Jenny kissed me when we met,
    Jumping from the chair she sat in,
Time, you thief, who love to get
    Sweets into your list, put that in:
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
    Say that health and wealth have missed me,
Say I'm growing old, but add,
    Jenny kissed me.
- _Rondeau_, by Leigh Hunt.
 


Ranma 1/2: Catalyst
Part Two: Wanderers
by Jaelle.


The characters in this story were not created by me and do not belong to me in any way, shape or form. They are the creations of the one and only Rumiko Takahashi. All hail!



At the dinner table, Kasumi sipped slowly at her tea and prepared to take the initiative and pop the question.

"So Ryoga-kun, what are your plans for yourself and Tenjou?" asked Akane.

Kasumi concealed her smile behind the steam from her cup, it was so nice to have such like-minded sisters.

"Plans?" Ryoga seemed surprised. "Well, travelling around like this has always seemed fine. I thought I'd just continue like this
for a bit. I'll move on tomorrow and..."

The expression on the faces of the Tendo girls told him that this was the wrong answer.

"Uhhh..." he stuttered to a halt.

"That doesn't sound like a very settled existence." said Akane. Ryoga resisted the urge to say that it had served him well for
years. "Why don't you just stay here... I mean, in one place?"

Ryoga fell over himself trying to explain that nowhere had really felt "right", like a home. The frowns on Akane and Kasumi's
faces deepened. Once again, Ryoga got hold of himself and shut up.

Kasumi put her cup down, purpose in her every move. "Ryoga-kun, please accept our invitation to stay in our house for as long
as you like."

"Oh... I couldn't possibly..." a look of horror etched itself on Ryoga's face. "I..."

"At least for a few days then," Kasumi pressed. Ryoga stared into the determination in her eyes and tried again.

"No, I really feel that Tenjou and I should move on tomorrow..."

"Sheesh! Ryoga, it used to be I couldn't get rid of you no matter what! Now we can barely hold on to you (which is not that
different from the past really, but at least this time you _mean_ to get lost). Stick around for a day or two. Sleep in. Do your
laundry. Mend your socks. Spar with me - I'm getting a little rusty!" Ranma exploded. "There must be half a hundred domestic
things you need to do. Teach the kid to read or something!"

Ryoga looked taken aback. "I'm couldn't possibly impose on you like this." he said.

"Why should you be any different from everyone else?" asked Nabiki.

"Hey!" said Ranma.

"He's right Ryoga," said Akane. "Stay for a while. You look all worn out." She held his hand. Ryoga looked bewildered,
Ranma looked jealous.

"Yes, and Tenjou looks a little peaky." said Kasumi, going in for the kill. "Has he had all his shots? I could take him to Dr
Tofu."

That settled it for Ryoga. He looked at his son. "He does look a little off-colour. Maybe some rest would be a good idea." He
chewed his napkin thoughtfully.

"Yeah, that's right!" said Ranma.

"I agree!" said Akane, mentally reminding herself that on no account was she to let Dr Tofu near Tenjou whilst Kasumi was
within a three-mile radius.

"Stick around," Ranma urged. "Catch up with all the others. Like Ukyou and... and..." he stumbled to a halt.

*CRASH* "NIHAO!"

"And Shampoo!" Ranma said. "See? Look Shampoo, Ryoga's back!"

"Who care about stupid lost boy?" Shampoo demanded. "Come to see airen!"

"And who is going to pay for this wall?" Demanded Akane.

As the fight began to break out, only Tenjou heard Nabiki murmur. "The same person that always pays for it Akane... me."

***

After Shampoo had been summarily, and somewhat unexpectedly, booted through the roof by Akane, peace resumed and
dinner was finished by all (mostly by Nabiki though, who had kept eating through all the kafuffle). A short argument broke out
during dessert over sleeping arrangements when it turned out that nearly everyone wanted Tenjou to stay with them.

It finally ceased when Ryoga overrode everyone and voted for both of them to double up in Ranma's room, since Mr Saotome
wasn't home at the moment. He then announced it was Tenjou's bedtime and after much "goodnighting" and hugs (for Tenjou)
he, Ranma and Tenjou wandered upstairs.

Ranma watched his old friend as he set out the bedding. He noted the movements, different, more hesitant than they used to be.
Ryoga was constantly moving, always keeping Tenjou in sight. His moves were smooth and obviously the result of long
practice, but they were noticeable. After the boy had been tucked in, Ryoga started to prepare for sleep himself. Ranma put a
hand on his arm. "Talk with you?" he asked. Ryoga hesitated. Ranma stared into his eyes. "I swear it won't take long, then we'll
turn in."

Ryoga nodded and followed Ranma down the corridor and through the house to the dojo.

"What's this about Ranma?" he asked. "I don't really feel like fighting right now?"

"That's okay," said Ranma. "You wouldn't be much of a challenge at the moment anyway. When was the last time you
seriously, and I mean _seriously_, like when you learnt the bakusai tenketsu, trained?"

"About two weeks before Tenjou was born," Ryoga replied. "I didn't think it was obvious."

"It's not. You're mostly okay, but you're moving all wrong." Ranma said. "It's like a nervous tick or something. So give, what's
wrong?"

"Nothing!" Ryoga stood up. "If that's all..."

"Scared you'll lose the kid?" Ranma asked.

Silence.

Ryoga glared molten death at his oldest rival. "Ranma, if I weren't so tired I'd kill you."

"Ryoga," Ranma sighed. "If I thought you actually meant that _I'd_ kill _you_, you pigheaded fool. I just wanted to say not to
worry, we'll watch the kid if you get lost."

"And this is supposed to make me feel _better_?!" Ryoga almost shouted. "You're all crazy! If I left Tenjou here, by the time
I'd gotten back you'd have engaged him to someone or something!"

"I'd protect him!" Ranma said defensively.

"Doomed, DOOMED!"

"Hey shut up!" Ranma said, "It's not like this is all _my_ fault."

Ryoga stopped being melodramatic and looked at him seriously. Ranma shifted uncomfortably.

"You know Ranma, I used to think it _was_ all your fault. I blamed you for everything: my curse, Akane's ignoring me, the
whole pet pig thing, all the other fiancees... But I don't think it was your fault anymore. The original situation with all the fiancees
- that _wasn't_ your fault. But I do think that you added to the problems by refusing to make a definite stand."

"What are you talking about?" Ranma demanded. "I've always made a definite stand. I didn't want this curse! I don't want to be
engaged to any of these damn girls and I sure as heck don't want to have to marry one of them. And I NEVER wanted all these
guys to attack me!"

"I understand that," said Ryoga. "Maybe I put it wrongly. What I'm saying is, you didn't ask for this. But you have it now, so
what are you going to _do_ about it? You're the only one that can stop this madness you know."

"Huh?"

"You live at the Tendos, you freeload off Shampoo and Ukyou when you want to eat, not to mention the way you use any of
the others," Ryoga ticked off on his fingers. "Of course they're going to read it badly. If you _really_ wanted to get rid of the
girls you'd tell them straight out. Face them down! Sure they'd kick you around a bit, but we've both survived worse. Instead
you lie around doing nothing and proclaiming innocence. All you're doing is prolonging the pain. These problems and fiancees
aren't going to go away by themselves." *For some weird reason,* he thought to himself. "If you really want them gone
_you're_ going to have to be perfectly clear. None of this wavering when they look at you with big pitiful eyes." he delivered all
of this whilst staring directly into Ranma's eyes.

Ranma looked away finally and made a waving motion with his hand. "Whoah, and I thought _I_ was going to be the one
chewing _you_ out."

Ryoga grinned. "Maybe next time. It's nice to turn the tables for once," he said.

"Huh," said Ranma. "Want to turn in?"

"Yeah," Ryoga yawned. "Don't brush off what I said though, think about it."

"... Okay."

***

Konatsu hummed as he cleaned the grill. Ukyou glumly stared at the accounts for the day. "Hey Ukyou, can I switch my day off
from Wednesday to tomorrow?" Konatsu asked.

"Damn it! Couldn't you give me more warning?!" Ukyou demanded, throwing down her pen. "I can't disrupt plans at short
notice you know!"

"I'm sorry Ukyou, I didn't know you had any plans," said Konatsu, instantly contrite.

"Well... I don't... but I might have had. Oh well, fine, sure, go ahead." said Ukyou. "Why do you want to change anyway, has
something come up?" She picked up her pen again.

"Not really, I just wanted to visit the Tendo's and see little Tenjou Hibiki before he and Ryoga wander off." said Konatsu. "He's
so cute! I thought I might take him a toy or something."

The pen snapped in Ukyou's hands. "How... thoughtful of you."

"It must be my maternal instinct." said Konatsu. Ukyou decided not to think about that comment.

"So, they're already planning to leave?" she asked casually.

"I don't know," said Konatsu. "But I got the impression that Ryoga's not keen on hanging around here."

"Grrrrrrr..."

"Besides, you know the lost boy... he'll probably wander off on his way to breakfast." said Konatsu, cleaning the rag. "Pity
really, the little kid deserves a stable home life." He reflected back on his own life. "On the other hand, at least he's being
brought up the right gender," he mused, brushing at his long hair.

Ukyou stared down at the accounts, which were now unreadable due to all the spilt ink. She felt terrible. *Stupid Ryoga.* She
thought. *Stupid stupid stupid stupid...*

"Did you say something Ukyou?"

"No... What time were you planning to go over there?" she asked.

"A little after nine, why?"

"I think I'll come with you." said Ukyou. "I need to tell Ryoga something."

***

The next morning:

"Whoa whoa WHOOOOAAAAA!" Ryoga put up his hand. "WHAT did you say?"

Akane and Nabiki looked at him strangely. "Kasumi rang the doctor you mentioned last night," Nabiki said slowly and
patiently, "and he said that Tenjou needs booster shots. So we're taking Tenjou to Dr Tofu."

"Bad idea," said Ryoga. "I'll take him."

Akane and Nabiki started laughing. "Okay, reality check," said Nabiki. "That is a patently ridiculous statement cos you'll never
find the place."

"Then I'll come with you."

Nabiki sighed. "The only reason _we_ are taking him is because we told Kasumi it was handy to drop in on the way to my
morning classes. Akane has no morning classes today so she'll bring him back afterwards. If you come along it will seem like a
group trip."

"So?"

"Do you REALLY want Kasumi along for a trip to Dr Tofu's during which he will be treating your son?"

Ryoga stuck for a moment. Panic flared in his eyes. "But..." he said desperately.

"_Trust_ us Ryoga." said Nabiki. "It will all be fine."

Ryoga stared at her, then put his head in his hands. "I'm DOOMED!" A touch on his shoulder brought him to. Akane was
smiling up at him.

"I understand that you're worried," Akane said. "Don't worry. We won't let him out of our sight. I promise."

Ryoga let out a breath, "Okay," he said. "But PLEASE be careful." He bit his lip and refrained from begging.

"We will," said Nabiki. "Later!"

Ryoga watched them walk down the front steps. It seemed so easy, he was tempted to follow. But he knew what would
happen if he did. Slowly, he sat down on the front steps, to await their return.

***

"Hello!" sang Konatsu, opening the front yard doors.

Ryoga started. *Oh, it's only Konatsu.*

"Hello Hibiki-kun," said Konatsu. "How are you?"

*... What's with him?* "Fine thanks," said Ryoga in surprise.

Ukyou edged in behind Konatsu and Ryoga stiffened. "Morning Ukyou," he said.

"Morning." she said quietly.

Konatsu was scanning the yard. "Where's little Ten-chan?"

*???Ten-chan???*

"He uh, Akane and Nabiki took him to Doctor Tofu's," Ryoga replied. Konatsu's face fell, "Oh darn, I wanted to see him again.
He's so cute!"

*Erk!*

"What time will they be back?" Konatsu wanted to know.

"Not sure," Ryoga waved his hand in confusion. "An hour maybe?"

"Oh well, in that case I'll wait! I want to get a recipe off Kasumi-san anyway. Call me when he gets here!" Konatsu bounced off
into the kitchen.

Ryoga and Ukyou faced each other. Ryoga took a deep breath.

"Look Ukyou, I'm sorry if I came across as a little cold yester..."

"MORON!"

Ryoga was taken aback. Ukyou glared at him.

"You're an idiot Ryoga! A fool! A moron! A dumbass!" she shouted. "Stupid stupid stupid STUPID RYOGA!! There's
something I want to say to you."

Ryoga looked apprehensive.

"I'm sorry I was rude about your son!" Ukyou yelled. Then she turned and ran off. Ryoga watched her go.

"O-kay.... That was strange."

***

"Okay little fellow, now if you could just hold that bandage down firmly while I stick it down." Dr Tofu smiled at Tenjou as he
ripped some surgical tape off a roll.

Tenjou's face was screwed up as he struggled with the stinging pain after an injection.

"There! Now, open your mouth and ahhhhh!" Dr Tofu popped a sweet into Tenjou's wide open mouth. The boy began to suck
the lolly fiercely.

"Right, now you're all done." said Dr Tofu. "That wasn't so bad now, was it?" He ruffled Tenjou's hair. Akane and Nabiki
grinned from their posts in the doorway. Tenjou had the softest hair. Healthy, fine, and a shining light brown in colour, it virtually
begged to be ruffled and patted. As a result of this their trip across town to the Doctor's had been lengthened by all the people
who wanted to say hello to the "little fellow". It was really quite amazing.

"He's all set now," said Dr Tofu, picking up the boy and handing him to Nabiki. "I'd like to see him in here tomorrow to make
sure there's no delayed reaction to the shot, so I'll see you same time?"

"Sure thing," said Akane. "Thanks so much."

"Not a problem," said Dr Tofu. "That's what I'm here for." He patted Tenjou on the head. "It's funny to think that Ryoga has a
child. I can still clearly remember dressing his wounds after one of his fights with Ranma," Dr Tofu laughed. "After a while, I
started to think that he and Ranma would never get past that stage of their lives."

Akane and Nabiki sweatdropped as the Doctor laughed.

"Yeah, well, thank goodness ONE of them had the sense to grow up," said Nabiki. "I should probably get going, I'm going to
be late to class." She handed Tenjou to Akane.

"See you later!" Akane called as her sister left. Then, after exchanging a few more pleasantries with Dr Tofu, she also took her
leave. Halfway down the street Tenjou wriggled, indicating that he'd like to walk for a bit. Akane took firm hold of his hand and
they walked together.

"Ah," said Akane. "It's such a nice sunny day."

"At last I've found you - evil fiend. Release my beloved Shampoo from your clutches!"

"What?" was all Akane managed before she was knocked out of the way by a flying blur.

Tenjou stared up at the man towering over him.

"Ranma Saotome, now you DIE!!!" Mousse launched himself at his most evil rival.

Tenjou stared bewilderedly as the man attacked him. He was just putting his hands up to protect himself when Akane malleted
Mousse into the concrete footpath with extreme prejudice.

"You IDIOT!!!!!" she screamed. "You could have killed Tenjou!!!!"

"Tenjou?" Mousse shook his head, resettled his glasses and stared at the boy. "Huh? Where'd Ranma go?"

Akane dropped the mallet and clenched her hands in fury. Red battle aura dripped off her.

"Ranma isn't here." she gritted. "Ranma never WAS here. Just me and Tenjou... you STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID
STUPID..." she ran out of breath and had to take another "STUPID STUPID _STUPID_ IDIOT! Why don't you LOOK
before you attack! It's bad enough when you mistake one of us for each other, but involving a helpless boy!"

Mousse rubbed the bump on his head and held up his hands to try and hold her anger off. "Okay okay!" he said. "I'm sorry!"
Mousse was a bit taken aback, "You're not usually this angry about it!"

"You don't usually attack four-year-old children," Akane shot back.

"I said I was sorry!" Mousse said defensively. He crouched down and regarded Tenjou. "I'm sorry little boy, did I scare you?"

Tenjou nodded briefly. Mousse sighed. "I really am sorry, let me buy you a meal to make up for it!"

"No thank you," said Akane. "We're leaving, come on Tenjou."

Tenjou patted Mousse's arm and then took Akane's hand.

"Wait! Please let me apologise!" Mousse pleaded.

Akane glared at him. "Why should I?"

Mousse stared at her, "I don't know... because you don't seem to think I feel bad about this?"

Akane stopped in her tracks. "_Do_ you feel bad about this?"

Mousse paused. "Uh well, no one was hurt..."

"_This_ time," snorted Akane.

"Okay okay I feel bad! Are you happy now?" Mousse demanded. "I feel guilty because I just attacked a child I don't even
know. Now will you let me buy you a meal?"

Akane wavered, then sighed. "What do you think Tenjou?"

In answer, Tenjou relinquished her hand and reached over to grab Mousse's. Mousse easily lifted the boy up in his arms.
"You're quite a tough little fellow aren't you? I bet you weren't really scared."

Tenjou gave Mousse one of his quick smiles. Mousse smiled back in response. "You're such a cute little boy! Is he a relative?"
He asked Akane, turning and walking in the direction of the Cat Cafe.

"I wish," said Akane. "He's the son of a friend of the family."

"Anyone I know?"

Akane hid a grin. "Ryoga Hibiki... DON'T DROP HIM!!!!"

***

Mousse served up a bowl of ramen. "Here you go, on the house!" He proclaimed.

"Since when did you give away free food?" Akane asked. "Won't Cologne kill you?"

Mousse looked embarrassed and produced a small purse from inside him voluminous sleeves. He dropped a number of coins
on the table. "There, happy?" he demanded. "I was going to buy Shampoo some flowers with that!"

Akane laughed at him and split the chopsticks into two for Tenjou. "Oh look, a clean split. That's good luck." she told him.
Then she turned back to Mousse, "Aren't you ever going to give up on Shampoo?" she inquired. "You know she doesn't return
your love."

Mousse struck a pose, "One day, she'll realise that it was me she wanted all along."

"And this day would be sometime roughly _after_ hell freezes over, right?" Akane inquired.

Tenjou grinned at Mousse's crestfallen expression. The martial artist shook his head. "She has to love me, she has to. I love
her! I've never even _looked_ at anyone else!"

"Knowingly," Akane muttered.

Mousse looked insulted. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means - I remember being embraced last week as someone shouted bad Chinese love poetry into my ear," said Akane.

Mousse blushed. "Okay, so I mistook you once..."

"AND Hikari told me about the time you fed her chocolates by the lake."

"That was Hikari? Then who was it that I gave the teddy bear to?" Mousse wondered.

"That nice old lady who was just performing a purification outside her house," said Akane. "Weren't you surprised to be hit by
water?"

"Not really - Shampoo does it all the time."

"And it _wasn't_ a teddy bear," Akane pressed onwards. "It was a toy gorilla!"

Mousse paused, "Oops. Alright alright, so I sometimes get a bit muddled up, but there's no harm done, right?"

Akane sniffed, "Tell that to Tenjou! Not to mention Nabiki's friend Nanami!"

"Who? What did I do to her?" Mousse demanded. Akane stared at him.

"You KISSED her. In front of the entire SCHOOL!"

"I NEVER!!!!!" Mousse denied.

"You DID! We have photographs! The poor girl was shocked. Bad enough to get kissed for the FIRST time ever IN PUBLIC
in front of the ENTIRE SCHOOL, but to have the guy who did it then swear his everlasting devotion to someone _else_...."
Akane trailed off. "Honestly, didn't you wonder why all the girls hunted you down and lynched you?"

Mousse was bright red. "I really - did that?"

"YES!!!!"

"I thought it was Shampoo!" he burst out. "I thought..."

"YOU THOUGHT WRONG!" Akane yelled.

"Well, I couldn't see..."

"No, you never can, can you?" Akane said rudely. "Why don't you get some stronger glasses or SOMETHING?"

Mousse was bright red and sweating profusely as the enormity of his act sunk in.

"I didn't know, I mean... I didn't mean..."

"Nihao!"

Tenjou turned from the fascinating conversation taking place over his head to look at the woman who walked in the door.

"Shampoo!" said Mousse. He rushed to her side, then paused. "Umm... that _is_ Shampoo, right!"

"Of course it Shampoo," Shampoo stared at him. "Who else?"

"With his eyesight, it could have been anyone," Akane said. "But in this case, he was right. It is Shampoo."

"SHAMPOO!!!!" Mousse rushed to embrace her... and tripped over a table.

"OW! Who put that there?" He demanded.

"Table ALWAYS been there," said Shampoo. "You stop being silly Mousse. Go clean kitchen." She looked across the cafe
and glared at Akane. "What violent tomboy doing in Nekohanten?" she demanded. "Where airen?"

"Who knows, who cares?" Akane responded. "And as for what I'm doing in here, I'm helping Tenjou eat his food."

Tenjou took that as his cue to turn back to his as-yet untouched ramen. He slurped a bit. Mmmm... delicious!

Shampoo sneered at Akane. "Violent tomboy borrowing someone's boy to try and look cuter. She fail!"

"I don't have to put up with this," Akane said angrily. "I only came to accept Mousse's apology. Just make the dumb ramen to
go and we can get out of here."

Tenjou hurriedly slurped down more ramen, foreseeing imminent trouble.

"Beeeeeeuuugh!" Shampoo stuck her tongue out at Akane. "Violent girl get out of Nekohanten!"

"Not until we eat the food we paid for," Akane shot back, making an abrupt about turn on her previous claims. But dammit,
Shampoo got her back up so much... "We have just as much right to be here as any other customer."

"The food _who_ paid for?"

"SHUT UP MOUSSE!" they both snapped.

Shampoo put her hands on her hips. "Violent tomboy get out, or MAKE get out."

"In your own words, beeeeeeeuuugh!" replied Akane, sticking her tongue out at Shampoo.

Shampoo grinned nastily. "If won't run from Shampoo, then run AFTER Shampoo!" Darting forward, she grabbed Akane's
handbag.

"HEY! Give that back!"

"Come get!" Shampoo taunted. "Maybe I throw in river!" She jumped upwards to avoid Akane's mallet, kicked it up hard as it
passed to create a hole in the roof, leapt through it and ran off along the rooftops.

Akane glowered, and was about to set out after her rival, but remembered who else was with her and stopped.

"Oh... rats!" she said. "I can't go after her... YIPE!"

The forgotten Mousse stood up behind her and threw his arms around her.

"Shampoo, I've got you safe! Come with me and we'll stop her! I'll get your bag back, I swear it!"

"Put me down!" Akane yelled as Mousse scooped her up. "You idiot! Tenjou!!!!" Mousse hopped on to a table, then through
the hole, and zoomed off into the distance in hot pursuit of Shampoo, with Akane kicking and screaming all the way.

Tenjou listened as they receded, then turned back and finished his ramen. Just as he was slurping up the last of it, and old
woman hopped into the cafe on a stick.

"Well hello there young man," said Cologne. "I hope you paid for that."

Tenjou nodded and pointed at the money still on the counter.

"I see. Who served you? Where is my granddaughter? And where is that slacker Mousse?"

Tenjou pointed eloquently at the hole in the roof.

Cologne sighed. "And the person looking after you?"

The finger remained pointed at the ceiling.

Cologne shook her head and hopped off her stick. "Those two should know better by now than to involve passer-by's in their
quarrels." Standing next to the boy, she was surprised to find they were the same height. "I'm sure they'll be back soon." she
assured him. "In the meantime, why don't I teach you some martial arts?"

Tenjou immediately began some stretching exercises.

"Oh ho, so you've already begun some training. Good good." Cologne hopped back a bit. "Well, come on boy, show me what
you've got."

Tenjou finished and took a deep breath, then attacked. Cologne easily avoided his attacks, muttering a running assessment as
she did so.

"Unusually good coordination - must have had the proper exercises done when he was a baby. Just as well. Hmmm... fairly
standard and simple attack patterns. Heavy on the defensive as well I see... well, he is just a child at the moment. Good
heavens, do that again."

Tenjou paused and then repeated the last move.

"Tai chi?" Cologne looked surprised. "I hadn't thought of that. But I suppose the balance training will be useful later in your life.
Hmm... Well boy, you've got promise."

Tenjou bowed. Cologne rather amusedly bowed back. "Let's see. Martial arts training, quiet, not bad looking, polite... come
back in about ten years boy, and I'll make you a man worthy of an Amazon woman. In the meantime though, practice this
kick." She demonstrated the sweep kick for him and then made him go through it several times. "You'll find it a useful move.
Now are you still hungry?"

Tenjou nodded shortly.

"Then have some of this pork bun." Cologne hopped out to the kitchen, grabbed one and handed it to him.

Tenjou looked at it, felt it, sniffed it, then split it in half and handed half to her. Cologne raised an eyebrow. "Did you find
something wrong with it?" she enquired curiously.

A shake of the head was her answer.

"Well, I don't want any of it boy, you go ahead and eat," she said, pressing it back into his hands.

Tenjou stubbornly held out half of it for her.

"I told you I don't want it!" Cologne snapped.

Tenjou put both pieces on a plate and pushed it away from him. Cologne was surprised, and then she burst out laughing.

"Oh, and intelligent too!" she took the pork bun away. "It wasn't really harmful," she said. "Just some herbs I wanted to test
out."

Tenjou looked disapproving. Then his stomach growled.

Still laughing, Cologne hopped into the kitchen and returned with another pork bun which she halved. The two of them ate in
happy silence. Then Cologne returned to the problem of what to do with her mysterious guest.

"So then, would you like to play a game?" asked Cologne. "Have you ever played mah jong?"

And it was thus that on Akane's panicked return with Shampoo and Mumu-chan the duck that they were greeted by the
incongruous sight of Cologne patiently teaching Tenjou Hibiki how to play mah jong.

***

End of Part Two

***

Go on to Part Three

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