Disclaimer: Ranma 1/2 is a trademark of Rumiko Takahashi and Viz Video. I have no ownership to these characters, or names. It is just for my amusement.
Author's Note. This story is based on a suggestion from MZephr on his journal where he wondered what would have happened if Ranma had suffered amnesia when Genma had hit him with the sign at the beginning of the manga, and thought that he was a girl. This is my version of what may have happened. The story begins right after Soun Tendo has announced that Ranma is coming to visit and why.
Chapter 1 Here's Ranma?
Soun sweat-dropped at the expression on his three daughters' faces, none of them happy with the news that he had just given them.
"A fiancé! Wait a minute!" growled Akane, her hands curled into fists, "Don't we have some say in whom we marry?"
Kasumi added, "Akane's right, Daddy. We've never even met this Ranma person."
"That's easily fixed," Mr. Tendo said with a nervous laugh, "As I said, they're coming today. Ranma and his father have been on a training trip. Recently it seems they crossed into China."
"China, wow!" Nabiki said, as she thought, 'Maybe that means they're rich!'
Akane growled, "What's so great about walking to China?"
"Is he cute?" Nabiki asked, trying to get back to the more important questions.
Kasumi asked, "How old is he? Younger men are so boring. What kind of person is this Ranma, anyway?"
Tendo laughed and said, "No idea."
Nabiki yelped, "No idea!"
"I've never met him," Mr. Tendo admitted.
Fortunately, for the health of the patriarch of the Tendo family, someone began knocking at the front door.
"Ooh, we have visitors," Kasumi said, rising from her knees.
"Maybe that's Ranma now!" Nabiki exclaimed, excitedly, as she jumped to her feet and stormed out of the room, just behind her father as he raced down the hall, around the stairs and to the front door.
Soun threw open the door, and exclaimed, "Saotome, my friend, we've been waiting!" only to sputter into embarrassed silence as he realised his visitors were a female officer from the Nerima police and a young, red-haired young man, carrying an impressive backpack.
"Soun Tendo?" the officer asked, her face impassive behind the mirrored sunglasses she was wearing, her posture erect.
"Yes, I am Soun Tendo," Soun replied.
"Excellent, I am Lieutenant Takahashi, of the Nerima police department, and I am really hoping you can help me," the officer said.
"Um, what can I do for you, Lieutenant?" Soun asked, while Nabiki eyed the young man like a meat lover eyed a side of beef.
"From your greeting, it appears that you may know a Genma Saotome?" the officer asked.
"Yes, he was an apprentice with me working toward our mastery in the school of Anything Goes Martial Arts," Soun said, "And we had just gotten a postcard stating that he and his son Ranma were coming for a visit."
The officer's eyebrow rose slightly but other than that there was no reaction. "Well, this is Ranma Saotome, and the poor child has had a rather difficult morning," she said.
"Please, come in and tell us the story," Soun said, stepping back from the doorway.
"I would really enjoy your hospitality but I must really get back to the station," the officer replied, "So in the interest of brevity, young Saotome came to our attention early this morning as the poor child was being carried down one of the streets of Nerima on the back of an immense panda. Animal Control was called in, and it took twelve of their finest workers, and innumerable tranq darts before they were able to corral the beast. The panda is now on its way to a zoo in Sapporo, where they have an opening. When we reached the child, Ranma was still unconscious from some sort of blow, the lump on the child's forehead still bruised and bleeding. When Ranma woke up, we discovered that all memory of the last several years had vanished, and the only thing that the child remembered was that they were coming to visit you."
"And he is welcome to stay with us for as long as he needs. But where is his father?" Soun asked.
"I don't know," Ranma said, softly, "As Officer Takahashi said, my memory is very foggy for the last several weeks. I roused slightly as the panda was brought down, and told the officer the little I knew, and they brought me here."
"Well, you may leave him in our hands, Officer, since I am quite sure that my old friend Saotome will come here whenever he surfaces," Soun said.
"That is what I was hoping. Ranma is really too old for us to handle within the system, and I didn't want the poor child to be turned out onto the streets," the officer said. She paused for a moment and then warned, "There is still the chance that the child has a mild concussion."
"Thank you for bringing him here," Soun said, "We'll get our doctor to visit if there are any issues, but for now, probably the best thing for him is to get some food into him, and perhaps some rest."
"In that case, I will leave him in your hands, Tendo-san, and I thank you," the officer said, bowing slightly. She then spun on one foot, and strode down the immaculate sidewalk.
"Come Ranma, let me introduce you to my family, and then we can show you where to place your belongings," Soun said, "And we are so happy that you are here."
"Thank you Tendo-san," Ranma said, a faint smile on his face.
'He's so-o cute,' Nabiki said, as she ran her hands down her kimono, and thrusting her chest out.
"Welcome to our home," Soun said, stepping back to allow the young man to enter the house.
Ranma stepped forward hesitantly, then slipped out of his slippers, and then followed his hosts until they entered a nice sized family room that also doubled as the dining area. He slid his backpack off his back, and set it against one wall and then stretched his back for just a moment.
Soun pulled him into a hug, and exclaimed, "At last, you've come."
"Ooh, he's cute!" Nabiki exclaimed, excitedly.
"It's so good of you to have come!" Soun said, until something finally registered on him that there was something not quite right. He pushed Ranma away for a moment, and then Nabiki stepped forward as she spotted it as well and pushed on the now noticeable protrusions on the front of Ranma's chest.
Ranma pushed her hand away, and asked, blushing, "Would you mind not doing that? It's rather rude, especially since we haven't even been introduced."
Nabiki paled, and exclaimed, "He is a girl!" Her father paled even more, and suddenly collapsed onto the floor with a heavy thud.
With a practised movement, Kasumi rushed over with a pillow and a blanket and quickly made her father comfortable. "Poor father, he is so disappointed," she said softly, as she placed a damp cloth on his forehead.
"He's disappointed!" Nabiki exclaimed, "Some fiancé this is!"
Ranma dropped her eyes to the floor, her face sad.
Akane roared, "Stop it you two! He, I mean, she is our guest!" She glanced over at their guest, and saw a pair of sad, blue eyes staring back at her, a faint smile of gratitude on her face.
"This is all your fault, Daddy!" Nabiki said, sneering, "You should have made sure!"
Soun said weakly, "Well, he said he had a son."
Nabiki reached and groped Ranma's breast. "Do you see a son here? Do you?"
Suddenly, a hand like iron reached out and grabbed Nabiki's arm. "I've asked you not to do that," Ranma said, coldly, "Don't do it again, or you won't like what happens."
Akane stood up, and tapped her on the shoulder. "Hey, I'm Akane. Would you like to be friends?" she asked, a brilliant smile on her face.
Ranma smiled back, a bit uncertainly, and nodded, her eyes lighting up just a little.
"Good, would you like to see our dojo?" Akane asked.
Ranma's face lit up and she nodded. Akane pulled her to her feet and then led her out of the family room, and then out the back door, down a covered path and then up the steps into a large training hall.
Akane stepped forward and asked, "Do you know karate?"
A smirk flashed rapidly across the red-haired girl's face and then vanished. She replied, "A little."
"Then let's have a little match," Akane suggested.
"What?" Ranma asked.
"Just for fun. Don't worry, I won't hurt you," Akane replied, getting into one of her starting positions.
"If you say so," Ranma said, politely, bending forward a little, but otherwise not moving from where she was standing.
Akane charged quickly, and punched out at the motionless girl, only to have Ranma leap into the air, and over her outstretched arm, causing the blow to miss. Undaunted, Akane tried a sideways-kick, only to have that dodged. Several blows later, all of which the other girl had dodged or otherwise gotten out of the way, found Akane standing on the dojo floor, blowing hard as she attempted to catch her breath. "What's wrong?" she asked, "Swing at me!!"
Ranma merely stood her ground, a faint smile on her face.
Akane growled, and then tried several more times to hit the elusive target. "Why am I missing you?" she cried, panting slightly, "Are you reading my moves?"
Ranma quirked an eyebrow and merely stepped back for a moment.
"Okay, this time for real!" Akane growled, glaring at her opponent. She charged, faster than before, only to have her target jump up, while she pushed her fist through the wall of the dojo.
Ranma landed behind her, and tapped her on the back of her head.
Akane turned her head, sweat dropping from her forehead, to see her opponent grinning at her.
Suddenly Ranma began to giggle.
Akane glared at her for a moment, and then saw the humour in the situation and began to laugh. Finally, they stopped laughing, and Akane said, "You're pretty good."
"Thanks," Ranma said, "You're not bad either
"Well, I'm glad that you're a girl," Akane said.
"Huh?" Ranma asked.
"It's just I'd really hate to lose to a boy," Akane replied.
Ranma looked at her with an odd expression on her face, picking up a strange note in that comment, but shrugged it off. She said, smiling, "This was fun, but I guess we should get back. I'm sure your family has more questions for me."
"Don't worry, Father has already made you welcome, and he won't go back on that, even if you aren't the boy he expected you to be," Akane said, as she led her back toward the house.
"Is your sister always that perverted? I mean, she kept trying to feel me up," Ranma asked.
"Nabiki? No, I don't think so. I don't know why she was doing that. Shock, I suppose," Akane said, giggling, "But we should give her a hard time about that."
"If you say so, she's your sister," Ranma replied, doubtfully, as they stepped into the house, only to be intercepted by the oldest sister.
"Ranma," Kasumi said, "I know we haven't been introduced, but I am Kasumi."
Ranma bowed politely and said, "It is a pleasure to meet you, Kasumi-san."
Kasumi blushed, and said, "Just Kasumi, please. You'll make me feel old."
Ranma grinned and said, "Okay, Kasumi-chan. That better?"
Kasumi chuckled. "I turned the heater on, so the furo should be ready."
"Oh, good, I am glowing just a bit," Ranma said.
"Glowing?" Akane asked.
"Ah, boys sweat, girls perspire, ladies glow," Kasumi answered, giggling.
"The proprieties should be observed," Ranma said, a smile on her face.
"By the way, sister dear, you're perspiring," Kasumi said.
Akane grinned and replied, "Tell me about it. Ranma ran me ragged, and I never laid a finger on her. It was fun though, so I'm looking forward to doing it again."
"I'll show Ranma where the furo is, while you get something to change into," Kasumi said, "Her backpack was too heavy for me to move, so it's still in the family room. Could you take it upstairs, and get her something to change into?"
"Sure, it'll only be a minute," Akane said.
Ranma smiled and said, "Thanks, I appreciate it, Akane." She sniffed and said, "I could really use a good soak, it seems."
Akane flashed a quick smile and headed down the hall, while Kasumi led Ranma the other direction toward the furoba.
Kasumi glided around the kitchen, every motion graceful as she practised her art, preparing the welcome feast for the new guest in her house. A faint smile appeared on her face as she felt the wa of the house change. Instead of the feeling of sadness that had settled since the passing of her mother, so many years ago, there was now a feeling of excitement, almost electric, as if a major sea change had happened. Then to her consternation, she heard the sounds of an oddly pitched scream coming from the furoba. Dropping what she was doing, she pulled up her long skirt, and ran as fast as she could toward the bathing room, only to be beat by her sister.
Akane flung open the inner door, and dashed in. "Ranma! What's wrong?" she cried, glancing around only to see a dark haired figure sitting in one corner of the room, rocking back and forth, knees pressed against the body, with the arms wrapped around.
The figure was crying, rocking back and forth, "I'm a girl! I'm a girl!"
"Ranma?" Akane asked, softly.
The figure raised its head, and the same blue eyes looked at her, only filled with anguish.
Akane rushed over and wrapped her arms around the nude figure, and said, "What's wrong, Ranma? What happened?"
Ranma slowly rose a little, to show that her breasts had disappeared, and a well-toned male chest was now present.
Kasumi asked, "What's going on?"
"I don't know!!!!!" Ranma wailed, "All I know is that I got in the furo and then this happened." She shot to her feet, and well, displayed that she was no longer a girl.
"Oh My!" Kasumi said, as she saw the well-formed nude young man standing in front of her.
Akane blushed furiously as she scooted away from the boy that had replaced her friend. "Ranma, is that really you? I mean, I recognise the eyes, so it must be," she sputtered, "Is that, I mean, cover yourself up!!!!"
Kasumi tossed Ranma a towel, and the embarrassed youth quickly wrapped it around his waist, and then collapsed to the floor.
Ranma looked at Akane, a lost expression on his face.
Nabiki rushed in, a glass of water in her hand, and then she stopped in her tracks. Fortunately, the glass continued its momentum, and the contents came flying out, soaking the distraught young person rocking back and forth on the floor.
To the amazement of the four people in the room, Ranma suddenly changed back into the girl that they had already met.
"What is going on here?" Nabiki demanded.
"I don't know!!!" Ranma wailed, only to have Akane wrap her arms around her once more.
"I don't know what is going on," Akane said fiercely, "But you are my friend. I won't lose you to that hopeless look that had been on your face."
"Are you sure? I'm a freak, a fr-freak," Ranma cried, "This can't be happening to me!"
"You aren't a freak," Akane replied, squeezing the young woman, "I don't know what this is, but this doesn't change anything!"
"How can you say that?" Ranma asked, sagging in despair, "I turn into a boy! How can that be normal? How can that be possible? How did it happen?" She broke down then, massive tears flowing down her cheeks.
"Oh my," Kasumi said, as she joined her sister in the hug, "Ranma-chan, I don't know what this is, but you are welcome here. We WILL get through this, don't you worry."
"It's a shame that Ranma really isn't a guy. Man, he was hot," Nabiki said.
Ranma wailed louder.
"Not helping, sis," Akane said, shooting a glare that would have quailed a lesser being at her older sister.
"I was just saying," Nabiki began.
"Get out," Kasumi ordered, "And not another word from you, and you'd better not do anything to hurt her."
Nabiki stared at her older sister for a moment, and then gulped as she recognised the LOOK. The last time she had ignored it, her food had been cold, her clothes had mysteriously been overlooked when Kasumi had done the laundry, and her sheets had never been comfortable. In a flash, she disappeared, the door barely opening before she was gone.
The three girls stayed in the group hug for several more minutes, Akane and Kasumi making comforting sounds, while Ranma sought to regain control of her emotions. Finally, the red-haired girl seemed to nearly collapse, as she cried herself out.
"Better?" Kasumi asked.
Ranma raised her tear-streaked face, and replied, "Maybe a little." She wiped the tears from her eyes, and added, "I'm sorry for falling apart like this."
"There's nothing to be sorry for," Akane said, "I can't imagine how you could avoid acting like this. In fact, you're handling it better than I think I could if it had happened to me."
"Thanks, Akane, that helps more than I can say," Ranma said, impulsively hugging her friend.
"Let's get you dressed," Kasumi said, "Though there was something odd about what was in your backpack. There were no feminine clothing at all, including underwear, only boxers, so I had to borrow a pair of Akane's panties, and one of my bras." She rose from the group hug in a decisive manner.
Ranma looked at her in surprise, and said, "I expected that. I noticed when I took my clothes off that I was wearing boxers and no bra. Struck me as odd then, but now that I know I change like this, maybe it makes sense. Could you imagine the looks I would get if I got splashed with hot water while I was wearing a skirt? And I don't think panties would be too comfortable either."
Kasumi said, "Oh my, how improper!"
"One of your bras?" Akane asked.
"Well, Ranma is a much healthier girl than you are, Akane," Kasumi said, gently.
Ranma added, "I'm not that much bigger, and sometimes they are a pain when I am sparring."
"We'll need to tell Daddy about this," Kasumi said, kindly.
Ranma trembled, and she asked softly, "Do I have to? Can't we keep this between the four of us?"
Kasumi looked at her, a troubled expression on her face, but she replied, "It wouldn't be honest to keep it from him. And truthfully, I doubt Nabiki would refrain from telling him, anyway."
"But he'll want to know if she is really a boy or a girl," Akane protested.
"Of course he would," Kasumi said, "And it's a fair question all things considered, isn't it?"
Ranma trembled, as she replied, "I think I am, I mean, until this happened, I was sure that I was a girl. I don't ever remember being a boy, but then…" The red-haired girl began to cry, causing Akane to hug her harder.
"Akane can help you finish up in here," Kasumi said, after a moment of thought, "And I'll make some snacks while you do. Daddy is always easier to handle when he has something some food to eat."
"Sounds like my father," Ranma said, then she stopped. "How did I know that?" she asked.
"I'm not an expert, Ranma, and that reminds me, she should see Doctor Tofu soon, but there are going to be memories that show up from the oddest triggers," Kasumi said.
"So you think there is a possibility that my memory will return?" Ranma asked, with a smile that never reached her eyes.
"As I said, I'm no expert. But from the little I've read, I would think there's a good chance. Tofu-san would know," Kasumi said. She smiled once more, and then left the bathing chamber.
Ranma glanced down at her body, her eyes grew thoughtful for a moment, and then whatever it was vanished.
"Ranma?" Akane asked, seeing the look in her friend's eyes.
"There was something, some thought, but I lost it," Ranma said, "But I'm sure it'll come to me."
"Oh, in that case, let's get you dried off and dressed, then it'll be my turn," Akane said.
"I hope your bath is less exciting than mine," Ranma said, forcing a grin.
Akane looked up and smiled as her new friend entered the family room in response to her oldest sister's call that the meal was ready. She patted the floor next to her in obvious invitation for the shorter girl to join her.
Ranma knelt gracefully next to Akane and shyly returned her smile, while they both ignored the flat, almost hostile, stare coming from the brown-haired girl kneeling opposite from them at the table.
"I thought Kasumi had laid out some of my clothes for you to wear," Akane observed, "Those aren't mine."
Ranma glanced down at the slightly loose black slacks and the red Chinese-style blouse she was wearing and shrugged. She replied, "She did, but I haven't gotten all of my workout done for the day, so I thought I would spend some time in your dojo this afternoon, that is if it is okay with you?"
"Sure, not a problem," Akane replied.
"Good. Then, well it wouldn't be appropriate for me to wear a skirt while I was training," Ranma said, a hint of mischief in her eyes.
"Why's that?" Akane asked, "I've fought many times in a skirt."
"Um, well, some of my moves would show off my underwear, and that wouldn't be proper," Ranma replied, blushing.
Akane grinned at her and said, "I'd like to practise with you. I haven't had a sparring partner for a long time," carefully not looking at her father, who was hidden behind his newspaper.
"That would be great," Ranma said, enthusiastically, "I'd love to spar with you."
Kasumi bustled in, a flowery apron over her dress, and carrying a tray with the last portion of the noon meal, which caused Soun to refold his paper and set it aside.
Kasumi placed the tray on the low table and passed around the bowls of miso soup that had been its burden. She knelt in her place, next to a large rice cooker and quickly passed around bowls of steamed rice. A large plate of pickled vegetables and another with many skewers of chicken yakitori graced the table, in easy reach of everyone.
The five diners said, in unison, "Itadakimasu," giving thanks for the food in front of them, before breaking their chopsticks apart, except for Nabiki, who drew a set of ivory chopsticks from her blouse.
Ranma quickly sprang into action, her chopsticks blurring as she devoured her rice, while the remaining diners stared at her, three with varying looks of amazement, while the last stared in disgust.
"Oh dear, that's an interesting style of eating, Ranma," Kasumi said, breaking the silence, and causing Ranma to stop and take notice of her companions.
A faint hint of red appeared on the red-haired girl's face, as the older girl continued, "Is there a reason you eat that fast?"
Blushing even harder, Ranma finally replied, "Um, it's speed training, Kasumi-chan. Father would always try to take the food from my plate when I was younger, so I had to learn to eat fast and defend my plate, lest I go hungry."
An odd expression flashed briefly across Kasumi's face, one that would be recognised as anger if it had been anyone else. Regaining her composure, the kind girl said, "Well, he's not here, and there is more than enough food for all of us."
"Besides, Kasumi's cooking is too good to eat that fast. You can't really taste it," Akane added, a strangely wistful note in her voice, while she picked at the small portion of food she had placed on her plate.
"I will try, Kasumi-chan. Forgive me for my rudeness," Ranma said, her face nearly as red as the blouse she was wearing.
"There is nothing to forgive," Kasumi said gently, "If that is the way you were taught to eat, the fault is not in you, but rather in the one who taught you. However, it is just as easy to learn good manners, now that you know what they are."
Ranma bowed her head and sighed. She slowly began to eat her soup, visibly trembling as she forced herself to overcome her father's training. After the first taste, her eyes widened in comic surprise. "Akane was right, I've forgotten how food could taste. You are an excellent cook, Kasumi-chan," she said.
"Thank you for the compliment, Ranma, but please, just call me Kasumi," Kasumi said.
"Sure thing, Kasumi," Ranma said. After a few minutes of pleasurable dining, she asked, "Do you need some help with the meals? I do know my way around the kitchen, and while I'm not near as good as you are, I could help. And I wouldn't mind learning some things from you. I'd like to help out where I could, since I don't want to be a burden on you since your family is being so kind as to allow me to stay."
"It would be nice to have some help," Kasumi replied, though Akane looked slightly downcast at hearing that Ranma could cook.
"You have outdone yourself with the meal today, my daughter," Soun said, "But while we are gathered here, there is something else we should discuss with respect to your stay, Ranma."
"Of course, Tendo-san," Ranma said, politely, "And I really do appreciate you allowing me to live here."
Soun smiled faintly and said, "Nabiki will make arrangements for you to start at Furinkan High School tomorrow, as well as getting you into Akane's homeroom. This will allow you to continue your education while we wait for your father."
Ranma frowned slightly, and said, "That is probably something I should do. However, I will most likely need some help since I have no real memories of attending school."
"I'll help you, Ranma," Akane said, "You've agreed to help me with my training, so this is something that I can do to repay that kindness."
"I can help some as well," Kasumi added, "At least when I have time."
"Don't we have something else to talk about?" Nabiki asked in a snide tone.
Kasumi replied, a touch frostily, "Nabiki, you are being terribly rude to our guest."
"I suppose she is right, though," Ranma said, an unhappy expression marring her face. She sighed heavily, and said, "We'll need some hot water, though, since it'll be easier to show him."
Kasumi rose gracefully, and left for the kitchen, returning with two glasses of water, and a towel.
"Tendo-san, when I took my bath this morning, I discovered something which may explain why my father thought he could bring me here and engage me to one of your daughters," Ranma said, "Though why he thought I would go along with it escapes me." With a sigh, she nodded to Kasumi, who poured out the contents of one of the glasses onto the other girl's head.
Soun's chin dropped as the attractive girl suddenly changed into a dark-haired young man. "Y-you're a boy!" he exclaimed.
"NO!" Ranma exclaimed, as he quickly glanced over to Kasumi, his eyes imploring.
Kasumi poured the contents of the other glass over his head, and they watched as the red-haired girl reappeared. She then handed her the towel, which Ranma quickly used to dry her face.
"I'm a girl, that for some reason changes gender when I get hit with hot water," Ranma said tonelessly.
"Are you sure you're not a boy?" Soun asked, "Because if you were you could become engaged to one of my daughters as Saotome and I planned, and join our two schools."
Ranma shuddered and replied, "I'm very definitely a girl." A pained expression crossed her face and she added, softly, "At least I think I am. I don't remember ever being anything other than a girl. When I got in the furo, and changed, I panicked. Your daughters can all attest to that, Tendo-san."
"But you could still wed one of them," Soun insisted.
"Father, I can't believe you would even suggest such a thing, it would be so improper," Kasumi interjected strongly.
"But she would be so perfect for Akane," Nabiki snarked, "Akane doesn't like boys, and Ranma is half-girl."
Akane's eyes flashed angrily at her sister, and rose to her feet. A snarl escaped from her lips, and her hands twitched as she barely kept herself from attacking the smirking girl sitting across the table from her.
Ranma shot to her feet, and said, "Let's go work out in the dojo, Akane."
"Nabiki!" Akane exclaimed.
"On the other hand, it would never work out. Akane would be so jealous, since Ranma has a better figure than she does," Nabiki added, sealing her fate.
With a roar, Akane pulled out a mallet and rapped her sister on the head with it. Then she stormed out, pulling Ranma with her, as she dragged her out to the dojo.
"Now that she had coming," Kasumi said, an odd note of satisfaction in her voice, as she moved to check her sister.
Ranma watched for several minutes while Akane took out her anger on a pile of cinderblocks, turning them into powder as she hammered them with her fists.
Akane finally collapsed, and began to cry.
Ranma stepped over and knelt beside her, and pulled her into a tight hug. Reaching up, she gently caressed Akane's long, dark hair, while she allowed the tears to soak her shirt.
"W-why did she say such mean things about me?" Akane stammered.
"I don't know, Akane," Ranma replied, "She's your sister. But, I really think she was disappointed when she found out I wasn't a guy. Remember how excited she was before she figured it out." She smirked for a moment and then added, "You know, on the other hand maybe she's the one that needs to worry about her sexual orientation. After all, she's the one who kept fondling my breasts."
A loud snort came from Akane as she began to giggle. "That's what it is, she wants you all to herself, and she's jealous of me for being your friend," she said with a wicked grin.
"Oh no! Maybe I should share your room, so she can't sneak in and try to have her wicked ways with me," Ranma added, a wide grin on her face.
"Yes, I'll protect your virtue from the evil Nabiki!" Akane exclaimed loudly, "After all, I am a martial artist!"
"That's better," Ranma said, "Let's see that smile of yours, now."
Akane gave her a watery smile, and suggested, "Well, now that I've got that out of my system, why don't we spar for a bit?"
"Are you sure you're ready?" Ranma asked, a bit nervously, "I really don't want you to take your anger out on me."
Akane maturely stuck her tongue out at her friend, and pulled herself up. "Yeah, I'm sure," she replied.
"Okay," Ranma drawled as she rose to her feet and stepped back a few paces. She paused, and said, "We'll just take this easy for a while until we can get used to sparring with each other. That way neither of us will get hurt too much."
"Why?" Akane snarled, narrowing her eyes.
"Simple prudence, Akane. You don't know how good I am and I don't know how good you are," Ranma replied, "I don't want to assume a skill level for you and find out the hard way that I'm wrong."
Akane examined that statement for a moment, and decided that she really couldn't find anything wrong with it. "Okay, I guess," she replied, getting into one of her favourite stances.
Ranma shook herself for a moment, and then smiled, her body lose. "Go ahead," she said, making a come-hither gesture with one hand.
With a bull rush, Akane complied, racing at her friend, her fist already moving forward, only to have Ranma dodge under it, and tap her lightly on the back as she rushed by. Akane continued to attempt to hit the other girl, who always seemed to dance out of the way each time, and continually landed light blows on her. Finally, Akane screeched to a halt, her face red and breathing hard. She glanced over at Ranma and groaned with disgust. The other girl hadn't even broken a sweat, and was standing there with a thoughtful expression on her face.
"How did you do that? Evading all of my blows like that. You seemed to know what I was going to do before I even approached you," Akane wheezed out.
"I've been learning the arts from my father every day since I was six," Ranma explained, "So I've had to get pretty good at reading my opponents. If I hadn't he would have taken me apart, especially since the only reason he was training me was that he didn't have a son, and didn't want his school to vanish. You don't want to know how many times he told me that I hit like a girl."
"But I've been training at least that long, and I couldn't even touch you," Akane complained.
"Let me ask you a question that might explain that," Ranma said.
"Okay, sure, shoot," Akane replied.
"Um, how long have you been training by yourself?" Ranma asked.
"It's been several years," Akane admitted, "Why, am I that bad?"
"Oh, no, nothing like that," Ranma said quickly, flashing a smile at her, "It's just, well, I noticed that there was something off about your attempts to hit me, that's all."
"Like what?" Akane asked, frowning heavily.
"Let me guess, no one has really trained with you since you grew these," Ranma said, pointing at her breasts.
Akane blushed, and shook her head.
"Aha, I thought so. You were used to sparring before you turned into a women, and well, your balance isn't the same, and neither is your height, I would bet," Ranma said, blushing furiously.
"I don't understand!" Akane exclaimed.
"Um, your hips are probably a little bigger now, then when you started, and you grew heavier on top," Ranma said, looking at the floor, "And that causes your balance to be off. And you learned to fight when you were shorter, so now you're trying to strike up when you don't really need to."
"Oh, that actually makes sense," Akane said, her frown disappearing and turning into a bright smile, "Now that I know what I'm doing wrong, though, how can I correct it?"
Ranma rubbed the back of her head, and suggested, "Well, it looks like I could use a sparring partner. And I wouldn't mind showing you what I've learned, that is if you don't mind sharing as well."
"Oh, show me yours if I'll show you mine, huh?" Akane asked, smirking at her.
Ranma stared at her for a moment, and then giggled.
Nabiki groaned loudly and slowly sat up, feeling the damp cloth on her forehead. "What hit me?" she asked, wincing at the bright light in the family room.
"Akane did," Kasumi replied, coolly, "And after those egregious insults, you deserved it."
"No, she's just a violent maniac," Nabiki spat.
A faint frown flashed across the older girl's face, so fast that Nabiki thought she must have imagined it. "Akane is our sister, and I will not sit by and allow you to deliberately hurt her," Kasumi stated, "And Ranma is a guest in our house and you will treat her with respect."
"She's a freak," Nabiki spat.
"No, she's a poor girl with a curse," Kasumi said, "And it is her secret, one that will be kept by this family. It is a matter of our family honour."
"Why is it a matter of our honour?" Nabiki asked, bitterly.
"Father and I discussed it while you were sleeping, and made that decision. Ranma's life is difficult enough, what with her amnesia, and neither of us wanted to make her life any harder. She is truly a stranger in a strange land, and we are the closest thing to a family that she has," Kasumi replied evenly.
Nabiki narrowed her eyes and spat, "She is no family of mine!"
"What is going on with you, sister?" Kasumi asked, "This does not sound like you. You would never normally insult your sister like that, nor be so rude to a guest."
"Nothing is wrong with me," Nabiki replied.
Kasumi arched an elegant eyebrow at her and said, "You cannot fool me, sister. I know you better than that. There is something troubling you and it is causing you to take it out on Akane and Ranma."
"You are usually oblivious to what goes on here," Nabiki said, scathingly.
Kasumi shook her head. "I generally know more than I let on, but I learned a long time ago that most things take care of themselves without me intervening," she said, smoothly, "You forget, sister, that I taught you most of what you know." Her face hardened, and she ordered, "Now tell me what is bothering you, or should I tell you."
Nabiki looked at her stone-faced, and called her bluff.
"Very well," Kasumi said, in an amused tone, "You are jealous of the attention that your younger sister gets at school, and the fact that she has many friends there, in spite of the fact that half the male population attacks her every morning in a misguided attempt to date her. And none of those clueless boys even gives you the time of day, even though you are just as attractive as your little sister is. When you heard about Ranma this morning, you dressed in your finest kimono, obviously hoping that he would pick you as his fiancée, and then you found out he was actually a girl, and picked Akane as her friend, once more over you. So, now, you are taking out your anger and jealousy out on both of them. Which is slightly hypocritical of you, since part of the reason that the boys are chasing after Akane is because you are encouraging them, what with selling those slightly risqué photographs of your sister. Am I warm?"
Nabiki had the decency to blush. Then she protested, "What photographs? I don't know what you are talking about."
Kasumi gave her a disapproving glare and replied, "You forget, I have friends at Furinkan still, from when I went there, and they called to tell me what you were doing. I didn't want to believe them, since it reflected so poorly on you." She sighed. "I have not intervened up till now, since I had hoped that you would have stopped on your own, once you realised what you were doing to Akane. But, it stops now," Kasumi said, sternly, "Or you won't like the consequences."
"What must I do?" Nabiki asked.
"First, you will apologise for your actions to your sister, and you will refrain from doing anything that would harm either of them, either physically, emotionally, or mentally. Your sister is much more fragile than you realise, and any more of the abuse that she was getting at school would likely have destroyed her. Already, her temper is getting harder for her to control, and she is beginning to distrust all boys, because of the actions of those foolish few," Kasumi ordered, "Furthermore, you will actively help to stop that fool Kuno from pursuing her anymore."
"I'm not sure how I'm supposed to do that last," Nabiki admitted.
"You are an intelligent girl, I'm sure you will think of something," Kasumi replied.
Nabiki took a deep breath, and then said, a touch sullenly, "I don't guess I have much of a choice, do I? There are far too many ways that you could make my life miserable if I chose to ignore what you requested."
"See, I told you that you were an intelligent girl," Kasumi said, brightly, handing her a glass of water and two pain pills.
Ranma chuckled slightly as she poured the lukewarm water over her head, sighing happily, as the water didn't trigger the change.
"What's so funny?" Akane asked, from her stool, warm water dripping down her face, and down her body.
"I thought you were kidding about showing me yours," Ranma replied, a smirk on her face.
"Well, we both needed a bath, well, me more than you, I suppose," Akane replied, "Especially since you started running me ragged working me through my forms."
"Hey, I was glowing a bit at the end," Ranma said, with a chuckle, "And you were getting better."
"Perhaps," Akane said, ruefully, "But, it's obvious that I'm not the best martial artist in Nerima anymore."
Ranma grinned at her, and said, "Well, you just didn't have the benefit of my training. You aren't bad, and both the ability and the desire are there. I don't know how long it will take, but if you work hard at it, you'll be able to hold your own against me. Now, I'm going to be a hard taskmaster, so hopefully you won't hate me."
"No, I want to be the best I can be, and since Father refuses to train me anymore, I need to learn from someone. And you are good," Akane said, simply, "I couldn't even touch you unless you let me, while you were hitting me whenever you wanted. I'm just glad you were pulling your hits, I really don't want to think about the bruises you would have left if you hadn't."
"For you to get better, I'm going to have to stop pulling my blows," Ranma said, sadly, "At least as much."
"I know, it'll help toughen me up," Akane said, as she stood. She glanced over at the red-haired girl, and asked, "Do you want to soak for a bit?"
"The water is hot enough that I would change," Ranma pointed out.
"Oh, right, bad idea," Akane said, blushing furiously.
"Probably," Ranma said, blushing as well, "Though you can get in and we can talk while I dry myself off."
"Okay, that's not a bad idea," Akane said, slipping into the furo, and leaning back so she could watch the other girl.
Ranma stood up, wrapped herself up in one of the large, fluffy towels, and then started drying her hair with another towel. "Tell me a little bit about yourself," she suggested, "Since there's not much I can tell you about me."
"Well, you already know about my family, at least a little bit. I like my classes, mostly," Akane replied.
"Mostly?" Ranma asked.
"Well, I'm taking home economics, and I'm not doing too well with cooking," Akane admitted, "Which is odd, since Kasumi is an excellent cook, and I've been watching her in the kitchen for the longest time."
"Hmmm, well, I mentioned that I know my way around a kitchen, so maybe I can make a suggestion or two," Ranma said, "First, when you make something, read and understand the recipe. Second, gather up all of the ingredients that you will need. Third, when the recipe calls for a certain amount of something, measure it out exactly, and only use what the recipe calls for."
"That's not what Kasumi does," Akane protested, "She never measures anything out."
"That's because she's been cooking for a long time, and knows what she is doing," Ranma replied, patiently, "I can do that for some of the things I make because I've made them so many times. I know what I can add or subtract; what other ingredients I can use. I bet she tastes what she is cooking several times as well, so she knows how the meal is going to be like."
"Yes, she does, now that you mention it," Akane replied.
"And the last thing, is too never get in too much of a hurry. Take things slowly as you cook, and follow the directions closely," Ranma instructed, "It's like martial arts. You have to learn the simple things first before you can move up into the more complicated things. You didn't immediately jump into breaking cinder blocks with your hand, you had to work up to it. And I guess, the other thing is don't be afraid to fail. Sometimes things will go wrong with what you are cooking, so learn from your mistake."
"Okay, that actually makes some sense. Hmm, what else can I tell you about me? I like to read when I get the time. I have a couple of close friends, Sayuri and Yuka, that I hang out with at school. I like sports, obviously, especially gymnastics, since that allows me to use some of what I know from my family's school."
"When I get to teach you some of my school's techniques, you'll really like them then. Father taught me to fight from any surface, bouncing off walls, the ceiling, the floor, whatever, so a lot of the moves are aerial," Ranma said.
"That sounds like it will be a lot of fun," Akane said.
Ranma nodded her head, and said, "Well, I'm dry enough, so I'll get dressed and meet you in your room when you are ready to study."
Ranma struggled mightily against her foe, but in the end admitted defeat as she carefully set the textbook that she had borrowed from Akane on the futon next to her. "None of that made any sense to me," she said, despondently.
Akane glanced over from where she was sitting, and set her science textbook aside. "What's wrong?" she asked softly.
"I'm not getting any of that examples in the math book," Ranma replied sadly, "Is my memory that spotty so I don't remember any of the basics, or did Father short-change my education that much?"
"If you want, I could help you," Akane suggested.
Ranma sighed and answered, "Since it sounded like your father was serious about my attendance at your school, I'm going to need as much help as I can get. He's being nice enough to let me stay here, and is even paying Nabiki to get me enrolled in your homeroom, so the least I can do is attempt to learn as best I can." She glanced over at the other girl, and smiled, adding, "In other words, yes, I would like your help. I'll owe you one."
"What are friends for?" Akane asked, mostly rhetorically, as she moved over to join the red-haired girl on the futon. To Ranma's surprise, however, Akane stared down at the floor for several long moments, her forefingers pressing together in a nervous gesture. Finally, she stammered out, "R-ranma, I'd l-like to ask y-you a f-favour."
"Sure, like you said, what are friends for?" Ranma said affably, "I'll be happy to do it, whatever it is."
"Let me ask it first," Akane said quickly, a tinge of red on her cheeks.
"No, I'll swear I'll do it, no matter what," Ranma said, heedlessly.
Akane sighed heavily. She hesitated for a few moments, but at the somewhat impatient look on the other girl's face, she said, "I need some help at school. At the beginning of the school year, one of the upperclassmen asked me for a date. He was arrogant about it, and I turned him down. He didn't take my refusal very well, and somehow got it into his delusional mind that I was playing hard to get. Anyway, in the middle of assembly the next day, he declared that anyone who wanted to date me would have to defeat me in battle."
"That baka! Who does he think he is, anyway?" Ranma exclaimed angrily.
"No kidding. Ever since then, I've been attacked by what seems to be half of the male students at our school," Akane said, nervously, "So far, I've been able to defeat them all, but it'll only take one loss."
"Have you told your father about it?" Ranma asked.
"Yes, I did, and he complained to the principal who basically told him that there was nothing he could do," Akane replied.
"Why not?" Ranma asked.
"Because Tatewaki Kuno, the boy that started all of this, is from a wealthy family, and like all places, those who have the gold make the rules," Akane replied, bitterly, "So there's nothing to prevent them attacking me."
"And I guess you're afraid that if one of them manages to beat you, that he won't stop with just a 'date,' and instead would try to go further," Ranma said, quietly.
Akane nodded, her eyes showing her fear. "Yes, that's in the back of my mind," she said, softly, "And I suppose that's why I said I was glad you weren't a boy when we were sparring in the dojo. You defeated me so easily."
Ranma grimaced and said, "I can't imagine what you are feeling, and I can't believe there are that many boys with so little honour." She sighed, and added, "One thing I can do is teach you, and I'll have your back if you need the help defeating those perverts."
Akane shook her head and said, "While I'll gladly take the training, that won't be quick enough, I'm afraid." She hesitated, reddening slightly, and began pressing her fingers together again in that odd nervous gesture.
"Hey, it can't be that bad," Ranma said, soothingly, "I said I'd do what you needed."
"Well, I w-was thinking that m-most of the boys w-would b-back off if they t-thought I h-had a fiancé," Akane stammered, and then blurted out.
"That might work," Ranma mused, "But you just said you really didn't trust any boy to…" She stumbled to a stop as a look of horror appeared on her face. "Y-you w-want me to pretend to be a boy," she gasped.
Akane nodded, her eyes downcast.
"I can't!" Ranma cried, "I'm not a boy, I'm a girl!"
"I know," Akane said, miserably, "And if I could think of any other way around it, I would never have asked this of you. Believe me, I hate the situation, but I'm getting desperate."
Ranma stormed away from her, and stared out the window into the darkening skies over Nerima. An uncomfortable silence fell over the room, as she clenched her hands on the windowsill, causing the wood to creak ominously.
Akane collapsed on the futon, and said, softly, "Forget I asked this of you. It's too much, really. And you don't really know me, why should you help me?"
Ranma sighed heavily, and turned around, a look of anguish in her eyes. "You asked me if I wanted to be friends," she said, painfully, "And friends help each other. I swore I would help you, and I don't go back on my promises. That's the one thing that my father taught me. When you make a promise, do everything you can to keep it."
"Then it sounds like he has some sense of honour, in spite of what we discussed at lunch," Akane said, "If he taught you to always keep your word."
Ranma quirked a wry smile and replied, "No, he almost never keeps his word. That's why I swore to always try to keep mine. I think of what Father would do, and generally do the opposite, and, well, so far that seems to work."
"So, you'll help me?" Akane asked, her eyes lighting up.
Ranma's shoulders slumped in defeat and she whispered, "Yes, I promised remember?"
Akane hung her head and simply said, "I'm so sorry that I had to ask you this."
Ranma sighed, sat next to her, and then pulled her into a brief hug. "Hey, don't be. I really owe you one for keeping me together this morning," she said, "I nearly came unglued when I found out about my transformation, but you accepted me in spite of it, and didn't think I was a freak."
"I saw the pain in your eyes," Akane said, firmly, "How could I not help?"
"I saw the same pain in yours, just now," Ranma answered.
"So," Akane said, "I guess we're engaged."
"I guess so," Ranma said. Then something occurred to her, and she rose abruptly. She headed over to her father's backpack, and rummaged around in it briefly, before emerging triumphantly with a small black box. "I thought he might have one, since he was bringing me here, though how he managed not to pawn it, I'll never know," she muttered, mostly to herself, as she returned to Akane. An impish smile appeared on her face for a moment. "Well, this is certainly something I never thought I would be doing," she said, as she knelt and opened up the box, displaying a ring with an inexpensive diamond mounted on it. "Akane Tendo, would you do me the honour of becoming my wife?" she asked, the grin widening."
Akane giggled for a moment, and then held her left hand out for Ranma to slide the ring on the appropriate finger. The two girls began giggling at the absurdity of the situation and collapsed into each other's arms.
"I take it that was a yes," Ranma said, giggling.
Akane nodded and added, "It is a little loose, though."
"It would probably be better to wear it on a chain, anyway. After all, you are a martial artist," Ranma said, "It would just get damaged when we sparred and when you fought." She sighed then, and added, "I suppose I should change so I can get used to being male."
Akane's eyes widened and then she said, thoughtfully, "I think you're right, besides I need to get used to the idea about being around a boy, now that I'm 'engaged' to one."
"Speaking of that, how do you want us to act?" Ranma asked.
"What do you mean?" Akane asked in return.
Ranma looked at her, her blue eyes piercing and replied, "Friendly to each other, distant, or what? I expect your classmates know how you've been acting the last several weeks. How do you think they would react if you were hanging off my shoulder when we got to school?"
"Hmm, that's a good point," Akane said. After several minutes of thought, she added, "We should handle it as we would if you had really been a boy and we were agreeing to accept an arranged marriage."
"You mean, a little stiff, I suppose, since we are really strangers to each other, but not hostile about it, more resigned to fulfilling the demands of family honour," Ranma said.
"Something like that. And we can explain that you are staying with us so we can get to know each other before we get married," Akane said.
"That'd work," Ranma said, "And while I don't know the exact age, I know a boy has to be much older than we are to marry even with parental consent."
"Yeah, I know that the age is different for boys than it is for girls," Akane said, "But I don't know what it is either. Wasn't something I expected to need to know."
"Me, either," Ranma said, ruefully. After a few moments, she asked, "How long do you think we'll have to pretend?"
"Until Kuno gives up his obsession on me, I suppose," Akane said, "Remember, he's the delusional fool who I turned down for a date that started all of this mess. He's in Nabiki's home room, so he's a year ahead of us."
"That may take a while, then," Ranma said, a frown marring her pretty face.
"I know," Akane agreed sadly.
"In that case, to make it look right, we'll probably have to go out on dates," Ranma pointed out.
Akane nodded, and added, "And probably start holding hands and things like that in public."
Ranma swallowed and said, hurriedly, "No kissing though!"
Akane agreed quickly, saying, "Oh yes, I most definitely want my first kiss to be with a man." She blushed prettily as she thought about whom she wanted to be that person.
"Oh, does Akane have a crush on someone?" Ranma teased.
"Maybe," Akane admitted, "But I'm not telling." She stuck her tongue out at her and went, "Blue!!!"
Ranma pouted prettily, batting her eyes at the other girl, before they both began to giggle. Once Ranma regained her senses, she sighed, and said, "I guess I'd better get some water." She stood up, and walked out the door as if she was going to her own execution.
Kasumi glanced up from her cooking as Ranma entered the kitchen. With a heavy sigh, the red-haired girl turned the faucet and filled a glass with hot water, and then promptly poured it over her head. "Um, Ranma, do you mind me asking why you did that?" Kasumi asked.
"I need to get used to being a boy, Kasumi," Ranma replied, sadly.
Kasumi pondered that for a moment, and then shook her head. "I'm afraid I don't follow," she said.
Ranma smiled sadly and asked, "Do you know about Akane's situation at school?"
"About the horde of boys that attack her each morning in the mistaken belief that if they defeat her, she must go on a date with whomever it is," Kasumi replied, "Yes, I am."
Ranma said, "Akane thinks that if she comes to school with a fiancé, then the other boys will leave her alone. She asked me to be that fiancé."
"Oh dear, did you agree?"? Kasumi asked, astonished.
Ranma replied, "Yes, I agreed to do it, though I don't think it will be as easy as she thinks to get them to back off. I'll probably have to beat several of them up to get their attention."
"It won't be easy, pretending to be a boy. What about getting hit with cold water, and changing back?" Kasumi warned.
"I'll just have to be careful," Ranma replied, "And I know it won't be easy, especially if I have to face that Kuno character. But, the look in her eyes when she asked me, I just couldn't say no. And, besides, what they are doing to her just isn't right."
"I certainly agree there, this mess is starting to damage her," Kasumi said, thoughtfully. She nodded her head and added, "You have my blessing, and I will help you with Nabiki. She's the only other person that could ruin things for you two."
"Good, I was hoping that you would," Ranma admitted. He glanced around and asked, "Is there anything I can do to help in here?"
"No, actually I'm about finished, but you could take those bowls out and set them by the rice cooker," Kasumi said, "Oh, and the platter with the pickled vegetables."
"Okay, got it," Ranma said.
Soun looked up from the shogi board, as the strange young man from the noon meal walked into the family room with a set of bowls on his head, and a platter in his hands. "Ranma?" the man asked.
"Oh, I didn't know you were in here," Ranma replied, "But yes, I'm still Ranma." He set the platter on the table and then removed the bowls from his head and placed them by the rice cooker.
Soun sputtered, "What was that?"
"The bowls. Oh, balance training," Ranma replied.
Soun nodded, and said, "Ah, very good then." He began to say something else, only to stop as Akane and Nabiki entered the room.
Akane knelt in her usual spot, and motioned for Ranma to sit next to her.
Ranma quickly sat down next to Akane and waited for Kasumi to bring the rest of the meal into the room.
Nabiki knelt opposite them, a cool expression on her face.
Kasumi bustled in, and placed a large bowl of shrimp stir-fry on the table in front of her place, as well as a large tureen of soup. She rapidly, yet gracefully, prepared portions of rice and soup for everyone, and handed them to the other four. Then, she passed out plates of the stir-fry as well. "Oh my, I forgot the tea," she exclaimed.
"I'll get it," Akane volunteered, springing up quickly and vanishing, only to reappear shortly with a tray. She set the tray down, but not before Nabiki spotted a flash of gold on her left hand.
"What is that?" Nabiki exclaimed.
"What is what?" Akane asked, innocently.
"That ring on your finger," Nabiki replied.
Ranma grinned wickedly for a moment, taking Akane's hand in his, and then answered, "That is her engagement ring. I asked Akane to marry me and she said yes."
Soun and Nabiki face-faulted, and then Soun burst into tears. "The schools will be joined, hurrah!" he cried. He jumped up and began to dance a happy dance.
"But I thought you were a girl!" Nabiki exploded.
Ranma snickered, and said, "I am, but what does that have to do with anything." With a smirk, he reached over and lightly kissed Akane on the cheek, and added, "I'm so happy!"
"Ranma," Kasumi chided, a hint of warning in her voice.
"Oh right, you spoil all our fun," Ranma said.
"Actually, Nabiki, I asked Ranma to pretend to be my fiancé, hoping that it would help with my situation at school," Akane said.
"I can have the priest over here tomorrow, and no, I need to get the announcements out to my friends, so it needs to be next weekend," Soun babbled.
"Um, Father," Kasumi interrupted, "You do know that Ranma is really still a girl. They can't really wed, it wouldn't be proper."
"And that even if he, she, whatever, was really a boy, he couldn't get married until he was eighteen, and that's only if he had his parents' permission," Nabiki added.
Soun sputtered, "But they are engaged."
"It's pretence, Father, since we were unable to get the school to intervene in the heinous actions of the boys at Furinkan," Kasumi said, patiently.
Soun finally settled down, and rejoined them at the table.
"So, Nabiki, tomorrow when you register Ranma at the school, her gender needs to be male, instead of female," Kasumi said, "And you won't tell anyone any different."
"Why should I?" Nabiki asked.
Kasumi replied, "Because I asked you to." She stared at her sister for a long moment, and Nabiki quailed.
Nabiki said, "Sure, whatever. Now can we eat? I have a little bit of schoolwork to do, and then I want to catch a financial report. They're going to talk about how one can make money by trading yen for dollars, and back again, working the exchange rates."
Author's Note: As I mentioned above, this is a story inspired by a plot bunny I found on MZephyr's Live Journal page. It refused to let me go until I had written this chapter, and kept me from concentrating on STA. Now that I've gotten this out of my system, hopefully my muse will concentrate on the next chapter of STA instead of this one. I do have a series of unconnected scenes to jot down but, I do warn you, this story will be updated only irregularly. As always, comments and constructive criticism is welcomed.