a Ranma 1/2 fanfic by
			Scott Schimmel

			Chapter Three


	As Akane's cry rang through the Tendo home, Ranma leapt into
action, tearing down the stairs and sprinting toward the bathroom.  A
quick glance to either side confirmed that he was the first one there,
but he had, at best, only a few seconds to remedy the situation.

	One.  He flung the door open, springing across the small room,
and through to the furo.

	Two.  He snatched up the shower head, turning the water on to
cold.  Somewhere in the back of his mind, he heard Akane sputtering a
protest at his intrusion, but he paid it no attention.

	Three.  He grasped Akane by the wrist, pulling her (now him)
out of the tub of hot water.  Akane's protests got that much louder,
but he was too busy to care at the moment. (1)  Idly, he noticed that
the spray from the shower head had gotten him damp; it felt strange,
not experiencing the curse-induced change.

	Four.  He turned the spray on Akane, who promptly transformed
back into "Ranko Tendo."  The shock stopped her increasingly emphatic
protests.  Releasing her wrist, he grabbed a (now somewhat damp) towel
and thrust it towards her.  She took it, holding it loosely.

	Five.  He turned, throwing all his weight into a punch, and
struck the wall.  He was gratified to see the man-sized hole that
resulted.  At least the tomboy's body was good for something. (2)
Speaking of which, Akane was finally starting to get over her shock,
and, judging by her expression, she was furious. (3)

	Six.  He backed away, raising his hands in what he hoped was a
conciliatory gesture.  "There's a good explanation for this..." he
hissed desperately. (4)

	Her face began to contort with rage.  "Explanation?!  I--"

	Seven.  The outer door slid open to reveal Nodoka Saotome,
katana in hand.  Mercifully, Akane quieted her outburst.  "I thought I
heard a man's voice," Ranma's mother stated.  "Is something... oh
dear."  This last as she noticed the damaged wall.

	Before Akane had a chance to speak, Ranma piped up.  "Yeah,
there was, um, a boy in here!  That's who you heard."  He laughed
nervously while Akane stared at him in disbelief.

	"A boy?" Nodoka asked, frowning slightly.  Ranma shivered at
his mother's expression; he could never read her moods, and he was
used to the reality that any sign of unhappiness in her could lead to
his untimely demise by ritual suicide.  When she frowned, he took

	"Err... yes," Akane said.  She glanced at Ranma, and he read
in her eyes the threat:  'We -will- talk later.'

	"Peeping on a girl in a private bath certainly isn't very

	Ranma and Akane nodded in agreement, hoping to appease her.

	She continued, "A truly manly man would go to a -public- bath
to do that."

	Ranma and Akane stopped nodding and gaped at Nodoka in

	"I am surprised that he was the one who shouted, though.  I
would think that it would be the girl who would shout, in those

	"W-Well, I, err..." Akane stammered.

	"Sh-she was too surprised at first, and then I came in, and he
ran through the wall!" Ranma burst out.  He wondered momentarily why
nobody else was present.  Their fathers, he supposed, were hiding, but
it wasn't like Nabiki to miss a commotion.  She could usually find a
way to profit off of it.  And Kasumi always attended to the aftermath
when things happened at the Tendo house.

	"He ran away?" Nodoka asked, puzzled.

	"Uh... yeah.  It... it was an accident!  That he was here, I
mean."  Uh oh.  Akane was giving him that look again.  Was this excuse
making sense? (5)

	"An accident?  How could that be?"

	Ranma realized he had metaphorically painted himself into a
corner.  No, wait; there was one thing he could say that might be
plausible.  "Yeah!  He was actually a friend of ours.  See, he gets
lost all the time, so when he showed up here, he wasn't expecting
to... I mean..."

	"I see."  Nodoka's small frown had vanished, only to be
replaced by an unreadable neutrality.  "And what is this boy's name?"

	"Ryouga.  Ryouga Hibiki," answered Ranma.  He could hear Akane
suck in a breath with a hiss.  Wonderful; she was going to kill him.

	"I see.  I may have to have a talk with your 'friend,'" Nodoka
mused.  "Are you sure you're all right?"

	Time to repair as much of the damage as he could.  "I'm sure,
Auntie Saotome.  Ryouga's always getting lost.  I'm positive he didn't
do it on purpose."

	"Very well, then."  She looked over the hole in the wall for a
moment.  "We shall have to patch that..."

1 - Not that he cared all that much normally, except that it made for
    a fun argument every once in a while.
2 - No, you hentais, not that.
3 - Not that this was all that unusual.
4 - This is the fourth worst thing a character could say in a fanfic.
    Collect all of the top ten!
5 - No, of course not.


	"This had better be a good explanation, Ranma."

	Ranma glanced around him.  He and Akane were once again
sitting on the roof of the Tendo home; Ranma reasoned that it was the
most private place possible without actually leaving the grounds.  He
was reasonably sure that nobody was listening, although he could never
be certain, between Nabiki, their fathers, and the old pervert.  That
meant there were no obvious excuses for putting off his explanation to
Akane.  He sighed.  "It was all I could think of at the time."

	"That's your explanation?" she asked, incredulous.

	"Hey, I didn't have long to think up a plan," Ranma protested
defensively.  "You saw how fast Mom got there.  Besides, I didn't see
you doing anything to help."

	"Help?"  She blinked -- a good sign, Ranma thought.  Confusion
was vastly preferable to anger.  "What are you talking about?  Why did
you have to make up all that in the first place?"

	Ranma suppressed the urge to sigh in exasperation.  "-Think-,
Akane.  Mom heard a guy shout.  What would she have thought if she'd
walked in to find that guy sitting there, and 'Ranko' nowhere in
sight?" (1)

	"All right," Akane admitted, "you've got a point.  But--"  Her
eyes flashed, and the surge of relief Ranma died a painful death.
"--Why did you bring -Ryouga- into it?  Now your mother probably
thinks he's some kind of pervert or something."

	"She's a pretty good judge of character," he muttered,
thoughts of a black pig flashing through his mind.


	"Nothing, just thinking.  Look, I wouldn't've done any of that
stuff if I didn't have to, okay?  Trust me, I didn't like it either."
That was true enough; it had been entirely too close for his comfort.
Just a second or two later, and he might've found himself -- or Akane,
actually -- staring down the length of his mother's katana.

	Akane was still for what seemed an eternity; then, she nodded
once.  Ranma released a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding,
and the two sat in silence for a short while longer.

	"Ranma?" Akane finally asked.


	"What are we going to do?"

	Surprised, he turned to look at her.  Her head was hung and
turned slightly away from him, so that he couldn't see her eyes.  One
of her hands clutched nervously at a roof tile.  Hesitantly, he
answered.  "It'll be okay, Akane.  Doctor Tofuu will find something,
or maybe the old ghoul will know how to get us back to normal.  All we
have to do is pretend for a couple of days." (2)

	"I... I guess you're right."

	"Of course I am."  He smiled as Akane lifted her head.

	She did not seem reassured.  "Are you sure we can do this,

	"Well... since Mom is here, Pop won't try to spar with you, so
we're okay there.  You can stay a girl most of the time, too, and--"
He cut himself off as Akane heaved a sigh.  "What's wrong?"

	"Nothing, I was just remembering..."  She shivered.  "I didn't
realize it was so... strange."

	He nodded, and nothing more was said.  He stared at the bright
sliver of moon that hung low in the night sky, trying to keep his mind
off of this whole affair.  Beside him, Akane didn't move, and barely
seemed to breathe.  Ranma recognized the expression on her face; it
was the same one that had been on his, after Jusenkyo.  Not
immediately, but once the initial shock and the following anger had
passed, and he'd had a chance to think about what the curse meant,
what had been done to him...

	He stood abruptly, wanting to get away from those memories.
Akane blinked and looked up at him.  He waved a quick goodbye and had
just turned to walk away when she said, in a soft voice, "I guess I
just need time to get used to it."

	He shook his head.  "You never get used to it."  She flinched
at the tone of his voice, the harshness she rarely heard.  He noticed,
and his expression softened.  "Try not to let it bother you too much,"
he added.  Before she could reply, he leapt down from the roof.

	She stared at the space he had recently vacated and cupped her
chin in her hands while she thought.  "I never realized," she
whispered.  "I didn't know..."

1 - Good question, actually.  A bit beyond the scope of this fanfic,
2 - And we all know how easy it is for Ranma to keep a secret...


	Akane grumbled to herself as she approached her bedroom
door... from the outside.  Last night, that idiot had almost forgotten
and tried to go to sleep in his usual spot in the guest room.  As if
that wasn't bad enough, this morning he was particularly late getting
up.  Akane usually awakened at about the same time every morning, but
Ranma was late today, and Kasumi had remarked on it.  If this kept up,
their masquerade would be seen through in no time.

	And Ranma had the nerve to say it would be easy.  -He- was the
one who was putting them at risk with his carelessness.  She scowled
as she reached toward the door.

	"Well, well," purred a voice at her back.  "And what are we up
to this morning, hmm?"

	"Nabiki!"  She whirled to confront her older sister.  What was
Nabiki doing awake at this time of morning?  Was it later than she
thought?  "N-nothing!  I'm just going to wake up, ah, Akane."

	"Well, that's a reversal."  Nabiki shrugged and turned,
strolling toward the stairs.  Just before she reached them, she looked
back over her shoulder and artfully arched an eyebrow.  "Are you sure
you're not trying to sneak into your fiancee's room again?"

	"Nabiki!  Geez!"  She sputtered incoherently for a moment,
while Nabiki smiled, amused.  "What if Auntie Saotome heard you?" (1)

	"Oh, relax, Ranma."  Nabiki took one step down the staircase,
then playfully added, "Or is that a guilty conscience speaking?"  She
laughed as she continued down the stairs, without awaiting a reply.

	Akane stared speechlessly for a moment before remembering why
she was here.  She knocked once before pushing the door open and
entering her room.

	As she'd suspected, Ranma was not yet awake.

	Akane closed the door and padded quietly across the room to
the side of the bed.  There, she stood still for a moment, transfixed
by the vaguely surreal sight of her own body curled in sleep on her
bed.  She shook her head, snapping herself out of her daze, and gently
shook Ranma's shoulders.  "Hey... wake up."

	Miraculously, he did.  Blearily, he moaned, "Go away, Pop.  I
just had the weirdest dream..."  Then he opened his eyes and caught
sight of Akane, in his body, staring down at him.  "Oh my god..."

	"It wasn't a dream," Akane regretfully confirmed.  "Come on,
you have to get ready for school if you want to eat."

	He slowly climbed out of bed, and Akane saw that he was still
wearing the clothing he'd had on last night -- the solid-colored shirt
and the overalls with "China" printed on them.  That couldn't have
been very comfortable to sleep in, Akane thought, but she didn't say
anything.  Instead, she pulled open her closet, removed a school
uniform on a hanger, and handed it to him.

	He looked down at the outfit, uncomprehending, for a moment,
before asking, "What's this?"

	"It's a school uniform.  Hurry up and put it on so we can have

	"Akane... this is a dress," he noted observantly.

	"Of course it is.  It's a girl's school uniform, after all."

	"I'm a guy!  I can't wear this!"

	Akane interrupted any further protests by the simple expedient
of placing her hands on his shoulders and glaring straight into his
eyes.  "No, you're not.  Today, you're Akane Tendo.  You.  Are.  A.
GIRL!  Don't forget that."  Ranma, taken aback, nodded mutely, and she
continued, "Eat like a normal human being at breakfast.  Walk on the
ground on the way to school, not on the fence.  Use the girls'
bathrooms and locker rooms at school.  And -don't- embarrass me.  Got
it?" (2)

	Ranma had by this point fully awakened, and his ego had
recovered.  "Sure, Akane, don't worry about it."  He smirked.  "I can
act pretty well when I need to, you know.  I did get the lead in that
play and all." (3)  He cheerfully smiled at her and began to change.

	Akane slowly left the room.  She closed the door behind her
and, hands still on the knob, leaned back against it.  Slowly, she
raised her eyes to the ceiling, then dropped them to the floor again
and sighed.

	"I'm doomed," she murmured.

1 - Answer:  *somebody* would have some explaining to do...
2 - Yeah.  Right.
3 - See the anime "Ranma and Juliet" for that disaster.  Or, uh, I
    think it's the 7th Viz-translated collection of manga... (4)
4 - What do you know?  A -real- footnote!