Ranma 1/2 is a trademark of Viz Communications, Inc. and was created by Rumiko Takahashi.
by Joe Fenton
Ranma sprawled on the floor in front of the television. He glanced over briefly as Nabiki entered the room. "Hey, Nabs."
Nabiki leaned against the wall. "Saotome - and don't call me Nabs. What's on?"
Nabiki watched him for a moment. "No challenges? No death threats? No special training?"
Ranma kept his attention on the TV. "Nope, nope, and nope."
"So where's Akane?"
Ranma shrugged. "I think she's with those friends of hers." He snorted. "Probably painting her toenails or something."
Akane sneezed, smearing the nail polish. She frowned as she repainted the nail.
Yuka spared her a glance. "Bless you!"
Akane rubbed her nose and wiggled her toes. "I hope I'm not coming down with something. Ranma is supposed to take me to a movie later."
Sayuri smirked. "Knowing how your dates go, Ranma will wind up demolishing the theater before you're half-way done.
Ranma sneezed, keeping his attention on the show.
Nabiki shuffled a little further away. "You aren't coming down with something, are you Saotome? I have plans that don't include getting sick."
Ranma gave her a glare. "I don't get sick."
Nabiki held up a finger. "What about that time -"
"I don't get sick!" Ranma interrupted her.
"Whatever you say, Saotome. So where are you and Akane going tonight?"
"She wants to go see that new movie."
Sayuri frowned. "Are you sure you're all right? You don't want to go out tonight if you're sick."
"I'm fine!" She frowned. "Probably just Kuno talking about me."
Kuno sneezed, tearing the poster of Akane in half. He stared disconsolately. "This must be the work of that foul sorcerer, Saotome."
Ranma sneezed again.
Nabiki frowned. "Are you sure you're okay?"
Ranma sat up. "I said, I'm fine! It's just someone talking about me... maybe Ryoga."
Ryoga cradled the lamp carefully. It supposedly had the power to cure his curse. A powerful sneeze caused him to squeeze the lamp just a bit too hard, crushing it. He stared at the ruined artifact. "DAMN YOU RANMA! THIS ALL YOUR FAULT!"
Ranma sneezed once more. Before Nabiki could speak, he cut her off. "I told you, I'm not sick!" He rubbed his nose. "Maybe it's an allergy - you aren't wearing new perfume, are you?"
Nabiki glared back. "Don't try to blame this on me. If I didn't know better, I'd think you were trying to get out of your date tonight."
"Yeah, right. Akane would kill me."
Akane sneezed again.
Yuka looked concerned. "That doesn't sound good. Maybe you should cancel your date."
Akane looked determined. "Not a chance. I'd take Happosai before missing this movie."
Happosai was reaching to grab his latest prize when a sneeze interrupted him. His target turned, catching the old pervert in the act.
Happosai ran for it. "Drat! I knew I should have brought the two morons along."
Soun and Genma sneezed simultaneously.
Genma took a sip of sake. "I got a bad feeling, Tendo."
Soun nodded. "I feel it too, Saotome. Perhaps we should get back home."
Genma shrugged. "Ranma's there. He can handle whatever it is."
Nabiki moved away as Ranma sneezed again. "Nothing personal, Saotome, but I can't take a chance that you actually have something."
Ranma glared, then turned back to the TV. "So go already. Nobody's keeping you here." He starting muttering to himself. "Stupid sneezing. I swear, if it's Kuno talking about me, I'm gonna flatten him at school Monday."
Kuno sneezed, tearing apart a poster of his pig-tailed goddess. He stared forlornly at the torn poster. "Verily, the retched cad Saotome has caused me to destroy yet another monument of my love for my pig-tailed goddess."
Ranma sneezed twice, then stood, raising a clenched fist. "Damn it! If I find who's talking about me, I'm gonna rip them a new one!" He shook his head ruefully. "Gah! I'm starting to sound like Ryoga."
The little black piglet sneezed, upsetting the kettle of water before it had a chance to heat up. It looked sadly at the spilled water. In cursed form, it was going to take him at least another hour to refill it.
"BWEE BWEE BWEE! BWEE BWEE BWEE BWEE!"
Ranma sneezed again. "Man! I need to get out of here." He headed for the door. "Maybe I'll run into the old man." He cracked his knuckles.
Genma sneezed. Soun took the opportunity to swipe Genma's drink.
Soun sipped the purloined sake. "You don't think - The Master - is around, do you?"
Happosai sneezed, missing the jump by a hair. He smashed into the side of the building, then fell before the group of enraged women who had been chasing him.
His eyes widened as the women closed in on him. "I'm going need some time with my sweet Ranma-chan after this."
Ranma sneezed, falling off the fence he had been walking on. He brushed himself off. "Maybe I am coming down with something. I might have to cancel my date with Akane."
Akane sneezed. Yuka put a hand to her forehead.
"Are you sure you feel fine? That didn't sound good at all."
Akane frowned. "I feel fine! I'm not missing that show! It's the last night it's playing."
Yuka giggled. "Just have Kuno buy you a print. He can afford it."
Kuno sneezed, scattering the photos around the room. "Mayhap mine sibling has something to counter this wretched condition."
Kodachi sneezed, allowing her opponent to flip her out of the ring. She gave a growl as the referee announced her loss. "Damn! It hasn't been the same since that wretched red-haired harridan arrived!"
Ranma sneezed, pausing just long enough to allow the old lady to hit him with a ladle-full of water.
"Oh my! That doesn't sound good at all, Deary. You should go right home and dry off."
Ranma ground her teeth and stomped off. "The way things are going today, I'll probably run into the old pervert."
Happosai sneezed, alerting the women that he was still conscious. They redoubled their efforts.
"Perhaps I should just grab Soun and Genma and go on a training trip out of town."
Soun and Genma sneezed.
"Most ominous." Soun frowned into his cup.
"Indeed." Genma frowned as well. "Perhaps we should lay low until whatever is up passes."
Soun stood. "Let's be off. I'm worried about Kasumi."
Kasumi sneezed. "Oh my! I hope it's someone talking about me."
Genma stood as well. "You aren't worried about Nabiki?"
Nabiki sneezed. "Damn it, Ranma! I told you I don't have time to be sick!"
Ranma sneezed. "That's it! I'm going to bed. To hell with all this."
Genma laughed. "Right. Forget I said anything."
Soun laughed as well. "Akane should be with Ranma, so she should be okay."
Ranma sneezed, then growled as she increased her speed home.
Akane sneezed. "I'd better go before anything worse happens. I'll see you at school tomorrow."
Yuka and Sayuri waved as she left the house.
Yuka shook her head. "A thousand yen says she never makes it to the theater."
Sayuri laughed. "You're starting to sound like Nabiki."
Nabiki held the cellular phone away as she sneezed. "Sorry. What was that again? Kodachi lost? How did that happen?"
Kodachi sneezed, sending a plume of sleeping powder from the flowers she intended to give to the 'victor' of the tournament.
Kodachi's teammates dragged their unconscious leader from the gymnasium.
One of the girls waved for a cab. "We'll drop her off at her house. Tatewaki-kun should be able to handle it from there."
Kuno sneezed. He jumped to his feet. "Enough! I must go and confront the source of this foul malady!"
The girl sneezed as she was giving the cab driver directions to the Kuno mansion. She stared in horror as the cab sped off. "Wait! That last part wasn't right!"
The other girls stared in shock. "Where do you think she'll end up?"
The first girl groaned. "The Kuno's will have me killed for certain."
One of the others laughed. "Actually, Tatewaki-kun will probably throw a party."
Kuno sneezed and slipped on the wet grass, tumbling into Mr. Turtle's pond. A brief struggle later, he managed to fight his way clear of the pond. He glanced at his ruined outfit. "Needs I must change. It would be unseemly to confront the wretched Saotome looking worse than his beggarly accouterments."
Ranma sneezed, missing her landing on the Tendo roof. She landed in a heap by the front door just as Akane entered the gate.
"Ranma! Why aren't you ready to go! The movie will be starting soon." She glared down at the red-headed girl, hands on her hips.
Ranma stood and brushed herself off. "I'm not sure I'm up to going out. Can we put this off 'til later?"
Akane grabbed her by the pig-tail, dragging her inside. "Not a chance. I'm not missing this movie for anything. Go get changed!"
Ranma finally got free and went upstairs to her room, muttering under her breath. "I'll bet Ryoga never has these problems with Akari."
Akari sneezed, causing Katsunishiki to stop suddenly. Akari tumbled off the large boar's back. "Fiddlesticks!" She brushed off her dress, then rubbed Katsunishiki behind an ear. "We'd best get back to looking for Ryoga."
Ryoga sneezed twice. As a result, he missed the announcement of the last stop before Azabu-Juban-cho. Ryoga stared out the window as the train started moving again. "Soon I'll be back in Nerima, and then I'll settle things with Ranma, once and for all."
Ranma sneezed as he dried his head with a towel. "I've been sneezing all day, Akane. I don't think I should be going out right now."
Akane grabbed him by the ear. "We're going to the movies, and nothing is going to stop us! Not a few sneezes, not Kuno -"
Kuno sneezed, tripped, and fell into a bed of Kodachi's toxic roses. "That's not good."
"- not Kodachi -"
Kodachi sneezed, then rubbed her head as she sat up. "Where in the world am I?"
"- not our fathers -"
Soun and Genma sneezed as they tried to sneak past the trampled form of Happosai.
"There you are! You lazy, untalented, ungrateful students!" He glared as the pair prostrated before him.
"- not Happosai -"
Soun and Genma ran flat out as Happosai was distracted by a sneeze.
"- not Shampoo -"
Shampoo sneezed, adding too much of the powder into the pot. She frowned as the pot started smoking. "That not good."
"- not even Kami-sama himself -" She paused as a massive super-bolt of lightning struck nearby. "Nothing is going to prevent me from seeing this movie!"
Ranma rolled his eyes. "Sheesh! You don't have to make a production out of it. Let's just go before Ryoga or someone else shows up."
Ryoga sneezed. This startled the girl with long blond tails done up in meatballs standing next to him, causing her to dump her drink on him.
The girl and her friends looked in shock at the little black piglet. "Youma!"
The piglet got very nervous. 'This isn't good.'
Akane rolled her eyes. "Really Ranma. You aren't nearly as important to the universe as you seem to think. Ryoga isn't just going to appear from nowhere and attack."
The little piglet sneezed, helping it avoid a Moon Healing Escalation... which was too bad, since it would have cured his curse. All his curses in fact.
"Besides, if Ryoga appears, all we have to do is give Akari a call."
The little piglet sneezed, giving away it's hiding place.
Ryoga barely escaped being fried to a crisp.
Akari sneezed, drawing attention to herself.
"BWEE!" Ryoga leaped into her arms.
"Ryoga! I found you!" Akari hugged her oft-missing boyfriend.
"So, the mistress of the youma finally appears - with more youma!"
Akari stared, puzzled, at the cheerleaders arranged around her.
Ranma muttered to himself. "You should have more concern for whoever's fighting him."
The blond girl with the tails sneezed, interrupting her speech. Katsunishiki took this opportunity to attack. The grandchampion sumo pig wasted little time flattening his opponents.
Akari nodded. "Good work, Katsunishiki. Let's go home."
The little pig in her arms took the opportunity to give the trampled girls a raspberry.
The cheerleader with brown hair done in a long pony-tail struggled to her feet first. "Ohhhhhh - I say we pretend this never happened."
The others nodded as they struggled to their feet as well.
Akane and Ranma were walking back home through the dark evening.
"See? Everything went fine." Akane was a little surprised about that, but chose not to express that surprise.
Ranma didn't. "I'm rather surprised. I can't imagine how we managed to get an evening alone. I'd have bet good money that one of the other fiancees would have shown up."
Shampoo sneezed, then resumed watching as the Nerima fire department hosed down the Cat Cafe.
Ukyo sneezed, then wondered what everyone else was doing. They were probably as bored as she was.
Akane was just as glad they didn't show for once. "Or the Kunos."
Tatewaki pulled himself from the flower bed, then stopped to sneeze. "Mayhap I should rest a little." He fell unconscious again.
Kodachi sneezed. She looked around at all the other girls in leotards. Why in the world had her teammates sent her to the auditions for a cosplay series?
Kasumi smiled as Ranma and Akane swapped their shoes for house slippers. "How was the movie?"
Akane beamed. "It was great! I'm glad I got to see it in the theater. It won't be nearly as good on TV."
Ranma shrugged. "I don't see what all the fuss was about, but I'll take any time off without a challenge."
Kasumi looked surprised. "Oh my! How unusual! What do you suppose happened?"
Ryoga growled as he towelled off. "I don't know what was going on today, but I'm sure it must be all Ranma's fault."
Akari smiled. "Just forget about Ranma for awhile."
Kuno fell on his bed. "Tomorrow - yes, tomorrow I shall confront the source of torment in mine life - Ranma Saotome."
Kodachi thought about it. Maybe if she landed the part, Ranma would see her on his TV and rush to be with her. "Oh, Ranma-sama!"
Cologne balanced on her staff next to Shampoo. "Didn't I tell you not to try it? Son-in-law cannot be won with potions."
Shampoo looked downcast. "Shampoo sorry. Was thinking of Airen instead of what Shampoo doing."
Ukyo sighed as she leaned against the counter in her restaurant. "I wonder if Ran-chan is as bored as I am?"
Happosai gave a satisfied sigh as he rubbed a silk slip against his cheek. "Ranma-chan will look great in this!"
Soun gave Genma a sideways glance. "Ranma better be looking after my girls."
Genma waved him off. "The boy knows his duty."
Nabiki picked up a bottle of cold medicine. "Maybe I can pick something up for Ranma - for a price of course!"
Ranma collapsed in a fit of sneezing. The girls watched in concern until the fit passed.
Akane helped him up. "Are you okay? What happened?"
Ranma shook his head. "I don't know. I thought I was over the sneezing."
Kasumi gave him a concerned look. "You'd best go straight to bed. I'm sure you'll be better in the morning."
Ranma nodded, then headed for the stairs. Right as he reached them, Kasumi gave a small sneeze. He turned back for a moment.
Author's Notes: Yay! I'm writing again! Hope I don't take as much time off as the last time...