Floating Soul

a Ranma1/2 fanfiction
by Ukyou Kuonji

So I'm walking on the fence, on my way to school as usual, right?
Akane's at my heels, half-staring at me -- probably still mad at me
about *something;* she usually is -- when I hear a familiar phrase
in a familiar voice:
Yup. Ryoga.
I suppose I oughta be grateful; it's been a while since I'd heard
from him. It's kinda nice t'know he's still alive. Y'never know,
lost out there, the sort of things that could happen to him. Still,
his greeting leaves a lot to be desired, at least from a cordiality
standpoint. It's not even like I know what I've done to get him
mad this time. Not as if it matters, either.
On the other hand, ya gotta give him full marks for style, eh?
Diving down outta the sun, umbrella poised like some jungle native's
spear... it'd be a terrifying sight, if I wasn't me.
Of course, I really shouldn't just stand there admiring his
approach for so long. Sure, I dodge his `brolly, but as he
descends, our heads meet with a thunk I just barely hear before
everything goes black, and I'm (presumably) tumbling off the
fence onto the street.

The next thing I know, I'm waking up with a massive headache.
And here's Akane, still standing between the two of us. So I get up
and grab her hand.
"C'mon, Akane. We gotta get going. We're gonna be late for
school." And I start running, practically dragging her behind me.
"I can't *believe* you decided t'wait f'r us t'wake up. Geez."
"Let GO of me! What about...?"
"Ah, don't worry about him. He's got a thick skull, he can take it.
Hey - why're you pulling so hard, Akane?"
"I said, let GO! You'll get us both lost!"
"What're you talking about? I know my way t'school like the back
of my hand."
"And how well do you know the back of your hand, hmm?"
"What's that s'posed t'mean, you kawaiikune tomboy?!" Now, she
stops running completely, and jerks me to a stop. She looks right
into my eyes -- damn, that's uncomfortable.
Huh? "Yeah? What's with *you*?" She reaches into her bookbag
and starts rifling around.
"More accurately, what's with *you*?"
"Hunh?" She pulls out a compact.
"See for yourself." She holds the compact up so that I can see my
Or rather, Ryoga's face.

I sink to my knees. "What the hell...?"
Akane just shakes her head. "I don't know how it happened, Ranma,
but you seem to be in Ryoga's body."
I stand up and dust off Ryoga's black pants. "You don't say..."
"Which means, presumably, he's in yours."
"Well, duh."
"Cut it out, Ranma, this could be serious! How are you going to
get back into your own body?"
Okay, I'm stumped. And when that happens, there's only one thing
to do. The Saotome Secret Technique: Run.
"We'll deal with it later, Akane. The least we can do is get you
to school on time, okay? Maybe `Ryoga' will just have to fill in
for me, is all." I take her hand, and together we charge toward
Furinkan High.

Actually, I'm starting to warm up to the idea of being Ryoga for
a while. Hey, I'm her fiancee: why shouldn't *I* get a crack at
sleeping with her now and then instead of Ryoga, huh? No sense
buying a pig in a poke... erm... pardon the expression. And hey –
this body's as fit as mine, maybe even more so, with all his walking
and everything. My skill and his strength; hey, we may have a real
winner here.
I'm jarred out of my contemplation by a rather insistent voice
calling out at us.
"Akane Tendo, I challenge you!" Oh, brother. It's Kuno.
I turn to her, still running. "D'ya mind if I take this one?"
"I'm not a weakling, you know."
"Never said you were. Just wanna test out this new body.
Besides, `Ranma's already gonna be late `cause he can't find the
school. We can get you in okay, though, IF you don't stop to fight
this lunkhead."
She smiles. Gosh, she really is cute when she does that. "Okay,
sure. Go get him, tiger." I shudder.
"Please... don't mention cats to me, okay? I'm still Ranma, you
"Oops. Sorry. Anyway, thanks." She darts ahead. I speed up
in order to run interference for her. My path's gonna take me right
between her and Kuno. He's not so dumb as to not notice I'm doing
it intentionally.
"Stand aside, knave. My fight is not with you."
"Oh, yes it is. If you wanna fight Akane, you gotta go through me
first!" I've got my head down, and I'm barreling at him like a wild
bull. I figure I'll charge into his stomach and knock the wind outta
him. What I'm not counting on is him dropping to one knee to
intercept me.
KLONK! His head hits mine, and I'm down for the count again.
This just isn't turning out to be my day, is it?

I wake to another one of those headaches. My hand goes to my
forehead, and all at once it strikes me: I'm not wearing a bandana.
Oh, no. Here we go again.
Well, at least I'm getting an idea of how to get back. All I gotta
do is find Ryoga, hit his head with mine, and I can be back where
I belong. Still, maybe the cure's worse than the disease. I'm
telling ya, my head's throbbing like a conga drum...

Anyway, I'm trying to get my bearings, and I see Akane. She's
bent over Ryoga's body
"Ranma! Ranma! Wake up! Please!" Gosh, you'd think she cared
about me or something. Now if she'd only get the right guy...
I prop myself up to a sitting position, resting on my elbows. "I
think you'd better refer to him as `upperclassman', Akane."
She blinks once, twice at `Ryoga', then drops him. He lands
hard -- crunch. Ow. That'll hurt. She walks over to me. "You
mean... it happened again?"
I hoist myself up, using Kuno's bokken as a crutch. "It would
seem as if." Now that I'm standing, I flip the bokken onto my
shoulder. "Well, so much for having `Ryoga' stand in for me today.
I suppose you'd better tell Miss Ninomiya that I'm not feeling like
myself today, and I called in sick. It looks like I'm off to Kuno's
classes. Ya think Nabiki will understand?"
This girl's got a diabolical glint in her eye. "I don't think you
should tell her." Then she whispers something in my ear. I can't
help grinning at her suggestion. Yup. These two are sisters, after
all. Devious as weasels, let me tell you.

"So, Kuno-baby... that was quite a pounding you and Ryoga-kun
gave each other."
"Yeah, er... Indeed it was, Nabiki Tendo. My head still throbs
from the force of the impact. Still, as some comedian once put it,
`You shoulda seen the other truck.' I am proud to say I gave as
good as I got, and better."
She cocks her head at my quote. "You feeling okay, Kuno-baby?"
Oops. That was outta character, wasn't it?
"I'm, uh, I am in fine fettle, Miss Tendo. Now, if you'll excuse
me, class is about to start, ne?" I can't talk with Nabiki like this
for very long. It's not easy to keep up this Shakespearean pose,
I'll tell you. Especially when, on the inside, you're laughing fit
to bust a gut. If what was happening to me weren't so unbelievable,
Nabiki should be able to see right through me. As it is, she just
thinks Kuno-chan's a wee bit stranger than normal, and it would
appear that for now, she's gonna chalk it up to that head butt this
morning with `Ryoga'.

At lunch, I'm picking reeeal carefully through Kuno's bento. Ya
gotta remember, this is probably Kodachi's cooking we're talking
about. It smells good, it tastes good, but ya never know with that
girl and her, uh... secret ingredients.
And here comes Nabiki again, sashaying over to my desk, and sitting
herself down just this close to `my' bento. I look up, slowly.
"Nabiki Tendo... are you *trying* to get shoyu on your uniform so
you can stick me with the dry-cleaning bill?"
She looks hurt. I gotta admit, this girl's cute when she pouts.
Still, I'm not impressed. I know it's an act, whether or not the
*real* Kuno does. "Moi?"
"That's right. Vous." Okay, now I gotta get into character again.
"Now, what draws you to the noble Kuno eminence this day?"
"What else? Business."
I decide to sound bored. "Do tell."
"Got some more of the usual, Kuno-baby."
I think I know what she's talking about, but I wanna make sure.
"The usual?"
"Geez, you really *did* get a bad knock from Ryoga, now, didn't
you? I got photos of Akane and the pig-tailed girl for you. Get me
some ice cream, and I'll letcha see `em."
Now to act on Akane's suggestion: I put on a classic Kuno look
of disdain, as if she were offering me a half-full cuspidor. "I have
no interest in your wares, Nabiki Tendo. I will have no truck with
that foul sorcerer Saotome, regardless of his apparent feminine
charms. As for your younger sister, well..."
But I don't need to continue. She's sufficiently shocked that
I've -- er, that Kuno's -- figured out the connection between me
-- er, Ranma -- and the pigtailed girl. Of course, now the shock's
melting into severe disappointment. Heaven only knows how much
these pictures bring in for her on a regular basis. I decide to at
least appear to console her. Of course, now I'm winging it...
"Lose not heart, Nabiki Tendo. You have not lost your most valued
customer. Let it be known that I would be willing to *triple* my
usual price for *naked* pictures..." Ah, Kuno's enough of a pervert
that this'd be believable.
I can see yen signs flashing in Nabiki's eyes. She shrugs. "Hey,
that can be arranged.."
Now, I go in for the kill: "...of *you*."
You see people facefault in manga and anime all the time. This
time, it's for real. There's a crash, and the next thing I know,
Nabiki's on the floor, on her butt, looking like she's been hit with
a freight train. Pity Akane's not here to see it. Priceless.
A few minutes pass before she picks herself up. With a mumbled
"Lemme think about it," she retreats to her own desk, not to bother
me again for the rest of the school day.

The rest of the day goes smoothly, aside from a pop quiz from
Mr. Furusawa in biology. I figure it serves Kuno right for not being
in class, and I intentionally botch every last question. I figure
Kuno probably wouldn't do that much better himself.

So now that school's out, where do I go? Akane knows it's me, so
I guess I'm welcome at the dojo. On the other hand, no one *else*
knows, so maybe that wouldn't go over too well after all. Especially
not with Nabiki. Obviously, I'd be welcome at the Kuno mansion,
but do I really wanna go there?
Now I'm hearing a loud growling noise. Okay, that settles it.
Either the Neko-Hanten or the Ucchan. As hungry as I am, I know
Kasumi's gonna have dinner ready in only a few hours. Maybe a
little soup to tide me over. Yep, ramen. Oh... wait a minute... I
rifle around my shirt and pants pockets... Kuno's *gotta* have money
on him. I'm not gonna get a free meal, since I'm not Ranma. Or at
least, Shampoo won't know I am, anyway... Ah! Here we go! I fish
out a small money pouch, bulging with bills. Cool.

"Welcome to Neko-Hanten! Please take seat, sir." I've never had
the opportunity to observe how Shampoo behaves when I'm not around.
To some extent, it's nice to walk into a restaurant and not get
glomped immediately upon entering. I nod my thanks and take an
empty table nearby.
"I'll have the..." Uh-oh. I can't order `the usual.' She doesn't
know it's me (and I'd like to keep it that way for now), and I don't
know if Kuno's a sufficiently regular customer to *have* a `usual,'
or whether I'd even like something that that jerk likes. "...the menu,
if you please." She smiles sweetly and hands me a menu. From the
look in her eye, I'd almost think she knew.. but then again, I
usually flirted with the customers when I worked here myself. Could
be the same thing going here.
You know, it's been a while since I even bothered to look at the
Neko-Hanten menu. Gotta see what they have here... hey, when'd
they add hum ha to their menu?
Uh-oh. Here comes Mousse, with a dozen water glasses and several
bowls of ramen. So, the old hag's got *him* doing that balancing
thing now, eh? He's not doing too bad, either.. assuming he sees
where he's heading.. right at me.. oh, crap! I just *know* he's
gonna trip and spill everything on me.
Oh, hey.. that's right! Hot and cold water doesn't affect me in
Kuno's body! Go ahead, Mousse, trip if you must.. it won't bother
BONG. Then again..

So I'm waking up from yet another collision, and now it's not
enough I've got a headache; this time I can hardly see. Is this
what happens after too many blows to the head? I mean, it shouldn't
be... it's never the same head, right?
Oh, wait a minute. I'm in Mousse's body. No wonder I can't see.
Now I gotta rummage around in this robe, see where he keeps his
glasses... nope, that's a chain... grappling hook, another chain...
damn, I gotta look like Harpo Marx, dropping all this cutlery. So
where the bleep does he keep his glasses?
"Left side, by the chest -- next to the heart, after all. The eyes
are the windows unto the heart, are they not?" Is that Kuno's voice?
Oh, yeah... it's Mousse in there now. Well, he's certainly got the
character down pretty well, doesn't he? I reach in as directed, and
find a vest pocket. Five pairs of glasses spill out. I put one on,
and bend down to gather the others up.
"Five pairs, Mousse? Ain't you the good Scout, ne?"
"The way I get banged up around here, five is hardly enough."
True enough. But considering the punishment he's referring to,
he's being awfully calm about it. "As a matter of fact, I should
probably be ordering more soon. Or rather, *you* should be ordering
more soon."
Wait a minute.. "Me? Why me?"
"Because, Kuno.."
"Ranma, actually." A thin smile spreads over his face.
"Really. Have you been floating like this all day?"
"Floating?" I sit myself down across from him at the table.
"That is what I would call it. Your soul has been floating from
one body to another, ne? Has this been going on all day?"
"Pretty much. What do you know about this?"
He shrugs. "Nothing, really." Damn. For a moment, I thought he
might be behind all this. Still...
"Yeah, well you're takin' it in stride for just having it sprung
on ya like this."
Another shrug. "Between the things I've seen in the Joketsuzoku
village and here in Nerima, nothing can surprise me anymore. This
is a minor convenience compared to some of the things I have seen.
You too, Saotome, should be used to this."
He's got a point. "Can't argue with ya. Wait a minute... did you
say `minor convenience'? Don'tcha mean IN-convenience?" I get
another thin smile and a shake of the head.
"Not at all. You have my life now, and welcome to it. And I have
Kuno's. A wealthy scion versus a lowly waiter. I think you can
understand why I'm in no hurry to return..." As if to emphasize
his point, an empty ramen bowl flies out from the kitchen and hits
me on the back of the head.
I stand up and spin around. "Hey, what's the big idea?!"
The old ghoul is sitting on her stick just outside of the kitchen.
And she's annoyed. "You're not here to chat with the customers,
Mister Part-Timer. Back to the kitchen with you. We've got pots
and pans with your name on `em." Grrr... if she only knew whose
name that was...
Mousse/Kuno stands as if to leave, drawing himself up in the
time-honored Kuno fashion. "Well, thank you for your time. I shall
repair to the Kuno mansion." He reaches for Kuno's money pouch,
and proffers me a bill. "This should cover my order. I am sorry I
shall not stay for its arrival, but my appetite for ramen seems to
have fled. Mousse..." and he nods to me, "...Shampoo..." he bows
deeply. She giggles at the formality of his farewell, and I can tell
he's enjoying this immensely. This is more attention than that girl
ever shows him when he's himself. And he strides out the door,
with a broad grin on his face.
Then it hits me -- he's left me in the lurch! Stuck in his body!
And he's not coming back for it! Well, hey... I'll bet I can still
make him want to come back. After all, why does he take all that
abuse he was just complaining about? I burst into the kitchen: "All
right, Shampoo. This is it. Like it or not, I want you. I want you
bad, and I want you now. So, you'd better fight me and fight hard
if you don't wanna be mine, understood?"
It's all she can do not to laugh. "Silly Mousse. No can beat
Shampoo!" Somehow, her anger I could have dealt with much better.
Being laughed at, however, gets me riled. Even though she's not
really laughing at *me,* and I know it, she's still laughing at the
body I'm in, and that's almost the same...
I set my jaw. "Humor me."
Her eyebrows go up; I can practically hear her think "He serious?"
But she gets into a ready stance. "Mousse foolish man... but Shampoo
will fight." And she begins throwing punches.
I realize Mousse is hardly a match for me, and I'll bet when he
tries to fight Shampoo he's too lovestruck to actually come out and
do serious battle. But it's embarrassing... Shampoo's pulling her
punches, and I can tell. I'm parrying each of them without even
thinking about it. Heck, I could win this with my eyes closed.
Then she reaches up and, while she doesn't manage to touch me,
she does knock my glasses off. Okay, it's my fault for saying I
could beat her with my eyes closed. Looks like I'll haveta make
good on that. I'm still blocking every punch... and now she's about
to kick. Fine. I dodge the kick, and at the same time, I sweep her
other foot out from under her... and down she goes.
She looks up, blinking with surprise. "That no fair! Shampoo
not try fight Mousse hard enough."
"So I noticed. Gonna do this for real, then?" I reach down for
the pair of glasses on the floor.
She stands up. "Shampoo fight for real, yes." And with a scream,
she comes bearing down on me. Once again, I get out of the way,
and sweep her foot as her momentum takes her past me. This time,
when she goes down, she hits her head on the floor. Out cold. The
old ghoul hops in, having heard the clattering.
"What's going on... Shampoo!" She bounces off of her cane to
check on her little girl, then, throws an accusing glare at me.
"What did you do to her?"
"I defeated her. Twice. As Amazon law requires, ne?" She gapes
at me in astonishment. I'm grinning broadly, inside and out: THIS
oughta persuade Mousse to come back, AND it oughta get Shampoo off
my back once and for all. "You can ask her, when she comes to. Now,
if you'll excuse me..." and I grab a handy pail of water and dump it
on my head. For all I know, that old ghoul is still staring out the
door I flew outta.

Hey, this is cool. A bird's eye view of Nerima. Just as long as I
make sure I've still got glasses on. All at once, I see a red flash.
My shirt! It's Ryoga.. I suppose. Well, whoever it is, it's my body,
and I'm gonna take it back right now. I take a deep breath, and
start my approach... it's kamikaze time.
Whoever it is that's in my body turns to look at the last second,
but it's too late for him to dodge. I hit him square on the head,
and drop to the pavement before the lights go out this time.

By the time I wake up this time, the duck seems to be long gone.
Oh, well. Guess I'll never know if that really was Ryoga or not.
Speaking of which...
"Saotome, you craven cur! What sorcery have you wrecked upon my
noble person this time?" and I'm grabbed by the collar. Y'know, if
it weren't for the speech, I'd swear Ryoga made it back into his own
body already. That choke hold, it's so... him.
"Heya, Kuno.."
"Silence, fool! Look at me!"
"Yeah? You look like Ryoga. So?"
"'So?' `SO?' Is that all you can say, after having somehow gotten
me to exchange my corporeal form for that of that peasant Hibiki?"
"No, it's not *all* I have to say..."
There's a pause while I wait for him to overheat. Patience is not
a Kuno family virtue.
"Well?" Right on schedule. "You were about to say something else?"
face. The force of my yelling knocks him over, and he releases me.
"Thank you, Kuno. Anyway, I'm sorry about what happened to ya, but
I have no idea how it happened, okay? But as long as you're so
firmly convinced I'm a sorcerer -- and after today, I suppose I could
understand why -- how about letting my `sorcery' work for you, huh?"
"What kind of foul magic would you propose to work on my behalf?
And why should I trust you, at any rate? It is because of you, is it
not, that I inhabit this strange form? Do you have the means to
restore me to myself?"
"Ah... not exactly. But I think I've figured out how it works.
All ya gotta do is find whoever it is that's walking around in your
body, and then knock yerself out."
"'Knock myself out?' What mean you by such a provincial
colloquialism as that?"
"Take it on face value, Kuno. Hit your head against his, and
when ya wake up... bang! There ya go, good as new! With a slight
headache, I oughta point out, but hey... small price to pay for
normality, ne?"
It seems he's actually considering this. "This might actually make
sense. I think I do remember colliding with the Hibiki knave this
morning and waking up in his form somehow.." While he's thinking
(to what extent he can, anyway), I'm coming up with an idea of my
"Oh, hey, Kuno. Before you go and do that, I've got a suggestion.
You know, you can use that form to your advantage, you know..."
"Advantage? What advantage could any body hold over the mighty
oak that is Tatewaki Kuno, the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High?"
Lightning crackles in the distance. Someday, I gotta find out how
he does that.
"Well... how about time well spent with your Tendo Akane?" Now,
don't you all start lookin' at me like that. If Ryoga was back in
his own body, you *know* he'd splash himself and make the Hibiki
version of a beeline for Akane's bedroom. Why not suggest it to
Kuno? I'm no Nabiki, but this information has *gotta* be worth
"Time well spent?"
"In her bed, even." I start walking toward the Kuno mansion.
"You have my attention." He follows.

After I encourage him to break into his own house to get adequate
funds for this information (`cause Ryoga doesn't carry that much yen
around with him), I'm now some twenty-five thousand yen richer. As
he counts out the money, he mutters some dark threats about someone
being in the house who looks like him. Poor Mousse. Now that he's
free of Shampoo and Cologne's punishment, he's gonna start gettin'
it from Kuno.
"All right, there you are. Now, how does this body allow me to
date with the lovely Akane Tendo?"
"Did I say anything about a date, Kuno? I said you can spend time
with her in her bed. And wipe your nose... you're gonna get blood
all over your face."
He does so. "Whatever. Now, how does this work?"
"Like this." I spot a hose nearby, and spray him. Instant P-chan.
"You are now Akane's precious pet pig, P-chan. She'll treat you like
a teddy bear, and you'll love every minute of it, won'tcha? Just
steer clear of warm water, because it'll change ya back. And there
are gonna be times when that's not a healthy thing to have happen."
The pig begins to squeal in some kinda weird rhythm, and then it
hits me -- it's iambic pentameter. The goof; must be quoting a
sonnet in honor of Akane Tendo. If only he had a clue to how silly
he looked -- even more so than when he does it in human form.
"Yeah, yeah. Willya stop soliloquizing, and getcher piggy ass over
to the dojo? You wanna do this, or not?" The pig glares at me, then
trots off. And just in time, too. Akane shows up from a nearby street.
"Ranma, is that you? You're back?"
"Yup. Dive-bombed Ryoga. Now he can get lost that much faster."
Now, I'm not really sure if Akane really has a thing for Ryoga or not,
but she I know she doesn't like it when I tease him. So she gets into
that stern-face stance: hands on her hips, scowl on her face, that
sorta thing.
"Ranma! That's not a nice thing to say about Ryoga!" The stern
face isn't holding up, though. She's gonna laugh.. yes! She *is*
laughing. "You mean... he's a duck? He's Mousse?"
"Until he finds hot water, yeah." We start back for the dojo.
"Y'know, that was kinda fun, but it's nice to be back."
She nods. "Still, I wonder how the others are gonna get back into
their rightful bodies."
"Same way I did, I guess. Crash into each other. Should be fun,
seeing how long it's gonna take for them to sort it all out."
"Uh-huh. Say, Ranma..."
"*What* did you say to Nabiki, anyway? She got home, and went
straight into the bath with her Nikon and a tripod!"
"You're kidding! So... she really *does* have a price, ne?"
Now she's giving me a quizzical look. "A price? What are you
talking about?"
"All in good time, Akane. Should be interesting when she gets
those photos to whoever's in Kuno's body by then, though..."
"You DIDN'T!" Mock horror, which breaks into another grin.
"Well, hey... serves her right for all those photos she's taken
of us, ne?"

And so we arrive at the dojo. "Tadaima!" I'm charging in, headed
straight for my room. I wanna make sure it *is* me, ne?
"Oh, welcome home, Ranma, Akane. How was your day? I've got
dinner ready in just a few -- Ah!"

Once again, I'm waking up. And I hear my voice, but it's not me
"Oh my!"
Oh, no..



Well, I took a stab at a Ranma-Akane pairing for the FFML and got
quite a mixed response. A few folks even insisted that I stick to
darkfics from now on. With all due respect, here's another such
pairing (although to be sure, it's more incidental to the story) and
a more comic plot (at least, I hope so); I'm still trying to prove I
can write comedy. (Is this how Chet Gould felt when Dick Tracy
took off?)

Unfortunately, my writing's probably gonna taper off during the
holidays, as real-life duty calls (Yes! We do parties and catering!
Call The Ucchan at 1-555-SPATULA for details!), so I probably
shouldn't promise much. But I am hoping to knock out a shortfic
relating to the upcoming Olympic Games to be held in Japan (has
anyone considered such a story out here yet?), and I'm also working
on an epic tentatively entitled "Ranma 5/2," which I won't be
submitting until the first few parts are good and ready for it.

Let me know what you think of this one at:


Until then, ja!

Itsu mo,
Ucchan ^_^