Disclaimer: The characters of Ranma 1/2 are owned by Rumiko Takahashi, but this story belongs to me.

A Duck Into A Swan

Part I: Ranma

Akane took hold of his hand and looked up into his eyes. She let him draw her to him and hold her close. She was both excited and scared. Her heart beat fast in her chest as she felt him prepare to move. Though she truly was enjoying this special moment as she smiled up at her partner encouragingly, she couldn't help but feel a little sad.

If only he were Ranma...



Two hours Ago:

Kasumi must have a special technique that sapped away a man's will. How else could he explain how she managed to keep him from following Akane AGAIN?

For almost two months, the fiancée he'd never asked for, but he hadn't exactly fought his hardest to escape the contract with, had been disappearing right after an early dinner and not coming back until most everyone was asleep.




And every morning she was gone before he could demand an explanation while they walked to school. They always walked to school! Not that it bothered him that she suddenly stopped walking with him with absolutely no explanation. Of course not. He didn't miss walking to school with her and talking with her and teasing her. He didn't miss her. Much.

And she always seemed to find a reason to stay late at school. The first couple of days of this happening he hadn't given it too much thought, maybe it was tutoring or doing some more training. Or maybe she was still mad at him for their last fight or something. They fought, its what they did. Then they made up and fought some more. It wasn't like her to hold a grudge for so long though. Or to ignore him like this. He had to figure out what was going on.

But he never got a chance to ask because Kasumi had kept him busy with chores from the moment dinner was over until he was about ready to collapse. And with as great of shape as he was in, that was really saying something.

All Kasumi had to do was ask sweetly and smile gently, and he was suckered into another ten thousand chores. Then he realized what she was really up to. She was keeping him too busy to wonder where Akane was sneaking off to!

He KNEW what she was doing, yet he STILL caved!

At first he thought all he had to do was avoid her and he wouldn't be prey to her Gentle Smile Attack. But noooo, somehow she always managed to find him! It was entirely possibly that Nabiki had him bugged somehow, or followed by a mysterious network of spies. He wouldn't put anything past that sneaky mercenary. But was it Akane or Kasumi who was paying the high price the middle sister was sure to be extracting for her 'help' to flush him out of his hiding spots? And just what would be so important that they would be so desperate as to go to such extremes?

Or should he say 'who'?

Tonight he saw Akane as she snuck down the stairs. He had caught a glimpse of her as he was dragging around an impossibly huge load of laundry. Ditching the clothes, he hid among the shadows and watched Akane's curiously slow descent. Hiding in shadows wasn't really something he was comfortable with. He should have confronted her. Demanded an explanation to her disappearances. Or at least had the sense to follow her covertly. But he had been struck speechless when he saw her and wanted to look without being seen.

Of course he had seen her in dresses before, but never like this. The dress was a soft blue that clung to her figure all the way down to her hips, then it flared out in fine wispy material until it floated just below her knees. How could he tell her that she was built like a brick and her waist was too thick now? After seeing her like this? The lie would probably choke him to death.

And she was wearing heels. HEELS! They made her legs look different. Longer. Feminine. She moved slow and graceful. Probably had to or trip down there stairs. He noticed that she was walking more on her toes, trying to be silent. There were even sparkly things in her hair keeping it off her face, he later realized they were clips with butterflies on them. Had she curled it? It made her eyes look bigger, and her face more… delicate somehow. Was that make-up on her eyes and cheeks? Was that LIPSTICK?

She was... well... "cute" was just not the right word. "Pretty" wasn't right either, not when she looked so beautiful. It was more than that. His heart clenched at the sight of her and he forgot how to breathe. He watched as she lightly grabbed her coat and slipped out the door like a thief.

That was... Akane?


HIS Akane?

But... but... she looked so feminine. And... and... beautiful... and exquisite… and feminine...


He snapped out of his stupor and bolted for the door with his heart in his throat. She can't go out dressed like that! She'd break her ankles if she tried fighting in those shoes! She was in danger! There's no way she could protect herself in those shoes or that dress! And what if there was a breeze? That wispy material was going to show everything at the slightest gust of wind!

He ripped open the door... to find a smiling Kasumi.

"Are you finished with the laundry already, Ranma?"

"Look, I don't have time for this. I ha..."

She smiled sweetly and he closed his eyes to it. He wouldn't fall for her tricks. Not with Akane in danger!

"Ranma, you promised."

His hands flew to his ears to block out the sound. Even her voice held some sort of technique that bent others to her will. He never thought of Kasumi as the dangerous one before, but now he wasn't so sure. He could already feel his will weakening...

"I'll finish when I get back. I have to find Akane!"

He made to leap over the girl and find his fiancée before something happened (and face it, Akane couldn't go through a single day without SOMETHING happening to her), but she crossed her arms and his feet refused to move, and effectively freezing his feet to the ground. "In that case, I'll need you to walk me to the market. You can finish the laundry as soon as we get back."

"What? You don't need me to walk you anywhere! You've always managed just fine."

"Now Ranma," she said in a hurt voice that had him backing up as her hand fluttered to her heart, "You want me to carry all those groceries... in the dark... alone?"

She was good.

She was real good.

It wasn't until he was scrubbing out a particularly difficult stain (how did he end up back at the laundry? … did Kasumi put a spell on him?) that it hit him that Akane wasn't dressed up like that for fighting or for tutoring or an after school activity... No girl dresses up like that to go to tutoring! Akane was dressed for a date.


He went numb.

He couldn't believe that Akane was out with another guy. Who would date her? His fists clenched in fury. EVERYONE knew she was going to be his wife one day, why would anyone date another man's fiancée?

Unless she changed her mind.

After all, she got her sisters to help keep him out of her way while she snuck around with another man. He was still cold and numb when Kasumi came to fetch him to be her pack animal. He let her drag him to the kitchen and put him to work washing dishes.

Akane with another man?

That just wasn't possible. She wasn't like that. Though… she HAD been avoiding him lately. She left for school early and disappeared every day after dinner. They rarely had any time to talk anymore. Or even fight! Was it something he said? He thought they had been getting along rather well lately. He had cut down on the teasing since the failed marriage attempt. He hadn't had the heart since then to actually be purposely mean. He thought they had been getting along rather well, actually.

Well that's just too bad! He wasn't letting some jerk steal Akane from him!

As soon as he finished these dishes...




Author's Notes:

My very first Ranma ½ fanfic! The cameos in my Inuyasha fanfictions don't really count.

I HAD to start buying the series (most anyhow, having a hard time finding all the box sets) once I found out the same voice actor is used for both Inuyasha AND Ranma (later seasons, not from the beginning). It's also interesting to note that the voice actor who plays Sango (English version) also has a character she voices in Ranma. Actually… there are quite a few voice actors in both series.

As always, I am appreciative of reviews and welcome constructive criticism. I will, however, finish the story regardless of if anyone reviews or not.

Also, this story is mostly likely only going to be three chapters long. It is possibly my favorite length of story to write.