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A Quantum Destinies Side Story
By D. B. Sommer

This is a story set in Jurai-Knight's 'Quantum Destinies' universe, and you will have to be familiar with that piece of work to follow this story. The events within take place some time after chapter nine of Quantum Destinies, which can be found on the following web site: http://home.earthlink.net/~sthesken/fanfics/qd.html

Disclaimer: The Quantum Destines universe is Jurai-Knight's. Many of the characters within are not. Revolutionary Girl Utena is also owned by someone else.

Any and all C+C is appreciated. You can contact me at sommer@3rdm.net

Chapter 4

"What a charming young lady you've brought home with you, Ranma."

As those words issued from his mother's mouth, Ranma began to wonder if bringing Utena to his home was a good idea. Actually, he was beginning to think it had been an extraordinarily bad idea. It was true that he had figured his mother had her hands full with the three girls she was already trying to foist upon him. The way Nodoka went on about the girls was almost as though she were at the supermarket and trying to figure out which was the best fruit to buy, only in this case it was the qualities of the girls instead of 'is the coloration on this tomato good?' And as to Ranma himself actually getting a chance to choose, his mother claimed he would have the final say, but the way she was evaluating each one made him wonder if he was going to be given the choice of 'you may pick the one
that meets Mother's approval.' It had been keeping his mother busy, which was nice. She did seem to be happy, even if it had to do with controlling his life and the future it would take.

With that in mind, he had assumed that bringing a girl home would be no big deal. He had arranged things with Utena beforehand, the two of them saying that they had been involved in an after school activity, and things had happened so quickly that they had lost track of the time. On the way back, they had been jumped by a mugger, and had fought him off, which would explain the bruises and tears in their outfits. None of it was a lie, it was just an evasive way of telling the truth. There was no point in telling his mother he had gotten in a fight with a girl, even if it was for the school. Besides, if she found out then the fake Genma would too. Then Ranma would end up being badgered at home about what a wimp he was in losing to a girl. Knowing how the impostor thought, he would probably demand Ranma and Utena fight again tonight. The two battles with her already, as well as the one with the strange foreigner, had totally worn him out. Fighting again was the last thing we wanted to do today. That and having to deal with the fake Genma's ranting.

Ranma looked over to see his mother was clearly examining every inch of Utena, and was asking her increasingly personal questions. He then added, 'acquiring another prospective fiancee' to the list of things he did not want to have to deal with today.

That touch of suspicion Nodoka had when her son had unexpectedly brought home the girl with the odd, pink hair, quickly evaporated as she began talking with Utena. The girl was easy-going and very pleasant. She smiled a lot. It was easy for Nodoka to tell it was sincere, as opposed to the false one's some people were apt to give when talking with someone they did not want to deal with but had no choice.

Nodoka quickly found out the information she wanted: Utena's name, how she met her son, where she attended school, what her family was like (Nodoka apologized when she found out that Utena's parents had died when she was six), and a host of others. When it came time to ask Utena if she had any boyfriends, the younger girl's reaction was to blush a bit as she said no.

The girl really was quite charming, and Nodoka found herself a bit taken in with her. She seemed to be quite personable and easy-going. It reminded Nodoka of herself when she was younger. That Utena was wearing what appeared to be a boy's school uniform was the only bit that was distressing, but as near as Nodoka could tell, that was the only unusual thing about her. Although that was not the sort of thing Nodoka would have engaged in when she was that age.

Well, that wasn't exactly true. There was one instance of it. It was that one time in her youth, when she and Achika had to infiltrate one of the local colleges to steal back their underwear. It was one of the few times they had fallen into one of Kensaiko Idomo elaborate traps and ended up yielding all of their undergarments to a local fraternity as some sort of initiation rite for their new pledges. Since there was no way she and Achika were going to explain what had happened (or let Kensaiko stay one up on them) they had changed their hairstyles, borrowed some men's clothes, bound their chests, and gone undercover to retrieve their clothing. What came as a complete surprise was that each agreed the other was able to convincingly pass herself off as a guy. That she could easily look that masculine was not something Nodoka found herself comfortable with.

What followed was one of the worst comedy of errors that had happened in Nodoka's lifetime. Infiltrating the fraternity during a victory celebration turned out to be a horrible mistake. People had all but forced both her and Achika to consume massive amounts of alcohol, a substance neither had very much experience with, and which served to affect their judgment considerably. At some point, Nodoka lost track of Achika in the masses of humanity that had converged on the fraternity. Then she noticed one of the guys forcing his attentions on a girl who obviously didn't want them. Nodoka came to her defense, beating up the boy when he wouldn't back off. The girl, who introduced herself as Miaka, hung around closely with Nodoka from that point onward, smiling a lot and behaving very personably and friendly towards her 'savior'. Shortly after that, a six foot tall, three hundred pound mass of muscle named Gosunkugi made his presence known. It turned out he was Miaka's boyfriend, or ex-boyfriend, as he discovered when Miaka loudly declared he 'wasn't half the man her No-chan was.' Nodoka didn't remember much of the fight, other than her being forced to break every chair in the place over Gosunkugi's head before she knocked him into unconsciousness. After a few more cups (seven) of 'victory sake,' Miaka led the completely blitzed Nodoka to one of the bedrooms and mentioned something about Nodoka 'reaping rewards'. The next thing Nodoka remembered was waking up early the next morning in a strange bed with a splitting headache and a head of black hair snuggled tightly to her bound bosom. The first thought that went through her mind caused a feeling of nausea to sweep over her, until she realized that both she and Miaka were still fully clothed, though Nodoka could have sworn that the belt on her borrowed pants had been loosened a bit.

Achika discovered Nodoka as she gently managed to get out of the bed without waking Miaka. Achika showed Nodoka the purloined underwear she had recovered, and the two left the fraternity house without waking any of the other sleeping inhabitants. Once outside, Achika burst out laughing, saying it looked like Nodoka had scored with her 'new girlfriend'. Nodoka blustered that she didn't know what Achika meant until she looked at her reflection in a fountain and saw that her face and neck were covered in lipstick shaped kisses. The joke went on for the next couple of hours, until they went to a public bath and Nodoka discovered that Achika must not have remembered the full details of the night before either. At least she seemed surprised when Nodoka asked why there was a tattoo with a heart
and the words, 'Shinobu Forever' written above them on the back of her right shoulder. Achika never spoke a word about 'Nodoka's girlfriend' ever again, and the scar left from the tattoo removal was barely noticeable.

"Who's Miaka?"

"What?" Nodoka asked as she came back to the present.

"I said, who's Miaka?" Utena repeated. "You said that name and had a far off look on your face. I just wondered who she was."

"An old, ah, friend." Nodoka felt heat rising to her cheeks at the inadvertent slip. There was no way Genma would ever understand if that wild part of her past was revealed. She had cross-dressed out of
necessity, and only that one time, and what had happened was not her fault.

Nodoka forced herself back to reality and concentrated on the pleasant girl before her. Maybe they had more in common than she thought. It really was a pity that Utena was wearing such clothing. She would have looked beautiful in a dress.

Utena felt uncomfortable as Ranma's mother sized her up once more. She felt as though she was a horse that was being examined for a buyer. The only thing left for Nodoka to do was to open Utena's mouth and examine her teeth.

"You have a very pretty smile. Your teeth are just perfect."

Utena fell out of her chair.

Nodoka rose out of her seat and helped Utena back up. "Be careful. I washed the floor a little while ago, and it's still quite slippery."

"Thanks," Utena said. Nodoka fawned over her for a couple more minutes before Utena convinced her there was nothing wrong. Utena relaxed as the conversation began again.

"Tell me, do you have a boyfriend?"

Utena could feel the sweatdrop form behind her head. "Ah, no." What disturbed Utena even more than the personal nature of the question was the smile Nodoka developed upon hearing the answer. Her warning senses began shouting out to be careful, but she was at a loss as to how to react. All she found she could do was continue talking with Nodoka and hoping she didn't get any funny ideas.

Dinner served to break up the interrogation. After it was over, Ranma 'rescued' Utena by escorting her to the bathroom, explaining that she hadn't had a chance to clean up all day. He had already taken the opportunity to clean up as his mother had kept the girl talking for well over an hour, pumping her for information, no doubt. After showing her where it was, he went back out to have a little discussion with his mother, keeping his fingers crossed on both hands and hoping that she was not going to say what she was probably going to say.

Ranma found Nodoka dusting in the living room while Genma relaxed in a chair next to the television. Ranma refrained from saying something acerbic in his direction. A pang of remorse shot through him as he gazed at the impostor. He had to figure out a way to get his real father back, and soon. The fake's mere existence was putting Ranma's nerves on edge, and he knew it was only a matter of time before Genma did something that would really screw up Ranma's life. Although his mother was helping things along by trying to get him married to any of the various girls she had set him up with. And now, now he might have erred and done something to damage his cause on his own.

"You said you wanted to speak to me, Mother?"

Nodoka quit dusting and smiled at Ranma, making the hackles on the back of his neck rise up. Doomed. He was doomed.

"Ranma, I just want you to know that I'm not going to force you to marry any of the girls you've had to meet this week"

Ranma's jaw nearly hit the floor. "You're not?"

"Of course not," Nodoka reassured him. "You can marry someone you've met instead. Your happiness is all I'm concerned about, as well as having grandchildren."

And for a moment there, Ranma said to himself, he had thought the nightmare was going to end. He should have known it would not be that easy.

"Utena is a wonderful girl," Nodoka continued. "I approve of her wholeheartedly. I'm so happy you've taken the initiative and been so forward by inviting her over for the night."

Now Ranma was really starting to panic. He tried coming up with something to defuse the situation, some words or speech he could use, but all that he could come up with was, "Uh, okay."

Nodoka beamed at Ranma, putting him even further on edge than when he had come home and found himself unexpectedly engaged to Ukyou. "Your father and I are going to retire early," she said.

Genma looked up from his newspaper. "We are?"

"Yes." That was not a request. It was a statement of fact. Nodoka turned to Ranma again. "You and Utena will have the entire place to yourselves. Do whatever you like, we won't be around to get in the way or interfere."

Ranma felt himself beginning to sweat. The horrible nightmare was becoming worse.

Nodoka continued smiling. "You know, it's quite fashionable nowadays to have a mistress, as well as more than one wif-"

"I have to go study!" Ranma was out of the room in an instant. That was all it took to make him head for cover. Another five minutes and she would have been on the phone with a priest. Utena must have really impressed her to have his mother all but telling him to go ahead and sleep with her. He was going to have to be careful around Utena. All it would take was for her to be unable to resist him and sneak into his room or something, and it would all be over. His parents were useless as a shield. He was going to have to come up with some kind of plan to keep the girl away from him.

Yohko winced as Nabiki's fist lashed out at a nearby wall, breaking the plaster. That was going to cost a bit of money. The Devil Hunter was glad she had decided to inform Nabiki at the Tendou residence instead of her own.

"You're absolutely certain she went into the men's locker room?" Nabiki was barely able to speak through her gritted teeth. Unclenching them was proving an impossible task.

"That's not the sort of thing I'd make a mistake about."

"And you're sure it was her?" The teeth just would not unclench.

Yohko crossed her arms. "Pink hair? Excellent physical condition? Looked exactly like the girl that had fought Ranma a few minutes beforehand? Wasn't a doppelganger because I would have sensed it? Maybe you're right. It could have been any one of a million people in Japan."

"And she didn't come out for several minutes?" Nabiki thought she could feel her enamel chipping away.

"I heard him give a shout early on, then nothing." Yohko winced as the fist met the wall in a different place. The Tendous were definitely going to need some professional repair work.


"Yes? Yohko asked as an intricate series of veins popped up on Nabiki's forehead.


"Yes?" Yohko could have worn Nabiki now possessed a dull blue glow around her.


"Yes?!" Another five seconds and it was a brain embolism for certain.

"Maybe there's a reasonable explanation for all of this." The teeth had unclenched and veins disappeared as Nabiki placed a hand thoughtfully to her chin, choosing not to comment on Yohko's sudden facefault.

"Yes," Nabiki said as Yohko picked herself up. "Stop and think about it. This can't be what it seems. Ranma is not the sort of guy that would allow some slut he just met to seduce him."

Yohko scratched her head. "Why not? I thought guys liked using cheap women for cheap thrills."

Nabiki's eyelid began to twitch. "Ranma's not like that."

"He's gay?"

A single vein reappeared to join the twitching eye. "He's not gay."

"Is he afraid of women?"

Teeth gnashing joined the single vein and twitching eye. "He is not afraid of women."

"Then why wouldn't he be willing to do it with an attractive girl that likes him?"


Yohko looked at the fist that was now fully embedded in the wall. "That works for me." She left the Tendou residence before Nabiki really lost her temper and attacked her or something. As Yohko left, she realized there wasn't enough money in the world for her to wish she was in Ranma Saotome's shoes.

Akane came down from her bedroom and saw what appeared to be the faintest hint of a dull blue glow around Nabiki. As she drew closer, Akane noticed the three holes that now adorned the wall Nabiki was standing next to. "What happened?"

Nabiki took a deep breath to bring her temper back under control. "I fell down and my hand hit the wall."

"Three times?"

"Yes." As Nabiki finally felt her anger brought under control again, she took note of the night black army fatigues Akane was wearing. "Where are you going dressed like?"

"Out," Akane said quickly as she headed out the door before Nabiki could interrogate her further. There was no need for her sister to find out her true destination, or why she had to wear the black combat fatigues. Some things just had to be done alone.

Nabiki watched Akane leave, wondering just what her sister was up to. It probably had to do with those new friends Akane had made at her new school. Nabiki made a mental note to see if there was anyone she knew at Furinkan that knew what this 'Combat Club' was all about. But there would be time for that later. She would get in touch with Ranma and get that reasonable explanation from him. The situation might have looked bad, but she had to try to give Ranma a chance at least. That was what nice, intelligent, and understanding women did.

Genma allowed Nodoka to answer the ringing phone. He was too busy letting his stomach handle the meal his wife had made for him. He had forgotten how much he had missed her home-cooked meals.

Genma barely registered her saying, "Why hello, Nabiki. It's nice to hear from you." There was a brief pause before she said, "Well, I think Ranma's busy. He's having a friend stay over." There was another brief pause, then, "Her name's Utena Tenjou. Are you familiar with her?"

Genma could actually hear the "WHAT?!" screeching from the receiver as Nodoka darted her head away from it. A moment passed before Nodoka was willing to bring the receiver near her head again. She did take the precaution of leaving it far away from her ear. After a moment of being unable to hear Nabiki at all, she dared to bring it closer. "What's that? What you have to say to Ranma can wait until tomorrow? All right. Good bye."

The phone hadn't been in its cradle for more than five seconds before the phone rang again. Nodoka answered it once more. "Good evening to you, Lady Kunou, Oh, that's right. Kodachi-chan. Are you well?" Genma listened to closer to this one. The Kunous were very wealthy, and it wouldn't do to displease the dowry…rather, Kodachi. Soun would be able to handle Nabiki, but he wasn't certain about how Lord Kunou would react.

"I think Ranma's busy. He's having a friend over," Nodoka said. "What's that? I don't think you know her. She attends Ohtori Academy. Her name is Utena Tenjou. Oh, you're coming over? Well, it's a bit late, but I'm sure Ranma won't mind. I'll see you in a little while."

Nodoka smiled to herself. She had liked the Kunou girl, even if her mother was that bitc… that unpleasant person from Nodoka's past. She was about to inform Genma that Kodachi was coming over, when she saw that he had already left the room, leaving a note saying:

"Gone out drinking. Don't wait up."

Snorting in frustration, Nodoka crumpled up the paper and tossed it into the garbage. Her husband's departure was odd; he had assured her he was going to stay in for the night. It was almost as though he didn't want to be around the house when Kodachi came over. No. Nodoka tossed aside the thought. It had been obvious Genma was enamored with the idea of their son becoming a member of the noble family of Kunou, praising the idea as much as he had Nabiki's and Ukyou's. It was surely a coincidence. It had to be. Nodoka decided the house needed dusting one more time. After all, it was important to impress Kodachi that though the Saotomes were not nobles, they still knew how to keep a house clean.

Ceilings could be very interesting things when one tried to distract oneself from thinking about how many things could go wrong in one day. The only consolation Ranma had was the realization was that, yes, it could get worse. He wasn't sure how, but if he dared to think otherwise, fate would prove him wrong by placing him in a hell far worse than anything he could imagine, or even the unimaginable one he was finding himself currently in. As it was, he had his hands full with what to do about Utena. Was she interested in him or wasn't she? He couldn't be sure. The one thing that he did know was that there was no way any of the girls in his life could find out Utena was staying the night. None of them would believe why she had really stayed, and it would be the end for him. There were just way too many women in his life that acted completely irrational. Still, unless his mother said something, there was no need to worry. The girls would never find out.

Ranma was still thinking about what to do when he heard Utena call out his name. He rose from his chair and left his bedroom, heading in the direction of the sound of the voice. As he went down the hall, he began to worry. It had sounded like Utena's voice might have come from the bathroom.

Sure enough, as Ranma got in the line of sight in the door, he spotted Utena's head sticking out of the doorway. She watched him approach and smiled. "I have sort of a problem." She looked a little sheepishly at Ranma, the movement opening the door ever so slightly and allowing him to see what she had kept hidden behind it. He felt his heart beat faster, then realized he could just make out the blue towel that was wrapped under arms, covering her body.

"What's the problem?" Ranma said as he relaxed a bit, uncertain of why he had gotten excited in the first place.

"I sort of had my clothes in a pile and accidentally got them wet. All of them." She shrugged a little in her towel.

Ranma considered that. "I don't think any of my mom's stuff would fit you."

Utena laughed. He was probably right since the older woman was a good bit taller. "Any set of sweats should do. Why don't I wear something of yours? You're not that much taller than me. They should fit pretty well. Besides, I'm used to wearing guy's clothes."

"Uh, yeah." Ranma couldn't argue with that. And it was not like she could walk around in wet clothes, so wearing his should work out fine. He went to his room and retrieved a set of gray sweats.

Utena accepted them graciously and went back into the bathroom to change. When she emerged, she spun in a circle so Ranma could see how his outfit looked on her. After spinning around twice, and realizing she had his full attention, she fingered the top. "You know, this is kind of tight around the chest."

Ranma felt a little heat rise to his own cheeks as he realized that the top was indeed, quite tight. And the way her finger played around the chest didn't help at all. "Oops! I grabbed an old set. I kind of outgrew them a while back and was planning to get rid of them. Let me get you some different ones." Oddly, he found himself reluctant to do that.

"Don't worry about it." Utena waved him off as she went back in to retrieve her wet clothes. They were bundled under her arm as she exited the bathroom again. "Say, you haven't shown me your room yet."

Ranma gulped audibly. She wanted to see his room? "Ah, okay." He waved off his uncertainty. There was nothing wrong with showing a guest one's bedroom. Even attractive girls. "Sure it's this way."

As they walked to his room, he looked out of the corner of his eye at Utena's top again. Now that he took a good look at it, he realized that something else was odd about the way the sweat shirt looked on Utena. Apparently, when she had said all of her clothes had gotten wet, she had not been kidding. It had become obvious in the cool air that there was nothing underneath the slightly tight sweat shirt she was wearing. He nearly got caught staring as Utena seemed to sense the attention and looked at him. He thought she was about to say something when they arrived at the door leading to his bedroom. Even as she opened her mouth, he blurted out, "We're here. Let's go inside."

Akane Tendou took a deep breath. She had never done anything like this before, but then she had never been in love with someone like Ranma Saotome before. That meant going the extra step and taking chances in figuring out how to get him to openly return her affections. Unfortunately, due to her being transferred to Furinkan, her time seeing Ranma had become very limited. And then the whole deal with the Combat Club took up even more of her precious moments. It was taking everything she had just to catch a fair glimpse of him, which was why she had to resort to going out nights to try catch sight of him. Like tonight, as she stood on the roof of the Saotome house.

It was lucky that she had located Ranma's house at all. A little surreptitious following of him the other day after school had led her to his home. It was a nice place, not as nice her home, but sizable and it
had a warm feel to it, at least from the outside. She could see herself living there, if it came to that.

She probably could have simply knocked on the door and gotten invited in by his mother, but Akane had wanted to reconnoiter the place first. Seeing how Ranma lived might help her to understand him better and make catching his interest easier. She hadn't hung around Nabiki all of that time and not have a little bit of her older sister's tactics rub off on her. If she could learn who his favorite band was, she could invite him to a concert, or if she could find out his favorite food, invite him to dinner. It really was a good strategy.

Akane couldn't take the direct approach and ask him those sort of questions outright though. It would look better if it seemed to be spontaneous on her part, as though her interests and his were already
alike. So she was doing reconnaissance and discovering what information she could, just like they taught her in some of the classes at Furinkan. 'Know your enemy before you engage in combat', was what they had taught her, and what was love if not a battlefield? It was information she was just starting to take to heart.

It was time to begin. She brought out her black ski mask and lowered it. It covered her whole face, leaving no chance anyone might recognize her. There was no way she was going to let Ranma discover her presence; he might think she was stalking him or something.

Akane grabbed onto the side of the roof and began to reposition herself outside Ranma's bedroom window. She was no ninja, but she had enough agility and skill in climbing that she was able to hang upside down and get a decent view of the interior of Ranma's bedroom. It was a difficult hold to maintain, but she was strong, and as long as her concentration wasn't broken, she could remain there for as long as half an hour before needing a minute to give her worn muscles a chance to recover. She moved a little farther, just enough so that she could peek into Ranma's bedroom with minimal risk of being seen from anyone within. It suddenly occurred to her that it was late and that Ranma might be retiring soon. That meant he might undress and…

Akane paid very close attention to what was going to happen next.

Ranma opened the door and allowed Utena in first. It was as he followed her inside that she stopped suddenly. Ranma had allowed his mind to wander for a second, which was all it took for him to react too slowly when he tried to stop his forward progress. As he did so, he somehow managed to trip over his own feet and lose his balance. Utena turned at the sound of his 'Whoa!' and was facing him as he at last lost his footing and fell into her, causing them both to fall. The clothes Utena had been holding flew up in the air as the duo collapsed in a heap.

Ranma 'wuffed' slightly as he landed, Utena's knee ending up in his stomach. The small amount of pain in his gut was offset by the soft landing his face had. He started to get up, raising his head slightly,
until he realized exactly what had cushioned his face. Now he knew he was in trouble.

Ranma was about to blurt out an apology when the sound of someone shouting outside caught their attention. Identifying it as coming from the window, they rushed over to it, the awkwardness of what had just happened forgotten. Both of them arrived just in time to see a figure prying itself out of the shrubs located near the window. Obviously the person had fallen from the roof. The masked figure cast one baleful glare upward, then ran off.

"What the heck?" was all Ranma said as the figure made a beeline for the wall surrounding the yard.

Akane was furious. Never in her life had she been so angry. How dare Ranma do that to her! It was bad enough that he had taken another girl to his bedroom, but he hadn't even made it through the door before he jumped that cheap bimbo. Imagine, him burying his face in that trashy-looking girl's cleavage. Well she would show him. Once they started going out, she would force him to bury his face in her cleavage. Her chest might not have been very ample, but there was more than enough there to get the job done.

Leaping, Akane made it to the top of the yard's wall, the one that was next to the street. She was going to find out that strange girl's name and beat the crap out of her. No one, not ugly-looking pink-haired bimbos, not uppity snobs like Kodachi Kunou, and no other kind of girl was going to get between Akane and her Ranma.

"Nobody!" Akane shouted to the world. It was as she raised her fist to the sky and made the silent vow that the barbell struck her in the back of the head. The world seemed to be spinning as she found herself falling from the wall and to the street below. A part of her mind realized that the concrete wasn't going to feel too good.

To her perceptions, it seemed she was falling forever, until she landed in something soft. Why hadn't the street felt rougher? It took her a few moments to recover enough of her senses to figure out why. She had not hit the street, but had instead fallen into the open back of a flatbed transport truck of some kind. It was carrying some sort of soft substance that had broken her fall, though it was too dark to make out what it was. It was as she started to get up that the smell assailed her nostrils. From there, it took only another second to figure out what the substance being transported was.

Manure. How nice. Someone was really going to pay now.

Utena gave a brief, "Yes!" and pumped her fist. The barbell had struck home and the peeper had learned his lesson. She noticed Ranma looking at her curiously. "I hate peeping toms," she explained. "Early on, some of the guys at Ohtori liked trying to sneak peeks at the girl's dorms or go on panty raids. They tried to hit my room all the time. I made it so they don't try anymore. At least not too often," she added.

"You don't like peepers, huh?" Ranma asked. "Sort of like people that might sneak a peek in locker room showers?"

"You got that right," Utena said. "I couldn't stand that sort of stuff. That would… be… ba…" she gradually trailed off as she made the connection. All Utena could manage was an embarrassed chuckle. It had seemed like it was a good idea at the time.

Ranma let it go. He supposed he had forgiven her earlier. The two relaxed as he gave her the 'grand tour' of his room, which was really very plain and small. She did seem to take an interest in all of contents. It occurred to Ranma that this was the first time he had a girl in his room, though he didn't feel embarrassed in the least about it. "I'm kind of sorry about the mess," he said.

Utena just chuckled. "Before Anthy moved in with me, my room was ten times worse."

"That girl's your roommate?" Ranma asked. Now that he thought about it, his mother knew far more about Utena then he did. He figured learning a few things about Utena wouldn't hurt.

"Ah, yes, pretty much." It was really odd how, after defeating Touga, Anthy had insisted on becoming Utena's roommate. There was enough space. The girl that had previously been assigned to room with Utena had been in a serious car accident and had been in a body cast since the start of the semester. So the very next day Anthy had moved in with her meager belongings. Once there, she had done all of the cleaning and washing. Utena admitted to liking the attention, but had insisted to Anthy she didn't have to do things like that. Anthy just gave her usual smile and said she enjoyed helping Utena out in any way she could. Since then the pattern had been the same every day. It did make things easier, Utena had to admit, but it still felt like she was being mothered by her friend.

Ranma said, "I never had a roommate myself, unless you count sharing apartments and hotel rooms with my father."

"Sharing apartments?"

Ranma began an abbreviated version of his life. He was pleased to see that Utena paid rapt attention to the tale, asking a question here and there. After finishing, he asked about hers. Like his, she abbreviated the events in it. He listened with a sympathetic ear to all of the hardships she had gone through. And he had thought the other Ranmas had rough lives. At least she seemed happy now, which was something of a relief for Ranma.

"Well, where's your spare bedroom?" Utena asked.

It was then it occurred to Ranma that they didn't have a spare bedroom. There were a couple of extra futons she could use, but he found himself feeling awkward about making her sleep on one. "I was thinking that you could use my bed."

Utena's eyes widened in surprise. "What?"

"I'll sleep on a futon or something," he added.

"Oh." That was something of a relief, for a moment she had thought he propositioned her. He was nice, but she was not that sort of girl. "I don't want to put you out," she said.

"Nah, I've slept on rocks sometimes." Ranma's head jerked slightly. He had not been the one to sleep on rocks. That had been his 'brothers' lives. Sometimes keeping the memories separate was difficult. "Anyway, you're a guest, and us Saotomes know how to treat guests right. So don't worry."

"Well, if you're sure," Utena assented, and realized that his insisting on her taking the bed was the noble thing to do. It was pleasant to note that Ranma was turning out to be something of a gentleman, defintitely a little cocky, but still nice to be around.

She began to consider other things about her accomodations. "Ranma, do you usually have a problem with peepers?"

Ranma considered that. He wanted to say no, but then he had never really been on the lookout for any. A shudder ran through him as he considered that he might have been peeped on before without even realizing it. What was the world coming to when perverts could look in on anyone? Subconsciously, he balled up his fist. If he ever caught someone doing that again, they were going to be in for an unpleasant surprise.

Utena spoke again. "Well, since I'm going to be sleeping here, I'm going to take a few precautions. It's not impossible the peeper might come back, since he'll probably count on us thinking we drove him off."

"What sort of precautions?"

"Just a few things that will make it a bit hard for anyone to come looking in on you."

Kodachi Kunou got out of the chauffeur-driven limousine and took a longing look at the Saotome house. She found herself hoping that Ranma's mother was mistaken and that there was no girl in the house, or that it was no one of consequence. There were enough unworthy girls trying to gain Ranma's attentions. She did not desire any more competition. Things were hard enough as it was without other harridans entering the fray.

Deciding to go to the Saotome household had not been an easy task. Kodachi was fearful of what she might find, but then reconsidered. If Ranma was not going to easily return someone like Kodachi Kunou's affections, then he certainly would not do so with a virtual stranger. No. She had allowed her imagination to run wild. Whatever Ranma was doing, it was no doubt innocent of any wrongdoing.

Kodachi went up to the house and knocked on the door. Nodoka greeted her warmly, and after a few pleasant exchanges, informed Kodachi that Ranma was most likely up in his room, with the new girl.

That put Kodachi a bit on edge. She had hoped that the girl would have been gone by now, or in the Saotome living room helping Ranma with his homework. Somewhere out in the open. They might still be doing homework, but that it was occurring behind closed doors was not a reassuring thing.

She made her way up to the door to Ranma's bedroom, and was about to knock, when she heard the muffled sound of conversation on the other side. Her conscience nagged at her not to do it, but Kodachi couldn't help herself as she placed her ear to the door and listened in.

"I've never done this before," Kodachi heard Ranma say.

"I have." That must have been the other girl. Utena something.

"You have?"

"Sure, lots of times. Some of the guys at Ohtori are like animals. It's amazing what some of them can come up with when they feel challenged."

"Well, I'm not like that. I'm a gentleman."

"I know. I wouldn't be sleeping in your bed, otherwise."

Kodachi could scarcely believe her ears. She then began to hear grunting sounds that might have been Ranma's. He was still making noises like that as he said, "That hole looks kind of small."

"A tight fit is better. Trust me on this," Utena said

"Okay. How do I put it in?"

"Just thrust it in. That always works."

Kodachi felt tears form in her eyes as she now heard both of them grunting.

"Maybe I should hammer it in."

"No. Just *Uh* try screwing."

That was all Kodachi could take. She knew what was going on behind those closed doors and couldn't bear to barge in, even if it would interrupt their little 'session'. The sight would be too much to bear. She composed herself as she all but ran for the front door. Nodoka was in the living room. As Kodachi passed by, she said to Nodoka that it sounded like Ranma was busy and she didn't want to interrupt him. She asked specifically not to mention that she had ever stopped by, and that she would see Ranma soon enough. Nodoka was a bit confused, but agreed.

As Kodachi headed back out to her limousine, she paused to look at the Saotome house once again. What had happened tonight was certainly a blow, but it had been her own fault for moving so slowly with Ranma. Vowing silently to herself, she swore that just because Ranma was fooling around with another girl was not a reason to give up on him. No doubt he was just seeking experience with some cheap tramp so that he would be a better lover to the woman that really won his heart. Men often did that, especially among the nobility. Kodachi would just have to accept she would not be Ranma's first. And as to that worthless little slut, Utena Tenjou, if she ever stepped foot into Ranma's life again, she would learn what it meant to play around with men that belonged to Kodachi Kunou.

Ranma and Utena examined their handiwork. Putting together the little surprises would be sure to foil anyone else that would try to peep into the room. Utena had even been paranoid of someone trying to sneak in, and had taken necessary precautions.

Ranma looked it over again. "So let me get this straight. The person tries coming in through the window and trips over the wire." He pointed at the wire strung across the floor, next to the window. "That then knocks the pin out of the bottom of the top shelf." He looked at the rather intricate little system Utena had set up on the shelves next to, and high above, the window. If anyone tripped over the wire, it would knock out the first metal prong that held the shelf up. There was a second prong right below the first which would keep the shelf from falling altogether, but it would be tilted downward towards the window. "And once the shelf tilts over, my Pop's old bowling ball slides down and thumps the intruder in the head." They had modified the shelf slightly, so that the ball would not roll anywhere other than straight down the tilted shelf and to the floor below.

"Yep. It's just like the one I have set up in my dorm room. It's already knocked out three guys that tried to break in. I don't think there's anyone on the entire campus stupid enough to try it anymore."

Ranma looked at the system again. It was a sight to behold, but there was no way he was going to leave it up after Utena left. Although the idea of somehow tricking the false Genma into it held a certain appeal.

"I think you're going to be safe from anyone trying to peep at you. Especially with the other surprises you left outside. It's a good thing we don't use that area right below my window for anything," Ranma said. In his mind, he added that Utena definitely seemed to have some sort of phobia about peeping toms, but at least she didn't have a fascination for beating him up or drugging him. He just hoped his mother would understand when she discovered what Utena had done.

There was a knock on the door. Even before Ranma could ask who it was, his mother's voice said, "Your father's come back home. We're going to bed now. You two can do whatever you want, so don't worry about us. Good night."

Ranma gave a weak laugh to Utena and prayed she did not think he was the one that had encouraged his mother. "Look, it's getting late. I think I'll set up a futon in the living room, so if you need anything just give a holler."

"I will," Utena assured him as he left. Once the door shut behind him, she let out a sigh. The straight back and alert manner she had carried fell away as her shoulders slumped and her eyes half-way closed. After being in three fights in the last six hours, she was exhausted. Maintaining a facade of strength around Ranma had been difficult, but she had not wanted to show any weakness around him, especially since he had not shown the least sign of weakness since arriving at his home. Either he had been faking it too, or his ability to recover was inhuman. In either case, her pride would not allow her to appear weak. So it was only now she allowed her true state of being to be revealed where none could see.

The way the night with Ranma had gone convinced her that accepting his invitation had not been a mistake. Things had gone well, except for the peeper showing up and triggering her paranoia about them. She just hoped that little idiosyncrasy didn't scare Ranma. If he had attended Ohtori he would have understood. It just seemed that so many of the boys were perverts, especially the Morobishi triplets. Those ones were the worst. Not a single one of them seemed to understand the term, 'No, you pervert!'

But Ranma was nothing like that. Oh, she thought she had caught him staring at her a few times, but oddly enough, she did not mind. Actually, she found herself enjoying his admiring stares, and it wasn't like a lot of people didn't stare at her in any case. His just wasn't a leering kind of look. It was the sort of look she could get used to, if not from Ranma, then from someone else.

Unwillingly, she yawned. The odds of collapsing in exhaustion were increasing by the moment, and if she didn't get some sleep, she was going to fall over. She piled up her strewn clothing and determined it was still wet. She then had a choice of sleeping in the sweat suit Ranma had provided, or going with nothing at all. The night was hot, and there was nothing to worry about when it came to Ranma, so after checking to make sure there was no one outside her window, she turned off the lights, took off her clothes, and went under the covers for a good night's sleep.

It was only an hour later that Ukyou Kuonji made her way to the Saotome residence. True, it was very late at night, but that made it the best time to use her ninja skills to sneak up to Ranma's bedroom and get a peek at him. And she was not a pervert. Ranma was her fiancé, so she was worried about him. That was all.

Knowing her ninja skills made her all but undetectable, she approached the area right under Ranma's window. She had never tried something like this with Ranma before, and she wanted to make sure she was undetectable. If she got caught, Ranma would just take it the wrong way. No way in the world was she going to let him find her.

As Ukyou approached the window, she mentally marked the best way up to his room. She thought that she was probably going to need her palm claws to help her climb, when she stepped on something slippery beneath the window. Almost the instance her foot hit, she slipped and landed fully in the stuff. The odor of it gave it away, even as she tried regaining her footing unsuccessfully. It was grease. Somehow had coated the entire patch of ground directly under the window with the substance. Ukyou stepped back a few feet and tried to wipe it off of herself as best as she could. What the hell did Ranma think he was doing in leaving a big pile of grease right under his window like that?

Ukyou was now in a foul mood. She side-stepped the patch and began scaling the wall, moving back under Ranma's window after going halfway up the wall. There were no further problems as she made it to Ranma's window. The sill appeared too flimsy to take her weight, so she reached up with her hand to hold onto the overhanging roof. She wanted to get a good look through his window and make sure her entry was possible. It was as her hand gripped the edge of the roof that she encountered the second trap. The pins.

Utena had set several of them pointed upwards, in case someone tried hanging down from the roof to peep on her again. Ukyou drew her hand back as in pain and gave a yelp. The surprise, and quickness, of the withdrawal of her hand caused her to lose her balance and fall from her perch on the wall. With cat-like reflexes, she employed her superior ninja skills to break her fall…


…by using the ground to arrest her descent.

"Ohhh," Ukyou moaned as she stared at the stars above. That was no accident. Ranma had set up traps. Anti-ninja traps. And since she was the only ninja Ranma knew, that meant the traps must have been meant for her.

"You're going to have a lot of explaining to do, Ranma Saotome." The only thing Ukyou really regretted at that point was that she had not brought her battle spatula with her, fearful it would give away her identity if Ranma got lucky and saw her. Now she did not care what he saw, since she was going to give him a piece of her mind, and her fist. But the explanation from him would come first.

Once again she climbed the wall, this time checking for additional traps every step of the way. It took her nearly half an hour to climb the twenty five feet to Ranma's window, but she was making certain there would be no more mistakes. If her grandfather had seen her fall for such simple traps, he would dipped her in catnip, hung her upside down from a tree, and let the local mountain lions use her as a giant play toy to bat around.

Ukyou paused as she found herself outside of Ranma's window once again. This time she carefully looked over every inch of the window frame and sill. Seeing nothing, she went to the window next. Rather than take any chances on opening it and possibly setting off some sort of trap, she pulled out a suction cup and placed it on the glass. After that, she pulled out her glass cutter. There was a momentary twinge of guilt at essentially destroying Ranma's window, but that was quickly snuffed out when she remembered the indignity she had suffered at his hands. Her hands moved quickly as she cut out the glass. The suction cup prevented the glass from falling, and she eased it inside, sitting it on the floor.

Rather then stepping in immediately, she carefully examined the dark room by moonlight. It only took her a minute before she spotted the wire that was strung across the floor, right about where Ukyou would have put her foot had she blindly stepped in. After making certain it wasn't some kind of decoy and that there was another trap behind it, she silently stepped into the room. It took her only a moment to spot Ranma in his bed. He had the covers pulled up over his head, but that wasn't going to protect him from her wrath. She stalked over to the bed, grabbed the sheets, and ripped them off.

"Ranma! How dare you-" Ukyou stared in mute horror at what lay under the sheets. There was no Ranma present, just a girl. A naked girl. A naked girl whose eyes flew open, spotted Ukyou, and with a cry, struck her with two leg shots to the head.

Ukyou found herself stunned, as much by the idea that there was a naked woman in the bed as from the blows to her head. The physical trauma quickly surpassed the idea trauma as Utena picked up a massive book on quantum physics and nailed Ukyou in the back of the head with it, shouting "PERVERT!" at the top of her lungs.

Ukyou narrowly dodged a second book, and rushed to the window, no longer concerned about achieving some sort of revenge against Ranma. All she wanted to do was get out of the room alive. She was in such a hurry that she failed to remember the trip wire next to the window. She did remember it as her feet broke the wire and the sound of a shelf slipping a notch overhead drew her attention. She looked up just in time to have the bowling ball fall off the shelf and hit her squarely between the eyes. Utena didn't have a chance to hit Ukyou again as the ninja staggered forward and fell out the window, once again using the ground to break her descent.

The pain from the fall and being bludgeoned in the head nearly caused Ukyou to go unconscious. She was certain that she at least had a concussion, and there were stars dancing before her eyes. The stars were beginning to engage in a waltz when Ukyou noticed a small nightstand appear in the middle of them. It began to grow bigger by the second. Actually, it appeared quite large-

Ukyou barely rolled out of the way in time as the nightstand crashed into the spot where she had been a moment ago. It took everything she could to force herself to her feet and begin to run. Fear of the insane girl in Ranma's room provided all the impetus she needed to stagger away from the scene before the girl sent a bed after her or something. As disoriented as Ukyou was, she still had the face of the psychotic trollop etched in her mind. Once she found out the identity of the stranger, and the stars ceased doing a minuet around her head, there would be a big dose of payback unleashed.

The screams coming from his room awakened Ranma. He was on his feet and heading up the stairs in a heartbeat. Taking them four at a time, he was quickly at the top and headed towards his room. He arrived just in time to see Utena hurl his nightstand out the window and curse as it hit the ground.

"What do you think you're doing?!" Ranma shouted as he rushed up to Utena's side.

"There was a pervert who broke into the room and tried to rape me!"

Ranma was surprised to see Utena nearly in tears. He looked out the window to see that there was indeed a masked figure, dressed in what appeared to be traditional ninja garb, staggering from the scene. All of a sudden, losing the nightstand wasn't that important. Ranma briefly considered following the pervert, but Utena seemed to need the reassurance more.

"What did he do to you?"

Utena began to collect her emotions. Waking up to see a masked man looming over her naked form triggered anger at first, but now that she was coming off her adrenaline rush she was beginning to feel vulnerable, and cold. "He ripped off my covers and saw me naked. It was horrible, the way he looked at my nude—" Utena suddenly realized why she felt so cold. She had been so distracted with what had happened, somewhere along the line she had forgotten that she was still quite naked.

"AHHH!" She slapped Ranma across the face.

Ranma's hand went to where she had made contact. "What did you do that for?"

"You're peeping at me, too!"

Ranma had been so caught up in events that he had not even realized that she was indeed. naked. He quickly covered his eyes. "I didn't even notice. Are you happy?"

Ranma heard her gasp, then say, "Are you saying my body is so unattractive that you wouldn't remember looking at?"

"Of course not." To prove his point, he removed his hands, only to receive another slap. He went back to covering his eyes. "I thought you just said you wanted me to see you naked."

"I did not!" Utena protested.

Something occurred to Ranma, and he considered removing his hands. "I don't see what you're getting so defensive about. It's not like you didn't get to see me naked when I was in the shower."

Utena blushed at that. It was true. She did owe him one, and what was worse was that she felt herself becoming unexpectedly excited at his close proximity. And it wasn't a bad sort of excitement. Before she felt herself become any worse, she grabbed the bedsheet and wrapped herself up in it. "It's safe to look now," she told Ranma.

Ranma removed his hands from his eyes. In many ways, Utena looked even more attractive with her features hidden than when she had worn nothing at all. He was about to stutter out something when another visitor dropped by the room.

Genma took one look at the scene through his sleepy eyes. "Ranma, come over here."

"It's not what it looks like!" Ranma blurted out. If word of this got out, his mother would engage Utena to him on the spot.

"I said come here, boy."

There was nothing else to do. With his head hung low, Ranma walked over to the man residing in his father's body. Genma took him around the corner and out of earshot of Utena.

"Pop," Ranma said, forgetting for a moment exactly who the man was. "I know it looked really bad in there, but I didn't do anything with her. You have to believe me."

"Of course, I believe you," Genma answered.

Ranma's jaw nearly hit the floor. "You do?"

"Of course. That sort of misunderstanding happened all of the time where I originally came from," Genma reassured him. "You have no idea how many times things like that happened to me."

As difficult as it was for him to admit, Ranma's estimation of the man went up by a degree.

Genma placed his hands on Ranma's shoulders. "There's just one thing I want you to know."

Ranma tensed up. "Yes?"

"Remember, if you marry this Utena girl, you still need to make either Nabiki or Kodachi your first wife. Their happiness is paramount."

Ranma refused to facefault, no matter how badly the other parts of his mind wanted to.

The rest of the night passed without incident. Ranma and Utena both woke up early the next morning in order for Utena to catch the first train back to Ohtori. Under protest, they allowed Nodoka to serve them breakfast. The moment they were finished, they were out the door and headed towards the station. Neither said anything at first, uncertain of how to begin. They were almost there when Utena finally spoke.

"Thanks a lot for helping me out last night."

"Sure. It wasn't a problem." Ranma felt as though it was his turn to say something. "Heck. I should apologize to you for what you went through last night."

"Oh no," Utena insisted. "It wasn't your fault that prowler broke in."

"I'm just glad you weren't hurt," Ranma said. If anything had happened to her, he would never have forgiven himself.

Utena laughed. "I know how to take care of guys like that. He's just lucky he fell out of the window before I had a chance to really lay into him." She gave a few punches at an invisible assailant. That gave Ranma a hearty laugh.

The two walked with an easier silence after that. It wasn't until they purchased her ticket and the train pulled up that they spoke again.

"You still owe me a rematch," Ranma told her.

"No problem. We can have it as soon as our schedules are clear."

The train doors opened, and Utena felt an odd reluctance to leave. To her, it appeared that Ranma might have felt the same way. Just as the doors were about to close, she leaned forward and gave him a peck on the cheek before darting back on the train. Oddly, she felt as though a burden had been lifted off her shoulders. She watched him touch his cheek as the doors closed, then gave him a warm smile and waved as the train began to move. Once Ranma was out of sight, she found herself a seat and waited for the train to arrive at Ohtori. It was odd how so many things could happen all in one day. She was very surprised to feel a slight melancholy at not being able to see Ranma for some time, and even then it would probably be only once more. If only there was some excuse she could come up with to see him after the match, that would probably solve the mood she was in. It was not as though she was in love with the guy, she just found him interesting.

Utena stared at the skyline as the city went by beneath her, picturing the clouds in an image similar to Ranma's face. It was only as she was almost to Ohtori that she felt as though she had forgotten something.

Nodoka sighed to herself as she went about cleaning Ranma's room. A mother's work was never done. The bedsheets were strewn halfway across the floor, and Nodoka could have sworn there was something missing from the room. It was as she was picking up some errant clothing on the floor that she spotted a piece that stood out from the others. Somehow it had ended up under the dresser and out of sight. As she grabbed it and pulled it out, she discovered what made it so unusual.

It was a pair of panties.

Nodoka almost jumped up and down in joy. Now all of the screaming from the night before made sense. "Oh, Ranma! You're so manly!"

Ranma was still touching his cheek where Utena had kissed it. As nice as it had been, he could still feel the distant sound of thunder as a sense of foreboding began to overwhelm him. The plan was only to see her one more time, but he was hard pressed to remember the last time one of his plans had worked out.

"I'm so doomed," he wailed to no one in particular.

And all across town, there were four women whose names started with Akane, Ukyou, Nabiki, and Kodachi, who would have agreed with him.


Author's notes: The end, for now… except for the sequel, Ohtori Academy Blues!

Expect to see these events followed upon in the rest of Quantum Destinies. Thanks to Jurai-Knight and Jim Bader for looking this over.

Ohtori Academy Blues
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