All Ranma characters are property of Rumiko Takahashi, first published
by Shogakugan in Japan and brought over to North America by Viz Communications.
A Different Viewpoint: American Vacation.
The Tendo's and Saotome's were gathered by the terminal entrance at Tokyo airport to wish Akane, Ranma, Johnathon and Kasumi good-bye. Genma was lightly restraining a crying Soun to keep him from soaking his daughters before they left. Nabiki was keeping a hand on Ryoga's elbow to keep him from wandering off. She had decided to keep the lost boy nearby, as he had to teach Ranma's martial arts class that afternoon, and Nabiki was positive that if he was left on his own he would miss it. Nodoka beamed at Kasumi and Johnathon, wishing them well on their late honeymoon. It was really a trip for Johnathon to introduce his bride to his parents, but as the newlywed's earlier try at a honeymoon had been disrupted, the trip served that purpose as well.
Ranma and Akane were coming along too. The stated reason was for them to see America, and to keep Johnathon and Kasumi safe from any accidents caused by their respective curses. The real reason, of course was Soun, Genma, and Nodoka's badly concealed plot to get Ranma and Akane in the mood for their own wedding. The teenaged martial artists didn't really mind their parents meddling this time, however, as they had already secretly planned to get married a few weeks after they returned from America.
Johnathon and Kasumi were the only ones aware of Ranma and Akane's plans, and the fact that the two teens were quite a bit closer than anyone else knew. As they planned to get married so soon, neither adult felt it necessary to mention the truth to anyone else. Johnathon, in fact, was relieved to have the two martial artists along, in case of trouble. He was sincerely worried about the coming trip to California. The possible problems that his and his wife's curses might cause were giving him nightmares. In a way, Ranma had it easy. His curse at least left him human, and able to explain things or slip away. Johnathon's curse made him into a monster to most people, and getting attacked by a mob was the least of the things that could happen if he transformed at the wrong time. Kasumi's curse turned her into a cat, and if she transformed in public, it would be near to impossible to explain that away.
Johnathon sighed and tried to put his worries behind him. "It looks like our plane is boarding, everyone. Time for us to go."
Nabiki had pulled Akane off to one side. "Here, kiddo." Nabiki pulled a box out of her purse and handed it to Akane. "For the trip. I figure you could use these."
Akane blinked at the full box of condoms, blushing slightly. "Ah... thanks anyway, Nabiki... but I really don't need that." Akane smiled faintly and shrugged as she handed the box back.
Nabiki's eyebrow raised momentarily as she put the box back into her purse. "More for me, I suppose." She winked as Akane's eyes went wide. "Just kidding. So, when did you start on the pill?"
Akane blinked. "Last week... I mean... oops." She glared at her older sister. "Nabiki...."
Nabiki pretended to draw a zipper across her lips. "My lips are sealed. Just bring me something nice from San Francisco."
Akane sighed, then nodded. "Sure sis."
By the entry doors, Ryoga was giving Ranma a warning stare. "You take care of Akane, alright?"
Ranma glared back at the bandana clad youth. "You implying I wouldn't?"
Ryoga snorted. "Just take care of her. Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
Ranma snorted back. "Oh, does that mean it's alright if I splash myself with water and crawl into her bed?"
Ryoga's eyes nearly popped out of his head and he started to sputter. "No! I never! Well I did but... I.. um...."
Nabiki chortled as she and Akane walked up. "Good one, Saotome!"
Akane was blushing with embarrassment. "Ranma!"
Ryoga started to glow. "Ranma.... don't you dare...."
Soun nodded cheerfully. "You have my permission, son."
Genma nodded as well. "A little initiative goes a long way, boy!"
Ranma rolled his eyes. "Well, I'll tell you what...." He looked at the fathers seriously. "I've got no intention of doing that. Period."
Both fathers looked deflated and began to protest, but Nodoka cut them off. "The plane is going to leave without them if you two keep them here. Now let our children go." She smiled sweetly, but her hands tapping lightly on the long wrapped package she carried caused the fathers to go quiet abruptly.
Johnathon, Kasumi, Ranma and Akane went to the loading ramp to board the plane, and Soun and Genma rushed to the window to watch them. Nabiki held back a bit with Nodoka while keeping an eye on Ryoga.
The middle Tendo sister eyed the wrapped katana briefly with a raised eyebrow, wondering idly how Nodoka had gotten it this far into the airport. "Auntie, you seem to be in a pretty good mood."
Nodoka was silent, watching Ranma and Akane disappear up the ramp. She smiled and sighed, slinging her katana over her shoulder once more. As the plane begain moving she looked once at Nabiki. Nodoka nodded to the plane as she turned to go, speaking so only Nabiki could hear. "As he said, surely he would prefer to be a man when he sneaks into her bed, rather than a woman." She smiled warmly to herself. "I'm not blind. Ranma and Akane are truly in love. I have no worries about that."
As they got out earshot of their parents, Akane glanced at Ranma with faint disappointment. "Ranma... what did you mean by that? You sounded pretty serious about it."
Ranma winked at his fiancee. "I meant it, sure. Like I said, I ain't planing on splashing myself first...."
Ranma finished with only a slight blush. "And I never said I wasn't going to do what pig boy wouldn't. I plan to do a lot more...." He glanced at Akane shyly. "If that's alright with you...."
Akane blushed and simply nodded, holding a finger to her lips as they passed the stewardess to board the plane.
"Welcome to flight 305 to San Francisco." The flight attendant said with a smile. "I hope you have a pleasant flight."
The flight to America was a long one, and as it was already late, the woman to Kasumi's left nodded off only an hour into the flight, her half full glass of water in her right hand.
The lights were low but Kasumi couldn't rest. She was too nervous about the glass of water so close to her. Johnathon was dozing to her right, oblivious to the danger.
Kasumi thought back to the last time she had been accidentally changed. It had been before the Cat's tongue point was countered. She had gotten splashed by Pantyhose Taro, several weeks ago. Kasumi had been human again now for almost a week straight. The curse rarely went that long without an appearance... but on an airplane was not a good time for it to reappear.
Kasumi sighed and continued to watch the glass warily. < I'll just have to be very careful.> The fasten seat belt sign clicked on, and there was a mild warning from the pilot to expect some turbulence. Kasumi closed her eyes momentarily. < Oh no. That's too convenient. It's like the world is conspiring to get me wet.>
Kasumi felt her stomach lurch as the plane dropped a few feet suddenly. Her eyes shot open too late, as the contents of the glass held by the woman next to her were dumped into her lap and splashed over her chest. The water soaked through her clothes instantly, and Kasumi hoped for an instant that it wouldn't be enough to cause the change. A moment later she vanished into her clothing.
Kasumi, now a small black cat enfolded in much to large clothing, sighed. < Now what do I do?> She considered her options. < If I try to wake Johnathon up, I might be spotted by someone else, and I don't think cats are supposed to be in here. But if I stay put, someone will notice I'm missing, and see my clothing laying on the seat without me....> Kasumi sighed again and decided to stay hidden. < Johnathon will notice soon, I hope. He'll know what to do.>
Johnathon Tendo blinked his eyes open. Something had changed recently, causing him to wake up. He looked to his left, realizing that Kasumi wasn't leaning up against him anymore. Johnathon blinked in shock. Kasumi's sweater and skirt lay on the seat to his left in a pile. He glanced around quickly, but no one else seemed to have noticed his wife's disappearance yet. Johnathon leaned over the seat and carefully shifted through the pile. He was relieved but unsurprised to find a small warm body curled inside his wife's clothing.
Kasumi was relieved to feel her husband's long fingers wrapping around her and picking her up. She was glad when he picked her up in the bundle of her clothes and set her down on his lap.
Johnathon glanced around, considering his options. < I've got to take Kasumi to the bathroom and get her changed back.> He looked up and noticed the seat belt sign was on. < Oh no, are we that close to landing?> Quickly he checked his watch and was relieved to note they still had a few hours to go. < Then why?> He unfastened his seat belt and stood, holding his wife carefully inside the bundle. He paused to bend over to grab her shoes and socks when the plane gave a slight lurch. < Oh.>
Johnathon balanced himself with one arm, tucking Kasumi under his other. < Whoa. Better be careful.> He grabbed Kasumi's shoes and socks and tucked them into his bundle. Standing crouched in front of his seat, Johnathon pondered the large woman sleeping in the aisle seat. < I can't just wait until she wakes up. There's no way I'm going to slip past her, either.... But if I wake her, she'll wonder where Kasumi went.> He sighed softly. < I guess she'll just have to wonder.>
Johnathon tapped the woman lightly on the shoulder, and judging her to be an American, spoke quietly in English. "Excuse me. Excuse me, miss. I need to get through."
The large woman yawned and blinked. "Hmm? What?"
Johnathon indicated the aisle. "Excuse me, I need to get by."
The woman blinked, then nodded, fiddling with her seat belt and slowly extracting herself from the seat. Johnathon slipped past her, murmuring an apology. The woman got back into her seat and sleepily glanced over at the two empty seats next to her. She blinked in confusion, then shrugged, not willing to devote much thought to the minor mystery. As she settled in again something unusual caught her eye. A white pair of panties was on the arm of the chair next to her. She eyed it with speculation and peered up the aisle of the plane at the retreating form of the tall man in black.
Johnathon was confronted by a flight attendant as he neared the bathrooms. "Excuse me, sir. Please return to your seat. The seat belt light IS lit."
Johnathon coughed and shifted from foot to foot uncomfortably. "Sorry... but I really...." He shrugged, looking embarrassed, and glanced at the bathrooms.
The flight attendant looked slightly dubious, glancing questioningly at the pile of woman's clothing he was carrying, then got out of his way. "Please hurry, sir, then return to your seat."
Johnathon nodded and slipped past quickly, moving over to the bathroom door and slipping inside before anything else could go wrong. He put his bundle down on the sink and carefully separated it so Kasumi could get free. The lithe little black cat crawled out into his arms.
Johnathon stroked her reassuringly. "Let's get you changed back." He moved Kasumi's clothing to the floor and turned on the hot water. Looking dubiously at the sink, Johnathon shook his head. "You can't change up there, no room." He placed Kasumi on the floor and moved her clothing onto the toilet seat. Checking the water he nodded down at her. "OK, get ready, so you don't hit your head on anything.. I'm going to splash you.." Cupping his hands, he filled them with the increasingly warm water, then splashed it down on his transformed wife.
Kasumi changed immediately, her sudden growth nearly knocking Johnathon off balance. She found herself on her hands and knees, shoved up against Johnathon's legs in the tiny bathroom. He tried to back up to give Kasumi room to get to her feet, but the space was simply too small. Kasumi managed to pull herself up with a little help and Johnathon scrunched himself to one side so his wife would have room to dress. He resisted the sudden urge to take advantage of the situation
Kasumi went through her clothing quickly, then again. "Johnathon." She whispered. "Did you drop my panties?"
He blinked. "Uh oh. I'll go check...."
Kasumi looked slightly alarmed. "Johnathon?"
He shrugged. "We can't really come out of the bathroom at the same time, anyway. "I'll go get your underwear and meet you back at the seats, OK? There's no room for you to get dressed with both of us in here, anyway."
Kasumi nodded and Johnathon gave her a quick kiss before slipping around her to get to the door. He stopped himself from fondling her curves with reluctance, then slipped out the door in one quick motion, closing it behind him. Kasumi sighed an searched through her clothes once more, just in case she had missed anything in her first search..
The flight attendant blinked as the tall man in black walked back past her, no longer carrying the bundle of feminine clothing. His head was down as if he was looking for something.
She turned to her coworker. "Hey, Amanda, wasn't he carrying a bunch of clothing? A skirt and sweater, and pumps?"
Amanda shrugged. "I don't know, why would a guy be carrying that stuff around?" She shook her head. "You don't think he's a crossdresser, do you, Cindy?"
Cindy blinked. "Well... we are heading for California... (author ducks)... but he didn't bring the clothes out with him." She stood and went over to the bathroom door. "I'll just check." She opened the door and gasped. Kasumi blushed bright red and finished pulling her sweater over her head, holding it down to cover her naked lower half. Cindy coughed. "Excuse me, miss." She quickly shut the door and walked back to her friend, blushing in embarrassment. "You won't believe what I just saw!" Cindy whispered fiercely.
Amanda shrugged. "Don't tell me, let me guess. A naked woman, right?"
Cindy blinked in astonishment. "How did you know?"
Amanda shrugged again. "You said, 'Excuse me, miss', and you also said some guy walked in there with some clothes, and walked out without them."
Cindy blinked. "Oh. What do you think they were doing in there?"
Amanda shrugged once more. "Oh, I can't say for sure... perhaps they're stage magicians practicing a quick change act... but I bet they're newlyweds, going for a risky little quickie in the bathroom....." Amanda abruptly shut her mouth and started examining the dinner cart carefully.
Cindy blinked, not catching on. "Oh? You don't think they actually had time to... you know, do it, in there, do you?"
Kasumi walked quickly by, blushing furiously as she overheard Cindy's question. Cindy belatedly noticed her go by and shut up, quite a bit too late.
When Kasumi was out of earshot, Cindy turned back to to Amanda. "How brazen!" She continued whispering loudly. "Did you notice? She's wearing the clothing that man carried in, but she's not carrying anything. Where are her clothes? Did she flush them?" Cindy frowned, looking a bit puzzled. "I never saw her go in there in the first place." She walked over to the bathroom again and peeked in. "Nothing. I can't believe that."
Amanda smirked. "Sound's pretty exciting, actually. They must like a little danger to spice things up."
Cindy sniffed. "Disgusting."
Amanda smirked wider. "You just wish you thought of it first."
Cindy's eyes went wide. "No way!" She paused. "Besides, I just got dumped again."
The two flight attendants went back to their earlier conversation as Kasumi got back to her seat. The woman in the aisle seat moved out so she could sit down, and looked quizzically at her, as if she wanted to know something. Kasumi sat down next to Johnathon, who was trying not to show his embarrassment. Quietly he passed Kasumi a wadded up ball of white cloth, that the woman in the aisle row had helpfully pointed out to him when he had returned to their seats.
Kasumi blushed slightly and slipped her panties into her purse. She sunk into her seat, closed her eyes, and wished that the plane would land soon. Kasumi felt Johnathon's hand close over hers and gripped it tightly. He squeezed back reassuringly and they maintained that contact for the rest of the flight.
The rest of the flight was uneventful and they both breathed a sigh of relief as the plane touched down on the runway in San Francisco, California.
Walking out of the plane, Kasumi and Johnathon attempted to ignore the amused glances of the flight attendants. After passing through customs, Johnathon spotted a familiar face. In fact, a very familiar face.
Kasumi spotted the tall man just after her husband did and gasped in faint surprise. "That must be your twin brother, Michael. I didn't realize how much like him you look."
They walked over to Michael, who greeted his brother with a firm handshake. "John! It's been forever, bro! I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to see you!"
Johnathon smiled and the twins simultaneously switched the handshake into a high five grip, then broke apart. "I have missed you too, Mike. It's been too long."
Michael turned to Kasumi, switching from english to japanese. "And you must be Kasumi. My brother is indeed a lucky man, to have married so fine a lady." He grinned and switched back to english. "I'm afraid that's about as far as I go in Japanese. John will have to translate for us."
Kasumi smiled gently at Michael, and spoke in passable english. "Thank you, Michael, for making the effort to make me feel at home. I think we'll manage, as long as you speak slowly."
Michael blinked and smiled gratefully. "I'll do that. Your english is much better than my japanese, Kasumi."
Kasumi lowered her head slightly and blushed at the complement. "Johnathon is a skilled instructor."
Johnathon shrugged. "It's what I do, right?" He glanced back. "Kasumi's younger sister, Akane, and Akane's fiancee, Ranma Saotome, shouldn't be too far behind us." He spotted Akane leading someone in a red chinese shirt through the crowd. "Ah, there they are...." Johnathon's words died away as he noticed that Akane was being followed by a short, busty red head.
Michael followed Johnathon's gaze. "Oh? Where are they?"
Johnathon swallowed, then thought fast. "Well, that's Akane...." He pointed at the youngest Tendo, then walked toward the two teenagers, intercepting them ten feet from Michael and Kasumi. Quietly speaking in Japanese he quickly asked. "What happened? How did you get through customs?"
Ranma flipped open her passport, which, surprisingly, had her correct, female, picture on it. "Nabiki had me get two passports, one for each of me, just in case."
Johnathon sighed. "There's luck, for you, and it's all bad. Ranma, I'll make an excuse for you. You get to a bathroom and change back, OK?" He turned back to Michael, speaking in english again. "Michael, this is Akane Tendo. Akane, this is my twin brother, Michael."
Akane blinked, speaking slowly in english. "The resemblance is remarkable, Michael. It is nice to meet you."
Michael nodded, smiling. "I'm happy to meet you as well. So, where's Ranma?"
Johnathon broke in. "He's temporarily stuck in customs. I'll wait for him here. Michael, why don't you show Akane and Kasumi where the bathrooms are? It's been a long trip."
Michael blinked, then nodded. "Sure." He turned and waved a hand in the direction of the exits. "Follow me, ladies. John, we'll wait for you by the bathrooms, OK?" Johnathon nodded, and Michael, Akane and Kasumi walked off.
Ranma came up to Johnathon. "What was that all about?"
Johnathon shrugged. "We go the opposite direction, find another bathroom, get you changed back and join the girls."
Ranma smiled. "Good plan." They walked quickly and found the bathrooms in a couple minutes.
Johnathon glanced around. "I'll check the men's and tell you when it's free." Ranma nodded. Johnathon went in and was relived to find it empty. He ducked back out and waved to Ranma. "Come on." The pig tailed martial artist hurried inside and made her way up to the sink.
Ranma turned on the hot water and felt it. "It's gonna be a bit until it warms up."
Johnathon nodded, nervously watching the door. "You'd better change clothes as well, or Michael might get suspicious."
Ranma blinked and shucked off her pack. "Yeah, good idea." The red haired girl got out her green chinese communist outfit, then quickly pulled her shirt over her head.
Johnathon blinked. "Um, Ranma...."
Ranma stuffed the shirt in her pack and started pulling her pants down quickly. "What?"
Johnathon sighed as a small group of men walked into the bathroom together. "Never mind."
Confronted by a busty red head in boxers and a muscle tee that flaunted her curves, in the middle of taking off her pants, the lead man coughed and started backing off with a bow. "Excuse me." He said in perfect Japanese. He and the other four Japanese tourists backed out together.
Ranma gulped and quickly checked the water. "Oh, that's what you meant." She splashed herself and changed instantly. The now male Ranma dressed in a rush.
Johnathon preceded Ranma out, and they quickly walked by the four Japanese men, who politely looked away as they passed. They found Michael, Akane and Kasumi a few minutes later. Michael greeted Ranma with a handshake and lead them toward the parking garages.
"So, Michael..." Johnathon began. "what are you driving nowadays?"
Michael grinned back at his brother. "I bought another Rabbit. I always liked that car."
Johnathon sighed. "Great, you brought a compact car to pick up four people. At least you have a back seat."
Michael laughed. "Don't worry, I borrowed the folks Lincoln to pick you up in. Plenty of room."
After an extensive tour of the airport parking garages they found the vehicle.
Kasumi smiled brightly. "My, what a large car!"
Ranma shrugged. "It's not bad."
Michael opened the trunk, they stowed their bags and found seats in the luxury car. Michael offered Kasumi a ride in the front seat, and Johnathon, Ranma, and Akane piled into the back."
Akane swung her legs, examining the interior. "This is a very nice car, Michael-san."
Michael started it up, glancing over the back seat to pull out of the parking spot. "It's my mother's car. She insisted I take it to pick you guys up, rather than my little white Rabbit."
Akane looked a bit confused at that, but Kasumi giggled. "Oh my, Alice in Wonderland! I love that story!"
Akane nodded in sudden comprehension and Ranma just blinked. "Huh?"
Johnathon snickered. "It's an in joke. You'd have to be there." He looked forward at Michael. "So, you had your new Rabbit painted white?"
Michael nodded. "It needed a coat, and I was nostalgic."
As Michael started driving out of the airport, he and Johnathon started to reminisce about old times. Kasumi listened intently, eager to learn more about her husband. Ranma and Akane got a bit lost, trying to make out what was being said. As they set out onto the highway, Michael began playing tour guide, identifying various landmarks in San Francisco as they drove by. In half an hour they had crossed the Golden Gate bridge and were headed north to Johnathon and Michael's parent's house. Johnathon deftly kept Michael taking about his past year, steering away from discussing his own year in Japan and China.
Michael didn't seem to mind telling all about recent
events in his life. He had gotten his teaching certificate and was
now teaching English at a high school in Santa Rosa. He was currently
semesters, as Johnathon was, although Michael's summer break was quite a bit longer.
Ranma was a bit envious of the thought of a three month summer break. As they drove, Michael began to sneeze occasionally, then to cough. He got worse as time passed, until Kasumi started to look a bit alarmed.
She leaned toward him in concerned. "All you alright?"
Michael shrugged gamely. "No big deal. It's just my allergies kicking in... It's not usually... Achoo!... this bad. Something in the air must be setting me off."
Johnathon nodded. "Hay fever again? Is the pollen getting to you?"
Michael shrugged noncommittally. "I don't think that's it. This late in the summer, anyway. It must be something else."
Akane glanced over at Johnathon, who was looking comfortable and only mildly concerned.
She frowned a bit and turned back toward Michael, even as he cut loose with another loud sneeze. "Are you sure you're not getting sick? Johnathon seems fine, and you're sneezing. If his allergies haven't been affected...."
Johnathon shook his head. "We don't share the same allergies, Akane. We may be twins, but allergies are only partially influenced by genetics. Mike's allergic to a couple of things I'm not...." Johnathon's voice trailed off and his face started becoming pale.
Michael, not noticing his twin's distress, broke in. "Yeah, like bright light, and cats. I've managed to control my sensitivity to light with Biofeedback, and there are no cat's in here.... Hey, do you guys have any cats at home? Maybe there's some cat hair on your clothes?"
Johnathon swallowed. "Um, yeah, we have a kitten. Kasumi's quite fond of him."
Michael nodded. "Yeah, that's it then. Your kitten must have shed all over that sweater, I bet. I'll be fine when we get to the house and get some more air." Michael sneezed again. "In fact, I'll turn on the air in here." Turning on the air conditioner did seem to help. Michael sneezed only occasionally for the rest of the trip into quiet and sunny Santa Rosa. Before long they were pulling into the driveway of Johnathon and Michael's parent's house. Michael hit the garage door opener and drove the car right into the garage.
Everyone piled out of the car and Michael led them to the door into the main house. Akane, Ranma and Kasumi glanced around interestedly at the contents of the garage. The walls were covered floor to ceiling with shelves, several feet deep. Tools, sports equipment, bikes, exercise equipment and dozens of large boxes filled the space, while a washer, dryer and sink were next to the door on the inner wall.
Michael opened the inner door and immediately hurried through, intercepting a pair of small whitish dogs that had been waiting to greet the new guests. The two little dogs bounced excitedly at the sight of new people and Michael gently held them back so Kasumi, Akane and Ranma could enter unmolested.
Johnathon followed the others in, then went to greet the dogs. "Chip! Dale! Good boys! Good dogs! I missed you boys!"
Several small things happened in a short period of time. An older woman walked into the room from the hall, a bright smile on her face. Chip and Dale, Johnathon's pets for years, got a good sniff of the person that seemed so very familiar, and suddenly stopped jumping up and down in greeting. They sniffed Johnathon's hands carefully, then backed away in confusion. Kasumi, for some reason disturbed by the two small dogs, backed into the wall next to the garage door.
"Johnathon!" The older woman held her arms out toward him. "You're home!"
Johnathon looked up, his sudden worry at his dog's strange action put aside at the sight of the woman standing there.
She was around Akane's height, perhaps an inch shorter, with medium length black hair, much like Johnathon's in shade. She wore a comfortable looking but tasteful dress and was relatively nondescript physically. Not thin, not overweight, just a bit graceful, but not obviously so. Kasumi noted the similarity's between the woman and her husband. The long aquiline nose that made Johnathon's face distinctive, was present, as were the long eyelashes, though hers were better kept. She had worry lines around her small, cheerful mouth, and Kasumi decided suddenly that she was a very nice person.
To Johnathon however, only one word really described her. "Mom." He stood and stepped over to hug her. As it had ever since he had turned sixteen, his chin rested on the top of her head when he gathered her in for a hug. Johnathon resisted an impulse to pick her up and twirl her around in delight. He just hugged her slightly tighter. "Mother, it's really good to see you again." Johnathon relaxed the hug and kissed his mother on the forehead as they moved apart.
The middle aged woman smiled happily, the hint of tears in her eyes. "Johnathon, I'm glad you're finally home."
Johnathon turned back toward his wife, putting an arm around behind his mother's back. "Mother." He began, gesturing. "This is my wife, Kasumi. Kasumi, this is my mother, Clara."
Chip and Dale had gone to sniff Ranma and Akane, who had passed inspection, and were smiling at the friendly antics of the two little dogs. As Kasumi walked forward to greet her new Mother-in-Law, Chip and Dale went to inspect the strange smelling taller woman.
Kasumi bowed to Johnathon's mother and greeted her properly. "I am honored to meet you, Dwire-san."
Clara smiled and attempted to bow back properly. "I am very glad to meet you, Kasumi. Please, you are family. Call me Clara... or if you'd like, you can call me mother."
Kasumi tried out the word, somehow it didn't feel the same as it would in Japanese, but still, it had a nice ring to it. "Mother... yes, I think I would like that... mother."
Chip and Dale sniffed around Kasumi's ankles interestedly, Kasumi tried to ignore them, feeling unaccountably nervous at their attention, but unable to explain why.
Michael called to the dogs. "Chip, Dale, come. Don't bother Kasumi." To his surprise, the dogs ignored him as they seemed to reach some sort of conclusion. Chip growled faintly and Dale reared up on his haunches and give a sharp yap.
Kasumi started at the noise, nearly jumping away in fright. She backed away from the growling dogs.
Michael stepped forward in an instant, grabbing both dogs by the scruff of the neck. "Bad dogs! Stop that!" Chip and Dale immediately backed off, looking up at Michael imploringly. He spoke commandingly to them. "Sit! Stay!" The two dogs obeyed, although they went back to staring at Kasumi menacingly. At least, as menacingly as a pair of twenty pound, fluffy white dogs could.
Michael apologized for them. "I don't know what's gotten into them. They must have smelled your cat on you." He walked into the hall, calling them after him. "Chip, Dale, outside!" As he opened up the rear patio door to let the dogs out he spoke reassuringly. "I'll just let them stay outside for awhile." He shook his head. "They're usually very friendly.
Kasumi shook her head. "It is alright. Do not worry about it."
Johnathon sighed to himself. < Michael's more right than he knows. Chip and Dale do smell the cat on us, or in us....> He spoke up, gesturing. "Mother, this is Akane, Kasumi's younger sister, and this is Ranma Saotome, Akane's fiancee."
Clara smiled politely. "I'm pleased to meet you."
Ranma and Akane both gave slight bows.
Akane spoke slowly in English. "Thank you, for making us welcome in your home."
Clara smiled wider. "Your english is very good, Akane. Did Johnathon teach you?"
Akane nodded smiling back. "Yes, Johnathon is my... teacher."
Clara turned to Ranma. "You two are engaged to be married?"
Ranma nodded slowly, not quite sure how to respond in his limited english. "Yes. Father's arrange." He faltered, looking uncertain.
Kasumi explained helpfully. "Father and Mr. Saotome arranged to join our families in marriage when we were children. Akane and Ranma are to carry on the family school."
Clara blinked. "Oh? Your father's run a school?"
Ranma nodded "Yes, the school of (Anything goes martial arts.)" He said the last part in Japanese, unsure how to pronounce the name in English.
Michael eyes got an interested look. "Oh? You two are going to be running a dojo? You must be a pretty good martial artist, eh?"
Ranma grinned. "Yes."
Clara broke in. "Well, it's breakfast time here, but I'm sure you all must be tired from your flight. Why don't I show you the house, and you can rest and freshen up. Paul's out in Windsor right now. He'll be home this evening, and we can all go out to eat."
Johnathon looked around at his wife and friends, then nodded. "That sounds fine, mother. Why don't you show us where we're going to stay."
Clara showed them around the house, giving them the nickel tour. It was a ranch style home, everything on one floor. A large open kitchen and living room were on the right side of the house. A large couch, a davenport and two comfortable chairs sat around a large glass table. A full sized stereo was against one wall and the other walls were decorated with oil painting and photographs.
The middle of the house held a larger living room, with two large couches and a recliner surrounding a huge television hooked up to a satellite dish outside. A comfortable fire place sat in the corner, next to the large glass sliding door to the back yard.
The left side of the house held the master bedroom, which had it's own bath, and two other rooms next to a full sized bathroom. They had used to be Michael and Johnathon's rooms, but things had changed. One room was set up as a guest room, the other housed multiple computers and a wall full of radio gear. A Fax, printer and filing cabinets were on one wall, while a large map of the entire world , covered in colored pins, was spread across the opposite wall.
Johnathon explained. "My dad's a ham radio operator. It's his hobby, outside of golf and books. One computer runs all the radios."
Clara spoke up. "I thought we'd set up a futon in here for Akane. Johnathon and Kasumi can have the guest room, and we have a fold out bed in the living room for Ranma." She turned to the pig-tailed martial artist. "If that's alright with you?"
Ranma nodded, grinning. "No problem, Mrs. Dwire. That sounds great!" He turned to Akane when Clara had started out of the room and spoke quietly in Japanese. "How was that? I practiced that one on the flight over."
Akane sighed. "You were fine, Ranma. Why don't you practice a new one now."
Ranma nodded seriously. "Right, don't want to always be saying the same thing." Akane sighed again and gave up.
Johnathon, Michael and Ranma went to get the bags from the car and Kasumi and Akane helped Clara set up the rooms for guests. When everything was in place, the four travelers from Japan decided to get some rest before that night. Kasumi went first to take a through shower, determined to rid herself of all trace of cat hair or smell. Wearing a large towel, she slipped from the bathroom to the guest room, where Johnathon was napping.
Kasumi sat down on the edge of the bed and was surprised at the amount of give it had. She gave it a tentative prod and the bed rippled. Kasumi giggled under her breath and sat down fully on the bed, causing a wave to go across it, waking her husband. Kasumi lay back, smiling.
Johnathon sat upon one arm. "Like it? I slept on a waterbed like this for years."
Kasumi tried to sit up and floundered about for a couple seconds before managing it. "It takes a bit of getting used to... but I think I like it." She looked over at her husband in concern. "Johnathon.... Your brother's allergy, and your dogs.... I never would have guessed things would be so... complicated here. I washed thoroughly, and I used lots of soap. I hope your dogs won't be able to smell cat on me anymore."
Johnathon sighed. "Me too. I haven't changed into my cursed form in several days, yet they were still nervous around me. That's never happened before. I guess I should have expected it, but I didn't think they'd be able to tell. Still, don't worry, Kasumi. They're just a couple of house dogs, and they'll do anything Michael or I tell them too." He frowned. "Well, they used to.... Anyway, I wouldn't worry too much about it. As for Michael's allergy, it shouldn't be a problem as long as neither one of us gets splashed again." Kasumi looked kindly at him. (As if to a small child) and he winced. "Well, we'll just have to be really careful.
The newlyweds sighed together and laid back < Can we pull this off?>
Hours later, having rested, washed and changed clothes, the group from Nerima came out to meet Johnathon's father, Paul.
Paul Dwire was almost as tall as his two sons at an even six feet. He out massed them both by fifty pounds, being slightly overweight. Thick glasses and graying hair on top, a businesslike suit underneath, Paul Dwire, never-the-less, seemed an affable and pleasant man. Johnathon was known to compare his father to Dave, the owner and public symbol for the Wendys chain of restaurants, at least by appearance and temperament. < I wonder if Johnathon will look that that years from now?> She smiled at the thought. < They do look alike, except for the nose and a bit around the eyes...>
Paul's warm smile was cheering and he greeted his guests in carefully pronounced Japanese. "Welcome to my home. I am Paul Dwire, Johnathon's father."
Kasumi bowed politely, beaming. "Thank you, Mr. Dwire. I am very pleased to meet my husband's father."
Introductions were made all around, and before long everyone piled into the cars. Johnathon's folks, Johnathon and Kasumi in Clara's Lincoln, and Michael, Akane and Ranma in Michael's Rabbit. Paul drove the Lincoln, leading the way to the restaurant. In the car, Johnathon kept his parents busy answering questions about what they had been up to in the last year. He knew they were very curious about his year in Japan and his marriage to Kasumi, but he was reluctant to talk about it right away. Johnathon finally decided to tell them the story at the restaurant, as the public atmosphere would help keep his parents on their best behavior.
They arrived before too long at the place Paul had picked out. A fancy steakhouse that served large quantities of 'American' and Western fare. It was a tad expensive, but the food was known to be excellent. Paul had made reservations and the group was escorted directly to their booth, a large enclosed couch that could seat ten people, and was comfortably spacy with seven. Johnathon helped Kasumi with her menu, and Kasumi suggested a dish to Akane. Ranma refused assistance, preferring to puzzle it out on his own.
When the waiter came up with a tray filled with glasses of water, four heads shook in unison. "No water, please!"
End: A Different Viewpoint: American Vacation pt 1
I hope you liked it! C&C is always welcome!