Disclaimer Ranma ½ is the property of Rumiko Takahashi and used without permission, as are all other characters from what ever stories there from.

CATCHING THE BUTTERFLY VOL 1

When the things you want are always just out of reach.

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PROLOGUE

Lightning never strikes twice.

And if you're lucky, it doesn't even strike once.

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The old man looked at the side of his house in despair. Filling most of the wall was a large hole, directly opposite the other wall with a big hole in it. What had he done to deserve this, he thought sadly? He couldn't think of any gods he might have annoyed that week, and anything that was bad enough to be punished with a wind hole in the middle of his house was something he was sure he'd remember. He sighed and picked up the telephone. The insurance company would never believe this. It was the only building on the mountaintop. They'd never buy it. Why would a guy just walk straight through his poor house, leaving large holes to give the cat nightmares, instead of going around it? It just wasn't fair.

~~~~~

Ryoga stopped and checked the map again. He'd figured out, that if he carried on walking in the direction he was going, in a dead straight line, he eventually get to the Tendo Dojo. *Pity there's so many buildings in the way* he thought. He could've gone around them, but knew from experience that he'd walk all the way around the building and back along the path he'd come from. Yeah, so it wasn't very fair to homeowners, but ...

He squinted at the map. *It's getting hard to read this thing now ... guess it's time to pitch my tent. * He continued walking until he reached a good spot. The air crackled with electricity, warning Ryoga that a storm was coming, and if he didn't want the old man to get his revenge by serving up roast pork chops ala P-chan, he'd better get a move on. He pulled his tent kit out of his pack.

"Aww great! Just my luck!" He glared ferociously at the tangled guy ropes and set about trying to disentangle it. The result was rather like watching an octopus eat spaghetti. Looking up at the sky fearfully, he eventually managed it and yanked a few metal poles out of his bag.

~~~~~

*Note: Electric charge may be deposited on an object only by transferring charge to it from some other piece of material. Friction can separate small quantities of electric charge. By rubbing two materials together, electrons may be transferred from the atoms of one material to those of the other, if the second material has a greater affinity for electrons than the first. Spectacular (and pretty dangerous) results of the transfer of electric charge occur in lightning. Here, an electrically charged cloud suddenly discharges, generating a current, which passes through the air, raising it to very high temperatures. This causes both the flash of lightning and a shock wave of pressure changes in the air, producing the sound of thunder. The energy used in charging up the cloud initially is drawn from the atmosphere.

*Note: Lightning is electricity. Metal conducts electricity. Lightning + metal tent poles = big bang, big flash of light, lots of pain and possible death. You have been warned. No longer can you use the excuse "I was asleep when our teacher was showing us that video."

End Prologue.

Final song - Walking In A Hurricane

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PART I

The good, the bad and the other one.

============================

"... ouch ..." Ryoga's eyes flicked open and a groan escaped him. *I should've dealt with the poles first...* He sat up slowly and assessed how much damage had been done to him. "Drat." As predicted, he was covered in burns. He'd need a quick dip in cold water to ease the pain. Shame cold water had such an adverse affect on him, or he'd actually relish the thought. Climbing slowly to his feet, he looked around. His tent was a write off, he noted sadly. A few charred scraps of material were all that remained. Trees were now little lumps of charcoal and the ground was totally black. His eyes widened in shock at the extent of the destruction. *Wow! I'm lucky to be alive! *

A figure lying a few meters away from him caught his eye. *Guess I'd better check he's been as lucky. * He walked over and knelt down next to the person and rolled them over to face him. "Hey, are yo....ahhhhhhhhhhh!!" He jumped back in shock. Well, so would you, if you were suddenly confronted by your own face without even looking in a mirror.

"Ohmygod!! I'm dead! I'm dead and I've just turned over my body!" He covered his mouth with his hand in shock. "But I can't be dead ... ghosts can't feel pain ... or can they?.... So I'm a ghost?!"

" .... owwww ... that hurts ...." Ryoga fell over in shock as his body sat up and shook his head to clear it. His doppelganger looked over at him, seeing him for the first time. "Oh dear."

"What do you mean, 'oh dear'? You can see me?" Ryoga stared at himself.

"Of course I can see you, you're not dead or anything." The other Ryoga grinned at him. "We stopped that happening. How do you feel?"

Ryoga blinked. "How do I feel? HOW DO I FEEL?!!" He grabbed his double by the throat. "I have been struck by lightning. My possessions are destroyed. My body is screaming in agony and I have a new twin! I am NOT HAVING A GOOD DAY!!!!!'

The double gasped for breath. "Do you think you could let go of me? I'm in pain too." Reluctantly he did so. His double rubbed his neck. "Thank you. I suppose you want me to explain myself."

"Yes, that would be nice. But before you do, could we check for other me's? Then you could all talk at once" Ryoga replied sarcastically.

"Good idea. I didn't think of that." The double stood up looked around. "Well? Are you going to help me look?"

Ryoga gaped at him. *I'm having a bad dream. Please tell me this is a dream - I was struck by the lightning and this just a subconscious thought, but I'll wake up and I'll be in a hospital or lying here but there'll only be one me and It'll be me because this isn't happening and it isn't real...*

"Are you going to help me or not?" The double looked at him enquiringly. "Come on."

Dazedly he followed his other self as he wandered around the disaster zone. *What if he's real, though?* he though suddenly. *He could be the real me and maybe I'm a dream person. He's taking control here, after all.* He shook his head forcibly, willing that thought to go away. He looked around. "Hey. Over there." He grabbed his copy by the arm and pointed to the other side of the black crater. They walked cautiously over to the limp figure lying face down on the ground.

"Yep. That's another" the copy acknowledged cheerfully. "Makes a funny sort of sense."

Ryoga glared at him. "It makes sense? And what part makes sense? The part with multiple me's running around all over the place? That doesn't make any sense to me."

The copy laughed. "He's my opposite. We'll both explain." The other Ryoga lying on the floor groaned and sat up slowly. "Well, hello. You OK?"

Ryoga suppressed a snigger as the newest Ryoga grabbed his other self by the collar and yanked him off the ground. "I do not need your help and I do not need you. I am fine and you are an irritating little twerp." He shook the copy a little. "Any arguments."

The copy kicked the other copy in the stomach and he collapsed with a groan. "I'm you, you daft idiot. At the moment we all have the same injuries from that lightning, so don't tell me you don't need my help, because these burns really HURT!!'

Ryoga sighed. "Please could somebody tell me what's going on?"

The new copy straightened up. "I suppose we could manage that."

The old copy sat down. "It's like this ..."

"We're you, in a strange way. When you got hit by that lightning, ..."

"The gods were rather surprised. You weren't scheduled to die yet but it was a lethal dose of electricity that would leave you looking worse than Cologne on a good day..."

"So they brought us out of your mind so we could share your injuries."

The two copies sat back, looking smug. Ryoga looked from one to the other. "But who the hell are you?"

The new one replied first. "Well, plucking an example out of the air, if Akane got really really mad at you, for some reason, part of you would want to grovel, beg forgiveness and generally be a doormat, even if you were in the right..."

"Charming." The other one muttered.

"Shut up." The new copy thought for a second. "Where was I? Oh yeah. Part of you would do that. But another part of you would want to grab her by the throat, slam her against the wall and tell her to stop being such a hot- tempered, over-reactive macho tomboy..."

"Hey! She's not!"

The copy ignored the indignant remark and continued. "We're those two parts of your personality, like in Oh My Goddess. That dweeb," he said, indicating the old copy. "Is your Angel half. And I ... " He paused, thinking for a nice way to put It. " ...Am not," he finished.

"You're my Devil side," Ryoga said glumly.

Angel Ryoga grinned. "Yep! Got it in one. Well, not really devil, just not nice. If he really was all your concentrated nastiness, do you really think we'd still be here, alive and - gak!""

Devil Ryoga released his grip on Angel Ryoga's throat. "There's no need to be so picky!"

"When are you going?" Ryoga asked cautiously.

"Going?" Devil Ryoga asked sweetly, looking at him. "Who said anything about going?"

Ryoga looked at Angel Ryoga. "Seriously?"

Angel Ryoga shrugged. "Nobody actually told us that. I think it's something to do with you and dying prematurely. "

"So if our injuries heal up you'll go?" Ryoga looked hopefully at his copy.

Angel Ryoga gulped "Weeeellll, I'm not sure. We might have to stay until it's ... your time."

"AND HOW LONG WILL THAT BE?!!!!!!"

"We're not allowed to say" Devil Ryoga said calmly. "Let's get some cold water on these burns."

Ryoga glared at him. "P-chan."

Devil Ryoga glared back. "Yeah? I know. But that's just your problem. We're not you. We're your personality. We don't transform."

Ryoga reinforced the glare at his Angel and Devil sides. *I'm really beginning to hate myself..."

End Part I

Final song - Who Are You

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PART II

Triple trouble and total confusion.

==========================

Akane looked out her window. "Nice day today" she commented aloud. *Good thing too. I hate having to deal with Ranma getting all tetchy on rainy days. * She yawned and got ready for school.

"Why, good morning, Akane. Did you sleep well?" Kasumi smiled at her younger sister. "Breakfast is ready now."

"Thanks Kasumi." Akane smiled at her older sister. She helped herself to breakfast, while Ranma and Genma sparred outside. Somehow, they both managed to get to the table in their own forms.

"Hey, thanks Kasumi." Ranma grinned at her. "You're the best cook ... I ... know ..." He trailed off slowly and edged away from Akane. "Not that it means anything" he squeaked.

Akane sighed. "Ranma, you look like you've just been placed on death row." She continued eating.

Ranma gazed at her for a second. "You're not going to punch me through the roof?"

"I just have a good feeling about today, that's all."

"What? We have an English test and Happosai's bound to be lurking around the gym..."

"Oh, he's back from China?" Kasumi queried.

"Yeah, he's back. He'll be about, then you've got Home Ec class brrr..."

"JERK!!!"

Kasumi sighed and looked at the hole in the roof. "Oh my. Really, Akane, was there any need for that?"

Akane glared at her breakfast. "And I thought today was going to be a good day too."

~~~~~

Ryoga looked around. "Where did they go?" He was referring, of course, to Angel Ryoga and Devil Ryoga. They'd vanished after getting into an argument about the map (AR- this is unfair to home owners. DR- You wanna get to the Dojo or not? R- I think we've missed it. DR- maybe the map's wrong. AR- maybe all the maps are wrong...). He'd had no idea how much he argued with himself until he saw it happening. "Damn! Maybe they'll get to the Dojo but I won't and they'll muck things up ..." He pricked up his ears at the sound of familiar voices.

"I was only tryna apologize! Jeez! I don't know why I bother, you uncute maniac!"

"Ranma, you are such a jerk! Maybe they were good cookies!"

"Yeah! And maybe one day Kuno'll grow a brain!"

Ryoga sighed. Ranma was always the same. But here was his ticket to the Dojo. He stepped around the corner. "Hello."

"Ryoga! Hi!" Akane smiled at him. "Nice to see you."

Ranma poked her in the arm. "I thought you had a good feeling about today."

"Ranma, you are such a JERK!!!" One good kick sent him flying. *Probably Ranma will go and flirt with all his other fiancees now, the jerk.*

"Hey Akane. could you take me to the Dojo?" Ryoga half-smiled at her.

"Of course. I'm just heading their now." She smiled. "It's good to see you again. So tell me what you've been up to then..."

~~~~~

Kasumi looked up from the washing up. "Why, hello, Ryoga. Nice to see you. And where have you been?"

Ryoga grinned. "All over the place really ... do you want some help with that washing up?"

"Oh, no, that's OK, I'm fine here. You tell me about your travels."

Ryoga thought for a second. *Everyone takes advantage of Kasumi, never helping her and she never complains, but I bet she doesn't get any rest.* "Tell you what. You sit down with a cup of tea. I'll do the washing up and tell you about my travels."

Kasumi smiled. "Very well, if you insist." She sat down with a small sigh of relief. "I must say, it's nice to have people offer to help once in a while. I'm touched."

Ryoga smiled back. "You're welcome." *It's nice to have someone appreciate my help ... why doesn't my other self help Kasumi out once in a while ... oh well, must be the Devil in him. He's too busy running around screaming 'Ranma prepare to die' to help out...*

~~~~~

Nabiki turned around as she heard footfalls behind her. "Oh, hey, Ryoga."

"Nabiki." Ryoga grinned at her. "Can you lead me the way to the Dojo?"

Nabiki thought for a second. "3000 yen."

Ryoga had a dangerous look in his eye. "Now, now, Nabiki. You're going that way yourself. It's not gonna inconvenience you."

"1500 then."

Much to her surprise, he took two steps forward and gently gripped her by the throat. "Always wanted to do this. Now, Nabiki, I need to get to the Dojo, OK? I have absolutely no money whatsoever. And this is important. Stop screwing me about and grubbing for money, because I don't have any. Manners don't cost a penny, though I not really one to talk at the present. I don't need to squeeze, do I?"

Nabiki shook her head numbly.

"Good." Ryoga grinned. "So we have an understanding then?" She nodded. With a small laugh, he released her. "No need to look like such a scared little rabbit."

Nabiki rubbed her neck. "I could get you done for that, you know," she said with a hint of fear in her voice.

"No you can't" he said calmly. "Because one, there is no mark on your neck, two, there are no witnesses, three, they'd never find me - hell, I can never find me and four ... can't think of a four at present, but I'm sure I will. Good enough for you?"

Nabiki glared at the ground. "S'kay"

"Hmm?"

"I SAID IT'S OK!!" Nabiki set off, stomping as she went along.

Ryoga sniggered. *Cool! She has weaknesses after all. Why didn't my other self ever confront her? It's kinda fun making her squirm.* He followed her to the Tendo Dojo. Where there was already a Ryoga. Where another Ryoga was heading. The Tendo's were in for a shock.

End Part II

Final song - Good Times Bad Times

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PART III

Getting in touch with your female side

you never quite expect her to actually reply.

===================================

"Oh my."

Akane looked at the three Ryoga's in amazement. "This is ... incredible!"

"Yeah. You two got lucky. I got the Devil one," Nabiki growled.

Ranma shook his head. "Too, too weird. You musta hit me harder than I thought."

Akane advanced on him dangerously. "Raaannnnnnmmmmmmaaaaa ...."

Ranma backed away and quickly changed the subject. "Three Ryoga's, hmm? One good, one bad and one original. How do we tell them all apart?"

Angel Ryoga grinned. "You could try insulting us and seeing which one does nothing, which one gets slightly tetchy and which one pounds your head into the carpet."

Ranma glared at him. "Which one are you?"

"Angel."

"Don't seem like much of an angel to me."

Ryoga shrugged. "Just goes to show - you can irritate any part of my personality. Even the part nicer than Mother Teresa. Besides, if they were completely devil and angel, do you really think the devil one would've let you live this long?"

Ranma looked at them all. "Do we call you Angel, Devil and Ryoga, or what?"

Ryoga shrugged. "That just what I called them. I couldn't be bothered to think up any names for them."

Akane grinned. "I know..."

Ranma cut in. "NOT D-chan and A-chan."

"Why you..."

Nabiki cut in. "Ryoga Angel. R-A. Or maybe Ray. Ryoga Devil. R-D or Red."

Devil Ryoga sniggered. "Betcha got some other names for me bottled up in that brain of yours."

"Oh, how did you know?" she said in a sickly sweet voice.

Angel Ryoga cut in quickly. "I prefer R-A."

"Yeah, and I like R-D to Red" Devil Ryoga decided.

"Good." Ranma sighed. "Sure there's only you lot? We don't have to go through the rest of the alphabet, do we?"

"I think that's all..." Ryoga said thoughtfully.

*BANG*

They all spun around as the door flew open. "This is the Tendo Dojo isn't it?" They all stared at the small girl standing in the doorway.

"Y-yeah..." Ranma gulped.

"In that case..." She stepped forward. She had short black hair and green eyes and was wearing clothes identical to the three Ryoga's. In fact, she looked almost exactly like the Ryoga's.

*Noooo ... it can't be!* Ryoga thought in shock. The next words clinched it though.

"RANMA, PREPARE TO DIE!!!" She launched herself at Ranma, who sat still in shock for a moment before he actually realised he was under attack, giving her a chance to land a few blows. Ranma recovered and punched her as hard as he could. She hit the back wall and lay there for a moment, stunned, before giving a scream of anger and renewing her attack.

"Female half?" Akane checked.

"Yeah." R-A thought for a moment before enlightenment dawned. "Of course! Opposites. I'm R-D's opposite and she's Ryoga's opposite so now it evens out." He caught Ryoga- chan as she hurtled across the room again, courtesy of a Ranma kick in the chest. "Now, now, Ryoga-chan. We need to explain you and make Ranma feel slightly guilty."

"Shouldn't we call her R-C?" Akane asked.

Ryoga-chan sat down. "What for? Ryoga doesn't turn into a girl so nobody else is gonna react to the name."

"Good point."

Ranma sat down too. "What's that about feeling guilty then?"

R-D smirked. "You don't like fighting girls. Not a nice thing to do."

"Well, yeah. Neither do you. That doesn't stop you attacking me in female form though, 'cause technically I'm a guy." Ranma smirked the smirk of the righteous one. "She's another Ryoga and therefore technically a guy."

Ryoga grinned. "I think I see what's coming..."

"She is not a guy. At all," R-A pointed out. "She is what Ryoga would be like if he was a girl. She's feminine most of the time, she has a girls body all the time, it's not cursed or anything..."

Now all the Ryoga's wore the smirk of the righteous one while Ranma wore the scowl of the one being ticked off by the righteous.

Ryoga-chan cut in. "Like them, I have a lousy sense of direction or I would've gotten here sooner."

"If you're feminine, why are you wearing the same clothes as them?" Ranma asked.

"Because I haven't had a chance to go shopping. OK?" Ryoga-chan glared at him. "Besides, they're not the same, they're smaller. Those clothes would just fall down on me."

Ryoga and R-D stood up. "How dare you attack my female half?!" Ryoga growled.

"We'll get you, Saotome!" They both advanced on him.

Ranma ran. He could handle one Ryoga, but two? He didn't want to find out!

"Speaking of clothes, can we do something about the guys?" Nabiki questioned. "I don't remember which one is the one I don't like."

"Oh, that would be me." R-D put him hand up. "Yes, I'll get a shirt with 'AntiNabiki' stitched across it, shall I?"

"Just something different is fine" Akane said quickly.

"What about me?" Ryoga-chan added. "I mean, these clothes are guy clothes. I didn't choose them. I need to get something practical yet flattering. These do nothing for me"

"Yes. And we'll pay for all your many fashion accessories with all the money I didn't give to Nabiki" R-D said sarcastically.

"Hey!"

"Joke, Nabiki" Ryoga said calmly. "None of us have any money."

A scraping noise caught their attention. Happosai dragged himself across the floor. " ...Girlee ...fight ...back ....must splash something .... with girliewater ....pantieeeeeee ...." He looked at a spider with a glazed look in his eyes. "Spidergirleeee ...." He lifted a vial of water and took the lid off.

"What is he doing?" Ryoga-chan whispered.

"I have no idea" Akane replied.

Happosai suddenly caught sight of Ryoga-chan's reflection in the glass vial. "PRETTY GIRLIEEE!" he yelled, attaching himself to her.

"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK K!!!" She threw the old man across the room. The vial of water flew out of his hands ...

Across the room ...

Like a cat always heads towards the only person afraid of/ allergic to them, so the water sprayed all over the only person in the room with a Jusenkyo curse following a process known as Murphy's law or more commonly known as Sod's law ...

Ryoga was directly in the path of the cold water. And Akane was in the room too.

End Part III

Final song - Hitch Hiking Woman

=======================

PART IV

Talking through your problems.

=======================

Ryoga slowly opened his eyes and looked for an escape path. He could feel everyone staring at him as he began to edge towards the door, preparing to make a run for it the second Akane got as far as 'Ge' in 'Get the pervert!!!'

"GGGIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!"

"GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME YOU DIRTY LITTLE LEECH!!!!!" Ryoga grabbed Happosai by the skull and embedded him in the floor. "Ick! He's going after guys too now?"

"Now I have an excuse to go shopping!"

"Now we call her R-C?" Akane said in a voice that said 'I'm going to pretend it's all OK until he actually notices what's happened.'

"R-C's good. We'll stick to R-C!" R-A said in a voice that said 'I don't have a clue what's going on, but I'm going to play along for now.'

Ryoga's brain finally clicked. "I-I'm OK! I'm not hurt! I'm..." He trailed off.

R-D nodded. "Yes you are."

"I'M A GIRL!!!!" he - now she wailed. She gave a choked sob and fled from the room as fast as she could without her trousers falling down.

"Damn! He'll get lost!" R-C jumped to her feet and ran after her.

"And she won't, I presume?" R-D commented.

~~~~~

Ryoga-chan sat up a tree looking gloomily into the distance.

"Hey you."

She looked down at R-C then resumed looking gloomily into the distance.

After a few moments, R-C scrambled up beside her. "Could be worse. It could've been a spring of drowned Ranma." She sighed as this failed to raise even a weak smile from Ryoga-chan. "Or it could've been normal cold water." She shook Ryoga-chan's shoulder. "You know, there's definite advantages to being a girl."

After a moment, Ryoga-chan replied. "Like what?"

R-C shrugged. "Oh, a few things. One, you're human, two, you're not edible except to people on remote islands in the Pacific, three, you don't have to worry about Akane finding out about your curse, four, Ranma has nothing to blackmail or taunt you with, five, spending a little time in your female body might make you less prone to blackouts whenever Shampoo starts streaking after Ranma, six, you don't have a disadvantage in fights if it starts to rain seven ..."

"OK, I get the point!" Ryoga-chan gave a weak laugh. "It's just, for a moment I thought I was really cured. I hate being the real Ryoga with a huge disadvantage to the others. I thought if I'd really been cured, I could try and talk to Akane ...." She sighed. "I suck at being me. R-A's probably got the best chance. He's too good for words. In about a week, he'll probably have women crawling all over him."

R-C listened silently as she continued. "And R-D's a total bastard. Women love total bastards for some reason. And I'm me. Boring old me. Half guy, half girl, just like Ranma. Except nobody l-l-loves m-me.." Her voice broke and she started to sob. "N-nobody's e-ever l-l-loved me and nobody c-cares and I h-hate my life and I-I wish that l-l-lightning had k-killed me..."

"No you don't. You'd miss Akane."

Ryoga-chan leaned back against the tree branch. "I'm a screwed-up emotional wreck with a gender changing problem, with parts of my personality getting a better life on their own rather than mixed up inside me and I'm pouring all my worries out on a female part of my personality which is really scaring me because I have a girl side to my mind."

R-C sighed. "OK. I'm not a girl side to your mind. I'm a version of what you would be like if you were a girl. You're mind is entirely guy, mine is totally girl." She smiled. "For starters, I'd be sleeping in some guys bed. I'm your opposite. R-D is R-A's opposite, R-A is R-D's opposite. And I hope there aren't any R-C Angels or Devils running around either 'cause they'd make me feel inferior. And as for you being a screwed-up emotional wreck, that isn't true. They are the emotional wrecks. R-A is too good to be true. If he doesn't find someone like ... Kasumi, for example, he'll be treated like dirt forever but not care. R-D has no redeeming features. Women love total bastards but only for short amounts of time. He'll probably get arrested if he isn't careful. Yes, you'd be a lot more stable if you hadn't come across Jusenkyo and if Ranma didn't use his female form against you."

Ryoga-chan growled. "Is it any wonder I don't trust anyone?"

R-C sighed. "I know what you mean."

~~~~~

"Hey, Ranma. Make yourself useful and go find R-C and Ryoga-chan" Nabiki called.

Ranma blinked. "Did I miss someone?"

Akane nodded. "Well, yes. You missed Happosai giving Ryoga the same curse as you. H.. she ran off and R-C followed hi ... her. We're just worried they'll both get lost."

Ranma sighed. "Twin Ryoga girls. Yee-uck!" He turned and left the room with a vague grin. *Although Ryoga's girl half is kinda cute ...*

*SPLASH*

"Hey! Old lady, you should watch where you throw that stuff! Jeez!" She headed back inside angrily. "I'll search indoors first and get some hot water while I'm at it."

~~~~~

"I'll get you a kettle of hot water," R-C offered. "You go tell the other's not to worry about us."

"Thanks." Ryoga-chan walked back into the Dojo. "We're OK."

Akane grinned. "Oh. There you are. We were worried." She jumped to her feet. "Come on."

Ryoga-chan blinked. "Huh? "Akane grabbed her by the hand, much to her shock, and dragged her out of the room and upstairs to her bedroom. Ryoga- chan looked around. "Uhhh ... why did you drag me up here?"

Akane opened the wardrobe door. "We're more the same height, although you're a bit more petite. Maybe some of my clothes will fit you. Then we'll be able to tell you and Ryoga apart when he turns female."

Realization flooded across Ryoga-chan's face. "Oh! I'm not R-C, I'm Ryoga."

"Oh! Sorry." Akane laughed. "Where's R-C?"

"Getting some hot water..."

End Part IV

Final song - I'm A Boy

===================================

PART V

Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go anywhere.

===================================

R-C eventually found the kitchen. She walked in to see Ranma-chan glaring at the kettle, willing it to boil faster. "Oh. You have the kettle."

Ranma-chan looked up. "Oh! There you are!" She grinned. "Now I don't have to look for you." She grabbed R-C by the sleeve. "Come on. Lets get changed."

R-C blinked in surprise. "Wha ..." Ranma-chan dragged her to the bathroom, shut the door, and began to fill the bath tub with hot water. R-C looked at her in amazement. "What are you doing?"

"We both need a bath. I'm running it." Ranma-chan yanked her clothes off. "Come on, take your clothes off."

R-C's eyes widened. "No way!"

Ranma-chan laughed. "Shy of your own body?! You'll get used to it."

Realization dawned. "No you see I ... HEY! Pervert!" She smacked Ranma-chan over the head.

"Ow! Just seeing if the water makes all girls big busted or whether is was just 'cause I have a nice body. Enough with the shy act, Ryoga, you'll get used to it." Before R-C could protest, she found herself shoved naked into the water with Ranma-chan - now Ranma beside her. "See? Over alrea...d...y..."

"Idiot! I tried to explain!"

Ranma gaped at her. "You're ... you're ... you're..."

"R-C. Not Ryoga. And would you stop staring at me!" She growled, ducking under the water, crimson in the face.

"Oh jeez! Get out of here!" Ranma splashed her a little. "Akane'll kill me!"

"ME get out?! YOU dragged me in here! You get out!"

"Ranma?" The voice came from behind the closed door. "I'm coming in."

Ranma looked around frantically. Then grabbed the surprised R-C, shoved her head under the water and sat on her back. "Akane! Hi! What brings you here?!"

Akane sat on the stool. "I was wondering, did you find R-C? I thought I did, but it was Ryoga."

"R-C?" Ranma laughed nervously and ignored the fingernails digging into his ankle to tell him R-C was not pleased with the current situation. "Nooo ... haven't seen her. Now go away!"

"When do you think the other Ryoga's will go away?"

"Me? Dunno. Please leave now?" he hinted none too subtly. R-C wasn't struggling as much, which kinda worried him.

"Just imagine if there were four of you." She laughed. "What a nightmare! Still, it'd solve the many fiancee problem." She laughed again. "Pity we can't give some of the Ryoga's to Ukyo or Shampoo..."

"For gods sake Akane, just get out of here!" Ranma blurted.

Akane blinked. "What? Why? You got some big secret hidden in here?" She stood up. "I only wanted to talk to you a little! I won't bother again!"

Ranma groaned. "I just ... want a little privacy, that's all." Akane gave him a look that said 'I don't know what you're up to, but I know you're up to something' as she left the room. Ranma waited a few moments to make sure she was gone before hauling R-C out of the water. "Aw shit!" he groaned, rolling her onto the floor, covering her with a towel and wrapping another towel around himself. "I've drowned Ryoga's girl half!" He thought for a second before dashing out of the room. "HEY, R-A!! COME HERE FOR A MOMENT!" he yelled, then dashed back into the bathroom and pulled on his clothes.

A moment later R-A ran into the room. "Oh lord! What the hell did you do to her!"

"It was an accident!"

"You dragged R-C in here and drowned her?!" R-A was beginning to look slightly un R-A- like as he clenched his fists. "You accidentally drowned her? Without any of her clothes?"

"It was a misunderstanding!" He protested. "And don't yell at me, get her breathing!"

"YOU ARE A SICK, PERVERTED, NEANDERTHAL!! She's partly me!"

Ranma looked at R-A. "You aren't R-A, are you."

Ryoga give him a tense look. "No, I'm the original Ryoga. The real McCoy. YOU FREAK!"

He glared at the new Ranma shaped skylight in the ceiling.

~~~~~

"We really need some way to tell them all apart other than tattooing the letters on them all."

A tense R-C was still in her old clothes, sat with her three 'brothers.' "Including a way of telling me and Ryoga apart." she growled, glaring at Ranma across the table. She was slightly pleased to note that he had a new plaster on his face.

Nabiki crept behind R-D and tipped a small bottle over his head. "HEY!"

"Better wash it off" she said sweetly. R-D ran out of the room and she turned to the others. "So R-D is the one with the new blond streak in his hair."

"Nabiki!" Soun scolded. The other two Ryoga's edged away from her slightly.

"Maybe different coloured bandannas?" Akane suggested.

"Not noticeable enough" Ranma sighed. "Gotta be something you notice at once." R-D walked back into the room with a glare on his face and a pale streak of hair. "And that actually does work..."

"I look like an idiot" R-D growled.

"Which is strange because...?" Ranma quipped, immediately regretting it as R-C, R-D and Ryoga rose to their feet.

Kasumi walked in, radiating peace. "Would anyone like some tea?" she asked sweetly, listening to the mumbles of agreement.

R-A jumped to his feet. "I'll give you a hand."

"He's like a walking conscience" Nabiki commented. "Let's hit the mall. If we can just start by getting them some other outfits, it'll be a start."

"What will we pay with? Brass buttons?" R-C asked gloomily.

"All our stuff - MY stuff got fried in the electric storm." Ryoga added.

"Looks like it's a loan for now, if only for our own convenience" Soun said suddenly. The four Ryoga's looked at him in astonishment. "Well, you all confuse me. And the other one, R-A is being so helpful to Kasumi.... Anyway, you'll have to pay back eventually."

R-C grinned. "We can go shopping? I can go shopping?" She smirked at the other three. "Looks like we're hitting the job shop too, bro's! Hey, Ryoga! Let's get jobs as waitresses! The twin thing alone'll clinch it!"

End Part V

Final song - Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere