Author's note: This is a story idea that I'd been considering for a while. A lot of the fighting between Ranma and Akane happens because they provoke one another, so I thought, "what if one of them just calmed down a little bit?" Then, I mixed that idea with the *facepalm* I do every time Ranma says something, well, stupid. Do you ever watch or read and think, "I would have done things differently..." So, in that vein, this is an alternative universe/same world series in which I write Ranma's interactions based upon how I would have handled things, and I'm going to try my best to write Akane and the other characters so that they are not out-of-character, but acting as they would with the new Ranma.

And if you're saying, "But Jeremy, I don't care what you would have done differently. This is stupid!" Well, you can blow me.

Previously, when I would write fics, I'd have the entire story in my head and most of it written before I start publishing chapters. For the first time, I only have ideas for some of it, so we'll just have to see where it goes. (My concern is always that I'll get lazy and not update it, so if the last update was years before you are reading this and it's ending abruptly, I apologize.) Of course, we're just going to flow with the canon of the original series, so all I have to do is figure out what changes to make.

And, as the broken record always says: I do not own Ranma ½, its characters, or anything that has to do with it. So there.

Ranma walked along the fence, glancing down at his new "fiancée" as they walked to his first day at a new school. He made a mental note to kill his father in his sleep. Seriously, what the hell was the panda-brain thinking? First, he wound up half-girl thanks to their stupid training trip, and now he was engaged to some girl he'd never met before yesterday? He did feel bad about last night, though. Akane had walked in on him in the shower, then called him a pervert; he'd gotten angry and said some mean things. Not that it was okay for her to call him a pervert, but still... He glanced over at her again. He didn't want to grovel, but this whole fiancée thing was going to be way easier without the silent treatment.

He hopped off of the fence and started walking next to Akane on the road. She glared at him. "Didn't I tell you not to hang around me?" she growled. Ranma sighed. "Listen," he began. "I'm sorry we saw eachother in the shower, and I'm sorry I told you my girl side was better built. I didn't mean it, okay?" He glanced at Akane, who turned her nose up and looked away. "Look," he continued, "if you want to stay mad, fine, but I was wrong and I said so. Whatever." He jumped back onto the fence and resumed his balanced walking. Akane glanced his way. "I'm sorry I called you a pervert," she mumbled. Ranma jumped back to the road. "You were the only one who was nice to me when I got here," he said. "Can't we be friends for now? It might take a while to get our dads off of this marriage thing." Akane looked at him warily. "All right," she said, "but don't tell anyone we're supposed to be engaged. Just because I'm being nice to you doesn't mean I like this whole marriage idea." "Hey, I don't like it any more than you do," he answered.

Water came from nowhere to hit Ranma right in the face, and he suddenly found himself six inches shorter, staring through damp red bangs at the old woman watering the street. Why would you water asphalt? "Damn it," he (she) mumbled. "I guess I have to run home and take a bath."

"You can't," Akane said. "You'll make us late."

"I can't go to school as a girl!"

"All you need is hot water, right? Come on, there's a place we can go."

She led Ranma around a corner, and Ranma found herself staring at Dr. Tofu's Moxibustion Clinic. Akane opened the door and they walked in. "Wait here," she said. "I'll find some hot water." Ranma wandered into the exam room, looking at the various items hanging on the wall. She didn't have a clue what any of the stuff was; maybe it was a good thing that she was going into martial arts and not medicine.

Without a sound, a bony arm landed on her shoulder. She screamed, leaping onto the door and hanging. She looked over her shoulder, spying the young doctor and his medical skeleton. "Pardon me," he said. "Don't be afraid. This is just Betty, my skeleton." Of course, saying 'don't be afraid' after you've scared someone is a bit pointless, but it was a little late for that. Akane hurried in, carrying a kettle. "Ranma," she said, "I have the hot..." She spied Dr. Tofu and stopped in her tracks, slamming the door on Ranma's fingers. "Oh, hi, Dr. Tofu," she said, nervously, as Ranma fell from the door, clutching her aching fingers. "Damn it, Akane, watch what you're doing!" she hissed.

Tofu smiled at Akane. "You haven't been by in a while," he said. "No new injuries?" Akane looked at the floor, holding the kettle with a death grip. "No sir," she said, "not that I'm doing anything that would... hurt me..." Ranma looked at her knowingly, recognizing the look in her eyes.

The now-male (and much happier) Ranma strolled toward Furinkan High School, with Akane next to him. She'd been silent since they left Tofu's office. Ranma glanced at her. "So, that Dr. Tofu," he said, "he practices martial arts?"

"How could you tell?" she asked.

"He snuck up on me without me hearing him coming. You'd have to be a martial artist to be that quiet."

"He's very good. You can't tell by looking at him, can you?"

"I guess not."

"Ever since I was little, Dr. Tofu took care of all of my injuries."

"So that's what this whole surprise engagement is throwing a wrench into, huh?"

Akane stopped, wide eyed. "Wha... what?" she stammered. Ranma smirked at her. "C'mon, I can tell you like him," he said. They resumed walking. "It's not like he and I..." she muttered. Ranma scratched his head. "So why don't you confess to him how you feel?" he asked. "Then our dads will think you can't be engaged to me. You'll get the guy you like, and worst case scenario I'll get pawned off on one of your sisters. It's win-win." Akane shook her head. "I don't think that's a good idea," she said sadly. "Well why not?" he prodded. "The only thing that could go wrong is if he rejected you. Then you'd at least know how he feels, right?"

Akane looked at the ground. "I know how he feels," she mumbled.

Ranma was momentarily confused, but decided not to pursue it. Akane liked somebody, and that was enough to break this stupid engagement. All he had to do was come up with some reason that he couldn't be forced onto the other two. 'Maybe I should hang around them more and learn some stuff,' he thought. He looked at Akane and smirked. "So you don't hate guys, at least not all of them," he said. "You'll understand in a minute," she replied, as they entered Furinkan's front gate.

Ranma stopped, eyes wide, as a sound like thunder rumbled from the front of the building. With it came a crowd of men larger than any crowd he'd ever seen. "Just stay back; I'm used to this," Akane said. Ranma hopped into a nearby tree for a better view, watching as Akane began tossing the high school boys like tennis balls. It took less than a minute for the crowd to turn into a mess of moaning or unconscious bodies littering the school yard. Ranma stared in wonder. He was honestly impressed with her skills. "Maybe this fiancée thing could work out after all," he mused. He jumped down next to Akane. "Wow, that was quick," he said. "None of them are any good," came the reply.

A rose flew out of nowhere, landing in Akane's hand. From the look on her face, it was clear that she knew exactly where it had come from, and didn't much like its arrival. A tall, dark, and... mentally retarded looking... boy stepped up to them. "Such a boorish lot," the boy said. "Akane Tendo, might I have the privilege of battling you?" Akane put her palm to her forehead. "Kuno, no, just go away," she said, sounding more irritated than anything else. Ranma chuckled. "You should start charging for dates, Akane, you could make a fortune," he said, laughing. The other boy pointed his bokken at him. "You there!" he shouted. "Aren't you being awfully familiar with Akane?"

"Uh, yeah, I guess" Ranma began.

"Then tell me who you are, then!"

"Well, my name is..."

"Wait! Is it not customary to give one's own name first? Fine. Mine I shall give. I am captain of the Kendo club; undefeated star of the high school fencing world. To many, I am known as the Blue Thunder of Furinkan High! Tatewaki Kuno, age seventeen."

Ranma stared in confusion. Seriously, how do you answer a rant like that? "Uh..." he stammered. "My name is Ranma Saotome. My pop is friends with Akane's dad and we're staying with them." Kuno reddened. "Staying under the same roof as Akane Tendo?" he screamed. "I won't allow it!"

Ranma rubbed his temples. "Look..." he began, only to be cut off by the fuming Kuno. "I will not allow you to continue hounding Akane!" he growled. Ranma was befuddled. "Hounding?" he asked. "Who said I was... Besides, she doesn't look very interested in you to me. Just saying." While truthful, this was not remotely the statement that Kuno wanted to hear. He swung his bokken, slicing into the wall of the school, as Ranma leapt clear. Ranma looked at the clock on the school, which showed class beginning in five minutes. "Dude, I don't have time for this," he complained. "You're going to make us late!" He jumped from the tree, planting a foot firmly on Kuno's face and driving him into the ground as he bolted for the doors, with Akane in tow. "Find me after school!" he called back to the still-fuming Kuno.

Akane and Ranma sat at the lunch table. As Ranma looked at the bento given to him by Kasumi that morning, he knew that there would be some definite advantages to being in Nerima. "So, what was with that crowd this morning?" he asked. Akane sighed. "Kuno made this big proclamation to the school that the only way he would 'permit' someone to date me was if they defeated me in combat," she explained. "So, you hate guys because you get hit on so much," Ranma mused. "I guess that makes sense. Boy, I wish I was that popular." Akane nudged him. "It sounds great until you're in the middle of it," she retorted.

Kuno's voice echoed from the other side of the room. "Fiancée?" he cried. He and the rest of the school instantly surrounded their table. Akane buried her face in her hands. "You!" Kuno yelled, again brandishing his bokken in Ranma's direction. "You will not marry Akane! I won't allow it!" Ranma glanced at the mortified Akane. They were both getting pretty tired of Kuno claiming the authority to 'allow' anything, especially having been recently forced into an engagement. "How did he find out?" Ranma asked quietly. Akane looked up at him. "There is one other person at this school who knew," she muttered. Ranma shook his head. "I had Nabiki pegged," he said.

A group of girls, the gossipy type, clamored around Akane. "Is it true?" one asked enthusiastically. Akane stammered, seemingly unable to formulate an excuse under pressure. A light bulb went off in Ranma's head. He threw an arm around Akane. "Yeah," he said, feigning enthusiasm to match the bimbos, "we're just crazy about eachother!" Akane was too shocked to even pull away, looking at Ranma with her eyes wide and her mouth hanging open. He leaned close. "Roll with it, it'll get the guys off your back," he whispered quickly. Her look changed to one of skepticism, but Ranma had provided the crowd with what they wanted, and everyone dissipated amidst a sea of whispers. (Everyone, that is, except Kuno, who was dragged away by a teacher for disrupting lunch.)

Akane sat in shock. "I... can't... believe... you just told them..." she stammered. "Hey, I'm right, aren't I?" Ranma asked. Akane rubbed her temples in frustration. "That was not a good idea," she said warily. "Nabiki's going to get word," Akane began, "and she's going to go tell our dads what you said, and they'll go crazy celebrating..." Ranma stopped her. "Quit worrying," he said casually. "Besides, now I get to say I'm going with the girl who's so cute that every guy here risked life and limb for a shot with her. That's bragging rights!" Akane shook her head once, before what Ranma said actually set it. She reddened while Ranma smirked.

'Oh yeah, that'll be worth some points,' he thought.