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Disclaimer: No, I don't wanna disclaim anything. Live without it for a chapter.
Wow… Umm… Well, from all the reviews I got, it was obvious that you were glad I updated. Not too many people said if they liked it or not though… Ah well, I suppose I could write the next chapter…
Chapter 6: "Kidnapping" Doesn't Mean She's Sleeping.
"You know what?" said Ranma over lunch. "I don't think going to school next week is going to be so bad after all." Three pairs of eyes stared widely at him as the Tendo girls all looked up from their meals in surprise. Ranma looked confused at their reaction. "What?"
"You hate school Ranma!" replied Akane. "Why the sudden change of heart?"
"Well, don't get me wrong, I'm not looking forward to it or nothin'. I'm just thinking that everyone who matters knows about Yuki by now, and we all know how the rest of the class is going to react…"
"Probably just like my friends," finished Akane. Yuka and Sayuri stopped by the dojo earlier that morning to take Akane out shopping. They squealed when they saw her carrying Yuki on her hip when she answered the door, then ooed and awwed at her for an hour. Of course they both thought Yuki was Akane's child by birth, and wouldn't believe the real story until Nabiki charged them for it. "Hopefully they won't embellish on the story too much," Akane said without much conviction.
"Exactly," said Ranma. "Everyone who would have been a problem knows about Yuki by now, so other than the rumour horde having a field day, it shouldn't be too bad."
Ranma's logic seemed to make sense to Kasumi and Nabiki, so they went back to eating their lunch. Akane, however, still seemed troubled. "I'm not so sure Ranma," she said. "I get the feeling we're forgetting someone here…"
Ranma reached over to where Yuki was sitting in her chair and tickled her feet. She laughed and squirmed at his touch. "Well, who's left?" he asked, not taking his attention off of the babe. "Our fathers know, Shampoo and Ukyo know, Kuno knows so it's a good guess that Kodachi knows as well, Yuka and Sayuri probably let the rest of the class know by now, who's left?"
"Hello? Is anybody home?"
"Auntie!" Kasumi called. "We're in the tea room!"
Ranma let his head drop and hit the table in exasperation. How could he have forgotten to tell his own mother?
Nodoka walked into the room wearing her usual kimono and carrying her ever present katana wrapped in silk. She smiled demurely at those assembled at the table. "Pardon the intrusion, but my husband never came home last night, so I wanted to make sure he was alright." It was then that she noticed the baby sitting in her chair next to Ranma. Yuki smiled up at her and giggled as she chewed on a teething ring. "Oh my! Who's child is this then?"
Ranma looked at his mother in surprise as she moved to sit next to Yuki and picked her up. "You mean you're not gonna automatically assume she's mine and Akane's?"
"Now why would I do that Ranma?" she asked. "She doesn't look a thing like Akane." Ranma sighed in relief. "So which one of your girlfriends did give birth to my granddaughter?"
Akane and Ranma both choked on their lunch while Kasumi filled in Nodoka on the story. "Found her abandoned in a dumpster? That's terrible! I'm glad you two decided to do the honourable thing and take care of this poor waif until the orphanage can take her."
By then, Akane had managed to clear her airway enough to speak. She hesitatingly addressed her future mother-in-law. "Um… Actually Auntie… Ranma and I decided to adopt Yuki permanently."
Kasumi and Nabiki stared at their sister in surprise, but Nodoka had stars in her eyes and smiled wider. "You mean… that she is going to be my first grandchild? Oh how wonderful!" Nodoka started to tear up. "This is quite possibly one of the happiest days of my life! My little man is getting married and having a family all at once!"
Ranma chocked again. "Married? Who said anything about marriage? Yeah we'll take care of her, but marriage?"
"Well it wouldn't do to be unwed parents, now would it?" Nodoka asked. "Especially for Akane. Being an unwed mother is such a taboo in today's society. Even though you did rescue her, it's not as if people are going to know that just by looking at you."
Ranma looked to Akane for support, but she was staring off into space. Married? To Ranma? Why hadn't she thought of this when he first proposed keeping Yuki? Sure she… well… had feelings for the lug, but marriage? Thankfully Kasumi decided to step in. "Auntie, I think what Ranma means is that he's not ready to be married yet. He still has some issues to sort out with the other girls," she said with some reproach. "I think it's wonderful that he feels he and Akane are ready to take on the responsibility of a child however, and think they have done a very good job with her so far."
Nodoka seemed to think this over. She was obviously remembering what had happened at the last wedding. "Well I see your point Kasumi. I'm glad you have faith in them to take care of this child. Err… what is her name?"
"Yuki," replied Ranma. "We figured she was pretty lucky for us to have found her."
Nodoka smiled at her son. "That is an excellent choice, Ranma. I shall have her name placed on the family scroll at once… Or should she be put on the Tendo scroll for the time being? After all, Akane is her mother…"
Ranma let his mother ponder on this dilemma and went back to his lunch. Now everyone who mattered knew about Yuki, so what could go wrong?
The final week before school started passed by quickly. Ranma and Akane spent most of the time either taking care of Yuki or training in the dojo. They had thought to call the orphanage to make their adoption of Yuki legal, but Nabiki told them they probably wouldn't get her since they were only 18 and not married. Instead, they put Yuki's name in the Tendo family scroll with her "mother" – making sure to note that Yuki was adopted of course. "Should Ranma and Akane decide to wed," Nodoka had said, "then both mother and daughter will be placed on the Saotome scroll." Neither Ranma nor Akane made a comment about that, though there was much blushing.
The first day of school came and Akane was a wreck. Not because of lack of sleep – she and Ranma were both used to Yuki's sleeping habits by now – but because she was loath to leave the child behind. Ranma could understand her feelings somewhat, after all, he was her father now, but he also wondered about his fiancée's sanity.
"Now the emergency numbers are on the fridge," Akane told Kasumi for the umpteenth time. "And I bought a cell phone last week, so call it if anything is wrong."
"I know, Akane," Kasumi said.
"Diapers are in the box next to her crib."
"I know, Akane." Ranma noticed that Kasumi was smiling now, trying not to laugh.
"She should go down for a nap after lunch, but if she falls asleep on her own, that's ok too…"
Kasumi let a giggle escape. "Don't worry so much Akane! I know what to do. I've taken care of you for so long remember? She'll be fine. Now if you don't get going, you're going to be late!"
Akane sighed. "Ok. Bye Baby!" she said to Yuki. Yuki smiled and giggled at her mother. This, of course, caused Akane to tear up and announce that she was going to stay at home today. Ranma just shook his head with barely concealed mirth on his face, and dragged her out of the gate by the arm.
Kasumi just smiled as she watched the new parents run out the gate, taking Yuki’s arm in her hand and helping her to wave goodbye. “Now what would you like to do first little one?” she asked as she turned back into the house.
It was early afternoon, and Yuki was down for her nap. Kasumi was downstairs running the vacuum over the rug, one of her many chores for the day, when a shadowy figure appeared at the bedroom window. Draped in a cowl, he stealthily entered the room, and then briefly wondered if he had the right house. Since when do the Tendo’s have a child young enough to need a crib? Did Akane and that cross dresser finally get over themselves and succumb to the obvious sexual tension?
Then he thought about it for a second. The target of his malice was a sucker for kids, despite his stupidity at naming them. Perhaps he could use this baby as leverage. And if his rival was unlucky enough to have had Happosai near by when the kid was born, maybe he’d be doing the baby a favour too by getting her name changed…
Taro steals the kid to get at Happi. Discover empty crib with note in it. Happi shows up after it is discovered she is gone, banged around by R&A. opportunistic kinnapping. Where does he go? Back to water temple?