All characters copyright of Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan Inc. and Viz Communications. The character of Suteko Saotome is mine.
Quiet days before the Storm
A sequel to Sins of the Father
By Lisa Prior
Learning about Family
Suteko takes a much needed rest
Suteko found that settling into life with her brother and his family was not as easy as it seemed. Once she had healed up she was enrolled in the local high school and it was there that she found things were stranger than her life had been up to now. Within moments of entering her new class she was grabbed by a boy named Kuno. Nabiki stood to the side and chuckled as Suteko tried to explain to the incredibly dense boy that her name was Suteko Saotome and that she was not his pigtailed goddess. He seemed to refuse to understand and started spouting bad Shakespeare. Finally the teacher sent him out into the hall and class got underway.
Suteko leaned over toward Nabiki and asked, "So, why didn't you guys tell me about him?"
Nabiki smiled. "But we did my dear Suteko. Remember Ranma told you all about his admirers."
Suteko shook her head but stopped in mid shake. Nabiki was right. Ranma had told her about a boy named Kuno who had a crush on his girl form. Suteko sighed and closed her eyes. This was not going to be a good day. First she learned that in Japan uniforms were a necessary part of school life. She hadn't thought to buy one, so she had to borrow one from Akane.
The look on Akane's face when Suteko asked to borrow a needle and thread to make the uniform fit better was scary. She hadn't said anything she could think of that would set the girl off but Akane turned red and had reached for her mallet. Luckily Ranma had come by and stopped her. He explained in a whisper about how he had teased Akane in the past about her figure. Suteko nodded in understanding. Akane had a good figure but she and her brother's female form where built much better. Something Suteko had been trying to hide for the past year.
She had gotten dressed and went down to eat breakfast and watched stunned as her brother and father fought over the food. Their manners truly left something to be desired. Up till today she had been confined to bed and she had missed seeing this display of bad manners. She shook her head and took a seat next to Akane. She leaned over quietly and apologized for anything she might have said to hurt Akane. Akane blinked in surprise and smiled. "That's OK Suteko. You didn't know." Akane handed her a bowl of rice.
Suteko ate quietly and neatly, keeping an eye on her family. She was just reaching for a pickle when her chopsticks were hit by her father's. "Not that easy girl!" He knocked them aside and grabbed it up. Ranma quickly countered and snatched the pickle from Genma and tossed it at Suteko. Her hand flashed out and snapped the pickle from the air and she looked confused.
"Good catch, sis!" Ranma cheered and turned back to his father.
Suteko shook her head. Sparing over food? This was silly. Didn't they ever rest? She knew from her days here that Ranma and Genma sparred constantly. She could hear Genma spouting that a martial artist must be ready for anything. A smile spread across her face when she thought of the time she had spent with her father. While Ranma was in school Genma had taken to visiting his daughter. At first he had been a bit shy with her but after that first day he found he could talk with his very grown up daughter.
It was the second day after Dr. Tofu had let her come home that she found herself awake but alone. The day before she had been out of it. This morning she woke to see Akane dressing for school.
She tried to speak but found that her throat was too dry. Akane turned at the sound that did escape. "Oh, your awake, Suteko." Akane smiled and walked to Suteko's side. "Would you like a drink of water?" Suteko nodded. Akane poured her a tumbler and helped her to sit up so she could drink. When she finished Akane eased her back down and put the glass to the side. "I have to go to school today Suteko, so Kasume will look in on you from time to time."
"I'm sorry to be such trouble Akane. Your family has done so much for mine and we owe you all." Suteko's voice was low and quiet. She had grown used to caring for herself in the past year and felt terrible to be a burden on the Tendos, people she barely knew.
"Oh, that's OK Suteko. It isn't your fault that your hurt." Akane smiled brightly at the injured girl. "Kasume will bring you some breakfast in a few minutes. Just rest and get better, OK?" Suteko could hear the concern in her voice.
"All right, Akane. But when I am better I will do my share." Her voice was determined and Akane hid the look of surprise on her face. Suteko, who looked so like her brother, was very different.
Akane was about to say something I response when a knock came at the door. She looked up and called out. "Come in."
The door opened slowly and Ranma poked his head around the door. "Hey Akane, is Suteko awake?" He looked over and saw his sister and smiled, a bit nervously. "Oh, I see you are. Akane can you give us a few minutes?"
Akane looked back at Suteko and then smiled. "Sure, Ranma, just a few minutes though. She needs to rest." She got up and walked past Ranma, into the hall.
Ranma stepped back to let her through and then watched her walk away. Suteko studied the expression on her brother's face as the girl walked away. There was definitely something there. Her face moved into a small smile. It looked like her new brother was attracted to the girl he was engaged to. He turned back toward Suteko and walked over. With great care he sat on the side of the futon and fiddled with the edge of the comforter. After a long moment he spoke. "Suteko...I'm sorry." He blurted it out and didn't look at her face.
Suteko smiled. She knew he was apologizing for putting her down like this. He didn't need to. It wasn't like he was in control of himself when it happened. She reached out her hand and wrapped her fingers about his, stilling his fingers. "Ranma, I don't blame you. It's all right."
Ranma's head came up and he looked at the green eyes of his new sister. "But I did this to you." He waved a hand at the bandages that covered her.
Suteko reached up, trying to sit up and hug her brother. A groan escaped her lips and Ranma gently pressed her back into the pillows. After a moment he bent forward and gave her an awkward hug. She smiled at his embarassed expression. "Ranma, I don't blame you for what happened. I should have been better prepared." Her eyes lost focus for a moment as she thought about her great grandfather.
She looked up and smiled again. "Yeah, brother?" The smile got bigger as she said that. She had always wanted a brother.
to be continued..maybe