Chapter 1: Ranma, You Idiot
A Ranma ½ story
by Adrian D. Moten
Disclaimer: Ranma ½ and its characters and settings belong to Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Kitty, and Viz Video.
"RANMA, YOU IDIOT!!"
Predictably, Ranma Saotome had managed to infuriate his fiancée Akane when he compared Ukyou's cooking to hers; his exact words were, "This is really great, Ucchan. Too bad Akane can't even boil water without demolishing half the kitchen." Upon hearing that, Akane promptly whacked him out of Ucchan's, swinging her mallet as if she was a professional golfer and Ranma was the golf ball.
He plummeted from the sky, index and pinkie fingers extended from his hands and his heels touching as he spiraled down into a very familiar yard with an even more familiar koi pond.
'Shit… ' He managed to think, seconds before splashing face down into the water. The impact resulted in a cold geyser that violently shot up into air, soaking everything in the immediate zone of its fallout.
A few moments later, the now redheaded Onna-Ranma broke from the water's surface and dragged herself out, her Chinese styled clothes soaking wet. "Uncute Tomboy," she muttered under her breath. She retrieved her black shoes, which were now too big for her feet, then headed to the kitchen.
Onna-Ranma sloshed more water onto the kitchen, when she noticed something was wrong. Dinner wasn't cooking. Not even a pot of water was boiling. The vacant scene was eerily disturbing for the Saotome heir. Kasumi would always have something cooking at this time. Life with the Saotomes usually brought unexpected visitors to the Tendo residence, and she was much too nice a hostess to let visitors starve, even if they were out to kill— or marry— Ranma.
'Did she go out or something?' Ranma pondered to herself. It was a dubious question at best, considering whom it was about. Pushing aside the thought, Onna-Ranma began her search throughout the Tendo house.
After having no luck downstairs, she advanced up the stairs where the bedrooms were located and knocked on the door with Kasumi's name, written in romanji characters, engraved on a wooden nameplate. Forming a fist, she knocked on the door. No answer.
"Kasumi, are you in there?"
Still no answer.
Onna-Ranma started to leave when the room door opened. "Please, come in, Ranma." Kasumi said softly.
She glanced at the open door, a question in her eyes, but she shrugged it off for the time being. She then stepped into her room. Kasumi, who was behind the door, closed it after Onna-Ranma was inside. "Ranma, I need to talk to you."
"About what, Kasumi?" The redhead turned around, and caught a glimpse of Kasumi. She was wearing a cyan gown with modest ruffles, giving the appearance of just waking up. However, her eyes, puffy and red, had a haunted quality to them. Her cheeks were streaky with dried stains. She had been crying, Ranma realized with a start. That, in itself, was more than enough cause to be alarmed. "Kasumi?"
The older woman said nothing, instead crossing over to the bedroom window. She peeled the curtains back, then looked out into the growing night sky. Onna-Ranma remained rooted in place, the silence deafening. She desperately wanted to comfort her, as it was obvious that something was disturbing the Tendo daughter but… She held her ground. Kasumi did say she had something to talk about, but what?
After an eternally long minute of silence, Kasumi spoke. "I haven't been feeling well lately, so I went to see Tofu-sensei."
"Oh?" Onna-Ranma finally moved from her position and stood next to Kasumi. "What did he tell you?"
"Well, at first, I thought it was just influenza or something similar, but after the examination, he ruled that out." She paused for a moment, then continued. "He then took some samples to have some tests ran on them. This afternoon…" She swallowed a bit. "He called me with the results."
Onna-Ranma waited for Kasumi to continue on, but it was becoming obvious that she wasn't going to speak anytime soon. The quietude of the room was quickly getting to the redhead. She wasn't very good with talking things out, as it was much easier to settle all problems with her fists. However, this was Kasumi, and there were some problems that could not ever be corrected by force and violence. So she waited.
More time elapsed. The redhead fumed, an alien feeling of helplessness hanging over him. It was driving her mad, and she couldn't take any more. "Kasumi, just tell me what's wrong with you. Are you dying or something?"
She stood silent for another moment. Slowly she turned around to face her, her hands folded in front of her, a fresh tear running down her cheek. The redhead's nimble fingers deftly wiped it away, but Kasumi took hold of her hand and held it to her cheek before it could retreat. Her stony green eyes stared into the ocean of Onna-Ranma's deep blue eyes. A small smile broke across Kasumi's face, then…
"Ranma, I'm pregnant."
Onna-Ranma's eyes widened.
Kasumi nodded in confirmation to the unspoken question. "Yes, pregnant."
The younger girl shook her head vigorously, whipping her pigtail back and forth, as she tried to put her now rampant thoughts into coherent sentences. "Um, Kasumi, why are you telling me this? Surely, Akane or Nabiki would—"
The smile held on, but her eyes grew sadder. Kasumi took hold of the redhead's free slender hands and, with a gentle tug, she shifted the guy-turned-girl's back to her bed. "Neither Akane nor Nabiki is the father of my child."
At first, the implication of Kasumi's words failed to register within Onna-Ranma's head. Once they did, however, her entire body started to stiffen as if rigor mortis was beginning to set in. The blood in her face drained away rapidly, leaving her with a lightheaded sensation, and her eyes began to dip towards each other. However, as much bliss passing out would have brought, Onna-Ranma struggled for stability of the current situation.
"I'm the…" she swallowed hard. "…Father?" The last word came out two octaves higher than normal, even for a girl.
Kasumi being pregnant was one thing, though it was incredibly hard to believe; finding out that she is the father is quite another thing indeed. She found the strength to speak again, though her words fell heavily from her mouth. "You're joking, right?"
The smile twitched, but doggedly remained. "I wish I were, Ranma, but you are the only one I've ever slept with."
The entire room was slowly darkening and beginning to spin around Onna-Ranma. How could he explain this one? How could he stand before any of the Tendo family, especially Akane, who would then become enraged and behead him— twice!— then kill him, and explain? How would he be able to deal with his remaining fiancées after they found out? Friend or no friend, Ukyou would be furious; Shampoo more so, and there was no telling what the Amazon might do; and Kodachi… Onna-Ranma shuddered as she tried to imagine what Kodachi could very well do to Kasumi. What about Ryouga and Kuno? Mousse would almost be certain to get mixed up in this as well. More importantly, what about the unborn child? What would Kasumi do? What would he do? What would they do?
'Shit. Why? Why me?'
Abruptly, the redhead blinked, breaking out of the self-induced trance. "Um…" She could see tears welling up and threatening to break from the young soon-to-be-mother's eyes, the worry and dread in her face obvious even as she offered an oblivious smile.
"I know it may be hard for you to accept. I mean it's only natural, right? I… I could hardly believe it myself, but Tofu-sensei sounded so serious, so certain. He even assured me that he had the lab recheck the results a few times, but they say the same thing, that I'm six weeks along." She gave a long sigh. "I still didn't believe, so I rushed out and gotten five different home pregnancy tests…" Kasumi paused, slowly sucking in a breath of air and looking away. "They were all positive… I didn't know what to do… I felt so… so frustrated, so upset… so scared… All I could do was… cry." The last came out almost at a whisper, her voice cracking.
Ranma couldn't say anything, only gape at her.
Long moments passed, no one speaking or doing anything. Kasumi felt agitated with the deafening silence. Not knowing how he was taking the news, nor knowing how he felt, it was almost unbearable. She couldn't even bring herself to look him directly in his cursed form's face. "If you hate me for ruining your life, just say so. I'll… I'll understand."
More time elapsed, the silence eternal. Just when she thought that maybe Ranma had already stole away without alerting her, she felt something warm press against her lips. She blinked in surprise and saw Onna-Ranma's face receding from hers. She smiled at the now-confused Kasumi.
Absently, her hand lifted to her lips, which were tingling from the gentle kiss. "R-Ranma?"
'Why doesn't he hate me? I've just ruined his life even more…' She was surprised that she had thought of the question, but in a way, it would be a logical one. Not very many guys Ranma's age would have taken such news as he apparently was taking it, especially none with four fiancées, one being her youngest sibling Akane.
Ranma pressed a slim finger against her lips. "Quiet Kasumi," she said in her softest voice. Ranma made her damp, cold body move towards the nightgown-clad woman, and her arms slowly encircled her.
Kasumi's eyes widened at this action. Usually she was the one who comforted others troubled by a problem; now she was the one needing comfort. An old memory, thought to have been buried in another lifetime, rapidly tore to the surface of her consciousness, reminding her. A great floodgate of tears was on the verge of flowing down her face. "R-Ranma…."
She hugged her to her still-damp feminine form. "I'm here… Kasumi-chan…"
The tears burst from their dams, flowing fast and freely down her cheeks as she sobbed uncontrollably. Kasumi buried her face into the smaller girl's shoulder, blubbering incoherently. She clutched tightly to the redhead, her sobs and hacking coughs wracking her body to the point her legs gave way beneath her and she became dead weight in her arms. Onna-Ranma held her up gently, but firmly, a few tears silently sliding from one corner of her own eyes.
'When was the last time she cried like this?' she thought, rubbing Kasumi's back. 'When was the last time she cried at all?' Onna-Ranma had seen Kasumi calm down others many times, so she did what she remembered and hoped to the gods it worked.
Slowly, but surely, Kasumi began to calm down, the tears slowing their race down her cheeks, her sobs and hiccups quieting. Soon, the room was quiet, save for an occasional sniffle and a softly spoken "I'm sorry…"
Onna-Ranma tilted Kasumi's head back, absently wiping away a few tears. "Let's get you cleaned up, all right?"
She nodded mutely and, though she had no strength left to walk, Onna-Ranma proved to be more than strong enough to carry her downstairs to the bath, cradling her into his arms as if she were a newborn. The reminder did not escape the detached part of Kasumi's mind, but she did not comment on it. Instead, she tried to rest her head against his chest, to let her tired mind rest for a second. Belatedly, she realized that Ranma was in his cursed form and thus lost several centimeters in height and gained several in bust. She tried picturing herself a grown woman being carried by a little girl, and it made her smile. The redhead saw her smile and returned it, not knowing why or what she was smiling for to begin with. It was a lot better than watching her fall apart at the seams, though.
Their eyes met. A swirling sea of blues locked with the pinkish tint of storm worn green eyes. Those two pairs of eyes always held promises of peace and calm and love before, but now, there was a shadow behind them, a transgression committed on a very personal level. The eyes being the window to the soul, no one should be surprised when they find one of the panes darkly stained.
They broke eye contact. Onna-Ranma painstakingly let Kasumi's feet touch the floor, though the oldest Tendo leaned upon her like a cane. She was still too drained to be doing anything on her own.
A thought came to their minds at the same time. They looked to each other. As one, they asked, "What are we going to do now?"
To Be Continued…
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