and sat very still, watching Ranma.  Ranma was frozen in the door of the dojo, not moving a muscle.  Kasumi stood behind him, one hand over her mouth in worry.  Ranma stood like a statue for several minutes.  Johnathon slowly laid down and curled up into a ball, trying to look as small and defenseless as possible.  He closed his eyes almost all the way  and looked at Ranma through barely open lids.  Finally he shut his eyes all the way and pretended to be asleep.

     Ranma fought a battle inside himself, warring against his fear.  < Are you a coward?  It's just Dwire-san, he's not about to hurt you!  Why can't you move?  Fight your fear you coward!>  He took a single step forward, than another, then another.  Johnathon heard him cross the room slowly, until he halted about ten feet away.  Johnathon kept his eyes closed and didn't move.  A minute passed, two, then three.  Ranma hadn't moved.  Cautiously, Johnathon opened one eye a crack.  Ranma was frozen again, ten feet away, fear on his face, but determination too.

     Ranma noticed Johnathon taking a peek at him, fear surged in his heart, then diminished.  It was Johnathon after all, not a cat, right?  Ranma stepped forward, then again and again.  He was only a couple of feet away, within arms reach.  He could reach down and touch the cat, no Johnathon, by just bending over.  Johnathon closed his eyes and waited.  < Come on Ranma, just a little more.> Nothing happened, minutes passed uneventfully, finally Johnathon opened his eyes.

     Ranma was still there, his eyes glazed over, petrified with fear.  His pride would not let him retreat, but his fear would not let him advance.  Johnathon slowly go to his feet, and backed away.  He walked around Ranma a good distance away and then ran over to Kasumi.  She picked him up automatically.  "Let me run you a bath Johnathon, it looks like that's enough for tonight." Johnathon meowed and nodded.

     Kasumi carried him to the bath and began running the hot water.  She left after a few moments, saying that she would leave his things in the outside room.  Kasumi went down into the dojo to get Johnathon's clothes and pack.  Ranma was sitting in the center of the dojo deep in thought.  Kasumi decided to leave him alone and went out quietly.  When the tub had filled enough to soak a good sized cat, Johnathon jumped in.  He changed immediately and let the tub fill a bit more before shutting it off.

     He heard Kasumi come into the outer room.  "I'll leave your things out here Johnathon-san."

     "Thank you Kasumi-chan, that will be fine."  He listened to her put his clothing down and then heard nothing, including any sound of Kasumi leaving.

     "Ranma's cat phobia is pretty bad isn't it?"  Her voice was soft and sad.

     "Yes, I'm not a professional, but it is pretty bad.  It is far from hopeless I think, we will just have to keep trying."

     Kasumi was  silent for a few moments.  "Do your best Johnathon-san, thank you very much for what you are trying to do."

     Johnathon heard the bathroom outer door open and close.  He laid back, still hearing her sweet voice over and over.  She really was very nice, so kind and beautiful.  < What is with you Johnathon?> he asked himself.  < Are you falling in love?>  "Maybe I am."  he said quietly to himself.  He soaked until the water started to cool off and got out.  He dressed quickly and walked into the main part of the house.  He noticed Kasumi in the kitchen, finding Ranma a snack.

     Johnathon went over to them. "Ranma, you did well in fighting your phobia today, when I return in two days for my next training session, we can try again.  After Mr. Tendo is done with me of course."

     Ranma looked at Johnathon determinedly.  "Definitely!"

     "Ok, Ranma, Kasumi, I've thought about it and this is how we'll handle it..."  Johnathon went home, confident that Ranma would be showing improvement in his cat phobia training in a week or less.

     The next two days went by quickly.  Classes went smoothly and Johnathon managed to avoid cold water.  Ranma even managed to avoid getting any new fiancee's!  Johnathon's training session with Mr. Tendo went well.  They spent the time smoothing out the techniques of Johnathon's newest attacks and dodges copied from Ranma.  Ranma arrived after Mr. Tendo had left his student to stretch out his kinks, Kasumi following soon after.  She carried a bucket of cold water.

     Johnathon greeted them in a businesslike manner.  "Ok, remember what we're going to do.  Kasumi, you pour the cold water on me, then go get a kettle of hot water.  Ranma, you will get as close as you can to me and sit down next to me.  You don't have to try and touch me, just sit close by me for at least ten minutes, longer if you can stand it easily.  Then Ranma, you'll get the hot water and change me back yourself, Ok?"  They nodded.  "All right, lets do it."

     Johnathon walked across the dojo and sat down.  Kasumi followed and poured water on him.  He changed and she went to the kitchen to prepare some hot water.  Johnathon crawled out of his clothing and curled up in a ball, then pretended to sleep.  Ranma started walking over to him slowly, but this time without hesitation.  He sat down only a couple of feet from Johnathon and sat still.  Ranma fought an inner battle to calm himself, focusing on other thoughts besides how close he was to a c-aaattt.

     He tried to clear his mind and slow his breathing, relax, relax.  Remarkably, he did.  Johnathon could hear Ranma's breathing slow, could almost sense the tenseness leave the air.  Kasumi came in with a kettle, then left, seeing everything was going well.  She went to prepare dinner, keeping an ear toward to dojo in case of trouble.  Minutes passed. Johnathon was getting sleepy, the workout had tired him out, and laying there doing nothing was boring. Slowly he drifted off to sleep.

     He awoke hearing Kasumi's voice.  "Ranma, dinner!"  Both he and Ranma looked up in surprise, a whole hour had passed!  Ranma ran over to get the kettle and checked the water, it was barely warm enough.  He walked over to Johnathon with only a faint shudder and poured hot water on him.  Johnathon quickly dressed and left, winking at Ranma.  "Good work tonight, I'll see you next week."  He left quietly, having agreed with Ranma and Kasumi to keep Ranma's cat phobia training a secret for now.

     When Ranma got to the dinner table he was grinning to himself. Akane wanted to know what he had been doing.  "Training with Dwire-sensei Akane."

    "Oh ok."  Akane forgot the matter promptly. Kasumi smiled, perhaps there was hope of a cure after all.  After Johnathon's next session with Mr. Tendo, Ranma and Kasumi arrived as before, eager to continue Ranma's therapy.

     "Ok, same as last time to start, except when you've gotten comfortable sitting next to me Ranma, I want you to touch me.  Just put your hand on my back, try to leave it there as long as you can without straining yourself.  Then go get the hot water to change me back, Ok?"

     Ranma looked uncomfortable, but a look of steely determination replaced it.  "Right!"  Johnathon and Kasumi walked over to the other side of the dojo.

     Johnathon whispered to Kasumi when they got there.  "When Ranma puts his hand down on me, pour some cold water on him ok?  Akane said that changing forms has broken him out of the Cat-fu before.  Perhaps it will help him stay calm now.

     Kasumi nodded and Johnathon sat down.  She poured water over his head and he crawled out of his clothes once again.  Ranma walked over quickly and sat down almost casually with only a slight hesitation.  Kasumi stood quietly behind him, watching his back muscles slowly relax.  Ranma took a bit longer this time for his breath to slow, anticipating actually touching a c-ccatt. Eventually he was outwardly calm, he sat for several minutes before slowly reaching out with his hand.  Slowly he reached out, inch by inch, not really looking at what he was doing.

     His hand froze six inches above Johnathon's back.  Ranma was on the edge, with sheer willpower he forced his hand down.  As he felt fur he also felt cold water being poured over his head.  "Hey! That's cold!" Unconsciously his hand pressed lightly down on Johnathon's back and stayed there.  The distraction making Ranma forget for a moment what he had been doing.  Ranma-chan realized her hand was laying gently on Johnathon's back, she was actually touching a cat!  < No it's just Johnathon.>  She held back her sudden surge of fear easily.  < I can do this!>  Her breathing rate jumped for a few moments, then lowered as she calmed herself.  < I'm doing it!>

     Kasumi nodded happily to herself and left to get some hot water.  Johnathon was tenser than Ranma, having hid a fear of being ripped limb from limb somewhere in the back of his mind.  Slowly he relaxed, forcing himself to calm down so as not to set off Ranma-chan.  Her hand felt warm, like a heavy blanket through his fur.  Privately he admitted to himself that he had had a second reason to change Ranma female.  He was slightly uncomfortable with the idea of being touched, petted really, by a man.

     He knew that Ranma was really a male in his mind, but somehow it was easier to accept female Ranma's hand on his back. Especially if she was going to pet him.  Ranma was amazed at how soft Johnathon's fur was.  Something in Ranma's mind firmly associated cats with pain, claws and teeth, cuts, scratches, and blood.  Johnathon, however was soft and warm.  Slowly Ranma-chan gave the small black cat an experimental pet, very lightly stroking his fur.  Johnathon didn't move a muscle, not wanting to scare  Ranma away.

     She repeated the motion, and again a bit firmer.  Johnathon sighed involuntarily.  < That felt good,>  He found himself moving a bit into Ranma-chan's hand almost involuntarily responding to the gentle caress.  When Ranma felt Johnathon move, she froze, the fear coming back in a surge.  Johnathon froze too, not daring to move. Slowly Ranma-chan relaxed again.  < No, no problem, I can do this.>

     Johnathon felt Ranma-chan's hand relax, and he did the same letting gravity pull him flat to the floor.  He lay limply, and let Ranma slowly pet him without responding.  After several minutes Ranma got up and walked to the Dojo door, outside which Kasumi had left a kettle of hot water. She picked it up and brought it back to Johnathon.  He had sat up and was looking at her, but she only felt a mild twinge of fear which she quickly controlled.

     Calmly she poured hot water on him, then on herself.  Johnathon quickly dressed and looked over at Ranma.  "You're controlling your fear much better now Ranma."  He tried to conceal his discomfort.  "You even managed to p-pet me."

     Ranma looked just a bit embarrassed.  "Yeah, it's getting a little easier, I, um..."

     They were both quiet than Ranma looked at Johnathon seriously. "A little more and I'll beat the cat fear completely."

     Johnathon copied Ranma's tone.  "Yes, soon you will be able to face any cat without fear!"  < If I can make myself continue the training.>

     "You said it sensei!"  Ranma gave off a confident laugh, which barely managed to hide the uneasiness in his voice.  < If I can make myself continue the training.>

     Outside Kasumi listened to their artificial tone of voice and was a bit worried.  "Oh my."

     Johnathon went to the door and went out, seeing Kasumi there he turned to face them both.  "Ok Ranma, Kasumi, I'll see you in two days."  Johnathon headed out quickly, feeling the sudden need for a long walk.  Ranma nodded in steely determination and began a fast kata in the dojo.

      Kasumi watch Johnathon stride off quickly and looked at Ranma throwing punches and kicks in the dojo.  "Oh my!"

     As he walked Johnathon realized that he was feeling angry and embarrassed.  He knew why too, after only a few moments thought. He had never been a physical person, never gotten used to physical affection, especially with men.  He had exchanged a quick hug or a good slap on the back with his father or his male relatives but never anything else.  His mother, or his female relatives or friends he had no problems hugging or sharing back or foot rubs. He had little problem being intimate with his ex-girlfriend back in the U.S.  But Ranma was a guy, even in his girls body he was still a guy.

     Letting Ranma pet him had been a bit uncomfortable.  Next to get Ranma used to cats he should let Ranma pick him up and carry him around, stroke him, even cuddle... no, no, no need to go that far.  It was a threat to his masculinity, a danger to his identity.  Johnathon realized he was going to do it anyway, why? He liked Ranma and Akane and wanted to see them happy.  Yes, that was it. He shook his head.  That wasn't the only reason.  Johnathon admitted it to himself, he didn't want to let Kasumi down.

     He sighed to himself, thinking of her.  "Oh brother I can't believe that I'm falling for her, that I'm falling in love."  He sighed again, a weird combination of happy and depressed, worried and excited all at the same time.  "Yup, I guess I am."  His mouth perked up into a wry smile and he chuckled at himself.  < Oh what a fool I am!>  Somehow that thought was not bitter, but strangely cheerful.  He walked home whistling, until it started to rain. "What?  The rain, uh oh, better get out my... meow, meow!"  < Damn, I have got to pay more attention to the weather.>  Johnathon ran off, once again in search of hot water.

     Two day's came and went without incident.  At least for Johnathon.  On his little TV Johnathon caught sight of Ranma participating in some sort of martial arts race.  In the end Ranma had won, ending up topless, female, and soaking in a pond with Kuno.  < I've got to ask Ranma about this.  On second thought, maybe that's not such a good idea.>  Johnathon arrived at the dojo on time as usual, and his training went normally.  Akane showed up to spar,   and they had a good match, neither one showing clear superiority, although Johnathon was pretty sure Akane was still holding back some of her strength.

     After Akane left to study, Ranma and Kasumi came in.  Ranma seemed focused and determined.  Actually he was worried, the day before, Shampoo had gotten turned into a cat, and Ranma had panicked as much as usual.  It was getting important to be able to control his fear.  Johnathon took charge as he was accustomed to. "Ok, it's time for a difficult step.  Ranma, today you've got to pick me up, and, carry me around, get used to holding... me."  He was feeling a little uncomfortable saying that and he could see that Ranma was nervous too.

     Johnathon shrugged, and decided to voice what he was feeling. "It seems kind of weird to have a guy pick me up, maybe it would be easier if you were a girl, Ranma."  Johnathon paused, not sure what else to say.

     Kasumi piped in helpfully.  "Yes Ranma, don't you always say it's easier to do embarrassing things as a girl?"  Both Ranma and Johnathon turned a bit red.

     Ranma looked sheepishly at the floor.  "Right, if I'm a girl it doesn't count, right?"  He shrugged helplessly.

     Johnathon nodded.  "Right it's just practice, training, no big deal.  Um Kasumi, you can go prepare the hot water, we'll let Ranma change me this time, both ways.  It should help acclimatize him.

     Ranma realized that Johnathon was almost as nervous as he was. Somehow Johnathon's nervousness calmed Ranma.  He poured some cold water over his head than over Johnathon's.  Ranma-chan watched the black cat crawl out of it's suddenly enfolding clothing.  With slow and careful movements, she reached down to pick the cat up.  < It's just Johnathon, it's just Johnathon.>  Ranma-chan forced her hands to pick him up, slowly gently, she carefully placed Johnathon in the crook of her arm.  Ranma-chan stood easily, calmly.

     Johnathon looked down from the crook of Ranma's arm, it was strange being carried around like this.  Shampoo had carried him once, for a short time, but he hadn't thought about it alot then. Kasumi had carried him a while back, a few times actually, but Kasumi did everything naturally, he had scarcely realized anything was strange.  But it was strange being so small, so helpless, it wasn't unpleasant really, just strange.

     Ranma-chan gave Johnathon a tentative pet, and then another. He was unsure whether to relax into the stroking or tense up. < Relax, remain calm, so you don't scare Ranma.>  He did relax, letting the physical sensations of Ranma-chan's small hand stroking him relax him.  It felt very good, getting his back rubbed like this, for awhile Johnathon just tried to forget that Ranma was really a guy, even to forget that he really wasn't a cat.  < I really am a cat> he realized, < At least part of the time, aren't I?>  Ranma-chan's thoughts were simpler. She was holding a small furry animal and petting it.  < Easy right?>  Whenever she felt her fear of cats rise she told it firmly that this was Johnathon, a friend who wasn't going to hurt her. When her masculine pride started to ask her what in the hell she was doing, she told it firmly that it was just a small furry animal she was petting.  After several minutes both voices went silent. Ranma smiled.  < I did it.>

     She gently put Johnathon down and looked calmly at him. "I'm ok Dwire-sensei, the fear is gone!"  Johnathon looked unconvinced and stood up on his hind legs motioning with his front legs.  "Pick you up again?"  He nodded.  "Ok."  Ranma-chan picked him up easily.  She started to put him back in the crook of her arm but he twisted a bit, reaching a paw up toward her face and then back toward his own.  Ranma-chan lifted him so that they were face to face across six inches of space.  She met Johnathon's questioning gaze steadily.  Johnathon put out a paw and touched her face, Ranma-chan stopped herself from flinching.

     "See Dwire-san?  I've got it under control."  Johnathon nodded and pointedly looked at the ground.  "Ok, I'll put you down.  Now what?"  On the ground the black cat took a couple of steps away, reared up on his hind legs and made a pretty good impression of a hiss.  Ranma-chan forced herself to remain calm.  "Trying to scare me huh?  Ok then, give it your best shot!"  Johnathon nodded and started to snarl and hiss at her.  Ranma-chan reminded herself that it was just Dwire-san, and remained calm.

     Impressed, Johnathon leaped at her next, claws coming out. Ranma-chan dodged out of the way, but again controlled herself quickly.  He leapt again and found himself snatched from the air by an inhumanly quick hand.  Ranma held him for a second in both hands then gave him a quick hug.  "I'm cured!  I'm really cured!" Johnathon tried to ignore being stuffed between Ranma-chan's ample breasts and Ranma suddenly realized what she was doing.

     She hurriedly put Johnathon down.  "Ha ha, just got carried away there for a second."  Johnathon shrugged then walked over to the hot water.  Ranma got the idea and picked it up pouring it over first himself and then the small black cat.

     Johnathon got dressed quickly. "Wow Ranma, you really have done it!"  You've almost completely conquered your fear of cats."

     "Yup!"  Ranma nodded happily to himself.  "All I had to do was remind myself that you weren't really a cat, and I was fine!"

     Johnathon's grin faded as Ranma's words started to sink in. Ranma continued blithely.  "I'm going to go find some cats right now, Ha hah!"  He ran off, clearing the outside wall in a bound. Johnathon realized the problem with what Ranma had said too late.

     He ran out the gate.  "Ranma, wait a minute!"  Ranma was nowhere to be seen.  "Oh my." he stammered.  "This could be bad."  Johnathon ran into the house.  "Kasumi!  Akane!  Come quickly!'  They ran down to him in the living room.

     "What's wrong John-san?"  Akane queried.  Quickly he filled her in.  "You've been trying to cure Ranma of his cat phobia?  Has he gone cat again?  Is that what's wrong?"

     He shook his head.  "No, both of us thought he was cured, but he said something as he left that has me really worried.  He told me that when his fear came up he conquered it by telling it that I was really only "Johnathon"  I think he may have tricked his own subconscious into being able to handle me, because I'm really human.  I don't think he's really over his fear of cats."

     "And?!?" Akane asked, worried and angry.

     Johnathon grimaced.  "And I didn't stop him in time, he's off looking for some cats!"

     Akane gasped.  "Oh no!  We've got to find him before..."

     From somewhere in the distance came a yowl, eerily inhuman, and yet, everyone knew who had made the sound.  "Too late." They said in unison.  They ran out together, heading for the noise.

     Johnathon could hear Akane grumbling as they ran.  "Ranma you idiot, Ranma you idiot, Ranma you idiot!"  It took nearly half an hour to catch Ranma and calm him down.  They walked back.  Akane was red with embarrassment and wouldn't talk to Ranma.

     Johnathon filled the silence, trying to explain to Ranma what had gone wrong.  "You tricked your subconscious into believing I was not really a cat.  You didn't get rid of your fear of cats, you just made me a non-cat.  I'm afraid I don't know how to get rid of your cat phobia for real.  I don't know if I can help you anymore, we would have to start over with a real cat, I don't think we could get one to cooperate.  I'm stumped."  Ranma looked depressed.  "I'm sorry Ranma."

     He shrugged.  "It's not your fault Dwire-sensei, you did your best, at least I'm not scared of you anymore."

     They separated as they got to the dojo.  "I'll see you two later.  I'm going home."  Johnathon turned to go.  "Apologize to Kasumi for me."  He started walking, depressed, they had been so close, just to fail.  His transformation to cat was just a curse after all.  One that was getting harder to deal with every day. < Magic?  who needs it!>  Johnathon was angry at himself, at his curse, and even at Ranma.  He shook his head.  < It's not Ranma's fault, it's not anyone's fault really.>

     His angry slowly turned to depression.  He had been so sure! < Thats my fatal flaw isn't it, my overwhelming arrogance.  I was so sure I had the answers that I didn't stop to think things through, I should have consulted a professional, but no!  I had to be right!  What a moron I am, this is all my fault.>  Johnathon went home berating himself the whole way.  The next month he spent struggling with a decision that would change his life.

     Johnathon finally made up his mind, he talked with Shampoo at the Cat Cafe, and tendered his resignation at the school.  Armed with a map to Jusenkyo from Shampoo, he headed to the Tendo Dojo. Kasumi answered the door.  She smiled pleasantly at him as she always did.  He felt something deep inside break apart. "Johnathon-san, how nice to see you again!  Please, come inside."

     He shook his head.  "I'm sorry Kasumi-chan, I'm headed to China, I'm catching the next train to the coast.  I'm going to find a cure to my curse.  If I can I'll find a cure for Ranma's curse as well, it's the least I can do.  I'll be back Kasumi, sooner or later, count on it."

     Kasumi smiled.  "That's very nice of you Johnathon-san."  She looked just the tiniest bit worried, covering the reaction so fast Johnathon wasn't sure he had seen it.  He turned to go, and took a few steps away, then turned to face her.

     "Kasumi, I, I..."  He looked at her seriously, then his eyes softened.  "I think I'm starting to fall in love with you.  I will be back."  He turned away and strode off determinedly.

     Kasumi watched him go, speechless, she lost her eternal cheerfulness for a moment and looked sad and wistful.  "Oh my."

     Epilogue:  At school Nabiki noticed a substitute teacher for her english class and wondered where Dwire-sensei was.  A few days later it was time for Johnathon's regular training session and Kasumi informed her father that he had left for China.  Akane was sad to loose her sparring partner.  Ranma's first response was to again declare that he too was going to China.  He was persuaded otherwise by Mr. Tendo, Genma, Kuno, Ryoga, Kodachi, and a few others who pitched in just for the hell of it.  Weeks passed and other things came up and everyone's thoughts turned to new things, new people, and for Ranma new fiancées, new martial arts techniques, never a dull moment, in short, everything went back to normal in Nerima.  That is, till after eight months passed, and Johnathon Dwire returned... But that is another story.

             End part 4 , From a Different Viewpoint, continues in
                                  "Revelations and Revisions"

 

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