A/N: Alright, so thanks to all you lovely reviewers, I've decided I'm gonna try to continue this story and see where it goes! I have a couple of different routes it might take… it's definitely gonna end up involving some conflict and some humor, rather than pure fluffy romance (but I'm sure you guys won't mind that).
Also, just as a random side-note, I found while writing this chapter that it's really hard to write about Ranma when he's a girl. Because you can't call him "she", since he's technically still a guy, but you don't want the readers to forget he's still in girl-form… Hahaha. So tricky! That's why every so often I make some sort of reference to his female-ness, just to make sure everyone remembers lol. Anyways, enjoy and please keep up those lovely reviews! You guys are great!
Breakfast at the Tendo household the next morning was an uncomfortable affair. Akane determinedly looked everywhere but Ranma's face as she ate in stony silence. Beside her, her fiancé fidgeted uncomfortably and made several unsuccessful attempts to meet her eye before finally giving up and finishing his meal with his eyes glued to the table. Soun and Genma both seemed to be pondering something and gave each other many significant glances, though neither made any mention of the night before. Kasumi was as sweet and unassuming as ever, while Nabiki seemed to be following Ranma and Akane's every move with great scrutiny. Not one of them said a word.
It was Nabiki who finally broke the silence. She got to her feet with a sigh of disappointment. "Well this is boring." She muttered, slinging her backpack over her shoulder. "See you all later, I suppose." She gave a half-hearted wave to her family as she swept out of the room.
Wonder why she's rushing off so fast… Ranma hesitated a moment before getting to his feet as well. "Guess that means we should get going too." He glanced down at Akane expectantly, but she made no reply. He was unsure that she had even heard him until she finally took the last few bites of her food and stood up beside him.
"Thank you for breakfast, Kasumi." Akane's smile was a bit too cheerful as she picked up her schoolbag from the floor. She left the room without another word, striding right past Ranma as though he were invisible.
Ranma sighed heavily and made to follow his fiancée, but Genma reached out and grabbed his son, pulling him back toward the table. "I don't know what you did this time, boy," Genma eyed him suspiciously. "But you'd better fix it."
Ranma forcefully pulled himself from his father's grasp. "Don't tell me what to do, old man." He glowered at him threateningly for a moment before dashing out after Akane.
By the time he caught up with her, she had already reached the main road. Man, she's fast… Ranma prepared to spring up onto the fence that ran along the sidewalk, but quickly thought better of it and instead fell into step alongside his silent fiancée.
Oh, man… what am I gonna say? Ranma thought miserably. Apologies definitely weren't something he was used to… in fact, he liked to avoid them at all costs, if he could help it. But he supposed that, after last night's conversation, some things would have to change. Guess this is a good way to start…
"Akane, I…" He cleared his throat softly. "About last night, I mean…" Why is this so damn HARD? "I guess what I'm trying to say is –"
"Don't worry about it." Akane did not look at him as she finally spoke. "You don't have to say it."
Ranma stopped walking for a moment and stared at her, blinking several times. "R-really?" Man, that was easier than I thought!
Akane let out a soft sigh, now several paces ahead of him. "I just can't believe I was so stupid." She muttered sadly.
Or… maybe not. With Akane, things were never easy. Ranma quickened his pace, walking beside her once more. "What're you talking about?" He asked cautiously.
"I just don't know what came over me." Akane explained, sighing yet again. "To think I actually believed you." She shook her head slowly. "You're a better actor than I thought, Ranma… and an even bigger JERK!"
Her punch caught him off-guard, sending him flying over the fence and straight into the water below. Ranma shook his now red hair out of his eyes as he broke the surface of the water, coughing and sputtering. "What the HECK was that for?!" The busty young girl shouted, climbing atop a nearby rock at the water's edge.
He sprang lightly into the air, landing on the very edge of the chain-link fence before hopping down to the street below. He looked around for his fiancée, but found that Akane had already rounded the corner and was out of sight. Damn it! I hate showing up to school like this… Ranma took a moment to glance down at his soaked female body before breaking into a run.
"Akane, wait!" He cried, finally catching sight of her. Akane was walking so fast, Ranma was nearly at a jog trying to keep up. "What the Hell is going on?" This can't just be about what I said in the hallway…
Akane rounded on him so fast that he tripped over his too-long pants and fell right down onto the street. "You know exactly what I'm talking about!" She cried. "But like you said, I'm just an idiot. No wonder I believed you so easily…"
Ranma gaped at her. "Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait!" The red headed girl sprang up from the ground. "You think I lied to you?" He shook his head in disbelief. "Okay, maybe I don't always tell the truth," He allowed, "But I'd never lie about something like that! I meant everything I said!"
"Aha! But you never said anything!" Akane retorted.
"It's true! I asked you, and you just nodded your head."
I can't BELIEVE her! Ranma was fuming, his face quickly turning the same shade as his hair. "But that's not fair! You didn't seem to have any problem with it last night!" He insisted. "It still counts!"
"Hmmph. I should have known better." Akane turned away from him and began walking. "Besides, if you really meant it, you wouldn't have turned on me and lied about it like that…"
"Now just wait one minute!" Ranma had reached his limit. He bounded ahead of Akane before rounding on her, grabbing her firmly by the shoulders and stopping her mid-step. "What is wrong with you?!" He demanded. "Here I am, trying to apologize, and you go and hit me, turn me into a girl, and then go rushing off without telling me what the heck's goin' on! Jeez, why does everything with you always turn into a fight?"
Akane's anger seemed to vanish instantly. "You were… trying to apologize?"
"Yes!" Ranma threw his hands in the air. "I wanted to tell you that I'm sorry about what I said last night, ok? It's just like you said – I shouldn't have lied about what happened." He sighed. "I was wrong."
His fiancée's eyes widened. "Ranma…" She said softly, placing a hand on the tiny girl's forehead. "Are you feeling okay?"
Ranma narrowed his eyes at her. "I'm tryin' to be serious here!"
"I know, I know. Sorry." Akane took a deep breath. "Thank you." She said. "For apologizing."
"I guess I sorta chickened-out, I guess." Ranma looked down at the ground as he spoke. "I just feel like maybe we should try to keep it quiet for a while, you know?" He paused. "I mean, our dads would never let us live it down. And then if word gets out to certain people, well… things might get kind of…"
"Crazy." Akane nodded in agreement as she and Ranma finally continued down the street.
"And besides, don't girls like that sort of thing?"
Akane raised an eyebrow at him. "What sort of thing?"
The girl walking beside her shrugged. "I dunno… 'secret romance' and stuff like that?" Ranma began to blush. "Like… doesn't it get 'em all hot or somethin'?" He glanced at Akane questioningly as he spoke.
Akane nearly doubled over in hysterics. "Y'know," She said, still chuckling as she brushing away a few tears from her watering eyes. "For someone who spends half their time as a girl, you really need to brush-up on this 'girl psychology' thing."
"Hey, I'm trying here!" Ranma cried defensively.
"I know…" Akane smiled as she spoke, her laughter finally dying away. They continued on in silence for a few more moments. "So… you did mean it then?" She asked suddenly.
Ranma's heart began to race. "I did." He replied, sighing softly. "And if it's really what you want…" He paused a moment, steeling himself. "I… I really… I mean, I…Uh…"
Akane smirked at him playfully. "I knew you were too chicken to say it."
I'm not! I'm not! Ranma stopped in his tracks and grabbed Akane by the arm, turning her to face him. "I LOVE YOU, OKAY?!" He shouted shrilly in her face. "I love you, and I always have! There, I said it… Twice!" He let out a deep breath and smiled softly, satisfied with himself. Gee, that wasn't THAT hard… but maybe I shouldn't have shouted like that…
For some reason, Akane did not look pleased.
It was then that Ranma noticed the rather large crowd of people who were gathered around them. Apparently he had chosen a rather busy street on which to make his declaration.
Ranma glanced down at his chest, staring at his breasts as though noticing them for the first time. "We're, uh… both girls, aren't we?" He whispered.
Akane nodded, her cheeks extremely red. "Mmm-hmm."
The quiet whispers from the onlookers began to grow louder and louder.
"Did you hear that?"
"And in public, no less!"
"What a waste… that redhead's a fox!"
One person, however, actually began applauding. "Good for you! Don't be ashamed, ladies!"
"L-let's go, Akane…" Ranma mumbled wearily, grabbing Akane by the hand and pulling her away. "We're gonna be late."
"Look, look! They're holding hands!"
Unfortunately in their haste to flee the scene, both Ranma and Akane neglected to notice a very familiar face in the crowd. Hmm… Interesting…
Both Ranma and Akane barely even looked at each other the entire school day. It wasn't so much embarrassment as it was fear that someone would figure out just how much things between the two of them had changed in the past 24 hours. Things were already bad enough after the almost-wedding. Why make it worse?
It was with an enormous sigh of relief that Ranma (now happily returned to his male form) and Akane began heading home after the last bell had finally rung. Somehow, despite the embarrassing events of that morning, they had survived the entire day at school. Too bad the day was really only half over.
"Hey, Nabiki! Wait up!" Akane smiled as she noticed the familiar form walking several paces ahead of them. In truth, it would be a relief not to be alone with Ranma the entire walk home. Things were still pretty awkward between them and she definitely needed a break before being alone with him again.
Her sister smiled brightly at them as they approached, humming softly to herself. "It's a beautiful day, isn't it?"
Ranma could almost see the red warning flags popping up in his mind. This can't be good… "You're, uh… sure in a good mood, huh Nabiki?"
Beside him, Akane seemed to notice something was up as well. "Did… did something good happen at school today?" She asked her sister warily.
Nabiki shook her head. "No, nothing's happened yet… but I just have the feeling good things are coming my way." She said breezily.
"You don't say…" Ranma muttered.
"Y'know…" Nabiki glanced sideways at Ranma and Akane. "I saw the strangest thing this morning on my way to school."
Nabiki nodded. "Mmm-hmm. Everyone was talking about it… I can't believe you missed it!" It took everything in her power not to crack a smile. "Two girls confessing their love for each other… on a public street! I guess times really are changing, don't you think?"
Oh God. She knows. "N-Nabiki…" Akane felt as though she were about to faint.
All the color had drained from Ranma's face. "You're not gonna… gonna tell anyone, are you?"
Nabiki's face dropped. "You really think so little of me? That I'm that heartless?!"
"Oh, thank God. Nabiki—"
"What kind of monster would keep that kind of love a secret?" Nabiki put her hand on her heart, apparently overcome with emotion. "A declaration of love that beautiful just has to be shared."
Ranma stood stock-still in the street, fairly certain he had just died. Nabiki skipped gleefully ahead of him while Akane waved her hand back and forth in front of his eyes.
"Ranma, snap out of it." She snapped her fingers in front of his face, finally bringing him back to earth. "Maybe… maybe it won't be that bad…" Akane paused, biting her lip. "I mean, we can't keep it a secret forever, right? People are bound to find out eventually…"
It was a moment before Ranma could find his voice. "Y-yeah… but this is Nabiki we're talking about… Think about who she'd tell… and how she'd break it to 'em…"
Akane's eyes widened, imagining the attacks and death threats that were surely in her and Ranma's near future. "Oh my God… Nabiki! Nabiki, wait!"
The two chased Nabiki the entire way home, trying to come up with a good bargaining chip.
"Okay…" Akane bit her lip, thinking. "If you won't settle for that, what if I do all your laundry and your homework for a month? No… three months!" She cried desperately as the three of them finally reached the walkway of the house.
Nabiki shook her head for what seemed like the thousandth time. "Nope, no deal." She said simply. "Such a shame… I guess if that's the best you can offer me…"
"Wait, wait! Uh…" Ranma searched frantically for another idea until his eyes finally fell on the Tendo's koi pond. He dove in head first without a second thought. "You can take as many pictures of me as you want!" The red haired girl cried, spouting water everywhere. "I'll wear the girliest, frilliest lingerie you can find, okay?"
Nabiki laughed softly to herself. Now THIS is just sad… "Very tempting, but… no." She smiled evilly. "There'll definitely be a hefty price for this one… Don't worry," She waved sweetly at them as she disappeared into the house. "I'll get back to you."
She is pure evil… Ranma thought miserably, getting to his feet.
"This is awful." Akane sighed, defeated. "We're as good as dead."
Ranma climbed out of the water, wringing some of the water from his sopping wet shirt. "Don't worry, Akane." He said with as much confidence as he could muster. "Think of it this way… it's like a hostage situation, right? She's not gonna actually do anything till she figures out what she wants and whether or not we can give it to her." He patted her on the back comfortingly. "So that gives us some time to figure out how to get around it." He desperately hoped that he sounded convincing.
His fiancée smiled weakly at him. "I guess you're right… But what are we gonna do?"
Before Ranma could reply, a shrill oink of excitement sounded behind him. Oh, great…
"P-chan!" Akane squealed joyfully, taking the tiny piglet into her arms. "Mommy missed you!" She cooed, kissing him on the snout.
Stupid Ryoga… still crawling back to Akane when he's got himself a GIRLFRIEND! Ranma thought bitterly. Look at her kissing him like that! It's disgusting! He could not fight the wave of jealousy that shot through him at the sight.
"Oh, P-chan… I have so much to tell you!" Akane smiled, squeezing the piglet closer to her. "A lot's been happening around here since you've been gone."
"Huh?" Ranma was suddenly awoken from his thoughts by Akane's words. He knew Ryoga would end up being one of the first to find out. It was inevitable. But he also knew that there was no way Akane would spare any details when breaking the news to her precious P-chan. Of all the people who could find out, Ryoga's reaction was sure to be the most unpredictable. I've gotta do this delicately…
"Y'know, Akane, P-chan's lookin' a little dirty, dontcha think?" Ranma peered closely at the tiny pig. It glared back at him venomously. "I need to go change back into a guy again anyway… why don't I give the little piggy a bath while I'm at it?" He offered.
Akane blinked several times. He's definitely trying, I'll give him that! "Sure." She said, obviously taken aback. "That's actually really sweet of you." She smiled brightly at him as she placed the struggling piglet into his arms.
Ranma could feel his heart pound faster in his chest. Why does she have to be so darn cute? "No problem." He said casually, finally heading inside. As soon as he was out of her sight, he broke into a run straight for the bathroom. Ranma double-checked to make sure he had shut the door tightly behind him.
"Sorry to cut the reunion short," He muttered. Ryoga squealed in protest as he began running the hot water. "I'll explain in a minute, okay?"
He finally pushed the struggling pig beneath the surface of the water and immediately felt its shape begin to change. The red haired girl scooted back from the edge of the tub as a muscular, 16-year-old boy broke the surface of the water.
"Hey, P-chan." Ranma smiled sweetly at him. "Lookin' good."
Ryoga cracked his knuckles threateningly. "Ranma, what the HELL is going on?"
A/N: Okay okay, that was a lame way to end the chapter, but it was getting long! Hahahaha. Hope you all liked it so far! I'm starting to get a clearer picture of where this is all heading… hope you guys will be happy with the results! Oh, and just so everyone knows, in this chapter, I was kind of trying to convey that "Oh my God, look!" kind of attitude that people in the Ranma-verse (aka 1980s Japan) seem to give people who they believe are homosexual. I definitely wasn't trying to be homophobic or anything when some of the people and Nabiki were acting all shocked and stuff. Just didn't want anyone to get offended!
Anyways, please review!