Earlier today, we posted quite possibly the most depressing chapter we have ever written. By way of apology, here:
The first inkling Akane Tendo had that anything was wrong was the sound of several dozen feet stampeding down the hallway outside of her drama class. "She ran this way!" one boy yelled, trailing behind the others. "The naked girl ran this way!"
Abruptly, most of the male students and a decent portion of the female ones started moving to get up from their seats, though they were stopped by Akane's immediate upraised hand. "Stay here, I'm going to go see what's going on."
"But, Tendo-sensei..." a student started, before receiving a glare that caused him to slump back down sheepishly into his chair as the dark haired woman turned and left the room, grabbing a costume robe on the way out. The disturbance was relatively easy to spot in the hallway, as several students were crowded around a window at the end of the hall. Reaching out rapidly with one arm, the teacher grabbed one boy, a bulky one who had apparently been punched in the nose, as he attempted to leap out the window.
Finally getting a chance to see what everyone else was looking at, Akane noticed a panicked looking girl in half a boy's school uniform charging across the baseball field. "What the hell?" she growled, before leaping out the window herself and starting after the girl at high speed.
"Hey, how come you can do that if I can't?" the bleeding wrestler demanded, shaking a fist after her.
"Maybe she was worried you wouldn't fit through the window?" a blonde haired girl wearing a thin pair of glasses muttered from next to him. The wrestler only grumbled in response.
"Hey, she caught up to her!" someone yelled, drawing both the wrestler and the blonde's attention back to the action outside. To the disappointed mutters of several of the less tactful students, the drama teacher had wrapped the robe she'd brought with her around the formerly naked girl's body and lifted the younger girl in her arms before running away from the main building.
"Aw, man," one boy complained. "Show's over, I guess..."
Everyone grumbled in agreement, and turned to go back to class. The wrestling team captain was much slower as he rhapsodized poetically on the beauty and grace of the half-naked girl, while the blonde girl wrote a few things down in a notebook.
"Are you all right?" Akane was rather worried. Ever since they'd arrived in one of the supply sheds near the sports fields, the girl in front of her had been trembling, looking at her hands. She was worried about the answer, but had to ask. "Did something... happen to you?"
"..yeah," the girl muttered, looking around the shed as though she'd just realized that she was there.
Several feelings ran through Akane at once. The first, as usual, was a strong desire to go after whoever had hurt the girl before her with a shinai, if he was lucky, but she held back that impulse for the moment, looking over the girl. She didn't show any injury, and, given how she'd been running was actually in very good shape. "What exactly happened?" she finally asked, gently.
"I..." the girl's expression was a mixture of disbelief and fear. "I turned into a girl!"
Akane stopped dead for a couple of seconds. The expressions on her face almost perfectly tracked her brain as it rebooted. "Oh, thank the Kami," she muttered, after a few seconds.
"What? You think this is a good thing?!" the light green haired girl said, sounding a little hysterical.
"Oh, um," for a moment, Akane understood how her husband felt most of the time. "No, I just thought... Never mind what I thought." She shook her head.
"Wait, so, you believe me?" the younger girl asked, starting to calm down slightly.
"I'm used to it," Akane grumbled. "So, who are you?"
"Futaba Shimeru," the girl bowed, before thinking for a moment. "I'm sorry, who are you?"
"I'm Akane Tendo, the Drama teacher." Akane responded. "So, I'm guessing this is the first time you've turned into a girl."
Futaba looked at her incredulously.
"That's not as stupid a question as you might think," the teacher explained, looking a little embarrassed. "Have you ever been to China?"
Futaba stared blankly for a few moments, and was about to respond in the negative when Akane talked over her.
"No, you're too young for that," she muttered, just as the door to the shed swung open.
"Mom?" came a surprised voice, belonging to a form that was hard to see due to being silhouetted in the bright light from outside.
"Oh, hello Misaki-chan," Akane said, cheerfully, not noticing as Futaba tensed up. "What's with the pants?"
"One of my classmates ripped them, I'm sewing them up for him," the dark haired girl explained.
Akane looked between her daughter, the clothing she was carrying in one hand and the sewing supplies in the other. "You know, I've got some black thread in my office. I'll come and let you in."
"Right, black..." Misaki said, hiding the red spool she'd been holding in her satchel.
Turning back to Futaba, the older woman continued, "I suggest you talk to your parents about that problem you're having, and if you run into issues at school I'd be glad to help."
"Yeah, I will," Futaba said, dazed, as Akane and Misaki walked off. Pulling her robe around her body, she decided that she'd better take that advice and get home as soon as possible.
"So, red string, huh?" Akane asked, as she and Misaki walked down the hall, the latter still clutching onto her pair of pants. "Who's the lucky guy?"
"Mom!" the dark haired girl exclaimed, blushing. "It's not like that!"
"Well, I hope not, I wouldn't want my daughter making love slaves... especially when she's doing it wrong." Akane's expression was now rather disapproving.
"Wait... love slave?" Misaki asked, surprised. "But the book said..." Receiving an even look from her mother, she reluctantly produced a small book with an arrow-struck heart on the front and the words "Charms for the Desperately in Love."
Reading the marked page to herself, the blue-black haired woman sighed. "If you ever decide to nail straw dolls to trees, we're going to have problems."
"Um, sorry..." Misaki said, sounding embarrassed.
"You don't have any more charms from this book, do you?" Akane asked, leafing through pages and wincing at quite a few of them.
"No, That was the only one I tried!" Misaki said, quickly, beginning to fidget with the hem of her skirt.
Akane looked at her for a long moment, and then sighed. "Misaki, you can't lie... Just get rid of them, all right?"
"Yes, Ma'am," the girl said, quietly. Akane decided to let it go as they approached her office door.
Futaba stood on the walk in front of his house, trying to figure out what to do. He'd transformed back into a guy during the walk, and would have thought that he'd just gone insane in a really strange way, if it weren't for the fact that he was still wearing the big brown robe that Mrs. Tendo had given him and, of course, he was missing his pants.
Of course, at this point, even if he had gone nuts, he didn't really have any choice. He either entered the house, or walked halfway across the district in the robe to retrieve his clothes, and possibly ran into Misaki, or the wrestling team, in the process. Suddenly gaining some resolve, he walked up to the front door and pushed it open, calling tentatively inside. "I'm home."
He then started for his room, deciding that he'd rather be more presentable before asking his parents anything, but was stopped in his tracks by an amused voice from the door to the living room. "Hey bro, looking good," his older sister quipped, leaning against the doorframe.
The black haired boy blushed. "Shut up," he grumbled, starting for the stairs.
Futana seemed to consider this answer for a few seconds, before following him. "Did something serious happen?" she asked, actually sounding worried.
Futaba turned on the steps to look back at her, and was surprised to see that her expression matched her voice. At least until her eyes tracked down his body, and she started to chuckle. The boy followed her gaze, and yelped, quickly closing his robe and blushing brightly. "Damn it, Futana, stop that!" he yelled, and realized that his voice rose dramatically in the middle of his statement, and he could now feel something bulging the top of the robe where he held it closed.
"Ack!" the now green haired girl exclaimed, falling back onto her posterior on the steps. She barely noticed as her older sister quickly turned and charged into the living room.
"Dad, come quick, Futaba's become an adult!"
Misaki opened her locker, running an eye along the veritable wall of wards, charms and spells that coated the back of its door, and sighed, reaching up and placing the now fully repaired, and red thread-less, uniform pants in the cubby at the top. For some reason, she hadn't been able to find the boy all afternoon, and coupled with the fact that her mother had found out about her new charm booklet, the day wasn't going too well.
"Hey, what'cha doin?" The black haired girl nearly jumped out of her skin, slamming the door and leaning on it before she realized who the speaker was.
"Negiri," she sighed in relief, straightening up.
"Who'dja think it was, that guy you're always goin' on about?" the other girl asked, smirking.
"No, it's not that," Misaki shook her head. "Mom caught me trying one of my new charms again."
The other girl winced in sympathy. "I don't understand why they're so paranoid about all that superstitious mumbo-jumbo."
"Mom says it's better safe than sorry," Misaki grumbled. "And it's not Mumbo-jumbo."
Negiri just waved a hand dismissively. "So, did you hear what happened earlier?" At Misaki's blank look, she continued. "There was this girl runnin' around in nothin' but a guys' uniform top."
"Hmm?" Misaki grunted, noncommittally.
"Hmm?" Negiri's replication of Misaki's vocalization was nearly flawless. "Normally I could have sworn that would get a rise out of you. Are you that worried about your mom catching you with that thread thing?"
"Well, they said if I kept 'poking the supernatural with a stick,' they were going to start training me again."
"What's so bad about that? At least you'd have a really good exercise routine," the blonde girl questioned, curiously.
"I don't wanna be hit by rocks,!" Misaki shot back, before shivering violently.
"...right." Negiri said, slowly sidling away.
Akane hummed to herself as she swung the large wooden gate at the front of the Tendo Dojo open, walking down the path to the front door. She knocked on it once, before pushing it open and calling "I'm here!"
"Hello, Akane!" Soun's voice called from the living room. When she walked in, she saw that he was watching TV while fidgeting with a shogi board in mid-game. His daughter watched, raising an eyebrow as she saw him reach out casually with one hand, before smacking it down with the other.
"Having trouble there, Dad?" she asked, trying to hold back a chuckle.
"The art of deceiving one's own kinesthetic sense is the training of a true master," he harumphed.
"Nodoka kept Mr. Saotome from coming over again, huh?" Akane replied, frowning.
Soun nodded, before gesturing to the Dojo, the corner of which was visible through the open porch doors behind him. "Your husband's in there, training with Herb."
"Is he still trying to teach Ranma how to fly?" the young woman asked. Her question was answered a few seconds later, when a crash echoed from the Dojo, and Ranma appeared in the opening of the porch door, flying on a perfect arc towards the Koi pond. He recovered from his headlong flight halfway, and wavered slightly off course, but still ended up catching a rock at the edge of the pond and entering it with a loud splash.
Soun's mustache twitched with a repressed smirk, as Akane sighed. "Always water," she noted, still managing to be surprised after sixteen years of marriage.
As she looked on, Ranma was picking herself out of the pond, shaking a fish off of her leg back into the water, and muttering impolite things under her breath.
"I can't tell, are you getting better?" Akane asked, grinning.
Ranma gave her a baleful glare, though it lost most of its effect under drenched red bangs. "I'll get it," she said, resolutely.
"Now I know where Misaki gets it from," the taller woman mused. "She tried another one today. Red string of love."
"Great," Ranma muttered, shuddering as she recalled that incident. "Whoever this guy is, I kinda feel sorry for 'im."
"No overprotective paternal rage?" Akane asked, raising an eyebrow.
"That only happens when he knocks her up," Soun said, nodding his head sagely.
"DAD!" Akane yelled, mortified.
"Besides," Ranma chipped in, "I got a lot more demon heads before Misaki than after."
"They're ganging up on me…" Soun muttered.
Ranma ignored this, turning to her wife. "So, has she crossed the line yet?"
"She's got one more chance until I let you have her," Akane replied. "Besides, she's still not even doing it right."
"Oh, so we should only worry when she's summoned a Neko-mata or somethin'?" Ranma countered.
Akane pondered that for a moment, imagining both a cat demon and Neko-Ranma tearing apart their apartment. "I guess I should go stock up on the banishment wards… and catnip."
"Very funny," Ranma grumbled. "I thought you weren't gunna mention that again?"
Akane was about to speak up, when a white and blue haired man in a set of finely embroidered Chinese clothes cleared his throat at the porch door. "While I would love to hear about a story so humiliating that even Ranma is embarrassed by it, we will need to repair the hole in the Dojo wall before Kasumi gets home this afternoon."
"Oh yeah," Ranma scratched the back of her neck. "Forgot about that."
"Oh, Ranma!" Akane said, as the redhead turned to leave. "Something else happened; I think we might have another Jusenkyo cursed person at the school, or something similar."
"Huh," Ranma blinked. "What do they turn into?"
"A girl," Akane replied. "Though they were too young for direct exposure, I wonder if there's someone else with the drowned girl curse around?"
"Jusenkyo victims aren't very common. Having three in one city with the same curse would be… strange," Herb offered.
Ranma nodded. "Want me to come in and make sure the kid's not dangerous?"
"His aura looked okay to me," Akane responded, as her father seemed to be tracking the conversation like a tennis match. "Though with how scared he was, talking to someone who's had a curse for a while could help."
"I could…" Herb started, before Ranma cut in.
"Herb, you still sometimes scare bank tellers, I've got it." The dragon prince merely crossed his arms over his chest and hmphed. Ranma ignored this. "So we talk to Misaki… again… tonight, but first I've gotta help Herb with the wall."
Akane nodded. "I guess I can help out, too," she replied, following the other two as the exited the house, though her eyes widened slightly as she saw that half of the Dojo's rear wall was missing. "How did you…" She trailed off, as Ranma scratched the back of her neck again.
"Hmm," Ranma said, raising the reinforced ceramic spoon to eye level and studying it, then taking a bite. His eyebrow twitched for several seconds, before he swallowed. "Hmm, pretty good," he announced, and began scooping more of the slightly bubbling substance into his bowl. "You up the spices again, Akane?"
His wife nodded. "This one actually has some kick to it."
"...right…" Misaki replied from her own place, where she was eating a much less bubbly meal. She didn't quite understand how her parents could stomach her mother's curry, as it tended to wilt flowers at a meter. Hers, on the other hand, was pleasantly sweet… even if her mother teased her by pretending to go into insulin shock whenever she tried it.
Neither parent responded, though Ranma added a large spoonful of Misaki's pot to his bowl as well. The three enjoyed a companionable silence for the next few minutes, until Ranma finished his meal. "So, I heard you tried the red thread today," he commented.
Misaki threw a betrayed look to her mother, who merely shrugged. "I told you we weren't going to train you yet, not that I wasn't going to tell him," the blue-black haired woman explained.
"A deal's a deal," Ranma confirmed. "You get a set number of strikes, unless I've gotta come and beat somethin' up." He tilted his head to the side, curiously. "So who's the lucky guy, anyhow?"
Misaki considered not answering, though given her father was being surprisingly reasonable on the subject, she eventually spoke. "His name's Futaba Shimeru." Akane abruptly started choking on her last spoonful of food, something having evidently gone down the wrong pipe. Ranma moved quickly, bringing the flat of his hand down hard on her back several times, until she coughed up the blockage, which hit the table and began to sizzle.
"Somethin' wrong?" he asked, looking at her oddly.
"Nothing…" Akane croaked, reaching for a glass of water.
"The name is kinda strange, though," Ranma pondered, before shrugging it off. "Just be careful."
"I will," Misaki confirmed, before quite obviously changing the subject. "So, do you know how to fly yet?"
Ranma grimaced. "Hover, sorta, but I'm getting there."
Akane grinned. "As far as I can tell, it only works if it'll send you into the Koi pond."
Ranma glared, though Misaki giggled. "Maybe that's the secret," she offered. "If we set up a bunch of strategically placed Koi ponds…"
"Har har," Ranma grumbled.
Misaki stood, picking up her plate. "I'm going up to my room to study," she announced, turning to the kitchen. Once she'd dropped off her plate and headed down the hall, Ranma looked oddly at Akane.
"Okay, so what was the choking fit about?"
""That Jusenkyo curse victim I found," Akane explained. "She gave her name as Futaba Shimeru."
Ranma raised one hand to rub his forehead "...of course she did."
"So what are we going to do about it?" Akane asked.
Ranma blinked. "Do we need to do anything?"
"Hmm, Misaki's a smart girl," Akane started. "She should be able to figure it out for herself, and I really don't have the right to spread it around too far," she admitted.
Ranma shrugged. "Yeah, I guess you're right."
EXTRA - or - The Authors know they're updating less and want you to know how clever they think they are Theater! - or - Spoilers ahead for this fic and a couple of our others - or - *Thud* Okay, okay, I'll get on with it!
You may or may not notice some similarities between a few fics in the Jonabee co-authorship collection, including this one. There are three stories which 1) are about Ranma in the future and what type of screwed up family he has, 2) involve Herb marrying Kasumi, 3) have cringe-worthy titles, and 4) have Point-of-View Summaries. There are other things the other two have in common that this one does not yet, (Such as the presence of Yukari's class and cursed offspring.)
These stories aren't so similar simply because we ran out of ideas, (Honest!) They all came from a single thought experiment, which was basically running 'what happened after the wedding' as a chose your own adventure, then publishing the endings. It should be noted that this story is actually the first to spring from a 'good ending.'
Yes, this means that there are Arm Slaves in the Azumanga Daioh fic's universe, Chiyo Mihama may show up in this one, and Futana Shimeru may attempt to flirt with Kaname, or Sora.
We hope that despite the common themes, each story will be interesting enough on their own to be a fun read, especially since the series we chose were a slice of life comedy, military sci-fi, and an almost self-admitted Ranma knockoff with touches of Tenchi Muyo… literally.
Anyhow, now that that's over with the big questions. Should we even try to do this? Will anyone in Komatane even notice Ranma and Akane being involved? Will Futana survive the story? *Shrug* We dunno, why're you asking us? We're just the authors.