­Hgeocities.com/Tokyo/Dojo/1449/advcd3.htmlgeocities.com/Tokyo/Dojo/1449/advcd3.htmldelayedxж╝НJ                    ╚агэЗаOKtext/htmlђџ &За    bЅ.HThu, 08 Jun 2000 21:37:50 GMT53Mozilla/4.5 (compatible; HTTrack 3.0x; Windows 98)en, *У╝НJЗа ADV Curses and Demons Chapter 3

ADV Curses and Demons Chapter 3

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: Curses and Demons:
                Chapter 3:
            Making Desisions

    Hours earlier, at the Tendo home, things were not nearly as peaceful.  The reception had broken up after the newlyweds had left, and everyone except for Ryoga and Ukyo had gone home.  The two in question were having an impromptu drinking contest with the wedding sake.  It had started as soon as the wedded pair had gone out the door.  No one had been foolish enough to interfere, and now they were alone in the Dojo, finishing off the fourth bottle of sake.  Ryoga took the last slug,
finishing the bottle, and was starting to reach for the fifth bottle when he collapsed on his face.

    Ukyo snorted sloppily and nodded to herself.  "G-got... h-hic... him.  Pig boy's got no... hic... tolerance."  She shakily got to her feet and tried to pull him upright.  "Don't... don't sleep on the floor idiot... hic!   You'll, you'll... just catch cold... hic!"  Ukyo managed to drape Ryoga's comatose form over her shoulders with an effort, and headed for the dojo door.  She almost made it to that door before she collapsed herself.

    A few minutes later, Nabiki opened the dojo door to check on them and blinked at the sight of Ryoga draped over Ukyo, both sleeping peacefully.  Nabiki smirked and walked away, coming back a minute later with her camera and a blanket.  Nabiki took a few photos, then covered them up with the blanket.  She turned to go, then paused, and took a few more photos of the two of them under the blanket.  "That about covers my fee for fetching the blanket."  She informed the slumbering pair.  Then, smirking, she headed back into the house.

    On the back porch, Soun and Genma were also getting pleasantly drunk, although the two men had along way to go before they joined Ukyo and Ryoga in drunken slumber.  Nodoka was keeping busy cleaning up a bit, and was shuttling the two men sake and food.  Nabiki deposited her camera in her room and was about to head back downstairs when she heard the front door open.

    "Hello!  We're home!"  Kasumi's voice rang out with strained cheerfulness.

    Nabiki blinked in astonishment.  < Did my big sister sound... unhappy?>  She hurried downstairs and her eyes went wide.  Coming in the doorway was Kasumi, and  Johnathon, who was carrying a very familiar looking black cat.  Nabiki gasped in shock.  "Kasumi... and Kasumi?" Her mind suddenly flashed to Kuno's earlier visit during the wedding ceremony, and she came to an immediate conclusion.  "The drowned twins water?  Why?  What happened?"  Three unhappy looking faces looked at
each other, then at Nabiki.

    Johnathon spoke.  "This is... difficult.  Lets go into the living room so we can tell everyone at once."

    C-chan came down the stairs after Nabiki and looked up to Kasumi to be picked up.  Kasumi did so automatically and then followed Nabiki and Johnathon into the Tendo living room.  C-chan snuggled with Kasumi for a few moments, then looked curiously at the cat in Johnathon's arms. Familiar eyes looked back at him, and C-chan mewed lightly in surprise.

    Kasumi-neko sighed to herself.  < He always was smart.>

    Johnathon and Nabiki walked into the living room together. Johnathon took a seat in front of the table, and Kasumi joined him. After some hesitation, Nabiki sat down next to them.  Nodoka, who was sitting on the other side of the table watching her husband and Soun play Go and drink, turned to look at the couple.  A few moments of silence passed and Soun and Genma glanced over, sensing something was up.

    Johnathon cleared his throat.  "I'm afraid I have... unfortunate news..."  He looked down at his feline wife, who looked back at him and nodded encouragingly.  Johnathon sat her carefully on the table and looked back at the others.  "This... is Kasumi."

    Nodoka, Genma and Soun all blinked.  "Kasumi?"  Soun shook his head, pointing to his obviously human older daughter on Johnathon's left. "You are mistaken son, she's right next to you there."  Johnathon nodded slowly.  "Yes, she is also Kasumi.  Kuno... Tatewaki Kuno set a trap in the hotel.  The water from the spring of drowned twins..."  Johnathon's eyes had gone hard, his hands shook.  "Kasumi opened the door of the honeymoon suite for Ranma so he could carry Akane over the threshold."

    Kasumi was crying softly now.  Tears were pouring gently down her face as she looked at her cat self.  Kasumi-neko looked sadly at her father.

    Johnathon tried to continue.  "Ranma spotted the bucket coming down... he tried to protect her... Ranma and Kasumi were both soaked... they both split into two forms.  Ranma is now both boy and girl, and Kasumi...."  Johnathon's voice broke momentarily.   The room was quiet enough for them all to hear a Koi in the pond outside splash.  "Kasumi is now... both woman and cat."  The room was filled with silent astonishment as everyone tried to absorb this news.  Johnathon put an
arm around his human wife and pulled her close while Kasumi set C-chan down on the table and turned to him for comfort.

    The kitten went up to Kasumi-neko and sniffed her curiously. Satisfied that this was indeed the mother cat he knew, he nudged her, asking for a meal.  At that sight, Soun fell across the table, sobbing. "Ka-ka-kasumi!"  Soun held out his hands and touched the side of his daughters tiny black furred face.  "K-kasumi, it is you... no, no!  Oh Kasumi my child!"  Kasumi
walked forward and nuzzled her fathers face reassuringly, but Soun only cried harder.

    Nodoka looked from the cats on the table to the human Kasumi being held by Johnathon.  "Oh dear.  This is simply terrible!  Kasumi, dear...."  Nodoka found that she had no words to describe her feelings at that moment.  She simply bowed her respect to the feline Kasumi, before turning to regard Johnathon again.  "What of Ranma?  What of my... my child?  My son, and apparently my... daughter?  What of them?"

    Johnathon took a deep breath.  "As I told you, Ranma's male and female sides are now separate.  Permanently it appears.  Neither cold nor hot water had any affect on either one."  He paused considering his next words.  "Ranma's female side has decided to go by the name Ranko to prevent confusion...  besides her passport is in that name, and she'll be needing it..."

    Nabiki blinked in sudden understanding.  < Of course... Jusenkyo.>

    Johnathon was still speaking.  "As for Akane, she has decided, as I have, that she is married to both Ranma's, just as I am still married to both Kasumi's.  Akane let both Ranma's know that she intended to make their marriage work... despite what has happened."  He blushed just slightly.  "To that end, they all remained at the hotel."

    He looked over at Nabiki for a moment before turning back to the others and saying in a louder tone.  "I've decided to take Kasumi-chan here to Jusenkyo, as soon as possible.  Ranma and Akane... and Ran..ko, will be coming as well, in the hopes that the springs might give Ranko and Kasumi their own forms back."

    Johnathon looked at Nabiki again.  "Sister, I was hoping you could help me with funds for the trip.  One way will be sufficient since what happens there... will determine how we need to return... as we may need a new passport... or two."   He turned back again to look at the others, "Akane expressed the desire to be left alone with both Ranma and Ranko until we are ready to leave."

    Nabiki cleared her throat, that thought putting aside speculations of the potential results of yet another trip to the cursed springs. "Akane decided that she's married to both Ranmas?  Guy and girl?  And they are all staying at the honeymoon suite... together?  For the next few days?"  Nabiki's voice rose a notch.  "Akane?!?"  She shook her head.  "I never would have thought... I guess she really did hate... boys...."  Nabiki chewed on her lip.  "Anyway, yeah, I can get you tickets... and I guess you'll need a cat carrier... sorry Sis."

    Kasumi-neko shrugged helplessly.

    Nodoka frowned thoughtfully.  "Akane... I wonder about her decision.  Legally, she can not be married to both Ranma and... Ranko, at the same time."  Nodoka shook her head sadly.  "But it is true that when she married them, they were one and the same person..."

    Kasumi broke in.  "Akane loves both Ranma and Ranko, and they her. Perhaps it is best for them to decide what to do."

    Nodoka sighed, and nodded.  "Perhaps you are right, Kasumi.  My son has gone through much, as has Akane.  It would not be right ot make them suffer further, especially if their love is true...."  Nodoka sighed again softly.  "I just thought perhaps now there might be a chance... to uphold family honor with the Kounji girl... she does tend to dress like a boy...  so she might be willing to accept Ranko..."  Nodoka looked uncertain.  "I... truly do not wish to cause Akane or my... children, any more pain... yet... family honor..."  Nodoka paused, almost unwilling to voice her thought.  "It would suggest marrying our... second child to... Ukyo Kounji."

    Genma nodded briskly.  "Just so, Nodoka my dear!  Our honor can and will be salvaged."  < And I can eat free Okinamiyaki for life!>

    Johnathon stood suddenly.  "No."

    Nodoka looked up at the tall man in shock.  "Excuse me, Johnathon-san, but this is not your concern.  It is family business."

    Johnathon nodded.  "I am aware of that, but perhaps you should allow Ranma, Ranko and Akane to make their own decisions about this.  As you said, Nodoka-san, they have suffered enough."

    Nodoka frowned.  "Johnathon... san.  It is really not your place to speak for them.  Genma and I will decide what is best for our son... and daughter."

    Seeming to ignore the pain in his wife's voice, Genma stood to face Johnathon.  "Yes, Nodoka is correct.  Ranma will fulfill family honor. In fact, it is best that I go to him immediately, so that no... mistakes are made."

    Johnathon's eyes widened.  "That would not be... wise, or acceptable to anyone involved I think.  Speaking from personal experience, I believe that being forced to give up on a marriage just because your wife or husband has suddenly become two, would be terribly painful.  If Kasumi-chan, or Kasumi, choose to... l-leave me... that is her choice, but unless that happens...."  Johnathon's voice strengthened with his resolve.  "I will not give up either... and no one else could force me to do so, until my death.  Akane, I am sure, would feel the same way."

    Genma glanced down at his wife, and she looked uncertainly back at him.  "I'm not sure...."  She said.

    Genma wrinkled his brow.  < This is my chance to regain family honor, and Nodoka's affection.  The boy must be forced to wed Ukyo as well!>  He stepped around the table towards Johnathon.  "You overstep your bounds, boy.  Our children's future is ours to decide."  He took another step forward, heavily, going into a subtle martial art's stance.  "Out of the way, son, I don't want to hurt you."

    Johnathon took a step back, dropping into a slightly defensive stance.  "I wish I could, Genma, but I find I cannot."

    Genma shook his head.  "Your American upbringing has not taught you about honor, so I will give you a chance to stand down."  < This young man is inferior to Akane, I shouldn't have much trouble with him, and Nodoka will see that I am still a honorable man.>

    Johnathon shook his head and said quietly.  "I have my own ethics, it's true.... I've always believed myself to be honorable... but it's true that I am not Japanese.  Nevertheless, I can not stand aside."

    As their two husbands prepared to do battle, their wives had a different reaction.  Nodoka sat quietly, unsure for once of the
honorable path.  Kasumi was not so indecisive.  She reached for Nodoka's cooling tea, took it, and calmly tossed it on her husband.  Kasumi-neko watched her human half and nodded her agreement.

    Nodoka blinked.  "Kasumi, you support Johnathon in this?"

    Kasumi nodded firmly.  "Yes.  I support my husband."

    Soun looked thoughtfully up from his crying, and Nabiki slid away from the table.  "I'm with Kasumi.  Kick the old panda's ass, Johnathon!"

    Johnathon snapped his tail in agitation and stepped out of his house slippers.  < I really don't want to do this, but I won't back down.> His customary grin at the beginning of a fight was missing.  His feline features made his faint frown sinister and brooding.

    Nodoka stared at the two Tendo sisters in shock, then looked at Soun.  "Soun!  Are you going to let your daughters...?"  Nodoka stopped and hesitated.

    Soun looked at Kasumi and Nabiki.  "Nabiki, please do not be disrespectful of our guest.  Kasumi, you are correct to obey your husband but...."

    Soun stood suddenly and moved between his best friend and his son in law.  "Well yes, this is certainly a mater of honor!"  He paused, looking closely at each.  "As I see you are each determined to his cause, I suggest we take this to the dojo.  There you can settle your differences traditionally."

    Nabiki started to protest.  "Wait a minute, all the wedding stuff's in there, how about we take it outside?  < Besides, I want to see Genma get the stuffing beat out of him, and if they all see Ryoga and Ukyo like I left them, this will probably be over, or at least postponed.>

    Kasumi nodded.  "That's sensible, Nabiki."

    Johnathon shrugged and relaxed his stance.  "All right.  I'd rather not have to fight over this at all, but since Ranma and Akane aren't here to do so, I feel I must."

    Genma considered Johnathon's suddenly open stance.  < I could take him out quick now, and go get the boy... I mean Ranko, before my daughter does something I'll regret... but I also want to impress Nodoka-chan.>

    Fortunately his indecision lasted long enough for Soun to agree with Nabiki.  "Very well Nabiki.  Gentlemen, is the backyard an acceptable place to settle this matter?"

    Genma nodded.  "Very well." < Besides, I know that yard so well I could find my way across it blindfolded, and never stub a toe.>

    Johnathon nodded as well, and they moved outside.  They faced off next to the Koi pond, with Soun standing between them still.  He looked at his son in law.  "As initiator of this challenge, Johnathon, do you have any conditions?"

    Johnathon considered his options.  "Um... would first blood suffice?"

    Genma protested.  "Now that seems a little biased in your favor."

    Soun nodded.  "Agreed.  I suggest, the first man who cannot rise be declared the victor."

    Johnathon grimaced.  < Oh great, I'm gonna be in traction.... Should I use my claws or not?  Damn Genma for forcing me to make this choice. I don't think I can beat him without my claws, but with them... I could really hurt him.>  Johnathon flicked them out.  Nodoka  and Kasumi gasped, and Nabiki smirked.  Johnathon said in his most menacing tone, "You don't want to do this, Genma."

    Genma snorted.  < Who does he think he's fooling?  The boy marries Kasumi and then thinks he can frighten me?>  "Enough talk"

    He leapt, using the advantage of the Saotome school, mid air combat.  Johnathon wasted some time retracting his claws, and didn't get completely out of the way of Genma's downward plunge.  Genma caught his with an outstretched fist, almost spinning Johnathon around completely, and immediately tried to take advantage of his momentary break. Johnathon backpedaled quickly, but Genma maintained his advantage, pressing the attack.  He connected again solidly, getting through Johnathon's guard with a low kick to the cat-man's oddly shaped knee.

    Johnathon let the bigger man's kick take him down, and anticipating Genma's attempt to fall on him, rolled forward, almost taking Genma's legs out from under him.  Genma turned the stumble into a leap, slamming Johnathon slightly as he did so.  Genma's backflip, intended to pin his weaker opponent like a fly swatter, came up short as Johnathon flipped to his feet and did a low sweep as Genma landed.

    Genma was unable to avoid this attack, and fell, but even as he did so, he managed to sweep Johnathon's legs as well, kicking out hard at the same knee.  Johnathon rolled with the fall, managing to plant an elbow in Genma's wide abdomen.  Genma was already on his way to his feet, so Johnathon sprang away.

    The momentum lost, Genma considered his options as he circled closer to his opponent.  < He's at least as fast as the boy, and I'm not used to his style yet, but he's sloppy, and weaker than Akane.>  He continued to circle for a moment longer.  < If I want to end this quickly, I'll need an advantage.>

    Positioning himself carefully, he leapt at the younger man.  As expected, Johnathon moved out of the way easily, and gave Genma a bit more momentum.  He hit the Koi pond neatly, and sprang out again, his mass suddenly greatly increased.

    Johnathon swore softly.  < Oh great.>  The panda rushed him, low this time, intending to force Johnathon into an obstacle, then fall on him.  Johnathon tried to sidestep, blocking a flurry of powerful swipes from his opponent, and countered with his own multi-punch technique.

    Genma would have laughed if he could.  < Foolish, after training with Ranma, this attack is nothing.>  He shrugged off the blows and swatted Johnathon mightily.

    The half-cat managed to keep his feet, barely.  < This isn't working.>  He thought somewhat groggily, still in shock from the blow, < Got to stay defensive, he's too strong.>

    Genma was again moving in quickly.  Johnathon sidestepped again, tried a full strength block on another wide swing by the panda, leapt over another leg sweep, and planted a firm kick into the furry chest. He used the slight leverage he gained to go into a forceful round kick, which Genma dodged easily.  Johnathon pressed forward on one leg, sweeping around again and again, forcing Genma backwards, then finishing the combination with a powerful jumping forward kick with the other leg.

    Genma again managed to block the attack, but the blow drove him back anyway.  Johnathon's momentum momentarily halted, the younger man feinted with a high sweep kick.  Genma caught the leg, and Johnathon smiled to himself as he went down fast, sweeping the uncaptured leg around... but Genma anticipated the move and ducked, while slamming the held leg hard, again on the same knee.

    Johnathon growled in pain as the two sprang apart again.  < Argh... I'm not sure if I can move it now!>  He didn't have a chance to find out, and Genma immediately charged him once again.  Johnathon's attempted dodge was too slow this time.  The panda slammed into him, sending him flying backwards into the Tendo's backyard wall.  Johnathon hit hard, and tried to sort out the three pandas rapidly looming in his vision.  He got his legs between them just as Genma slammed into him again.
Johnathon made a nice impression in the wall, his vision darkening.  He kicked Genma away hard, and forced himself to stagger after him.  Genma was only slightly stunned, but more than a bit surprised that Johnathon was still moving.  Johnathon's stagger turned into a running pass, and Genma took several hits from the darting cat-man.  He quickly oriented himself however and grabbed a passing arm, swinging Johnathon into the ground, hard.  The half-cat lay dazed for a moment.

    He made an attempt then to roll to his feet, but Genma had wasted no time slamming him down again.  < I'm losing.>  Johnathon stayed down this time and focused on his opponent through his bleary eyes., waiting for Genma to make another move.  The panda didn't disappoint, leaping up to land solidly on top of him Johnathon brought up his legs at the last moment in a caporia style kick, catching Genma in the stomach and deflecting the massive fall to one side.  Johnathon rolled to his feet a
moment before the panda and wavered.  The only clear thing in his head was the was the pain in his left knee. < I can't fight on one leg. Another hit and I'm done.>  Johnathon went into a one legged crane stance as Genma rose.  As he stood, Johnathon leapt straight up for a crane kick, catching the other man solidly under the chin, dropping him once more to the ground several feet away.  Johnathon landed heavily and almost fell himself.

    Genma leapt to his feet, dazed, but still basically unhurt.  < He's quick enough to change styles and tactics, but he doesn't have anything I haven't seen.>  Genma moved in cautiously.  < Given time, he adapts to his opponent, much like the boy... so I don't give him the breathing room to do so.>  Genma charged up to Johnathon and attacked fiercely with a multiple paw strike.  Johnathon, unable to move away, countered with every bit of his own hand speed, blocking and trying to counter punch.

    Nabiki gritted her teeth.  "That was dirty fighting, going after John's leg like that over and over."

    Nodoka said nothing watching the fight intensely.  Soun just nodded to himself, cataloging each fighter's tactics.

    Genma pressed his attack, sensing victory, exchanging blows at high speed, with his greater mass and strength, he took the damage better, and soon had Johnathon reeling.  The half-cat fought grimly, barely hanging onto consciousness, but refusing to drop.  Finally, Genma broke through his defenses and grabbed his weaker opponent.  Johnathon was too groggy and injured to retreat in time.  Genma pinned him, and slammed him into the ground, following him down with his own mass.  When Genma
rose again, Johnathon did not.

    Nabiki sighed in disgust, and both Kasumis rushed over to Johnathon's side to check on him.

    Nodoka rose and went inside to the kitchen for a tea kettle. Finding one, as usual on the stove she brought it out and poured it over her husbands head.

    When Genma transformed back, he nodded to her.  "Thank you dear." He said with dignity.  "Now I should go and collect Ranko before our new 'daughter' does anything we might regret later."

    Nodoka nodded slowly.  "As you say husband... although I am not fully convinced of the correctness of this."

    Genma blinked at her in astonishment. "What?  Nodoka, are you questioning the correctness of saving our family honor?"

    Nodoka shook her head.  "No husband,  I am questioning what exactly that honor obliges us to do."

    Nodoka went to Kasumi's side and handed her the kettle.  Kasumi took it wordlessly and carefully poured the water over Johnathon's face and neck.  Nodoka watched the change, and Kasumi's reaction to it.  She blinked as Kasumi's expression of worry and care never altered in the slightest, despite her husbands return to human form.  Kasumi-neko remained by Johnathon's cheek, a feline version of the same emotions on her face, that also never wavered as he transformed.

    Johnathon groggily opened his eyes, first seeing Kasumi's concerned but faintly smiling expression, then as he turned his head, his wife's feline form as well.  He seemed to take strength from their presence and slowly forced himself to sit upright.  "Kasumi, Kasumi-chan..."

    Kasumi-neko climbed into his lap and Johnathon put one hand on her back. Kasumi hugged him from the side and he put his other arm around her back.  Kasumi smiled at him.  "Thank you for trying so hard for Akane and Ranma.  I am very proud of you."

    Kasumi-neko meowed encouragingly in response.

    Johnathon sighed and said nothing, simply holding onto both of his wifes' forms.

    Nodoka turned back to Genma then, who was looking questioningly at her.  "What do you mean?"  He asked.  "What else would our honor demand but that we honor our obligations?"

    Nodoka frowned in thought.  "You are correct, my husband, that we are honor bound to fulfill our obligations... but is it not wrong to separate a married couple?"  She gestured back at Johnathon and the Kasumi's.  "I have seen that Johnathon truly loves his wife, wither she is cat or human.  When Kasumi-chan was stuck, perhaps permanently, as a cat, he was still her husband.  I believe that he would have honored that bond, even if she was never cured.  Will he turn his back on her now?  Now that Kasumi is both human and cat, will he abandon her cat half?  Consider himself only married to the human woman?  No, of course he won't.  He believes she's still his wife, despite the fact she is also a cat, and despite the fact there is a human Kasumi as well.  Akane and Ranma are only today married... but they are married.  Do you think Akane will abandon our son's... female half, now that he is both male and female?  I can't say for sure... but I think that she will not  Akane understands honor I believe.  I think it would be... well, dishonorable to force her to abandon her marriage with Ranma's female side, even if... it goes against what we were taught was correct. Perhaps it would be understandable, even forgivable if she was to give
up a marriage to another woman, but for us to force her too?  No, that is not honorable.  In this, our family honor, and the honor of our children, are in opposition."

    Nodoka shook her head again.  "I can hardly believe myself, but I do feel this way now."  Nodoka lowered her eyes to the ground and she sighed.  "I'm sorry to say, I can not tell which has the stronger claim, the situation is too complex."  Nodoka raised her head and walked up to Genma.  "This I do know, however."  She placed a hand on his shoulder momentarily.  "Your fight to defend our honor was commendable, my husband."  She glanced at his face for a moment smiling ever so slightly.  "Indeed, you were in the right, as Johnathon-san does not have the right to decide how we deal with family honor."  She glanced back at Johnathon.  "However, at heart, I think he may see deeper than we do.  In the end, can we place our honor above that of our children? No, I believe we should let them make... their own decision."  Saying this, Nodoka sighed again, as if already regretting her words.

    Genma looked torn between elation that he had finally pleased his wife, and annoyance that he was loosing this opportunity.  "But... but..."  he tried once more, sensing Nodoka's ambivalence.  "If we don't act soon, it may be too late!"

    Kasumi cleared her throat, and when Genma glanced at her, she said carefully,  "Mr. Saotome, Akane and Ranko, are a truly married couple, in every way by now.  From what I've seen... I'm sure of it."  She nodded emphatically.

    Genma gaped, Soun continued to look thoughtful, though a hint of a tear was running down his face.

    Nabiki looked amused.  "Akane, and Ranko?  Well, I had pretty much figured as much.  Akane really has gotten comfortable with Ranma, cursed form or otherwise.  The way those two have been going at it the past few weeks, I wouldn't be surprised at all."

    Soun nodded.  "Yes, yes, I did suspect."  He glanced at Genma, and shrugged.  "Well, even as a girl, your son does behave as a man... it's only to be expected."

    Nodoka sighed, but with a happy expression on her face.  "Such a manly son you raised, my husband!  Even as a woman, he can please his wife...."  She blushed just slightly, and turned towards the door.

    Johnathon gently slid Kasumi-neko off his lap and stood.  His head pounded, and his stomach groaned at the movement, but he forced his body to behave.  "Genma-san."  Johnathon said in as respectful a tone as he could manage, bowing as far as his aching body would allow him, "I apologize for interfering in your family business.  I overstepped my bounds in doing so."  He straightened and sighed.  "I spoke from my heart, as I believe I feel as they do about what has happened with the water from the spring of drowned twins.  He bowed his head.  "I will not interfere further with your decision."

    Nodoka had turned as he spoke and was now looking at him contemplatively. "Johnathon-san... it is true that you are not
Japanese.  But you are in your own way, an honorable man.  Thank you for your restraint today.  I am aware that you did not use your claws, and I am grateful."

    Genma nodded confidently to himself.  < I knew he wouldn't use them, that boy has no taste for blood.>  Genma suddenly remembered the first time he had seen Johnathon use his claws and shuddered.  < If he ever does, I hope I'm on the other end of a nice long metal spear.  My panda form may have claws, but his are fully functional, and very sharp.> Genma considered
sharpening his own claws.  < No, Nodoka would never let me in the house.  It's not like my claws are retractable."

    Nabiki spoke up.  "What ever you're going to do, it's getting too late for you to get into that hotel tonight."

    Johnathon nodded.  "Perhaps you should inform Ukyo about what's happened, and let her, Akane, and the Ranmas work this out between themselves tomorrow."

    Nodoka nodded. "A good suggestion.  I will talk to Miss Ukyo Kounji myself tomorrow morning."

    Nabiki chuckled.  "I'll make sure she comes to see you in the morning, Auntie."

    Kasumi lead Johnathon inside.  "Let's take care of those bruises, Johnathon dear."  Kasumi-neko followed after them, C-chan in tow.

    Nabiki stretched.  "Well, I'm for bed, I've got a lot to do tomorrow,"

    Nodoka took Genma's arm.  "Come husband, I feel like going to bed as well."  She slyly winked at him.  "Don't you?"

    Genma's eyes widened as he took in her meaning.  "Ah... um... yes... quite."  Nodoka dragged him off, still stammering.

    Nabiki didn't restrain a chuckle at his expense.  "I can see where Ranma got his skill with women." With that she followed the others upstairs.  Soun watched his extended family, looking thoughtful.  As they left his sight he nodded to himself some more, then calmly took the bottle of Sake by the table, and began to get himself drunk.

    Later that night, after a long soak, Johnathon, Kasumi, and Kasumi-neko came to their room, having dropped off C-chan with Nabiki. Nabiki had accepted the kitten gracefully enough, saying mysteriously that she was now doubly glad for her new ear plugs.

    Kasumi shook her head as Johnathon opened their door.  "C-chan doesn't make any noise at night."

    Johnathon shrugged.  "You're right, I wonder what she meant by doubly glad anyway?"  They went inside and sat down on the bed together.  Kasumi-neko paused on the floor to look up at the human couple.  Johnathon looked back down at her.  "Come on up Kasumi-chan. You can sleep on the pillow like you used too."

    Kasumi nodded.  "Yes please."  She looked over at her husband. "We'll just be careful not to roll over onto you when we make love."

    Johnathon almost fell of the bed and he stared incredulously at Kasumi.  "What?  I... you... I mean us?  Tonight?  Kasumi-chan... can't....  It wouldn't be right...."  Kasumi-neko shook her head and meowed a negative.

    Kasumi looked at her diminutive other and nodded to her.  "That's right.  Kasumi-chan and I had a bit of a talk while you were in the furo.  When I was a cat, my... physical needs were not the same as when I am human.  As I understand it, cats only mate... during short periods.  At other times, their is little urge.  Kasumi-chan won't fell slighted if we make love.  She knows you love her, and understands her physical limitations.  When I... we... suggested that you might take a mistress... if I was stuck as a cat, I... we were quite serious.  I realize that you consider Kasumi-chan your wife, and wish to remain faithful.  But I am your wife as well, so you are being faithful. Kasumi-neko nodded emphatically.  Kasumi stroked Johnathon's cheek.  "I know you had a rough fight with Mr. Saotome, but I promise to be gentle."

    Johnathon chewed his lip, undecided.  "I know you will be Kasumi, but...."

    Kasumi smile gently at him and touched his lips to silence his protest.  "If your still unsure, I won't force you, but if your are only concerned about Kasumi-chan's feelings, don't be.  She will be hurt, only if you restrain yourself on her account.  If it makes you feel better, I promised to let her go first for the first month after she's returned to human form."

    Kasumi-neko nodded at that, and winked at Johnathon.  She then walked around behind him and firmly nudged him in Kasumi's direction.

    Johnathon looked back at the black cat then snorted.  "OK, OK, I get the message."  He reached back and picked Kasumi-neko up.  "I won't neglect Kasumi's needs, or my own."  He turned Kasumi-neko over on his lap.  "Or yours, Kasumi-chan."  Johnathon ran his free hand lightly down her belly, then between her legs, gently stroking the very soft,
sensitive fur there.  Kasumi-neko stretched in sheer pleasure.

    Kasumi giggled and added her hands to Johnathon's, stroking Kasumi-neko's belly, sides, and legs.  The two human members of the group gave the feline one a very thorough petting until she was as limp as a rag doll.  Then, Johnathon carefully placed her on the pillow.  He turned to Kasumi.  "All right.  Now it's your turn."

    Nabiki slept peacefully, earplugs in place, blissfully unaware of the activities going on either next door, or in Ranma's room down the hall.  C-chan, unconcerned, slept peacefully on the middle Tendo daughter's stomach, happy, full, and content, and smelling slightly of fish.

    The first ones to wake up the next morning were naturally the Kasumis.  Kasumi rose and dressed quietly, followed closely by Kasumi-neko.  They slipped out the door and headed for the bathroom. After a quick wash, they headed downstairs to the kitchen.

    Kasumi looked down at Kasumi-neko.  "I will prepare breakfast for everyone.  Why don't you relax.  You have to go visit the vet today with Johanthon-chan.  That's likely to be stressful enough.  If your feeling up to it when you get back, you can keep C-chan occupied while we take care of cleaning up the wedding debris."

    Kasumi-neko nodded at this sensible plan, then meowed, pointing up the stairs.  "Oh, you want to be there when Johnathon wakes up? Alright, I'll let you in, then get started."  Kasumi walked back to their room and let her small counterpart inside, then returned to the kitchen to start breakfast.

    Nabiki was the next to wake, remembering the kitten on her stomach just in time to avoid rolling him off the bed.  Nabiki gently lifted C-chan and put him too the side.  She was starting to get fond of him. Nabiki found she could appreciate something with a strong self interest, who understood the nature of a bribe.

    Nabiki yawned, stretched and stood.  "Hmm, going to be a busy day."
 
 

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