After a long time here is the first half of Skipping a Groove. Sorry it took so long. I'm updating several fics and posting a bit of new stuff So you guys get this half now. The other half will be posted in a few days to a week I think. I'm trying to get a lot of other fics ready as I fell a bit behind schedule.

Ranma's eyes fluttered open slowly as she stretched her arms out feeling oddly content and energetic considering her temporarily weakened state. "That was some dream." The redhead muttered to herself as she spied the likely source of inspiration for her dreams. After staring at the book for a few moments while she allowed herself to relive some of the fading memories from the dream while comparing it to the story she shook her head ruefully and muttered, "Well… It's definitely perverted… But… Wow… I'll be dammed if it wasn't enjoyable." Shifting her legs slightly under the sheets Ranma's face took on a rather embarrassed expression as she mentally chastised herself, "I can't believe that I just had one of 'THOSE' dreams… in a hospital no less… At least there's a plastic liner under the sheets… It could have been worse…" Nodding her head in self agreement she continued, "Yeah I could have had "that' type of reaction to a Kuno nightmare back at the dojo."

Shifting in the bed again as her lower body tried to escape a rather large damp spot Ranma muttered dejectedly, "Might as well get up… I'm not going to be comfortable here… Not with that wet spot anyway…" Giving the likely source of her rather erotic dream one last glance Ranma muttered, "Not really the sort of reading that one would expect for a cultural book…" turning her thoughts toward a few specific Chinese Amazons she replied to herself, "Then again at least kisses hear don't mean an engagement or death depending on gender…"

Sitting up and swinging her feet off of the bed Ranma had a sudden realization. Hopping to her feet to test her theory she grinned happily, "Yes…" she hissed in triumph, "I'm healed…" Jumping up and down in celebration the teen immediately amended her previous statement while clutching onto the side of the bed for supporting with a very weak sounding, "Yay… I'm mostly healed…. Now if only the room would stop spinning I could take a shower and clean up."


At the same time in a training area


"No, Naruto. Not until after you have mastered this exercise."

"Oh come on Sensei…" Naruto pleaded from his position under a tree where he was sitting with a leaf in his hands, "This is boring. I want to learn an awesome Jutsu not some lame…" Trailing off as he tried to remember what exactly the small exorcise was supposed to do Naruto asked, "What was this supposed to do again?"

Shaking his head and covering his one visible eye with the palm of his hand The one eyed Nin restated, "This exercise is supposed to help you with your Chakra control."

"What are you talking about? I have great control." Naruto shouted as he launched up to his feet in protest.

"Naruto…" Kakashi started slowly while wondering what could have possibly led him to believe that taking on a student would have been a good idea. Sighing sadly as he recalled his reasons the masked nin continued, "You have horrible Chakra control… You can't even perform the three most basic of the academy Jutsu's." Seeing the blonds face contort into what was most likely going to be a rather loud protest he added, "No your Sexy no Jutsu doesn't count."

Chuckling nervously as he remembered testing it out on the Jonin that very morning Naruto replied, "But it's an awesome technique…"

"Regardless, " Kakashi stated while holding back a shudder at the memory, "You need to work on your control if you are ever going to properly perform those Jutsu's and graduate." Seeing the crest fallen look adorn the usual cheery blonds face Kakashi sighed and said, " Well we have about a week… Right?"

"Yeah…" Naruto said glumly as he looked down at his feet."

"Come on… None of that now…" Kakashi tried as he eye smiled at the sullen preteen, "A week is more than enough time for you to master this little exercise and the three Jutsu's."

"You think so?" Naruto asked as he began to resettle himself back down on the ground.

Taking a knee to put him a little closer to eyelevel Kakashi replied, "I know so… Now come on you only have another thirty minutes before you have to leave for the academy."

Nodding his head in determination the blond youngster bragged, "Well that's more than enough time for me to get this."

"That's the spirit."


After switching out her bed sheets with a conveniently placed fresh set that she found in the closet Ranma made her way into the bathroom. Slipping off the hospital gown that she had worn to bed she glanced at her reflection in the mirror and frowned. Reaching up to trace her faces reflection in the mirror she sighed having not realized just how badly her hair had been mangled from the surgery. Glancing at her bound pigtail she shrugged helplessly, remembering that the effects of the dragon whisker soup had worn of some time ago.

Reaching into the shower she set the water on a luke warm setting while removing the dragon whisker from her hair and tying it securely to the towel rack so that she would not lose it.

Not seeing any steam coming from the water cascading out of the shower head Ranma muttered, "I'll just have to be careful, can't stay male too long… Don't want anyone accidentally finding out about the curse…"

Stepping into the water the natural redhead shuddered and gasped out, "Gah… That's cold…" After spending a minute to adjust to the cold water Ranma did one last active scan with her ki to make sure that she wasn't going to be getting any unexpected visitors. Satisfied that the only person close enough was the ninja guarding her room from unwanted visitors Ranma relaxed and prepared to turn on the hot water.

Turning on the hot water Ranma sighed in contentment letting the warm fluid wash over her working in conjunction with the rather pleasant dream that she had just woken from to alleviate a lot of her pent up frustrations at being temporarily displaced with no idea on how she had gotten there.

Shock and panic quickly started to take over though as two very important facts reared their ugly heads. One being that the water was currently more than enough to reverse her gender and more importantly, two that she was still a she. Frantically she grasped a hold of the hot water handle and turned it fully on while repeating silently to herself, "No… No… I can't be locked…. Not again…"

Just as she was starting to feel her desperation turn into fear she began to feel the familiar odd sensation of her body shifting forms, albeit a lot more slowly than the nearly instantaneous way she usually associated with it. Sighing in relief he/she thought, "What's happening? Why is it taking so long to change? I wanted to get used to this form and work on accepting it as a part of me, not be locked ." Feeling something else happening Ranma's face took on a even more worried expression as the not technically yet male realized, "My ki… It's being drained… How? What's wrong with me? It almost feels like the more male I become the more my ki gets drained…" Starting to feel really feint Ranma tried to switch off the hot water but the action was too little too late as darkness began to swim at the very edges of her vision. He/she had just enough time before collapsing out of the shower to realize two more things. The Hot water was still on and she was returning to being a she again.


A short time later


Ayame approached the Hospital entrance deep in thought as she tried to figure out her fathers reasoning for sending her to deliver breakfast to a young woman that they had only just met. Off hand she could not even remember a time where he had done something for any of his customers, well with the exception of Naruto. But that was a different case altogether as those were day's that he closed down the shop for personal holidays and even then he just insisted that it was just to make sure that their best customer doesn't track them down and demand to be fed Raman on their few off day's.

"Of course," She realized as she made her way into the lobby, "This is the first time that I've ever delivered something other than ramen. Though I do wonder when dad learned how to make Okonomiyaki." Putting that last thought to the side Ayame stepped up to the admissions desk to ask for directions. "excuse me, Can you direct me to Ranma Saotome's room?" Ayame asked politely to the half asleep looking clerk at the desk.

"Visiting hours aren't until nine o'clock." The clerk replied not even bothering to glance up in her direction.

Keeping her voice polite Ayame tried again, "But sir, I was hoping to bring my friend breakfast."

"Patients are prohibited from having outside foods brought in unless it has already been cleared by their doctors."

"Please sir…" Ayame said as she changed tactics and utilized her feminine charms to their full effect in the hopes of getting the clerk to see things her way.

"Sorry, there's nothing I can do, rules are rules and all that." the clerk stated after sparing Ayame a quick glance and turning away in disinterest.

Ayame sighed it figured that her luck with men would bring her to the hospital when the gay clerk was working. "Well he could be married…" Spotting a yellow jacketed book sitting slyly on the mans lap that reminded her of her ever so brief Yaio fan girl days Ayame blushed and realized, "Okay so maybe he's not married…"

Shifting tactics yet again Ayame broke down in tears and sniffed out, "I just wanted to see my girlfriend… It's been so long since I've seen her… She's all I have and I didn't even know that she was here until last night."

Turning his head to look at the girl with renewed interest the clerk sighed, when it came down to it he was just a hopeless romantic working a dead end job. "She means that much to you?"

"Oh yes…" Ayame lied, "We used to be inseparable…" Throwing in a few tears for extra measure she continued, "But then her father took her away… I… I thought that I would never see her again…"

Signing deeply after being emotionally moved by her tale the clerk replied, "I guess it really wouldn't hurt if I just happened to write down her room number on this slip of paper and left it conveniently sitting right here on my desk while I went to go get my supervisor."

"Really!" Ayame exclaimed as her eyes sparkled with renewed hope, "You would do that for me?"

"Sure. It'll be our little secret." The clerk replied with a wink as he shuffled through a pile of paperwork looking for the information while internally shivering at the thought of two women being together.


"Well That worked out rather well." Ayame said to herself as she stepped out of the elevators, "And I just had to act like she was my long lost girlfriend to get the guy to help me… I suppose it's just as well… It's not like I've been having much luck with guys." Thinking about a Silver haired masked ninja she added with a frustrated snort, "Honestly… Some guy's can just be dense…"

Shaking her head to clear her mind away from her personal frustrations Ayame refocused on her surroundings and looked around hoping that no one had noticed her arrival on the floor. Spotting the nurse's station and not seeing any medic nins around Ayame sighed in relief, "Honestly the things I do for my dad… Though if he ever found out about what I had to say to get this far I'd never hear the end of it… Now what room was she in again?"


Spotting an Anbu standing right outside of the very room she was hoping to enter Ayame bit back a rather impolite curse before deciding to just go ahead and enter the room.

Bear, as he was known while on duty immediately stepped in the path of the young woman attempting to gain entry in the room and said, "Can I help you with something miss?"

Ayame sighed to herself figuring that somehow the lesbian act was not going to cut it with a member of the elite Anbu. Shrugging as she figured that it couldn't hurt anything she readily replied, "I'm here to visit my girlfriend Ranma Saotome. I even brought her breakfast."

Staring down at the young woman and getting a flinch the masked Anbu shrugged, he had his orders but there were exceptions to them. While his primary goal was to keep the young woman from being spirited away once more he also had orders to ensure that she remained content and was not to intrude upon her unless it was completely necessary. Having recognized the young woman in front of him from some of the times he had been charged with keeping an eye on the younger Uzumaki and knowing from the report from the team that followed him yesterday that the two women had met the night before he kept his question simple and asked, "Girlfriend huh?".

Nodding her head Ayame replied almost regretfully, "Well… Technically not yet…" Sparing the man a wink and a thumbs up she added with higher spirits, "But I'm hopeful…"

"I had thought that this was the girl that Cat told me had a thing for Kakashi… Seems like she's playing for the other team… Wait till I tell the guys…" Switching away from perverted fantasies of what the two young women would do together Bear cleared his throat as he readied a reply, "Regardless, She's not a threat so I can let her in." Stepping aside Bear gestured with his hand and offered, "Good luck." while ignoring the small trickle of blood that was trying to escape his nose due to what the young woman before him had implied.


"Wow… That was a lot easier than what I'd have thought it'd be." Ayame thought to herself as she stepped into the room and announced cheerfully, "Ranma I brought you breakfast." Not seeing the rooms occupant anywhere the girl briefly considered turning back to the guard to ask him where she was but upon noticing the sounds of running water coming from the bathroom she changed her mind. "She must be feeling better this morning." Ayame thought to herself as she spied the wheelchair in the room with her, "Perhaps I should just leave a note explaining that I just stopped by to bring her breakfast." Setting the package down on the tray next to the bed Ayame took a pen out of her pocket and turned her attention to looking for a scrap piece of paper. Not seeing a readily available slip somewhere she approached the stack of books and began flipping though them to see if perhaps Ranma had something tucked in-between the pages that she could use. After cycling through several textbooks she gave up with a sigh and muttered, "I guess I might as well just make myself comfortable and wait for her to get out of the shower."

Making her way over to the chair by the window Ayame to a seat and folded her hands on her lap, occasionally glancing out of the window to help pass the time.

After several minutes of sitting patiently Ayame began to feel a little awkward with just sitting there, turning her attention to the bathroom door she muttered, "She's taking an awfully long shower…"

However despite her awkwardness of waiting in a strangers hospital room while they bathed Ayame did not want to intrude. Spotting a red covered book sitting next to her on a little end table Ayame turned a speculative gaze towards the shower wondering if perhaps the book laying out in the open was responsible for the rooms occupants extensive shower.

Shrugging because she currently had nothing better to do, other than head over to their family stand and prepare for a long day of cooking ramen Ayame decided to occupy herself with a bit of light reading while she waited for her unknowing host to finish her relaxing shower.


Some time later


Ayame glanced up from her reading to the sole clock in the room. Grimacing over how much time had passed while she lost herself in the delicately written tales of Icha Icha Paradise A Cultural Guide to the Ninja Nations the brown-haired ramen chef almost reluctantly set the book down and turned her gaze over to the bathroom door. Muttering, "I better knock on the door and see if she's alright… She's been in there for quite some time already."

Rising out of her chair she made her way over to the bathroom door and knocked softly with the hopes that she wasn't interrupting anything important. Not hearing any forthcoming response she knocked again and softly called out, "Ranma are you in there? It's me Ayame… From Ichiraku's... We met last night..." Becoming even more concerned when she could still hear the water running and no sounds of movement from within Ayame knocked a third time and announced, "Ranma? Are you in there? I'm coming in so don't freak out..."

Slowly pushing the door open Ayame cautiously peeked into the room hoping that she was not interrupting anything private. Waving her hands in front of her face in an attempt to clear away the sudden onslaught of steam The ramen chef tried to get a good look into the room. After a moment she was able to make out the source of the steam as the shower curtain was hanging open allowing her just enough visibility to know that there was no one currently bathing. Becoming even more worried at not seeing the redhead she took a few steps into the bathroom. Unfortunately the room was still quite full of steam even with the door hanging open, doing a fairly good job of restricting her vision. Blindly stepping further into the room Ayame took slow deliberate steps not wanting to trip over anything while reaching out with her arms and waving them about in a futile effort to clear out the slowly dissipating steam. As she approached the open shower she altered her course slightly to try to turn off the hot water. Being so close to the source of the rushing water though she was unable to make out the weak groans coming from the floor. It was unfortunate really because had she been able to hear the groans coming from the floor she might have been able to prevent what happened next.


"Owwweeee, my head… What happened?" Ranma groaned to herself as her eyes slowly fluttered open only to discover that where ever she was covered in a humid white mist. Blearily the current redheaded young woman reached up unsteadily with her hands, probing her head for any sign of further injury while she waited for her vision to stop swimming in the murky whiteness of her surroundings.

However even as out of it as she was after a moment or so of just laying there she was able to make out the soft pitter patter of someone approaching. Trying to get their attention but finding her voice extremely weak she settled for a plan 'B' and tiredly hefted her arms about in the hopes of latching onto whomever was approaching. Normally the proud martial artist might consider that in itself an act of weakness but even she had enough common sense to know that being stepped on was probably not in her best interests at the moment as it could quite possibly result in further injury that might prolong her stay inside the hospital.

After a moment of blindly reaching out with the lead weights she was currently using for arms Ranma managed to make contact with whomever it was and despite her original intentions of just alerting the newcomer to her presence she found her hands were not currently accepting her orders as instead of just brushing up against the person they decided to latch onto what ever they could find purchase with.

It was not until after a smooth soft body landed on her that the sometimes girl realized that somehow she had just managed to depants her rescuer… Well that and that whomever the girl was apparently had decided to go commando or rather in this case ninja…


Moments earlier


"Hockage -Sama." Kakashi greeted lazily looking up from his book while he waited for the elevator.

"Kakashi…" Sarutobi greeted in return adding, "Aren't you supposed to be reporting to duty about now?"

Shrugging the masked nin replied, "I'll just tell them that I stopped by the hospital to visit an old friend on the way in."

Seeing that the elevator had just arrived the third stepped into it was a thoughtful expression on his face as he considered the fact for once the Jonin would have a valid excuse for being late as compared to his usually lame and often exasperating reasons. "You know…" he started once Kakashi had stepped into the elevator, "If you weren't one of my best ninja I wouldn't put up with your… eccentricities…"

Tearing his gaze from his book Kakashi just eye smiled in response, not wanting to press his luck with the man who assigned missions.

With no verbal response being given the elevator soon passed into comfortable silence as it slowly brought them to their destination. Shifting in his place to spare Kakashi another glance the Hokage decided to break the silence with a little casual banter, "You seem like you're in a good mood today."

Shrugging in response the one eyed nin stated, "I think that I actually made some progress with Naruto's training this morning… Don't get me wrong he still has a ways to go but I think he's starting to catch on…"

"Ohh… How so? Sarutobi asked knowing full well that while Naruto was a knucklehead at times he was far from stupid."

"I think he's realizing just how much he needs to improve his chakra control if he's going to become a Ninja." Kakashi stated seriously before turning to a lighter note with, "By the way have you seen his new technique yet?"

"New technique? Sarutobi asked slowly trying to figure out what the Jonin was talking about.

Waving his the book dismissively Kakashi decided that if the Hockage did not yet know about it then he shouldn't ruin the surprise so after waiting until the elevator reached its destination he replied while stepping through the doors, "You should ask Naruto about it mere words just don't do it justice. Besides I don't want to ruin the surprise."

"Surprise…" The professor of Konoha muttered in response as he stepped ino the hall, silently mulling over what technique Naruto could have possibly come up with, especially given his rather limited chakra control." Hearing the sharp crisp snap of one of his nins coming to attention Sarutobi came out of his musings and stated, "Report."

"It's been pretty quiet, no sign of any intruders or enemy nins spying on her, though she did have a visitor earlier this morning that has not left yet."

"Really who?" Sarutobi asked as he calmly stroked his pipe.

"The girl from the ramen stand, Ichiraku's. Ayame I believe is her name." Bear stated as he glanced between Kakashi and the Hokage.

"Hmmm…I was not aware that they were acquainted."

"Hokage-Sama, As far as I know they met for the first time last night when I took Ranma and Naruto there for Dinner."

"Hmmm…" Sarutobi considered thoughtfully, "Are you sure? Did either of them show any sign of recognition,,, Or anything that would bring young Ayame here this morning."

Shaking his head Kakashi replied, "I don't think so… I mean back in the day she had this way about her… Though now that I think about it Ranma did seem rather tense when we first got there she only started to really relax after Ayame came out from the back…"

"Hokage-Sama, If I may…" Bear started drawing attention onto himself. Seeing that he was being given the opportunity to speak he continued, "The girl known as Ayame inferred that she had romantic intentions and was hopeful that the one known as Ranma would be receptive towards a relationship when I questioned her upon arrival."

"Really? She phrased it like that?" Kakashi questioned in disbelief, "That doesn't really seem like something Ayame would say."

Withholding a flinch due to the questioning stares directed his way Bear replied, "Well not in so many words but that was the jist of it." Stupid self help books, that is so getting tossed out when I get home. Eloquence my ass."

"I see…" Sarutobi replied not wanting to chastise the Anbu for not being crass while fighting the urge to break out his pipe, "Was there anything else?"

Stepping to the side Bear answered, "Ayame did appear to have brought Ranma breakfast as she had a take out container with her."

Sarutobi stood there silently for a moment in consideration while he mulled the information around in his head before stating, "Well perhaps we should not be jumping to conclusions, it is possible that Ayame is merely attempting to look out for Naruto and nothing more." Turning back to Kakashi he said, "Well apparently Ranma is already up so we need not worry about waking her."

Nodding back to the Hokage Kakashi rapped quickly on the door as a courtesy before brazenly opening the door and walking through. Once in the room the masked nin paused something was off. The bed was made, the take out box the ANBU mentioned was sitting untouched on the table and the water in the bathroom was running with the door open as there was a steady trickle of steam flowing into the room. Turning his attention to the bathroom door his jaw dropped in disbelief just moments before he was able to tear his gaze away with the hopes of preventing a major nose bleed.

Hearing footsteps behind him the copy nin was instantly reminded of whom else was with him, thrusting his arm back he warned, "Hokage-Sama… Stop… Don't look…"

The Professor stopped in his tracks trying to take the warning seriously but a few things prevented him from doing so. For one he was far too experienced to fall under the effects a simple genjutsu and secondly he was not sensing any Chakra that could even possibly be considered threatening. Of course then there was the fact that Kakashi himself had not reacted to a threat but merely turned away rather abruptly and that was a curiosity in itself as the masked nin was not known to be skittish. So despite the warning from the ANBU captain he looked anyway only to realize too late that just because there is no physical threat does not mean that there is not a threat. With the floor now rapidly approaching the wizened leader of Kanoha had only one thought on his mind as blood started to jet from his nose.

"It was worth it."

Kakashi sighed as the Hokage fell backwards with blood erupting from his nose and a silly grin adorning his face. He supposed that that might have been his reaction as well but he had built up a resistance to such sights as a result of his friendship with her before her disappearance. Though that's not to say that he didn't enjoy the brief glance.


Just as the door to the room opened.


Having manage to come back fully to her faculties Ranma tried to hold in her breath, knowing full well from the position she was in that any exhale on her part would spell certain doom to her. Holding her breath though while normally something she could do for several minutes was proving to be a more difficult task than what she had originally though, probably due to the impact of the other girl having already forced the air from her unsuspecting lungs.

Turning an interesting shade of purple from both embarrassment and lack of oxygen Ranma's resolve to not breath quickly began to turn into desperation as instead of climbing off of her the other girl kept shifting positions and falling back down on top of her thus reintroducing herself in a most intimate way.

Ayame tried to get off the redhead, she really did but with her hands unable to find purchase on the slick floor and her pants entangled with the natural redhead she was finding it increasingly difficult to do so. Feeling a warm shiver run through her body as Ayame felt the smaller girls take in a deep breath the ramen vendor was temporarily torn between wishing that she had done the laundry the other day so she would have had on some underwear or wanting a large soft bed. "Well it's not like this can get any worse." She thought to herself as she resigned to her fate and laid down her head for a moment in an attempt to get her bearings before trying to resume her previous actions.

Her respite was cut short though as she heard the door open and a warning accompanied by a thud. Shivering again, mostly due to her accidental sixty-niner trying to say something Ayame decided that perhaps it would be a good time to try to get back on her feet. Gently setting her hands down unto the other girls legs She pushed up onto her knees.

After further risking the other girls wrath and uttering a plea to get off her Ranma tried not do anything further that might enrage the woman further. Her body though had other ideas though as it still hadn't caugh it's breath from earlier and was starting to respond favorably to her situation. Feeling the girl onto of her manage to make it to her knees Ranma sighed in relief, realizing almost too late that she was not out of the woods yet.

Ayame let a soft moan escape her mouth before covering her mouth in embarrassment.

Now snapped out of her temporary induced shock from the position she had found herself in Ayame tried to struggle to her feet, unfortunately though two facts kept her from doing so. One at first she was having difficulties finding perchance with her hands as the floor was overly slick from the water pumping out of the shower, and two her pants were now entangled with an appendage from the rooms other occupant.

Blushing as her face was once again introduced into a soft red tuft of hair the Ramen cook could only think, "Well it could always be worse…"