Meeting Nanoha

a Ranma 1/2-Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Time Loop

DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the characters herein. Ranma is the property of Takahashi Rumiko, and the Nanoha universe is owned by Seven Arcs and Gakken, depending on when this is happening.

I should add that, in cases where you see lists of synonyms, it's because those are generally intended to be strikethrough text. I'll eventually figure out a way to indicate that; it will be indicated here.

'thought' ":telepathy:" "Emphasis or spell name, as it is being cast" "\German\" "*Old Norse*"

-Tentative strikethrough, because the site won't let me even hard-code it. You will never see this in speech. Pay attention to where the spaces are; if there is no space between the word previous and the dash, it's not a strikethrough.-


Ranma looked around. This was definitely not where he normally reset- no obvious buildings, for one, and it was night-

And then he was run over by a black blob of… something. Barely managing to fight his way free, it- Crawled? Slithered? The motion was almost like an inchworm- off into the brush. He collapsed, and then there was the familiar tingle of transformation magic just before he blacked out.

Nanoha was worried. If he wasn't Awake, Yuuno would have been calling for help by now… for that matter, even if he was, he would have checked in to see whether or not she was.

'He lasted the night that first time,' she decided after one last check on her Area Search spell. It would wake her up if it found him. 'At least it isn't one of those ones when everyone's hitting on Kyouya.'

Programs being what they were, of course, the spell completely ignored the fact that there was a new signature where she had told it Yuuno would be. Ferret-shaped though it may be, it wasn't what it was looking for, after all.

When Ranma woke up, it was light out. It was warm, although not enough for him to be in direct sunlight, and holy shit where did the giants come from?!

He fixated on the one off to the left, closing one eye. It was easier to ignore the other two than watch the one in front of him or try to watch both flankers at once. Easier or not, it was not happy about something.

This was… new. She didn't know yet whether or not that would be a good thing, but she wasn't holding her breath either way. Mentally, she shrugged; it wasn't like she was any stranger to -blasting people until they saw things her way- making new friends.

There was something off about this stand-in, though, as if he was just slightly out of focus and maybe turned at an odd angle to the rest of reality, and there was capital-P Power there, too. She'd have to keep an eye on him… well, after dropping him off at the vet, anyway.

He conducted a metaphysical inventory, more or less ignoring the vet and her assistants as they closed up for the evening, simply grateful that they spoke his language. There had been talk of neutering earlier, something he would not appreciate when he got back to his normal body, but luckily, this particular vet was a generalist, and had recommended a small-animal-and-exotics specialist on the far side of the city.

He'd been shape-shifted, so magic obviously existed- but not in any form he recognized. It wasn't Jusenkyo, and it wasn't drawn from L-sama, either. When he took a look at the spell holding him to this shape, it looked like some strange twist on Naruto's fuuin-jutsu, but with numbers and equations running all over the place, not just characters. There were the Angels, and there was Lilith. His ki and reiki were fine, although an odd chain had wrapped itself around Gleaming Darkness, but his mana… Since when had that looked like some sort of miniature star? Deciding to ignore the seal on his form for now, he focused on figuring out what was wrong.

It took him a bit to figure out the best position to meditate in, but that wasn't really surprising; he'd never been a rat-thing before- not that he remembered, anyway. His breathing slowed. 'Ground and center.'

A sudden spike in power got Nanoha's attention while she was at the dinner table, just after getting the okay from her parents to bring the thing home. It looked like she might be learning more about the stranger sooner than expected.

It still took longer than she would have liked. After clearing the table- it was Miyuki's turn to wash, and Kyouya's to dry- she went up to her room, ostensibly to get ready for her bath. Once inside, she murmured a quick sleep spell, and then slammed up a Barrier. She had a weasel to see.

Ranma had spent a good part of the evening poking at the thing that was apparently taking the place of his ki. He poked at it a few times, but other than a feeling like he'd poked his pops in the belly, that was about it. Pulling created a much more interesting reaction- like he was unwinding a ball of yarn. Trying to split it down the middle did exactly nothing, as far as he could tell.

He almost missed the sound of the front wall being blown open. Not after the blob that had blown it open jumped at him, though.

Nanoha arrived to the expected chaos- the monster that was the Jewel Seed construct charging around, chasing the flying, glowing… red-and-black ferret with wings? She blinked. He hadn't had those earlier. Of course, he hadn't been flying or glowing before, either, but that was relatively normal. It wasn't like she couldn't do that herself.

She took a moment to watch what looked like nothing more than a game of tag. She considered the humor in that; the Japanese name for the game was oddly appropriate here.

Wait. Had that weasel just given the monster a red-eye?

Ranma loved to fly. Okay, having wings to steer with was a little odd, but other than that and the thing chasing him, things were cool. Oh, and the giant person-thing over there, but that was just standing there, at the moment.

Well, it had been, but that was before it had shot a big ole beam o' doom at the critter chasing him and dropped a glowing net on him. It stomped up to him and demanded "What in the world do you think you're doing?" in the oh-so-familiar voice of the Woman Wronged.

"Uh, flying?" He was surprised enough to hear his voice that he almost fell out of the air.

"No, really," she snapped, "I never would have guessed! Who are you, what have you done with Yuuno, and if you can change shapes enough to grow wings, why can't you just change back to your real self instead of trying to trick people by being a cute, harmless, defenseless animal?"

"I am not harmless and definitely not defenseless," he snapped back with a glare. "If there wasn't some kind of lock on my form, I would!" he finished, more-or-less ignoring the fact that about half an hour ago, he hadn't had wings.

Of course, that meant she had to point it out. "Which is why you have wings now."

"I don't know how they got there!"

She gave him a long, slow, unblinking Look and sighed. "Alright, fine. I'll accept that you're an incompetent. I'll even accept that, despite that, you've polymorphed twice, apparently on some strange kind of instinct. But I won't accept that you don't know how to do magic!"

"I know how to do magic," he protested, "but this system doesn't make any sense!"

"No sense? It's all higher math and energy-based physics! How can it not make sense?!"

"If it's physics, it's science, moron!"

"I'm not the one who doesn't know what he's doing!"

"If it's magic, where the hell are the potions and incantations?!"

"The formula is the incantation! Haven't you used a magic circle before?! Why the hell would you need potions?"

This went on for another fifteen minutes before the ferret abruptly burst into humanity. "Well, that was weird. Felt almost like an Animagus change."

"An aniwhat?"

"First you don't know what potions are, and then you don't know what Animagi are? Damn, what sort of wizard are you?"

"You might know if you ANSWERED THE DAMN QUESTION!" raged the woman he now knew to be a brunette, picking him up by the surcoat and shaking him like a ragdoll.

"PuUUhUUht mEEee dOOwn, yoUU daAMn TOmboy!" Ranma spat out through the shaking, and immediately found out why taking what he would later learn was a "Divine Buster" to the chest at point-blank range without some kind of magical protection was a bad idea. Not bad enough to keep him from standing back up, though.

"What the hell was that for?!"

"I'm not a tomboy!"

"Could'a fooled me! If someone with your temper ain't a tomboy, I'm a weasel!" BAMF!

When the cloud cleared, the girl stared at the irritable-looking ferret. "You know, you'd think I'd know better by now."

Almost absently, Nanoha had pulled Raising Heart's necklace off of Ranma's neck, set it up, and sucked up the Jewel Seed. Right now, the Jewel Seeds were not a problem- well, okay, they were, but it was really more of an annoyance at this point. She smiled to herself; she'd gotten Raising Heart to start using them like semi-permanent cartridges a hundred or so Loops back. The smile earned an odd look from the ferret dangling at arm's-length, who had yet to figure out just what the heck had turned him back into his present shape.

They had gotten home in time for her to take her bath without any extra time seeming to appear between the sleep spell and the Barrier. She brought Raising Heart with her, but made a point of leaving the new kid back in her room. After all, he would not be able to hurt anything there without hands.

She had obviously never spent any significant time around real ferrets, she decided. It was either that, or he was a lot more trouble than Yuuno was. Maybe both.

Somehow, he had managed to scorch her carpet, put cracks in the windowpane and ended up dangling from her ceiling lamp. All these things were extremely easy to deal with, although it did bring up the question of how he'd managed it without getting her family's attention.

Unfortunately, her bed was also stuck to the ceiling, without any sign of how it had gotten there- trace magic, sure, but none holding it up or to the ceiling. She was just lucky that she hadn't had time to build up any significant amounts of… toys there, the Loop having started yesterday and most of her collection still in storage. Barely visible through the scorching, there were chalk marks on her carpet.

She looked up at the ferret on the ceiling. "What in the world were you trying to do?"

"So let me get this straight. We're repeating the same time period, over and over again, because of some sort of cosmic computer glitch?" Nanoha asked incredulously some time later. "And you're dating one of the… people… responsible for getting it fixed?"

"Pretty much. I'm kinda surprised I'm the one telling you about this. One of them usually shows up." The ferret sighed. "And I'm like this because your missing friend, at this point in the Loop, is an overgrown rat?"

"Yes, but he's never had the, ah, problem with his transformation that you seem to."

"Transformation magic hates me. End of story."

A third figure appeared, sprouting into what almost looked like a mature version of Agito and lightening the ferret's fur considerably. "But you're so cute like this!"

"Dammit, Lilith, are you the one doing this?!"

"Nope. Doesn't mean I'm not going to laugh at it, though."

Nanoha curiously poked at the figure, only to have her finger slapped away. "Hands off, lady. I say who touches me, and you're not on that list."

"That's mean," she pouted.

Ranma sighed. "Go back to sleep, Lilith. Don't have time to play right now." After a quick pout that got her absolutely nowhere, she did as directed, but not without a parting shot.

"Well, if you say so, Ranma, but you're going to owe me." The ferret visibly cringed at the thought.

Nanoha tilted her head. "Why's your Device acting like that?"

"My what?"

"Device. You know, a tool that amplifies your magical power? Makes it easier to use, too."

"Lilith's a succubus. She eats power, not amplify it. Why would a tool look like a person, anyway?"

"Some of them are weird like that. Most of those are really, really old. Why would you leave something that eats your soul alive in you?"

"She's a limiter. Without her and some other things eating up power, I'd become a god, and that'd destroy my universe. Believe me, it ain't all fun and games."

The brunette blinked. "You don't look like you'd need a limiter."

"I don't normally look like a rodent, either," he dryly pointed out. "Will you tell me how to undo this now?"


"Whadda ya mean-" the ferret yelled before remembering that there were people around that didn't accept talking animals as status quo. "Whadda ya mean no?" he finished more quietly.

"Do you know how to turn back into a ferret?" The boy blinked at the question, and Nanoha sighed. "What do you think my parents are going to do if a boy suddenly shows up, in my room, at this time of night?" That got her point across. "Besides, you need to learn the basics so you can do stuff without, you know, detonating my room."

The ferret scratched one of his cheeks. "Eh, it's no biggie. I'll just-"

"No!" She swatted at him, not expecting him to reappear on top of her head. "Don't you dare do anything until you know how without blowing things up!"

"Fine," he groused, settling in between her pigtails. "I was going to say 'go on a training trip,' but I'll just watch you do it."

"And just where were you going to go?"

"That park's pretty big…"

"Not big enough for people not to notice when you set stuff on fire. Besides, unshielded magic wreaks havoc on the environment, and I am not going to just let the first new male I've seen in centuries off himself before I get him in the sack, and I'll be damned if I sleep with a ferret!"

Cue disturbed stare. "… You have problems, you know that, right?"

"You know how many boys I meet that stick around long enough to be a feature in the course of a normal Loop?! Eleven! I'm related to two of them, and one's a fat asshole! I like girls just fine, but there's more to life than a steady diet of yuri!"

"Ooh, she sounds fun, Ranma," purred Lilith from… somewhere. "I like this one."

"… Okay. Now I'm worried," the shape-shifter admitted.

"Your Monster of the Week is a dog?!" Ranma snorted, looking at the construct. "Well, I've seen worse. At least it's not a tree or something." Nanoha fidgeted, and the ferret sighed. "Let's get this over with so you can, you know, actually teach me something." He hopped down off her shoulder and took up a position two paces in front of her.

The creature that thought of itself as "Good Dog" was confused. The Voice was saying "threat-hurt-kill-threat" about the young food-giver female, but on the other hand, there was this furry, moving Thing that made sounds between them.

It took almost two seconds for Good Dog to make its decision. You can only change a creature so much without getting rid of the base completely, after all.

It bounded forward.

Nanoha snapped Raising Heart and her Barrier Jacket into being when the dog-thing started to move and braced for impact. When a few seconds passed and nothing happened, she opened an eye to see it chasing Ranma around the temple courtyard. Torii, the racks of ema, the offertory box… Nothing was safe.

"Dammit, stop chasing me! I'm not a squeaky toy!" Ranma yelled.

Nanoha snorted. The snort turned into a giggle, and the giggle into full-fledged laughter.

Glaring at the girl, Ranma muttered, "Screw this" and sidestepped the latest charge, biting the dog's tail as it slammed into the torii.

The dog yelped and spun, waving Ranma around as it tried to get at him. Unfortunately for him, the dog's shape was less than permanent, and as it spun, its tail lengthened. After some thirty revolutions, it had grown enough so that the dog was able to catch him and shake him. As Nanoha looked on, horrified, it tossed him up into the air. Ranma's footing caught on- something; she did not sense any magic- and he snarled, "You want me? Well, fine!" He threw himself back the way he came, straight down the dog's throat.

Nanoha blinked. "… And what, exactly, was the point of that?" She was confused enough to not notice the cross-eyed look on the dog's face and the wriggling in its throat that slowly made its way down to its stomach. "Well, I'd better get rid of it now," she sighed. "Guess I won't be teaching him after all." She began focusing energy for a low-level magical blast.

And then, the dog exploded, and a boy rose from the remains, a gleaming jewel in his hand.

"Ew. I'm covered in demon dog."

Ranma blinked and tried to figure out why Nanoha was laying into him. Maybe force-feeding himself to a construct wasn't the best idea, but it wasn't like it was going to take permanent harm just from him ripping his way out of what passed for its guts… was it?

He shot a quick look its way. No, it would be fine- it was pulling itself back together now, more slowly than he would have expected, but it hadn't eaten any of his ki, chakra, or magic, so it might take a bit.

On the other hand, he wasn't about to let it have the stone he'd found in its belly back, either. He wanted to take a good, long look at the thing. It was giving off more power than he liked. He absently teased green, blue, and white threads loose from the beacon at his center, wrapped them around the idea "get better," and tossed the ball in its direction before pausing the ranting brunette with "Aren't you supposed to be doing something about that?"

She stopped mid-syllable, looked over to where the distressed, possessed dog was literally pulling itself back together, and ignored it. "And what would you have done if you died for real?!"

"Probably got laughed at and then ended up an out-of-work god."

"Exactly! And- wait, hold on. What?"

Ranma hung his head. "I keep forgetting that you don't know these things. You can only gain so much power without gaining extra dimensions. What most of us think of as 'gods' are people… it's just that instead of the four or five- I can never remember which- we have, they have ten or more. All at the same time. If an Anchor becomes a god, though, it rips the middle out of their universe, and it collapses."

"So, your girlfriend, Skald-"


"Whatever. She's one of these goddesses?"

"Yep. I'd be careful about her name, though. She doesn't much like it when people mess it up."

"Meh. What's she going to do about it?" Thunder rolled, the Universe flickered, and Ranma winced in sympathy.

"I want to go on record pointing out that I didn't say that," he announced to their surroundings and the Universe in general. "I even made a point of warning her against something like that." The universe flickered again- pink and red, this time. "Thank you." To Nanoha, "You really ought to know better by now. The dog's getting up, by the way."

The third-grader spun, waved Raising Heart in the general direction of the shakily-standing dog and snapped, "Seal." The dog pulsed and dissolved into dust, and the jewel in Ranma's fist flashed. "You aren't getting out of this, buster," she snapped at what was now a ferret with a shiny blue collar.

Back in her room, Nanoha held her head and whined, "My head hurts."

The ferret snorted. "Suck it up. You haven't even been to Hogwarts or Eiken yet."

"Eh? Hogwarts? Eiken?"

"Hogwarts is a seven-year wizard school loop. Eiken… Let's just say you don't want to go to Eiken. Either you'd end up as a guy or you'd have major back problems."

"Eh? Back problems…? Wait. I can end up as a guy in some Loops?"

He shot her a surprised look. "You mean you haven't yet?"


He considered that and, once again defying biology, shrugged. "You know, usually, someone does something stupid to end the world by now. Your time will come."

"What does ending the world have to do with it?"

"Nuh-uh. Ain't going there. Not with a goddamn Armoire of Invincibility. Find out sometime when I'm not in your Loop." 'Note to self: Keep a minder on her at all times.' A pause. 'And not one in human form.' "So, anyway. You're supposed to be teaching me, right?"


"You know, when I said that at least the enemy wasn't a tree, it didn't mean that you had to go and find one."

It was actually kind of depressing when she thought about how fast Ranma was learning magic- just from watching her. She'd have liked to say that it was her talent as a teacher- and she had quite a bit; she had made a job out of it for centuries now- but nobody should learn that much that fast, and when she asked just how he'd managed, all he'd say was "practice." It was just not fair! On top of that, her one and only attempt at actually teaching him had gone so... badly… that she was still surprised the family house stood.

Despite this, Ranma had kept to the ferret shape for the most part up until now… well, mostly because he had trouble not randomly changing shapes at the worst possible times. Every time he got worked up about something, he changed, which had made for some very awkward situations. Maybe Arf could help?

At the moment, they were dealing with a giant cat. Well, Ranma was; she was sitting back, offering pointers, and laughing when he got swa- BZZAP!

"Geez, Nanoha, don't you normally take care of that before I get here?" asked Fate, settling in next to her after a quick hug.

"New guy," she told her co-anchor. "What took you so long?"

"Had to beat down Precia again," Fate replied, collecting the Jewel Seed. "I think she might be Awake this time. He cute?"

"When he's not a ferret." She grinned at the inquisitive look. "He's taking Yuuno's role this time around, and has trouble not changing shapes when he gets worked up about something. No idea why, though; I'm starting to get a little worried about it. If this keeps up, I'll never get any from him. Could you ask Arf to take a look?"

"Could you maybe not talk about me like I'm not here?" the boy groused from the ground, smoldering.

"Only if you share. She's not Awake this time, though," Fate told her friend, completely ignoring him.

"Of course I'd share! I'd never be that mean to you," Nanoha protested. An irritated Ranma bursting into a Technicolor aura got their attention, though.

"I said, don't talk about me like I'm not here!" he snapped. It might have been a little more impressive if he had been able to remain human, though.

Fate blinked. "I think I see what you mean." She considered that briefly. "Could it be a control issue?" The ambient temperature suddenly started dropping.

"I don't think so." The brunette blinked at the sudden change in the weather as a sudden rainstorm turned to freezing rain.

"Dammit, don't you people listen?!" the flying ferret shouted.

"Of course we do," Nanoha told him. "Now be quiet and let the adults talk."

Fate winced. Insulting an unknown was never a good idea.

"Adults? Adults?! You think that you've been around for a measly few hundred Loops, and that makes you adults?!" The ferret suddenly turned into an eight-winged humanoid- six feathered, one leathery. Fate whistled. You didn't see things like that often. Really, the only people who regularly showed up with wings were Hayate and Signum when they Unisoned with Rein or Agito. Of course, she never got to see a ferret-furry; Yuuno had flat-out refused every time she asked.

"Measly? Four hundred seventy six Loops are not measly!" Nahoha objected.

"They are when you've been doing it for hundreds of thousands more than when you lost count, moron!" That earned a quick period of silence. Well, that and the fact that they had to put up a shield against the pebble-sized hail. Oddly, it didn't seem to strike the boy. "Didn't you think when I said I'd had practice picking up new abilities?!"

"You just said you'd had practice," Nanoha said weakly.

"After I'd already told you that I'd been in other universes before!"

"Um, excuse me," Fate tried to interject.

"Apparently, you don't think at all!"

"I think plenty!"

"Excuse me," Fate said. Maybe louder would get their attention?

"Sure don't look that way!"

"Excuse me! Please stop it!" She was immediately the focus of two very angry stares. "Uh, people are staring…"

The other two blinked. Sure enough, there were Arisa and Suzuka. "Um, hi?"

"Didn't you say that they'd eventually find out anyway?" Ranma asked, confused. "What's the big deal?"

"Yeah, in six months, and that's supposed to be after we deal with Rein's crazy problem," Nanoha said sourly.

Once again spiting his biology, the ferret shrugged. "Not like it's all that much in the big scheme of things. Rein… That's the sentient golem-gadget-thing, right?"

"Rein's a Unison Device, not a 'golem-gadget-thing,'" the brunette snapped. "There's a difference! And of course them knowing this early is a big thing! They think it's all fighting magical monsters and that nobody gets hurt now!"

"If it's that big of a deal, just erase their memories."

"Nanoha," Fate quietly interjected, "for the most part, it is all fighting magical monsters. It's just that sometimes, the monsters happen to be human." She considered that. "Or robots."

The sometimes-ferret blinked. "You have robots?"

"Magically created, powered, and animated pieces of technology, yes."

"More golems. Gotcha." He rubbed his head. "Harry would have a field day with you guys. So would Shinji."

"Harry? Shinji?"

"Anchors. You'll meet 'em eventually. Harry's from Hogwarts," he added, as if it were significant. All he got were blank stares. "You'll understand eventually. Unless you're lucky. And since I'm around and you insulted Skuld, that ain't likely."

"Who's Skuld?" Fate asked

"Girlfriend, alleged goddess, and one of the QA people trying to fix the damn computer that runs everything and is causing this mess," Nanoha told her.

The universe flickered again, and Ranma, human after the flicker, hung his head and groaned, "Why me?"

Fate paused. "Did anyone else see that?"

"See what?"

"Everything going grey for a second."

"It's been doing that a lot lately. I'm not that worried about it, though; nothing's happened yet."

"Um, Nanoha?"

"Oh, come on. What could possibly happen? It's not like she really exists."

"And then she had to go and say that!" Ranma cried, manly, manly tears rolling down his face.

"Let's see. Nanoha and Fate are beating down Fate's mom, and Arf is passed out at Arisa's house." Ranma considered that. "They said that there would be another Jewel Seed in the middle of the city, and that it wasn't usually guarded…"

He was thankful that this "transformation spell" worked mostly similar to Arf's transformation ability- that is, it was an effort of will. Most of the time, anyway; he was stuck one way or another most of the time once in a while. Of course, it also made it that much less likely for the various females to seduce him. Between appearing to be nine years old and being a ferret most of the time, most of the women just cuddled him instead.

Cuddling, in and of itself, wasn't bad. It was what the cuddling led to- or from, depending on the situation- that tended to cause him problems. Minor things, like dehydration, exhaustion, and broken hips or ribs. Nothing major. He hadn't died from sex -since Skuld's last vacation- for a long time, after all.

He'd held on to that Jewel Seed since the fight with the dog-thing; having a magical artifact around his neck was somewhat… unnerving, when you weren't sure what it did. Recovering this one, though, might clear things up a bit. There was some sort of resonance there- not exactly the "red string" girls and the bad romance novels Lina and Nabiki read spoke about, but something similar. It was like the things called each other.

He knew better than to think it was impossible, though. He'd been around too long. Everything was possible somewhere, unfortunately. People like the Choushin made places just to make sure that certain things would be possible.

"Let's see… where is it?" Nanoha's search spell resembled balls of light, and were actively looking for things. His, though, was more passive, and with the right way of looking, seemed more like a spider's web. It involved plugging into the local Dragon Line equivalent; not always a good idea, but there were ups and downs to both ways of doing things. Of course, if things stayed still, they usually did not show up- but the world almost always knew something. It didn't always want to tell you, though, and even when it did, it didn't always make a whole lot of sense. It perceived things in a way that nothing human-shaped ever did. Some things just did not translate.

Concentrations of energy, though- figuring out that was easy enough. Depending on the energy, it could feel sick, energized, or any of a half-dozen other sensations. The Jewel Seeds, for whatever reason, tingled, like a numb limb that was just waking up, an easily recognized hole in the odd, off-balance sensation that usually denoted "city."

Ferret or not, it only took him a few minutes to reach the area. That was when things started to get complicated; the web-spell was less than specific, when its target was motionless. "Now for the barrier thing…" He concentrated, pulling thread after thread of magic out of his center and tying it into the pattern he remembered Nanoha making. Silently blessing an eidetic memory, he checked it over one last time. "That should do it," he grunted, and pushed it out, filling it with the idea of "other" to stretch it out over three or four city blocks.

The barrier zone made finding energy peaks that much simpler; he was able to rely on his own senses, but he didn't have access to the Dragon Lines here. Still, this would be interesting.

He carefully approached the Jewel Seed, taking time to return allow both himself and the Jewel Seed he carried to resume their natural forms. He took a deep breath, and touched his to the other one. The resonance grew exponentially… and then, the barrier-space began twisting.

"This can't be good." True to form, the barrier went up in a pillar of coherent magic.

He had half-expected to wake up on the street, in a crater with two Jewel Seeds, possibly with Nanoha and Fate trying to figure out what he had done.

The other half expected to wake up to a traffic sign to the back of his head, so waking up in human form on some sort of hospital bed was unexpected. Especially with a small boy in an overcoat was trying to pull a Gendo on him from across his nightstand.

"You…" he growled, "what did you do to make everyone forget? And what did you do to my sister?"

Ranma blinked. "Sister?" He hadn't had sex with anyone yet this Loop, so it couldn't be that.

"Yes! My sister! Fate! Blonde lady, uses an Intelligent Device named Bardiche!"

Ranma looked at him, nonplussed. "She's probably with Nanoha."

The boy seized on that. "Nanoha's here too? She'll know what's going on!" Under his breath, he murmured "Amy" and stalked out the door, leaving Ranma blinking.

"Whelp," he grunted, "time to get back down there… Hey, where did my Jewel Seeds go?" He stood and began searching the room. As he made it to the door, he was abruptly pulled back by a tether on his neck. "Hey! Why am I tied up?" He pulled on the energy-cord. "Hey! I'm not some kind of pet!"

"Dammit, why won't you break?!"

"Hm, is it tied to a collar or something? Maybe if I change shape…"

When the boy Ranma would later come to know as "Chrono" returned, it was to find a ferret, suspended upside down three and a half feet from the floor. Unsurprisingly, it earned him some odd looks. Well, two, anyway. Nanoha and Fate were too busy trying not to laugh; Nanoha just was not trying very hard.

"Um, kid," Arf said as she poked at the shapeshifted boy, "how the hell did you manage this?"

"Don' wanna," sulked the ferret.

"Oh, come on," she sighed. "It's not like you were on a tether or anything to begin with, right? That's not part of TSAB procedure, after all." Fortunately for Chrono, Arf was in the line of sight between the two boys, and Fate and Nanoha were too busy laughing to spot the suddenly guilty look on the TSAB enforcer's face.

"Don' wanna- hold up. Whadda ya mean it's not part of standard procedure?"

"I mean that when the TSAB takes a prisoner, they put restrain them in the brig under a Bind, not wrap them like a ball of yarn in the ship's infirmary."

"That so." Chrono maneuvered to keep someone between himself and Ranma.

"It is," Fate confirmed, having finally regaining control of her giggles.

"So… When do you start tying patients to walls?"

"You don't," Fate assured him.

Chrono coughed into a fist. "Can we please go convince the Captain that I'm not crazy now?"

"Sure," cheered Nanoha, now distracted from her fit. "Let's go say hi to Admiral Lindy!"

"Um, excuse me," Fate said to the retreating backs of the group, "what about-"

"C'mon, Fate! You want to see your mom again, right?"

"Well, yes, but-"

"Well, come on, then!"

Fate offered a quick, apologetic bow to the ferret in bondage, and set off after her friends and family. The last Ranma heard of them was a fading "I thought your mother was Lady Precia?" from Arf.

"What about me?" he murmured weakly, and then sighed. "Fuck it. I'll just kawarimi my way out. There's gotta be a pen I can use here somewhere."