Thursday, July 28, 2005
Making an Entrance
"Akane Tendo I strike only out of love!" The teenage soccer player swung his fist at the attractive young girl only to have his arm wrenched forward in her grasp. Using his momentum Akane pulled him off balance then swiftly kicked him in the stomach knocking the wind out of him.
"Ranko Saotome I must have you!"
"I think not Pal!" Ranma bobbed and weaved avoiding all the boys’ sloppy attacks. Ranma ran backwards leading the boy with her, deftly moving out of his path mere millimeters from the stone wall. The boy made a low groan then slid down to the grass unconscious.
"I wish Kuno hadn’t included me in on his stupid decree." Ranma joined Akane’s side as she twisted one boy’s arm pinning it behind him and pushed him face first into the ground. A small smile crept across the red head’s face as she watched Akane work the boy over with ease.
"Well at least its good exercise." Akane smiled as Ranma flipped the last boy over her shoulder.
"Hahaha, very funny." Ranma said not feeling amused. He stomach started to turn ‘I shoulda hit them more, perverts.’
"Come on Ranko we are going to be late." Akane grabbed the red head by the hand dragging her into the building.
"What else is new. Hey where the heck was Kuno today anyway?"
Slowly Kuno emerged from behind a tree where he observed the two girls’ battle. ‘Oh my beloved’s fighting as one to win my heart. I shall have them both."
The group of girls walked down the hallway giggling as they talked. Ranma walked close to Akane’s side watching the girls laugh and talk. Akane smiled and joked, but she was not as giddy as her companions. Ranma just kept quiet while she watched and listened.
"So when are we going to meet your brother Ranko?"
"I still can’t believe you’re engaged Akane." The girl with the ash blonde hair said.
"Shh. I really haven’t told too many people. I mean I’ve never met him."
"Which brings me back to my original question when are we going to meet your brother Ranko?" All the girls turned to her. Ranma couldn’t read Akane’s look she seemed almost apprehensive.
"Soon, he should be passing through in a couple days on his trip."
"He must be real strong if he is constantly in training."
"Yup sure is." Ranma said rocking back and forth on her heels smiling proudly.
"Sounds like you are a lucky girl Akane." The blonde girl said nudging her with her elbow.
"How can you say that, I don’t even know him! He may turn out to be a wife beater or something." Akane shouted angrily, she turned to Ranma and her expression softened. "Sorry Ranko I…"
Ranma just shrugged in return looking away. The girls stopped walking and started to enter a room filled with lockers and benches. Ranma stared at the sign on the door in horror – Girls Locker Room.
"Come on Ranko it’s time for gym."
"Y-yeah I’ll be right there."
‘I can do this-I’m a girl.’ Akane and the rest of the girls started to undo the straps of their jumpers. Her knees started to shake. Ranma abruptly turned to the locker and stared forward undoing the ties of her shirt. Ranma placed the top to her gym outfit over her shoulders and examined the tiny red shorts. ‘These are more like underpants then shorts, this is so humiliating.’ Ranma removed the rest of her clothing quickly and slid on the red gym shorts. ‘If Pop sees me like this I’ll never live it down.’
"Gee that was fast are you ready Ranko?" Ranma turned to see Akane pulling her shirt from the middle of her stomach down to the elastic waistband of her shorts.
"Ah yeah I’m rearing to go." Akane smiled and Ranma couldn’t help but study the beautiful lines of her face. She was especially pleasing to look at when she smiled. Ranma held the image of Akane’s face in her mind even as they played baseball. Ranma stood at third base, Akane at the pitcher’s mound waiting for the sign for the catcher. Ranma had to admit she was very athletic, for a girl, and she even looked kind of cute in her gym outfit, for a tomboy. A cry from home base brought Ranma out of her reverie. She turned and caught the baseball right between the eyes.
"Oh Ranko are you ok?" Akane ran to her side along with the rest of the players. Ranma fought the blackness that invaded her vision, but soon fell into unconsciousness.
"Ranko. Ranko?" Ranma heard Akane’s voice at the edge of her mind. Her senses started to come around, she felt herself sprawled out on the field her head propped up and an immense pounding in her skull.
"Ow, w-what happened?" Ranma opened her eyes forcing them to focus. Akane’s face slowly came into focus, she was looking down at the red head her brow crinkling with worry.
"You got hit with a ball, when you weren’t paying attention. Are you ok?" Ranma’s head rested on Akane’s lap her hand cradling her chin. Ranma’s cheeks flushed and she sat up.
"Oh I’m fine, nothing to worry about." The throbbing in her head disagreed and the look on Akane’s face said she didn’t believe her. "Pop’s hit me with harder stuff then that while sparring."
Ranma jumped to her feet, the girls around her owed in amazement. The gym teacher came over to inspect the bruise on Ranma’s face. Ranma absolutely refused to go to the infirmary. The bell rang signaling them to head back into the building to change. Ranma and the rest of the girls started the jog back into the locker room. Ranma noticed all the boys were eyeing the girls throughout gym, but at this moment it seemed that every one of them was staring at her.
"What are they looking at?"
"Well maybe you should start wearing a bra, I mean it wouldn’t be so bad if you weren’t so…" Akane said moving her gaze downward.
"Oh." Ranma said thinking to herself ‘there is no way. I’m a GUY!’
From the distance Nabiki stood watching the events unfold, she opened the envelope in her hand and started toward the crowd of boys.
"Boys do I have a deal for you." She said in her best business tone.
"Hey Akane watcha got there?"
"Hm? Oh it’s a book Kasumi wanted me to return for her."
"Pressure Points for Beginners. Doesn’t sound too thrilling." Akane chuckled and Ranma smiled walking next to her.
"Here we are, Dr. Tofu’s clinic." Ranma studied the outside of the building reading the signs. ‘Moxibustion.’ Ranma followed Akane in.
"Hello, Dr. Tofu?" Akane looked around the clinic impatiently.
"Yes may I help you? Oh Akane its you. You didn’t get into another fight did you?" The young doctor looked at the two girls pleasantly. Akane blushed furiously, Ranma raised an eyebrow examining her.
"N-no sir. I haven’t been in a fight for awhile now doctor."
"What about this morn-" Ranma was abruptly cut off by an elbow in her gut.
"My Akane I think you friend has been injured."
"Oh she’ll be fine."
"That’s a nasty bruise on your face young lady, let me take a look."
"A fiancé, but you are still so young Akane." The doctor tended to Ranma’s wound while Akane seemed to be saddened.
"I haven’t even met him yet."
"Well I’m sure everything will work out just fine. You’ll have plenty of time to get to know each other." Ranma watched Akane closely she seemed to be getting more and more depressed. When they left the clinic she didn’t say a word. ‘What is she thinking?"
"So have you known the doc a long time, he seemed to know you very well."
"My whole life he has always been there for me whenever I had problems." Akane got this sad glossy eyed look on her face and it finally occurred to her. ‘She loves him.’
"So does he feel the same way about you?" Ranma jumped down from the fence she was walking on landing at Akane’s side.
"What?" Akane’s face reddened while she examined the sidewalk under her feet.
"Come on its SO obvious. Does he like you too?" Akane just turned her face away. Ranma craned her head this way and that trying to see her face.
"He already loves someone else." She said quietly never turning toward her.
"Don’t worry. I’ve gotten used to it." ‘It still hasn’t stopped me from trying though.’ She thought to herself sadly. Akane suddenly turned to Ranma with a curious expression.
"Was it true what you said about Ranma today?"
"That he’s strong and handsome, sure." Ranma said boastfully her hands behind her head.
"No stupid. He is going to be in town soon?"
"Sure is." Ranma studied her expression. "Are you excited?"
"Please, no way! I’m just…I dunno."
"I’m not sure. Nervous maybe, but I’m not really sure why. How long is he going to stay?"
"I’m not sure maybe only a day or two."
"He sure is dedicated." They reached the gates to the Tendo home and proceeded inside.
"That’s my bro."
"Mr. Saotome are you excited that Ranma is coming?"
"Ranma is coming?" Soun jumped up from the shoji game excitedly.
"You mean nobody else knew."
"Kasumi what are we going to do?" Soun ran around the house like a mad man.
"Ranma coming here?" Genma looked at his daughter questioningly. "Are you sure that is such a good idea boy?" He said under his breath.
"I have my reasons."
High atop a hill looking down at the city a weary traveler made a silent prayer to the gods in heaven. ‘Finally after months in the jungle I have found it, Tokyo. Soon Ranma I shall have my revenge. The boy adjusted his backpack and turned heading back the way he came.
"I can’t believe your father is going to so much trouble for m-Ranma." Ranma sat cross-legged on Akane’s bed as she went through all the dresses in her closet.
"He is proud to have someone of your brother’s caliber taking over the dojo." Ranma beamed with pride. "At least that is what your father said."
Ranma’s shoulders slumped forward in disappointment as Nabiki came bursting through the door. She walked over to her sister’s closet and shook her head in disapproval.
"Come come Akane if you are going to make an impression on your fiancé you can’t wear any of this. Daddy is taking us out to a nice restaurant so of course we’ll be needing new outfits."
"Don’t call him my fiancé, I don’t even know him!"
"Daddy already gave me his credit card. He said I should look nice in case Ranma doesn’t like you." Akane was appalled.
"Alright fine we’ll go." Nabiki merrily left the room and Akane spun on heal staring at Ranma. "You are coming with me Ranko, left to Nabiki I’ll end up dressed in a ball gown."
"Huh?" Ranma stared at Akane’s frazzled face.
"Come on please we’ll buy some stuff for you as well, it’ll be fun." Akane smiled down at the red head causing her to loose all resolve. ‘Great I get to buy girls clothes.’
It was more boring then anything else. Ranma followed the two Tendo girls around as they examined different dresses running off every once and awhile to try something on. Ranma’s favorite part was when they stopped for ice cream she had three hot fudge sundaes to Nabiki and Akane’s astonishment. She had nearly fallen asleep in the chair next to the dressing room when Akane emerged in a radiant blue dress. It was a simple, fitted knee length dress with short sleeves that fit perfectly enhancing her shape. The dark shade of blue made the highlights in long her hair gleam and her eyes sparkle. She fidgeted with the buttons that ran the length of the dress looking down at herself.
"What do you think? This one seems to be the nicest. Though…I have to admit I never look very good in dresses."
"You look great, amazing." Ranma stuttered and Akane immediately smiled feeling relieved. Ranma stood up and walked to her.
"Why thank you." She curtseyed giggling.
"Some black thigh highs and some matching underwear and you’ll be all set." Nabiki said coming up behind Akane flipping up the hem of her dress showing her poka-dotted panties. Ranma felt her face turn very hot she turned away trying not too look suspicious.
"What do I need that for?" Akane said holding down her the skirt to her dress.
"Trust me it will make you feel more attractive. Now we’ve got to get something for Ranko here."
"Huh? Me?" Ranma backed away frightened.
"We’ll make it so your brother won’t even recognize you."
"I already got something for her at the last store."
"You did?" Ranma said sagging over. Akane pulled open a bag from the dressing room to reveal a red Chinese outfit with yellow flowers. It was feminine but not a dress. She handed it to Ranma who just looked up at her surprised.
"I hope you like it. I bought a larger shirt and smaller pants, but you should probably try it on when we get home."
"Thank you, it’s just what I’d have picked." ‘If I were forced to wear girl’s clothes. I even like the color.’
"Okay ladies let’s head over to the unmentionables."
"Come on Ranko, the boys are never going to leave you alone if you alone if you continue to give them a free show."
"What do I care if they look, as long as they don’t touch."
"Ranko! You really haven’t had any female influence have you?"
"How about this Akane?" Nabiki held up a black see through bodysuit that made both Akane and Ranma flush. "Look it has snaps."
"I am not having sex with him I am just meeting him."
"You can never be too prepared." Nabiki scolded.
"I assure you I don’t need to be that prepared!" Akane stared furious at Nabiki who just shrugged putting the lingerie down. Ranma thanked her luck that she was not going to be engaged to Nabiki. Akane picked out a modest set of black undergarments and Ranma agreed to buy two athletic supporters for gym and that was it. After the shopping was done they went straight home where the rest of the family was furiously cleaning.
"Jeez its just m-Ranma!" She yelled. Akane shrugged her shoulders trying to hide her nervousness. Ranma retreated to her room. ‘Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. I wish they didn’t make such a big deal outta this.’ A vision of Akane standing in the short sleeved blue dress smiling at her flashed through her mind as she sprawled out on her futon. ‘Still, I guess it won’t be so bad them makin’ a fuss.’ She stared up at the ceiling slowly letting sleep invade her body.
"Come on Ranko, get up."
"Hmm, not yet Akane give me a couple more minutes."
"Ranko we’re going to late for school again." Ranma sat up straight startling Akane. ‘Right I wanted to get out early today so I could change.’
"What’s wrong are you ok?" Akane sat down next to the red head concerned. Ranma held her stomach leaning over moaning. Akane placed her hand on the girl’s forehead. "You don’t have a fever."
"Oooooh, I think I’m gonna be sick. Must have been those ice cream sundaes I had last night."
"I told you not to have the third one."
"I don’t think I can make it to school today."
"OK, I hope you feel better." Ranma continued to moan until Akane left. She sprung from her futon and rummaged through her clothes until she found her favorite red shirt. ‘I can get some hot water from Dr. Tofu’s on the way.’
Ranma was giddy with anticipation. ‘I have been stuck in this body for WAY too long.’ After dressing she shimmied out her window onto the roof. ‘Can’t risk running into Akane on the way, better take the high road.’ With ease Ranma jumped from roof to roof making her way across town. It wasn’t long before she caught sight of the clinic and took to the ground. While making her descent Ranma felt her foot slam into a hard unstable object. Ranma looked down to find her foot had intercepted the head of a young man wandering by. After using his head for leverage she found her footing on the sidewalk as the boy was flattened on his back.
"Jeez sorry about that man, I didn’t see yah there. You ok?" She squatted down next to him.
"I’m fine, got a thick head." He recovered quickly and was sitting up rubbing his head. She noticed a map lying next to him.
"Here you go, you dropped it." She handed him the worn piece of paper and they both rose to their feet.
"Thanks." The boy wore a yellow and black bandana and was looking her over closely. "Have I met you somewhere before?"
She frowned thinking to herself ‘he better not be trying to pick me up or something.’
"I mean its just cause you look so familiar." The boy said a goofy smile on his face and a hand behind his head, obviously realizing how he must have sounded. Ranma looked him over and thought to herself that there was definitely something familiar about this boy.
"Oh jeez sorry but I’m going to be late if I don’t get going." Ranma ran off around the corner.
"Hey!" The boy shrugged his shoulders. "I should have asked her if she knew where Furinkan High was."
"What was that, Furinkan High?" The boy quickly turned around to find an attractive girl with long black hair looking at him.
Akane smiled pleasantly at the boy. ‘I’m sure I just saw him talking to Ranko.’
"Oh yes I am looking for Ranma Saotome. Can you direct me to Furinkan High?"
"Sure I’m on my way there now. What do you want with Ranma?"
"I’m going to beat him to a pulp." The boy said matter-of-factly. ‘So he is here to challenge Ranma and he was just talking to Ranko. Why that little sneak, she had a boyfriend and she didn’t even tell me.’
‘Today really is going to be perfect. I’m on my way to kill Ranma once and for all and I am being guided to his demise by a beautiful girl. Today I will assuredly prevail.’
"Oh jeez I beat her here." Ranma walked through the school gates perusing the horde of boys waiting for his female self and Akane to arrive. ‘Jerks what the hell are they looking at.’ After all the morning fights Ranma couldn’t help but loathe them.
"You there, new boy, have you come to challenge Akane Tendo or the pig-tailed goddess, Ranko?’ Kuno said standing under a tree in the distance.
"Now why would I want to challenge my own sister?" Ranma stood arrogantly looking at the shocked faces of the boys in the schoolyard.
"You’re-?" The boys looked back and forth from one another exchanging acknowledgements. "Didn’t Nabiki say that any guy that defeats him in battle can date Ranko?"
Ranma’s raised an eyebrow at the comment and watched the crowd continue to stir.
"That means if we beat you we can date Ranko! Charge!"
All the boys except Kuno ran at Ranma using various weapons. He dispatched them all quickly weaving in the air to avoid all the attacks sending them flying with a single kick or punch. When the last boy hit the ground Ranma jumped a top the stone wall and surveyed the unconscious remains of all his attackers. He stretched reveling in his male form, feeling more and more comfortable. He smiled smugly at his handy work when he spied two figures standing at the gates below him.
Akane stared up at him as their eyes met. The wind swirled across the schoolyard running through her long dark hair and rustling her dress. Ranma felt his own hair graze across his cheek, his pigtail blowing in the breeze.
He jumped down in front of her, smirking inwardly. "You must be Akane."
"Ranma?" They continued to look at each other when he heard his name yelled at him from either side.
"Ranma Saotome!" Ranma harshly pushed Akane out of the way as the two boys attacked him from both sides. The sword and the umbrella met in the space he recently occupied, Ranma stood back and surveyed his opponents.