a Ranma 1/2 fanfic by
			Scott Schimmel

			Chapter Five


	"Tendou Akane," droned the voice of the homeroom teacher.

	"Here," Ranma answered.  To his credit, there was only a
little acid in his voice.(1)

	The teacher moved on down the list, and Ranma sighed.  He
slouched forward at the desk, cupping his chin in both hands in
anticipation of yet another ordinary (2) day of classes.

	Something stung his ear, bouncing off to land on his desk.  He
examined the projectile.  It appeared to be an incredibly tightly
folded piece of paper.  He glanced in the direction from which the
projectile had come.  Akane was glaring at him.  He quickly turned
away and began unfolding the paper.  There was writing on the inside:

	Ranma, you idiot.  Remember, you're me.  Akane.

	Ranma sighed again, sat up straight, and tried to look
attentive.  If there was one thing more boring than a day of classes,
it was a day of classes to which he actually had to pay attention.

	He wondered why Akane bothered.  After all, he didn't, and his
grades were still okay.  Not great, sure, but better than some. (3)
Akane did, and though her grades were better than his, they were
nowhere near the best in the class.  It just didn't seem worth the

	Ranma frowned slightly, vexed.  At least, he thought Akane's
grades were...  But now that he thought about it...

	He realized he had no idea how well Akane had been performing
lately.  He'd just have to remember to ask her about it later.

1 - Which sounds painful.  Pun intended.
2 - That is, boring.
3 - Teachers were strangely reluctant to fail martial artists of
    Ranma's caliber and occasional temperament.  Go figure.


	Ranma was forced to suffer through history, literature, and
English before he had a chance to speak to Akane.  The next period,
she had home economics; he'd hoped to catch her then.  Unfortunately,
he hadn't counted on being ambushed.

	"Akane!" chirped the young girl, throwing herself in front of
Ranma and unwittingly separating him from the real Akane.  "Why didn't
you tell us?"

	"Huh?"  Ranma blinked.  This girl looked vaguely familiar.
Oh, yeah, she was one of Akane's friends.  "T-tell you what?"

	Another girl had appeared at Ranma's other side.  His mind
dredged up a name to put with the face:  Sayuri.  "Come on, Akane.  We
saw the way Ranma was looking at you through the entire day."  She
giggled.  "So, what happened?"

	"Happened?"  Was it possible that they knew?  "N-nothing
happened!  Really!"

	Sayuri and -- what was that other girl's name? -- exchanged a
quick glance.  "You can tell us," urged the girl whose name Ranma was
unable to remember.  "C'mon.  Did he finally ask you out?"

	"Get you a present?" Sayuri chipped in.

	"Take you dancing?"

	"Save your life again?"

	"Propose?"  Both girls giggled at that one.

	"What?" Ranma asked blankly.  An instant later, he suddenly
realized what they had meant.  "No!  No!  It's not like that!  Not at

	"Gee, Akane, there's no need to yell," noted Sayuri.

	"Ah..."  He chuckled nervously.  "Sorry, guys."

	"We'll forgive you," the other one assured him, "if you tell
us what happened."

	Ranma shook his head in denial.  "Honestly, nothing happened."

	Sayuri did not look convinced.  "Really?"

	"Really!  Why would I want to do anything with that--"  He
paused, barely catching the usual insult in time.  "--Insensitive
jerk," he finished, unconvincingly. (1)

	"Well," said the other girl, "Ranma certainly was acting
differently today."

	"Maybe it's true that nothing happened."  Ranma nodded in
response just as Sayuri chuckled evilly and added, "Yet."

	"Ooooh, that must be it.  I bet he's planning a surprise for
you, Akane."

	Ranma wasn't sure how Akane would respond to that.  He decided
to take the safest approach.  "Yeah, right."

	"Well, he was definitely staring at you.  There's got to be
something going on."

	You don't know the half of it, Ranma thought sourly.  Aloud,
he said, "Oh, good.  We're here just in time for class."

	Ranma had never thought he'd be grateful for classes, but
right now... well, maybe he'd have some time to think.  He definitely
didn't have to pay attention here.  Not the way Akane cooked. (2)

1 - He later decided that, while it was true enough, it lacked that
    personal touch.
2 - Nevertheless, the teacher later commended "Akane" on "her"


	Daisuke brushed a stray lock of hair away from his eyes as he
leaned closer.  "So, Ranma, what's going on?"

	"Hmm?  Nothing, why?"

	"Well, then," answered Hiroshi, "how come you're a girl

	"Oh, that."  Akane sighed in relief.  "I sort of, um, ran into
some trouble on the way here this morning..."

	"Oh.  We can get you some hot water--"

	"Wait a minute," Daisuke interrupted.  "What do you mean,
'that?'  Did something else happen?"

	"What?  No!"

	"I bet it had something to do with Akane," Daisuke remarked to

	"Hey, I-- she-- we didn't..."

	"Yeah, maybe so," Hiroshi replied.

	"Did you see the way he was looking at her all morning?"

	"Yeah," Hiroshi acknowledged.  "So, Ranma, did you and
her... you know...?"


	"He didn't say 'no,'" noted Daisuke.

	"Ranma!  We're your friends.  Why didn't you tell us 
sooner?" (1) 

	Akane screamed in frustration and raced down the hallway,
quickly vanishing around the corner.  A few curious heads poked out of
classroom doors to see what the disturbance was, and, seeing nothing
of particular interest, retreated.

	Daisuke turned to Hiroshi.  "Some guys have all the luck."

	"You said it," sighed Hiroshi.  "Say, did you catch the game
last night?"

	"Most of it.  I missed the end.  How'd it turn out?"


1 - Well, would -you-?


	It was Ranma's favorite time of the school day.  He liked it
even more than showing off in gym.


	But not today.  Today, something told Ranma that this was not
going to be a peaceful lunch period.  That something was the
expression on Akane's face as she stalked toward him.

	Ranma glanced over his shoulder, hoping, perhaps, that Kunou
had spontaneously recovered and reappeared to serve as the target of
Akane's wrath.  There was nobody there but the tree beneath which he
often sat.  He was pretty sure that the tree hadn't done anything to
anger Akane.

	He sighed.  There were definite drawbacks to eating alone.
"Uh, Akane," he quietly greeted her.  "Hi."

	Akane sat down beside him and, without preamble, stated, "Your
friends are the most perverted boys at this school."

	"Yeah?  Well, your friends are the most annoying girls."

	"Do you realize what they've been saying about us?"

	"Yeah.  They think we're doing something behind everyone's

	"They think we're doing--"  Akane broke off the sentence,
blinking, then scowled.  "What are you grinning for?"

	"I was just thinking about how your friends think the same
thing.  Guess I'm not the only one with perverted friends, huh?"

	"They do not!"

	"Well, they said the same thing!"

	Akane sniffed.  "I'm sure Yuka and Sayuri didn't mean it the
same way."

	"Yuka!"  He snapped his fingers.  "That's what her name is!"

	"You didn't remember?"  Akane was aghast.  "How could you not

	"Well, you don't remember my friends' names, do you?"

	"Hiroshi and Daisuke," she snapped.

	"Lucky guess."

	"How could you forget Yuka's name?  You might as well wear a
sign around your neck.  'I am not the real Akane.'"

	"Relax.  I didn't have to call her by name, and neither of
them noticed anything wrong.  Well, they did, but they thought it was
'cause of something we did.  Or were going to do.  Or..."

	"Shut up, Ranma.  Great, you already blew our cover.  Now what
are we supposed to do?"

	"I did not!  As a matter of fact, they noticed you staring at
me all day.  So it's your fault!"

	Recalling that Ranma's friends had said something to that
effect, Akane felt a twinge of guilt.  On the other hand, she couldn't
let that pass.  "I was not staring!  Besides, I have to do it, because
you're a lousy actor.  The last thing I want is for you to try that
'girly' act you always do."

	"Hey, I can't be that bad, I fooled Ryouga..."

	"Stop trying to change the subject!"

	Ranma blinked.  "Huh?  Weren't we talking about my acting?"

	"We were talking about how you need to act like me, if we're
going to keep this a secret!"  She rolled her eyes.  "Which we
wouldn't need to do if it wasn't for you.  I'm doing this for your
sake, so you could at least try a little harder!"

	"Wait," Ranma protested, "what do you mean?"

	Akane crossed her arms and glared at him.  "I mean you're not
acting much like me!  Try being a little nicer, gentler, more kind,
more feminine, nicer, more intelligent, more outgoing, nicer,
friendlier, less self-centered, less cocky, and nicer.  And less of a

	"If I did that, then everyone would know something's wrong,
'cause that sure as hell isn't the way you act!"


	"I mean, face it, nobody noticed a thing yet, so I must be
acting pretty close to the way you do, right?"


	"All right, I tell you what.  I'll do it, as long as you act
more like me."

	Somewhat mollified, Akane replied, "Okay.  But I already am
acting like you."

	Ranma shook his head.  "No way.  You've got to act more
self-confident, and you need to pay more attention to what's around
you.  You've got to try to be more graceful when you move.  I know
that'll be hard for someone like you, but try.  And most of all,
you've got to act like a guy.  Stop acting like a girl."

	"But I'm not a guy!  And just what do you mean, it'll be hard
for 'someone like me?'"

	"But I'm a guy," Ranma pointed out (1), "and you're supposed
to be me.  I'm sure not a girl, but you want me to act like one.
Well, fine, but you do it too."

	"Looks like a girl to me," Akane said, glancing downward.

	"You know what I meant.  Hey, and speaking of that, you've got
to come to school as a guy from now on.  People are going to think
it's weird, if you don't."

	"I don't see why..."

	"I bet someone mentions it before the end of the day," Ranma
said, flatly.  "Make it two days in a row, and someone's sure to
wonder."  His voice softened a little as he added, "I can, you know,
help you get used to it.  If you want.  I mean, I know what it's like,
and all..."

	There was a long silence.  Ranma continued to watch Akane,
noting the flickers of emotion that crossed her face -- fear, disgust,
loathing... and maybe... compassion?  Nah, couldn't be...

	Akane shuddered.  "A-all right, Ranma.  I guess... I don't
have a choice.  If that's what it takes.  Just don't expect me to be
happy about it."

	"I don't," Ranma replied.  Hearing an odd tone in his voice,
Akane suddenly looked up, but he was smiling back at her reassuringly.
"I can... I mean, if you don't mind, I think it'd be a good idea to
get used to being a guy tonight."  The intonation made it a question,
but the look in his eyes...

	Akane nodded silently.

	"Hey, are you okay?"

	Akane nodded once more.  "But you owe me for this, Ranma."

	"Yeah... I guess I do," Ranma said with a slight frown.  After
a short pause, he added, "Akane?  I, um... I wish you'd been a little
clumsier, like usual, so you wouldn't've caught that rope."

	Akane's mouth twitched.  "Was that supposed to be an apology?"

	Ranma reached to one side for his bento box.  "Man, I'm
hungry.  I wonder what Kasumi made today..."

	Akane giggled.  "Okay, fine.  Let's eat."  With that, she
began unwrapping her own box.

1 - While cleverly (and sensibly) dodging the other question.